Berkeley Bans a Palestine Class

BY JOHN K. WILSON

Suspending a course in the middle of a semester is one of the most serious actions a university can take. On Sept. 13, Dean Carla Hesse of the University of California at Berkeley did exactly that to a student-taught DeCal class about Palestine.

DeCal stands for Democratic Education at Cal, an old-fashioned tradition where undergraduate students teach 1 or 2 unit courses, pass/fail, to their peers. The instructors, called facilitators, plan their own courses, which must be approved by a faculty committee and the chair of a department.

In a statement, Paul Hadweh, the student facilitator, declared:

I complied with all policies and procedures required for creating the course. The course was vetted and fully supported by the faculty advisor, the department chair, and the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI).

The university suspended the course without consulting me, the faculty sponsor, the chair of the department, or the Academic Senate’s COCI, which is responsible for approving all UC Berkeley Courses. The university did not contact us to discuss concerns prior to suspending our course.

Universities should never suspend courses in the middle of a semester except under the most dire circumstances, where a course has been proven to violate university policies and cannot be fixed, or some kind of extraordinary fraud has occurred.

Nothing like that exists in this case. In fact, nothing like that has even been alleged by the administration, which relies upon bureaucratic snafus to justify suspending this course.

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Berkeley Suspends Palestine Course

Critics said one-credit, student-led course was anti-Zionist. The university said it acted on procedural grounds.

By Kasia Kovacs

The University of California, Berkeley, suspended a student-run course called Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis Tuesday after members of Jewish and pro-Israel groups complained that the course had an “anti-Israel bias.”

The one-credit course was part of Berkeley’s DeCal program, which allows students to propose and lead classes for their peers. According to the syllabus, the purpose of the course was to “examine key historical events that have taken place in Palestine … through the lens of settler colonialism.”

A statement from Berkeley said, “It has been determined that the facilitator for the course in question did not comply with policies and procedures that govern the review and approval of proposed courses for the DeCal program. As a result, the proposed course did not receive a sufficient degree of scrutiny to ensure that the syllabus met Berkeley’s academic standards. For that reason, approval for the course has been suspended pending completion of the mandated review and approval process. It should also be noted that the dean of the College of Letters and Sciences was very concerned about a course, even a student-run course, that espoused a single political viewpoint and appeared to offer a forum for political organizing rather than the sort of open inquiry and investigation that Berkeley is known for.”

An undergraduate, Paul Hadweh, was planning to run the course; neither Hadweh nor the course’s faculty sponsor, Hatem Bazian, a lecturer in ethnic studies, responded to request for comment.

The university suspended the course because its proposal was never submitted to Dean Carla Hesse of the College of Letters and Sciences, said Dan Mogulof, executive director for communications and public affairs at Berkeley.

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Sowing Doubt Is Seen as Prime Danger in Hacking Voting System

By DAVID E. SANGER and CHARLIE SAVAGE

WASHINGTON — Russian hackers would not be able to change the outcome of the United States presidential election, the nation’s most senior intelligence and law enforcement officials have assured Congress and the White House in recent weeks.

But disrupting it, they acknowledge, would be far easier — causing doubts in battleground states, prompting challenges to results and creating enough chaos to make Florida’s hanging chads seem like a quaint problem from the analog age. By some measures, in fact, the disruption has already begun.

And meddling around the edges of an election could sow doubts about the legitimacy of the results — especially in a year in which the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, has told his supporters that the only way he will lose is if the election is “rigged,” and while campaign officials for his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, have held a series of meetings about preparing for the possibility that the vote will be hacked.

The White House has declined to name Russia publicly as the chief suspect in a series of recent hacks, and has worded its public warnings carefully. The greatest danger, Lisa O. Monaco, President Obama’s domestic security adviser, said on Wednesday, is from attempts to cause “concern or confusion” about the voting system.

The systems most vulnerable to cyberattacks are large, centralized databases, where breaking into one part of the system can often give access to all of it. That is what happened to the Office of Personnel Management, which was unaware for more than a year as Chinese hackers stole credentials to get into its system, copied the highly sensitive security-review documents for nearly 22 million federal employees and contractors, encrypted the data and transmitted it out of the country.

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Looking at 9/11 in the Context of the Wall Street Bailout of 2008

By Pam Martens: September 8, 2016

This Sunday will mark the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy – one of those seminal events in human memory that is seared forever on the brain. Because of the emotional toll 9/11 took on the human psyche — watching U.S. commercial airline planes converted to killing machines on U.S. soil — America’s collective memory of exactly what happened on 9/11 has more to do with repetitive TV clips of the Twin Towers collapsing and a rush to war than specific details of the actions of those pulling the monetary levers on Wall Street.

The day’s events were so bizarre and triggered such cognitive dissonance that millions of Americans did not realize for years that a third World Trade Center skyscraper had collapsed in lower Manhattan that day. World Trade Center Building 7, a 47-story skyscraper not hit by a plane, collapsed at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11 in an almost identical fashion as World Trade Centers One and Two had collapsed in the morning. The organization, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which consists of more than 2,000 licensed architects and engineers, do not believe the official version of how these buildings collapsed and have signed a petition calling for a new, independent investigation of 9/11 by a body with full subpoena power.

This is the first time we are writing about 9/11 in any detail. Our small town of Garden City, Long Island, New York, where we lived at the time, was heavily impacted. The memories are painful. Long Island as a whole experienced almost 500 deaths out of the almost 3,000 who died on 9/11. Our next door neighbor, a wonderful husband and father to two young sons, lost his life that day. We stood by a colleague at work watching the news unfold on TV on the morning of 9/11 and painfully remember his dash to race home to his family. His brother worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, a Wall Street firm that lost 658 of its 960 employees that day, including his young brother.

What has been lost in the emotional toll of that day is the reality that the massive bailout by the Federal Reserve of Wall Street in 2008, had its test run on 9/11. We know a great deal about the $13 trillion that the Fed secretly infused into Wall Street banks and foreign banks in cumulative loans from 2007 through 2010 because Bloomberg News battled in court for years to unleash the information from the iron grip of the Fed. The public knows much less about the massive Fed bailout during 9/11 and Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, according to a transcript from a teleconference after 9/11, demanded that those in the know at the Fed coordinate any public comments with the Fed before making them.

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And if not Trump, somebody else—to shoot down those two whopping lies that “our free press” keeps shouting, as if repeating and repeating and repeating them will somehow make them true.

Back in 1939, posted to Berlin for CBS, William Shirer noted (in his diary) the nightmarish unanimity and rage with which the Nazi papers ALL “reported” on the rising threat that POLAND posed to GERMANY. (He’d noted the same thing the year before, when Czechoslovakia had posed the bogus threat.)

If Shirer were alive today, he’d take one look at what our press is pumping out today, and wish he weren’t.

(For correctives to this daily flood of warlike jive, see Robert Parry’s articles at consortiumnews.com, and/or Paul Craig Roberts’ commentaries, or Prof. Stephen Cohen’s, and/or the reportage at Global Research, to cite a few alternatives.)


Distrust of 2016’s Hackable Election Is a Media Landslide With Just One Solution: Hand-Counted Paper Ballots

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

Finally, the major for-profit media is approaching consensus that it’s easy to hack U.S. political elections. Even candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are raising unprecedented doubts – from very different directions – about the reliability of the upcoming vote count.

Ultimately, there is just one solution: universal hand-counted paper ballots, with carefully protected voter registration rolls, and a transparent chain of custody.

The corporate media and the Democrats are obsessed with the “Russians.” Donald Trump rants about a mythological army of voters voting multiple times.

But the real threat to our election system comes from private for-profit corporations that register voters, control voter databases, then count and report the vote with secret proprietary software and zero transparency, accountability, or recourse.

After ignoring or attacking the reportage since Florida 2000 of Bev Harris, Greg Palast, freepress.org and numerous others, the corporate media seems finally to be getting the message: under the current system, any American election – even the one for president – can be stripped and flipped by a tiny handful of electronic hackers working anywhere from the Kremlin to a party HQ to a state governor’s office to a teenager’s garage.

Here is some of what the mainstream media is finally admitting. In an article posted on July 28, 2016, NBC News pointed out that our elections are vulnerable to hacking because they “are not part of the vast ‘critical infrastructure protection’ safety net set up by the Department of Homeland Security.”

CBS News wrote August 10, 2016, about “the hackers at Symantec Security Response” who demonstrated how “Election Day results could be manipulated by an affordable device you can find online.”

Former national coordinator for counter-terrorism Richard Clarke, reporting for ABC News on August 19, 2016, analyzed the particular security problems related to battleground states like Ohio and Florida: “In 2000 and 2004, there were only a handful of battleground states that determined which presidential candidate had enough Electoral College votes to win. A slight alteration of the vote in some swing precincts in swing states might not raise suspicion. Smart malware can be programmed to switch only a small percentage of votes from what the voters intended. That may be all that is needed, and that malware can also be programmed to erase itself after it does its job, so there might be no trace it ever happened.” Clarke was on the White House National Security Council during both Bill Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s administrations.

Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the North Carolina School of Information and Library Science, in his August 12, 2016 New York Times op-ed “The Election Won’t Be Rigged but It Could Be Hacked,” wrote: “The mere existence of this discussion is cause for alarm. The United States needs to return, as soon as possible, to a paper-based, auditable voting system in all jurisdictions that still use electronic-only, unverifiable voting machines.”

On August 30, 2016, the Washington Post wrote: “Deleting or altering data on voter rolls could cause mayhem on Election Day disenfranchising some voters. Many voting machines themselves also are vulnerable, especially touch-screen systems that do not create a paper record as a guard against fraud or manipulation.” The Post also supplied a list of the 15 states with the most vulnerable voting systems.

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…. unless they find some way to shock it back to life:
Great news that we very badly need, and (here’s hoping) not the last.

BY GWENDOLYN BRADLEY

The AAUP has issued a statement on the Long Island University administration’s lockout of all four hundred members of its Brooklyn campus faculty union.

The statement reads, in its entirety:

September 6, 2016

Statement on LIU Brooklyn Lockout 

Over the Labor Day weekend, the administration of Long Island University (LIU) announced an unprecedented lockout of all 400 members of its Brooklyn campus faculty union (the Long Island University Faculty Federation) in the midst of ongoing contract negotiations and in the absence of a strike, apparently in order to coerce faculty members into accepting the administration’s last offer. As of September 3, LIU Brooklyn faculty members were deprived, not only of their professional duties, but of their salaries, benefits, and access to their university e-mail accounts.

The American Association of University Professors deplores this action and supports the right of the LIU Brooklyn faculty to collectively bargain in good faith with its administration. As our Statement on Collective Bargaining asserts, “The principle of shared authority and responsibility requires a process of discussion, persuasion, and accommodation within a climate of mutual concern and trust. Where that process and climate exist, there should be no need for any party to resort to devices of economic pressure such as strikes, lockouts, or unilateral changes in terms and conditions of employment by faculty or academic management.”

On September 4, the LIU faculty senate wrote the board of trustees to denounce “the hostile and destructive action taken against all professors at the Brooklyn campus.” The senate’s letter also protests past administrative actions that it said contravened “the idea of shared governance.” By denying LIU Brooklyn faculty members access to their e-mail accounts and to the university’s website, the letter further states, the lockout has made the faculty senate unable to function, as half its members are affected.

We strongly urge the LIU administration to end the lockout and resume good faith negotiations with the faculty union. In the meantime, the AAUP will continue to monitor the situation at LIU Brooklyn.

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Does Hillary have Parkinson’s? Watch this (quick, before it disappears):

While making clear that he has not examined her himself, and that he has no use for her “politically or morally,” Dr. Ted Noel presents a troublingly persuasive case that Clinton does have Parkinson’s Disease—a possibility that should be openly and thoroughly discussed, considering what’s at stake.

But such discussion is verboten—as some citizens have lately learned the hard way. Eight days after Dr. Drew Pinsky told his radio audience that he was “gravely concerned, not just about [Hillary’s] health, but about her healthcare,” his show was abruptly canceled (by HLN, CNN’s sister network):

http://pagesix.com/2016/09/04/dr-drew-loses-show-after-discussing-hillarys-health/

Likewise, HuffPost contributor David Seaman claims to have been “terminated” by the outlet after reporting on the furor over Hillary’s health—his publishing access revoked, and his two pieces on the subject “pulled without notice of any kind, completely deleted from the Internet”:

This blackout makes several things unfortunately clear:

1) that Hillary Clinton very likely does have Parkinson’s, if not some other incapacitating illness—or all that speculation would be duly answered, not suppressed and ridiculed;

2) that freedom of the press in the United States today is unavailable to anyone who strays from the Official Line (and not just on this story)—which really means that freedom of the press in the United States today is more a swell idea than a reality; and

3) that freedom of the press in the United States today is threatened less by the theatrically abusive Donald Trump, and the explosive goons who swarm his rallies, than by the corporate personnel and “liberal” hacks who maintain the Establishment consensus.

Now, there are those Democrats who will, inevitably, see this piece on Hillary’s apparent illness as a tacit “vote” for Trump—as if the fact that he is (also) obviously sick means somehow that she’s well enough to serve as president.

In any case, we would not now be faced with this horrific “choice” if Hillary had not been forced on us by her party, and the media (and the hackers who “elected” her in primaries from coast to coast, despite the will of those electorates).

So what the Democratic Party should do now—and would, if it were actually a democratic party—is dump their ailing candidate ASAP, and quickly pass the torch to Bernie Sanders, who’s well enough, and clean enough, and offering a vision popular enough, to wipe the floor with Donald Trump, beating him by an unprecedented landslide.


American Pravda: How the CIA Invented “Conspiracy Theories”

by Ron Unz

A year or two ago, I saw the much-touted science fiction film Interstellar, and although the plot wasn’t any good, one early scene was quite amusing. For various reasons, the American government of the future claimed that our Moon Landings of the late 1960s had been faked, a trick aimed at winning the Cold War by bankrupting Russia into fruitless space efforts of its own. This inversion of historical reality was accepted as true by nearly everyone, and those few people who claimed that Neil Armstrong had indeed set foot on the Moon were universally ridiculed as “crazy conspiracy theorists.” This seems a realistic portrayal of human nature to me.

Obviously, a large fraction of everything described by our government leaders or presented in the pages of our most respectable newspapers—from the 9/11 attacks to the most insignificant local case of petty urban corruption—could objectively be categorized as a “conspiracy theory” but such words are never applied. Instead, use of that highly loaded phrase is reserved for those theories, whether plausible or fanciful, that do not possess the endorsement stamp of establishmentarian approval.

Put another way, there are good “conspiracy theories” and bad “conspiracy theories,” with the former being the ones promoted by pundits on mainstream television shows and hence never described as such. I’ve sometimes joked with people that if ownership and control of our television stations and other major media outlets suddenly changed, the new information regime would require only a few weeks of concerted effort to totally invert all of our most famous “conspiracy theories” in the minds of the gullible American public. The notion that nineteen Arabs armed with box-cutters hijacked several jetliners, easily evaded our NORAD air defenses, and reduced several landmark buildings to rubble would soon be universally ridiculed as the most preposterous “conspiracy theory” ever to have gone straight from the comic books into the minds of the mentally ill, easily surpassing the absurd “lone gunman” theory of the JFK assassination.

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A great piece on Lance DeHaven-Smith’s Conspiracy Theory in America—a book that We the People now need more than ever (and one that, I am proud to say, I included in “Discovering America,” a book series that I edited for the University of Texas Press).

MCM

Are You a Mind-Controlled CIA Stooge?

by Paul Craig Roberts

Do you smirk when you hear someone question the official stories of Orlando, San Bernardino, Paris or Nice? Do you feel superior to 2,500 architects and engineers, to firefighters, commercial and military pilots, physicists and chemists, and former high government officials who have raised doubts about 9/11? If so, you reflect the profile of a mind-controlled CIA stooge.

The term “conspiracy theory” was invented and put into public discourse by the CIA in 1964 in order to discredit the many skeptics who challenged the Warren Commission’s conclusion that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald, who himself was assassinated while in police custody before he could be questioned. The CIA used its friends in the media to launch a campaign to make suspicion of the Warren Commission report a target of ridicule and hostility. This campaign was “one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”

So writes political science professor Lance deHaven-Smith, who in his peer-reviewed book, Conspiracy Theory in America, published by the University of Texas Press, tells the story of how the CIA succeeded in creating in the public mind reflexive, automatic, stigmatization of those who challenge government explanations. This is an extremely important and readable book, one of those rare books with the power to break you out of The Matrix.

Professor deHaven-Smith is able to write this book because the original CIA Dispatch #1035-960, which sets out the CIA plot, was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Apparently, the bureaucracy did not regard a document this old as being of any importance. The document is marked “Destroy when no longer needed,” but somehow wasn’t. CIA Dispatch #1035-960 is reproduced in the book.

The success that the CIA has had in stigmatizing skepticism of government explanations has made it difficult to investigate State Crimes Against Democracy (SCAD) such as 9/11. With the public mind programmed to ridicule “conspiracy kooks,” even in the case of suspicious events such as 9/11 the government can destroy evidence, ignore prescribed procedures, delay an investigation, and then form a political committee to put its imprimatur on the official story. Professor deHaven-Smith notes that in such events as Kennedy’s assassination and 9/11 official police and prosecutorial investigations are never employed. The event is handed off to a political commission.

Professor deHaven-Smith’s book supports what I have told my readers: the government controls the story from the beginning by having the official explanation ready the moment a SCAD occurs. This makes any other explanation a “conspiracy theory.” This is the way Professor deHaven-Smith puts it:

“A SCAD approach to memes assumes further that the CIA and other possibly participating agencies are formulating memes well in advance of operations, and therefore SCAD memes appear and are popularized very quickly before any competing concepts are on the scene.”

The CIA’s success in controlling public perception of what our Founding Fathers would have regarded as suspicious events involving the government enables those in power positions within government to orchestrate events that serve hidden agendas. The events of September 11created the new paradigm of endless war in behalf of a Washington-dominated world. The CIA’s success in controlling public perceptions has made it impossible to investigate elite political crimes. Consequently, it is now possible for treason to be official US government policy.

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