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Mon, 02 Oct 2023
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The Strange Silencing of Liberal America

© gwenflickr; Edited: JR / t r u t h o u t
How does political censorship work in liberal societies? When my film, Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia, was banned in the United States in 1980, the broadcaster PBS cut all contact. Negotiations were ended abruptly; phone calls were not returned. Something had happened. But what? Year Zero had already alerted much of the world to the horrors of Pol Pot, but it also investigated the critical role of the Nixon administration in the tyrant's rise to power and the devastation of Cambodia.

Six months later, a PBS official told me, "This wasn't censorship. We're into difficult political days in Washington. Your film would have given us problems with the Reagan administration. Sorry."

In Britain, the long war in Northern Ireland spawned a similar, deniable censorship. The journalist Liz Curtis compiled a list of more than 50 television films in Britain that were never shown or indefinitely delayed. The word "ban" was rarely used and those responsible would invariably insist they believed in free speech.

The Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, believes in free speech. The foundation's web site says it is "dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity." Authors, filmmakers, poets make their way to a sanctum of liberalism bankrolled by the billionaire Patrick Lannan in the tradition of Rockefeller and Ford.

Lannan also awards "grants" to America's liberal media, such as Free Speech TV, the Foundation for National Progress (publisher of the magazine Mother Jones), the Nation Institute and the TV and radio program Democracy Now! In Britain, Lannan has been a supporter of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, of which I am one of the judges. In 2008, Lannan personally supported the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, he is "devoted" to Obama.


Terrorism suspected as 3 blasts kill 8 in Mumbai

Mumbai, India - Three explosions rocked India's busy financial capital at rush-hour Wednesday, killing at least eight people and injuring 70 in what officials described as another terror strike on the city hit by militants nearly three years ago.

Television footage showed dozens of police officials, several of them armed, at the sites of the explosion and at least one car with its windows shattered. A photograph showed victims of a blast at the Jhaveri Bazaar crowding into the back of a cargo truck to be taken to a hospital.

Indian media reported the Home Ministry had called the separate blasts in three busy locations a terror attack. No officials there could be independently reached for comment.

One blast was in the crowded neighborhood of Dadar in central Mumbai. The others were at the bazaar, which is a famed jewelry market, and the busy business district of Opera House, both in southern Mumbai and several miles (kilometers) apart, a police official said.

Che Guevara

We Will Not be Silent: Statement in Regard to Israeli Anti-Boycott Law

© unknown
"We're going to arrest you, but it's difficult with you because all you do is talk."
- Israeli soldier to Palestinian organizer Mohammad Othman, 2009
We, Israeli citizens, members of Boycott![2], hereby reiterate our support and promotion of the Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights[3]. We declare this in spite of the new legislation by the Israeli Knesset, which aims to penalize our and our partners' activities, curbing freedom of speech and political organizing and most importantly - banning Israeli citizens from acting according to their conscience when it conflicts with the deplorable policies of the state.

The anti-BDS law is not the first attempt at silencing the BDS campaign. Throughout the years, Israel has detained Palestinian leaders, activists, speakers and organizers under administrative detention and without charges, or at times under various draconian charges such as 'incitement' and the organizing of 'illegal demonstrations'. On September 22nd 2009, Mohammad Othman, 34, was detained at the Allenby Crossing upon his return to the occupied West Bank following a meeting with Norwegian finance minister Halvorsen. Earlier that month, minister Halvorsen had announced Norway's divestment from the Israeli company Elbit due to "ethical concerns"[4]. Othman was arrested and held without charges or trial, under an unlawful administrative detention order and had spent much of the 113 days in detention under solitary confinement. Imprisonment of political activists is an almost routine practice against Palestinian human rights defenders.


US, California: Smart Phone Snooping by Cops Too Easy

© MCT Illustration
Bill would overturn court ruling giving police nearly limitless access to arrestees' devices.

Orson Welles' character in the 1958 movie A Touch of Evil, says, "A policeman's job is only easy in a police state." That line is often cited when issues of police policy come before the public. It's an important idea: Free societies should be more interested in protecting the rights of the accused than in making the job of the police too easy.

Unfortunately, the California Supreme Court lost sight of this ideal this year with its decision in People v. Diaz, which gives law enforcement a nearly limitless right to conduct warrantless searches of the personal information, files, messages and photographs of people under arrest. Now, Senate Bill 914, which could reach the Senate floor as early as Thursday, would essentially overturn that decision and put some limits on the wide-ranging searches officers can conduct without a warrant.

In the past, courts had allowed police to search an arrestee for items such as cigarette packs, where drugs could be stored, for instance. The court in the Diaz decision expanded that right to include searches of an arrestee's cell phone, reasoning that the phone isn't much different from other incidentals found in a person's pocket. In this case, police searched the text-messaging files of a man held on a drug charge nearly 90 minutes after his arrest.


TSA Frisks: That will be $2.50 please?

© Google
risk-based screening system filters passengers according to risk

Today, several officials from the transportation industry testified before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security regarding TSA authorization for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

Air Transport Association (ATA) is the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines. ATA President Nicholas Calio expressed support for the TSA's move toward risk-based programs that provide smarter security such as Known Traveler, Known Crewmember and Known Shipper/Shipment.

ATA President and CEO Calio is not in favor of a $2.50 per passenger aviation passenger security fee, an idea entertained during discussions on ways to raise the U.S.debt ceiling,

Calio stated:
"U.S. airlines and their passengers contributed $2 billion in taxes and fees to TSA in 2010, a fifty percent increase from the amount collected in 2002. He said "Aviation security taxes and fees now constitute almost 25 percent of the industry's federal tax burden." Calio added "Aviation security costs should be borne by the federal government."


Defense Secretary Panetta Twists Iraq's Arm on Extending US Occupation

Just days after being confirmed as the nation's newest Secretary of Defense, former CIA head Leon Panetta toured Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Iraq in particular, has publicly been a source of concern for the Obama administration - in June alone, more than 15 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq - the greatest number in the past two years. U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year but American authorities are now angling for an invitation from the Iraqi government to remain longer.

Defense Secretary Panetta blames insurgents armed and backed by neighboring Iran for the troop deaths and urged Iraqis to take action. The Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Danaeifar responded by saying "[t]he Americans are trying to make excuses... [they] are trying to suggest that if they leave, Iraq will be threatened by Iran." Panetta's trip to Iraq was aimed, in part, at upping the pressure on Iraqis.

At a press conference, he said, "I'd like them to make a decision... Do they want us to stay? Don't they want us to stay?... But dammit, make a decision." Despite casting the decision as Iraq's to make, Panetta asserted that ultimately, the U.S. would "do what we have to do unilaterally, " to protect Americans.


"Military Meltdown Monday": 90K military usernames, hashes released

© Unknown

Anonymous hackers have broken into a server belonging to consultancy firm Booz Allen Hamilton and published a database containing some 90,000 military e-mail addresses and hashed passwords in what they have named Military Meltdown Monday. The database appears to have come from a system used for tracking training and qualifications of military personnel. The full release also includes some information from another military training system, the Defense Acquisition University.

Unlike the passwords taken from government contractor IRC Federal, the passwords from the Booz Allen system have been hashed using SHA-1. This will make breaking into further systems using the released account information harder - but it's likely that at least some of the passwords will be crackable, and so further damage could follow.

Eye 2

Why Rupert Murdoch Love$ God: World's Biggest Sleaze Mogul Also Getting Rich from Christian Moralizers

Rupert Murdoch
© Unknown
Rupert Murdoch is one of America's number one publishers of evangelical and other religious books.

Here's what you might not know about Rupert Murdoch: he's one of the leading religion publishers in the world.

Maybe one day soon Murdoch will go to jail as might his son, as will several of their UK editors if many alleged and disgusting and illegal acts of pirate "journalism" are proved true, ranging from bribing the police to hacking the phones of bereaved family members of killed service men and women and child murder victims. Make no mistake: when it comes to the Murdoch media "empire" we're talking about the lowest form of "journalism" as detailed by the Guardian newspaper.

So are religious moralizers and others writing about religious and/or "moral" themes prepared to enrich the Murdoch " media juggernaut" forever while Rupert Murdoch further corrupts UK, American and Australian politics while his companies trade in human misery for profit by hacking murder victim's phones, paying off the police, elevating smut to a national sport and even hacking the phones of killed soldiers' families?

You bet!

Rupert Murdoch is one of America's number one publishers of evangelical and other religious books, including the 33-million seller Purpose Driven Life by mega pastor and anti-gay activist Rick Warren. Murdoch is also publisher of "progressive" Rob Bell's Love Wins.

Rick Warren, Rob Bell and company helped Murdoch fund his tabloid-topless-women-on-page-3 empire, phone hacking of murdered teens and Fox News' spreading "birther" and "death panel" lies about the president. They helped Murdoch by enriching him. And these weren't unknown authors just lucky to get published anywhere, they could have picked anybody to sell their books.

Do the religious authors making their fortunes off Murdoch wear gloves when they cash their royalty checks? Do they ever dare look in the mirror?

Bad Guys

Pakistan Could "Pull Troops from Afghan Border" if U.S. Cuts Aid

© unknown
Pakistani Defense Minister Ahmad Mukhtar
Pakistan could pull back troops fighting Islamist militants near the Afghan border if the United States cuts off aid, the defense minister said on Tuesday in an interview with Pakistani media.

The United States Monday said it would hold back $800 million -- a third of nearly $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan -- in a show of displeasure over Pakistan's removal of U.S. military trainers, limits on visas for U.S. personnel and other bilateral irritants.

"If at all things become difficult, we will just get all our forces back," Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said in an interview with the Express 24/7 television to be aired later on Tuesday.

The television aired excerpts of the interview Tuesday.

"If Americans refuse to give us money, then okay," he said. "I think the next step is that the government or the armed forces will be moving from the border areas. We cannot afford to keep military out in the mountains for such a long period."


US: Taxes, Social Security Fears Cited in Debt Ceiling Talks

Partisan warfare over the looming debt ceiling crisis escalated Tuesday as GOP leaders once again refused to consider any tax hikes and President Barack Obama warned that, absent a deal, he can't guarantee older Americans will continue receiving Social Security checks next month.

"There may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Obama said, according to excerpts of a CBS News interview scheduled to air Tuesday night.

"We can't guarantee -- if there were a default -- any specific bill would be paid," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Top lawmakers from both sides of the aisle met with Obama for almost two hours at the White House later Tuesday, and another session was scheduled for Wednesday, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia.

Cantor also said Obama presented more details of his proposed cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare, and that Republicans support what they heard. However, Cantor reiterated GOP opposition to higher taxes, which is the main sticking point to a deal.