Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Published Aug 27, 2009 9:22 PM
Following are excerpts from an Aug. 21 statement released by Eric Seitz, a defense attorney for Leonard Peltier:
Despite judicial determinations that the unrepentant FBI fabricated evidence and presented perjured testimony in Leonard Peltier’s prosecution; despite a jury’s acquittal on grounds of self-defense of two co-defendants who were found to have engaged in the same conduct of which Mr. Peltier was convicted; despite Mr. Peltier’s exemplary record during his incarceration for more than 33 years and his clearly demonstrated eligibility for parole; despite letters and petitions calling for his release submitted by millions of people in this country and around the world including one of the judges who ruled on his earlier appeals; and despite his advanced age and deteriorating health, the Parole Commission today informed Mr. Peltier that his “release on parole would depreciate the seriousness of your offenses and would promote disrespect for the law,” and set a reconsideration hearing in July 2024.
This is the extreme action of the same law enforcement community that brought us the indefinite imprisonment of suspected teenage terrorists; tortures and killings in CIA prisons around the world. ... These are the same institutions that have never treated Indigenous peoples with dignity or respect or accepted any responsibility for centuries of intolerance and abuse.
At his parole hearing on July 28, Leonard Peltier expressed regret and accepted responsibility for his role in the incident in which the two FBI agents and one Native American activist died as the result of a shootout on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Mr. Peltier emphasized that the shootout occurred in circumstances where there literally was a war going on between corrupt tribal leaders, supported by the government, on the one hand, and Native American traditionalists and young activists, on the other.
He again denied—as he has always denied—that he intended the deaths of anyone or that he fired the fatal shots that killed the two agents, and he reminded the hearing officer that one of his former co-defendants recently admitted to having fired the fatal shots himself.
Accordingly, it is not true that Leonard Peltier participated in “the execution style murders of two FBI agents,” as the Parole Commission asserts, and there never has been credible evidence of Mr. Peltier’s responsibility for the fatal shots, as the FBI continues to allege.
Moreover, given the corrupt practices of the FBI, ... it is entirely untrue that Leonard Peltier’s parole at this juncture will in any way “depreciate the seriousness” of his conduct and/or “promote disrespect for the law.”
We will continue to seek parole and clemency for Mr. Peltier and to eventually bring this prolonged injustice to a ... fair resolution.
Monday, August 17, 2009
A True Progressive Media Star
Sunday, August 16, 2009 6:26 AM
Terrific Debut Progressive News Video Segment Available Now We know we can do better even than MSNBC, and we have to, especially with stories floating around about how GE is pressuring our progressive voices over there to tone it down. And ready to step into the breach with humor and pizazz is Harrison, star of his own major Los Angeles radio show, and now moving dynamically into the video realm as well. Here is a forwarding link to his new video news segment page which you really need to check out.
Harrison Progressive News Video Page: http://www.peaceteam.net/reality_check.php
There is so much interesting stuff going on in the world that you would NEVER hear about on a diet of corporate cable news. Indeed, they operate entirely on the principle of suppressing stories that challenge the status quo, and overplaying and exaggerating trivia for propaganda purposes. Just to give one recent example, when President Obama did his prime time news conference on health care, they seized on one throwaway comment at the end about the arrest of a Harvard professor, and that is ALL you heard about for 3 days. But you heard not one word about the substance of the health care debate or anything he said about that. We urgently need to develop our own sources of news and information, to tell the whole, undistorted truth about what is really going on in the world. And with the internet destined ultimately to take over all other media, we have the opportunity now to build the true progressive channels of the future, to break free forever from corporate media brick wall filtering and control. So please do check out the smashing debut of the Harrison Reality Check video feature at the forwarding link below, and stay tuned to this information channel for more wonderful new developments soon. Harrison Progressive News Video Page: http://www.peaceteam.net/reality_check.php Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
The Shadow Effect, a visually stunning and cutting-edge documentary, will inspire you to step out of the self that you've known and break free from the bonds of the past. Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Dr. David Simon, and other world-renowned thinkers join Debbie Ford to reveal the transformative power of your shadow — the parts of yourself that you dislike and disown, the past that you regret and repress, and the future that is waiting to be birthed. The Shadow Effect will leave you breathing deeper as you take back your power and step into the possibility of the next greatest evolution of yourself.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The Obama Administration is putting two notorious biotech bullies in charge of food safety. Former Monsanto lobbyist Michael Taylor has been appointed as a senior advisor to the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner on food safety. And, rBGH-using dairy farmer and Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff, is rumored to be President Obama's choice for Under-Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety. Wolfe spearheaded anti-consumer legislation in Pennsylvania that would have taken away the rights of consumers to know whether their milk and dairy products were contaminated with Monsanto's (now Eli Lilly's) genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH).http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/642/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27042
absolutely worth your time.....
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sixty-four years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we host a roundtable discussion on the present nuclear landscape. We speak with nuclear physicist and disarmament activist Pervez Hoodbhoy, peace activist Frida Berrigan, and Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Over the next year, Ellsberg will release regular installments of his insider’s memoir of the nuclear era, “The American Doomsday Machine.”
As another August 6th approaches, let me tell you a little story about Hiroshima and me:
As a young man, I was probably not completely atypical in having the Bomb (the 1950s was a great time for capitalizing what was important) on my brain, and not just while I was ducking under my school desk as sirens howled their nuclear warnings outside. Like many people my age, I dreamed about the bomb, too. I could, in those nightmares, feel its searing heat, watch a mushroom cloud rise on some distant horizon, or find myself in some devastated landscape I had never come close to experiencing (except perhaps in sci-fi novels).
Of course, my dreams were nothing compared to those of America's top strategists who, in secret National Security Council documents of the early 1950s, descended into the charnel house of future history, imagining life on this planet as an eternal potential holocaust. They wrote in those documents of the possibility that 100 atomic bombs, landing on targets in the United States, might kill or injure 22 million Americans and of an American "blow" that might result in the "complete destruction" of the Soviet Union.
And they were pikers compared to the top military brass who, in 1960, found themselves arguing over the country's first Single Integrated Operational Plan for nuclear strategy. In it, a scenario was laid out for delivering more than 3,200 nuclear weapons to 1,060 targets in the Communist world, including at least 130 cities which would, if all went well, cease to exist. Official, if classified, estimates of possible casualties from such an attack -- and by then, nuclear weaponry and its delivery systems had grown far more powerful -- ran to 285 million dead and 40 million injured (and this probably underestimated radiation effects).
From the National Security Council and the Pentagon to a teenager's nightmares, an American obsession with global annihilation undoubtedly peaked when President Kennedy came on the air on October 22, 1962, to tell us that Soviet missile sites were just then being prepared on the island of Cuba with "a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere." Listening to his address, Americans everywhere imagined a nuclear confrontation that could leave parts of the country in ruins. Nuclear fears, however, began to fade (even as the superpower arsenals grew) when the Cuban Missile Crisis was defused and, along with atomic tests, went underground after the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed in 1963. Then, of course, the Vietnam War seemed to swallow the world.
In 1979, after the reactor core of a nuclear plant at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania partially melted down, the bomb returned to me in an odd way. Then a book editor, I went out to lunch with a potential author who had been on one of the investigatory panels created by the President's Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island which Jimmy Carter had set up. She told me of a Japanese journalist who testified before her panel. He had interviewed the mothers of young children and pregnant women belatedly evacuated from the potential danger zone to an iceless ice rink in the state capital, Harrisburg. None of them had heard of Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
This so startled me that I decided to search for a book to publish on what had happened on those August days in 1945 when two Japanese cities were wiped out by a new weapon and the nuclear age began. With the help of a historian and friend, I finally came across a Japanese book of images drawn by Hiroshima survivors, few of them artists, sometimes with school materials borrowed from their own grandchildren. Each drawing caught a moment experienced on that terrible day when Hiroshima was wiped out and was accompanied by a little personal description. Many of images were in pastels, or even crayon, and looked invitingly sprightly until you read the horrific accounts that accompanied them. The book was called Unforgettable Fire and it played a small role in the massive anti-nuclear movement that arose in those years. Unfortunately -- and this tells us something -- it's now long out of print. "
George Weller was the first Allied journalist to reach Nagasaki after it was struck by an American atomic bomb at the end of World War II. But his stories for the Chicago Daily News never made it to print, because they were censored by the U.S. military.
Weller's son, novelist Anthony Weller, recently found carbon copies of his father's articles and released them in anticipation of the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing. Among other things, they detail the medical puzzlement that greeted post-bombing deaths from radiation poisioning.
"The atomic bomb's peculiar disease, uncured because it is untreated, and untreated because it is not diagnosed, is still snatching away lives here," Weller wrote on Sept. 9, 1945, slightly more than four weeks after the bomb fell. "Men, women and children with no outward marks of injury are dying daily in hospitals, some after having walked around three or four weeks thinking they have escaped.... But they are dead; dead of the atomic bomb. And nobody knows why."
U.S. authorities had used propaganda to spread the notion that there was no danger from radiation, Anthony Weller says, and at first his father tended to agree. His son says the dispatches show how his father came to realize the situation was far more complex:
"There's a kind of arc in my father's dispatches that goes from the initial sense of 'this is an extremely precise bomb' to 'what on Earth is going on here.'"
George Weller went on to complete a remarkable career as a foreign correspondent that included a Pulitzer Prize in 1943. He died at age 95 in 2002.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
"Despite claims by the Corn Refiner Association to the contrary, there are in fact problems with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). In addition to being a major contributor to epidemic obesity and diabetes rates, you can add the presence of mercury to the growing list of reasons why HFCS is dangerous in any amount.
According to a recent Mother Jones article, in 2004 when FDA researcher Renee Dufault found mercury in HFCS samples from leading manufacturers, they did what any agency looking to protect public health would do: they asked her to stop her inquiry.
The source of the mercury is thought to be lye, which is used to separate the cornstarch from the kernel. Many chemical companies make lye by pumping salt through large vats of mercury. That mercury-laced lye is most likely the same lye used in processing corn to make HFCS.
After the FDA tried to stymie Dufault’s inquiry, she decided pursue the matter further, sending the original 20 samples to be retested; nearly half of the samples contained mercury. This past January, Dufault published her findings in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health.
At issue between Dufault’s and the FDA’s claims is the what form the mercury is present—whether it’s elemental, inorganic or organic. The FDA, supposedly without any scientific substantiation, claims the mercury found was the relatively benign elemental form. Unfortunately, Dufault and her colleagues’ findings were inconclusive as to sample HFCS’s form, but they believed there was strong evidence that it might be the most harmful organic variety, whose property of easy absorption makes it particularly dangerous. If the mercury were organic, the amounts found would constitute a major health risk (particularly children, pregnant women, women who plan to become pregnant, and nursing mothers) for Americans whose insatiable appetite for sweetness and convenience leads them to consume average 50 grams of HFCS daily.
Putting aside how crummy refined sugar products like HFCS are for your health, the chance that Dufault et al might be right about the mercury, coupled with the the FDA's sketchiness should be sufficient reason to pass on the cookies and soda.
Via Mother Jones
The Age of Stupid
Runtime: 90 mins
Directors: Franny Armstrong
Cast: Pete Postlethwaite
"Today, guardian.co.uk/environment is exclusively launching The Making of The Age of Stupid. There is nowhere else you can watch this film except on the lap of its director, Franny Armstrong.
The Making of Documentary charts the six-year history of the film and its many incarnations, false starts and screening hiccups. Armstrong's father tells her in The Making of … that the film is a "disaster" until the radical introduction of Pete Postlethwaite as its narrator. Thanks to a stellar cast behind the scenes such as Oscar-winning John Battsek, Armstrong goes back to the cutting room to make a much better film.
At times funny, irreverent and moving, The Making of ... documentary will give you a flavour of The Age of Stupid without giving away the whole story and the many surprising twists throughout the film."
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday 06 August 2009
by: Dahr Jamail and Jason Coppola, t r u t h o u t | Perspective
In Miami, Army recruiter Sgt. Eric Lamb speaks with a potential recruit. (Photo: Getty Images)
"My very first recruiting officer was G.I. Joe," says Iraq war veteran Michael Prysner, an Iraq war veteran who was an aerial intelligence specialist in the US Army Reserve.
Award-winning journalist and Associate Editor of the Nation Institute's Tomdispatch.com Nick Turse writes in his book "The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives": "As a product of the 1980s G.I. Joe generation, I can attest to the seductive power of those three inch action figures in selling the military to young boys."
In an interview with Truthout, Turse observed, "Only later would I learn just how enmeshed G.I. Joe's manufacturer, Hasbro, was with the military. One instance of this close association came to me in 2003 when the Department of Defense shared the specifications for their Future Force Warrior concept with the toy company, even before awarding the contract to General Dynamics. More important to the military these days are its ties to video game manufacturers. The latter turn tax-payer-funded combat simulators into first-person shooters that, in effect, pre-train youngsters in small-unit military tactics and irregular warfare."
Turse also talks of the Microsoft Xbox game "Close Combat: First to Fight," which was originally a training tool developed for the US Marine Corps by civilian contractor Destineer Studios. His book reveals that the game "was created under the direction of more than 40 active-duty Marines, fresh from the frontlines of combat in the Middle East [who] worked side-by-side with the development team to put the exact tactics they used in combat into "First Fight."
"First to Fight" is but one of many video games that the US military has availed itself of on an extensive scale to indoctrinate, desensitize, dehumanize and ultimately recruit young people into the vocation of legitimized violence in the name of heroism and patriotism.
"It might sound crazy to anyone who is not a veteran, but video games and movies, especially recent ones, make death and dismemberment seem like ordinary things. You are desensitized to them. While growing up I used to think people at the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) were crazy, trying to censor violence and stuff like that... I was like 'Oh, well violence is real life,' but there's a huge difference between witnessing first-hand any sort of violence and sitting in a movie theater watching someone faking a death. Reality and pretending are two way different things. It's disturbing. You can ask any combat veteran, things like video games and cartoons like 'G.I. Joe,' dressing in camouflage and running around in the woods, even being in the Boy Scouts definitely makes children idolize soldiers ... and not idolize them for standing up for their country but just for wearing the uniform and being a tough guy. It's a sign of masculinity that a lot of young boys and young men want to achieve, and they do it through the wrong way."
Goldsmith and Prysner are not alone in having responded favorably to the powerful combined influence of the entertainment industry and corporate media. There are innumerable others who have been lured into joining the military for the promise of violence that it offers.
The process of brainwashing and desensitization by the military begins affecting children in the US from a very early age. It is not insignificant that little boys wear camouflage and run around playing with toy guns whenever they get an opportunity.
Goldsmith also attributes his inclination towards violence to the Boy Scouts. A story in The New York Times describes the new Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America as "training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence - an intense ratcheting up of one of the group's longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters."
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Leonard Peltier Parole Hearing – 28 July
Published by Diane Warth on 27 July 2009 2 Comments
I feel that it is relevant to point out that Leonard Peltier has been incarcerated for thirty three years based upon what your own courts have admitted was fabricated evidence, both withheld, and then later discovered to be tampered with and questionable. Those very courts have admitted that Leonard Peltier did not commit the murders of the FBI agents at the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1976. lt is clear Leonard Peltier was persecuted because of his beliefs and refusal to accept the injustices imposed upon the people at Pine Ridge during that time.
Because of these facts, I feel that the system has failed and the continued incarceration of Leonard Peltier is a sad commentary on the US government and the humanitarian values Americans profess to have. This innocent person has spent 6 years longer in prison than even Nelson Mandela !!In 2008, Leonard Peltier was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the fifth consecutive year.
Amongst his massive contribution to society he has played a key role in getting people from different tribes, with a history of animosity, to come together in peace. He advocates for peaceful resolution of all issues that deal with Native Americans and respect for the rights of others.
Everyone needs to understand how much this ‘true human being’ has moved the World, please take a look at this level of international support http://users.skynet.be/kola/vips.html
I express a deep hope that the parole commission and President Obama will come to their senses and grant parole and release to Leonard Peltier on 28th July 2009. The whole World watches in anticipation!
After serving 33 years behind bars, THE 64-year old Peltier has been granted his second parole hearing since 1993. He has maintained his innocence throughout his time in prison, and is considered by many to be a political prisoner. Peltier’s attorney, Eric Seitz, says Peltier should be released, because he has already served his 30 year mandatory minimum sentence.
“He, by the Parole Commission’s own standards and criteria has served all the minimum time that is required.”
Numerous witnesses testified in favor of Peltier’s release during the 4-hour hearing; and although the government is calling for him to remain in prison, the hearing is seen as Peltier’s best chance in more than 30 years to be released. The hearing commissioner will make his recommendation within 48 hours, then the parole commission then has up to 21 days to make a decision
Robin Carneen, FSRN.