Saturday, October 25, 2014

From Inside the Snowden Saga: How Laura Poitras Covertly Shot Her New Film, CITIZENFOUR

Laura Poitras. (photo: unknown)

By Matt Patches, Vanity Fair
24 October 14

She would travel to Hong Kong. The instructions were precise:

On timing, regarding meeting up in Hong Kong, the first rendezvous attempt will be at 10 A.M. local time on Monday. We will meet in the hallway outside of the restaurant in the Mira Hotel. I will be working on a Rubik’s cube so that you can identify me. Approach me and ask if I know the hours of the restaurant. I’ll respond by stating that I’m not sure and suggest you try the lounge instead. I’ll offer to show you where it is, and at that point we’re good. You simply need to follow naturally.

It’s June 2013. After months of encrypted correspondence, filmmaker-journalist Laura Poitras is in Hong Kong to meet Edward Snowden a.k.a. “Citizenfour,” a mysterious Internet voice touting the government-secrets leak to top all government-secrets leaks. When Snowden’s first e-mail arrived in January 2013, Poitras was assembling a sprawling documentary exposé of America's surveillance tactics, with appearances by notable button-pushers like Julian Assange and N.S.A. whistleblowerWilliam Binney. Snowden altered the plan.

After months of work, Poitras would finally meet Edward Snowden, and together, with the help ofThe Guardian reporter Glen Greenwald, they’d blow the lid off the N.S.A.’s surveillance tactics. And she'd capture the entire operation on camera.

There’s a reason Poitras is on the Homeland Security “watch list,” why she resides in Berlin, where she can make films without government intrusion. She documents hard truths. They sting.Citizenfour, the piping-hot end product of her Hong Kong rendezvous, is the end of Poitras’s self-described post-9/11 trilogy: 2006’s My Country, My Country painted a portrait of average Iraqi life under U.S. occupation; 2010's The Oath follows two Yemeni men, both former Osama bin Laden employees, as they navigate life outside al-Qaeda; Citizenfour centers on Snowden and blossoms outward, a disparaging look at N.S.A. conduct akin to a John le Carré adaptation. spoke to Poitras on making her impossible-to-imagine documentary, befriending, understanding, and filming Snowden as the 21st century’s most prominent whistleblowing went down in real time:

After the Department of Homeland Security put you on its watch list, you settled in Berlin to compile your film on surveillance. What was your biggest fear? What would they actually do?

Before I was contacted by Snowden in 2013, I was stopped and detained every time I crossed the U.S. border. The border agents would take my notebooks and photocopy them, take my receipts and photocopy them, take my credit cards, ask me questions about where I had been, what I had done. This becomes an invasive process at some point [laughs]. I started becoming more careful about what I carried across the border. Agents would say to me, “If you don’t answer our questions, we’ll find out our answers on your electronics.” A pretty straight up threat. O.K., if you’re going to find out your answers on my electronics, I’m going to stop taking my electronics across the border.

After six years of going through this, I was editing a film and I was worried that my footage would be seized. That’s why I ended up in Berlin to edit the film. When I was in Berlin, that’s when the first e-mail came. At that point, I was savvy with encryption, but I knew quickly that it was a whole other level. It was the N.S.A. I needed to take more precautions. So I had a computer I purchased with cash, checked in from different locations, and created anonymous accounts, thinking that, if the source I was talking to turned out to be true, they were putting their life on the line, I should take whatever security measures in my power to protect them.
Initially, he didn’t want you to film him.

It wasn’t until April [2013], three months into corresponding, did he say, “I plan to come forward as the source and my identity will be revealed in the leaks.” He wouldn’t scrub the metadata that would point to him. That was not what I expected. I expected him to be an anonymous source I’d never meet. Then I was told something quite different: “I’m coming forward and I want you to paint a target on my back because I don’t want a leak investigation that ruins the lives of others.” Which is what we saw with William Binney and Tom Drake. I think Snowden wanted to take responsibility so others didn’t take the fall. When he told me that, I told him, “I want to meet you and I want to film.” His response was: “No, I don’t want to be the story.” There was also a risk of us being in the same place at the same time. He didn’t want to take risks and then someone busts in the door and all this work to get the information out and it doesn’t get out. It wasn’t worth that calculus. I assured him it wouldn’t happen. The reporting would continue if something happened to both of us.

In the eight days you filmed Snowden, did you see and learn about a side of him that wasn’t tied to the leak?

On the first day, Glenn did a really lengthy debrief with him. They went through his whole life. Someday, I’ll release that footage. There are time constraints in terms of narrative—you can’t stop a film and have a two-hour interview in the middle of it. We had to make those kinds of choices that would make the final film. Personally, of the films that I do, they’re about things happening in real time. In those moments you learn a lot about people, which is different than what people say about themselves. There are narratives we tell about ourselves, but we’re defined by our actions. You learn a lot about people in that hotel room.

Does Snowden have an interest in the fictional? Or film in general? Citizenfour, with its thriller-like flourishes, made me wonder if pop culture provoked Snowden to take action.

In the sense that the movie plays like a thriller, it felt like one from my perspective. A stranger reaches out to me and starts telling me that he has evidence of a massive government surveillance. Then you go in the room, he’s pretty down to Earth. That’s actually one of the most interesting things is how natural and open and honest he is with total strangers. Basically there to help us get the information out. I don’t think he was casting himself in some role. He made a choice that would end his previous life, an uncertain future with lots of risks.

There’s a shot towards the end of the film of Snowden and Lindsay [Mills, his girlfriend] cooking dinner in their Moscow home. How’d you shoot that?

My editor, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and I went out to Moscow to screen the film so he could see it before we presented to the world, which I’ve done for every film I’ve ever made. We got permission that we could film. I wanted to show that they were together, but [in a way] that was respectful of privacy and not replicate what happened in the immediate aftermath of Hong Kong. [After Snowden revealed his identity, both the media and the government circled Mills at the home they shared in Hawaii]
The last scene in the movie is a bit of a cliffhanger. There’s more story here.

Sequels? Would you consider coming back to Snowden?

It’s too soon to say. I’m definitely continuing reporting on disclosures and have a sense that the film, not so much as a cliffhanger, but there are people who came forward before Snowden and there are people coming after Snowden. They’re taking enormous risks revealing information that the public has a right to know. There’s a conflict between the government trying to stop this from happening and the people taking risks to do it. That relates to the journalists and whistleblowers. I wanted the end not to feel like there’s closure.

There are multiple Hollywood projects in development that plan to adapt Snowden’s story for biopic-like dramas. Can fictionalized accounts undercut what you’ve done here or is there room beside Citizenfour to dramatize these events?

Unlike other major journalism stories, this is one that was actually documented. It’ll be harder to fictionalize it. I mean, I’m a huge fan of All the President’s Men. It’s one of the most brilliant films ever made. If someone wants to do something on par with that, they have my blessing. Mine is based on actual historical reference. I was in a unique situation of filming something you were never supposed to see.

Would you recommend anyone encrypt their e-mail? Is that the future? Should we stop using Google?

I don’t think anyone should have to give up those things, but I don’t think it’s bad to know what the privacy tools are. For instance, the Tor Browsers are completely easy to use. Maybe someday, you’re going to want to do a search for something where you’re not going to want to tie it to your IP address. Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to do a Google search. Google customizes your search based on who it thinks you are. Maybe you want to do a Google search that isn’t customized to who Google thinks you are, but what Google thinks of an anonymous person. Using the Tor Browser allows you to do that. You can use it every day. You’re not giving up any rights and it allows you to have more privacy.

Citizenfour arrives in theaters on October 24.

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Google Is Not What It Seems

Google Is Not What It Seems

By Julian Assange, Newsweek
24 October 14

In June 2011, Julian Assange received an unusual visitor: the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, arrived from America at Ellingham Hall, the country house in Norfolk, England where Assange was living under house arrest.

For several hours the besieged leader of the world’s most famous insurgent publishing organization and the billionaire head of the world’s largest information empire locked horns. The two men debated the political problems faced by society, and the technological solutions engendered by the global network—from the Arab Spring to Bitcoin.

They outlined radically opposing perspectives: for Assange, the liberating power of the Internet is based on its freedom and statelessness. For Schmidt, emancipation is at one with U.S. foreign policy objectives and is driven by connecting non-Western countries to Western companies and markets. These differences embodied a tug-of-war over the Internet’s future that has only gathered force subsequently.

In this extract from When Google Met WikiLeaks Assange describes his encounter with Schmidt and how he came to conclude that it was far from an innocent exchange of views.

Rric Schmidt is an influential figure, even among the parade of powerful characters with whom I have had to cross paths since I founded WikiLeaks. In mid-May 2011 I was under house arrest in rural Norfolk, England, about three hours’ drive northeast of London. The crackdown against our work was in full swing and every wasted moment seemed like an eternity. It was hard to get my attention.

But when my colleague Joseph Farrell told me the executive chairman of Google wanted to make an appointment with me, I was listening.

In some ways the higher echelons of Google seemed more distant and obscure to me than the halls of Washington. We had been locking horns with senior U.S. officials for years by that point. The mystique had worn off. But the power centers growing up in Silicon Valley were still opaque and I was suddenly conscious of an opportunity to understand and influence what was becoming the most influential company on earth. Schmidt had taken over as CEO of Google in 2001 and built it into an empire.

I was intrigued that the mountain would come to Muhammad. But it was not until well after Schmidt and his companions had been and gone that I came to understand who had really visited me.

The stated reason for the visit was a book. Schmidt was penning a treatise with Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas, an outfit that describes itself as Google’s in-house “think/do tank.”

I knew little else about Cohen at the time. In fact, Cohen had moved to Google from the U.S. State Department in 2010. He had been a fast-talking “Generation Y” ideas man at State under two U.S. administrations, a courtier from the world of policy think tanks and institutes, poached in his early twenties.

He became a senior advisor for Secretaries of State Rice and Clinton. At State, on the Policy Planning Staff, Cohen was soon christened “Condi’s party-starter,” channeling buzzwords from Silicon Valley into U.S. policy circles and producing delightful rhetorical concoctions such as “Public Diplomacy 2.0.” On his Council on Foreign Relations adjunct staff page he listed his expertise as “terrorism; radicalization; impact of connection technologies on 21st century statecraft; Iran.”
It was Cohen who, while he was still at the Department of State, was said to have emailed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to delay scheduled maintenance in order to assist the aborted 2009 uprising in Iran. His documented love affair with Google began the same year when he befriended Eric Schmidt as they together surveyed the post-occupation wreckage of Baghdad. Just months later, Schmidt re-created Cohen’s natural habitat within Google itself by engineering a “think/do tank” based in New York and appointing Cohen as its head. Google Ideas was born.

Later that year two co-wrote a policy piece for the Council on Foreign Relations’ journal Foreign Affairs, praising the reformative potential of Silicon Valley technologies as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. Describing what they called “coalitions of the connected,” Schmidt and Cohen claimed that:
Democratic states that have built coalitions of their militaries have the capacity to do the same with their connection technologies.…

They offer a new way to exercise the duty to protect citizens around the world [emphasis added].

Schmidt and Cohen said they wanted to interview me. I agreed. A date was set for June.

By the time June came around there was already a lot to talk about. That summer WikiLeaks was still grinding through the release of U.S. diplomatic cables, publishing thousands of them every week. When, seven months earlier, we had first started releasing the cables, Hillary Clinton had denounced the publication as “an attack on the international community” that would “tear at the fabric” of government.
It was into this ferment that Google projected itself that June, touching down at a London airport and making the long drive up into East Anglia to Norfolk and Beccles.
Schmidt arrived first, accompanied by his then partner, Lisa Shields. When he introduced her as a vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations—a U.S. foreign-policy think tank with close ties to the State Department—I thought little more of it. Shields herself was straight out of Camelot, having been spotted by John Kennedy Jr.’s side back in the early 1990s.

They sat with me and we exchanged pleasantries. They said they had forgotten their Dictaphone, so we used mine. We made an agreement that I would forward them the recording and in exchange they would forward me the transcript, to be corrected for accuracy and clarity. We began. Schmidt plunged in at the deep end, straightaway quizzing me on the organizational and technological underpinnings of WikiLeaks.
Some time later Jared Cohen arrived. With him was Scott Malcomson, introduced as the book’s editor. Three months after the meeting Malcomson would enter the State Department as the lead speechwriter and principal advisor to Susan Rice (then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, now national security advisor).

At this point, the delegation was one part Google, three parts U.S. foreign-policy establishment, but I was still none the wiser. Handshakes out of the way, we got down to business.

Schmidt was a good foil. A late-fiftysomething, squint-eyed behind owlish spectacles, managerially dressed—Schmidt’s dour appearance concealed a machinelike analyticity. His questions often skipped to the heart of the matter, betraying a powerful nonverbal structural intelligence.

It was the same intellect that had abstracted software-engineering principles to scale Google into a megacorp, ensuring that the corporate infrastructure always met the rate of growth. This was a person who understood how to build and maintain systems: systems of information and systems of people. My world was new to him, but it was also a world of unfolding human processes, scale and information flows.

For a man of systematic intelligence, Schmidt’s politics—such as I could hear from our discussion—were surprisingly conventional, even banal. He grasped structural relationships quickly, but struggled to verbalize many of them, often shoehorning geopolitical subtleties into Silicon Valley marketese or the ossified State Department micro-language of his companions. He was at his best when he was speaking (perhaps without realizing it) as an engineer, breaking down complexities into their orthogonal components.

I found Cohen a good listener, but a less interesting thinker, possessed of that relentless conviviality that routinely afflicts career generalists and Rhodes Scholars. As you would expect from his foreign-policy background, Cohen had a knowledge of international flash points and conflicts and moved rapidly between them, detailing different scenarios to test my assertions. But it sometimes felt as if he was riffing on orthodoxies in a way that was designed to impress his former colleagues in official Washington.

Malcomson, older, was more pensive, his input thoughtful and generous. Shields was quiet for much of the conversation, taking notes, humoring the bigger egos around the table while she got on with the real work.

As the interviewee, I was expected to do most of the talking. I sought to guide them into my worldview. To their credit, I consider the interview perhaps the best I have given. I was out of my comfort zone and I liked it.

We ate and then took a walk in the grounds, all the while on the record. I asked Eric Schmidt to leak U.S. government information requests to WikiLeaks, and he refused, suddenly nervous, citing the illegality of disclosing Patriot Act requests. And then, as the evening came on, it was done and they were gone, back to the unreal, remote halls of information empire, and I was left to get back to my work.
That was the end of it, or so I thought.

Two months later, WikiLeaks’ release of State Department cables was coming to an abrupt end. For three-quarters of a year we had painstakingly managed the publication, pulling in over a hundred global media partners, distributing documents in their regions of influence and overseeing a worldwide, systematic publication and redaction system, fighting for maximum impact for our sources.

But The Guardian newspaper—our former partner—had published the confidential decryption password to all 251,000 cables in a chapter heading in its book, rushed out hastily in February 2011.

By mid-August we discovered that a former German employee—whom I had suspended in 2010—was cultivating business relationships with a variety of organizations and individuals by shopping around the location of the encrypted file, paired with the password’s whereabouts in the book. At the rate the information was spreading, we estimated that within two weeks most intelligence agencies, contractors and middlemen would have all the cables, but the public would not.

I decided it was necessary to bring forward our publication schedule by four months and contact the State Department to get it on record that we had given them advance warning. The situation would then be harder to spin into another legal or political assault.

Unable to raise Louis Susman, then U.S. ambassador to the U.K., we tried the front door. WikiLeaks investigations editor Sarah Harrison called the State Department front desk and informed the operator that “Julian Assange” wanted to have a conversation with Hillary Clinton. Predictably, this statement was initially greeted with bureaucratic disbelief.

We soon found ourselves in a reenactment of that scene in Dr. Strangelove, where Peter Sellers cold-calls the White House to warn of an impending nuclear war and is immediately put on hold. As in the film, we climbed the hierarchy, speaking to incrementally more superior officials until we reached Clinton’s senior legal advisor. He told us he would call us back. We hung up, and waited.

When the phone rang half an hour later, it was not the State Department on the other end of the line. Instead, it was Joseph Farrell, the WikiLeaks staffer who had set up the meeting with Google. He had just received an email from Lisa Shields seeking to confirm that it was indeed WikiLeaks calling the State Department.

It was at this point that I realized Eric Schmidt might not have been an emissary of Google alone. Whether officially or not, he had been keeping some company that placed him very close to Washington, D.C., including a well-documented relationship with President Obama. Not only had Hillary Clinton’s people known that Eric Schmidt’s partner had visited me, but they had also elected to use her as a back channel.

While WikiLeaks had been deeply involved in publishing the inner archive of the U.S. State Department, the U.S. State Department had, in effect, snuck into the WikiLeaks command center and hit me up for a free lunch. Two years later, in the wake of his early 2013 visits to China, North Korea and Burma, it would come to be appreciated that the chairman of Google might be conducting, in one way or another, “back-channel diplomacy” for Washington. But at the time it was a novel thought.

I put it aside until February 2012, when WikiLeaks—along with over thirty of our international media partners—began publishing the Global Intelligence Files: the internal email spool from the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor. One of our stronger investigative partners—the Beirut-based newspaper Al Akhbar— scoured the emails for intelligence on Jared Cohen.

The people at Stratfor, who liked to think of themselves as a sort of corporate CIA, were acutely conscious of other ventures that they perceived as making inroads into their sector. Google had turned up on their radar. In a series of colorful emails they discussed a pattern of activity conducted by Cohen under the Google Ideas aegis, suggesting what the “do” in “think/do tank” actually means.

Cohen’s directorate appeared to cross over from public relations and “corporate responsibility” work into active corporate intervention in foreign affairs at a level that is normally reserved for states. Jared Cohen could be wryly named Google’s “director of regime change.”

According to the emails, he was trying to plant his fingerprints on some of the major historical events in the contemporary Middle East. He could be placed in Egypt during the revolution, meeting with Wael Ghonim, the Google employee whose arrest and imprisonment hours later would make him a PR-friendly symbol of the uprising in the Western press. Meetings had been planned in Palestine and Turkey, both of which—claimed Stratfor emails—were killed by the senior Google leadership as too risky.
Only a few months before he met with me, Cohen was planning a trip to the edge of Iran in Azerbaijan to “engage the Iranian communities closer to the border,” as part of a Google Ideas’ project on “repressive societies.” In internal emails Stratfor’s vice president for intelligence, Fred Burton (himself a former State Department security official), wrote:

Google is getting WH [White House] and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do…

[Cohen] is going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov’t can then disavow knowledge and Google is left holding the shit-bag.

In further internal communication, Burton said his sources on Cohen’s activities were Marty Lev—Google’s director of security and safety—and Eric Schmidt himself.
Looking for something more concrete, I began to search in WikiLeaks’ archive for information on Cohen. State Department cables released as part of Cablegate reveal that Cohen had been in Afghanistan in 2009, trying to convince the four major Afghan mobile phone companies to move their antennas onto U.S. military bases. In Lebanon, he quietly worked to establish an intellectual and clerical rival to Hezbollah, the “Higher Shia League.” And in London he offered Bollywood movie executives funds to insert anti-extremist content into their films, and promised to connect them to related networks in Hollywood.

Three days after he visited me at Ellingham Hall, Jared Cohen flew to Ireland to direct the “Save Summit,” an event co-sponsored by Google Ideas and the Council on Foreign Relations. Gathering former inner-city gang members, right-wing militants, violent nationalists and “religious extremists” from all over the world together in one place, the event aimed to workshop technological solutions to the problem of “violent extremism.” What could go wrong?

Cohen’s world seems to be one event like this after another: endless soirees for the cross-fertilization of influence between elites and their vassals, under the pious rubric of “civil society.” The received wisdom in advanced capitalist societies is that there still exists an organic “civil society sector” in which institutions form autonomously and come together to manifest the interests and will of citizens. The fable has it that the boundaries of this sector are respected by actors from government and the “private sector,” leaving a safe space for NGOs and nonprofits to advocate for things like human rights, free speech and accountable government.
This sounds like a great idea. But if it was ever true, it has not been for decades. Since at least the 1970s, authentic actors like unions and churches have folded under a sustained assault by free-market statism, transforming “civil society” into a buyer’s market for political factions and corporate interests looking to exert influence at arm’s length. The last forty years have seen a huge proliferation of think tanks and political NGOs whose purpose, beneath all the verbiage, is to execute political agendas by proxy.

It is not just obvious neocon front groups like Foreign Policy Initiative. It also includes fatuous Western NGOs like Freedom House, where naïve but well-meaning career nonprofit workers are twisted in knots by political funding streams, denouncing non-Western human rights violations while keeping local abuses firmly in their blind spots.

The civil society conference circuit—which flies developing-world activists across the globe hundreds of times a year to bless the unholy union between “government and private stakeholders” at geopoliticized events like the “Stockholm Internet Forum”—simply could not exist if it were not blasted with millions of dollars in political funding annually.

Scan the memberships of the biggest U.S. think tanks and institutes and the same names keep cropping up. Cohen’s Save Summit went on to seed AVE, or, a long-term project whose principal backer besides Google Ideas is the Gen Next Foundation. Thisfoundation’s website says it is an “exclusive membership organization and platform for successful individuals” that aims to bring about “social change” driven by venture capital funding. Gen Next’s “private sector and non-profit foundation support avoids some of the potential perceived conflicts of interest faced by initiatives funded by governments.” Jared Cohen is an executive member.

Gen Next also backs an NGO, launched by Cohen toward the end of his State Department tenure, for bringing Internet-based global “pro-democracy activists” into the U.S. foreign relations patronage network. The group originated as the “Alliance of Youth Movements” with an inaugural summit in New York City in 2008 funded by the State Department and encrusted with the logos of corporate sponsors. The summit flew in carefully selected social media activists from “problem areas” like Venezuela and Cuba to watch speeches by the Obama campaign’s new-media team and the State Department’s James Glassman, and to network with public relations consultants, “philanthropists,” and U.S. media personalities.

The outfit held two more invite-only summits in London and Mexico City where the delegates weredirectly addressed via video link by Hillary Clinton:
You are the vanguard of a rising generation of citizen activists.…
And that makes you the kind of leaders we need.

In 2011, the Alliance of Youth Movements rebranded as “” In 2012 became a division of “Advancing Human Rights,” a new NGO set up by Robert L. Bernstein after he resigned from Human Rights Watch (which he had originally founded) because he felt it should not cover Israeli and U.S. human rights abuses. Advancing Human Rights aims to right Human Rights Watch’s wrong by focusing exclusively on “dictatorships.”

Cohen stated that the merger of his outfit with Advancing Human Rights was “irresistible,” pointing to the latter’s “phenomenal network of cyber-activists in the Middle East and North Africa.” He then joined the Advancing Human Rights board, which also includes Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in occupied Afghanistan. In its present guise, continues to receive funding from Gen Next, as well as from Google, MSNBC and PR giant Edelman, which represents General Electric, Boeing, and Shell, among others.

Google Ideas is bigger, but it follows the same game plan. Glance down the speaker lists of its annual invite-only get-togethers, such as “Crisis in a Connected World” in October 2013. Social network theorists and activists give the event a veneer of authenticity, but in truth it boasts a toxic piñata of attendees: U.S. officials, telecom magnates, security consultants, finance capitalists and foreign-policy tech vultures like Alec Ross (Cohen’s twin at the State Department).

At the hard core are the arms contractors and career military: active U.S. Cyber Command chieftains, and even the admiral responsible for all U.S. military operations in Latin America from 2006 to 2009. Tying up the package are Jared Cohen and the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt.

I began to think of Schmidt as a brilliant but politically hapless Californian tech billionaire who had been exploited by the very U.S. foreign-policy types he had collected to act as translators between himself and official Washington—a West Coast–East Coast illustration of the principal-agent dilemma.

I was wrong.

Eric Schmidt was born in Washington, D.C., where his father had worked as a professor and economist for the Nixon Treasury. He attended high school in Arlington, Virginia, before graduating with a degree in engineering from Princeton.

In 1979, Schmidt headed out West to Berkeley, where he received his Ph.D. before joining Stanford/ Berkeley spin-off Sun Microsystems in 1983. By the time he left Sun, sixteen years later, he had become part of its executive leadership.
Sun had significant contracts with the U.S. government, but it was not until he was in Utah as CEO of Novell that records show Schmidt strategically engaging Washington’s overt political class. Federal campaign finance records show that on January 6, 1999, Schmidt donated two lots of $1,000 to the Republican senator for Utah, Orrin Hatch. On the same day Schmidt’s wife, Wendy, is also listed giving two lots of $1,000 to Senator Hatch.

By the start of 2001, over a dozen other politicians and PACs, including Al Gore, George W. Bush, Dianne Feinstein, and Hillary Clinton, were on the Schmidts’ payroll, in one case for $100,000.

By 2013, Eric Schmidt—who had become publicly over-associated with the Obama White House—was more politic. Eight Republicans and eight Democrats were directly funded, as were two PACs. That April, $32,300 went to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. A month later the same amount, $32,300, headed off to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Why Schmidt was donating exactly the same amount of money to both parties is a $64,600 question.

It was also in 1999 that Schmidt joined the board of a Washington, D.C.–based group: the New America Foundation, a merger of well-connected centrist forces (in D.C. terms). The foundation and its 100 staff serve as an influence mill, using its network of approved national security, foreign policy and technology pundits to place hundreds of articles and op-eds per year.

By 2008, Schmidt had become chairman of its board of directors. As of 2013 the New America Foundation’s principal funders (each contributing over $1 million) were listed as Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the U.S. State Department and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Secondary funders include Google, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Radio Free Asia.

Schmidt’s involvement in the New America Foundation places him firmly in the Washington establishment nexus. The foundation’s other board members, seven of whom also list themselves as members of the Council on Foreign Relations, include Francis Fukuyama, one of the intellectual fathers of the neoconservative movement; Rita Hauser, who served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board under both Bush and Obama; Jonathan Soros, the son of George Soros; Walter Russell Mead, a U.S. security strategist and editor of the American Interest; Helene Gayle, who sits on the boards of Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, the Rockefeller Foundation, the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Policy Unit, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the White House Fellows program and Bono’s ONE Campaign; and Daniel Yergin, oil geo-strategist, former chair of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Task Force.

The chief executive of the foundation, appointed in 2013, is Jared Cohen’s former boss at the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, Anne-Marie Slaughter, a Princeton law and international relations wonk with an eye for revolving doors. She is everywhere, issuing calls for Obama to respond to the Ukraine crisis not only by deploying covert U.S. forces into the country but also by dropping bombs on Syria—on the basis that this will send a message to Russia and China. Along with Schmidt, she is a 2013 attendee of the Bilderberg conference and sits on the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.

There was nothing politically hapless about Eric Schmidt. I had been too eager to see a politically unambitious Silicon Valley engineer, a relic of the good old days of computer science graduate culture on the West Coast. But that is not the sort of person who attends the Bilderberg conferencefour years running, who pays regular visits to the White House, or who delivers “fireside chats” at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Schmidt’s emergence as Google’s “foreign minister”—making pomp and ceremony state visits across geopolitical fault lines—had not come out of nowhere; it had been presaged by years of assimilation within U.S. establishment networks of reputation and influence.

On a personal level, Schmidt and Cohen are perfectly likable people. But Google’s chairman is a classic “head of industry” player, with all of the ideological baggage that comes with that role. Schmidt fits exactly where he is: the point where the centrist, liberal and imperialist tendencies meet in American political life.

By all appearances, Google’s bosses genuinely believe in the civilizing power of enlightened multinational corporations, and they see this mission as continuous with the shaping of the world according to the better judgment of the “benevolent superpower.” They will tell you that open-mindedness is a virtue, but all perspectives that challenge the exceptionalist drive at the heart of American foreign policy will remain invisible to them. This is the impenetrable banality of “don’t be evil.” They believe that they are doing good. And that is a problem.
Google is different. Google is visionary. Google is the future. Google is more than just a company. Google gives back to the community. Google is a force for good.

Even when Google airs its corporate ambivalence publicly, it does little to dislodge these items of faith. The company’s reputation is seemingly unassailable. Google’s colorful, playful logo is imprinted on human retinas just under 6 billion times each day, 2.1 trillion times a year—an opportunity for respondent conditioning enjoyed by no other company in history.

Caught red-handed last year making petabytes of personal data available to the U.S. intelligence community through the PRISM program, Google nevertheless continues to coast on the goodwill generated by its “don’t be evil” doublespeak. A few symbolic open letters to the White House later and it seems all is forgiven. Even anti-surveillance campaigners cannot help themselves, at once condemning government spying but trying to alter Google’s invasive surveillance practices using appeasement strategies.

Nobody wants to acknowledge that Google has grown big and bad. But it has. Schmidt’s tenure as CEO saw Google integrate with the shadiest of U.S. power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive megacorporation. But Google has always been comfortable with this proximity. Long before company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin hired Schmidt in 2001, their initial research upon which Google was based had been partly funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). And even as Schmidt’s Google developed an image as the overly friendly giant of global tech, it was building a close relationship with the intelligence community.

In 2003, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had already started systematically violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) under its director General Michael Hayden. These were the days of the “Total Information Awareness” program. Before PRISM was ever dreamed of, under orders from the Bush White House the NSA was already aiming to “collect it all, sniff it all, know it all, process it all, exploit it all.”

During the same period, Google—whose publicly declared corporate mission is to collect and “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”—was accepting NSA money to the tune of $2 million to provide the agency with search tools for its rapidly accreting hoard of stolen knowledge.

In 2004, after taking over Keyhole, a mapping tech startup co-funded by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the CIA, Google developed the technology into Google Maps, an enterprise version of which it has since shopped to the Pentagon and associated federal and state agencies on multimillion-dollar contracts.
In 2008, Google helped launch an NGA spy satellite, the GeoEye-1, into space. Google shares the photographs from the satellite with the U.S. military and intelligence communities. In 2010, NGA awarded Google a $27 million contract for “geospatial visualization services.”

In 2010, after the Chinese government was accused of hacking Google, the company entered into a “formal information-sharing” relationship with the NSA, which was said to allow NSA analysts to “evaluate vulnerabilities” in Google’s hardware and software. Although the exact contours of the deal have never been disclosed, the NSA brought in other government agencies to help, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Around the same time, Google was becoming involved in a program known as the “Enduring Security Framework” (ESF), which entailed the sharing of information between Silicon Valley tech companies and Pentagon-affiliated agencies “at network speed.” Emails obtained in 2014 under Freedom of Information requests show Schmidt and his fellow Googler Sergey Brin corresponding on first-name terms with NSA chief General Keith Alexander about ESF.

Reportage on the emails focused on the familiarity in the correspondence: “General Keith…so great to see you…!” Schmidt wrote. But most reports over-looked a crucial detail. “Your insights as a key member of the Defense Industrial Base,” Alexander wrote to Brin, “are valuable to ensure ESF’s efforts have measurable impact.”
The Department of Homeland Security defines the Defense Industrial Base as “the worldwide industrial complex that enables research and development, as well as design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts, to meet U.S. military requirements [emphasis added].” The Defense Industrial Base provides “products and services that are essential to mobilize, deploy, and sustain military operations.”
Does it include regular commercial services purchased by the U.S. military? No. The definition specifically excludes the purchase of regular commercial services. Whatever makes Google a “key member of the Defense Industrial Base,” it is not recruitment campaigns pushed out through Google AdWords or soldiers checking their Gmail.

In 2012, Google arrived on the list of top-spending Washington, D.C., lobbyists—a list typically stalked exclusively by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, military contractors, and the petro-carbon leviathans. Google entered the rankings above military aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, with a total of $18.2 million spent in 2012 to Lockheed’s $15.3 million. Boeing, the military contractor that absorbed McDonnell Douglas in 1997, also came below Google, at $15.6 million spent, as did Northrop Grumman at $17.5 million.

In autumn 2013 the Obama administration was trying to drum up support for U.S. airstrikes against Syria. Despite setbacks, the administration continued to press for military action well into September with speeches and public announcements by both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. On September 10, Google lent its front page—the most popular on the Internet—to the war effort, inserting a line below the search box reading “Live! Secretary Kerry answers questions on Syria. Today via Hangout at 2pm ET.”

As the self-described “radical centrist” New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote in 1999, sometimes it is not enough to leave the global dominance of American tech corporations to something as mercurial as “the free market”:

The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

If anything has changed since those words were written, it is that Silicon Valley has grown restless with that passive role, aspiring instead to adorn the hidden fist like a velvet glove. Writing in 2013, Schmidt and Cohen stated,

What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century, technology and cyber-security companies will be to the twenty-first.

One way of looking at it is that it’s just business. For an American Internet services monopoly to ensure global market dominance, it cannot simply keep doing what it is doing and let politics take care of itself. American strategic and economic hegemony becomes a vital pillar of its market dominance. What’s a megacorp to do? If it wants to straddle the world, it must become part of the original “don’t be evil” empire.

But part of the resilient image of Google as “more than just a company” comes from the perception that it does not act like a big, bad corporation. Its penchant for luring people into its services trap with gigabytes of “free storage” produces the perception that Google is giving it away for free, acting directly contrary to the corporate profit motive.

Google is perceived as an essentially philanthropic enterprise—a magical engine presided over by otherworldly visionaries—for creating a utopian future. The company has at times appeared anxious to cultivate this image, pouring funding into “corporate responsibility” initiatives to produce “social change”—exemplified by Google Ideas.

But as Google Ideas shows, the company’s “philanthropic” efforts, too, bring it uncomfortably close to the imperial side of U.S. influence. If Blackwater/Xe Services/Academi was running a program like Google Ideas, it would draw intense critical scrutiny. But somehow Google gets a free pass.

Whether it is being just a company or “more than just a company,” Google’s geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign-policy agenda of the world’s largest superpower. As Google’s search and Internet service monopoly grows, and as it enlarges its industrial surveillance cone to cover the majority of the world’s population, rapidly dominating the mobile phone market and racing to extend Internet access in the global south, Google is steadily becoming the Internet for many people. Its influence on the choices and behavior of the totality of individual human beings translates to real power to influence the course of history.

If the future of the Internet is to be Google, that should be of serious concern to people all over the world—in Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union and even in Europe—for whom the Internet embodies the promise of an alternative to U.S. cultural, economic, and strategic hegemony.

A “don’t be evil” empire is still an empire.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Friday, October 24, 2014

World Renowned Scholar Dies During State Persecution

World Renowned Scholar Dies During State Persecution


(NEW YORK, NY, Oct. 23, 2014) – The Islamic Circle of North America is saddened by the loss of Professor Ghulam Azam of Bangladesh, one of the foremost Muslim activists in the world, who died on Thursday while serving a politically motivated conviction for war crimes.

Azam was a prominent political and religious leader in Bangladesh and played a crucial role in various sociopolitical and religious movements throughout the years.

He received a master’s in political science from Dhaka University and actively participated in and led representative student organizations. His academic and practical political foundation served him well in confronting the issues plaguing his society at the time.

In 1948, shortly after the independence of Pakistan, Azam submitted a memorandum to Liaquat Ali Khan, then prime minister of Pakistan, and demanded state language status for Bengali. His active role in the Language Movement placed him in prison several times and resulted in the loss of his position as assistant professor at Rangpur Carmichael College.

Shortly thereafter, Azam dedicated himself to the cause of Islamic activism. His previous experience in the socio-political Islamic organization, Tamaddun Mozlish, and the spiritually focused Tabligh Jamaat, compelled him to find something that combined aspects of both. He joined Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, and eventually became secretary general and president of the party.

His religious and political leanings had him thrown into prison by General Ayub Khan, the military leader of Pakistan. He jointly formed the Pakistan Democratic Alliance, a movement against Khan’s military dictatorship of the country. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the fore coming prime minister of a soon to emerge Bangladesh, was also a member.

Azam was against the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan because he felt it was not a solution to the state’s problems. He felt that India’s proximity would be detrimental to an independently functioning government. However, during the war of 1971, the violence of the Pakistani army against the population of Bangladesh troubled Azam greatly. He appealed to the army to safeguard the people but he was ignored.

In a continuation of politically motivated persecution, Azam was forced into exile and revoked citizenship of Bangladesh after it gained independence under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He was able to return to the country several years later as a visitor, deprived of political rights. In the early 90’s the government imprisoned him once again for overstaying his visit, and he appealed for a restoration of his citizenship. The Supreme Court ruled for its reinstatement.

In the recent War Crimes Tribunal set up by the Awami League government, Azam was arrested for alleged crimes against humanity during the 1971 war. The Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued statements against the tribunal because of its failure to adhere to international standards and due process of law.

Azam lived the last several years of his life retired from active political activity. He wrote a memoir, Jibone Ja Dekhlam, What I Witnessed in Life, and served as an adviser to Islamic thinkers and politicians within his homeland. His loss will be felt not only within Bangladesh, but also within the global Muslim community.

“Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death], and among them is he who awaits [his chance]. And they did not alter [the terms of their commitment] by any alteration.” [Al-Ahzab:23]

The Islamic Circle of North America is a leading American Muslim organization dedicated to the betterment of society through the application of Islamic values. Since 1968, ICNA has worked to build relations between communities by devoting itself to education, outreach, social services and relief efforts.

Islamic Circle of North America

Office: (718) 658-1199

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

These Senior Citizens Are Serving Life in Prison Over Pot

Published on Alternet (

AlterNet [1] / By Kristen Gwynne [2]
These Senior Citizens Are Serving Life in Prison Over Pot
October 21, 2014 |

Right now, five adults await death in prison for non-violent, marijuana-related crimes. Their names are John Knock, Paul Free, Larry Duke, William Dekle, and Charles “Fred” Cundiff. They are all more than 60 years old; they have all spent at least 17 years locked up for selling pot; and they are all what one might call model prisoners, serving life without parole. As time wrinkles their skin and weakens their bodies, Michael Kennedy [3] of the Trans High Corporation has filed a legal petition [4] with the federal government seeking their clemency. Otherwise they will die behind bars for selling a drug 40% of American adults have admitted to using, 50% of Americans want legal, and two states have already legalized for adult use. Since these men were convicted of these crimes many years ago, public opinion and policy related to marijuana have shifted greatly. Should these five non-violent senior-citizen offenders die behind bars for a crime Americans increasingly believe should not even be a crime?

1. John Knock, 67, has been incarcerated for more than 18 years. The only evidence against him was the testimony of informants; Knock was convicted of conspiracy to import and distribute marijuana. The judge sentenced him to 20 years for money laundering plus not one, but two terms of life-without-parole -- a punishment typically reserved for murderers. Despite the uniquely unjust sentence, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court denied his pleas for reconsideration via appeal or court order.

Waiting for death in jail, Knock suffers from chronic sinus problems linked to an untreated broken nose. Due to circulatory problems, one of his ankles swells to twice its size. Knock also suffers from what the legal petition called “untreated" hearing and vision problems. Easing some of his pain are visits from his family and his participation in prison programs. He has taught home building and physical education inside the prison that has become his home. According to the legal petition, he is assured employment and a home should his sentence be commuted.

2. Before he was incarcerated, Paul Free obtained a BA in marine biology and was starting a school while teaching English in Mexico. Now 64, he has continued his passion for education behind bars, where he has lived for the past 20 years. Free helps inmates prepare for the General Equivalency Diploma tests, and according to the petition, prison officials have applauded Paul’s hard work and his students’ high graduation rate. Paul suffers from degenerative joint disease, failing eyesight, sinus problems, and allergies, and he has had 11 skin cancers removed.

3. Once a union carpenter, Larry Duke, a 67-year-old decorated Marine, has spent the last 25 years of his life behind bars for weed. On top of the difficulties life in prison lays on the psyche, Duke suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from multiple tours in the Vietnam war. Like Knock, Duke received two life sentences without parole for a non-violent marijuana conspiracy, and was unsuccessful at appeal. According to the legal petition, Duke is the longest-serving nonviolent marijuana prisoner in the nation.

Despite his incarceration in a country that has failed him, Duke works from behind bars to design patentable concepts that would assist the general public. While locked up, he has already managed to obtain a federal patent for a water-delivery system he plans to market to the U.S. Department of Defense. According to the legal petition, Duke enjoys the support of his wife and a growing family including two children, two grandsons, three siblings and many nieces and nephews. “They all want him to come home and be part of their lives and dreams,” the petition said.

4. William Dekle, 65, is also a former U.S. Marine serving two life sentences without parole, 22 of which he has already completed in a Kentucky penitentiary. Despite the depressing possibility that he will die behind bars, Dekle has participated in more than 30 prison courses, including counseling other inmates. Before his conviction, Dekle was a pilot certified in commercial and instrument flying, as well as multiengine aircraft. Now he suffers from a chronic knee injury. He is supported by his wife, two daughters, and grandchildren, who call him “Papa Billy.” Dekle’s relatives would ensure a stable home environment should he be granted clemency, the legal petition said.

5. Charles “Fred” Cundiff is a 68-year-old inmate who has served more than 22 years of his life sentence for marijuana. Before the marijuana arrest that changed his life forever, he worked in construction, retail and at a plant nursery. In prison, he worked for Unicor (Federal Prison Industries) for 12 years before his declining health interfered with his ability to work. Battling skin cancer, eye infections, and severe arthritis in his spine, Cundiff uses a walker. While the legal petition makes no mention of family, it says he is regularly visited by “friends from his youth.”

While these men have all spent many years behind bars for crimes they were convicted of many years ago, the same draconian punishments are handed down to marijuana criminals -- young and old -- to this day. Conspiracy charges, combined with mandatory minimums for marijuana sale and firearms charges, can quickly add up to decades behind bars. Should anyone in the entire criminal operation have a gun (legal or not), everyone involved can be charged with firearm possession during a drug offense, a five-year mandatory minimum that can reach 20 if the person is charged with continuing criminal enterprise -- a long-term, large-scale operation. In the end, these sentences are often not applied, but used to encourage guilty pleas in exchange for a lesser sentence.

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[5] on These Senior Citizens Are Serving Life in Prison Over Pot

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class

Combat vs. The Climate: The Military and Climate Security Budgets Compared

Published on Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Institute for Policy Studies - Ideas into Action
The nation's oldest progressive multi-issue think tank, IPS works for peace, justice, and the environment.

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Combat vs. The Climate: The Military and Climate Security Budgets Compared

A new report connects U.S. military engagement and the threat of climate change.

By Miriam Pemberton

The report argues that a change from security spending is not commensurate with the role U.S. military strategy now assigns to climate change: as a major threat to U.S. security.

As the U.S. debates the President’s plan for new military engagement, hundreds of thousands converged on New York to urge the world’s nations to take stronger action against the threat of climate change. A new report connects these two issues, and finds that the gap between U.S. spending on traditional instruments of military force and on averting climate catastrophe has narrowed slightly. Between 2008 and 2013, the proportion of security spending on climate change grew from 1% of military spending to 4%.

The report argues that a change from 1% to 4% of security spending is not commensurate with the role U.S. military strategy now assigns to climate change: as a major threat to U.S. security. Nor is it remotely sufficient to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control.

The U.S. balance between military and climate security spending compares unfavorably to the record of its nearest “peer competitor,” China. Although China’s environmental record is unquestionably problematic, it strikes a far better balance than the U.S. in the allocation of its spending on military force and on climate change. Its climate security spending, at $162 billion, nearly equals its military spending, at $188.5 billion.

Other Key Findings:

• The balance in the area of international assistance has not improved. The U.S. actually increased its military aid to other countries from 2008-2013, relative to the help it gave them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

• For the price of four Littoral Combat Ships — currently there are 16 more in the budget than the Pentagon even wants — we could have double the Energy Department’s entire budget for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

• The U.S. currently spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined. The disparity between U.S. military spending and the countries presumed to be threats to our security is even more extreme.
Get the full report at

© 2014 Institute for Policy Studies

Miriam Pemberton is a research fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. She co-chairs the Task Force on a Unified Security Budget with Lawrence Korb of the Center for American Progress

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert - October 24 - December 15, 2014

42] Help the Yezidis – Oct. 24
43] The destruction of the Gaza Strip – Oct. 24
44] Vigil for peace at White House – Oct. 24
45] Vigil for Justice in Palestine – Oct. 24
46] The German military – Oct. 24
47] Silent peace vigil – Oct. 24
48] Hear from an El Salvador ambassador – Oct. 24
49] David Rovics concert – Oct. 24
50] See CITIZEN 4 – Oct. 24
51] Ballroom Dancing – Oct. 24
52] Peace Brigade International – Oct. 25 – 26
53] Women and Genocide - Oct. 25
54] Protest killer drones – Oct. 25
55] Olney Peace vigil – Oct. 25
56] West Chester, PA demo – Oct. 25
57] Silent peace vigil – Oct. 25
58] Vegan SoulFest – Oct. 25
59] Protest drone war center – Oct. 25
60] Fall of the Berlin Wall – Oct. 25 – Dec. 15
61] Help the Congo – Oct. 25
62] Kronos Quartet – Oct. 25
63] Ronda Cooperstein on social media
64] Sign up with Washington Peace Center
65] Join Fund Our Communities
66] Donate books, videos, DVDs and records
67] Do you need any book shelves?
68] Join Global Zero campaign
69] War Is Not the Answer signs for sale
70] Join Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil
42] – On Fri., Oct. 24 at noon, the Yezidis will gather at the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, to remember terror attacks against them in Iraq. They will protest to beg for help for those who are suffering in Iraq. See

43] – On Fri., Oct. 24 from noon until 6 PM, there will be a series of workshops to discuss Israel's bombardment of Gaza which killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, injured thousands more, and reduced much of the Gaza Strip to rubble. Why? Come learn about what happened, the history of Israel's settler colonial project and military occupation, and how it impacts you in Baltimore. The event will begin in Hodson 210, JHU’s Homewood Campus. At 12:15 PM, catch the first panel--Gaza & Operation Protective Edge. The second panel starts at 2 PM– Settler-Colonialism & Military Occupation. Finally at 4:30 PM, a roundtable discussion–Boycott as Resistance & Academic Freedom—will occur in Krieger 205. The participants are Steven Salaita, independent scholar, Sami Hermez, Global Studies Center Affiliate, University of Pittsburgh and Bruce Robbins, Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University. There are several groups involved in organizing this event, including the Students for Justice in Palestine and the Human Rights Working Group. Visit

44] – On Fri., Oct. 24 from noon to 1 PM, join the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in a vigil urging the powers that be to abolish war and torture, to disarm all weapons, to end indefinite detention, to close Guantanamo, to establish justice for all and help create the Beloved Community! The vigil takes place at the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Contact Art @ or at 202-360-6416.

45] – A vigil for Justice in Palestine/Israel takes place every Friday from noon to 1 PM at 19th & JFK Blvd., Philadelphia, across from Israeli Consulate. It is sponsored by Bubbies & Zaydes (Grandparents) for Peace in the Middle East. Email Go to

46] – Vice President of the German Bundestag and former Federal Minister of Research and Education Edelgard Bulmahn has been involved in conflict resolution and peacebuilding during her long career as a Member of Parliament. She is also personally committed to the issues of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. On the occasion of her visit in Washington, the Goethe-Institut, 812 7th St. NW, WDC, will host her talk on Fri., Oct. 24 from 5 to 7 PM. Germany’s civilian power paradigm appears to be moving towards a more active military engagement.

With this panel discussion, the Goethe-Institut intends to contribute to a necessary discussion both here in the United States and at home about the implications of the changing German role in conflicts. How can the US avoid a full militarization of the conflict in the Middle East? Is there still sufficient room for peacebuilding? How can cultural dialogue help to redirect politics into a more peaceful approach to conflict resolution? What are the cultural competencies needed to move from cultural activities for peacekeeping to cultural activities for peacebuilding? What role could culture (theater, arts, music, etc.) play in post-conflict humanitarian efforts? Can or should cultural interaction with refugees play a role in cultural activities and programs for their home countries? RSVP at

47] – There is usually a silent peace vigil on Fridays, from 5 to 6 PM, outside the Cathedral of the Incarnation, University Parkway and St. Paul St. The Oct. 24 vigil, sponsored by Homewood Friends and Stony Run Meetings, reminds us that War Is Not the Answer and that there is the need to stop torture.

48] – On Fri., Oct. 24 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM at St. Stephen’s Church, 1525 Newton St. NW, WDC, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) is hosting a reception for Juan José Figueroa, El Salvador’s Ambassador to Nicaragua. Come find out more about what the Salvadoran government is learning from the Sandinistas’ successes in Nicaragua, from “Zero Hunger” agricultural initiatives to community-policing. There will be refreshments (and Spanish-English interpretation). Contact Alexis at (202) 521-2510 ext. 205 or

49] – There is a David Rovics Concert on Fri., Oct. 24 from 7 to 10 PM at St. Stephen's Church Auditorium, 1525 Newton St. NW, WDC [corner of 16th and Newton Sts. NW] The church is four blocks from Columbia Hts. Metro, and can be reached via S2, S4, 42 bus lines. Catch Controlled Demolition with Barry Kissin & Richard Ochs before Rovics takes the stage. The concert is a benefit for EUGENE PURYEAR who is running for the D.C. Council At-large as part of the DC Statehood Green Party. The suggested donation is from $15 to $25. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Call Patrick at 202-560-4823.

50] – Get over to the Landmark's E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW, WDC, on Fri., Oct. 24 at 7 PM to see the new movie CITIZEN 4 about Edward Snowden. "Stop Spying" glasses will be provided! Visit

51] – There is an opportunity to participate in ballroom dancing, usually every Friday of the month, in the JHU ROTC Bldg. at 8 PM. Turn south on San Martin Dr. from the intersection of Univ. Parkway and 39th St. Drive on campus by taking the third left turn. The next dance will be Oct. 24. Call Dave Greene at 410-599-3725.

52] – Go to an orientation for a phenomenal introduction to Peace Brigade International’s work! Peace team work – whether with Peace Brigades or other sister organizations operating around the world – is a serious endeavor that requires studied consideration before jumping in. The Orientation Weekend from Sat., Oct. 25 from 9 AM to Sun., Oct. 26 at 3 PM is designed to offer a strong sense of how PBI operates, what the current situation is on the ground, and diverse perspectives about what you might expect to experience as a human rights accompaniment volunteer. The registration fee is $50. Register at

53] – The Darfur Women Action Group, in partnership with Genocide Watch, invites you to the Third Annual “National Symposium on Women & Genocide in the 21st Century: The Case for Darfur.” By addressing genocide and its impact on women, the symposium will define challenges and develop strategies for ending violence against women and the use of rape as a weapon of war. Registration is $50 for the event at the IMPACT Hub, 419 7th St. NW, WDC, on Sat., Oct. 25 from 9 AM to 5 PM. Register at

54] – On Sat., Oct. 24 at 10 AM, join an Anti-drone Vigil at the Mall entrance to the Air and Space Museum. Stand with those opposing CIA & U.S. military drones used in extrajudicial killings. U.S. killer drone strikes are illegal, immoral, and must stop now! This is an extension of the monthly CIA drone protest supported by Pax Christi Metro DC, Northern Virginians for Peace & Justice, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker of DC, Code Pink, Nova Catholic Community, Peace & International Outreach Committee of Langley Hill Friends, Washington Peace Center, Peace Action Montgomery, Little Friends for Peace, Maryland United for Peace & Justice.

55] – Friends House, 17715 Meeting House Rd., Sandy Spring, MD 20860, hosts a peace vigil every Saturday, 10:30 to 11:30 AM, on the corner of Rt. 108 and Georgia Ave. [Route 97] in Olney, MD. The next vigil is Oct. 25. Call Chuck Harker at 301-570-7167.

56] – Each Saturday, 11 AM – 1 PM, Chester County Peace Movement holds a peace vigil in West Chester in front of the Chester County Courthouse, High & Market Sts. Go to Email

57] – There will be a peace vigil on the West Lawn of the Capitol at noon on Sat., Oct. 25. Look for the blue banner with the message, "Seek Peace and Pursue It.--Psalms 34:14." The vigil lasts one hour and is silent except when one responds to the occasional questions. Go to or email

58] – Enjoy the Vegan SoulFest on Sat., Oct. 25 from noon to 5 PM at the Downtown Cultural Arts Center, 401 N. Howard St., Baltimore 21201. Admission is free. Go to The event features vegan food, nutrition experts, vegan cooking demonstrations and more. Brenda Sanders, director of the Better Health Better Life organization, is a co-organizer of the Vegan SoulFest with Naijha Wright, co-owner of Land of Kush vegan soul food restaurant.

59] – On Sat., Oct. 25 from noon until 2 PM, protest the establishment of the Drone War Command Center at the Horsham Air Guard Station, Route 611/Easton Road and County Line Road, in Horsham, PA. The demonstrations are scheduled for the last Saturday of the month. FLY KITES not DRONES. Bring your kite, as a symbol of peace, to fly in Horsham (or hold). There will be plenty signs to hold, and banners, speakers and music to hear. Go to The protest is organized by the Brandywine Peace Community. See, or call (610) 544-1818.

60] – Nov. 9, 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Goethe-Institut Washington, 812 7th St. NW, WDC, commemorates this historic moment by exploring the role of arts and culture within the context of walls around the world before and after 1989 from Sat., Oct. 25 from 2 PM to Mon., Dec. 15 at 6 PM. For American artists of different generations, genres, and cultural backgrounds, the Berlin Wall has been a pivotal site and symbol for weighing global forms of division, including those within the United States. These American artists have time and again returned to the Berlin Wall to ponder political borders worldwide and social boundaries back in the United States, especially those connected to matters of race, gender, sexuality, class, and national belonging-- Call + 1 (202) 289-1200 or email

61] – Join Friends of the Congo during Congo Week 2014 in the fight against the atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 6 million lives have been lost since 1996. Come out for a film screening and panel discussion on the implications of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the embattled nation at the IMPACT Hub DC, 419 7th St. NW, WDC, on Sat., Oct. 25 from 6 to 8 PM. Speakers will also address the increasing waves of widespread youth-led civil protests against intransigent leaders occurring throughout the African continent. From Senegal to Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, down to the heart of Africa in the Congo, there is growing dissatisfaction among the people, particularly the young. What do these protests mean for the African continent and how might this influence U.S. Foreign Policy towards Africa? RSVP at email

62] – On Sat., Oct. 25 at 8 PM, hear the Kronos Quartet's performance of the anti-war piece, Prelude to a Black Hole and Beyond Zero: 1914-1918 at the University of Maryland Clarice Smith Center, College Park. This piece reflects on World War I. It is followed by a film of actual World War I footage. There is also an art exhibit "After the War Is Over" about the aftermath of war at the Michele Smith Performing Arts Center. Check out the

63] -- Ronda Cooperstein has taken to social media, and is recording her opinion pieces on You Tube. Check out her essay - THE WASHINGTON POST WITH TOAST:

64] -- The Washington Peace Center has a progressive calendar & activist alert! Consider signing up to receive its weekly email:

65] -- Fund Our Communities campaign is a grass roots movement to get support from local organizations and communities to work together with their local and state elected officials to pressure Congresspersons and senators to join with Congresspersons Barney Frank and Ron Paul, who have endorsed a 25% cut to the federal military budget. Bring home the savings to state and county governments to meet the local needs which are under tremendous budget pressures. Go to

66] -- If you would like to get rid of books, videos, DVDs or records, contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

67] -- Can you use any book shelves? Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

68] -- Join an extraordinary global campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons: A growing group of leaders around the world is calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and a majority of the global public agrees. This is an historic window of opportunity. With momentum already building in favor of Zero, a major show of support from people around the world could tip the balance. When it comes to nuclear weapons, one is one too many.

69] -- WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER signs from Friends Committee on National Legislation are again for sale at $5. To purchase a sign, call Max at 410-366-1637.

70] – A Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil takes place every day in Lafayette Park, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 24 hours a day, since June 3, 1981. Go to; call 202-682-4282.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" - Daniel Berrigan

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Less Than 4% of Pakistanis Killed by CIA Drone Strikes Named as al-Qaeda Members

Less Than 4% of Pakistanis Killed by CIA Drone Strikes Named as al-Qaeda Members

Drone strikes have executed civilians, including women and children. At least four U.S. citizens have been killed by drones as well.

Published: October 23, 2014 | Authors: Andrew Emett | NationofChange | News Report

Although the U.S. government claims only confirmed terrorists at the highest level are being targeted in drone strikes, the CIA does not know the names or identities of the majority of people the agency has killed in Pakistan since June 2004. After a decade of drone strikes in Pakistan, less than 4% of the victims have been identified as named members of al-Qaeda. Since the inception of the drone program, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have unconstitutionally murdered at least four American citizens.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the CIA has launched 400 drone strikes in Pakistan killing at least 2,379 people. Only 704 of these drone strike victims have been identified. 295 have been classified as militants belonging to either the Afghan Taliban or the Pakistani Taliban, while only 84 have been positively identified as members of al-Qaeda.

At least 168 Pakistani children have died in drone strikes, but only 99 have been identified by name. Sixty-seven of these children were executed in a drone strike on a madrassa in October 2006 that left 81 civilians dead.

Drone strikes have killed at least 55 women in Pakistan, but only two have been identified by name. Bibi Mamana, a grandmother in her 60s, was slaughtered while tending a field near her home. Her grandchildren were injured in the attack. Raquel Burgos Garcia, the Spanish wife of an al Qaeda member, died in the same UAV attack that killed her husband. The Bureau believes the number of women killed in drone strikes is significantly lower because many women’s deaths in Pakistan traditionally remain unreported.

Last year, Secretary of State John Kerry claimed only “confirmed terrorist targets at the highest level” were fired upon during drone strikes. If the CIA does not have a “near certainty” that a strike would result in zero civilian deaths, President Barack Obama personally decides whether or not to attack. But Obama has also changed the criteria determining whether a person is a civilian or not. According to the president, all military-age males within a strike zone are classified as enemy combatants unless explicit intelligence posthumously proves their innocence.

“It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” admitted a senior intelligence official. “They count the corpses, and they’re not really sure who they are.”
Although Pakistan’s government maintains the drone strikes violate its national sovereignty, former President Pervez Musharraf admitted to approving the strikes during his term. Under pressure from the courts and the public to end the strikes, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif publicly condemned the attacks while allowing them to continue. The Pakistani army is suspected of actually deciding the country’s policy toward drone strikes.

On December 1, 2005, a drone strike killed a senior Al-Qaeda member in the village of Miran Shah. The Pakistani government claimed the terrorist had blown himself up while building a bomb inside a house, but PBS Frontline journalist Hayatullah Khan investigated the scene and discovered remnants of a Hellfire missilefired from a UAV. After publishing photographs of the missile, Khan was abducted by five gunmen who ran his vehicle off the road on December 5, 2005. Six months later, Khan’s bullet-ridden body was found wearing state-issued handcuffs.

Responsible for launching drone strikes against a Yemeni weddingand a Pakistani tribal council meeting, the Obama administration has also used drones to take the lives of four American citizens. The U.S. government murdered Anwar al-Aulaqi, commonly misspelled as “al-Awlaki,” his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, and Jude Kenan Mohammad without regard for their constitutional rights.

On September 30, 2011, two Predator drones launched from a secret CIA base, crossed the border into northern Yemen, and fired Hellfire missiles at Anwar’s vehicle. The government would later learn one of the passengers in Anwar’s vehicle had been another U.S. citizen, Samir Khan. On the evening of October 14, 2011, Abdulrahman attended a barbeque with his friends and cousins when a UAV butchered everyone in the vicinity. A month later, a CIA drone strike killed Florida native Jude Kenan Mohammad in Pakistan.

Attorney General Eric Holder claims Anwar had been targeted after ceasing to cooperate with the FBI and uploading a series of videos advocating violence against the U.S. government. But last year, Holder admitted Abdulrahman, Samir Khan, and Jude Kenan Mohammad had not been specifically targeted in the attacks that killed them. The Justice Department has argued that their civil rights were never violated because they had not been specifically targeted for assassination. Due process isn’t taken into account when the U.S. government claims to accidentally murder its own citizens.

“It’s important for the American people to know when the president can kill an American citizen, and when [he] can’t,” asserted Senator Ron Wyden.

The architect of the drone program, John Brennan, is now the CIA Director and orchestrator of UAV strikes in Pakistan. Brennan has been caught lying about hacking into computers belonging to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and falsely accusing U.S. senators of hacking into the CIA’s computers. State Department officials have criticized the CIA’s use of signature strikes designed to attack unidentified people based on evidence of suspicious behavior or other signatures including weddings, barbeques, and tribal council meetings. As the U.S. government’s drone program continues violating national sovereignty and killing innocents, it is only a matter of time before China or Russia engages in this lethal competition.

Copyright © 2014 by NationofChange

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert - October 23 -24, 2014

32] Foreign policy talks – Oct. 23
33] Nuclear Negotiations with Iran – Oct. 23
34] Cut the nuclear arsenal? – Oct. 23
35] Islam, Gender and Democracy - Since the Arab Awakening – Oct. 23
36] Bill Barry on the 1877 Railroad Strike – Oct. 23
37] Reforming the Church Today – Oct. 23
38] GW’s radical history – Oct. 23
39] A tour of queer readings – Oct. 23
40] Risk, Recruitment & Retention: Engaging Foreign Publics in High Threat Environments – Oct. 24
41] Food Day – Oct. 24
32] – On Oct. 23 from 1:15 to 4:45 PM, Scott Busby, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, will address "North Korea's Human Rights." Ken Gause, Center for Naval Analyses, will discuss "North Korea's Leadership." And Ely Ratner, Center for a New American Security, reflects on "U.S.-China Relations in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities." The talks are sponsored by ICAS Liberty Foundation, and will be held in B-318 Rayburn House Office Building, WDC. Register at

33] – On Oct. 23 at 5 PM, Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, will explain EU-Coordinated P5+1 Nuclear Negotiations with Iran at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW, WDC. The talk will be sponsored by Syracuse University and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. RSVP at

34] – On Oct. 23 from 6 to 8 PM, Adam Mount, Council on Foreign Relations, Tom Collina, Ploughshares Fund, Matthew Kroenig, Georgetown University, and Thomas Moore, Wilson Center, will opine on the question "Debate: Should the United States Cut its Nuclear Arsenal?" The debate will be at the George Washington University, Room B17, 1957 E St. NW, WDC. RSVP at

35] – On Thurs., Oct. 23 from 5 to 6:45 PM a panel of scholars will examine Islam, Gender and Democracy - Since the Arab Awakening. The question of women's rights has become, in the view of Western commentators, a litmus test for Muslim societies in the age of democracy and liberalism. The issue is often framed as the opposition between liberal advocates of secular democracy and religious opponents of women's full equality. Participants will provide a broader comparison across religious traditions and cultures through a discussion of religion, secularism, democracy, and gender equality in France, Iran, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, and the United States.

This event will be held at Riggs Library, Healey Hall, Georgetown University, and is cosponsored by the Berkley Center and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security. A reception will follow. RSVP at

36] – Bill Barry will be talking about the 1877 railroad strike (or was it a riot by the rabble?) and his book “The 1877 Railroad Strike in Baltimore” at the Hamilton Branch Library, 5901 Harford Road, on Thurs., Oct. 23 from 6 to 7 PM. You can contact Bill at [].

37] – On Thurs., Oct. 23 from 7 to 9 PM, Call to Action will host Catholic Tipping Point Tour: People of Conscience—Reforming the Church Today, a conversation with Fr. Tony Flannery. The program will be held at Faith Presbyterian Church, 5400 Loch Raven Boulevard, Baltimore. Enjoy refreshments following the Q & A. Register by contacting New Ways Ministry— Go to

38] – Did you know that in 1969 forty members of Students for a Democratic Society seized George Washington University's Maury Hall, home of the Sino-Soviet Institute, to protest University complicity with the Vietnam War? Or that more than 2,000 students attended a rally in the University Yard opposing the House Un-American Activities Committee with speakers including Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman? Find out more about the tradition of social activism at GW. Come to a discussion sponsored by Lessons of the 60s, a project to document and archive local social justice organizing in Washington, D.C. 1960-1975. This event on Thurs., Oct. 23 from 7 to 9 PM, is a part of the “Traveling Hopefully” series, and will be held at 2121 I St. NW, Gelman Library, Room 702, WDC 20052. It is co-sponsored by Institute for Policy Studies. Email

39] – On Thurs., Oct. 23 at 7:30 PM @ Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201, hear about “Crushes and Mountains: A tour of queer readings, films and the prayers of Elisha Lim and Vivek Shraya.” Shraya will read from his new novel “She of the Mountains,” which weaves a passionate, contemporary love story between a man and his body, with a re-imagining of Hindu mythology. Both narratives explore the complexities of embodiment and the damaging effects that policing gender and sexuality can have on the human heart. The illustrations are by Raymond Biesinger, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker and the New York Times.

Lim will read from their new graphic novel “100 Crushes” - an infatuated journey through four continents of queer communities. Lim will also screen a selection of their short animations, including “Queers Who Pray,” and an excerpt from their book "100 Crushes Chapter 6," which won Best New Director at the 2014 Toronto Inside Out LGBT Film Festival. Call 443-602-7585. Go to

40] – On Fri., Oct. 24 from 8:30 AM to 1:45 PM, be at Risk, Recruitment & Retention: Engaging Foreign Publics in High Threat Environments held at U.S. Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave. NW. In an era where "zero-risk" environments abroad no longer exist, how does the United States address the question of risk for American civilians who want to pursue productive careers in diplomacy and development? With non-state actors increasingly shaping the international system, how can American diplomats and development workers engage effectively in environments critical to the defense of U.S. national interests in the 21st century? And how do we recruit, retain and support a new generation of men and women to do so? RSVP at All guests are required to enter via 23rd street entrance for building access. Please arrive at least 30 minutes in advance.

41] – On Fri., Oct. 24 from 9 to 11:30 AM, join Food Day, Food Chain Workers Alliance, and dozens of other organizations and individuals to celebrate Food Day at the National Press Club, First Amendment Room, Ste. 1300, 529 14th St. NW, WDC. The Food Justice Panel Discussion includes Barry Estabrook, writer and author of “Tomatoland,” co-producer, Food Chains; Rosalinda Guillen, executive director of Community to Community, domestic winner of the 2014 World Food Sovereignty Prize; Jose Oliva, associate director, Food Chain Workers Alliance; and Ricardo Salvador, Union of Concerned Scientists. The moderator is Michael F. Jacobson, Food Day Founder and Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to "The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles.

The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

"Kucinichs: Redefine agriculture in Iowa"

"Kucinichs: Redefine agriculture in Iowa" & a series of events to protect our food

On Behalf Of Frank Cordaro

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 8:16 AM

"Kucinichs: Redefine agriculture in Iowa" by Matthew Patane DM Reg Oct 14, 2014

Iowans are in the perfect place to start a new conversation about
moving U.S. agriculture away from the influence of large businesses,
Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich said Tuesday.

"Iowa is the place to show that it works, to start the new discussion
and to change the world," said Dennis Kucinich, a former congressman
from Ohio.

The married couple helped start off a three-day Occupy the World Food
Prize event that is meant to rival the World Food Prize symposium.

Elizabeth Kucinich is the policy director for the Center for Food
Safety, a Washington nonprofit.

"You are in the most extraordinary position as Iowans to really turn
this debate, that when those candidates come through you really stand
up and let them know how you feel as Iowans and you vote for exactly
what you want," she said to a crowd of about 100 at First Unitarian

She added that that United States has a mentality "that domination and
force and some kind of chemical and aggression will stop something."

"The same is true of our fields. We have a chemical warfare with
nature, and guess what, nature is out-evolving us," Kucinich said.

Both speakers advocated for trying to find different farming
techniques and for reconnecting with nature in a way that would not
cause it harm."Think about the power that we have, the power that goes
beyond politics," Dennis Kucinich said. "It is a spiritual mission to
reconnect with clean water, to reconnect with clean air, to reconnect
with land that is not defiled."

The three-day Occupy event is organized by a coalition of groups who
oppose the World Food Prize for the heavy influence they say companies
and the agribusiness industry have over its proceedings.

Every year, the World Food Prize recognizes an individual for
advancements in food security. Sanjaya Rajaram, a close colleague of
plant geneticist Norman Borlaug will receive this year's prize while
the symposium is in Des Moines this week.

The Occupy event includes its own prize this year as well.

Organizing under the banner of the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, the
coalition will present its first "Food Sovereignty Prize"

Wednesday to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees of Palestine,
based in Gaza, and to Community to Community Development, based in
Bellingham, Wash.

The Des Moines stop is a part of a "Terror to Peace" tour, which the
Kuciniches started on Sept. 11. The tour is meant to focus on a number
of issues, such as food and economic security and goes until Nov. 11.
Asked whether the Iowa stop could reflect another potential run at the
White House for Dennis Kucinich -- he ran for president in 2004 and
2008 -- he said has no such plans.

The Kuciniches were joined by Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and Des
Moines Water Works CEO Bill Stowe.

Stowe said industrial agriculture that involves chemical fertilizer
and hog farms with contaminated water runoff makes his job of
delivering clean water "extraordinarily difficult."

"Let's forget about the glow of feeding the world and remember that
hypoxia isn't just something in the Gulf of Mexico," Stowe said. "Our
waters here are dead — go look at them — and separate the truth from
the falsity."

Don't miss the last two events in Des Moines IA for our 3rd annual
Occupy the World Food
Prize(OWFP) 3 days campaign Oct 15 - 16, 2014

Wednesday, Oct 15
US Food Sovereignty Alliance’s 2014 “Food Sovereignty Prize” Award Ceremony!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/g8EXZTuk7n8

Thursday, Oct. 16
OWFP Rally and Direct Action 6 p.m. State Capitol building, World Food
Prize Awards Ceremony
(9 min) Video 2013 OWFP Rally and Direct Action State Capitol
Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry to speak at Oct 16 Occupy the
World Food Prize Rally in DM!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/CtUiO8BpBmQ

All 3 events are part of our OWFP efforts to redirect the public
discourse about our Global World Food System through the use of public
programs, an alternative food prize and direct action & nonviolent
civil disobedience.

OWFP contacts for more info:
Sharon Donovan
Frank Cordaro-
515 282 4781 / c 515 4902490
Occupy the World Food Prize campaign

About the World Food Prize in their own words

About the World Food Prize by Food and Water Watch

3 min video of Frank Cordaro’s on Occupy World Food Prize 2013 Oct. Program

2013 Occupy the World Food Prize Summary Report

2012 Occupy the World Food Prize Summary Report

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs