June 30, 2012

Updates on Assange & Manning

This is not just an infowar; it's a p.r. war. And most of the p.r. machinery is owned by t.p.t.b.

Neither Assange nor Wikileaks has been charged with any violation of any law in any country on the planet, though not for lack of strenuous effort by the authorities. The allegations against Assange fall far short of anything considered illegal in the US or most other countries, and the women who made them did not want him prosecuted.

He offered to be questioned while in Sweden before departing for the UK – he lingered there for over a month for that purpose – and he repeatedly offered to be questioned while in the UK. But although Swedish police and prosecutors recently travelled to Serbia to question a suspect in another case, they refused to interview Assange in the UK. They don't want to question him; they want him in their possession.

Gary McKinnon, wanted in the US since 2002 for allegedly committing the biggest hack of US military computers of all time, walks free in the UK. Shawn Sullivan, a convicted pedophile wanted in the US since 1994 for alleged sexual violations of three underage girls, walks free in the UK.

On May 26, 2012, the Swedish Foreign Minister announced a visit by US Sec. of State Hillary Clinton; she arrived in Sweden on June 2. This was the first visit to Sweden by a US Sec. of State since Henry Kissinger spent one day there in 1976. Clinton remained in Sweden for a week.

It should be noted that Sweden is known to have cooperated with the US's rendition program, and that at least one innocent individual in its custody, Muhammad al-Zery, though never actually charged, was sent to Eqypt for torture and held for two years in jail without ever seeing a judge.

Without Assange and Wikileaks, a great many terrible crimes committed by various governments and corporations around the world might never have been revealed. This is what has precipitated the unprecedented efforts to shut Wikileaks down and gain possession of Assange.

Assange's Position in Re- Extradition & Asylum

The excerpts below are from a statement found on WL Central and made yesterday in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and they accurately summarize some of the matters that have been the subjects of misrepresentation most recently.

Yesterday Mr. Assange was served with a letter from the Metropolitan police service requesting that he surrender himself to the Belgravia police station at 11.30 this morning.

Mr Assange has been advised that he should decline to comply with the police request. This should not be considered any sign of disrespect. Under both international and domestic UK law asylum assessments take priority over extradition claims.

The issues faced by Mr. Assange are serious. His life and liberty and the life and liberty of his organization and those associated with it are at stake.

The United States Government has instigated a grand jury investigation against Julian Assange and other “founders or managers” of Wikileaks. Australian diplomats have described this investigation as being of “unprecedented scale and nature." There is irrefutable evidence in the public record of subpoenas being issued and witnesses being compelled to testify against Mr. Assange. WikiLeaks, the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights and other groups have been fighting these subpeonas and other issues arising from the investigation in multiple US courts. US officials have said in open court that the FBI file about the investigation has now reached 42,135 pages. The US department of justice admitted yesterday that its investigation into WikiLeaks proceeds. It is only a matter of time before US authorities begin extradition proceedings against Julian and other leading members of WikiLeaks on various charges including conspiracy to commit espionage. There are credible reports that a sealed indictment has already been made against Mr. Assange. Under US law a sealed indictment can only be made public once Mr. Assange is in custody. For a US official to otherwise acknowledge the existence of a sealed indictment is a criminal offense. The Independent newspaper’s diplomatic correspondent reported that informal talks between the US and Sweden have been conducted.

It should be made clear what would happen if Julian was extradited to the USA. The United Nations special rapporteur for torture, Juan Mendez has formally found that the United States has subjected Julian Assange’s alleged source in this matter, the young soldier Bradley Manning, to conditions amounting to torture. The UN found that the United States subjected Bradley Manning to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”. Mr. Manning has been charged by the US government with the capital offense of “aiding the enemy” in relation to his alleged interaction with Mr. Assange. Bradley Manning has been detained without trial for two years and was placed into solitary confinement for 9 months in his cell for 23 hours a day, stripped naked and woken every 5 minutes. His lawyer and support team say these harsh measures were to coerce him into implicating Julian Assange.

So it is clear that there is a legal process in place which will result in taking Julian to the US, which if allowed to succeed would violate his basic rights.

It is accepted by the UK Supreme Court that Julian Assange has not been charged with any criminal offence in Sweden. It is also accepted that he was by told by Swedish authorities that he was free to leave Sweden. And it is also accepted that he has continuously offered to be interviewed by the Swedish authorities here in the UK, should they wish to do so. Although it is normal procedure, Swedish authorities have refused, without reason, to make the 3 hour trip to London and to interview Julian, causing him to be trapped in the UK under virtual house arrest for 561 days and an additional 10 days in solitary confinement – all without charge. Instead they have issued an INTERPOL Red notice and extradition requests.

Julian and his legal team have previously sought assurances from both the UK government and the Swedish government that they will guarantee safe passage after the completion of legal interviews with Mr Assange and both have [refused]. The Swedish executive publicly announced on June 14 that it would detain Mr. Assange in prison without charge.

Once in Sweden under such grave restrictions it would be impossible for Mr. Assange to exercise his asylum rights.

Mr. Assange did not feel safe from US extradition in the UK. We are all too aware of the abuses of the US-UK extradition treaty. Although Mr. Assange has been trapped in the UK, under dangerous circumstances, he at least has had the freedom to apply for political asylum.

It is in this context that Julian has made the difficult decision to seek refuge inside the Ecuadorian Embassy to ask for asylum.

Julian will remain in the Embassy under the protection of the Ecuadorian government while evidence for his application is being assembled and processed.
See also Glenn Greenwald's summary of the situation and Justice for Assange.

Assange would be a fool to allow himself to fall into the hands of the US or any nation subject to its influence. No doubt t.p.t.b. are too smart to dispose of him in a way that might boost his appeal as a martyr; but once in Swedish or US custody, a lot of things could happen. There could be an unfortunate accident, or he could simply be held incommunicado for a very long time.

Here's a recent BBC piece on the situation:

Below are just some of the revelations made thanks to Wikileaks, as of back in Dec., 2010:

How about the needless gunning down by U.S. military forces of a Reuters cameraman and Iraqi innocents shown in the leaked "Collateral Murder" video? Or, limiting inquiry to the U.S. Embassy cables, what about the revelations that six months before the worldwide economic meltdown, the governor of the Bank of England was secretly proposing a bailout of the world's biggest banks funded by nations such as the U.S.; or that the British government secretly assured the U.S. that it had "put measures in place to protect your interest during the UK inquiry into the causes of the Iraq war"; or that the U.S. dismissed British objections about secret U.S. spy flights taking place from the UK, amid British officials' concerns that the UK would be deemed an accomplice to torture; or that, in response to U.S. pressure, the German government assured the U.S. that it would not follow through on its investigation of the CIA's abduction of a German citizen mistakenly identified as a terrorist, Khaled el-Masri; or that the U.S. threatened the Italian government in order to make sure that no international arrest warrants were issued for CIA agents accused of involvement in the abduction of cleric Abu Omar; or that the U.S. sought assurances from the Ugandan government that it would consult the U.S. before using American intelligence to commit war crimes; or that as of 2009, Shell Oil had infiltrated all the main ministries of the Nigerian government; or that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer paid investigators to unearth corruption links to Nigeria's attorney general so as to pressure him to drop legal action for harm to children from a drug trial; or that government corruption in Afghanistan is rampant (viz. an incident last year when then vice-president Ahmad Zia Massoud was stopped in Dubai while carrying $52m in cash); or that the U.S. seeks to manipulate nations opposed to its approach to global warming; or that the U.S. and China worked together to prevent European nations from reaching an agreement at last year's climate summit; or that the Vatican refused to cooperate with an official Irish inquiry into clerical child abuse; or that BP covered up a giant gas leak in Azerbaijan eighteen months before the Gulf of Mexico disaster? To mention just a few items revealed as of 2010-12-21. (UPDATE: See also Glen Mitchell's "Why Wikileaks Matters" for The Nation; the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "The Best of Cablegate: Where Public Discourse Benefited from the Leaks"; Glenn Greenwald's "What Wikileaks revealed to the world in 2010" at Salon; Wikileaks - A timeline of the top leaks at The Telegraph; and to add just one from 2011 so far, "WikiLeaks points to US meddling . . . to keep the [democratically-elected] Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of Haiti." FURTHER UPDATE: See Greg Mitchell's "32 Major Revelations (and Counting)," including the fact that Wikileaks' publications are widely believed to have helped inspire the uprising in Tunisia against a brutal dictator; OpEd News; Greg Mitchell's top Cablegate picks as of his 100th day of blogging the Wikileaks story, here; and Kevin Gosztola's 100 leaks in 100 tweets, here.
Manning Wins Access to US Damage Assessments

Meanwhile, from AFP:

A US military judge ordered prosecutors Monday to share more documents with WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning after defense lawyers accused them of hiding information that could help their client's case.

For months, Manning's defense team has demanded access to reports by government agencies, including the CIA, that assessed the effect of the leak of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.

Manning is accused of passing on a massive trove of files to WikiLeaks but his lawyers believe the reports will show the alleged disclosures had no major effect on the country's national security.

Judge Denise Lind ruled that government prosecutors must provide "damage assessment" reports from the CIA, the State Department, the FBI, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (Oncix) and other documents that were relevant for the defense.
I strongly suspect that if the effects of the release were really so damaging to legitimate US interests or to innocents in general, the gov't would by now have managed to identify a few particulars it could afford to make public.

UPDATE: Patrick Cockburn has a fine essay at The Independent:
All governments indulge in a degree of hypocrisy between what they say in public and in private. When democratic openness about general actions and policies is demanded, they pretend they are facing a call for total transparency which would prevent effective government. This deliberate and self-serving inflation of popular demands is usually aimed at the concealment of failure and monopolising power.

* * * * *
Assange and WikeLeaks unmasked not diplomatic reticence in the interests of the smooth functioning of government, but duplicity to justify lost wars in which tens of thousand died. Recent history shows that this official secrecy, frequently aided by "embedding" journalists with armies, works all too well.

In Iraq, in the months before the US presidential election in 2004, foreign embassies in Baghdad all knew and reported that US soldiers were only clinging to islands of territory in a hostile land. But the Bush administration was able to persuade US voters that, on the contrary, it was fighting and winning a battle to establish democracy against the remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime and the adherents of Osama bin Laden.

State control of information and the ability to manipulate it makes the right to vote largely meaningless. That is why people like Julian Assange are so essential to democratic choice.
Much more at the link. Another good one by B.J. Sachs at Counterpunch.

Word for the Day

Per Wikipedia:

Fnord is the typographic representation of disinformation or irrelevant information intending to misdirect, with the implication of a worldwide conspiracy. The word was coined as a nonsensical term with religious undertones in the Discordian religious text Principia Discordia (1965) by Kerry Thornley and Greg Hill, but was popularized by The Illuminatus! Trilogy (1975) of satirical conspiracy fiction novels by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.[1]

* * * * *
In these novels, the interjection "fnord" is given hypnotic power over the unenlightened. Under the Illuminati program, children in grade school are taught to be unable to consciously see the word "fnord". For the rest of their lives, every appearance of the word subconsciously generates a feeling of uneasiness and confusion, and prevents rational consideration of the subject. This results in a perpetual low-grade state of fear in the populace. The government acts on the premise that a fearful populace keeps them in power.

In the Shea/Wilson construct, fnords are scattered liberally in the text of newspapers and magazines, causing fear and anxiety in those following current events. However, there are no fnords in the advertisements, encouraging a consumerist society. It is implied in the books that fnord is not the actual word used for this task, but merely a substitute, since most readers would be unable to see the actual word.

To see the fnords means to be unaffected by the supposed hypnotic power of the word or, more loosely, of other fighting words. A more common expression of the concept would be "to read between the lines." The term may also be used to refer to the experience of becoming aware of a phenomenon's ubiquity after first observing it. The phrase "I have seen the fnords" was famously graffitied on a railway bridge (known locally as Anarchy Bridge) between Earlsdon and Coventry (U.K.) city centre throughout the 1980s and 1990s, until the bridge was upgraded. The bridge and the phrase were mentioned in the novel A Touch of Love by Jonathan Coe.
(Some links removed.)

June 29, 2012

"100 meters behind the future"

. . . a new work by eteam,

is a live film . . . shot, acted, directed, edited, screened, watched and deleted in real time. It’s a film about delay, the expansion of cinema and the paranoia that creeps in when the mash-up of several time zones and realities escapes the logical explanations of the captive audience.

The screening room is the front row of a van in which one or two people are being driven around while following the action in double view - through the windshield of the car and the screen of the device they hold in their hands. They simultaneously see what is happening right now and what has happened 10 seconds ago.

The project was part of the “For Real” program at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, 2012. Read more about the program here.
Video and more details re- eteam's project here.

More Great Gifs

. . . at Born in 1987, "an exhibition devoted to this overlooked image format native to the web and the computer screen." Keep scrolling down and it loads more.

From a tweet

(Sorry I've misplaced the source; pls let me know it, if you do.)

Electronic Voting: Command Central

There's an excellent article by the Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op about one of the major suppliers of electronic voting technology in Wis., Command Central:

Forty-six Wisconsin counties and 3,000 voting machines are being controlled by a two-person company operating out of a strip mall in Minnesota.

* * * * *
In his report of his experience with the November 2010 gubernatorial election for Scott Walker, John Washburn, an election integrity investigator and professional software tester for almost 20 years, states, “I have been to dozens of voting system test sessions and have never seen any of this faux ‘testing’ actually test the voting system software correctly. This is the professional opinion of a software tester testing software since 1994.”

* * * * *
Last September, Election Integrity investigators discovered that . . . Command Central sent those 46 districts an offer: trade out your old Optech Insight Scanner for two DRE Touch Screen models, at no charge. The Optech machine is the one that paper ballots are fed through to read and register the votes.

While these machines are also susceptible to hacking . . . it is possible to physically monitor the paper ballots as they are fed through the machine to see if they match the machine totals.

With DRE Touch Screens, however, one’s vote could be flipped and one would never know because there is no receipt or paper trail voters receive to confirm their vote was counted as voted. . . .

And according to John Washburn, this swap-out two-for-one offer violates the statutes issued by the GAB for State approved system as described on the Government Accountability Board’s website that requires the inclusion of an Optech Insight Scanner.

On January 13, 2012, Washburn emailed the GAB about this situation. When he did not receive an answer, he submitted an Open Records request to the GAB, with no reply. On May 2, he submitted another, again to no response. On May 4, he turned the case over to Dane County Attorney, and on May 14 he kicked it up to the Department of Justice.
Much more at the link. Similar situations now exist not only in other states but around the world.

(Earlier companies supplying electronic voting technologies, such as Diebold and ES&S, are gone, or at least their names are.)

June 27, 2012

Colorado Fires

Photo via Twitter user @FSUKilroy, showing wildfire just outside Colorado Springs.

June 26, 2012

Political Art Month

From San Antonio artist, Gene Elder:

Due to the high survellance of Texas artists, Political Art Month has been cancelled. The revolution will not be televised.

It has come to our attention that "political art will not be tolerated in a free society."

All artists have been notified that their art making activities will be monitored. And any art that is upsetting to City Hall or the government of the United States will be shut down and the gallery will be told to close.

"Most artists are fine with this" says Beth Ann Forlet, "We have better things to do as artists than worry about what is going on in the world. San Antonio artists don't get involved in this nonsense. Crafts fairs are what we want, along with more fund raisers at Blue Star. I adore RED DOT. You get to meet people and the food is wonderful. Everyone has a good time. That is what an art community should be focused on. I like going to the McNay because it takes me away from thinking about war and Wall Street. Gene Elder and David Freeman are just wasting their time trying to get artists involved. I hope they have stopped with this silly idea that July should be concerned with political art. I hate when artists think they are important."

June 24, 2012

Taboo Hall of Fame

(Thanks, Ben!) The peace sign makes it. (Re- the gun, see my previous post.)

More taboo tableaux here.

For the Kidless (or Others)

I just discovered that Devo, Flaming Lips et al. have been doing mtv for a kids' show called YoGabbaGabba. Dancing is encouraged.

You can also learn to draw an elephant with Mark Mothersbaugh.

June 23, 2012

The Results of Austerity

How states that have expanded spending have done as compared to states that have cut back. More at The Atlantic.

The Results of "Trickle Down"

"1) Corporate profit margins just hit an all-time high. Companies are making more per dollar of sales than they ever have before. . . .

"2) Fewer Americans are working than at any time in the past three decades. . . .

"3) Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low. This is both cause and effect. One reason companies are so profitable is that they're paying employees less than they ever have as a share of GDP. And that, in turn, is one reason the economy is so weak: those "wages" are other companies' revenue."

More great charts and other info at Business Insider. And if you like this, you might like this video of Huey Long in 1934.

June 22, 2012

Retirement, Ha Ha!

I have a 401(k) with a major investment company whose name starts with F, which I'll call "F Co." I just got an email from them advising me of five "relatively easy steps that [their] research shows" can help make sure I have a comfy retirement. Here they are:

1. Rebalance your investments, i.e., every once in a while, you should shift some of your funds from stocks into bonds or vice versa, to keep from accumulating too much of either. This is investments 101 and I don't think most of us needed F Co.'s "research" to reveal it to us. It also kind of assumes we're actually accumulating too much of either stocks or bonds, which hasn't been a problem for most of us 99%-er's lately.

2. Contribute more to your savings. Duh!

3. Put off retiring. Here's where I guffawed.

4. Work during retirement. Seriously, they counted that as a separate "step" toward a comfy retirement. Well, maybe the job market will have picked up in another ten or fifteen years.

5. (Drumroll . . . ) Sell your home.
Since 1/4 of my retirement funds were melted in 2008, I'm really glad for F Co.'s "research."

June 21, 2012

June 20, 2012

For immediate action (re- Wikileaks/Assange):

Go here to send a message such as the following:

President Rafael Correa
Embassy of Ecuador
1050 30th Street NW
Washington, DC 20007

I am a citizen of the United States, but above that, I am a citizen of humanity.

Wikileaks' Julian Assange is a hero who has helped expose terrible acts of injustice around the world and has spoken truth to power regardless of nationality or the consequences to himself.

It now falls to those who recognize what's really happening and have the power to help him to do so, for the sake of humanity as well as for Mr. Assange's sake.

I urge you to grant him asylum. Posterity will honor you for your recognition that the time has come to do what's right, and having had the courage to do it.


June 19, 2012

Chad Hopper a.k.a. PALFLOAT

I went to see what Chad Hopper's been up to and found this website, and the image right, and this music, and a bunch of other cool stuff, and a solicitation to help pay cancer bills. Go there for more cool stuff, and consider donating. (You can also click on the "Chad Hopper" label below.)

June 18, 2012

Google: Censorship Requests "Alarming"

Per HuffPo:

Google has received more than 1,000 requests from authorities to take down content from its search results or YouTube video in the last six months of 2011, the company said on Monday, denouncing what it said was an alarming trend.

* * * * *
Many of those requests targeted political speech, keeping up a trend Google said it has noticed since it started releasing its Transparency Report in 2010.

"It's alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect — Western democracies not typically associated with censorship," said Chou.

In the second half of last year, Google complied with around 65 percent of court orders and 47 percent of informal requests to remove content, it said.
(Emphasis supplied; more at the link.) It's even more alarming that it's reached the point that even Google finds it alarming.

June 16, 2012

More from NYC: the New Museum

The New Museum had a lot of great shows, too, with exhibitions of work by Klara Lidén, Tacita Dean, Nathalie Djurberg, Phyllida Barlow, and others; I think my favorite was Lidén's, though perhaps partly because her work was new to me. My photos are here; apologies for the spotty quality; again, these are more a sketchy record than representative of the work shown.

More from NYC: MoMA

Got back from another stint in New York but haven't had a chance to process the photos 'til now. Since I was there earlier this year, I had the luxury of spending a little more time in fewer places. I spent 2 days at MoMA and could have spent much more – it's literally awesome.

The knock-out show was, of course, the Cindy Sherman retrospective. She's spent a lifetime re-creating in loving detail our most ambitious creations, ourselves, transforming herself into half of humanity while calling into question every means by which we prop up our sense of reality as well as our own identities – while selectively leavening her tableaux with flaws that point toward the eerie whatever-it-is that lies beneath. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed; but MoMA has lots of visuals on their website.

I also enjoyed a series of vintage video classics by Vito Acconci, Dan Graham, Richard Serra & Nancy Holt, et al., across from the main elevators on the ground floor; videos by Noam Toran, also near the elevators, I think maybe on the second floor?; an exhibition called The Shaping of New Visions, which included wonderful videos by Paul Strand & Charles Sheeler (hokily captioned but gorgeously shot) and Man Ray, as well as three series of politically-conscious photographic works, by Harrell Fletcher, Martha Rosler, and Lee Friedlander, among other things; the Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language exhibition (where photography was unfortunately again not allowed; but the "catalogue" was cheap). And I liked the premise of the Foreclosed, Rehousing the American Dream show – that the real estate collapse could be regarded as an opportunity to re-think housing, rather than leaving it to be exploited by disaster capitalists – tho' I found the show slightly disappointing in other ways.

My own photos of some of these works are here; apologies for moiré on tv screens and other defects; these photos help me as a record, at least, and can perhaps serve others in the same way.

June 15, 2012

June 14, 2012

Assange's Appeal Rejected by UK Supreme Court

More on the court's case at Raw Story.

As succinctly summarized at WL Central, Assange, who has already been detained for some 500 days without charge, will be extradited to Sweden "for questioning," even though there is no charge against him for violating any law in any country, the two women who alleged sexual misconduct did not want to press charges but only to have him tested for STD's, and

[before leaving for the UK, he] stayed in Sweden for nearly 5 weeks to answer the allegations. Attempts to arrange an interview were made through his lawyer Björn Hurtig, but all proposed dates were refused. When Mr. Assange left Sweden, he did so only after receiving approval from the Swedish prosecutor on the case, Marianne Ny.

Mr. Assange has offered himself to be questioned via telephone or video link from London, which are perfectly legal methods under Swedish law, despite Prosecutor Ny falsely stating otherwise. All offers by Mr. Assange have been rejected.

* * * * *
If Julian Assange is extradited to Sweden he will be immediately placed in prison, in solitary confinement, and incommunicado. There is no bail system in Sweden, nor is there a time limit to detention . . . .

If he is eventually charged, the trial will be held in secret. Sweden's legal system also features a panel of lay judges who hold no formal legal training and are appointed because of their political affiliation.

Mr. Assange then faces further extradition to the United States, where politicians have openly called for his assassination. Sweden holds a "temporary surrender" agreement with the U.S. which allows extradition without the usual lengthy procedure.

More at the links above; and see Business Insider for more background.

Sweet Brown: Nobody Got Time for That

June 13, 2012

Oak Cliff Film Fest Starts Tomorrow

. . . in Dallas. Website here; and you can download a printable schedule here, or build your own via the over-optimistically monikered "Festival Genius" here.

Led by the Aviation Cinemas team that took over operations at the Texas Theatre in Dec., 2010, the Oak Cliff Film Festival will showcase “brave and independent filmmaking of all stripes” from Oak Cliff, Dallas, Denton, Austin, and Fort Worth, as well as nationally and internationally.

Tickets are $10 per screening or all-fest badges for $95, plus a few events are free. The box office is at the Texas Theatre, but films will be shown at other locations including the Kessler, Bishop Arts Theater, the Belmont Hotel, Oil and Cotton, the Dallas Zoo, and more.

June 12, 2012

Why the Rich Oppose Unions

Wisconson: 2004 Redux?

The excerpt below is from Wisconsin Wave; I hope you'll read the whole article, 'cuz it's a great summary of what happened in 2004.

But since I like to include visuals, I dug up the map at right. It was created in April, 2005 based on the exit poll data available at that time (click on the image for a larger version) and shows a "red shift" from the percentages reported by voters in the exit polls, which strongly favored Kerry by nearly five full points, to the percentages of the official, tabulated vote.

Per Richard Charnin, "[t]he unadjusted 2004 exit polls (state and national) were not released until about a year ago" (i.e., ca. June, 2011). According to the exit polls, out of the total respondents, 51.7% reported voting for Kerry and 47.0% reported voting for Bush (with the remainder voting for "Other"). Per the actual vote as tabulated, the final percentages were 50.7% for Bush vs. 48.3% for Kerry. This means the results shifted from Kerry being ahead by 4.7 points in the exit polls, to Bush being ahead by 2.4 points in the votes as tabulated, for a net, actual red-shift from the exit polls to the reported vote totals of 7.1 points. Can't believe you didn't hear more about it? Neither can I.

ROBERT F KENNEDY JR: The 2004 Presidential election was stolen via institutional fraud

* * * * *
The first indication that something was gravely amiss on November 2nd, 2004, was the inexplicable discrepancies between exit polls and actual vote counts. Polls in thirty states weren't just off the mark – they deviated to an extent that cannot be accounted for by their margin of error. In all but four states, the discrepancy favored President Bush.(16)

Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science. Indeed, among pollsters and statisticians, such surveys are thought to be the most reliable. Unlike pre-election polls, in which voters are asked to predict their own behavior at some point in the future, exit polls ask voters leaving the voting booth to report an action they just executed. The results are exquisitely accurate: exit polls in Germany, for example, have never missed the mark by more than three-tenths of one percent.(17) ''Exit polls are almost never wrong,'' Dick Morris, a political consultant who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats, noted after the 2004 vote. Such surveys are ''so reliable,'' he added, ''that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries.''(18) In 2003, vote tampering revealed by exit polling in the Republic of Georgia forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down.(19) And in November 2004, exit polling in the Ukraine -- paid for by the Bush administration -- exposed election fraud that denied Viktor Yushchenko the presidency.(20)

But that same month, when exit polls revealed disturbing disparities in the U.S. election, the six media organizations that had commissioned the survey treated its very existence as an embarrassment. Instead of treating the discrepancies as a story meriting investigation, the networks scrubbed the offending results from their Web sites and substituted them with ''corrected'' numbers that had been weighted, retroactively, to match the official vote count. Rather than finding fault with the election results, the mainstream media preferred to dismiss the polls as flawed.(21)
(Emphasis supplied.) Footnotes and much more at the link. The issue of election integrity is, i.m.h.o., among the most under- and mis-reported of our time.

UPDATE: Bob Fitrakis has another great article on vote rigging, at The Free Press.

June 10, 2012

Jon Kessler at Salon 94

And here's a post leading to images of an earlier Kessler work, seen in the 2009 Armory Show.

Robert Cauble's Guy Debord

A little long, but a wonderful ride; via notbored.org.

June 8, 2012

Shell Rig Malfunctions at Posh Party (the Yes Lab Strikes Again)

This was a send-off for Shell's arctic rigs at the Seattle Space Needle. The actual rigs were visible outside the window. Incredibly, there was a malfunction of the model rig that was supposed to pour drinks for guests.

Per HuffPo,

The device which sprayed Rainey's face was a model of Shell's drill rig, the Kulluk, which is set to soon depart Seattle for the Arctic. The Kulluk was built-in 1983 by Mitsui, the same company that, two decades later, built the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon. . . .

* * * * *
[T]he Yes Lab [also] sent out a press release on Shell's behalf, threatening [legal action against the activists and] attacking . . . the activists' brand-new ArcticReady.com website [, which looks like a Shell site, and] which includes a social media ad generator and a dangerously addictive children's video game called Angry Bergs. The fake Shell release generated additional media coverage.

Earlier this year, Shell obtained a legal injunction stopping any Greenpeace activist from coming within 1km of any Shell vessel. To thank the company, Greenpeace teamed up with the Yes Lab to plan a promotional advertising campaign for Shell's Arctic drilling efforts, which Shell prefers to keep quiet. Besides the ill-fated ceremony and the website, the campaign includes a number of other elements that will shadow Shell's summer Arctic destruction campaign.
(More at HuffPo and YouTube. For more Yes Men or Yes Lab actions, click on those labels below.)

June 6, 2012

The Knowns and "Known Unknowns" in Wisconsin

What we know (see image right, from Labor's Pains):

What we don't know:

From BradBlog:

The early Exit Poll results had reportedly predicted the race between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett a virtual tie, leading media to plan for a long night tonight. A second round of Exit Polls results, however, were said to have given Walker a broader lead over Barrett. Even so, we were told, the race based on the Exit Poll data alone was still "too close to call." . . .

Of course, the raw, unadjusted Exit Polling data itself is no longer entrusted to us mere mortals. It can only be seen by members of the mainstream media, and we are simply left to trust them to report it all accurately to us or not. And when, after all, have we not been able to rely on the mainstream media to report everything accurately to us? But never mind the Exit Polls. We've got real polls, real votes, actual ballots now to tell us who won or lost. If only we'd bother to actually count them...

Instead, those ballots --- Wisconsin votes on mostly paper ballots --- are tabulated by computer optical-scan systems like the ones in Palm Beach County, FL which, in March of this year, had named several losing candidates to be the "winners". And like the ones in New York City which, in 2010, managed to toss out thousands of valid votes, including as many as 70% in one South Bronx precinct. And like the ones in Oakland County, Michigan where officials found the same machines failed to count the same ballots the same way twice in 2008. And like the ones in Leon County, FL which, in 2005, were hacked to entirely flip the results of a mock election.

In Palm Beach County, FL the failure was discovered during a state mandated post-election spot-check of 2% of the paper ballots. In New York City, it took nearly two years before the failures were discovered after the New York Daily News was able to examine the paper ballots via a public records request. In Oakland County, MI, election officials were lucky enough to discover the failure during pre-election testing. And in Leon County, FL, the hacker --- a computer security expert --- revealed the op-scan system flaw he exploited to flip the results of the election in an Emmy-nominated HBO documentary.
(Links to more info in quoted portions are omitted but can be found at BradBlog.)

And more of what we do know: Item 7 in my previous post here; see also here (and if you live in Wisconsin and don't know who Kathy Nickolaus is, see here); and see also the media-related labels below this post.

June 4, 2012

Thousands Commemorate Tiananmen Square

More great photos here.

Corporate Media's Campaign Coverage ATM

From an interview of Bob Mcchesney, Prof. of Communications at U. of Illinois, at the Real News Network, by Paul Jay:

JAY: So your piece to a large extent is about political advertising, partly as it has been affected by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allows practically unlimited corporate spending on television advertising, and . . . . you got this crazy system whereby the entities that benefit most from this money in politics are the . . . mass major news organizations that get all this and billions of dollars of paid advertising, and then they report in what their – supposed to be their journalism on – mostly on poll results, poll results affected by TV buys which they're benefiting from. . . .

MCCHESNEY: . . . . You know, most democracies in the world have nothing like the United States in terms of this huge amount of money that gets spent by television ads, most of which are attacking the other candidates, not promoting your own candidate. And the reason for that is that it's driven in the United States by commercial broadcasters, the commercial television stations. And really we're talking about less than a dozen companies that own the vast majority of the stations that participate in selling TV ads. They are making a killing from this cash-drenched system. Literally between 18 and 25 percent of all the revenues of a commercial TV station this year will come from selling TV political candidate ads. And, you know, this is a profit center for them that's beyond belief. . . .

So you have – the commercial broadcasters are to campaign finance reform what the National Rifle Association is to bans on assault weapons. They are the number-one lobby to promote massive amounts of money in politics, because our electoral system in America has basically converted into a system where billionaires and corporations give tons of money to politicians, who then give most of that to commercial media to buy inane ads. And that's really what we have for our system. And the beneficiaries immediately of this are the commercial broadcasters [crosstalk]

* * * * *
It is – you know, and I think the point that's got to be understood by your viewers is that the companies that get these monopoly broadcast licenses – you have television stations or radio stations, cable systems – they get these monopoly privileges at no charge from the government in exchange for doing something in the public interest. In every major definition that's ever been given of what the public interest requirements ought to be of commercial broadcasters, number one on the list is always that they should do outstanding campaign coverage above and beyond what they would do if they were just out to make money, that basically that's where they put all their emphasis, to draw people into public life as voters, as citizens, to understand the candidates and the issues. And what we've seen is just the opposite. In the last 20 years, as the percentage of revenues going to commercial broadcast stations has gone from around 2 percent 20 years ago on average to 20 percent on average today, if not more. We've seen the amount of journalism covering campaigns on commercial television plummet. Lots of races get no coverage anymore. It's not any better, really, in newspapers. And what coverage that does remain is appalling. . . . It's like going over polls. It's sort of like reviewing whether an advertising attack ad is successful at manipulating people, not, you know, discussing how inane it is in the first place.
(Emphasis supplied.) More at the link above. (Infographic from the U. of Minnesota via The Angry Bureaucrat; click on the image for a larger version.)

That's a lot of cash going into a "hopelessly unproductive works."

June 3, 2012

Jeff Gibbons at OFG

. . . for those who don't live in Dallas; for those who do, call Oliver Francis Gallery at 817-879-8231 for an appointment.

(For more re- a previous work by Gibbons, see here.)

June 2, 2012

A Few Recent Headlines

Been out of town; so, in cased you missed these (more re- each item at the headline link) . . .

1. Don't Forget to Sign Up for the "Do Not Kill" List

A number of sources (including the Wall Street Journal) report that someone has used the White House's "We the People" website to start a petition asking it to create a "Do Not Kill" list similar to the "Do Not Call" list that has been reasonably successful against telemarketers. This follows the New York Times report that every week or so, a bunch of National Security People get together to flip through some PowerPoint slides and "recommend to the President who should be the next to die." The President, who you may recall won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, then personally approves names on the "kill list" for execution targeted killing by drone.
Sign the "Do Not Kill" Petition here. (For more on the "Kill List," see here and links therein.)

2. Occupy Buffalo Helps Convince City to Divest from JPMorgan Chase
City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder has agreed to transfer $45 million . . . from a JPMorgan Chase account to local bank First Niagara Financial Group after Occupy Buffalo raised concerns about leaving the money at JPMorgan, the Buffalo News reports. The move comes with a number of benefits, including a higher interest rate and more local branches that make it easier for employees to cash paychecks . . . .

“It also sends a crystal-clear message to JPMorgan Chase that the City of Buffalo is not happy with their business practices," Schroeder told Buffalo News.
3. Collateral Damage in the War on Protesters: Neighbors of the NATO3 Cuffed, Held at Gunpoint
The . . . officer came up to me and told me he had a hard time believing I wasn’t associated with the people downstairs. His quote exactly was that I had ‘hateful revolutionary things’ in my house. He asked me why I had so many red-colored things (Olli got similar accusations because he was wearing his red work uniform). They were commenting about the red color – I have red curtains and my brother’s an artist, so all his paintings are hanging up, and they found that very suspicious and were trying to say it was part of some kind of conspiracy.

* * * * *
“They acted like asking for a warrant and a lawyer was unreasonable . . . ” Ben said, “but they didn’t seem to realize that they had kidnapped us in our own home. We were handcuffed on the ground in our own living room."

4. The US Government Is Running a Massive Spy Campaign on Occupy Wall Street

The US Dept. of Homeland Security finally released some docs in response to repeated Freedom of Information Act requests by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. Although the docs are partially blacked out,
[Per the PCJF's Director, "t]hese documents show not only intense government monitoring and coordination in response to the Occupy Movement, but reveal a glimpse into the interior of a vast, tentacled, national intelligence and domestic spying network that the U.S. government operates against its own people."

* * * * *
In particular, the role of the “Fusion Centers,” a series of 72 federally-funded information hubs run by the NOC, raises questions about the government’s expansive definition of “Homeland Security.”

Created in the wake of 9/11, the Fusion Centers were founded to expedite the sharing of information among state and local law enforcement and the federal government, to monitor localized terrorist threats, and to sidestep the regulations and legislation preventing the CIA and the military from carrying out domestic surveillance (namely, the CIA ban on domestic spying and the Posse Comitatus Act).
5. Speaking of JPMorgan Chase . . . the bank's risk committee lacks any members who've actually worked at a bank or as risk managers; one of them was on AIG’s governance committee in 2008.

6. Congressmen Seek to Lift Propaganda Ban
An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned.

The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the independent Broadcasting Board of Governors . . . . The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.

The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.
7. US E-Voting System Cracked in Less than 48 Hours
Researchers at the University of Michigan have reported that . . . . "Within 48 hours of the system going live, we had gained near complete control of the election server", the researchers wrote in a paper that has now been released. "We successfully changed every vote and revealed almost every secret ballot." The hack was only discovered after about two business days – and most likely only because the intruders left a visible trail on purpose.
(Yes, electronic voting and/or tabulation is still a very, very bad idea.)