Berkeley suspends Palestine class midway through semester

A University of California, Berkeley class, ‘Palestine: A Settler-Colonial Analysis’, was suspended after Chancellor Nicholas Dirks determined that the student teaching the course had not followed the appropriate procedures for its approval.

The one-credit student-taught class has become the center of a bitter debate. The class was meant to teach the history of Palestine “from the 1880s to the present, through the lens of settler colonialism,” its syllabus once read, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The syllabus has since been removed.

The class was a part of Berkeley’s DeCal program, or Democratic Education at Cal. The premise is not revolutionary; students teach one-credit classes to other students on a pass/fail basis.

Some of these classes offer challenging topics like professional speaking, cryptocurrency and faith-based debates. Other classes are more fun, like ones about Korean drumming, introduction to baking and meditation classes.

However, the class on Palestine’s history was removed after Chancellor Dirks received a letter from 43 Jewish and civil rights groups that claimed the class was acting as political indoctrination that encouraged students “to hate the Jewish state and take action to eliminate it.

The letter published on Tuesday accused both the student, Paul Hadweh, and the faculty advisor, Hatem Bazian, of having “extreme anti-Zionist political orientation.” Hadweh is a member of the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine, and Bazian is the chairman of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP).

The letter points out that the class is the only politically motivated DeCal class and claimed that much of the assigned course reading is from authors who have either called for an academic boycott of Israel, called for the dismantling of Israel, or both.

However, the letter did not call for a suspension of the class. Rather, it wanted a stricter policy that would prevent future classes from not meeting requirements from the Regents Policy on Course Content.

The Board of Regents stance on student led courses does ban “misuse of the classroom by, for example, allowing it to be used for political indoctrination.” The problem is that political indoctrination is given no definition, leaving it open ended for potentially any politically charged course to potentially be against its policies.

As a result, Dirks’ office responded by telling the groups that the class “did not receive a sufficient degree of scrutiny to ensure that the syllabus met Berkeley’s academic standards,” according to the Chronicle.

Dirks spokesman claimed that Hadweh “did not comply with policies and procedures that govern the normal academic review.” He explained that Hadweh’s syllabus had not been seen or approved by the dean of the College of Letters and Sciences.

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Suspension of controversial Palestine class at UC Berkeley sparks debate

Critics argued that the course, which studied Palestine ‘through the lens of settler colonialism’, was anti-Israel and antisemitic

The University of California, Berkeley has suspended a course dedicated to studying Palestine “through the lens of settler colonialism”, sparking international debate about academic freedom.

The course at UC Berkeley – entitled Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis – faced intense backlash this week from Jewish organizations, which argued that the class was “anti-Israel and antisemitic” and “intended to indoctrinate students to hate the Jewish state”.

After a stream of negative news stories and editorials, the northern California school, considered the top public university in the US, announced that it was suspending the class because it “did not receive a sufficient degree of scrutiny to ensure that the syllabus met Berkeley’s academic standards”.

Israel advocates and antisemitism watchdog groups applauded the decision and called for an overview of the course review process. But pro-Palestine organizations, along with some faculty members at UC Berkeley, have criticized the suspension, arguing that administrators were silencing viewpoints and prioritizing public relations over academic discourse.

The dispute comes at a time of increasing tensions between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine university activists, with Jewish donors and organizations launching coordinated campaigns to counter a growing Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) movement across the US.

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America’s New Demons and the Second Coming of the Neocons

by Andrew Levine

The horror of a Clinton v. Trump election is making everybody who pays attention a little crazy. Not paying attention isn’t easy – not with everybody hooked into social (actually anti-social) media and with“ news” and commentary coming from every direction.

The hypocrisy is breathtaking.In the midst of it all, the American propaganda system, the one that supposedly doesn’t exist, has gone berserk — targeting RT America (formerly Russia Today).

Anyone who relies on The New York Times or The Washington Post or NPR or, worse, CNN or MSNBC, to find out what’s shaking – or rather what the guardians of the status quo want people to think is shaking (and “fit to print”) — and who also has access to RT America on satellite TV or a handful of cable stations, or who goes to the trouble of watching it over the internet, will know what I mean.

RT America is a better source for news and commentary than America’s finest by many orders of magnitude.  It is less biased too.

The Russian government funds it, but this doesn’t make its output propaganda – not unless anything funded by governments is propaganda by definition. RT America is more like the BBC or CBC than, say, Radio Free Europe.

The New York Times and the others, NPR excepted, get no government funding; their money comes from advertisers. They therefore spew out truckloads of commercial propaganda. NPR does too – not according to legal fictions of their own contrivance, according to which advertisers become “underwriters,” but in effect.

The American public, comprised of individuals taught from birth to venerate the invisible hand of the market and to derogate the visible hand of the state, doesn’t hold that against them. This is one reason why the idea that America’s “free press” is a propaganda system goes against the grain.

But “by their fruits, ye shall know them.” The only way to deny that America’s free press produces propaganda is, again, by definition.

This always becomes clear in time; when it no longer matters. For example, the anti-Communist propaganda of the 1950s, a staple of respectable media outlets at the time, nowadays seems like a total and complete hoot.

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This Is How Much It ‘Costs’ To Get An Ambassadorship: Guccifer 2.0 Leaks DNC ‘Pay-To-Play’ Donor List

By Tyler Durden

After addressing a cybersecuirty conference in London, notorious hacker ‘Guccifer’ shared over 500Mb of documents detailing 100,000 DNC donors contact info and donations. A large number of the largest donors received senior diplomatic or political positions following the donations, ranging from UK Ambassador to Assistant Attorney General. The DNC released a statement pre-emptively claiming that this was the work of Russia (and reigniting Trump’s links to Putin).

Here is the first cut of the alleged major donors on the leaked documents and the positions they received (via Magafeed.com)

  • #1 Matthew Berzun … Ambassador to UK
  • #2 Julius Genachowski … Former chairman to FCC
  • #3 Frank Sanchez…. Under secretary of commerce
  • #8 Kirk Wagner… Ambassador to Singapore
  • #9 Alan Solomont … Ambassador to Spain
  • #11 John Roos… Ambassador to Japan
  • #12 Nicole Avant… Ambassador to Bahamas
  • #13 Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe … Ambassador to the UN
  • #16 Steve Westly – CFO of California
  • #17 Don Beyer – Ambassador to Switzerland
  • #21 Don Gips – Ambassador to South Africa
  • #22 Howard Gutman – Ambassador to Belgium
  • #24 Cynthia Stroum – Ambassador to Luxembourg
  • #27 Mark Gilbert – Ambassador to New Zealand
  • #31 Norm Eisen – Ambassador to Czech Republic
  • #37 Bruce Oreck – Ambassador to Finland
  • #43 Tony West – deputy Attorney General
  • #45 Bill Kennard – Ambassador to EU

 

The DNC responded to the latest hack claim Tuesday through its Interim Chair Donna Brazile, who stated that the “DNC is the victim of a crime,” which she blamed on “Russian state-sponsored agents,” while also cautioning that the hacked documents were still being authenticated by the DNC legal team, as “it is common for Russian hackers to forge documents.” DNC pre-emptively published a statement in an attempt to change the narrative…

Once again blaming Russia (and Trump)… As RT reports, it’s not the first time that the name of Vladimir Putin has been brought up in the US presidential campaign, but this time the US president used this “argument” while openly campaigning for Clinton against Trump. The situation has become “really ludicrous and it borders on the ridiculous,” believes Gregory R. Copley, editor of Defense & Foreign Affairs.

“In my 50 odd years covering the US government, I have never seen this level of partisanship within the administration where a sitting president actually regards the opposition party as the enemy of the state,” Copley told RT.

The analyst said that the democrats are “blaming the messenger to revert the attention from the message.”

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THE LARGEST PRISON STRIKE IN U.S. HISTORY ENTERS ITS SECOND WEEK

By Alice Speri

THE LARGEST PRISON strike in U.S. history has been going on for nearly a week, but there’s a good chance you haven’t heard about it. For months, inmates at dozens of prisons across the country have been organizing through a network of smuggled cellphones, social media pages, and the support of allies on the outside. The effort culminated in a mass refusal to report to prison jobs on September 9, the anniversary of the 1971 Attica prison uprising.

“This is a call to action against slavery in America,” organizers wrote in an announcement that for weeks circulated inside and outside prisons nationwide, and that sums up the strikers’ primary demand: an end to free prison labor. “Forty-five years after Attica, the waves of change are returning to America’s prisons. This September we hope to coordinate and generalize these protests, to build them into a single tidal shift that the American prison system cannot ignore or withstand.”

Since Friday, details on the strike’s success have trickled out of prisons with some difficulty, but organizers and supporters have no doubt the scale of the action is unprecedented, though their assessment is difficult to verify and some corrections departments denied reports of strike-related activities in their states.

Prisoners in 24 states and 40 to 50 prisons pledged to join the strike, and as of Tuesday, prisoners in at least 11 states and 20 prisons continued the protest, according to outside supporters in Alabama. Tactics and specific demands varied locally, with some prisoners reportedly staging hunger strikes, and detainees in Florida protesting and destroying prison property ahead of the planned strike date.

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With the US “liberal media” now serving, more than ever, as a mammoth fount of state disinformation— pushing us toward more and ever bigger wars—Robert Parry is a journalistic hero, giving us a vital daily antidote to all those toxic lies.

We can’t afford to lose that antidote; and so I’m asking you to help support Consortiumnews,com, Bob’s must-read website, where you can find not only his own writings but the work of other sharp (and sane) observers, too, including Jonathan Marshall, Ray McGovern and Don North.

Their work is free, but it does not come cheap; so please help keep that website going, and do it now.

MCM


 

From Editor Robert Parry:

When we launched Consortiumnews in 1995, our goal was to be a site for investigative-style journalism, which has remained our core product to this day. But – to my surprise – a number of ex-intelligence analysts and former diplomats also were willing to contribute their knowledge and expertise to this endeavor.

So, we developed a relationship with these former government officials, many of whom also are part of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. While I realize this connection to the intelligence world worries some readers, it is my judgment that our readership benefits greatly from these thoughtful former insiders who know how things really work in government, much as I have insights into the mainstream media because I worked in it for many years.

This combination of insider knowledge and a lack of fear about being cast outside the mainstream for telling the truth is, I think, what makes Consortiumnews unique and why it is important that we raise enough money to keep this almost 21-year-old project alive.

So, please contribute what you can with a donation by credit card online (we accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover), by PayPal (our PayPal account is named after our original email address, “consortnew @ aol.com”), or by mailing a check to Consortium for Independent Journalism (CIJ); 2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 102-231; Arlington VA 22201.

We also are registered with PayPal’s Giving Fund under the name Consortium for Independent Journalism. And, since we are a 501-c-3 non-profit, donations by American taxpayers may be tax-deductible.

And, we are offering a special thank-you gift for those who can give $125 or more – or if you set up a recurring monthly donation by credit card or PayPal.

You can receive a signed copy of the new edition of my second book, Trick or Treason, which was originally published in 1993 and has been long out of print. It tells the inside story of my PBS-Frontline investigation of the 1980 October Surprise mystery (whether Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush sabotaged President Carter’s Iran-hostage negotiations to ensure their electoral victory). There is also a new “Afterword” that brings the story up to the present day.

As part of the gift package, we are including a DVD of the Frontline documentary, “Election Held Hostage,” the 1991 program that resulted from the investigation.

If you wish to get this book-and-DVD thank-you gift, just follow up your donation with an e-mail to us atinfo@consortiumnews.com with instructions on where to mail it. We’ll pay the shipping charges.

Another way to help is to buy a five-book set of my other books – Fooling America, Lost History, Secrecy & Privilege, Neck Deep and America’s Stolen Narrativethrough the Web site at a deep discount price, with part of each purchase going to the fund drive.

Thanks for your support and for making our two decades-plus of honest journalism possible. Our work could not happen without your help.

Robert Parry is a longtime investigative reporter who broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for the Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. He founded Consortiumnews.com in 1995 to create an outlet for well-reported journalism that was being squeezed out of an increasingly trivialized U.S. news media.


Did an Industry Front Group Create Fake Twitter Accounts to Promote the Dakota Access Pipeline?

by Steve Horn

A DeSmog investigation has revealed the possibility that a front group supporting the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) — the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) — may have created fake Twitter profiles, known by some as “sock puppets,” to convey a pro-pipeline message over social media. And MAIN may be employing the PR services of the firm DCI Group, which has connections to the Republican Party, in order to do so.

DeSmog tracked down at least 16 different questionable Twitter accounts which used the #NoDAPL hashtag employed by protesters, in order to claim that opposition to the pipeline kills jobs, that those protesting the pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s encampment use violence, and that the pipeline does not pose a risk to water sources or cross over tribal land.

On September 13, people began to suspect these accounts were fake, calling them out on Twitter, and by September 14, most of the accounts no longer existed.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is set to carry oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from the Bakken Shale basin in North Dakota across the Dakotas, Iowa, and Illinois. Its owner, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), says it plans to talk to the Obama administration and “reiterate [its] commitment to bring the Dakota Access Pipeline into operation.” It will do so despite the administration requesting that the company halt construction “voluntarily — particularly around the contested sacred tribal sites located 20 miles east and west of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River — until further notice.”

In his memorandum announcing his company’s plans to do so, ETP CEO Kelcy Warren espoused many of the same arguments that were deployed by the Twitter sock puppets, which calls into question whether his company helped spearhead the social media campaign behind the scenes in order to create the appearance of grassroots support, a technique known as “astroturfing.”

In that memo, Warren said his company plans to engage more aggressively in the PR sphere.

“It has not been my preference to engage in a media/PR battle,” wrote Warren. “However, misinformation has dominated the news, so we will work to communicate with the government and media more clearly in the days to come.”

Vicki Granado, a spokesperson for the company, did not respond to a request for comment.

In the meantime, as all stakeholders in the debate await a definitive next move from the Obama administration, protests both on-site and nationwide have continued, with a militarized police presence at the Sacred Stone Camp intensifying. U.S.Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke at a September 13 Washington, DC protest against the pipeline, while U.S.Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) that same day called for a congressional oversight investigation of the hotly contested permitting issues which have arisen in the ongoing saga over the pipeline’s future.

With that backdrop, in came the “sock puppets” for their own September 13 day of action on Twitter — and with MAINlikely pulling the strings.

Read more here.


… which is (a) why 9/11 happened in the first place, and (b) why the powers that be want Hillary in the White House.

MCM


America Has Spent Nearly $5 Trillion on Wars Since 9/11

By Eric Levitz

Since the September 11 attacks, the United States has spent $3.6 trillion on wars. When you add in the amount of war funding that the departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security have requested for next year — and then the estimated costs of our present commitments to veterans — the overall price tag comes to $4.79 trillion, according to a new report by Brown University’s Watson Institute.

For $4.79 trillion we could forgive all outstanding student-loan debt in the United States, provide universal preschool to all American children, buy ourselves a high-speed rail system — and still have a couple trillion left over for a rainy day.

What, precisely, did we decide to buy instead?

The ostensible answer is that we purchased greater national security. After all, the vast majority of that war funding was spent in Iraq and Afghanistan — interventions that were launched to combat the threat of terrorism.

But a recent note from the Soufan Group, a strategic security firm, argues that the threat posed by terrorism is greater today than it was 15 years ago:

Fifteen years later, the geopolitical consequences of the September 11, 2001 attacks have not diminished with each passing anniversary. Quite the opposite, the global terror threat has compounded and cascaded. In the aftermath of the deadliest terror attack in history, the U.S. and its allies laid out several goals and policy responses; chief among the goals was the prevention of another 9/11-scale attack; the denial of terrorist sanctuaries such as Afghanistan; the destruction of al-Qaeda; and countering the violent extremist ideology of bin-Ladinism. As the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, only one of these goals—the prevention of an attack nearing the scale of 9/11—has been met. While the prevention of another such attack is a significant achievement, many of the other post-9/11 concerns are considerably worse now than in 2001.

Now, a firm that sells strategic security services has plenty of incentive not to conclude that the war on terror has already been won. But it’s hard to dispute the assertion that extremist ideologies and terrorist strongholds have become more prevalent in the last 15 years, even as America has spent trillions trying to counter them.

And, of course, the true costs of our counterterrorism efforts are measured in more than dollars.

Read More:


Former Democratic Congressional Candidate Says Hillary Stole Nevada

Dan Rolle: Dems cooked voter files to rig Nevada win for Clinton

By Michael Sainato

Hillary Clinton’s State Department has been revealed to be indefensibly unethical. From the Clinton Foundation’s pay-to-play to the highly questionable defenses Clinton used during her FBI investigation, the extent to which similar dirty politics were used to help her win the Democratic primaries merits further attention. After the releases by Wikileaks and Guccifer 2.0, the role in which Nevada—a crucial early voting state—played in stopping Bernie Sanders’ surge against Clinton is brought into light. The undemocratic nature by which Clinton won the Democratic primaries sets a dangerous precedent.

On September 15, former Congressional candidate in Nevada’s fourth district, Dan Rolle, took to Twitter to explain how, starting in 2012, the Nevada Democratic Party began changing the state’s voter registration system as a means to rig the caucuses for Clinton. Most state Democratic parties—including Nevada—moved to NGPVANdatabase systems, which Rolle says facilitated the monopolization of voter data in favor of Clinton.

“So now, if you are @HillaryClinton and you have @NGPVAN, you know everything about every democrat. Including who WON’T vote for you,” Rolle tweeted. “So how do you fix that? Simple. Vote Builder. A piece of software that can change the state voter file. And you do that with: @NGPVAN

Rolle attended a fundraising call before the Nevada caucuses, between Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook and Nevada Democratic Party donors who were worried she would lose the state, as 70 percent of newly registered voters were expected to support Sanders. According to Rolle, there was a meeting with donors in New York leading up to the Nevada caucus, where donors threatened to pull out.

“I met with Nevada Democratic Party executive board members who told me they were aware of caucus members being bussed in from California,” Rolle told the Observer, noting there were significant discrepancies with the Nevada Democratic Party’s voter file. “When I pressed on the accuracy in the voter file, I was told ‘it’s garbage’ by an executive board member.”

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LIU LOCKOUT OVER!!!

By Aaron Barlow

From the Long Island University Faculty Federation website:

We have won a victory. The administration will end their unprecedented lockout effective 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, September 14. We will be reunited with our students and can resume our professional lives. Our collective bargaining agreement is extended until May 31, 2017, and the administration agreed to our condition that we engage a professional mediator to facilitate a fair contract. This timeframe gives us the opportunity to negotiate in good faith while preserving LIU Brooklyn.

The LIU administration will make the faculty whole for health care costs incurred during the lockout period. The union’s unfair labor practice complaints relating to the lockout and our arbitration on pay parity remain active and will be vigorously pursued.

This is an extremely significant victory for all faculty, be they tenured, contingent, tenure-track or adjunct. Be they at LIU or elsewhere.

We all owe a great thanks to the stalwart faculty at LIU–and to their student supporters. They have demonstrated the limits of institutional fiat, for the good of all faculty everywhere.

Go to the LIUFF website to read the rest of E. Drabinsky’s  post on the matter.

 

From: John Ehrenberg <John.Ehrenberg@liu.edu>

Date: Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 11:26 AM
Subject: [Newpolsci] victory at LIU
To: caucus listserve <newpolsci@u.washington.edu>

The students and faculty at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus have won a clear, unambiguous and historic victory against the forces threatening our livelihoods and our profession. In a brutal act that is without precedent, President Kimberly Cline locked out the faculty in the midst of negotiations for a new contract. She went all in with her nuclear option, and her reckless cruelty ignited a firestorm that buried her. The faculty refused to yield, the students were with us every step of the way, the press was friendly, local politicians supportive, fellow unionists in solidarity. We organized a ferocious counterattack that threatened the University’s accreditation, worked with sympathetic members of the City Council to deny millions of dollars in funding, had the Mayor on the verge of intervening directly and personally, contacted State Ed in Albany who wrote Cline a threatening letter. None of this, as important as it was, would have been possible without the alliance with the students, who boycotted, walked out, protested, petitioned, complained to the Department of Consumer Affairs, confronted, sat in. LIU’s Brooklyn Campus is an urban, working class institution filled with students of color, women, immigrant kids and first-generation college students. They work hard, juggle several balls at the same time, and rose to the occasion with historic acts of rebellion and defiance.

 

This is a very important victory. The lockout was the first one affecting college and university faculty in the history of the United States. Like it or not, we were in the front lines. This wonderful victory will make University Boards and Presidents think twice about trying this again.

 

There’s a lesson for all of us: Ronald Reagan is no longer President. This is the United States of Occupy, of Black Lives Matter, of Bernie Sanders, of the Standing Rock Sioux, and a hundred other democratic initiatives that are developing. No matter what happens in the election, the lesson is that courage, resistance, and principle can win in a struggle against a brutal, dishonest enemy.

 

VICTORY!!!!!

John Ehrenberg


Although Dr. Wolf is hardly an impartial witness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_R._Wolf), his critique of Dr. Bardack’s letter is precise, and very clear; so we can’t dismiss it just because we don’t like where he’s coming from politically (or because we want him to be wrong).

If his critique is flawed, then, let some other expert say exactly how.

MCM


Dr. Milton Wolf: Hillary’s Doctor Claimed Hillary Got a Perfect Score on TEST THAT DOES NOT EXIST

By Jim Hoft

Republican 2014 Senate Candidate, Dr. Milton Wolf, wrote yesterday that Hillary’s health problem is NOT “dehydration.”

Dr. Wolf is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and is President Barack Obama’s second cousin, once removed.

He posted these tweets yesterday.

Dr. Wolf concluded: There’s no need for wild speculation or sensationalization. Hillary’s health problems are (1) knowable and (2) highly significant. This is my wheel house.

And tonight Dr. Milton Wolf responded to Hillary Clinton’s doctor’s report.

“Hillary’s doctor just claimed Hillary had a perfect score on a test that doesn’t exist.”

“There is no such thing as a “CTA calcium score” study. A CT calcium score study (of the coronary arteries) MUST be non-contrast.”

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