August 31, 2006

"I Am Not Willing To Kill Or Be Killed For Something I Don't Believe In" - AWOL Soldier Refuses to Return to Iraq

The Pentagon estimates that at least 8,000 members of the U.S military have gone AWOL since the start of the Iraq war. Democracy Now recently interviewed one of them - Sergeant Ricky Clousing who was AWOL for more than a year. We talked to him on the day he turned himself in at Fort Lewis in Washington state.
Listen to segment

[Be sure to notice how the soldier says it was his viewpoint that changed, not the situation itself. I love a person who can take responsibility for thier life.]

Bookfair cooks up awareness

by Jessica Warren
Anarchist Bookfair
1-3 September
Queen Alexandra Hall

The next time you see hastily-scrawled "anarchism" graffiti staring at you from the other side of a bathroom stall, know this: it's just trying to educate you.

"A big part of the anarchist political philosophy is education," remarks Sean Boomer, an anarchist and organizer for the fourth Edmonton Anarchist Bookfair. "The bookfair is meant to be open to everyone. A big part of the reason we do it is to show people that anarchists aren't scary people. We'd like to dispel some misconceptions."

Boomer is the antithesis of the stereotypical "radical" on the political left. Softspoken and polite, he has an understanding of what his politics might look like to those on the outside, and is eager to explain the theory of anarchism, in which very little has anything to do with our cultured image of punks and criminals following the mantra of "anarchy in the UK." There are anarchists who refuse to vote because they consider it to be a validation of an inherently corrupt system, and there are anarchists, like Boomer, who vote in order to make the best of a bad situation.

"The funny thing about anarchism is it's a very disperse political philosophy," Boomer explains. "People who attend the Bookfair will be presented with a wide variety of different people, different workshops and presenters, and different ideas. Plus, it's a great place to meet contacts--especially if you're new--you'll be able to see what kinds of anarchist and anarchist-friendly organizations are in the city."

And Edmonton, as it turns out, isn't really a bad place for an anarchist to live, despite the stereotypes held about "conservative" Alberta. In his five years of organizing various events, which includes four Bookfairs, Boomer says there hasn't been a backlash against it. In fact, there has been an unexpected amount of support--support from corners we might not usually identify as anarchist-friendly.

"The Edmonton Sun actually had quite a sympathetic article on us last year," Boomer recalls. "The Edmonton Journal, too. I think people overestimate the conservativeness of Albertans. We have a long-established Conservative government here, but if you talk to Albertans as individuals, we're all over the political spectrum. If you talk to people who are Conservative, they're not really too Conservative. They vote for the party for all sorts of different reasons."

Pure conservatism, it seems, like pure anarchism, doesn't exist. However, there's always room for people to improve upon their political knowledge.

The Anarchist Bookfair carries books on environmentalism, political philosophies and other subjects not related to the defamation of public property or shocking old grannies with spike-ridden jackets and unconventional hair colors. Boomer likes to emphasize the event as being a place for the open exchange of ideas, rather than as the direct preaching from those who know to those who are there to learn.

"The Bookfair has a festival sense to it, and when you're at that kind of event, you'll be more likely to pick up something you might not normally pick up," Boomer says. "It's important for activists, as well as other people, to pick up a book of general literature, say, to improve their writing or their ability to relate to other people. One of the things you'll find is that most vendors are--how should I put it? They're very friendly, off-the-wall people. Most of us are just really interested in talking about these ideas."

Wanna respond? Send your feedback to

August 30, 2006

Support Daniel McGowan

Support Statement

Please consider endorsing this statement and join us in our support for environmental & social justice activist Daniel McGowan who has been unjustly arrested and charged in federal court and is facing life in prison.

See who has already signed on!

Daniel McGowan is a 32-year-old acupuncture student born and raised in New York City who has dedicated his entire adult life to environmental and social justice activism. Over the past ten years he has worked tirelessly on many environmental campaigns. He campaigned against the use of rainforest wood by local governments and worked on media relations for the Wetlands Activism Center. While living on the west coast, Daniel helped with the protection of the Headwaters forest in Northern California, did outreach and educated others about genetically engineered food and volunteered with the Cascadia Forest Defenders.

In addition to all his environmental efforts, Daniel has worked a great deal on social justice and human rights issues. After returning to New York in 2002, Daniel collaborated with friends to set up the website, organized demonstrations against the Republican National Convention and participated in many national and international press interviews. He has provided active support for indigenous people including the Dineh, the Ogoni and the U'wa people, all the while actively supporting political prisoners all over the world. More recently, Daniel had been working on counter-recruitment campaigns to offer alternatives to youth being recruited for the war on Iraq & Afghanistan. Daniel has also been involved in bike activism helping to set up film nights for the local bike group, Time's Up. At the time of arrest he was working for, a nonprofit that provides legal information to women living with or escaping domestic violence and setting up local "really really free markets" which celebrated sharing and community relations in his neighborhood.

Daniel is being charged in connection with two arsons that took place in Oregon in 2001 claimed by the Earth Liberation Front. No one was injured as a result of these alleged acts. He is pleading not guilty but he is facing a potential sentence of life plus 335 years in prison if convicted on all charges. The statute of limitations for the more serious of these charges was set to expire just three weeks after Daniel's arrest, which suggests that there was a rush to make arrests. Cooperating witnesses in Daniel's case have received recommended sentences of 37 months (around 3 years) to 15 years for guilty pleas to ten or more arsons.

Daniel McGowan's arrest is part of a nation wide attack on environmental and social justice activists; it is one small part of the current "Green Scare" that is sweeping the nation. Like the "Red Scare" of the 1950s, made famous by the McCarthy hearings and the "House of Un-American Affairs", today we are witnessing a systematic criminalization of political dissent. Although Daniel has not been indicted on any terrorism charges, the FBI and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have repeatedly described Daniel and his co-defendants as "eco-terrorists". The media has also been using the language of terrorism in attempt to create an emotional and sensationalist effect. The prosecution has stated it will argue for the federal terrorism enhancement in the case of Daniel's cooperating co-defendants who have pled guilty. It is very unlikely that anyone branded as a "terrorist" by the US Government and the media will be able to receive a fair trial.

We feel that it would be an injustice and a massive loss to the local activist community for Daniel McGowan to spend the rest of his life in prison. His only mistake was being a public and visible advocate for environmental and social justice. We believe that if this case goes to trial it will be impossible for Daniel McGowan to receive a fair trial under the current political climate. We will support Daniel McGowan and ask for a dismissal of this case on the grounds that it would lead to a dangerous precedent resulting in less freedom for all of us.

This is a statement that was written by supporters of Daniel McGowan. The goal of the statement is to draw attention to and positively affect the case of Daniel McGowan so that he will not spend the rest of his life in federal prison.

If you are willing to publicly endorse this statement, please email with:
1. Your name
2. Your occupation
3. Your organizational affiliation (if any)
4. Your city, state (if applicable) and country
5. How you found out about Daniel's case

Democracy Now! Lebanon Considers Suing Israel for War Crimes

The Lebanese government is considering possible legal procedures to sue Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity. We speak with Lebanese parliament member Ghassan Moukheiber who is leading the charge in the case. Moukheiber is an attorney and a member of Lebanon's parliamentary human rights committee. [includes rush transcript] Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has rejected calls for a swift end to Israel's air and naval blockade of Lebanon. Speaking after talks with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, Olmert said the seven-week siege would only be lifted once the ceasefire terms were fully implemented.

Annan, who flew to Israel from a visit to Lebanon, has described the continuing embargo as "a humiliation and an infringement on [Lebanese] sovereignty."

Amnesty International cited the blockade in a recent report that accused Israel of committing war crimes in Lebanon. The report called for a UN investigation into whether Israel broke humanitarian law by targeting civilian infrastructure and using of cluster bombs in the month-long war.

Now, the Lebanese government is considering possible legal procedures to sue Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Lebanese parliament member Ghassan Moukheiber is leading the charge in the case. He is an attorney and a member of the parliamentary human rights committee. Democracy Now!'s Ana Noguiera caught up with him in Beirut.

* Ghassan Moukheiber, member of Lebanese parliament.

AMY GOODMAN: Lebanese parliament member Ghassan Moukheiber is leading the charge in the case. He's an attorney and a member of the parliamentary human rights committee. Democracy Now!'s Ana Nogueira caught up with him in Beirut.

GHASSAN MOUKHEIBER: My committee and myself are leading the coordination of many efforts within civil society, but also within the official bodies in Lebanon, mainly to prosecute the general and the Minister of Justice, to prosecute the war crimes of Israel. For some background, for many viewers of yours, or many politicians or political analysts, war is a simple game of power. It's the rule of power. And we would like to see that changed. Instead of the rule of power, we'd like to turn it into the power of rules. And the rules, in that sense, are the international rules that are set forth by the Geneva Conventions that put criteria and principles even for the worst actions which mankind can do, which are wars. Even wars must follow rules.

And if you look at the events, if you look at the war that has been -- the war of aggression that has been waged by Israel, you would see that almost every single one of these rules of war have been broken. And the violations of the Geneva Conventions are not simple matters to be brought into reports. These are grave violations of a huge magnitude that are considered by international law as war crimes, and these are extremely dangerous and must be looked at as such by the international community.

Whatever we're talking about are nothing else but actions that have led to more than 1,300 dead, a third of them being children; more than 4,000 wounded; one million Lebanese displaced, forcefully displaced by the Israeli Army, the Israeli aggression. We have hundreds of bridges that have been destroyed, roads, infrastructure, homes. In excess of 14,000 homes were destroyed, leveled down to the ground. There has been an unimaginable aggression against civilians. Particularly now, we still see the wounds in cluster bombs that have littered civilian areas that also are in violation of international law. The list could be very long.

However, for as much as some politicians and international diplomacy looks at the facts and tried to reach a ceasefire, which we are seeking now and are seeking to lift the blockade, we're also looking beyond that to the acts of war that have been caused and looking at making sure that there will be no impunity of Israel in any future action. It is important that the world looks at war actions as crimes. If you kill a man, you're brought to trial in a court of law. If you kill a thousand, this is considered a war. And a thousand man and child and women dead are almost simple numbers that you accounted on TV programs. It's horrible.

This is why, I think, myself and many of my colleagues, mostly lawyers, but all civil rights activists, are seeking, first, to investigate properly and in a manner that will be technically sound and could be accepted in a court of law, that will be credible in a court of law, whether in an international court or any domestic court that would have jurisdiction. We are collecting all the data that relate to these war crimes. We will make sure that Israeli war criminals, whether civilian leaders or military leaders, are brought to trial.

It is not an easy task, because Israel has the fourth largest army in the world, and it has huge support within the world, but also in particular within the United States. But this is politics. What is important in whatever we're trying to do is bring the attention back into the rules which no one, no warring faction, should ever forget, that you need to protect the civilians. Civilians should be outside of the scope of any of the war games, which politicians and warring players, such as generals and the like, are willing to wage for every or any reason that they can believe sound.

We consider that the war of Israel is not in self-defense. It has become so disproportionate that it is a war of aggression on its own merit. It has caused so many casualties that these casualties amount to war crimes. No impunity means trying Israeli war criminals within the appropriate jurisdictions.

ANA NOGUEIRA: Can you explain a little bit which jurisdictions you're hoping to take Israel to court in and who you want to address these war crimes to, attribute them to?

GHASSAN MOUKHEIBER: It will depend on the jurisdiction. There is, indeed, the first possibility is for any injured person, any victim, can sue Israeli authorities, both individuals and the state of Israel, within national domestic laws whenever they have dual nationalities. And there have been many such casualties. A United Nations peacekeeper, a Canadian, was killed along with four others by the Israelis on the Lebanese-Israeli border for no reason. And, unfortunately, this couldn't bring any action of the United Nations, and we know that the wife of this serviceman is suing now in Canada.

We have several other cases of Lebanese Canadians, Lebanese Americans, Lebanese French, Swiss, Italians, all these nationalities, Germans, also have been hit. Brazilian Lebanese have been killed, Kuwaitis. All these nationalities, dual nationals, can sue within their own national jurisdiction.

Now, you're talking about families that have been totally destroyed -- their houses. The full families sometimes have been totally wiped out. So we're seeking to assist those families, both in collecting information and evidence and in providing them full legal services, and many international human rights organizations have been offering these services.

Domestic courts are one avenue for legal action. Another is the International Criminal Court, which has been recently established, that has come into operations only in the year 2002. Now, this international court has specific competence to try war crimes and war criminals. Only individuals can be tried by this international court, and we're pushing -- myself and my colleagues are wishing that the Lebanese government submits to the jurisdiction of those courts, although it had not ratified the Rome treaty, which has established the International Criminal Court.

The third court that could have jurisdiction is the International Court of Justice. However, this would also require that Israel accept the jurisdiction of this court, which we, for the time being, we do not expect is forthcoming, as we see that for as much as Israel has been evading any form of acceptance to its liability, it would keep on neglecting international law, neglecting its own responsibility under international law.

So, all these forums now are under study. Nothing is definite yet, except that we are working effectively with civil society, Lebanese and international civil society organizations, at collecting data, establishing a network of lawyers, and also making sure that the appropriate qualification of the war of Israel is done as war crimes.

ANA NOGUEIRA: If in the International Criminal Court you would have to take an individual, would it be Olmert?

AMY GOODMAN: Lebanese parliament member, Ghassan Moukheiber, leading the charge to investigate Israel for human rights abuses. He was interviewed by Democracy Now!'s Ana Nogueira in Beirut.

Noam Chomsky: You Ask The Questions

Aug 28
How did you feel about the lack of a swift UN intervention in the recent Lebanon crisis? ROBIN, INVERNESS

The first requirement was an immediate cease-fire. That was blocked by Washington, presumably to allow maximal destruction by the invasion - the US-Israeli invasion, according to the (accurate) perception of 90 per cent of Lebanese. That call should have been accompanied by a demand for withdrawal of the invading army and reparations, unthinkable given the distribution of power. The resolution that was passed is deeply flawed, a separate matter.

Can Israelis and Palestinians ever live peacefully together in one state? MATTHEW PETERS, PHILADELPHIA

Perhaps, but it would have to be approached in stages. Since the 1970s, an international consensus has crystallised on the first stage: a two-state settlement on the internationally recognised borders, with minor and mutual adjustments. That has been barred by the US and Israel, with inconsequential departures. The US-Israeli alliance is now working to undermine the option by their programs of "convergence": annexation, dismemberment, and imprisonment (by takeover of the Jordan Valley), cynically described as "courageous withdrawal". If these policies can be reversed, and the first stage achieved, then further steps are possible.

Do you believe Israel should exist, why and in what form? NICK HARRIS

As a Zionist youth leader in the 1940s, I was among those who called for a binational state in Mandatory Palestine. When a Jewish state was declared, I felt that it should have the rights of other states - no more, no less.

Why should the US exist, sitting on half of Mexico, including Florida, conquered in a violent racist war carried out in violation of the Constitution?

And we can ask much the same about other states. State formation has been a brutal project, with many hideous consequences. But the results exist, and their pernicious aspects should be overcome.

Would you describe the US as it is now as a fascist state? T SUMMERS, CORNWALL

Far from it. In many respects it is the most free country in the world.

In 2002 you said that anti-Semitism in the US was no longer a problem but was raised because a "privileged people" wanted to make sure they had total control, and not just 98 per cent control. Do you really believe Jews have 98 per cent control of America? ROHAN PLANCK, LONDON

You misunderstood. It was an ironic reference to people who would not be satisfied even if they had only 98 per cent control. Of course there is nothing even remotely like that.

What can be done to hamper what is presumed to be the Pentagon's ambition to "take out" the Iranian leadership? MIKE BLOXHAM

Not really the Pentagon. The military appears to be strongly opposed to an attack on Iran. What de facto President Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others are planning we do not know. But we know what we can do. We enjoy incomparable privilege and freedom. Accordingly, we can act in a great many ways to prevent such actions. There is no shortage of means; rather of will and dedication.

You have said you see a "hint of anti-Semitic implications" in the work of Robert Faurisson, the notorious French Holocaust denier. Is Jew-baiting merely a hobby of yours, or is it vocational? LAURENCE COLE, KENT

The facts and the principle have been spelled out dozens of times since 1980 (so it is a bit boring), but once again, briefly.

The last time I had anything to do with this affair, Faurisson was accused of raising questions about gas chambers. Several years later, he was tried and sentenced for "Falsification of History", but there was no charge of Holocaust denial or anti-Semitism (according to Le Monde). The only issue concerning my connection with this sordid affair is whether we should adopt the Goebbels-Zhdanov doctrine that the State has the right to determine Historical Truth and punish deviation from it. As I wrote then, and am happy to repeat, it is a gross insult to the memory of victims of the Holocaust to adopt the doctrines of their murderers. The remark you are misrepresenting is from a personal letter - an interesting source. It reviewed the facts and went on to point out that even denial of huge atrocities would not in itself be evidence for racism, giving a few of the many examples. Thus neither you, nor I, conclude that Americans are vicious racists because they estimate Vietnamese deaths at about 5 per cent of the official figure, or because for centuries even scholarship vastly understated the scale and character of the destruction of the indigenous population. The point generalises to England and others, of course. There can be many reasons for denying horrendous crimes, even in the cases that are the most serious on moral grounds: our own. One special case - purely hypothetical in this personal correspondence - was that denial of the Holocaust would not establish anti-Semitism, for exactly the same reasons.

You have spent a lifetime researching human intelligence and communication, have you seen any sign we humans are evolving a wisdom from our experience? If so, what is it? ANNE GERAGHTY

In the literal sense, there has been no relevant evolution since the trek from Africa. But there has been substantial progress towards higher standards of rights, justice and freedom - along with all too many illustrations of how remote is the goal of a decent society.

How did the current US administration get railroaded by the neo-cons? EIRA TOVEY, AUSTRALIA

The neo-cons constitute a radical reactionary fringe of the planning spectrum, but the spectrum is narrow. Some of the more extreme - Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith and others - have been removed, with little policy change. The administration adopted neo-con principles when they accorded with their strategic and social/economic objectives, dismissing crazier ideas. A serious question is how the clique in charge used its extremely narrow hold on power to carry out radical domestic and international policies opposed by the large majority of the population. I've written about it, as have others, from various perspectives. One valuable study is Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, Off Center.

Can the curtailment of personal freedoms and the heightened fear among many Western populations be compared to life in the years preceding the Second World War and is it an overstatement to imagine that current events are a precursor to another global conflict? RAY LONG, DUBLIN

I'm sceptical about such comparisons. There is a serious risk of global conflict, but for different reasons. We should take seriously the judgement of prominent strategic analysts that current policies, particularly Bush administration aggressive militarism, significantly increase the threat of "ultimate doom".

Since American foreign policy in the Middle East has throughout history been primarily interventionist, do you think the War in Iraq was inevitable, even if Bush had not stolen the 2000 election? DAVID KEELAGHAN, MONAGHAN, IRELAND

Not at all. There was unprecedented criticism of the war plans within elite sectors, compelling Bush-Blair to resort to considerable deceit to manipulate their countries into war. That aside, the US has been no more interventionist than Britain or France, often less so, as in 1956.

Surely the US, UK and Israel are guilty of war crimes? BALALL MAQBOOL

In the case of Lebanon, there is little doubt. Ample reasons have been given by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and that's a bare beginning. But guilt extends far beyond. The Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq, for example, is a clear example of what the Nuremberg Tribunal determined to be "the supreme international crime", which encompasses all the evil that follows. We would do well to recall the eloquent words of Nuremberg chief counsel Justice Robert Jackson: "We are handing the defendants a 'poisoned chalice', and if we sip from it, we must accept the same judgement." The conclusions seem clear enough.

Do you think Israel is doing the West's dirty work by combating Hizbollah, i.e., Iran and Syria? ROBERT IANNONE, PARIS

For the people of the West, the US-Israeli invasion of Lebanon caused great harm, including the likely creation of new generations of jihadis. I doubt that the US-Israel are seeking "regime change" in Syria. However awful within (a matter of little Western concern), Assad is doing nothing about Israel's takeover of the Syrian Golan Heights in violation of Security Council orders and is generally preserving "stability"; and a successor might well be radical Islamist. On Iran, the US-Israel are pursuing policies that could cause great harm to the West (and the world). No space here to review that.

The first victims of the Communist oppression in Cuba were anarchists, so how can you, as a confessed Libertarian Socialist (Anarchist?) justify ideologically your uncritical visit in October 2003 to dictator Fidel Castro? CLAUDE MOREIRA, WELLING, LONDON

The "uncritical visit" is a fabrication of British editors. As they knew, I was an invited speaker (along with prominent British and American scholars) at an international conference of the society of Latin American scholars, which happened to meet that year in Havana, and used the opportunity to criticise state repression quite harshly on Cuban national TV and in a public meeting. Castro routinely met attendees. I've often actually met high officials of countries that have carried out incomparably worse crimes than anything attributed to Castro, even travelled to meet them, unlike this case: the US, to take the most obvious example.

Will Anarchism ever be taken seriously as a political philosophy? IAN DUNT

That's up to us.

Do you regret mocking the accounts of refugees fleeing Pol Pot's Cambodia? LIJIA FREEMAN, NEW YORK

The closest approximation to this ludicrous charge is that Edward Herman and I cited the best-informed sources then available on Cambodia, State Department intelligence and François Ponchaud, who made the familiar point that testimony of refugees must be treated with caution. I certainly do not regret that. The record of deceit on this topic is huge. It has all been refuted, point by point, many times. This is one illustration of an interesting feature of intellectual culture. Periodically, there are atrocities that we can blame on official enemies - what Herman calls "nefarious atrocities", unlike those for which we share responsibility and can therefore easily mitigate or terminate. The latter are regularly downplayed or suppressed. The nefarious atrocities regularly elicit religious fervour, dramatic posturing, baseless claims to inflate them as much as possible - and fury if anyone does not blindly join the parade, but seeks to determine the truth, cites the most reputable authorities, and exposes the innumerable fabrications. The common reaction to such treachery is an impressive torrent of deceit. There is an instructive record, quite well documented in many cases. The reasons are not hard to explain. The topic should be pursued systematically, but that is unlikely, obviously.

The anti-globalisation movement, which you have lent your support to, appears to have run out of steam. Is this a lost battle? DANNY CAMPBELL, CARDIFF

The term "globalisation" is conventionally used to refer to the specific form of investor-rights integration designed by wealth and power, for their own interests. The "anti-globalisation movement" is the most significant proponent of globalisation - but in the interests of people, not concentrations of state-private power. The people from all over the world and all walks of life who meet annually in Porto Alegre, Mumbai, etc, are far more representative of globalisation than those who gather at the same time in Davos.

This global justice movement is expanding in significant ways. Among the many illustrations is the proliferation of regional and local social forums, with similar concerns but focusing on more specific problems. Other illustrations are the exciting developments taking place in South America. And there are many others.

Bono called you "The Elvis of Academia"? What do you actually think of his music (Elvis, not Bono)? And how do you find the time to read so much? HICH, NOTTINGHAM

Afraid all I know about Elvis is what I hear from my grandchildren. On reading, you're touching a sore point. It's painful to be able to read so little of what I should.

You like to scoff at "elites". But you yourself are an important member of the intellectual elite. Doesn't your position contradict your anti-elitism? SPYRIDON KAMVISSIS, IRAKLION, GREECE

I don't recall scoffing at prominent figures in the arts and sciences, or at Martin Luther King and numerous others among the "elites". I do of course criticise "elites" and others who I think merit criticism, and the hierarchical and authoritarian structures that confer power on selected "elites". I hope you do so as well.

Don't you find it amazing that the UK is still a monarchy? I know I do. MARCUS DI STEFANO, LONDON

Some years ago, there was a debate in Australia over whether it should separate itself from the monarchy. In general, left-liberal opinion favoured doing so, but a philosopher on the left surprised everyone by writing in favour of the monarchy. His argument was that the ceremonies and reverence tend to undermine respect for power, a good thing, generally. But I can't comment on your question. That's up to people of the UK.

Is there any constructive role at all that religion can play in the contemporary world? B N PATNAIK KARNATAKA,INDIA

Sometimes, and in important ways. There is a good reason, for example, why the School of the Americas, which has trained many Latin American killers and torturers, boasts that the US army helped "defeat liberation theology". They are referring to the US-run wars in Central America, leaving hundreds of thousands of corpses and four countries ruined. The wars were substantially directed against the Church, which had committed a grave sin: taking the Gospels seriously and adopting "the preferential option for the poor". It therefore had to be punished. It's more than symbolic that the hideous decade of the 1980s opened with the assassination of an archbishop who was "a voice for the voiceless", and ended with the murder of six leading Latin American intellectuals, Jesuit priests, at the hands of an elite battalion that had already left a bloody trail of the usual victims, a battalion that was armed and trained by the people now in Washington, or their immediate mentors. We also learn something about ourselves from this gruesome record. Few in the West can even name the assassinated intellectuals. Suppose this had happened in Czechoslovakia in the same years. Those assassinated would be famous and revered. Outrage would have been uncontained. The lesson is not unique, nor insignificant.

After all the lies about the "war on terror", why has nobody in America started procedures to impeach George Bush? MARICARMEN SANDOVAL DE PASMANS, SINT ODILIENBERG, THE NETHERLANDS

There are several efforts, but there is unlikely to be any outcome in the absence of a genuine opposition party.

To what extent does the language of the Piraha tribe (which has no subordinate clauses, numbers or descriptive words) invalidate your work on linguistics? KEVIN RODGERS

The reports are interesting, but do not bear on the work of mine (along with many others). No one has proposed that languages must have subordinate clauses, number words, etc. Many structures of our language (and presumably that of the Piraha) are rarely if ever used in ordinary speech because of extrinsic constraints.

Why do you never appear on CNN or Fox News in the US. What are they afraid of? CHRISTINE NIXON, CANADA

It's not me, but anyone who goes beyond doctrinal bounds. It's easier for me (and others) to appear on CNN and Fox than on the major channels.

Why do you suppose it is so difficult for us Americans to create a real citizens' movement as a proper counterweight to the administration's power? HONORABLE ANNA TAYLOR, US DISTRICT COURT

The question is much too important for a brief answer. The level of activism is high, probably higher than the 1960s. But it is diffuse and not well-integrated. An ideal form of social control is an atomised collection of individuals focused on their own narrow concern, lacking the kinds of organisations in which they can gain information, develop and articulate their thoughts, and act constructively to achieve common ends. By many familiar mechanisms, that ideal has been approached in dangerous but not irreversible ways.

Is it time to give up on liberal democracy? PAUL ROGERS, VIETNAM

Reminds me of a comment attributed to Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilisation: "It might be a good idea".

Where do you find the courage? CAROLE CRAIG, IRELAND

For people as lucky as we are, it takes no courage.


The A for Anarchy in a circle, usually in red and spray-painted on the background, is one of the most successful images among political symbols. It was created during the 20th century and is therefore a much more modern symbol than the classical black flag of anarchism. Its origin is not known, but there is evidence that the symbol was used by some anarchists during the Spanish Civil War and later by the Belgium organization AOA (Alliance Ouvriere Anarchiste).

The Circle A is said to represent Proudhon’s maxim that “Anarchy is Order.” (The “A” is for anarchy and the circle is either a symbol of order or represents the “O.”) But the Circle A is also said to be a symbol of unity and determination, forwarding the anarchist ideals and the inevitable rebellion against the rulers. Anarchists are devoted to the re-establishment of freedom for everyone and the importance of the cause cannot be affected by outer restraints. The circle is therefore, to some extent, a shield against the oppressive society surrounding the sovereign anarchist.

The Circle A also lends support to the idea of international anarchist solidarity, where the circle encompassing the “A” for anarchy could be interpreted as a representation of the world. Anarchists are committed to the abolishment of all rule, coercive hierarchy and oppression--no matter where it exists. The unavoidable anarchist rebellion takes no prisoners and thus no tyrant is safe when the rebellion has begun.

No matter the origin and the true meaning of the symbol, the Circle A is a very powerful symbol of anarchism world-wide. It is very often seen spray-painted on walls and under bridges or on the background of a black flag of anarchism.

Get neat stuff with the Circle A here.

Download high-resolution images of the Circle A by clicking on the images below.

Circle A
Circle A
Circle A

*More from Wiki

August 29, 2006

Camp Democracy! Stake Out The White House! FINALLY!

Beginning September 5th, we will launch a non-partisan camp for peace, democracy, and the restoration of the rule of law. Camp Casey will move from Crawford, Texas, to Washington, D.C., to create a larger camp focused not only on ending the war but also on righting injustices here at home and on holding accountable the Bush Administration and Congress. Here's the schedule of what's happening each day from September 5th to 21st. Here are free rooms and rides. If you can send a bus and need help paying for it, ask us. If you need help filling it, post it on the board

We held a press conference on August 29, 2006, to announce Camp Democracy. It aired on C-Span. The Associated Press wrote an article. filmed the event, and has posted the one-hour video. The advisory that we sent to the media prior to the event has more information.

Full Text of Pres. Ahmadinejad's Letter to German Chancellor

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently forwarded a letter to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

This was President Ahmadinejad's second letter to the heads of western states, considering an earlier one he wrote to the US President, George W. Bush.

Unlike his first letter to Bush, President Ahmadinejad in his letter to Merkel, has touched on his country's nuclear issue, where he has stressed that Iran's decision for the acquisition of the nuclear technology is irrevocable.

What follows is the full text of President Ahmadinejad's letter to the German Chancellor.

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Her Excellency Angela Merkel
The Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Please accept my warmest greetings.

If it had not been for Germany being a great contributor to progress in science, philosophy, literature, arts and politics;

If it had not been for a more important and positive influence of Germany in international relations and promotion of peace;

Moreover, if it had not been for the persistence of a strong will by certain global powers and special groups to constantly portray Germany as defeated and indebted country of World War II in order to continue their extortions;

And if it had not been for the presence of Your Excellency at the top of the executive branch of your country as an experienced stateswoman with bitter and sweet experiences in two dissimilar societies with different political systems and traditions,

And at the same time, if it had not been for the advantages that are limited to women, such as stronger human sentiments and certain manifestations of the divine compassion and kindness, specially in the position of a mother and being at the service of the people, and the common responsibility of all people with faith in God to defend human dignity and worth and to prevent violations of their rights and their humiliation, and proceeding from this conviction that we are all created by the Almighty and He has bestowed upon us all dignity and no one has any special privileges over the other, and under no circumstances could a society be deprived of its rights, barred from pursuit of progress and perfection or be controlled or humiliated;

Finally, if it had not been for the oppression, however different, of our nations, our shared responsibility to promote justice as the most basic foundation for promotion of peace and human equality, I would not have found the motive to write this letter.

Honorable Chancellor
Rulers come and go, but people with culture and history and their attachments and desires will keep on staying. Opportunities in front of those in position of high power are transient, even if they may be vast and broad. These opportunities are very auspicious and can play a key role in the negative and positive transformations and developments of a nation.

Those in position of high power do not normally have many opportunities, but are accountable before the Almighty and people due to their high responsibility. We know this, and you know it as well.

Some of these developments can have regional, continental and global ramifications and can hardly be overlooked.

For sometime I have been thinking why some nations that their history shows they have indeed had an important and prominent share and role in material and spiritual progress of mankind in various arenas of science, arts, philosophy, literature and politics and were makers of civilization are not allowed to be proud as a nation of their historical accomplishments and play their deserved and constructive role on the global arena. They try to keep the black cloud of humiliation and shame hanging over their heads. And even more regrettably, some of the leaders of such a nation regard this situation befitting them and their nation and try to justify it. This is really an astonishing phenomenon in today's world. The propaganda machinery after World War II has been so colossal that has caused some people to believe that they are the guilty party by historical accounts and must pay the penalty fort the wrongs committed by their forefathers for successive generations and for indefinite period of time.

World War II came to an end with all its material and moral losses and its 60 million casualties. The death of human beings is tragic and sad. In all divine religions and before all awakened conscience and pure nature of mankind and the sense of right and wrong, the life, property and honor of people, regardless of their religious persuasion and ethnic background, must be respected at all times and all places.

Sixty years have passed since the end of the war. But, regrettably the entire world and some nations in particular are still facing its consequences. Even now the conduct of some bullying powers and power-seeking and aggressive groups is the conduct of victors with the vanquished.

The extortion and blackmail continue, and people are not allowed to think about or even question the source of this extortion, otherwise they face imprisonment. When will this situation end? Sixty years, one hundred years or one thousand years, when? I am sorry to remind you that today the perpetual claimants against the great people of Germany are the bullying powers and the Zionists that founded the Al-Qods Occupying Regime with the force of bayonets in the Middle East.

The Honorable Chancellor
I have no intention of arguing about the Holocaust. But, does it not stand to reason that some victorious countries of World War II intended to create an alibi on the basis of which they could continue keeping the defeated nations of World War II indebted to them. Their purpose has been to weaken their morale and their inspiration in order to obstruct their progress and power. In addition to the people of Germany, the peoples of the Middle East have also borne the brunt of the Holocaust. By raising the necessity of settling the survivors of the Holocaust in the land of Palestine, they have created a permanent threat in the Middle East in order to rob the people of the region of the opportunities to achieve progress. The collective conscience of the world is indignant over the daily atrocities by the Zionist occupiers, destruction of homes and farms, killing of children, assassinations and bombardments.

Excellency, you have seen that the Zionist government does not even tolerate a government elected by the Palestinian people, and over and over again has demonstrated that it recognizes no limit in attacking the neighboring countries.

The question is why did the victors of the war, especially England that had apparently such a strong sense of responsibility toward the survivors of the Holocaust not allow them to settle in their territory. Why did they force them to migrate to other people's land by launching a wave of anti-Semitism? Using the excuse for the settlement of the survivors of the Holocaust, they encouraged the Jews worldwide to migrate and today a large part of the inhabitants of the occupied territories are non-European Jews. If tyranny and killing is condemned in one part of the world, can we acquiesce and go along with tyranny, killing, occupation and assassinations in another part of the world simply in order to redress the past wrongs?

We need to ask ourselves that for what purposes the millions of dollars that the Zionists receive from the treasury of some Western countries are spent for. Are they used for the promotion of peace and the well-being of the people? Or are they used for waging war against Palestinians and the neighboring countries. Are the nuclear arsenals of Israel intended to be used in defense of the survivors of the Holocaust or as a permanent thereat against nations of the region and as an instrument of coercion, and possibly to defend the interests of certain circles of power in the Western countries.

Regrettably, the influence of the Zionists in the economy, media and some centers of political power has endangered interests of the European nations and has robbed them of many opportunities. The main alibi for this approach is the extortion they exact from the Holocaust.

One can imagine what standing some European countries could have had and what global role they could have played, if it had not been for this sixty-year old imposition.

I believe we both share the view that the flourishing of nations and their role are directly related to freedom and sense of pride.

Fortunately, with all the pressures and limitations, the great nation of Germany has been able to take great strides toward advancement and has become a major economic powerhouse in Europe that also seeks to play a more effective role in international interactions. But just imagine where Germany would be today in terms of its eminence among the freedom-loving nations, Muslims of the world and peoples of Europe, if such a situation did not exist and the governments in power in Germany had said no to the extortions by the Zionists and had not supported the greatest enemy of mankind.

It is sad to admit that Europe has lost a lot of its clout in global interactions and has not been able to face and overcome major challenges by relying on itself. This is, of course, understandable. The big powers outside of the continent intend to prove that Europe cannot rely on itself and do anything without their help and intervention.

Our people have also suffered from the interventions by some of the victors of the war after World War II. For many years they interfered in our internal affairs and did not want to see our nation conquer the pinnacles of progress and perfection. They had their eyes on our natural wealth, above all on our energy resources. To secure their own interests, they overthrew the legally constituted government of the time, installed a dictatorial regime and supported it to the end. Later, they supported Saddam in the war imposed on our people and observed no humanitarian boundary in their support for the Iraqi dictator. Our nation has experienced the pain and anguish from the interferences of those who are now crying out for human rights. There are still many suffering from the wounds and injuries of this war.

Many of these aggressions have taken place by those who regard themselves the victors of the World War II. They allow themselves to do whatever they wish, and unfortunately, after the end of the Cold War, the arrogance and expansionist ambitions of these powers have escalated.

We believe that still a major part of the peoples of the world and even international organizations are under the influence of the behavior and the conduct of the victors of the World War II.

I explained the position of the people and government of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the United Nations General Assembly. Is the present state of affairs such as the rules governing the work of the Security Council, especially the right to veto, fair?

Do you not think that the time has come to change these rules in cooperation with independent governments? These rules are by no means acceptable to the collective conscience of nations and are contrary to the sense of reason and human nature. At least, if we want to be fairer, some other countries of the world should be allowed to benefit from the right to veto.

Madam Chancellor
You are familiar with the pains and sufferings currently afflicting our world. Today, the pain and suffering of the people of Iraq that come from occupation, absence of security and daily acts of terrorism are tormenting the entire humanity. Relentless interferences of some bullying powers in the internal affairs of other nations, antagonism toward the inalienable rights of nations to have access to more advanced technologies, subjecting nations to permanent threats by relying on arsenals of chemical and nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, opposition to popular governments in Latin America, supporting coup d'état and dictatorial regimes, absence of due attention to Africa and taking advantage of the power vacuum there to plunder their wealth are among the problems facing our world today. In my letter to President Bush, I spelled out a long list of contemporary global problems.

Where are the roots of these problems? How long can they continue? Do you not think that the main root lies in the fact that some of the rulers and powers of today have distanced themselves from the teachings of the divine prophets, the teachings of Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) and the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).

These teachings are in all divine religions that you and I believe:
· God is the creator of all things and beings. We have all been created free and He has not allowed us to be the servant of anyone other than Him.

· He has commanded us to worship Him and to avoid all oppressors and tyrants.

· He has commanded us to be virtuous, to be good to and serve the people, and has directed us to be kind to and defend the oppressed and fight the oppressors.

· God has given humans dignity and scorns their humiliation.

· He has sent his messengers with clear reasons, the Book and a balance and has called on his servants to promote justice.

Based on these shared principles and foundations of our faith, we believe:
· Peace and tranquility can only be established and endure on the basis of faith in God and justice.

· Peace and dignity are the rights of all nations.

· Pursuit of progress and better livelihood combined with spirituality, compassion and well-being is the right of people.

· You and we can found a new movement to achieve these noble human ideals by relying on these principles and the articles of faith that are common to all divine religions.

Our nations believe and are committed to these pillars of faith. The history has shown that the people of Iran are not familiar with aggressing and brutalizing other nations. Nevertheless, we do not allow being the subject and victim of aggression and brutality. The experience of the eight-year war clearly demonstrated this fact to the whole world.

I believe we and you have both been the subject of tyranny. They do not respect your rights and want us also to forego our rights. Fortunately, I have heard that you also speak your mind openly and are against engendering tension and wars.

Honorable Chancellor,
The inner instincts and nature of the peoples of the world have wakened up.

Tendency toward faith in the oneness of God is on the rise.

People will no longer tolerate to be tyrannized, humiliated and their rights violated.

The prevailing circumstances today differ from those of yesterday. Multiple standards and approaches in relations will not endure.

Iran and Germany can play a more important role together in the international arena by relying on the noble and high values.

This cooperative relationship can also enhance the role of Europe on the global scene and serve as a model of cooperation between two governments and nations.

Without doubt, cooperation of two peace-loving, powerful and cultured nations of Germany and Iran will serve the interests of Europe as well. Together we must end the present abnormalities in international relations, the type of order and relations that are based on the impositions of the victors of the World War II on the defeated nations. Nations and many governments will be on our side on this path.

We must make the shadow of World War II disappear and help the international community to promote security, freedom and sense of tranquility.

The people of Iran and Germany are two great nations that have contributed to the making of our civilization. They have rich culture and have been in the forefront of science, literature, arts and philosophy. Both of our people have a strong faith in God and follow the teachings of divine prophets. They have also had long-lasting scientific, cultural and commercial relations and share many valuable mutual interests.

I have no doubt that with the cooperation of the two governments and the support of the two great nations we can take great strides forward in alleviating the problems and abnormalities of our world today.

Daring and courageous decisions are the key to our success in overcoming the existing problems, countering the violations of rights and defending the rights of nations.

To the extent that I know of the people of Germany, they will come along and join us and want restore their dignity and influence for the sake of global peace and calm. Our people have the similar spirit.

Together we will be able to prove to some powers that respecting other nations and their rights is good for them as well. Our two nations and governments, next to each other, will be able to play a fundamental role in promoting peace, security, progress, and human dignity at the scale of two countries and internationally.

In closing, I pray to the Almighty for the success of Your Excellency and the government and people of Germany.


by Byron J. Richards, CCN

August 24, 2006

On Friday, August 18, 2006, the FDA approved a viral cocktail to be sprayed on foods we eat. This is the first time viruses have been approved for use as food additives. The FDA wants you to believe it will be safe to consume these viruses every day for the rest of your life with no adverse health effects. This is a monumental announcement by the FDA, indicating they are throwing all caution to the wind regarding the safety of our food supply.

Are you willing to stand in line for a virus-laden sandwich? How do you like the idea of buying virus-infested food for your family? The first virally contaminated foods entering our food supply with the blessings of the FDA will be luncheon meat and poultry. Live viruses will be sprayed on foods such as cold cuts, sausages, hot dogs, sliced turkey, and chicken.

At issue is the very real problem of a poor quality FDA-approved food supply that is already full of diseased and sickly animals, many of them imported from other countries. The use of antibiotics during growth and radiation during food processing is required by the fast-food animal farms owned by multi-national companies to cover up the horrendous health of the animals they wish to feed to Americans. Animals in poor health are a friendly place for bacteria to grow and prosper, especially after such meat goes to market. Rather than address the source of the problem, the FDA wants to add another adulteration into our food supply.

The stated goal of the new FDA-approved viruses is to kill a rare bacterium known as Listeria monocytogenes. This bacterium is killed by cooking; however, it poses a problem in meats that are cooked during processing and not cooked again prior to consumption, so it can readily infect foods such as deli meats.

Yes, the FDA plans to use one infectious organism to fight another. The carnage of battle will end up in your digestive tract along with the victorious live viruses, which the FDA assures us will not attack human cells. However, they cannot possibly be certain the viruses will not attack the friendly bacteria that make up the lining of your digestive tract. The FDA approval was based on scant human testing, mostly from unrelated medical experiments. Such safety data is woefully inadequate to determine safe ingestion of a specific product by humans over the course of a lifetime.

Turning Loose the Bacteria-Killing Viruses

The company that produces these biotech viruses is Baltimore-based Intralytix, Inc. The viruses are known as bacteriophages, viruses that kill bacteria, or phages for short. Phages have been around a long time, living as parasites inside many bacteria.

Intralytix uses biotechnology to grow viral phages in a culture with Listeria, in theory teaching the viruses to recognize the bacteria. The FDA-approved cocktail contains six different viruses intended to attack one strain of bacteria.

This concoction is then sprayed on food. If Listeria is present in the food, the bacteria will ingest the viruses. This results in massive viral replication inside the bacteria, until such point as the bacteria simply bursts. This battle results in significant production of bacterial poisons called “endotoxins”, as the bacteria tries to defend itself. When the bacteria burst, these endotoxins are released. These, along with the victorious live viruses, will now be on the food that will be eaten.

The FDA and Intralytix would like us to believe that these viruses will only attack the specified bacteria they are intended to kill and will be harmless to humans. I’m sorry to burst their bubble, but they can’t possibly guarantee such safety. It is true that the viruses, at least at this time, cannot recognize human cells. However, the virus can potentially recognize normal bacterial cells in the human digestive tract and may be able to adapt to infect one or more of these friendly bacteria.

The FDA Certainly Knows There Are Risks

The FDA had some concerns about the amount of bacterial endotoxin in the Intralytix product before it is sprayed; however, FDA tests apparently showed that the product was adequately purified and so they declared it safe if used as approved. Will the FDA diligently monitor the quality of this product once it is on the market, or will it go the path of many FDA-approved drugs that the agency can’t keep track of?

There is certainly a risk that humans will be exposed to excessive amounts of endotoxin. This could come from the manufacturing of the viral cocktail, the interaction of the viruses with bacteria after being sprayed on food, and/or the interaction of the viruses with bacteria in the digestive tract.

The human immune system is highly reactive and sensitive to bacterial endotoxins. They provoke allergy, asthma, autoimmune problems, and elevate cholesterol. They also interfere with the healthy function of cells lining the digestive tract. Researchers have demonstrated that the presence of bacterial endotoxins can start cancer in the colon.

Additionally, the human immune system reacts directly to viral phages. Thus, a person who eats a lot of processed deli meat is certain to evoke an immune reaction to the viruses. What will this reaction be? Allergy? Asthma? Autoimmunity? Cancer? How can the FDA approve a food additive that it knows can induce a variety of human immune responses? Phages are so good at disrupting normal immunity that they are being considered for use as part of organ transplant medicine.

The ingestion of significant amounts of viral phages into the human digestive tract is a wild card full of unknown outcomes. For example, it is certainly possible that these phages, which constantly mutate in order to survive, are likely to find a way to infect bacteria they were not intended to infect. Since phages are parasites, they could hijack the friendly bacteria of the digestive tract and turn them into viral machines, constantly generating viral particles that are likely to confuse the human immune system, if not directly infect the body. We know from history that these viral phages can turn innocuous bacteria into a killer, which is how cholera occurs.

Furthermore, the Listeria bacteria are not going to take the issue lying down. They will develop resistance to the viruses over time, as we have seen with the overuse of antibiotics. Going down this path we are likely to have hundreds of viral food additives in the food we eat, all designed to combat some possible infection coming from poor quality food. Sooner or later we will inadvertently create deadly new super-strains of bacteria and/or parasitically infect the human digestive tract with an untreatable infection.

There is also the very real possibility of unintended viral recombination. What happens when a person with viral stomach flu eats food containing a dose of this viral food additive? It is certainly possible for the genetic material of the flu virus to interact with the genetic material of the viral phages, provoking an undesirable new viral infection.

Let’s not forget that the FDA won’t tell us which foods in the food supply contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). Seventy percent of the packaged food on grocery shelves already contains GMO adulterated food. These foods have viral promoter genes woven into the DNA of every cell, a technique used to implant a pesticide toxin into every cell of this fake food (see Fight for Your Health, chapter 15). What happens when the viral phages interact with the viral promoter genes in GMO food? What new virus will be encouraged to form?

Keep in mind that the FDA wants to conduct this experiment on our food supply to protect a small minority, only about 2500 people, who are made seriously ill by this infection each year. The ill are mostly pregnant women, elderly with compromised immunity, and small children. It would be a lot more to the point if the FDA would simply warn such people that eating these foods, due to their poor quality of production, may be dangerous. What the FDA should really do is improve the quality of our food supply, the true source of the problem. Why expose millions of Americans to an unproven ingestion of live viruses for the benefit of so few?

The FDA has failed miserably for the past century to protect the public from the adulteration of our food supply by vested interests. This is just one more insult added to a long list of injuries.

The Tip of an Iceberg

Intralytix has an agenda for the American food supply, as well as for healthcare in general. This recent FDA ruling allows Intralytix and other similar biotech companies to get their foot in a door that should be slammed shut and bolted closed.

The company is also seeking FDA approval for viral sprays to treat foods that could be contaminated with E. coli and Salmonella, which means that similar “trained” viruses could end up in a majority of the protein foods in our food supply.

Intralytix sees financial opportunity. They have already licensed their now FDA-approved viral spray to an undisclosed multi-national company for use around the world. When the CEO of Intralytix, John Vazzara, was recently asked about this partner company, he refused to disclose their name. The grand profit-driven biotech experiment on the health and well being of all Americans is now in full swing.

John Vazzara also owns stock in, as well as provided seed money to start, SteelCloud Inc. (formerly Dunn Computer Corporation). SteelCloud is a defense contractor with lucrative deals with the Department of Defense, recently landing a 3.4 million dollar contract with the Department of Homeland Security.

Congress should investigate the financial ties and backroom dealings that would allow this bizarre food additive approval by the FDA.

Of course, we will need new wonder drugs to combat the new bio-tech produced infections. Americans will stay sick and the sickness-driven bio-tech industry will flourish. The bio-tech industry will make people sick on the front end and treat them on the back end. It’s a win-win situation for profit on illness.

The FDA is Rapidly Becoming a Public Enemy

Experimenting with viruses being added to the food supply is incredibly dangerous and reckless. It is completely impossible for the FDA to guarantee safety in the near term or the long term. Thus, the FDA has made the bureaucratic decision that relative safety is acceptable to them. What right does the FDA have to tamper with the food supply in this manner?

It is quite clear that the Bush agenda has been to promote American biotech companies as the new future for American prosperity. Administrative opinions have trumped science in virtually every situation wherein safety conflicts with profit. The FDA acts to foster profits for biotech companies and the growth of the biotech industry. This is a betrayal of the public trust.

The leaders of the FDA are personally responsible and need to be held accountable. This means Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., temporary head of the FDA and his chief science officer, Scott Gottlieb, M.D. These men are not only obsessed with approving risky drugs for the benefits of Big Pharma, it is now clear that they are willing to allow obvious adulteration of the food supply. They seek to control what we eat, and they are tampering with survival of the human race.

The FDA does not truly know how safe viral phages are to consume on a regular basis. They have no idea of the cumulative effect over the course of a lifetime, especially as more of these viral cocktails are added to the food supply. They have no way to measure how this new type of adulteration in the food supply will interact with the poor digestive/immune health of half the American population, in combination with all the other serious adulterations already approved by the FDA. The FDA lacks due diligence in honoring its mandate to protect the American public.

Boycott Viral Tainted Foods, Support Your Sustainable Farmers

The only hope Americans have is to resurrect the quality of our food supply. Doing so is against the odds, as there are billions of dollars of profit-mongering taking our food supply in the wrong direction. One day Americans will realize that food security is as important to national security as any other topic. It is now crystal clear that we cannot count on the FDA to do the job that Harvey Wiley, M.D., envisioned one-hundred years ago.

Consumers standing in line to buy a luncheon meat sandwich will have no idea if they are ingesting live viruses as part of their meal. While the FDA will require the ingredient to be listed on packages as “bacteriophage preparation,” most consumers will have no idea that means they are ingesting live viruses. Foods bought at deli counters or prepared in restaurants will not need to warn consumers.

How can any responsible parent feed virus-tainted food to their children? The FDA should be forced to revoke this approval. Every American has an obligation to support food security for our nation. Congress must correct the leadership at the FDA and the FDA itself. Americans must quit buying poor quality toxic food. Your greatest ability to change this problem is based entirely on what you purchase.

Get connected to the sustainable family farms in your community. Buy meat that is range raised without antibiotics and synthetic growth hormones. Demand that the food you are eating is labeled with a country of origin. Buy American; buy locally-produced food whenever possible. Support those who truly believe in being the stewards of our land and food for our people and for future generations. These good people are being squashed out of existence by multi-national agribusiness, companies that could truly care less about the quality of our food supply or the security and health of Americans. How you spend your money is your most powerful vote. Vote for those who care.

Practical Anarchism: the unlikely Bakuninists

From Freedom
A massive, unsung, but very anarchistic educational network is spanning the UK. Martyn Everett investigates

Asked to give examples of how anarchist ideas work in practice most anarchists would probably suggest the collectivisation of industry during the Spanish Revolution. If pressed to give more recent examples then some of the surviving small-scale worker co-operatives set up since the late 1960s, or free schools such as Summerhill might be suggested. [For the fourth age!]

Yet there is one successful organisation that few people would think about, and that is the University of the Third Age (U3A) which was established as a way of providing further education to the over 45s.

Deliberately set up in the early 1980s as an independent community-based “Mutual Aid University”, and now has a network of 574 local groups covering most of the major towns and cities in the UK, and members in many small rural communities.

Although the numbers of elderly people studying in state-controlled further education has spiralled downwards, total membership of the U3A currently stands at over 153,00 (February 2006), and increases yearly.

The U3A adopted a healthy anti-authoritarian approach right from the outset, so that the formal role of the tutor was challenged and usually abandoned altogether.

As Eric Midwinter wrote in an early account of the U3A: “Those who teach will be encouraged also to learn and those who learn shall also teach, or in other ways assist in the functioning of the institution – e.g. through counselling other members, offering tuition and help to the housebound, bedridden and hospitalised, by assisting in research projects, by helping to provide intellectual stimulus for the mass of the elderly in Britain.”

The deliberate decision to abandon formal tutoring whenever possible was a social rather than an economic decision, based on the “assemblage of experience and skills which is the automatic gift of the third age.
By dint of living, working and travelling, enjoying hobbies and holidays, fighting wars, raising children “a veritable treasury of knowledge is spontaneously available and it is the task of the U3A to mobilise and channel the resource which otherwise would … be
Pitifully wasted.”

This is how one member of Ealing U3A describes their organisation: “Interest Groups are the heart of the U3A movement. Groups meet mainly in each other's homes. Someone with particular expertise and knowledge takes on the role of teacher, leading each session. Alternatively, a member acts as secretary and helper with group members taking it in turn to lead a meeting. Groups generally meet fortnightly or monthly and everyone pays 20 pence a meeting to cover tea and coffee.”

“The movement is a self-help organisation. Most of the teaching and tuition comes from the ranks of its own members. It is a unique educational self-help co-operative. While each U3A is an autonomous unit responsible for organising its programme, the Third
Age Trust - of which all local U3As are members - provides local U3As with administrative and educational resources and support to help in running their groups. It organises "subject networks" of individuals who are willing to assist others in their particular field of study, e.g. languages, history, geology etc.”

“As leadership comes from the members themselves, a U3A member may be a student in one group one day and the leader or tutor the next. It is not always necessary to have an expert as a leader. In some subjects, members learn from each other and the role of the leader is to encourage everyone to take part.

Interest groups are often quite small with meetings or classes taking place in members' homes. Not only does this save on accommodation costs, it makes for friendly contact among members.”
In Norwich the U3A has over 700 members and more than 40 active groups studying computing, science environmental sciences, seven different languages, arts, crafts, literature, poetry, theatre, and nearly 20 leisure subjects, including music appreciation, bowls, philosophy and vegetarian cooking.

While state-sponsored adult education now only runs courses that result in certificated qualifications, the U3A does not mark or grade educational activity, and the rigid boundaries between education and leisure have been dropped.

In the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Peter Kropotkin defined anarchism as a society without government, explaining that social harmony in anarchist society would not be achieved by “by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilised being.”

He went on to describe how this might be realised: “In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the State in all its functions. They would represent an interwoven network, composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international - temporary or more or less permanent - for all possible purposes: production, consumption and exchange, communications, sanitary arrangements, education, mutual protection, defence of the territory, and so on; and, on the other side, for the satisfaction of an ever increasing number of scientific, artistic, literary and sociable needs."
( Peter Kropotkin, “Anarchism”, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1905.)

The U3A provides a living example of how people can organise effectively to bypass and replace the state, demonstrating a method that can be adapted to other forms of social activity. Of course there are limits to what has been achieved, and no doubt in some groups informal hierarchy may still exist.

But if member’s personal experience of non-hierarchical organisation can be extended into other activities such as credit unions, housing co-ops, communal allotments, then the social basis for informal hierarchy will diminish.

The experience of the U3A demonstrates that in their daily lives people organise in ways which are both autonomous and anti-authoritarian because they provide effective solutions to social problems, even if as individuals they do not advocate anarchism as a political philosophy. Our role as anarchists is to argue that the central principles of anarchism – autonomy, mutual aid, self-help and direct action – are important as forms of social organisation that provide a practical social basis for the reconstruction of society.
The members of the U3A have quietly established one of the largest movements for libertarian education in Europe, and in doing so have demonstrated that the state is redundant.

- From Freedom anarchist newspaper -