With few people being aware of it, the state of Israel has established key outposts in Boston, Massachusetts. It is customary for other countries to maintain embassies and consulates in large cities in the US, but in Boston, Israel, in addition to its consulate, and on top of its Anti-Defamation League and its Combined Jewish Philanthropies, also has two unique, nationally known organizations working especially for its interests. They are CAMERA – the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America – and the David Project Center for Jewish Leadership.
There is no listing on CAMERA’s web site of the individuals involved in it, and no address is given other than a Boston post office box. CAMERA describes itself as “a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East.”(1) “Accurate and balanced,” as the terms are used here, means pro-Israel and anti-Arab. For example, recent articles up on CAMERA’s web site attack authors who have seen fit to “malign” the mortally stricken Ariel Sharon for his involvement in the 1982 massacres at Sabra and Shatila. CAMERA is an organization of thought police for Israel which comes down with both feet on any publication that contradicts Zionist dogma. Public butchers like Ariel Sharon are in need of vigilant propagandists because their crimes are so obvious. This is also the case for Israel as a whole, with its murdering of Palestinian children, its constant land confiscation, its uprooting of olive trees, its stealing of resources, its program of slow genocide.
Is there any other nation on earth that has such structures built into US society? Do the French, for example, have people watching everything that’s printed about France, and jump on anyone who’s “anti-French”? Burundi and Paraguay have about the same population size as Israel (about 6 million). Would we expect either of these countries to have as much sway over what is said about it in US journals as Israel does? Yet Israel somehow has the ability and the resources to do this.
The second outpost, the David Project, has a web site which also lists a Boston post office box, and names one Charles Jacobs as its president. The site says that “by promoting a fair and honest understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the David Project leads the ideological effort against the forces intent on defaming, weakening and destroying the Jewish State.”(2) Examples of “fair and honest” reporting of the Arab side of the “Arab-Israeli conflict” are non-existent on this web site. In its “Campus support” section, the David Project declares that it “serves as a resource for pro-Israel campus activism.” So, we see again that “fair and honest” simply means “pro-Israel.”
The David Project’s first major action was blocking an endowment for a chair in Islamic Studies at the Harvard Divinity School. The Project’s “Director of Campus Strategy,” Rachel Fish, based this 2003 smear campaign on the fact that the money for the endowment was to come from the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, whose Zayed Center, according to the Project, “promoted anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic writings and lectures.” Did the David Project Director of Campus Strategy, in the interest of fairness and balance, raise any questions about the endowment of the chair of Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard, occupied by torture advocate Alan Dershowitz? No. The Project couldn’t even come up with an obvious human rights issue like Pentagon funding for weapons research at MIT. It attacked funding for a chair in Islamic studies because it did not want students of Islam to have either a voice or respectability at Harvard or in the Boston area.
After successfully blocking the Harvard endowment, the David Project went on in late 2004 to produce the movie “Columbia Unbecoming” which targets Professor Joseph Massad of Columbia University’s Department of Middle East studies for allegedly intimidating pro-Israel students. M. Junaid Alam, current editor of Lefthook, describes one of the Columbia students who made charges against Massad: a “student who was a lead organizer for the film, Ariel Beery, boasts an impressive resume: he served as a spokesman for the Israeli military, is the head of the on-campus Zionist group, and is also an agent and informer for Daniel Pipes’ notorious CampusWatch.org website, where students are encouraged to ‘report’ their professors’ political views if they are deemed insufficiently servile to the conservative party line.”(3) A total of eleven articles by Ariel Beery appear on Daniel Pipes’ witch-hunting “Campus Watch,” an organization which says it is devoted to “monitoring Middle East studies on campus.”(4) Like Campus Watch, the David Project claims that it “serves as a resource for pro-Israel campus activism.” But, as Alam points out, such advocacy is in conflict with its claim elsewhere to fairness and honesty. Among other obvious biases in “Columbia Unbecoming,” Massad is given no chance for a rebuttal. The movie has been called a right wing attack on academic freedom and the 1st Amendment right to free speech. But it’s more than that. It’s an attack on the fact that Zionist oppression of Palestine is real. The right wing attack on Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado is much the same – an apparent assault on academic freedom is really an assault on an articulation of the fact of US crimes of genocide. It’s an assault on the truth waged for ideological ends.
A film crew from the David Project didn’t just happen to be strolling through the Columbia Campus and witness alleged abuse of Israeli students. The production of “Columbia Unbecoming” has every appearance of having been planned in advance, from Zionist activist “victims” to dissemination of a finished product which the David Project disingenuously claims it never meant for public viewing. Israel is clearly aware that it is losing the propaganda battle on US campuses. Since it is unable to match its opponents argument for argument, it instead attacks their integrity.
In other cases, Zionists attempt to protect Israel by posing as the strongest advocates for “peace.” One example is the Israel Project, based in Washington and Jerusalem. The Israel Project commissioned a study which found that:
“Never in the modern history of the Jewish state has there been more outspoken public opposition on the ELITE college campuses to the basic principles and tenets of Israel. To be brutally frank, if current trends are not averted, America’s core commitment to and alliance with Israel may not survive.”
The researcher recommended the following response:
“The only way for Israel to create sympathy is to be the side working hardest for peace. The best case for Israel is to demonstrate that she is willing to go twice as far as her neighbors to establish peace.”(5)
The strategy that devolves from this is to co-opt peace and justice organizations on college campuses with the message of Israel’s benevolence, while the David Project’s strategy is to simply attack individuals and organizations who might be in a position to counter such propaganda.
The David Project’s newest cause is to block the continued construction of a mosque being built by the Islamic Society of Boston in Roxbury. The mosque is 85% completed. The David Project opposes the mosque because of “Saudi Arabia funding hatred of infidels, Christians, [and] Jews, in American mosques”, and says that “various individuals who have been affiliated and directly involved with the Islamic Society of Boston (‘ISB’) have defended acts of terrorism, and have publicly engaged in the worst sort of anti-Semitic and other hate speech.”(6,7)
Of course, the accusations are part of wider Israeli and US government attacks on Arabs and Muslims being carried out directly, and with open brutality, in Palestine and Iraq. The David Project’s defamation of the Islamic Society of Boston was created by people opposed to Muslims as Muslims, for purely political ends.
Given the history of US genocide in Iraq over the past 15 years, and the fact that the dominant religion in the US is Christianity, one could make a good case that Christians are heavily involved in terrorism. Yet it would be unthinkable to oppose the construction of an Episcopal Church in Boston. Would a Catholic church be opposed because certain priests had been found to be pedophiles? Would a synagogue be opposed because of support among rabbis for a foreign state founded on genocide against the Palestinian people? But somehow people find it legitimate to say that a mosque might be connected to “terrorists” and therefore should not be built. What country in the Arab world has caused as much mayhem, murder, and suffering in recent world history as the US? Yet the dominant culture in the US feels it is in a position to question Arabs.
In the past year, the David Project joined forces in the anti-mosque effort with, among others, former CNN reporter Steve Emerson, who made the ridiculous 1994 “documentary” Terrorists Among Us: Jihad In America. The Islamic Society of Boston has filed a libel suit against Emerson, the David Project, the right wing Boston Herald, Fox News, Dennis Hale, and others for mounting an intentional smear campaign for the purpose of preventing the mosque from being completed. Dennis Hale, a Boston College professor, is president of the Judeo-Christian Alliance, an initiative of the David Project. From the umbrella of the David Project, he heads a front group called “Citizens for Peace and Tolerance.”(8)
Boston has a recent history of persecution of supporters of Palestine. The well-known Boston activist Amer Jubran is one example. In 2000 Jubran was arrested at a legal protest of an “Israel Independence Day” celebration in Brookline, a city adjacent to Boston. The Brookline police were paid $10,600 by the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Israeli Consulate to cover the event. The Brookline police who arrested Jubran were in contact with the Israeli Consulate prior to the arrest. The charges were either invented or pre-arranged. It is important to remember here that the Israeli Consulate represents a foreign government. It is not appropriate for a police force in a US city to be employed by, advised by, or report to, a foreign government. Blindness to this issue is part of US politics from Boston to the national level in Washington, where Israel and AIPAC get away with what would be called gross political interference, infiltration, bribery, and espionage if it were any other country. Others have commented on Israel’s status as a 51st state, but Connecticut or New Hampshire would not be able to bend politics in Massachusetts in this way, and all of these states together would not be able to match Israel’s power in Washington. It might be more accurate to say that Israel is a meta-state, a state above others, which takes from and manipulates the US polity as it sees fit.
In November 2002 Amer Jubran was arrested again, this time without any charges at all, two days after leading a march organized by the New England Committee to Defend Palestine. He was ultimately harassed out of the country by court proceedings under the Department of Homeland Security. At that time, mass arrests of Arab and Muslim immigrants were being motivated nationwide by Justice Department Zionists John Ashcroft and Michael Chertoff. Without question, Boston Zionists were behind the order to have Jubran “removed,” just as he was earlier in Brookline. The judge in the case, Leonard Shapiro, had the gall to declare that the two-year, million dollar investigation of Jubran was about alleged immigration issues and was not a political trial.
A second example is Jaoudat Abouazza, another Palestinian who, for his attempts to organize a protest of a June 2002 “Israel Independence Day” celebration in Boston Common, was arrested on phony charges by Cambridge police, subjected to torture in the Bristol County Jail (involuntary extraction of four teeth without anaesthesia), and ultimately deported to Canada. Abouazza’s treatment was meant to send a message to the Arab American community in Boston to stay off the streets. This was during the time of Sharon’s “Operation Defensive Shield” in Palestine, which had brought many Arab Americans to the streets in protest. Abouazza was betrayed in his court case by the head of the Boston ACLU, who personally visited him in jail, saw the evidence of his torture, and did nothing about it. With few exceptions the liberal legal establishment turned its back on the Homeland Security attacks on Arabs and Muslims, both in Boston and the country as a whole.
A final example is Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner. In October 2005, speaking at a rally for the renewal of the Voting Rights Act, Turner pointed out the irony of people supporting voting rights in the US while the US provides generous funding to Israel, which openly deprives Palestinians of voting rights. Turner was immediately called on the carpet for this by a local newspaper, The Jewish Advocate, and by the New England Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In a letter responding to the ADL, Turner said, “a great injustice is being perpetrated against the Palestinians. I believe that all human beings of conscience have a responsibility to speak out and demand an end of our federal government’s support of its perpetuation.” He included a postscript to his letter, stating flatly: “you have no right to label someone as prejudiced or Anti Semitic because you disagree with their views on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.” This sentiment expresses the feelings of many, many people concerned about the oppression of Palestine who are fed up with being intimidated by this one cheap argument over and over again when they express this concern.
Chuck Turner is a very popular and well-liked African American leader in Boston. The ADL has a special record of conflict with African American leaders who cross the line by criticizing Israel as he did. The ADL mounted a notorious attack on Amiri Baraka for his October 2001 poem, “Somebody Blew Up America”, which asked a hundred questions about who may have been involved in 9/11, and which did not exclude Israel. In the poem Baraka asks, “Who know why Five Israelis was filming the explosion /And cracking they sides at the notion.”(9)
In October 2002, Baraka responded to the ADL smear campaign against him by reminding readers that in the 1960′s Stokeley Carmichael (later Kwame Ture) of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was denounced by the ADL for calling Zionism “the enemy of humanity.” Baraka reminded readers of ADL accusations of “Black anti-Semitism” leveled at the Black liberation movement when it criticized Israel’s support for Apartheid South Africa. He recalled ADL’s position against affirmative action. He also recalled the AIPAC/ADL campaign against the Congresswoman from Georgia, Cynthia McKinney.(10)
Others have documented the ADL’s spying on and collecting dossiers not only on black liberation and anti-Apartheid groups but the American Indian Movement, Central America solidarity groups, Pacifica, ACT UP, Arab Americans, and supporters of Palestine. In an article in The Village Voice in 1993 Robert I. Friedman points out that right wing hate groups were not the ADL’s first concern: he quotes an ADL official who stated that “the real danger to Jews is posed not by the right — but by a coalition of leftists, blacks, and Arabs, who in his view threaten the fabric of democracy in America, as well as the state of Israel.”(11)
Zionists in the US have a long history of working in the civil rights movement or with groups on the Left as long as they kept Israel out of the discussion. Israel was not discussed during the days of rage against the Vietnam war. Nor during the wars in Central America. Nor during the beginning of the devastation of Iraq in 1991. Israel is explicitly not discussed today from the stage of rallies hosted by the national peace organization, United for Peace with Justice. Until they were exposed in 1993, and perhaps afterward, spies for the ADL actively infiltrated Left and Arab American organizations in order to collect intelligence and to report people to both local authorities and to foreign governments, like South Africa and Israel. In one or two cases, activists who the ADL informed on were killed. Today the ADL’s main business is to ally with causes for social justice to make sure that the people who work in these causes either avoid or stay “on message” when it comes to the question of human rights violations in Israel – a monstrosity not to be discussed.
The ADL today has a law enforcement training program for police in cities all over the US. In April, 2004 the ADL held a training session for Boston area campus police on “responding to hate crimes and also instances when activism and expression become intimidation, harassment, and threats.”(12) Note the special attention to “activism.” Boston police have also had tête-à-têtes with Israeli police. In one meeting, said Boston Police Chief James Hussey, the Israeli police “were able to share with our intelligence people and some of the people out in the streets the issues that they deal with,” (13) Another program was set up in 2002 by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs to send US police to Israel.(14) Because of its alleged security failures on 9/11, an Israeli was called in to handle security at Boston’s Logan Airport, his main qualification being Israel’s supposed special knowledge of the ways of terrorists.
The ADL claims to work in support of civil rights for everyone. It has sponsored “No Place for Hate Programs” in cities and towns throughout the United States. But under cover of a slogan which no one would think to oppose (who is for hate?), it is ironically doing just what it says it’s against: promoting hatred of a defined minority group – Arabs and Muslims in the US – and ultimately defending racist Israel as it attempts to get rid of the same people in Palestine. The ADL program should be titled, “No Place For Hate, Unless You’re Arab.” The final irony is that the protesters against defamation are themselves the defamers. The David Project, for example, is not for fairness and honesty; it’s out to make Arab Americans look bad, and to stop them from having a voice. What a convenient setup: define criticism of Israel as hate speech, outlaw hate speech, and thereby outlaw criticism of Israel. In fact, defense of Israel becomes a righteous cause. ADL agitation in this area is a direct service to another country. Town boards voting to become “No Place For Hate” communities are unaware that the ADL is a political action organization serving some very ugly Zionist interests.
The David Project’s president, Charles Jacobs, is also on the Board of Directors of another organization, with headquarters on Tremont Street in downtown Boston – the American Anti-Slavery Group. On the internet the organization is known as “iAbolish.com.” The American Anti-Slavery Group says that it works “to abolish modern-day slavery around the world, focusing primarily on systems of chattel slavery in Sudan and Mauritania.”(15) The American Anti-Slavery Group’s connection to Israel seems to be that it provides a platform for Charles Jacobs to criticize Arabs in Sudan, and Arabs in general (an important part of the Zionist project) as roundabout support for Israel. For Zionism to work, and for Israel to be seen as a legitimate state, the Arab world must be seen as second class, connected to terrorism, and fatally opposed to decent western values. In the case of the Columbia campus, the Boston mosque, and Sudan, Jacobs uses the same subterfuge as the ADL: Zionism under the cover of civil rights. Students should be treated fairly, terrorism should not be involved in faith, and slavery is an abomination, so listen to the rest of our message – Israel is a struggling democracy, a David fighting Goliath in modern times, and anyone who says otherwise is really a hater of Jewish people.
In a 2003 article for MIT’s Thistle, Aimée Smith covers a talk on Sudan given by Charles Jacobs. She quotes the reaction of a female Muslim student attendee who described the talk at length:
“Dr. Jacobs’ talk expressed blatantly racist and anti-Islamic views. In fact, I have never seen Islamophobia exuded so blatantly at a public forum at MIT, nor such racist views aired at a panel discussion on human rights. Dr. Jacobs’ topic was child slavery in Sudan and he started off by speaking about the Arab Muslims in Sudan’s north conducting their interpretation of a jihad against the Black Christians in the south. He then offered a theory on why the situation wasn’t receiving sufficient international attention. It was because a white race wasn’t the perpetrator of this crime. The West tends to get more agitated about a human rights issue, he argued, when they feel that they are somehow responsible for it.”
“White people, he continued, tend to be more concerned in general about human rights abuses than others. Waving his arm around the room, he said, ‘see, most of you at this event are white people.’”
“After this Dr. Jacobs forgot about Sudan entirely and set into the Muslim world with gusto. He named a few Islamic countries and began elaborating on human rights abuses there. Now, ever since that ill-fated day two years ago, I (and many other Muslims) have been trying to come to terms with the bitter reality that it is becoming increasingly acceptable to publicly make negative, sweeping statements about Islam. According to Dr. Jacobs, however, it has become ‘taboo’ in the West to criticize Islam and the Muslims. Well, he sure smashed his imagined taboos to bits. The way he went on, it was clear he believed that human rights abuses occur only in Muslim countries – he didn’t cite the example of a single non-Muslim country. At about this point I got so disgusted that I had to walk out, along with another Muslim student… I suppose Dr. Jacobs thought that being non-white, we were just bored of all this human rights talk.”(16)
Coincidentally, Thistle columnist Aimée Smith was arrested twice at MIT for her “activism” on campus – once for leafleting and once for talking back to a cop. The first arrest was in June 2004, just two months after the ADL campus training session. Ms. Smith was well known on the MIT campus as an activist for Palestine. Both arrests were ultimately thrown out of court.
An added incentive to the American Anti-Slavery Group campaign against Arabs in Sudan is its ability, by making it look like Arabs are attacking Africans in Sudan, to divide African Americans from Arabs in the US. Not clearly understood by many people is the fact that both parties in the Sudan dispute are dark-skinned, that the slavery which does exist in Sudan is of a much different kind than that in the US in the 18th and 19th century, and that it is a problem exacerbated by US interference and agitation in that country in the first place. Furthermore, neither Zionists nor the US are anywhere near having the moral standing to criticize Sudan, considering their behavior in their own countries, and in the rest of the world. The US simply does not have humanitarian goals in the world, despite its rhetoric. However, African Americans are obviously sensitive to the issue of slavery, and have been recruited by the Anti-Slavery Group. In August 2004, for example, the actor Danny Glover was arrested in front of the Sudan embassy in Washington, D.C. as an Anti-Slavery Group supporter. Most likely without their knowing it, African Americans, and alleged Sudanese victims, have lent support to what is at bottom a far-removed Zionist cause.
The American Anti-Slavery Group, already inside the US power structure, garners additional approval from that structure by lending support to US government efforts to divide Sudan in order to gain access to oil supplies in Darfur. In the 1990′s, Jimmy Carter remarked that “the people in Sudan want to resolve the conflict. The biggest obstacle is US government policy. The US is committed to overthrowing the government in Khartoum. Any sort of peace effort is aborted, basically by policies of the United States… Instead of working for peace in Sudan, the US government has basically promoted a continuation of the war.” (17)
Israel benefits from Zionist spin on the story of slavery in Sudan by being able to point to this spin and say, “Why pick on us?” Writing for the Palestine Solidarity Review Fall 2005 issue, Shemon Salam says of the US-based campaign to divest from Sudan,
“a sincere divestment campaign would have to function on a principled basis of being against colonialism, empire (which would include the Israeli and U.S. regimes) and racism; something which Zionists cannot but fail to do considering the basic tenets of Zionism are in direct contradiction with anti-racism and anti-imperialism. Having a historical record of collaboration with Nazism, Fascism, and U.S. empire, Zionism has proven itself no friend to these democratic principles . . . ”(18)
In short, Zionists choose to exploit Sudan in order to set themselves up as the winners in a competition of greater and lesser racists.
Finally, the position of Dr. Steven Steinlight as executive director of the American Anti-Slavery Group should be noted.(19) A former Director of National Affairs of the American Jewish Committee, Dr. Steinlight shines a light on what is called in Israel “the demographic problem” but in this case as it relates to the United States. In an unbelievably racist October 2001 essay, “The Jewish Stake in America’s Changing Demography,” Steinlight says that it’s time for the Jewish community of America to “stop censoring ourselves” and openly deal with the threat posed to Jewish power if US immigration policy allows a bunch of Arabs, Mexicans and Third World peoples to cross the border. The threat? – an insufficient understanding, on their part, of Jewish history.
In Steinlight’s own words:
“Will a country in which enormous demographic and cultural change, fueled by unceasing large-scale non-European immigration, remain one in which Jewish life will continue to flourish as nowhere else in the history of the Diaspora? In an America in which people of color form the plurality, as has already happened in California, most with little or no historical experience with or knowledge of Jews, will Jewish sensitivities continue to enjoy extraordinarily high levels of deference and will Jewish interests continue to receive special protection? Does it matter that the majority non-European immigrants have no historical experience of the Holocaust or knowledge of the persecution of Jews over the ages and see Jews only as the most privileged and powerful of white Americans? Is it important that Latinos, who know us almost entirely as employers for the menial low-wage cash services they perform for us (such a blowing the leaves from our lawns in Beverly Hills or doing our laundry in Short Hills), will soon form one quarter of the nation’s population?”
As for Muslims:
“Far more potentially perilous, does it matter to Jews and for American support for Israel when the Jewish State arguably faces existential peril that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States? That undoubtedly at some point in the next 20 years Muslims will outnumber Jews, and that Muslims with an “Islamic agenda” are growing active politically through a widespread network of national organizations?”
Asians are also a problem:
“For perhaps another generation, an optimistic forecast, the Jewish community is thus in a position where it will be able to divide and conquer and enter into selective coalitions that support our agendas. But the day will surely come when an effective Asian-American alliance will actually bring Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Koreans, Vietnamese, and the rest closer together.”
Steinlight tops off his paranoid rant by suggesting that Latinos may be conspiring in a “reconquista” or re-conquering of the US Southwest – yet another threat to Jewish power. For a good education in Zionist racism, Steinlight’s essay can be found at the web site of the Center for Immigration Studies.(20) Probably because of his obviousness, Steinlight is not listed in the “Who We Are” section of the American Anti-Slavery’s “iAbolish” website.
Denunciations of and divestment from Sudan have become part of polite political discourse from University administrations to the halls of Congress thanks to organizations like the American Anti-Slavery Group. In April 2004 Harvard University made a decision to divest from a company called PetroChina because of its involvement with Sudan. But divestment from companies that do business with Israel is quite another matter. In 2004, when the Somerville, Massachusetts Board of Aldermen was asked to divest town funds connected to Israel, it was called an attack on Jewish people, a case of anti-Semitism. The Israeli Consul General – that is, a representative of a foreign government from the Israeli consulate in Boston – was called in. ADL also got involved, and the divestment resolution finally failed. Its failure was not due to right wing Zionism. It was due to progressive liberalism. The first Alderman to speak against the divestment resolution did so not on the basis that Israel had to be supported, but on the basis of an argument that to be fair the Board needed to hear “both sides of the story.” This argument could not be opposed by decent folk – progressives and liberals would be horrified at being called unfair. For the sake of fairness, the resolution was tabled, Zionists were invited in, and being “fair” to a racist state won the day. Liberalism became the means for an attack on the truth that the history of Zionism in Palestine is a history of genocide. The right couldn’t have dreamed of a better subterfuge than the one the left obligingly handed them.
In fact, there is a right and wrong. In the case of Zionist oppression of the Palestinians, ideas like “hearing both sides, appreciating complexity, understanding competing rights, showing tolerance, having fairness and balance” are all code words which provide a cover for the weak to sell out the oppressed. They do so because of their fear of the oppressor. The words are a cover for the ignoring of an ugly, ongoing crime. They’re also a cover for what even a small child could see is the truth of the matter – a child especially, because she hasn’t been inundated with a lifetime of sugar-coated, official-sounding lies.
Where is Zion? Originally it was an actual place – a mountain in Al Quds, or Jerusalem. Then it became a mythical promised land. To African slaves in the US it was a future with freedom from bondage, and a Christian heaven. To Rastafarians, it is a place in Africa to which they will return. But Zion as a promised land has also been co-opted by thieves like the European colonial settlers in North America, who thought the land they stole from indigenous nations was given to them through “manifest destiny.” To the European colonial settlers in Palestine, hijacking the Hebrew myth, Zion was the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, stolen from another indigenous people. The flag set up by these settlers to create a state on the land they stole has two blue lines. These lines symbolize yet another, more ambitious Zion, occupying all the land between the Nile in Egypt and the Euphrates in Iraq.
The only Zion colonial imperialists have really managed to create is a place in people’s minds where truth is defined by might, the motives of might are presented in fine Enlightenment language as velvet lies, and those they oppress and steal from suffer almost without recognition. Such is the case of Iraq and Afghanistan and a multitude of other countries at the hand of the US, and of Palestine at the hand of Israel. The US and Israel are the same thing; both got where they are through lying. When it comes down to it, their Zion turns out to be a totalitarian state founded on the corruption of terms like “equality, civil rights, peace, and tolerance.”
Two Days Before MIT and Cambridge Cops Arrested Aaron Swartz, Secret Service Took Over the Investigation
The public story of Aaron Swartz’ now-tragic two year fight with the Federal government usually starts with his July 19, 2011 arrest.
But that’s not when he was first arrested for accessing a closet at MIT in which he had a netbook downloading huge quantities of scholarly journals. He was first arrested on January 6, 2011 by MIT and Cambrige, MA cops.
According to a suppression motion in his case, however two days before Aaron was arrested, the Secret Service took over the investigation.
On the morning of January 4, 2011, at approximately 8:00 am, MIT personnel located the netbook being used for the downloads and decided to leave it in place and institute a packet capture of the network traffic to and from the netbook.4 Timeline at 6. This was accomplished using the laptop of Dave Newman, MIT Senior Network Engineer, which was connected to the netbook and intercepted the communications coming to and from it. Id. Later that day, beginning at 11:00 am, the Secret Service assumed control of the investigation. [my emphasis]
In fact, in one of the most recent developments in discovery in Aaron’s case, the government belatedly turned over an email showing Secret Service agent Michael Pickett offering to take possession of the hardware seized from Aaron “anytime after it has been processed for prints or whenever you [Assistant US Attorney Stephen Heymann] feel it is appropriate.” Another newly disclosed document shows the Pickett accompanied the local cops as they moved the hardware they had seized from Aaron around.
According to the Secret Service, they get involved in investigations with:
- Significant economic or community impact
- Participation of organized criminal groups involving multiple districts or transnational organizations
- Use of schemes involving new technology
Downloading scholarly articles is none of those things.
A lot of people are justifiably furious with US Attorney Carmen Ortiz and AUSA Heymann’s conduct on this case.
But the involvement of the Secret Service just as it evolved from a local breaking and entry case into the excessive charges ultimately charged makes it clear that this was a nationally directed effort to take down Swartz.
MIT’s President Rafael Reif has expressed sadness about Aaron’s death and promised an investigation into the university’s treatment of Aaron. I want to know whether MIT–which is dependent on federal grants for much of its funding–brought in the Secret Service.
The US justice system is “rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach,” says the family of American activist Aaron Swartz, who was an outspoken critic of the US government and was recently found dead in his apartment.
“Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach,” said Swartz’s family in a statement.
Since Friday, when the activist and computer prodigy was found dead in his New York apartment, internet activists have also blamed the US Attorney’s office.
Before his death, Swartz openly criticized the US and the Israeli regime for launching joint cyber attacks against Iran.
The blogger was also vocal in criticizing Obama’s “kill list,” a list of individuals who are suspected of terrorism by the US and are listed for targeted killing after final approval by the US president himself.
Swartz was also critical of the monopoly of information and believed that information should be available to everyone for the benefit of the society.
The US Attorney’s office in Massachusetts accused the 26-year-old of downloading millions of academic journal articles from the online service JSTOR by using Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s computer network in 2010, to make such articles available to the public.
Even though, Swartz handed over his hard drives and the charges against him were dropped by the JSTOR, US Attorneys Carmen Ortiz and Steve Heymann, with the support of MIT, continued to pursue the activist’s prosecution.
According to the statement by the activist’s family, officials were demanding heavy penalties of more than 30 years in prison and up to USD 1.0 million in fines for Swartz, “to punish an alleged crime that had no victims.”
The activist’s death comes weeks before he was due in court.
A petition presented to the White House “for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz” has been set up to remove US Attorney Ortiz and it has already gained almost 10,000 signatures.
Having the Energy Department manage radiation health research makes as much sense as giving tobacco companies the authority to see if smoking is safe
The U.S. government is going out of its way to downplay radiation hazards in the aftermath of one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents.
Last month, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) heralded an Energy Department-funded study indicating that evacuation zones around nuclear power stations might not be needed after a major nuclear accident. The study, which exposed mice to radiation levels comparable to those near the Fukushima nuclear disaster, found no evidence of genetic harm. “There are no data that say that’s a dangerous level,” says Jacquelyn Yanch, a leader of the study.
“Current U.S. regulations require that residents of any area that reaches radiation levels eight times higher than background should be evacuated,” according to MIT’s press release. “However, the financial and emotional cost of such relocation may not be worthwhile, the researchers say.”
It’s quite a leap to claim that evacuation zones around nuclear power plants might not be needed based on the chromosomes of 112 irradiated mice.
In a devastating critique, blogger Ian Goddard points out that the MIT study excluded extensive evidence of genetic damage to humans living in a radiation-contaminated environment. Although doses in a peer-reviewed study of 19 groups of children living near Chernobyl were consistently lower than the MIT mouse study, most showed lasting genetic damage. “MIT’s presentation of its study as the first scientific examination of the genetic risks of living in a nuclear disaster zone is pure science fiction, not fact,” Goddard concludes.
Even more troubling, the Obama administration reduced emergency preparedness in case of a major nuclear accident in a quiet announcement made six months ago, right before Christmas — virtually guaranteeing minimal media attention. Given that the number of people living near nuclear stations has grown four-and-a-half times larger since 1980, a move in the opposite direction would make more sense.
What’s going on? The United States remains a major pillar of nuclear support here and around the world. About 70 percent of the Energy Department’s $26.3-billion budget covers nuclear activities — and that’s not including $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for new reactors that are slated for construction in South Carolina and Georgia. Japan’s failing nuclear industry is supposed to build them.
The Energy Department is also the main source of funding for radiation health research. That’s like having the tobacco industry determine if smoking is bad for your health. And this conflict of interest is nothing new. Several prominent scientists on the nuclear payroll in the 1950s and 60s vigorously claimed that radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests was harmless. Some went so far as to claim that fallout might be beneficial because increased radiation-induced genetic mutations could weed out the weak.
This problem was not lost on congressional investigators over the past 35 years. They revealed the government’s suppression of incriminating data, blacklisting of uncooperative researchers, unethical human experiments, and submission of fraudulent research in federal court. By the late 1980s, the agency was forced to move funding for radiation research to public health agencies. This all changed a decade later, when the Republican-controlled Congress restored the Energy Department’s monopoly over radiation health research.
Things have gotten so bad that the agency gave MIT a $1.7-million grant last month to research, among other things, the “difficulties in gaining the broad social acceptance” of nuclear power. MIT also receives millions of dollars from Tokyo Electric Power Co., the company responsible for the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
This conflict of interest has tragic dimensions. The government and nuclear industry still have yet to deal with the costly disposal of enormous amounts of radioactive waste and profoundly contaminated “sacrifice zones” at the Energy Department’s nuclear sites. Or to resolve the issue of the tens of thousands of sick nuclear workers, uranium miners, military veterans, experiment victims, and nuclear test “down-winders,” who are receiving billions of dollars in compensation after being put in harm’s way on behalf of splitting the atom.
Robert Alvarez, an Institute for Policy Studies senior scholar, served as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy during the Clinton Administration. He authored the report Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the U.S.: Reducing the Deadly Risks of Storage.