Rene -- The new McCarthyism
The new McCarthyism
A witch hunt against a Columbia professor, and the New York Times' disgraceful support for it, represent the gravest threat to academic freedom in decades.
By Juan Cole
April 22, 2005 | A member of the U.S. Congress calls for an assistant professor at a major university to be summarily fired. The right-wing tabloid press runs a series of vicious attacks on him, often misquoting him and perpetuating previous misquotes. Opinion pieces attacking "tenured radicals" and questioning professors' patriotism use him as their centerpiece. All of these attacks are spurred by a propaganda film made by an advocacy group, in which anonymous accusations are made and the professor is not given an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
It is not 1953, the Congress member is not Sen. Joseph McCarthy, and the professor is not being accused of being a communist. No, it is 2005, the Congress member is Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and the professor is being accused of being anti-Israel.
The lesson for academics, and American society as a whole: McCarthyism is unacceptable except when criticism of Israel is involved.
The targeted professor is Joseph Massad, of the Middle East Languages and Cultures Department at Columbia University. Massad is the author of "Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan" (Columbia University Press, 2001), and of a forthcoming book treating the sexual depictions of Arabs in colonial literature, "Desiring Arabs." He is well-published, and his first book received rave reviews in journals such as Choice and the American Historical Review. His career would have been no more controversial than that of any academic historian working on Argentina or Uganda, had he not been a Palestinian-American teaching about Israel and Palestine in New York City. Nor, had he been critical of Argentinean or Ugandan policies, would any eyebrows have been raised in the United States.
The attacks on Massad, and two other professors in the department, were led by off-campus right-wing Zionist organizations aligned with Israel's Likud Party -- notably a murky Boston-based organization called "the David Project," which produced the film in which the accusations were made. (In fact, according to an in-depth report by Scott Sherman in the Nation, there is no single "film"; at least six versions exist, and it has never been screened for the public. When the Nation asked to view it, the David Project refused to make it available. Its head, Charles Jacobs, also refused to provide details to the Nation about the group's financial backers or its ties to professional pro-Israel lobbyists.)
Almost none of the allegations against Massad (anti-Semitism, mistreatment of students, likening Israel to Nazi Germany) came from students who had taken his courses. In the most serious case, an allegation that Massad angrily told a student, "If you're going to deny the atrocities being committed against Palestinians, then you can get out of my classroom," the charge was corroborated by one other student and one auditor, but three other individuals present said they had no recollection of the episode taking place, and it did not appear in Massad's teaching evaluations.
Columbia president Lee Bollinger appointed an ad hoc faculty grievance committee to look into the accusations. After a lengthy investigation, the committee issued a report. It found Massad not guilty of anti-Semitism or of punishing pro-Israel students with poor grades. (Indeed, it singled him out for unequivocably denouncing anti-Semitism.) In the case of the incident described above, it found it credible that "Massad became angered at a question that he understood to countenance Israeli conduct of which he disapproved, and that he responded heatedly. While we have no reason to believe that Professor Massad intended to expel Ms. Shanker from the classroom (she did not, in fact, leave the class), his rhetorical response to her query exceeded commonly accepted bounds by conveying that her question merited harsh public criticism." In his response to the report, Massad denies that this incident took place, pointed out logical fallacies in the report's reasoning, and criticized it for failing to connect the charges with the organized political campaign against him.
Although it was little noted in the press, the report did indeed acknowledge that Massad in particular and the department in general had been the target of an ongoing campaign of intimidation. It noted that for several years, after pieces appeared in the tabloid press blasting the department as anti-Israel, many non-students, clearly hostile and with ideological agendas, had been attending classes in the department, interrupting lectures with hostile asides and inhibiting classroom debate. One individual began filming a class without permission. Chillingly, the report noted, "Testimony that we received indicated that in February 2002 Professor Massad had good reason to believe that a member of the Columbia faculty was monitoring his teaching and approaching his students, requesting them to provide information on his statements in class as part of a campaign against him."
Whether the disputed charges against Massad, fomented by outside groups with obvious agendas, merited a major investigation by Columbia is a matter of debate. Many students and faculty at Columbia believe the investigation should never have been launched in the first place. Having undertaken the inquiry, however, the ad hoc committee rightfully understood that its charge was narrow -- that its mandate was to investigate "conduct": that is, behavior and "civility," not views. To prescribe some views and ban others would contravene the most deeply held values of academic life. As the report noted, "We are committed, individually and collectively, to the right of all members of the Columbia community to hold and espouse a range of opinions, including those that make others uncomfortable. We focused our attention on conduct, and on the relationship between that conduct and the obligation for all of us to maintain a civil and tolerant learning environment."
Rene -- Spencer -- Patriotism
Were anyone to call me dishonest or untruthful he would touch me to the quick. Were he to say that I am unpatriotic, he would leave me unmoved. 'What, then, have you no love of country?' That is a question not to be answered in a breath.
The early abolition of serfdom in England, the early growth of relatively-free institutions, and the greater recognition of popular claims after the decay of feudalism had divorced the masses from the soil, were traits of English life which may be looked back upon with pride. When it was decided that any slave who set foot in England became free; when the importation of slaves into the Colonies was stopped; when twenty millions were paid for the emancipation of slaves in the West Indies; and when, however unadvisedly, a fleet was maintained to stop the slave trade; our countrymen did things worthy to be admired. And when England gave a home to political refugees and took up the causes of small states struggling for freedom, it again exhibited noble traits which excite affection. But there are traits, unhappily of late more frequently displayed, which do the reverse. Contemplation of the acts by which England has acquired over eighty possessions – settlements, colonies, protectorates, &c. – does not arouse feelings of satisfaction. The transitions from missionaries to resident agents, then to officials having armed forces, then to punishments of those who resist their rule, ending in so-called 'pacification'– these processes of annexation, now gradual and now sudden, as that of the new Indian province and that of Barotziland, which was declared a British colony with no more regard for the wills of the inhabiting people than for those of the inhabiting beasts – do not excite sympathy with their perpetrators. Love of country is not fostered in me on remembering that when, after our Prime Minister had declared that we were bound in honour to the Khedive to reconquer the Soudan, we, after the re-conquest, forthwith began to administer it in the name of the Queen and the Khedive – practically annexing it; nor when, after promising through the mouths of two Colonial Ministers not to interfere in the internal affairs of the Transvaal, we proceeded to insist on certain electoral arrangements, and made resistance the excuse for a desolating war. Nor does the national character shown by a popular ovation to a leader of filibusters, or by the according of a University honour to an arch-conspirator, or by the uproarious applause with which undergraduates greeted one who sneered at the “unctuous rectitude” of those who opposed his plans of aggression, appear to me lovable. If because my love of country does not survive these and many other adverse experiences I am called unpatriotic – well, I am content to be so called.
Godard -- Cinema is over
Ed. Note: New and Old Godard article from Guardian:
'Cinema is over'
Jean-Luc Godard hardly ever talks to the press, and when he does it's as likely to be about football as film. In a rare interview, Geoffrey Macnab discovers that the original enfant terrible of the French new wave has lost none of his fire
Friday April 29, 2005
'Play tennis, see my analyst': how Godard passes the time
It is a balmy afternoon and Jean-Luc Godard is sitting by a French swimming pool, smoking a cigar and talking football. His new film, Notre Musique, has just received its world premiere. Midway through it, there is a reference to the famous match at Wembley in November 1953 when Hungary (the "Magnificent Magyars") defeated Billy Wright's England 6-3. Reflecting on the match, Godard, a devoted football fan as a youngster, begins to tick off the names of the Hungarian players one by one. "Apart from the goalkeeper, I remember them all," he says. There was Puskas ("the galloping major"), the right-half Bozsik ("the deputy"), Sandor ("the mad winger"), Kocsis ("the golden head"). Stanley Matthews, he adds, is the only English player who sticks in his mind.
Godard describes first watching the Hungarian team, which revolutionised world football, as being "a discovery, like modern painting." Most of the Hungarian players, he points out, were from Honved, the "club of the army". The country was under Soviet occupation. None the less, Puskas (an army officer) and his colleagues approached the game in a freewheeling, marvellously uninhibited style that contrasted with the regimentation of day-to-day life behind the Iron Curtain. The only team that has come close to Puskas's Hungary, Godard adds, was Ajax of Amsterdam during the Cruyff era. "Everybody played in attack and defence - it was like free jazz."
Godard turned 74 in December. In the twilight of his career, he remains as playful, provocative and perverse as ever. Somehow, it's no surprise that he is as eager to discuss Puskas and Stanley Matthews as to reflect on his new film. He is nothing if not contrary, and has an unerring ability to wrongfoot critics and audiences alike. At a press conference for Notre Musique, Godard fazed journalists by inviting a spokesperson for the French actors and technicians' union to take to the platform. He then sat silently as the union's gripes against the French government were detailed at length.
Humorous, lyrical and baffling by turns, Notre Musique is typical late Godard: part essay, part poetic meditation. The film, divided into three parts, begins with a rapid-fire montage sequence of stock shots from documentaries and Hollywood war movies. Lasting for around seven minutes, this section is called Hell. Godard uses a quote from the 18th-century philosopher Baron de Montesquieu to contextualise the images: "After the great flood, men came out of the earth and started exterminating each other." Alongside the battle scenes, there are shots of penguins and monkeys. "I found some pictures of American GIs in the river and I thought they made a nice follow-up to the monkeys," he explains cheerfully.
Next comes Purgatory, in which Godard returns to Sarajevo, a city also featured in an earlier film, Forever Mozart (1996). He wanders through the city, encountering journalists and academics, and discussing politics and history. We hear asides about how history is written by the victors. There are actors playing fictional characters and real people (Godard among them) playing themselves. There are near-identical images of Palestinians and Israelis on the same sea shore, but the context of these pictures is utterly different. One is of victory, the other of defeat. We hear a quote from Malraux: "Humane people don't start revolutions, they open libraries". We also see the bridge at Mostar, whose destruction in 1993 marked a low point of the Bosnian war. The bridge has now been reconstructed, amid much talk of hope triumphing over barbarism.
Naeem -- The Ideology of National Security ++
"War on Terror"
1.Corey Robin: Protocols of Machismo
2.Marjorie Cohn: Close Guantánamo Prison
3.Zain & Kashan Afzal, US citizens, accuse FBI of torture
LRB | Vol. 27 No. 10 dated 19 May 2005 | Corey Robin
Protocols of Machismo
Arguing about War by Michael Walzer · Yale, 208 pp, £16.99
Chain of Command by Seymour Hersh [ Buy from the London Review
Bookshop ] · Penguin, 394 pp, £17.99
Torture: A Collection ed. Sanford Levinson [ Buy from the London
Review Bookshop ] · Oxford, 319 pp, £18.50
The 20th century, it's said, taught us a simple lesson about politics:
of all the motivations for political action, none is as lethal as
ideology. The lust for money may be distasteful, the desire for power
ignoble, but neither will drive its devotees to the criminal excess of
an idea on the march. Whether the idea is the triumph of the working
class or of a master race, ideology leads to the graveyard.
Although liberal-minded intellectuals have repeatedly mobilised some
version of this argument against the isms of right and left, they have
seldom mustered a comparable scepticism about that other idée fixe of
the 20th century: national security. Some liberals will criticise this
war, others that one, but no one has ever written a book entitled `The
End of National Security'. This despite the millions killed in the
name of security, and even though Stalin and Hitler claimed to be
protecting their populations from mortal threats.
There are fewer than six degrees of separation between the idea of
national security and the lurid crimes of Abu Ghraib. First, each of
the reasons the Bush administration gave for going to war against Iraq
ˆ the threat of WMD, Saddam's alleged links to al-Qaida, even the
promotion of democracy in the Middle East ˆ referred in some way to
protecting America. Second, everyone agrees that getting good
intelligence from Iraqi informers is a critical element in defeating
the insurgency. Third, US military intelligence believes that sexual
humiliation is an especially forceful instrument for extracting
information from recalcitrant Muslim prisoners.
Many critics have protested against Abu Ghraib, but none has traced it
back to the idea of national security. Perhaps they believe such an
investigation is unnecessary. After all, many of them opposed the war
on the grounds that US security was not threatened by Iraq. And some
of national security's most accomplished practitioners, such as Brent
Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, as well as theoreticians like
Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer, even claimed that a genuine
consideration of US interests militated against the war. The mere fact
that some politicians misused or abused the principle of national
security need not call that principle into question. But when an idea
routinely accompanies, if not induces, atrocities ˆ Abu Ghraib was
certainly not the first instance of the United States committing or
sponsoring torture in the name of security ˆ second thoughts would
seem to be in order. Unless, of course, defenders of the idea wish to
join that company of ideologues they so roundly condemn, affirming
their commitment to an ideal version of national security while
disowning its `actually existing' variant.
In its ideal version, national security requires a clear-eyed
understanding of a nation's interests and a sober assessment of the
threats to them. Force, a counsellor might say to his prince, is a
tool a leader may use in response to those threats, but he should use
it prudently and without emotion. Just as he should not trouble
himself with questions of human rights or international law ˆ though
analysts might add these to a leader's toolkit, they are quick to
point out, as Joseph Nye does in The Paradox of American Power (2002),
that international norms may have to give way to `vital survival
interests', that `at times we will have to go it alone' ˆ he should
not be excited by his use of violence. National security demands a
monkish self-denial, where officials forego the comforts of conscience
and the pleasures of impulse in order to inflict when necessary the
most brutal force and abstain from or abandon that force whenever it
becomes counter-productive. It's an ethos that bears all the marks of
a creed, requiring a mortification of self no less demanding than that
expected of the truest Christian.
The first article of this creed, the national interest, gives leaders
great wiggle room in determining what constitutes a threat. What,
after all, is the national interest? According to Nye, `the national
interest is simply what citizens, after proper deliberation, say it
is.' Even if we assume that citizens are routinely given the
opportunity to ponder the national interest, the fact is that they
seldom, if ever, reach a conclusion about it. As Nye points out, Peter
Trubowitz's exhaustive study of the way Americans defined the national
interest throughout the 20th century concluded that `there is no
single national interest. Analysts who assume that America has a
discernible national interest whose defence should determine its
relations with other nations are unable to explain the failure to
achieve domestic consensus on international objectives.' And this
makes a good deal of sense: if an individual finds it difficult to
determine her own interest, why should we expect a mass of individuals
to do any better?
Jesal -- Against Mother Theresa
Against Mother Theresa
John Hutnyk's Rumour of Calcutta, reviewed by
Wednesday, 10 September 1997
There are only three things I know for sure about the city of Calcutta. It
was home to the writer Rabindranath Tagore, the film maker Satyajit Ray and
to Mother Teresa, who has just joined them in heaven.
What's curious is just how we come to know things about foreign cities. The
BBC greatly accelerated Mother Teresa's celebrity in 1969 when Malcolm
Muggeridge made a film about her, called Something Beautiful for God. Her
fame spread even further when she won the Nobel Peace prize in 1979. Her
image circulated on a global scale. And with it, an image of Calcutta.
Some of her critics there complain that her order uses the poverty of
Calcutta as an advertisiment to attract funds for a worldwide franchise,
including a branch in Bourke, New South Wales.
Over and over we see images of those nuns in blue-rimmed robes of pristine
white, bending over poor dark sufferers. Images that set up a way of
thinking in which poor foreigners appear as helpless without assistance from
the rich west. Calcutta becomes the Disneyland of suffering.
In John Hutnyk's interesting new book The Rumour of Calcutta: Tourism,
Charity and the Poverty of Representation (Zed Books), he quotes a revealing
remark by a volunteer, to the effect that people who suffer are put there to
keep us compassionate -- an understanding of "the poor" where the latter
hardly appear as people at all.
Calcutta as themepark of poverty is also the theme of the Roland Joffe film,
City of Joy, starring Patrick Swayze. He plays an American doctor who finds
himself when he starts helping the poor. The film is based on a "documentary
fiction" book by Dominique Lapierre. Its odd how often popular myths, good
and bad alike, from the Lucky Country to the City of Joy, start in books
that try to tell the truth.
Rene -- Israel is among the holocaust deniers
w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
Israel is among the holocaust deniers
By Yossi Sarid
April 24 will mark the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, and the Armenian government is holding an international conference in the capital of Yerevan, dedicated to the memory of the more than a million Armenians murdered by the Turks. I was also invited, and I decided to attend. This month will also see the Hebrew publication of Prof. Yair Auron's eye-opening and stomach churning book, "Denial: Israel and the Armenian Genocide," Maba Publishing, which has already been highly praised overseas in its English-language edition.
As opposed to many other nations, Israel has never recognized the murder of the Armenian people, and in effect lent a hand to the deniers of that genocide. Our official reactions moved in the vague, illusory realm between denial to evasion, from "it's not clear there really was genocide" to "it's an issue for the historians," as Shimon Peres once put it so outrageously and stupidly.
There are two main motives for the Israeli position. The first is the importance of the relationship with Turkey, which for some reason continues to deny any responsibility for the genocide, and uses heavy pressure worldwide to prevent the historical responsibility for the genocide to be laid at its door. The pressure does work, and not only Israel, but other countries as well do the arithmetic of profits and loss. The other motive is that recognition of another nation's murder would seem to erode the uniqueness of the Jewish Holocaust.
Rene -- Galloway vs. The US Senate: Transcript of Statement
Galloway vs. The US Senate: Transcript of Statement
Tuesday, May 17, 2005 by the
Times Online (UK)
George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, delivered this
statement to US Senators today who have accused him of corruption
"Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader. and
neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of
oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on
my behalf."Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few
years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier
with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already
found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever
having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me,
without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to
contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.
I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have
weapons of mass destruction.
I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection
I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection
to the atrocity on 9/11 2001.
I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people
would resist a British and American invasion of their country and
that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end,
but merely the end of the beginning.
Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right
and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their
lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack
of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a
pack of lies.
"Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier
and I want to point out areas where there are - let's be charitable
and say errors. Then I want to put this in the context where I believe
it ought to be. On the very first page of your document about me you
assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is
false. "I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994
and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language
can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.
"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number
of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld
met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target
those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions,
suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him
to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations
weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of
two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State
for Defense made of his.
Greg -- more art censorship: this time on the web
"The page you are attempting to access has been removed
because it violated Tripod's Terms of Service."
From Mark Vallen's weblog: www.art-for-a-change.com/blog
Website Banned for Bush Parody
Monday, May 23, 2005
Michael Dickinson has fashioned a website photomontage house of horrors he calls the Carnival of Chaos. Since 2002, with scissors, glue, and pictures torn from popular magazines, the artist has been creating vitriolic though humorous works of collage that lambaste the world's powerful - and George W. Bush in particular. The artist's latest cut and paste statement was a send up parody of what The Sun and New York Post had done by publishing photos of Saddam Hussein in his underwear, and by doing so Dickinson has become the most recent victim of censorship.
You've all heard it by now. Members of the US military took photographs of their prisoner, Saddam Hussein, and then leaked them to the news media. One of those photos show Saddam in his underwear, and no doubt the soldiers responsible thought the snapshot would further humiliate the former dictator. But taking such photos and distributing them are clear violations of the Geneva Convention, to which the US is a signatory. On Friday May 20th, 2005, the British tabloid The Sun, as well as the New York Post (both owned by Fox News media mogul, Rupert Murdoch) published the photo of Saddam in his underwear on their covers. The Sun ran the photo under the headline, The Tyrant's In His Pants, and the NY Post headline read, Butcher of Sagdad. The Pentagon is feigning outrage and promises an investigation into who released the photos. For its part, The Sun claims that "military sources said they handed over the photos in the hope of dealing a body blow to the resistance in Iraq", and the paper refuses to name those sources. The Sun told the Associated Press that "a small sum" was paid for the photos, suggesting the price was around $1,000. It's not exactly comforting to know that US soldiers are ready to violate the Geneva Convention for a fistful of dollars. I also find it disturbing that the photos of Saddam now published around the world are considered a violation of the Geneva Convention -while US soldiers torturing their Afghan prisoners to death barely registers a blip in the US media.
CAE Defense -- Breaches of Civil Contracts Should Be Federal Crimes, Prosecutor Argues
May 17, 2005
BREACHES OF CIVIL CONTRACTS SHOULD BE FEDERAL CRIMES, PROSECUTOR ARGUES
Judge calls proposal "Pandora's Box"; defense calls for dismissal
Today in Buffalo, Judge Kenneth Schroeder heard motions to dismiss a
federal criminal case against artist Steven Kurtz. Professor Kurtz was
charged with mail and wire fraud last summer after prosecutors found
nothing to support their original allegations of bioterrorism. (Please
see http://www.caedefensefund.org/faq.html for an overview of the case.)
In today's hearing, defense attorney Paul Cambria argued that a
dangerous precedent would be set by "exalting" into a federal criminal
case of wire and mail fraud what is at best a minor, civil contract
issue--the purchase of the bacterium Serratia marcescens by scientist
Robert Ferrell for use by Kurtz in his artwork.
Judge Schroeder seemed to agree, asking Federal Assistant District
Attorney William Hochul whether an underaged youth who uses the
internet to purchase alcohol across state lines, for example, should be
subject to federal wire fraud charges. "Yes," Hochul answered after
some hedging, and Schroeder chuckled. "Wow, that really opens up a
Pandora's Box, wouldn't you say?" he asked Hochul.
Schroeder also asked Hochul whether there is any federal regulation at
all (OSHA, EPA, or other) concerning Serratia. Hochul admitted there
wasn't. (The alleged danger of Serratia forms the basis of the
government's argument for making this a criminal case, rather than
simply allowing the bacterium's provider to pursue civil remedies if it
feels it was wronged.)
Rene -- Eagleton -- The artists' Wittgenstein
The artists' Wittgenstein
From Time Literary Supplement
THE LITERARY WITTGENSTEIN
John Gibson and Wolfgang Huemer, editors
356pp. | Routledge. Paperback, £18.99. |
Why are artists so fascinated by Ludwig Wittgenstein? Frege is a
philosopher’s philosopher, and Bertrand Russell was every shopkeeper’s idea of a sage; but Wittgenstein is the philosopher of poets and composers, novelists and movie directors. Derek Jarman made his last major film about him; Bruce Duffy plucked a novel from his tormented life in The World As I Found It; M. A. Numminem has set Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus to music in his Tractatus Suite, and garbled fragments of the same text can be heard croaked in a hilarious stage-German accent by a Dutch pop group. The list is long.
John W. -- New York Times Minimizes Palestinian Deaths
Compliments of Shobak:
New York Times Minimizes Palestinian Deaths
The Perversions of Daniel Okrent
By ALISON WEIR
A little over a week ago, some members of our organization, If Americans Knew, met with New York Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent to discuss the findings of a detailed study we had completed of two years worth of Times news stories on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Okrent was going to be writing a column discussing the paper‚s coverage of Israel/Palestine, and we felt our study would be an important resource.
Using a PowerPoint presentation, we explained our findings and gave him copies of the 23-page report, along with approximately 40 pages of supporting documentation.
In order to find as clear and objective a measure as possible, our studies examine how news organizations report deaths among both populations, Israelis and Palestinian. Basically, we simply count the deaths reported on both sides of the conflict, and then compare these to the actual number of deaths that had occurred. It is our view that all deaths are equally tragic regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity; we hoped that the Times shared that perspective.
Our statistical analysis of their coverage, however, showed that there was startling disparity in how deaths were reported, depending on the ethnicity of the victim.
For example, we found that in 2004, at a time when 8 Israeli children and 176 Palestinian children were killed ˆ a ratio of 1 to 22 ˆ Times headlines and lead paragraphs reported on Israeli children‚s deaths at a rate almost seven times greater than Palestinian children‚s deaths.
A one-month sub-study indicated that this disparity grew even larger when the entire article was analyzed, with Israeli children‚s deaths mentioned (through repetitions of deaths reported on previous days) at a rate ten times greater than Palestinian children‚s deaths.
Times coverage of deaths of all ages, while less dramatically skewed, showed similar distortion. In the first year of the current Palestinian uprising, which began in fall of 2000, we discovered that the Times reported prominently on 42 percent of Palestinian deaths, and on 119 percent of Israeli deaths (follow-up headline articles, we find, frequently push coverage of Israeli deaths over 100 percent). In other words, the Times reported Israeli deaths at a rate approximately three times greater than Palestinian deaths.
During this period over three times more Palestinians were being killed than Israelis.
Overall, we found that in every single category Times coverage reported Israeli deaths at rates three or more times greater than Palestinian deaths.
Such patterns of distortion gave readers the impression that equal numbers of people on both sides were being killed ˆ or that more Israelis were being killed ˆ when the reality is that Palestinians have always been killed in far greater numbers. In particular, we found that Times stories so often repeated reports of Israeli children‚s deaths that in some periods they were reporting on Israeli deaths at a rate of 400 percent.
In contrast, the majority of Palestinian deaths ˆ particularly children‚s deaths ˆ were never reported by the Times at all.
Rene -- Fisk -- Let us rebel against poisonous academics and their preposterous
Ed. Note: This is a difficult article for me to agree with, and I do not. But having posted and circulated his texts in the past, I thought it would be interesting to connect those with his position as it pertains to language. Also I think it offers a plausible point of view within the debates that already exist among politically orientaed cultural workers, on the how's.
Let us rebel against poisonous academics and their preposterous
claptrap of exclusion
The Independent - United Kingdom
May 14, 2005
That great anthropological sage Michael Gilsenan " whose Lords of the
Lebanese Marshes once almost started a small civil war in northern
Lebanon " turned up this week to lecture at that equally great bastion
of learning, the American University of Beirut, founded, as it
happens, by Quakers during the 19th-century Lebanese Christian-Druze
Gilsenan's subject was abstruse enough: Arab migration to what our
Foreign Office still calls 'the Far East'. Most of these migrants, it
transpired, came from Arabia, especially the mountainous Hadramaut
district of Yemen. Under British rule, they prospered, bought land,
left inheritances and, once established, wealthy Arab women also took
their place in this new world, even involving themselves in legal
Rene -- Egypt must let its people go
Egypt must let its people go
The Mubarak regime's resistance to scrutiny of the forthcoming presidential
election shows how much Egypt has to learn about democracy, writes Brian
Monday May 16, 2005
Two short sentences in a speech by the US president, George Bush, had
Egypt's political dinosaurs in a flap last week: "Egypt will hold a
presidential election this fall," Mr Bush said. "That election should
proceed with international monitors and with rules that allow for a
real campaign."Given that Egypt has a long history of blatantly rigged
elections and that President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic party
(NDP) has a stultifying near-monopoly on the country's politics, it
is difficult to see how anyone could object to international monitors
or allowing a real election campaign, but object they did.
The Mubarak regime has got itself into a mess. Instead of accepting
that political reform is inevitable, embracing it wholeheartedly
and then claiming the credit, it is resorting to half measures and
belated sops to its critics that can only worsen its predicament in
the long run.Mubarak has dominated Egypt's political scene for almost
24 years. He is coming to the end of his fourth six-year term, but it
should have been obvious that clinging on to power for a fifth term
in a presidential "election" where he was the only candidate would
not go smoothly: the world has moved on and that sort of thing is no
longer acceptable, even in Egypt.
Rene -- US allied with Sudan govt despite Darfur genocide
US allied with Sudan govt despite Darfur genocide
Sudan Tribune, Sudan
May 4 2005
US allied with Sudan govt despite Darfur genocide
Wednesday May 4th, 2005 02:30.
By Democracy Now
The Los Angeles Times has revealed that the U.S. has quietly forged a
close intelligence partnership with Sudan despite the government's
role in the mass killings in Darfur. We speak with Ken Silverstein,
the reporter who broke the story, Salih Booker, the director of
Africa Action as well as Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ). [includes rush
NEW YORK, May 3, 2005 -- In the days after the Sept. 11 attacks,
President Bush issued an ultimatum to the world: "Either you are with
us, or you are with the terrorists." Three and half years later, it
has been revealed that the Bush administration has allied itself with
a government listed as a state sponsor of terrorism and one that the
administration has accused of committing genocide against its own
people - Sudan. A major expose in the Los Angeles Times on Friday
revealed that the U.S. has quietly forged a close intelligence
partnership with Sudan despite the government's role in the mass
killings in Darfur. The Sudanese government has since publicly
confirmed it is working with the Bush administration and the CIA.
Rene -- Zizek -- What Rumsfeld Doesn’t Know That He Knows About Abu Ghraib
What Rumsfeld Doesn’t Know That He Knows About Abu Ghraib
By Slavoj Zizek
Does anyone still remember the unfortunate Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf? As Saddam’s information minister, he heroically would deny the most evident facts and stick to the Iraqi line. Even as U.S. tanks were hundreds of yards from his office, al-Sahaf continued to claim that the television shots of the tanks on Baghdad streets were Hollywood special effects. Once, however, he did strike a strange truth. When told that the U.S. military already controlled parts of Baghdad, he snapped back: “They are not in control of anything—they don’t even control themselves!” When the scandalous news broke about the weird things going on in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison, we got a glimpse of this very dimension of themselves that Americans do not control.
Nettime -- Sovereignty and Biology
By Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacke
Sovereignty and Biology I
Political thought has long used the body as a metaphor for political
organization. Plato analogizes the political order of the polis with the
biological order of the body, and in doing so medicalizes politics.
After having spent the majority of the work discussing the constitution
of a just political order, the Republic turns to the forces of
dissolution or decomposition which threaten the body politic. Primary
among these are the descent from concerns of justice, to concerns of
wealth (oligarchy) and concerns of appetites (democracy). Though
economic health and basic necessities are central to the proper
functioning of the polis, it is their excess which creates the "illness
of a city" . For Plato, if oligarchy represents the excessive rule of
wealth for its own sake, then "democracy," in his terms, represents the
imbalance between desire and freedom, in which the latter is always the
legitimation for the former. The combination of the two result in the
diseased body politic: "When [oligarchy and democracy] come into being
in any regime, they cause trouble, like phlegm and bile in a body. And
it's against them that the good doctor and lawgiver of a city, no less
than a wise beekeeper, must take long-range precautions, preferably that
they not come into being, but if they do come into being, that they be
cut out as quickly as possible, cells and all" . This same logic--a
kind of medical sovereignty--is played out in mechanistic terms in
Hobbes' De Corpore Politico, and in organicist terms in chapters XIII-X
of Rousseau's The Social Contract. It is tempting to suggest that our
current era of genetics and informatics has influenced in some way the
view of a globalized body politic. Thus, our question: if the
understanding of the body changes, does this is also require a change in
the understanding of the body politic?