Hobby Lobby

The decision, written by Justice Alito, is beyond disturbing. It essentially grants for-profit corporations a free pass not to follow laws by invoking their “religious rights” under RFRA. While Alito and his buddies said their ruling was narrow, nothing could … Continue reading

The decision, written by Justice Alito, is beyond disturbing. It essentially grants for-profit corporations a free pass not to follow laws by invoking their “religious rights” under RFRA.

While Alito and his buddies said their ruling was narrow, nothing could be further from the truth. The door is now wide open for corporations to run to court saying they can discriminate in a variety of ways.

Some key points about Hobby Lobby:

As Justice Ginsberg noted in her dissent, “‘Closely held’ is not synonymous with ‘small.’” America’s five largest “closely held” corporations alone employ more than 436,000 people — one of those companies being the $115 billion, 60,000-employee Koch Industries. And the Washington Post reported that, according to a 2000 study, “closely held” is a term that covers as much as 90 percent (or more) of all businesses, and studies from Columbia University and New York University showed that closely held corporations employed 52 percent of the American workforce.
The duplicitousness of pretending that limiting the ruling to “closely held” corporations really limits it substantially in scope goes beyond just the size and number of “closely held” corporations. In providing no actual reasoning as to why only “closely held” corporations would be afforded religious rights under RFRA, Justice Alito’s Hobby Lobby decision certainly could pave the way for all corporations — even publicly traded ones — to claim these rights.
Many on the Religious Right are already asserting employers’ right to discriminate against LGBT people. While Hobby Lobby states that employers cannot claim religious objections in order to discriminate based on race, it says nothing about sex or sexual orientation.

The Supreme Court ponders the contraceptive mandate

ON March 25th the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare”, was back before the Supreme Court. Two years ago the justices upheld most of the law. This week they heard oral arguments in Sebelius v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v Sebelius. These two consolidated cases concern Obamacare’s “contraceptive mandate”—the requirement that businesses offering their employees health insurance must provide plans that cover all federally-approved contraception methods at no extra cost to their employees.

The legal merits of these cases revolve around the concept of  Corporate personhood


Corporations are NOT people. While it is true that what guides them is the human activity of their executives, boards of directors, managers and employees, all the human emotional factors of the people in the corporation pass through a “filter” created by the two basic rules:

  1. Maximize profit
  2. Do whatever is necessary to continue the business.

(Rule number 1 should be modified when it conflicts with rule 2)

It is a slippery road to give personal rights to corporations. The corporation is an amoral entity, i.e., not governed by human moral values. It lacks guilt for what it does, or empathy for those it harms. What’s worse, this “sociopathic” entity is given the rights of a human being, but not similar responsibilities. A corporation is particularly dangerous because of its great concentration of money, power, and political influence–which it uses freely to reach its goals.

To give a concrete example of the dangers of giving too much power to corporations to allow corporations to participate directly on political campaigns is a very serious threat to democracy.

Campaign finance law in the United States changed drastically in the wake of two 2010 judicial opinions: the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in SpeechNow.org v. FEC.[42] According to a 2011 Congressional Research Service report, these two decisions constitute “the most fundamental changes to campaign finance law in decades.” [43]

Citizens United struck down, on free speech grounds, the limits on the ability of organizations that accepted corporate or union money from running electioneering communications. The Court reasoned that the restrictions permitted by Buckley were justified based on avoiding corruption or the appearance of corruption, and that this rationale did not apply to corporate donations to independent organizations. Citizens United overruled the 1990 case Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, in which the Supreme Court upheld the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, which prohibited corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates in elections.

Two months later, a unanimous nine-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided SpeechNow, which relied on Citizens United to hold that Congress could not limit donations to organizations that only made independent expenditures, that is, expenditures that were “uncoordinated” with a candidate’s campaign. These decisions led to the rise of “independent-expenditure only” PACs, commonly known as “Super PACs.” Super PACs, under Citizens United and SpeechNow, can raise unlimited funds from individual and corporate donors and use those funds for electioneering advertisements, provided that the Super PAC does not coordinate with a candidate.

One should not confuse the individuals working within a corporation with the corporation proper. To elaborate and clarify the point of freedom of speech and corporations let’s consider the case of Media corporations, those whose actual activity revolves around disseminating information and opinion. While journalist, writers, news anchors, and the like have 1st amendment rights, the corporations that they work for do not. This might be a subtle point but it is crucial. When corporations do have positions on some issues, and they always have an agenda, this is NOT freedom of speech, it is censorship. This censorship is exercised trough the firing or ostracizing of staff or source that go astray of the corporate line. Thus, to give corporations freedom of speech rights is actually antithetical of the spirit of the first amendment.

Corporations as such do not have national loyalties. Just as an example, Standard Oil supplied the German government during WW II as Coca Cola did.

The Standard Oil group of companies, in which the Rockefeller family owned a one-quarter (and controlling) interest,1 was of critical assistance in helping Nazi Germany prepare for World War II. This assistance in military preparation came about because Germany’s relatively insignificant supplies of crude petroleum were quite insufficient for modern mechanized warfare; in 1934 for instance about 85 percent of German finished petroleum products were imported. The solution adopted by Nazi Germany was to manufacture synthetic gasoline from its plentiful domestic coal supplies. It was the hydrogenation process of producing synthetic gasoline and iso-octane properties in gasoline that enabled Germany to go to war in 1940 — and this hydrogenation process was developed and financed by the Standard Oil laboratories in the United States in partnership with I.G. Farben.

Evidence presented to the Truman, Bone, and Kilgore Committees after World War II confirmed that Standard Oil had at the same time “seriously imperiled the war preparations of the United States.”2Documentary evidence was presented to all three Congressional committees that before World War II Standard Oil had agreed with I.G. Farben, in the so-called Jasco agreement, that synthetic rubber was within Farben’s sphere of influence, while Standard Oil was to have an absolute monopoly in the U.S. only if and when Farben allowed development of synthetic rubber to take place in the U.S.

Fanta is a global brand of fruit-flavored carbonated soft drinks created by The Coca-Cola Company. There are over 100 flavors worldwide. The drink originated in Germany in 1941.

Fanta originated as a result of difficulties importing Coca-Cola syrup into Nazi Germany during World War II due to a trade embargo.[2] To circumvent this, Max Keith, the head of Coca-Cola Deutschland (Coca-Cola GmbH) during the Second World War, decided to create a new product for the German market, using only ingredients available in Germany at the time, including whey and pomace – the “leftovers of leftovers”, as Keith later recalled.[2][3] The name was the result of a brief brainstorming session, which started with Keith exhorting his team to “use their imagination” (“Fantasie” in German), to which one of his salesmen, Joe Knipp, immediately retorted “Fanta!”[3]

While the plant was effectively cut off from Coca Cola headquarters during the war, plant management did not join the Nazi Party. After the war, the Coca Cola corporation regained control of the plant, formula and the trademarks to the new Fanta product — as well as the plant profits made during the war

The U.S. Federal tax system also helps corporations operate in this amoral way by allowing them to deduct from their profits, with some limitations, the cost of public relations campaigns to cover for the damage they cause, the compensation to victims, the cleanup operations, the cost of legal defense, legal damage awards, and the cost of lobbying to change the laws in their favor or gain exemptions from the law. In other words, if they are caught, corporations pay the costs of their destructive, illegal activities with tax-free money. (Tax free for one corporation = somebody else pays more taxes.)

In their current form, corporations are the most dangerous things on earth–because they threaten the survival of humankind and the entire planetary ecosystem.

Birth control does not mean abortion I am not in favor of abortion but I am against using this kind of complicated issues for political ends. How do one balance in black and white gun ownership and the statement that murder is wrong? In the same way that gun advocates justify killing a human being outside the womb (to themselves) by redefining murder according to the circumstances, others justify killing a human being inside the womb (to themselves) by redefining abortion according to the circumstances.

Tea Party types do believe that killing is proper under some conditions and are against governments interfering with the freedoms of people, so why be in favor of government regulations of any kind? Criminalizing behaviors is not a solution for social problems.

Republican Jodie Laubenberg, who co-authored Texas strict anti-abortion laws in 2013, (because she says she believes that “life begins at conception”) also opposed healthcare for newly developing fetuses. Laubenberg testified that the unborn should not be entitled to health care, because “they aren’t born yet.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) the single most important factor for a healthy pregnancy is a healthy mother. This means that every woman who is of child-bearing age should have regular health screenings, as well as access to services and medications which can help diagnose, prevent, treat or cure chronic or temporary health conditions.

According to the CDC (the only agency in the United States that has the ability to monitor and track abortion rates) in 2009 there were 15.1 abortions for every 1,000 live births. Of those abortion 91.7 percent were performed earlier than 13th week of pregnancy, and of those the majority, almost 70 percent, were performed prior to the 8th week of pregnancy. Additionally, statistics show that many of the abortions that occur later in pregnancy are performed for medical reasons.

In this highly informative article published on Patheos.com, the author explains the many reasons she lost faith in the right wing’s pro-life movement.

“Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.”

There’s a circus of political shows with no other end that entertain and distract. Like for example that speech of a democrat meant to be an attack on Republican policies when Reagan had just passed an immigration amnesty, and now it is used for opposite purposes. Life is not as simple as good conservatives on the shadow of God against evil liberal lefties doing the devil’s work.


Guernica

Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruizy Picasso but known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso (25 October 1881 — 8 April 1973) was a Spanish expatriatepainter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century. He is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
The enormous body of Picasso’s work remains, and the legend lives on a tribute to the vitality of the «disquieting» Spaniard with the «sombre…piercing» eyes who superstitiously believed that work would keep him alive. For nearly 80 of his 91 years Picasso devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed significantly to and paralleled the whole development of modern art in the 20th century.

Picasso’s art from the time of the Demoiselles was radical in nature, virtually no 20th-century artist could escape his influence. Moreover, while other masters such as Matisse or Braque tended to stay within the bounds of a style they had developed in their youth, Picasso continued to be an innovator into the last decade of his life. This led to misunderstanding and criticism both in his lifetime and since, and it was only in the 1980s that his last paintings began to be appreciated both in themselves and for their profound influence on the rising generation of young painters. Since Picasso was able from the 1920s to sell works at very high prices, he could keep most of his oeuvre in his own collection. At the time of his death he owned some 50,000 works in various media from every period of his career, which passed into possession of the French state and his heirs. Their exhibition and publication has served to reinforce the highest estimates of Picasso’s astonishing powers of invention and execution over a span of more than 80 years.



Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruizy Picasso but known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso (25 October 1881 -- 8 April 1973) was a Spanish expatriatepainter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century. He is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
The enormous body of Picasso's work remains, and the legend lives on a tribute to the vitality of the "disquieting" Spaniard with the "sombre...piercing" eyes who superstitiously believed that work would keep him alive. For nearly 80 of his 91 years Picasso devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed significantly to and paralleled the whole development of modern art in the 20th century.

Picasso's art from the time of the Demoiselles was radical in nature, virtually no 20th-century artist could escape his influence. Moreover, while other masters such as Matisse or Braque tended to stay within the bounds of a style they had developed in their youth, Picasso continued to be an innovator into the last decade of his life. This led to misunderstanding and criticism both in his lifetime and since, and it was only in the 1980s that his last paintings began to be appreciated both in themselves and for their profound influence on the rising generation of young painters. Since Picasso was able from the 1920s to sell works at very high prices, he could keep most of his oeuvre in his own collection. At the time of his death he owned some 50,000 works in various media from every period of his career, which passed into possession of the French state and his heirs. Their exhibition and publication has served to reinforce the highest estimates of Picasso's astonishing powers of invention and execution over a span of more than 80 years.



atrocities are always committed by somebody else

Posted on 10/17/2013 by Juan Cole

A new household survey of Iraqis has projected the civilian death toll from the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq at roughly 450,000. Passive information-gathering techniques like logging deaths in the Western press have produced estimates closer to 150,000, but such techniques have been proven to miss a lot of people. (To my knowledge no one was counting all the deaths reported in the some 200 Arabic-language Iraqi newspapers in the 2000s, so even the passive information-gathering was limited. And, the Wikileaks US military log of civilian deaths did not overlap very much with e.g. Iraq Body Count, so both of them were missing things the other caught.)

Of those extra deaths beyond those who would have died if the US had never invaded, some 270,000 died violently, with US troops responsible for about 90,000 civilian deaths and militias for another 90,000. Of those killed violently, 60 percent were shot, and 12 percent died from car bombs. Some 180,000 died because of the destruction of the public health infrastructure (lack of access to hospital treatment, e.g.).

Despite the horrific total, this estimate for 2003-2011 is smaller than the Lancet study of some years ago, which was done under wartime conditions. The authors admit, however, that the death toll could have been even higher; this total is a projection based on 2000 interviews.

The US/ UN sanctions on Iraq of the 1990s, which interdicted chlorine for much of that decade and so made water purification impossible, are estimated to have killed another 500,000 Iraqis, mainly children. (Infants and toddlers die easily from diarrhea caused by gastroenteritis, which causes fatal dehydration).

So the US polished off about a million Iraqis from 1991 through 2011, large numbers of them children. The Iraqi population in that period was roughly 25 million, so the US killed or created the conditions for the killing of 4% of the Iraqi population.

If Iraq had killed 4% of Americans, it would be 12 million people dead.

Iraq did not attack the United States. It did attack Iran in 1980, but by 1983 the US was an ally in Iraq’s war against Iran. It also attacked Kuwait, which it occupied quite bestially, but it was out by spring 1991. There was no casus belli or legitimate legal cause of war in 2003. Iraq’s main crime appears to have been to be an oil state not compliant with US demands.

All this is horrible enough. Even more horrible is that the US occupation of Iraq sparked a Sunni Arab insurgency, which is still vigorous. Insurgencies typically take 10 to 15 years to subside. Some 5000 Iraqi civilians have been killed so far this year by that insurgency. US occupation is the gift that goes on giving.

Despite the Bush administration’s violation of the UN charter and its war crimes in Iraq, none of its high officials has faced prosecution. Some of them even have the gall to come on television from time to time to urge more killing.


Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the author of dozens of books on U.S. foreign policy. He writes a monthly column for The New York Times News Service/Syndicate.
More information about Noam Chomsky

In his penetrating study “Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-Opted Human Rights,” international affairs scholar James Peck observes, “In the history of human rights, the worst atrocities are always committed by somebody else, never us”—whoever “us” is.

Almost any moment in history yields innumerable illustrations. Let’s keep to the past few weeks.

On May 10, the Summer Olympics were inaugurated at the Greek birthplace of the ancient games. A few days before, virtually unnoticed, the government of Vietnam addressed a letter to the International Olympic Committee expressing the “profound concerns of the Government and people of Viet Nam about the decision of IOC to accept the Dow Chemical Company as a global partner sponsoring the Olympic Movement.”

Dow provided the chemicals that Washington used from 1961 onward to destroy crops and forests in South Vietnam, drenching the country with Agent Orange.

These poisons contain dioxin, one of the most lethal carcinogens known, affecting millions of Vietnamese and many U.S. soldiers. To this day in Vietnam, aborted fetuses and deformed infants are very likely the effects of these crimes—though, in light of Washington’s refusal to investigate, we have only the studies of Vietnamese scientists and independent analysts.

Joining the Vietnamese appeal against Dow are the government of India, the Indian Olympic Association, and the survivors of the horrendous 1984 Bhopal gas leak, one of history’s worst industrial disasters, which killed thousands and injured more than half a million.

Union Carbide, the corporation responsible for the disaster, was taken over by Dow, for whom the matter is of no slight concern. In February, Wikileaks revealed that Dow hired the U.S. private investigative agency Stratfor to monitor activists seeking compensation for the victims and prosecution of those responsible.

Another major crime with very serious persisting effects is the Marine assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November 2004.

Women and children were permitted to escape if they could. After several weeks of bombing, the attack opened with a carefully planned war crime: Invasion of the Fallujah General Hospital, where patients and staff were ordered to the floor, their hands tied. Soon the bonds were loosened; the compound was secure.

The official justification was that the hospital was reporting civilian casualties, and therefore was considered a propaganda weapon.

Much of the city was left in “smoking ruins,” the press reported while the Marines sought out insurgents in their “warrens.” The invaders barred entry to the Red Crescent relief organization. Absent an official inquiry, the scale of the crimes is unknown.

If the Fallujah events are reminiscent of the events that took place in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, now again in the news with the genocide trial of Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, there’s a good reason. An honest comparison would be instructive, but there’s no fear of that: One is an atrocity, the other not, by definition.

As in Vietnam, independent investigators are reporting long-term effects of the Fallujah assault.

Medical researchers have found dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukemia, even higher than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Uranium levels in hair and soil samples are far beyond comparable cases.

One of the rare investigators from the invading countries is Dr. Kypros Nicolaides, director of the fetal-medicine research center at London’s King’s College Hospital. “I’m sure the Americans used weapons that caused these deformities,” Nicolaides says.

The lingering effects of a vastly greater nonatrocity were reported last month by U.S. law professor James Anaya, the U.N. rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Anaya dared to tread on forbidden territory by investigating the shocking conditions among the remnants of the Native American population in the U.S.—”poverty, poor health conditions, lack of attainment of formal education (and) social ills at rates that far exceed those of other segments of the American population,” Anaya reported. No member of Congress was willing to meet him. Press coverage was minimal.

Dissidents have been much in the news after the dramatic rescue of the blind Chinese civil-rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

“The international commotion,” Samuel Moyn wrote in The New York Times last month, “aroused memories of earlier dissidents like Andrei D. Sakharov and Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, the Eastern bloc heroes of another age who first made `international human rights’ a rallying cry for activists across the globe and a high-profile item on Western governments’ agendas.”

Moyn is the author of “The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History,” released in 2010. In The New York Times Book Review, Belinda Cooper questioned Moyn’s tracing the contemporary prominence of these ideals to “(President Jimmy) Carter’s abortive steps to inject human rights into foreign policy and the 1975 Helsinki accords with the Soviet Union,” focusing on abuses in the Soviet sphere. She finds Moyn’s thesis unpersuasive because “an alternative history to his own is far too easy to construct.”

True enough: The obvious alternative is the one that James Peck provides, which the mainstream can hardly consider, though the relevant facts are strikingly clear and known at least to scholarship.

Thus in the “Cambridge History of the Cold War,” John Coatsworth recalls that from 1960 to “the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those in the Soviet Union and its East European satellites.” But being nonatrocities, these crimes, substantially traceable to U.S. intervention, didn’t inspire a human-rights crusade.

Also inspired by the Chen rescue, New York Times columnist Bill Keller writes that “Dissidents are heroic,” but they can be “irritants to American diplomats who have important business to transact with countries that don’t share our values.” Keller criticizes Washington for sometimes failing to live up to our values with prompt action when others commit crimes.

There is no shortage of heroic dissidents within the domains of U.S. influence and power, but they are as invisible as the Latin American victims. Looking almost at random around the world, we find Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, co-founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, now facing death in prison from a long hunger strike.

And Father Mun Jeong-hyeon, the elderly Korean priest who was severely injured while holding mass as part of the protest against the construction of a U.S. naval base on Jeju Island, named an Island of Peace, now occupied by security forces for the first time since the 1948 massacres by the U.S.-imposed South Korean government.

And Turkish scholar Ismail Besikci, facing trial again for defending the rights of Kurds. He already has spent much of his life in prison on the same charge, including the 1990s, when the Clinton administration was providing Turkey with huge quantities of military aid—at a time when the Turkish military perpetrated some of the period’s worst atrocities.

But these instances are all nonexistent, on standard principles, along with others too numerous to mention.

Posted on 10/17/2013 by Juan Cole

A new household survey of Iraqis has projected the civilian death toll from the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq at roughly 450,000. Passive information-gathering techniques like logging deaths in the Western press have produced estimates closer to 150,000, but such techniques have been proven to miss a lot of people. (To my knowledge no one was counting all the deaths reported in the some 200 Arabic-language Iraqi newspapers in the 2000s, so even the passive information-gathering was limited. And, the Wikileaks US military log of civilian deaths did not overlap very much with e.g. Iraq Body Count, so both of them were missing things the other caught.)



Of those extra deaths beyond those who would have died if the US had never invaded, some 270,000 died violently, with US troops responsible for about 90,000 civilian deaths and militias for another 90,000. Of those killed violently, 60 percent were shot, and 12 percent died from car bombs. Some 180,000 died because of the destruction of the public health infrastructure (lack of access to hospital treatment, e.g.).

Despite the horrific total, this estimate for 2003-2011 is smaller than the Lancet study of some years ago, which was done under wartime conditions. The authors admit, however, that the death toll could have been even higher; this total is a projection based on 2000 interviews.

The US/ UN sanctions on Iraq of the 1990s, which interdicted chlorine for much of that decade and so made water purification impossible, are estimated to have killed another 500,000 Iraqis, mainly children. (Infants and toddlers die easily from diarrhea caused by gastroenteritis, which causes fatal dehydration).

So the US polished off about a million Iraqis from 1991 through 2011, large numbers of them children. The Iraqi population in that period was roughly 25 million, so the US killed or created the conditions for the killing of 4% of the Iraqi population.

If Iraq had killed 4% of Americans, it would be 12 million people dead.

Iraq did not attack the United States. It did attack Iran in 1980, but by 1983 the US was an ally in Iraq’s war against Iran. It also attacked Kuwait, which it occupied quite bestially, but it was out by spring 1991. There was no casus belli or legitimate legal cause of war in 2003. Iraq’s main crime appears to have been to be an oil state not compliant with US demands.

All this is horrible enough. Even more horrible is that the US occupation of Iraq sparked a Sunni Arab insurgency, which is still vigorous. Insurgencies typically take 10 to 15 years to subside. Some 5000 Iraqi civilians have been killed so far this year by that insurgency. US occupation is the gift that goes on giving.

Despite the Bush administration’s violation of the UN charter and its war crimes in Iraq, none of its high officials has faced prosecution. Some of them even have the gall to come on television from time to time to urge more killing.




Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the author of dozens of books on U.S. foreign policy. He writes a monthly column for The New York Times News Service/Syndicate.
More information about Noam Chomsky

In his penetrating study “Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-Opted Human Rights,” international affairs scholar James Peck observes, “In the history of human rights, the worst atrocities are always committed by somebody else, never us”—whoever “us” is.

Almost any moment in history yields innumerable illustrations. Let’s keep to the past few weeks.

On May 10, the Summer Olympics were inaugurated at the Greek birthplace of the ancient games. A few days before, virtually unnoticed, the government of Vietnam addressed a letter to the International Olympic Committee expressing the “profound concerns of the Government and people of Viet Nam about the decision of IOC to accept the Dow Chemical Company as a global partner sponsoring the Olympic Movement.”

Dow provided the chemicals that Washington used from 1961 onward to destroy crops and forests in South Vietnam, drenching the country with Agent Orange.

These poisons contain dioxin, one of the most lethal carcinogens known, affecting millions of Vietnamese and many U.S. soldiers. To this day in Vietnam, aborted fetuses and deformed infants are very likely the effects of these crimes—though, in light of Washington’s refusal to investigate, we have only the studies of Vietnamese scientists and independent analysts.

Joining the Vietnamese appeal against Dow are the government of India, the Indian Olympic Association, and the survivors of the horrendous 1984 Bhopal gas leak, one of history’s worst industrial disasters, which killed thousands and injured more than half a million.

Union Carbide, the corporation responsible for the disaster, was taken over by Dow, for whom the matter is of no slight concern. In February, Wikileaks revealed that Dow hired the U.S. private investigative agency Stratfor to monitor activists seeking compensation for the victims and prosecution of those responsible.

Another major crime with very serious persisting effects is the Marine assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November 2004.

Women and children were permitted to escape if they could. After several weeks of bombing, the attack opened with a carefully planned war crime: Invasion of the Fallujah General Hospital, where patients and staff were ordered to the floor, their hands tied. Soon the bonds were loosened; the compound was secure.

The official justification was that the hospital was reporting civilian casualties, and therefore was considered a propaganda weapon.

Much of the city was left in “smoking ruins,” the press reported while the Marines sought out insurgents in their “warrens.” The invaders barred entry to the Red Crescent relief organization. Absent an official inquiry, the scale of the crimes is unknown.

If the Fallujah events are reminiscent of the events that took place in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, now again in the news with the genocide trial of Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, there’s a good reason. An honest comparison would be instructive, but there’s no fear of that: One is an atrocity, the other not, by definition.

As in Vietnam, independent investigators are reporting long-term effects of the Fallujah assault.

Medical researchers have found dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukemia, even higher than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Uranium levels in hair and soil samples are far beyond comparable cases.

One of the rare investigators from the invading countries is Dr. Kypros Nicolaides, director of the fetal-medicine research center at London’s King’s College Hospital. “I’m sure the Americans used weapons that caused these deformities,” Nicolaides says.

The lingering effects of a vastly greater nonatrocity were reported last month by U.S. law professor James Anaya, the U.N. rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Anaya dared to tread on forbidden territory by investigating the shocking conditions among the remnants of the Native American population in the U.S.—”poverty, poor health conditions, lack of attainment of formal education (and) social ills at rates that far exceed those of other segments of the American population,” Anaya reported. No member of Congress was willing to meet him. Press coverage was minimal.

Dissidents have been much in the news after the dramatic rescue of the blind Chinese civil-rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

“The international commotion,” Samuel Moyn wrote in The New York Times last month, “aroused memories of earlier dissidents like Andrei D. Sakharov and Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, the Eastern bloc heroes of another age who first made `international human rights’ a rallying cry for activists across the globe and a high-profile item on Western governments’ agendas.”

Moyn is the author of “The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History,” released in 2010. In The New York Times Book Review, Belinda Cooper questioned Moyn’s tracing the contemporary prominence of these ideals to “(President Jimmy) Carter’s abortive steps to inject human rights into foreign policy and the 1975 Helsinki accords with the Soviet Union,” focusing on abuses in the Soviet sphere. She finds Moyn’s thesis unpersuasive because “an alternative history to his own is far too easy to construct.”

True enough: The obvious alternative is the one that James Peck provides, which the mainstream can hardly consider, though the relevant facts are strikingly clear and known at least to scholarship.

Thus in the “Cambridge History of the Cold War,” John Coatsworth recalls that from 1960 to “the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those in the Soviet Union and its East European satellites.” But being nonatrocities, these crimes, substantially traceable to U.S. intervention, didn’t inspire a human-rights crusade.

Also inspired by the Chen rescue, New York Times columnist Bill Keller writes that “Dissidents are heroic,” but they can be “irritants to American diplomats who have important business to transact with countries that don’t share our values.” Keller criticizes Washington for sometimes failing to live up to our values with prompt action when others commit crimes.

There is no shortage of heroic dissidents within the domains of U.S. influence and power, but they are as invisible as the Latin American victims. Looking almost at random around the world, we find Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, co-founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, now facing death in prison from a long hunger strike.

And Father Mun Jeong-hyeon, the elderly Korean priest who was severely injured while holding mass as part of the protest against the construction of a U.S. naval base on Jeju Island, named an Island of Peace, now occupied by security forces for the first time since the 1948 massacres by the U.S.-imposed South Korean government.

And Turkish scholar Ismail Besikci, facing trial again for defending the rights of Kurds. He already has spent much of his life in prison on the same charge, including the 1990s, when the Clinton administration was providing Turkey with huge quantities of military aid—at a time when the Turkish military perpetrated some of the period’s worst atrocities.

But these instances are all nonexistent, on standard principles, along with others too numerous to mention.

A Strong Government

Lon Tomohisa Horiuchi (born 9 June 1954) is a U.S. FBI HRT sniper who was involved in controversial deployments during the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff and 1993 Waco Siege. In 1997, Horiuchi was charged with manslaughter for the death of Vicki Weaver at Ru…

Lon Tomohisa Horiuchi (born 9 June 1954) is a U.S. FBI HRT sniper who was involved in controversial deployments during the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff and 1993 Waco Siege. In 1997, Horiuchi was charged with manslaughter for the death of Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge; the case was dismissed.


In 1992, while working at sniper position Sierra 4 for the FBI Hostage Rescue Team at Ruby Ridge, Horiuchi shot and killed Vicki Weaver, while also wounding her husband Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris.[2]
After his first shot hit and wounded Randy Weaver, Horiuchi fired a second shot at Kevin Harris, who was armed, some 20 seconds later as Harris was running into the Weaver home. The bullet struck and killed Vicki Weaver while she was holding her 10 month old child behind the door through which Harris was entering the home;[2][3] the round also struck and wounded Harris.[4]

Following the conclusion of the trial of Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris in 1993, the Department of Justice (DOJ) created a "Ruby Ridge Task Force" to investigate allegations made by Weaver's defense attorney Gerry Spence. On 10 June 1994, the Task Force delivered its 542-page report to the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility. The Report stated: "With regard to the two shots fired on August 22, we concluded that the first shot met the standard of "objective reasonableness" the Constitution requires for the legal use of deadly force but that the second shot did not satisfy that standard."[5]

The surviving members of the Weaver family received $3.1M in 1995 to settle their civil suit brought against the U.S. government for wrongful deaths of Sammy and Vicki Weaver. In the out-of-court settlement, the government did not admit any wrong-doing. Harris received $380,000 in 2000.[6]


On 13 September 1993, Charles Riley, a fellow FBI sniper deployed during the Waco Siege claimed that he had heard Horiuchi shooting from Sierra 1, an F.B.I.-held house in front of the compound holding eight snipers, including Horiuchi and Christopher Curran on 19 April 1993. Riley later retracted his statement, saying that he had been misquoted, and that he had only heard snipers at Sierra 1 announce that shots had been fired by Branch Davidians.[7]

Three of the twelve expended .308 Winchester shell casings that the Texas Rangers reported finding in the house were at Horiuchi's position. However, officials maintain that they could have been left behind from the earlier use of the house by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives snipers on February 28, 1993, and that it would be "nearly impossible" to match them to Horiuchi's rifle, as it had probably been rebarreled since that time.[8]

For the five months following the Waco inferno, Timothy McVeigh worked at gun shows and handed out free cards printed up with Horiuchi's name and address, "in the hope that somebody in the Patriot movement would assassinate the sharpshooter". He wrote hate mail to the sniper, suggesting that "what goes around, comes around". McVeigh considered targeting Horiuchi, or a member of his family, before settling on a bombing attack on a federal building- choosing to target the Murrah Building.

In 1997, Boundary County, Idaho Prosecutor Denise Woodbury, with the help of special prosecutor Stephen Yagman, charged Horiuchi in state court with involuntary manslaughter over his killing of Vicki Weaver. The U.S. Attorney filed a notice of removal of the case to federal court, which automatically took effect under the statute for removal jurisdiction[10] where the case was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge on May 14, 1998, who cited the supremacy clause of the Constitution which grants immunity to federal officers acting in the scope of their employment.[2]

The decision to dismiss the charges was reversed by an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit, which held that enough uncertainty about the facts of the case existed for Horiuchi to stand trial on state manslaughter charges.[2] Ultimately, the then-sitting Boundary County Prosecutor, Brett Benson, who had defeated Woodbury in the 2000 election, decided to drop the charges because he felt it was unlikely the state could prove the case and too much time had passed. Yagman, the special prosecutor, responded that he "could not disagree more with this decision than I do."[11]

The Ninth Circuit granted Boundary County's motion to dismiss the case against Horiuchi on September 14, 2001



The FBI's sniper under fire
A controversial agent is at the center of the Waco investigation
US News and World Report, November 8, 1999
By Mike Tharp

The Sierra 4 sniper position was some 200 yards from white separatist Randy Weaver's cabin, deep in the northern Idaho mountains. The man in camouflage nestled in the thick brush there had a clear field of fire on the wooden structure across the furrowed ridges. On Aug. 22, 1992, the morning was cool, cloudy and rainy.

Eight months later outside Waco, Texas, on April 19, the noonday sun was warm with heavy winds out of the north. The Sierra 1 sniper position was in a boxy concrete outbuilding less than 100 yards from the Branch Davidian compound. The agent stationed there could see the front door and several windows of his target over the gentle grassy rise. Whether shots were fired from this site is one of the hottest controversies in the continuing Waco saga, now the focus of a civil lawsuit and a high-profile congressional investigation.

The man in the Sierra 1 sniper post at Waco and the Sierra 4 post at Ruby Ridge was FBI marksman Lon Tomohisa Horiuchi. Over the past seven years, he has become the most controversial law enforcement officer in America. For most of that time, the 45-year-old West Point graduate and former infantry officer has been in courtrooms or preparing his defense. At Ruby Ridge, Horiuchi shot and killed Weaver's wife, Vicki, 43, as she held their 10-month-old daughter behind the door of their cabin. He also shot and wounded Weaver, 44, and his friend, Kevin Harris. At Waco, some 80 members of the Branch Davidian religious sect perished after the FBI and other law enforcement agencies moved to end the 51-day siege.

Being there. Now it's Horiuchi who is in the crosshairs. He is the only individual defendant still left in the wrongful death civil lawsuit filed by Branch Davidians and their survivors against the federal government. His attorneys say he is innocent, that he "didn't take any shots whatsoever at Waco." But Houston lawyer Michael Caddell, who represents some of the Davidians, says the group has "specific evidence" showing that Horiuchi did fire his weapon. Earlier this year, a federal judge in Waco ruled that the Davidians had uncovered "at least some evidence to support their claim" that
Horiuchi fired into the burning building.

How did this 15-year FBI veteran, the son of another U.S. Army officer, wind up in such a legal quagmire? What caused this husband and father, a politically conservative Catholic who homeschools some of his six children, to become such a figure of hatred? Horiuchi's actions at Waco and Ruby Ridge have been documented in great detail. Perhaps it is the significance militia groups have attached to both events, rather than the events themselves, that has intensified the focus on him. For now at least, Horiuchi is not saying. His attorneys have counseled silence, and that seems to be Horiuchi's preferred response in any case. "He's a very private person, very protective of his family," says Adam Hoffinger, one of the lawyers for Horiuchi, a third-generation Japanese-American who grew up in Hawaii. "We're determined to let him get on with his life."

To his defenders, Horiuchi-who has testified he could hit a quarter at 200 yards-is a consummate pro, honed as a military officer, burnished as a leader of an FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) sniper crew. "He was dedicated, hard working, aggressive. He was trying to do the right thing, trying to serve his country in a stressful environment," David W. Johnson, head of the HRT from 1985 to 1989 and once Horiuchi's supervisor, told the Albany (N.Y.) Times Union in 1995. FBI Director Louis Freeh has also stood by his agent, stressing that his job entailed making "split-second decisions."

To his critics, Horiuchi is a "paid FBI assassin" carrying out the wishes of an increasingly hostile and unresponsive police establish- ment. "After a year-long review, the U.S. Justice Department decides . . . not to charge sniper Lon Horiuchi with any crime. Like the Germans at Nuremberg, [Justice Department officials] declare he was 'just following orders,' " snapped a Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial after the government closed an investigation of Horiuchi's actions without filing charges.

Repeat defendant. By the time he became a defendant in the current Waco case, Horiuchi had already been in an Idaho federal court on involuntary-manslaughter charges in connection with Vicki Weaver's death. A federal judge dismissed the case last year, ruling that "Mr. Horiuchi, rightly or wrongly, was clearly acting under orders authorized by the U.S. government to go shoot and kill an armed male adult because the threat to human lives had already been determined by his supervisors based on the facts then known to them." The decision is being appealed by the state of Idaho.

Horiuchi and 10 other HRT snipers were flown to the Idaho siege after U.S. Marshal William Degan and Randy Weaver's 14-year-old son, Sam, were killed. They were positioned around the cabin when Randy Weaver, his daughter Sara, and their friend Kevin Harris attempted to go to a shed where Sam's body lay. As the trio neared the shed, Horiuchi fired once with his .308-caliber Remington rifle, equipped with a powerful scope, hitting Randy Weaver in the arm. He fired again as the group ran back to the cabin. This round smashed through the door, striking Vicki in the jaw and killing her almost instantly. The same bullet also seriously wounded Harris. Horiuchi later testified he did not see Vicki behind the door and that he believed Randy Weaver and Harris, who was carrying a rifle, posed a threat to an FBI helicopter hovering overhead. (According to Jess Walter, author of Every Knee Shall Bow, a book about the showdown at Ruby Ridge: "There were 11 snipers on the hill, and they all heard the same helicopter. He was the only one who fired.")

Less than a year later, Horiuchi was again at a sniper post, this time outside the Davidian complex, and his actions there are emblematic of why questions about Waco won't go away. New evidence has spawned charges of a government coverup, which the feds deny and former Sen. John Danforth is now investigating (box). The FBI denies its officers fired any shots. But Branch Davidian attorneys insist that the FBI's own infrared videotape, taken from a small aircraft circling above during the last day of the Waco standoff, reveals "characteristic repetitive flashes" associated with gunfire coming from federal agents and from inside the house. They say there are also photos of shell casings on the undercover building where Horiuchi and other snipers were stationed. But firearms experts say it would be nearly impossible to match them with Horiuchi's weapon. "They re-barrel those [sniper] weapons no less than every two years," says one weapons analyst. In the wake of Ruby Ridge and Waco, the FBI has tempered its tactics, emphasizing negotiation over force. To wit: The bureau used third-party mediators instead of force to peacefully end the 81-day Montana Freeman standoff in 1996. "Lon Horiuchi changed the history of how the government deals with so-called right-wing groups," says Kirk Lyons, chief trial counsel of the Southern Legal Resource Center, who represents several of the Davidian plantiffs. "Before Lon Horiuchi, they were considered extremist, but he made [their] criticism of the government legitimate and mainstream." If true, it is an ironic legacy for a man who has dedicated his life to defending that government.



The FBI's favorite hitman
Published: 09/14/1999 at 1:00 AM

Was the FBI really at Waco to contain a siege or were trigger-happy agents purposely brought to the Davidian church to finish off the job the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms botched?

Yesterday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that FBI agent Charles Riley said all the way back in June 1993 that he heard shots fired from a sniper post occupied by agent Lon Horiuchi, according to court documents filed by Branch Davidians and relatives as part of a wrongful-death suit scheduled to go to trial next month.

If this fact is true, and if the sniper fire occurred, as Davidians charge, on the final day of the siege, this is a very interesting development, indeed.

Why?

Think about it. The final Waco conflagration occurred April 19, 1993. But this was hardly the first time Lon Horiuchi had found himself in a position to shoot innocent civilians.

You see, Horiuchi was the paid assassin the FBI used Aug. 22, 1992 — eight months earlier — to plug a fatal hole in the head of Vickie Weaver, an unarmed mother clutching her 10-month-old baby during a similar siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. It seems Lon Horiuchi is something of a specialist — the FBI’s go-to guy when it’s open season on women and children.

Imagine that. Eight months earlier, Horiuchi had blown Vickie Weaver’s head off while she stood in a doorway in an isolated rural area. She was no threat to anyone, not wanted on any charges and, of course, unarmed — unless the FBI now considers infants dangerous weapons.

Horiuchi was indicted for manslaughter by Idaho authorities for the shooting, but the charges were thrown out. The federal government only made excuses for him. And now we have reason to believe that eight months after the incident at Ruby Ridge, one that ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers $3.1 million in a civil settlement with Randy Weaver, Horiuchi was assigned to another volatile siege with civilians — including women and children.

Did he show any restraint? Did he learn a lesson from his earlier shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later approach at Ruby Ridge? Apparently not, if we are to believe one of his colleagues.

Horiuchi was firing away from a sniper’s perch again at Waco.

The FBI spent two years investigating Horiuchi’s actions at Ruby Ridge, ultimately giving him a clean bill of health.

But, in light of the latest Waco revelations, let’s review those actions. On Aug. 21, the government killed Weaver’s son, Sammy. The next day, overcome with grief, Weaver, his 16-year-old daughter, Sara, and a friend, Kevin Harris, ventured out of their cabin to see Sammy and bury him.

As Weaver reached the shed where his son’s body rested, Lon Horiuchi opened fire on him. One round struck Weaver’s underam.

“I’m hit,” Weaver hollered.

Daughter Sara tried desperately to push her father back to the safety of the cabin. Harris ran, his back to the snipers.

“I’m hit, Momma,” Randy had cried to Vicki as he ran toward the door that Vicki had been holding open for them. “I’m hit.”

“Get in here!” Vicki shouted.

Those were her last words. Horiuchi’s bullet smashed into her head and blew off the side of her face. And after she fell, her husband pried the baby from her arms. Weaver and his daughter dragged Vickie’s body through the kitchen, her blood flooding the floor.

Horiuchi told investigators he had been trying to kill Harris when he hit Vickie. But Horiuchi is a professional sharpshooter. Are we to believe he is an incompetent — a lousy shot? Why does the FBI keep sending him out on these assignments if he can’t distinguish between an armed man and an unarmed woman? And even if his story is true, why was he trying to shoot a man in the back?

Nevetheless, despite all the obvious questions, there was Horiuchi again, eight months later — on the firing line, in the sniper’s post — when the FBI’s targets included women and kids in a church compound in Texas. Once again, the FBI’s favorite hitman had an itchy trigger finger. One of his own colleagues reports he heard rounds firing from his perch on the last tragic day of the Waco siege.

This story is getting stranger all the time. Just when you thought you had heard the worst about your government, it surprises you with new lows of murderous contempt for human decency.

But, remember, Horiuchi is only a trigger man. Like he told investigators in a plea reminiscent of the Nazi war criminals: ‘I was only following orders.’ Indeed, he was.

Let’s not allow Horiuchi to be the scapegoat for Waco. It’s time to pursue those who issued the orders that led to the staging of the Waco holocaust — those who framed the ‘rules of engagement.’



Director Statement regarding Agent Horiuchi

Washington, D.C. June 04, 2001
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691
"We are very disappointed that the court concluded that further fact finding is necessary, especially given the prior court decisions in favor of Agent Horiuchi.
"We have the utmost respect for the process, however, and will continue to support Agent Horiuchi and his family as this litigation continues.
"As so often happens in law enforcement, split-second life and death decisions must be made by those sworn to enforce the law. We continue to believe strongly Agent Horiuchi met the legal standard that protects law enforcement officers when they carry out their sworn duties, even when the consequence in hindsight is regrettable."



Ex-FBI **LON HORIUCHI** Hired by H.S Precision, Inc. of South Dakota (rifle stocks)

Posted on Tuesday, June 01, 2010 2:38:16 AM by TokuMei

H.S. Precision, Inc.

Lon Horiuchi was one of several snipers in a hide located at the back the Branch Davidian complex at Mount Carmel, Waco, Texas. Mr. Horiuchi was also in service at Ruby Ridge, where he shot Randy Weaver's wife in the head, killing her, as she held her baby.

Lon Horiuchi retired from the FBI in October of 2006 and was hired as "FBI Program Manager & COTR" at H.S. Precision, Inc., of Rapid City, South Dakota. This company makes high-quality fiberglass stocks, barrels, finished rifles, gunsmithing tools, and hunting apparel.

Their website is http://www.hsprecision.com and their telephone number in Rapid City, South Dakota is (605) 341-3006.






Many people believe that David Koresh (or the Branch Davidians) were responsible for the deaths of the 74 men, women and children who died in the inferno at Waco on April 19, 1993. This is the story that the FBI put out. It is a lie. The guns they had were legal. The local sheriff investigated and found no basis for complaints against them. These were law-abiding American citizens, even if they thought differently to most other folks. They trusted the U.S. Constitution to ensure their political rights, but they were murdered by agents acting under the authority of the U.S. government.

Waco occurred under the presidency of Bill Clinton, with Janet Reno and Wesley Clark in supporting roles. Already back in 1993 the US government demonstrated its contempt for the American people by carrying out a massacre in order to "demonstrate" (on prime time TV) its supposed "authority" (a tactic favored by fascist governments).



Fires and tanks make great television, and on April 19, 1993, Americans sat stunned in front of their sets as they watched a war-like scene with US Army tanks smashing into the Waco compound. The tanks injected tear gas--more precisely, CS gas, a fine powder which on contact with human tissue burns the skin and inflames all mucus membranes. Though CS is supposed to be used outdoors to disperse mobs, the FBI's plan was to keep injecting it until the Branch Davidians were driven out of their compound. Instead, the 51-day stand-off at Waco ended in a fireball. News cameras were kept at a sanitized distance and observers could barely see any sign of human life. More than twenty young children, most too young to be protected by gas masks, were subjected to six hours of CS gas and died in the fire. But neither their innocent faces nor their ghastly corpses were ever viewed by the American public who, as the news media discovered, rapidly lost interest in the tragedy and showed little sympathy for the unseen victims. As standard "journalistic" practice, television stations now poll their viewers to give them the kind of news they want. Within weeks, Waco had dropped to the bottom of those polls, even in Texas. The American public had seen and heard enough, and their verdict was the "Waco Wackos" had brought it on themselves.

The public's lack of interest came as a great relief to the Clinton administration. Though the ATF plan to raid the Davidian compound was put together during the Bush administration, the go-ahead was given by Clinton's new appointees. The ATF's February 28, 1993 raid, which led to the 51-day standoff, was a nightmare of incompetence; four agents and six Branch Davidians were killed. Secretary of Treasury Lloyd Bentsen, newly responsible for the ATF, escaped without criticism. He may not even have been told about the raid before it happened. Janet Reno, the first woman Attorney General, was to take the hits for the Clinton administration on Waco. She had reluctantly given her consent to the FBI's gas attack, which was supposed to end the standoff.

In the congressional hearings held immediately after the disaster, Michigan Democrat John Conyers blasted Reno for her role in the tragedy. Conyers was vociferous about the many children who lost their lives. Only days into her job, Reno looked the Congressman straight in the eye and, choking with emotion, promised she would remember the children every day of her life. She took full responsibility but acknowledged no mistakes. Perhaps because government officials so rarely have the courage to take responsibility for any negative result, Reno became the most recognizable and well-liked member of the Clinton cabinet. Indeed, every time the Attorney General has since been challenged about Waco, her stock with the American people has gone up and their conviction that the Branch Davidians brought it on themselves has been reinforced. Surely Janet Reno is not the person to blame for the decisions made at Waco: indeed, her first impulse was to say no to the plan. The lead official at Justice who was most involved in Waco decision-making was then-Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell. He talked directly to the agents on the ground at Waco, and became convinced that the gas plan was necessary. FBI agent Larry Potts, who played a central role in the FBI's stand-off with Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, had a similar function in Waco. Janet Reno may have been in charge, but these men were calling the shots in the Washington command room. Still, if even a fraction of this documentary's claims are true, Reno helped circle the wagons and bury the truth after the fact.

One infuriated segment of the American public refused to forget Waco or to forgive Janet Reno: Clinton haters, the National Rifle Association, right-wing militia fanatics, conservative talkmeisters and their audiences. Across America there was a steady stream of talk show callers who kept insisting that Waco, just like Ruby Ridge, was an example of federal law enforcement at war with the American people. Wild claims about conspiracies and about tanks using flame throwers to set the compound on fire accompanied sensible claims about the ATF's and FBI's reckless and incompetent military tactics. But the rest of America was not listening. Reno had ordered the Justice Department to investigate itself and the FBI. The supposedly independent investigator, Edward Dennis, an assistant attorney general during the Reagan administration, based his report on that less than searching self-examination. The result was a total whitewash: Dennis proclaimed the operation a success even though all the patients died. He determined that the Branch Davidians had started the fire themselves in a mass suicide and that the FBI had never fired a single shot into the compound. Dennis concluded: "Under the circumstances, the FBI exhibited extraordinary restraint and handled this crisis with great professionalism."

Only by comparison was there a more aggressive investigation of the ATF, which had planned the original, military-style "dynamic entry" into the compound. The ATF's independent investigators, unlike the Justice Department's, laid out the evidence so that a fair-minded person could reach an independent judgment. But the report is written as if to protect the agency. The authors demonize the Branch Davidians and give the agents the benefit of every doubt. Most troubling to me was the report's uninformed and unwarranted portrayal of the Branch Davidians as cold-blooded killers: "On February 28, Koresh and his followers knew ATF agents were coming and decided to kill them"; they "prepare[d] a deadly ambush." Despite these distortions, the report singled out for sanctions the two agents who were in charge of the dynamic entry, and they were forced out of the ATF. The Branch Davidians insisted throughout the stand-off that these men should go to prison and the report certainly did not exonerate them. Still, they were able to appeal the sanctions, and were later restored to their previous standing.

On the Branch Davidians' side, in addition to the six killed in the ATF raid and the more than eighty dead in the fire, several of the survivors were convicted of federal offenses involving firearms and sentenced to long prison terms. The authorities bulldozed the ruins of the Waco compound and quite literally covered it up; there could be no further possibility of physical evidence turning up that would raise new questions about the alleged wrongdoings of federal agents at Waco. Case closed.

Then, exactly two years later, came the enormity of Oklahoma City, home-grown American terrorism--Timothy McVeigh's Turner Diaries revenge, memorializing the anniversary of Waco with a new and even greater horror. The tragedy forced America to look back at Waco just as McVeigh intended. The moment was perfect for Gazecki's documentary; unfortunately, he was still filming. By the time he was finished, the soul-searching was over, the McVeigh trial had begun, and the Waco justification was now rubbing salt in the wounds of Oklahoma City. If Gazecki thought the McVeigh trial would help his documentary, he seriously misjudged the mood of Americans.

Stephen Jones, McVeigh's lawyer, seems to have similarly miscalculated. He thought an American jury contemplating the death penalty would sympathize with McVeigh if they knew his motive was retaliation for Waco. Like Gazecki, Jones also called to enlist my support. He had read my report and wanted me to testify about Waco at the capital sentencing phase of the McVeigh trial. His words were, "you owe it to your country." The argument was dramatic but unconvincing. Unlike Waco conspiracy theorists, I believe the tragedy at Waco was the result of incompetence and over-reaching: bad judgment and bad decisions, not intentional wrongdoing and a plot against the people. Nor do I believe there was a government conspiracy to cover up these failings. Instead, law enforcement agents closed ranks out of self-interest and group solidarity, and the subsequent investigations turned into bureaucratic damage control. On no moral calculus does the government's incompetence at Waco justify or mitigate the intentional slaughter of 168 innocent victims in Oklahoma City.

If Gazecki is right, however, Waco was much more than a case of government incompetence. According to his film, federal agents acting under color of law behaved like outlaws, rogue agents murdered Branch Davidians, and the responsible authorities covered up.

The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building produced a spate of media attention and a new round of congressional hearings--sponsored, it is said, by the National Rifle Association's lobby. Members of the NRA could empathize with the Branch Davidians, whose large private armory was the original target of the ATF. Politics "makes strange bed-fellows," we are told, and after Waco, as I can personally attest, sleeping arrangements could not have been more perverse.

Left-wingers, liberal democrats, and minorities have traditionally been the critics of federal law enforcement agencies that overstep their authority, and conservative Republicans have traditionally been the defenders of law and order who support law enforcement even when it over-reaches. Waco produced a role reversal. The Gingrich Republicans were now in control of Congress and they decided to reopen Waco.

Congressman Conyers, now on the minority side of the aisle, was again in the spotlight during the second round of partisan congressional hearings, though this time as a defender of Janet Reno and federal law enforcement. A frequent critic of police brutality, as in the Rodney King case, he burst out laughing as he incredulously read a statement prepared for him by his own staff which extolled the virtues of the Los Angeles Police Department's SWAT team, whose former chief was testifying on behalf of the FBI. But the Democrats had a better strategy than praising law enforcement.

During the stand-off at Waco, President Clinton had charged David Koresh with sexual abuse of the Branch Davidians' children. Reno made similar claims about child abuse to justify her own decisions to approve the gas-attack. These allegations profoundly influenced public opinion against Koresh and the Branch Davidians. On that basis alone, many Americans were convinced that Koresh was evil and that was enough to close their minds about possible over-reaching and wrongdoings by federal authorities.

In the second round of congressional hearings, the Democrats deployed the same strategy. At the outset of the hearings a young adolescent girl, under New York Congressman Charles Schumer's gentle questioning, testified in an entirely believable manner about David Koresh forcing her to submit to sexual intercourse. It was Oprah-style television and the most genuinely gripping moment during the long, tedious, and unproductive hearings that followed. The Democrats put a human face on Waco and the battle for public opinion was lost: before the Republicans got started, they found themselves defending a child-molester. Because these allegations have played such an important part in the American public's moral judgments about the Branch Davidians and the events at Waco, one might have expected a documentary to clarify this matter, or at least face up to it with candor. Instead the issue is fudged. Here and in other places Gazecki's long documentary is not long enough to encompass the complex background of the Waco tragedy. As the title advertises, his documentary is primarily about the misdeeds of federal agents and their violations of the "rules of engagement."

Before considering those misdeeds it is worth confronting the allegations of sexual and child abuse lodged against Koresh. The film deals with them briefly and gingerly. Gazecki includes some footage of the young teenage girl testifying before Congress; one of Koresh's lawyers then undermines her testimony by referring to similar claims the girl made in a custody dispute. Gazecki leaves us with the impression that she might be lying. This portrayal is irresponsible and misleading. Koresh had convinced his followers that he was the Lamb of God prophesied in the Bible. He possessed the good seed and his offspring would occupy a special place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Koresh apparently had memorized many passages in the Bible and could quote relevant scripture to support his claim. You may think this is madness, but Koresh's followers, many of them well-educated and deeply religious, had faith in his special powers. Husbands practiced abstinence while they allowed Koresh to cohabit with their wives. Parents permitted Koresh to have sex with their pubescent daughters. Many of the children who died in the compound were Koresh's biological offspring. Though the children were subject to strict physical discipline, lengthy religious instruction, and a diet free of artificial ingredients, caffeine, and candy, there was never any evidence of child abuse in the sense of neglect or battering that concerned Janet Reno. Nor is there evidence that Koresh molested prepubescent girls. Instead, girls who had reached menarche were induced to have intercourse with Koresh in expectation that his "brides" would have the privilege of bearing his special children. Koresh and the Branch Davidians certainly knew that outsiders would disapprove of these sexual practices and downplayed them in public. Still, the secular state apparently had sufficient evidence to charge Koresh with statutory rape. But despite complaints by outsider parents who were not believers, Koresh was never prosecuted.

The only "apologists" for Koresh's behavior seem to be academic religionists whose studies show that such practices are common in the early stages of new religious sects. They also defend the Branch Davidians--a branch of an earlier apocalyptic branch of the Seventh Day Adventists--as a religious sect, not a mind-controlling cult. To understand what happened at Waco, you must appreciate that his diverse followers, who came from as far away as Australia, Great Britain, and Israel, believed that Koresh was the Lamb of God who would reveal the secrets of the Seven Seals. They called their compound "Mount Carmel," and like other millennial believers expected the world was coming to an end. Everyone who has carefully studied the Branch Davidians, and that should include Gazecki, agrees that Koresh, justifying his behavior by scripture, had sexual intercourse with legally underage females.

A documentary of this kind, which aims to set the record straight, has a truth-telling obligation. And since Gazecki's film is essentially an indictment of federal law enforcement agencies, his cause might have been better served by eliminating this issue from the film rather than undermining his own bona fides by equivocating. Statutory rape is a crime, and so is the possession of illegal weapons, but neither of these offenses justifies the ATF's initial life-threatening, commando-style raid on a compound full of women and children.

Gazecki constructs his film through a series of juxtapositions that powerfully carry his argument about official misconduct and distortion. We see liberal Democratic congressman Tom Lantos of California belligerently asserting that David Koresh was a madman with fanatic followers and that anyone who thinks differently must also be mad. Then we are shown scenes of a calm and sensible Koresh explaining scripture and talking reasonably to his followers, who look like ordinary church-goers. As a result, the usually clear-thinking Lantos looks like the madman. In this fashion virtually all of the government officials from Attorney General Reno on down are made to look like fools or hypocrites. Trying to explain how it came about that the FBI was using tanks, Reno maladroitly compares the arrangement to renting a car: this, after we have watched the "rented" tanks demolishing the compound's walls. ATF and FBI spokesmen appear constantly in these juxtapositions to be dissembling, deceiving, or misleading in their communications to the media, Congress, and the American people.

Gazecki also uses juxtaposition to support critics of the government's handling of Waco. In my report, I had suggested that the FBI's psychological warfare strategy had nothing to do with the psychology of Koresh or the Branch Davidians, that it was instead a function of the FBI's own group psychology--that agents were determined to show Koresh that they were in control. The film shows me reiterating this interpretation, and then cuts to an FBI spokesman in a press conference who is explaining the FBI's new aggressive tactics during the stand-off. The agent, obviously hot under the collar and fed up, is shown walking off the podium and stating: "We are going to show them that we control the compound and they are impotent." I had never seen that footage before, but could not have invented a more perfect illustration of what I had written.

Gazecki's editorial juxtapositions suggest a pervasive pattern of misinformation by the Justice Department, FBI, and ATF to mislead the American people, cover up misdeeds, and demonize the Branch Davidians. Interviewed after Oklahoma City, President Clinton unfairly dismissed the Branch Davidians as common criminals. The film should correct that unfortunate verdict, which is apparently shared by most Americans. The Branch Davidians may have been misguided religious extremists, but they were also decent human beings seeking a place in heaven and they believed Koresh could show them the way.

Indeed, during the long stand-off the Branch Davidians realized they were being smeared, and made a video to show their human faces to the American people. Men, women, and teenagers (many of them persons of color) explain why they came to Waco and why they are remaining in the compound. They believed God was on their side and--seen from their perspective--one begins to recognize that the Branch Davidians were subjected to great injustices. The ATF investigation concedes that after the raid, in an effort to cover up mistakes, the ATF hierarchy provided the public with "misleading or wrong" information. The Branch Davidians express their indignation about all this in their video. But the FBI prevented the release of that video for months after the tragedy. Parts of it are presented in the documentary, and they will come as a startling revelation. If Americans had seen the video, the Waco tragedy would have left us all with a guilty conscience; perhaps the final tragedy would not even have happened. Ironically, the Justice Department's Dennis Report specifically notes the FBI's concern "that if the tape were released to the media Koresh would gain much sympathy." The FBI waged a misguided public relations campaign to keep Americans from sympathizing with the Branch Davidians. The American media bought it and pressured the FBI to take more aggressive measures against the "Waco Wackos."

If Waco: The Rules of Engagement had done no more than show Americans that we had once more fallen into the trap of dehumanizing and demonizing our victims it would have served a useful purpose. But Gazecki goes further: he seems almost determined to dehumanize and demonize the ATF and FBI. Some of the documentary's allegations about federal agents seem reasonable, and correspond to what I learned from my own efforts to understand what happened at Waco. Other allegations push the envelope of credibility and some strain credulity to the breaking point. There is, however, enough in the documentary to shake up anyone's preconceived notions. As someone deeply critical of law enforcement's behavior at Waco, the film made me worry that I had not been critical enough. Even if the documentary does not provide definitive answers, it raises serious questions both about the ATF's February 28 raid and the FBI's conduct on April 19.

Gazecki's film argues that ATF agents fired the first shots, and that they directed automatic gunfire from their helicopters into the compound. These assertions directly contradict the official ATF investigation. If they are accurate, the ATF violated the "rules of engagement," successfully covered up this violation, and then lied under oath before Congress. More startling, Gazecki assembles evidence to argue that federal agents (presumably the FBI) on the final day of the conflagration were firing automatic weapons into the side of the compound hidden from the TV cameras, and that those tanks we saw on television were not just injecting gas but intentionally smashing sections of the compound and crushing the inhabitants. Footage in the film shows one of these tanks becoming disabled because something red is caught in its tracks. The narrator suggests that this may be part of the body of a Branch Davidian and his red coat. To support allegations about automatic weapon fire, Gazecki shows heat-sensitive film made by the government's own surveillance aircraft, and his assertions are supported in the film by knowledgeable experts. All this is in direct contradiction of the FBI's repeated claims, backed up by the Justice Department's investigation and the Dennis Report, that their purpose on April 19 was to get the Branch Davidians out safely, that the tanks were not attacking, and that they never fired a shot.

What is one to make of these allegations? Let us begin with the ATF raid. The ATF had been gathering intelligence for months and knew that there were many women and children in the compound whose lives would be at risk in a fire-fight. They believed that the Branch Davidians had powerful weapons, thought the end of the world was at hand, and might resist an armed assault by the ATF--the modern day soldiers of Assyria, according to Koresh.

Nonetheless, the ATF planned the largest armed raid in the bureau's history. The bureau received military training from the US Army at Fort Hood to prepare agents who had never before participated in such an effort. The ATF clearly misled Texas's then-Governor Ann Richards by falsely claiming that illegal drugs were involved. (The Branch Davidians, like the Seventh Day Adventists, reject all such drugs as a matter of religious tenet.) The illegal drug story was required under federal statute for the ATF to obtain the use of the Texas National Guard's military helicopters. Those helicopters were supposed to arrive first at the compound to create the diversion and surprise necessary for a "dynamic entry": diversion and surprise would allow ATF agents to put up ladders and invade the compound through the second floor window--beyond which, according to their faulty intelligence, lay the locked armory to which only David Koresh had the key. The ATF plan was to get there before Koresh could unlock it. If the timing failed, the plan put at risk the lives of 80 federal agents and more than 100 Branch Davidians. Given the alleged offense--violations of an illegal-firearms statute--the entire project seems ill-conceived. Indeed, many commentators later suggested that a single agent could have peacefully served a warrant. Even at the time, the acting Assistant Treasury Secretary in charge of law enforcement thought the plan was unwise and unnecessary when it was laid out to him just hours before the operation started. His first response, like Janet Reno's, was to say no. But he was misled by the agents in charge who convinced him that the Branch Davidians posed a real threat of violence to their neighbors. The official investigatory report concedes that the plan was inept if not irrational. But it maintains that the Branch Davidians were violent and ignores the possibility that the ATF raid was a dangerous provocation.

As is now well known, the ATF had an agent, Robert Rodriguez, inside the compound on the day of the raid. Rodriguez was pretending to be interested in the Branch Davidians' faith in order to gather intelligence. David Koresh knew all along that Rodriguez was an ATF agent; in fact, many days earlier Koresh had learned from his neighbors that the ATF had the compound under surveillance. Still, Koresh tried to proselytize Rodriguez. On the morning of the raid, when Koresh learned that the ATF was coming, he told Rodriguez that the Branch Davidians knew he was an agent and that they had been informed of the impending raid. Permitted to beat a hasty retreat (by these supposed killers), the agent informed his superiors that they had lost the essential element of surprise. Everyone in the ATF had agreed that if the element of surprise was lost they would call the operation off: because the main objective was to seize the locked armory before Koresh could distribute weapons to his followers, any other decision was completely irrational. Yet the ATF pushed ahead.

As Gazecki demonstrates, Koresh's warning resulted in part from the ATF's own inept attempts to get media attention. We see an agent lamely explaining that she called the local television stations only to make sure she had their weekend telephone numbers so she could contact them after the raid. In another remarkable failure of security, uniformed ATF agents were seen in Waco hotels, restaurants, and cocktail lounges the night before the raid. As a result of these gaffes, local TV stations had crews out looking for the compound long before the raid; when they explained what they were doing and asked a Branch Davidian for directions, he was able to warn Koresh.

Gazecki's documentary shows ATF agent Rodriguez weeping as he testifies before Congress about how he told his superiors, how they ignored his warning, and how those superiors had been lying to Congress. Gazecki has him nicely juxtaposed with one of the superiors who in bureaucratic "double speak" is explaining to Congress why a warning is not a warning. The ATF leaders must have learned something from Rodriguez as they hurriedly decided to advance the time of their assault. But because of the ATF's almost-unbelievable incompetence in failing to coordinate radio wave bands, the helicopters did not learn of the changes, kept to the original plan, arrived late, and failed to serve their diversionary function. With neither diversion nor surprise, tragedy was inevitable.

Why on earth did the ATF go ahead? The most realistic answer I have heard is that the ATF was worried about its own morale and standing. The ATF has had many critics over the years and been the object of scorn and ridicule by other law enforcement agencies. (Competition and bad blood among federal law enforcement agencies is well-known inside the Beltway.) It has frequently been suggested that the ATF be dismantled and its functions assigned to the FBI. The ATF wanted to pull off a bold military-style coup that would be widely publicized on television and allow it to display a huge collection of illegal weapons confiscated by its competent and courageous agents. Such a coup, it was thought, would strengthen and protect the ATF, impress Congress, enhance the agency's prestige, perhaps even increase its budget allocation.

The idea that the ATF acted out of bureaucratic self-interest and was looking for a public relations coup may seem ridiculous, but it is the only credible explanation of its conduct. Several years earlier the ATF had laid siege to a right-wing stronghold. The stand-off was resolved by the FBI and third-party negotiators, but the illegal weapons were all dismantled before the surrender and the ATF lost all the evidence it was hoping to obtain. The ATF had invested an extraordinary amount of time, energy, and resources in the Waco plan, as agents, many of them without previous SWAT-team or incident-response experience, prepared for their commando mission. Gazecki's film captures the "children-playing-soldier" mood of the ATF in video footage the agents made of themselves as they prepared for their escapade. Indeed, the momentum was so great it obviously overwhelmed the rational judgment of leaders who discounted their own agent's warning.

Though the agency's conduct does not constitute a government conspiracy, it is equally preposterous to describe what transpired at the compound as an "ambush," as the ATF report does. Having been warned, and expecting to be attacked, the Branch Davidians had more than enough time to open their armory and distribute weapons. Whether illegal automatics or legal semiautomatics, their weapons had enormous killing power. Military experts who have examined Waco agree that if the Branch Davidians had decided to kill the agents, as the ATF report claims, they could easily have slaughtered them. They had time to station themselves in strategic positions, including a tower that rose above the compound. Armed with automatic weapons, two or three of them could have fired on the cattle cars in which the agents arrived at the compound (the ATF's idea of Texas camouflage)--had there been a real ambush, most of the agents would have been killed before they even dismounted from the cattle cars, and many more as they jumped down. Even after the ATF took cover, the Branch Davidians' strategic firing positions in the tower made the agents visible targets.

The four agents who were killed were among those who went ahead with the planned dynamic entry from the roof of the compound, whose whole purpose was to get to the locked second-floor armory. But as the element of surprise had been lost, the armory had already been opened and the weapons disbursed. As soon as gunfire was exchanged--whoever started it--the ATF had to realize that no purpose could be served by mounting the roof. What we witnessed on television, then, was a tragic exercise in futility. The ATF leaders had put their own agents in a situation where there was nothing to be gained and where lives could be and were lost. Viewers of Gazecki's film will see again those desperate moments on the compound roof, as one of the agents goes through the window. But the narrator says nothing about the insanity of what is taking place before our eyes. Federal agents killing and being killed for no reason!

Both Gazecki's documentary and the ATF's official investigation are misleading about all this. The ATF investigation constructed a narrative in which federal agents were caught in a killing ambush and fired in self-defense. Gazecki's film, by focusing particularly on the helicopters, makes the ATF out to be the killers. But ATF agents are not killers, and neither were the Branch Davidians. The agents were desperately trying to follow the ill-conceived and futile plan conceived by their superiors. The Branch Davidians were defending their holy ground in the face of violent provocation. Both sides had weapons and were firing them. Indeed, the extraordinary thing, missed by both narratives, is how few lives were lost in this huge display of firepower.

If not a result of conspiracy or ambush, why were the first shots fired? The answer may be painfully banal. The complex ATF plan (of which there was never a written copy) called for the first agents who dismounted to use fire extinguishers to fend off the Branch Davidians' watch-dogs. As this began, Koresh, who said he had stationed his people to defend the compound, came to the door unarmed to confront the ATF. The ATF report incredibly has the Branch Davidians greeting the cattle cars with a hail of bullets and grenades while Koresh comes to the open door unarmed. It is impossible to believe that these events happened simultaneously as described. Koresh consistently maintained that he could not believe that ATF agents in full battle gear would assault the compound if they knew there were women and children inside. He came to the door to try to explain the situation to them. The first gun shots were then fired by agents at the dogs when their fire extinguishers failed to control them. One of Koresh's bodyguards, on his own initiative, then fired at those agents; agents responded by opening fire on the compound. The agent closest to Koresh, who was still at the open door, dropped to the ground and shot the unarmed Koresh through the pelvis and wrist. The door closed and gunfire broke out on all sides leading to the battle already described.

In short, the ATF did not go to the compound intending to shoot first and serve warrants later, as Gazecki suggests. Nor did the Branch Davidians intend an ambush to maximize their kill of federal agents, as the ATF's official report insists. Indeed, when the firing began, Wayne Martin, a Branch Davidian and an African-American graduate of Harvard Law School, called 911. Portions of the tapes can be heard in Gazecki's documentary. Martin's spontaneous reactions do not suggest a man participating in an ambush. A trained lawyer and minister, Martin was obviously shocked that armed troops were firing on women and children.

As to Gazecki's charges that the ATF's borrowed helicopters fired on the compound, he has presented convincing circumstantial evidence. Three helicopters arrived late on the scene as the fire-fight began. The occupants of the helicopters could not communicate with the leaders on the ground because of the radio-band problem. The agents in the helicopters with automatic weapons had no idea what was happening, and may well have joined in the fire-fight. Gazecki has compelling audiotape of the exchange between ATF agent Cavanaugh and the Branch Davidians during those exact moments. Early in the raid, the two sides had no way to communicate; Martin had reached the local police on their 911 line but they could not contact the ATF. On the tape, telephone communication has been established and we hear a Branch Davidian desperately telling Cavanaugh that the helicopters are shooting automatic weapons into the compound. Cavanaugh denies this. Koresh, though he had already been wounded, comes on and tells the agent they are not going to talk any longer if Cavanaugh refuses to acknowledge the reality that the compound is taking automatic weapon fire from the helicopters. Koresh had no reason to invent this complaint at that time, and Cavanaugh had no way of knowing what was going on in the helicopters. Cavanaugh ingeniously resolves this dispute over the phone by saying he intended only to deny that the helicopters had mounted automatic weapons. Subsequently, the ATF denied that agents ever fired from helicopters. Before Congress, Cavanaugh wept and swore that it was impossible for anyone to think that ATF agents would fire from helicopters. If he believed that they had, he claimed, he would throw away his badge. Gazecki's film contains a convincing refutation of Cavanaugh's testimony about the helicopters. Regrettably, Congress never heard it, as no member of Congress confronted or cross-examined him.

Gazecki is less than objective in failing to emphasize that the Branch Davidians fired on the helicopters. This is yet another example of the adversarial style on both sides. In the film, one actually seems to hear the Branch Davidians taking automatic weapon fire from the demonic ATF. In the ATF report we are shown the unarmed helicopters and the bullet holes caused by demonic Branch Davidians.

The ATF raid left dead and dying on both sides and led to a cease-fire agreement. Even the ATF official report acknowledges "chaos at the command post" after the shoot-out. A complex negotiation between the ATF and the FBI followed, resulting in the FBI's own 51-day siege.

When the FBI replaced the ATF at Waco, their initial strategy of negotiating with the Brach Davidians soon shifted to a declaration of all-out psychological warfare. Most behavioral scientists who have studied the events have questioned the FBI's decision. Because of the Branch Davidians' religious beliefs, end-of-the-world expectations, and acceptance of Koresh as the Lamb of God, such tactics might have driven members to mass suicide. When I and the other panelists appointed by the Justice Department met with representatives of the FBI's behavioral science group for briefings on July 1, 1993, we were told in no uncertain terms that they had decided Koresh was a sociopath who had conned his followers. Their spokesman opined that, when push comes to shove, common criminals such as Koresh, who have antisocial personality disorders, act in their own self-interest. This was presented to us as the behavioral science input into FBI decision-making. These views suggested to the panelists an astonishing ignorance of religious beliefs and of individual and group psychology. But as it turned out this initial part of our briefing was misleading.

The arrangements of the Justice Department for its investigation of Waco in my opinion were not designed to produce a searching inquiry. The panelists were briefed by law enforcement officials who had not been directly involved in Waco, and we were asked to prepare individual reports suggesting improvements in federal law enforcement for the future without a detailed understanding of what happened at Waco. Career Justice Department lawyers were to conduct the separate factual investigation; the so-called independent investigator, Edward Dennis, was to prepare his report based on the Justice Department's self-examination, and we were instructed not to ask questions about this ongoing investigation. My objection to these arrangements was considered an aberration, indicative of some personal psychopathology. And my subsequent criticism of the process and its findings was taken as a further proof of my bad judgment and "paranoia." At one point, it seemed as though the Justice Department had removed me from the panel. Eventually it was agreed that I would delay my own report until I had studied the factual report and could pursue any unanswered questions with Justice Department lawyers or the FBI. During this subsequent process I discovered that Peter Smerik, the agent who actually provided behavioral science input at Waco, had submitted two remarkably contradictory memoranda to his superiors. In the first, with impressive psychological insight and prescience, he had noted that Koresh was a religious fanatic, not a con-man sociopath, and that his followers were true religious adherents. He warned his superiors that psychological warfare might drive the Branch Davidians to collective suicide. Twenty-four hours later, he sent a memo advising the FBI to press ahead with psychological warfare. According to the Dennis Report, this psychological warfare memo was the last submitted at Waco by the behavioral science group. Neither the Justice Department's investigators nor the Dennis Report delved into these strange circumstances.

In the fall of 1993, I asked Smerik about his 180? turnabout. His response, clear and unmistakable, was: "my superior told me I was tying his hands." He had caved into the pressure and had provided his superiors the advice they wanted to hear. During the congressional hearings in 1995, I sat behind him and heard him testify under oath that no one had actually said those words to him, that no one had pressured him. He testified that it was all in his own head: he had pressured himself. None of the members of Congress present seemed to recognize that Smerik was recanting and had closed ranks with his fellow agents. Smerik's original story had been the linch-pin of my understanding about what went wrong in the FBI's management of the stand-off at Waco, and it had been confirmed by several other FBI sources.

There were two warring psychological camps inside the FBI at Waco. The first was the tactical forces, consisting of hostage rescue team members, SWAT-team trained marksmen, and other Green Beret types whose imperative is immediate action. The second camp consisted of negotiators and behavioral scientists, who were prepared to talk the thing through indefinitely to avoid loss of life. Friction between the two camps increased as the stand-off dragged on. The tactical forces pressed for more aggressive and harassing measures, at times even acting independently and undercutting ongoing FBI negotiations. Smerik's turnabout was only one symptom of this pathology of divided camps. Eventually, the tactical forces were calling all the shots and acting on their plan to tighten a noose of tanks around the compound and then inject the CS gas to drive the Davidians out. As one of my informants told me, by the time the plan was presented to Janet Reno, there were three options: gas, gas, or gas. The FBI's choice of strategy was not based on insufficient appreciation of apocalyptic religious beliefs or inadequate behavioral science. It was based on the action imperative of tactical law enforcement.

Gazecki compellingly substantiates this conflict inside the FBI. He presents excerpts culled from the reels of negotiation tape in which the negotiator apologizes for behavior by the tactical forces that violated promises made to the Branch Davidians. These tapes indicate that federal agents at times behaved not like professionals but like hooligans--for example, pulling down their pants and mooning the people in the compound. The film also substantiates my opinion, shared by many commentators, that third-party negotiation should have been utilized. On the tapes we hear the Branch Davidians insisting that negotiation with the FBI has reached a dead end and asking for third-party negotiators.

Though it supports all the criticisms contained in my report, and which I reiterate as a talking head on-screen, the documentary suggests that my ultimate conclusion about the Branch Davidians being inadvertently driven to mass suicide is entirely mistaken. Gazecki claims to show us something far more despicable. He believes that on the day of the gas attack some of the FBI's tactical forces began shooting their automatic weapons into the compound and crushing Branch Davidians under the tanks. According to the autopsy reports at least 20 corpses had bullet holes in them and some of the bodies were maimed. The Justice Department's explanation of the bullet holes was that fanatic leaders had shot church members; it gave no explanation of the maimed bodies. Until I saw Gazecki's film I had accepted this explanation, with the proviso that these shootings may have been suicides or mercy killings of people who were dying in agony. Koresh's own corpse had been shot between the eyes, and I do not believe any Branch Davidian still in the compound would have done that to the "Lamb of God" in malice. Gazecki forces us to ask whether some of those bullet holes were made by federal agents and whether some of the strangely mutilated corpses were the result of tank treads.

When the panelists were assembled on the first day at the Justice Department we were told that we would be given information about the final conflagration that had been gathered through top-secret technology. We were informed that all such information would be redacted from the published investigation under a federal statute--it was--and we were sworn to secrecy. Though the London Times shortly thereafter published photographs of the listening devices used at Waco and described how they had been deployed, I honored the secrecy request until I testified before Congress two years later and was told to reveal what the panel had been told. Gazecki's documentary has been profoundly disturbing to me on this very matter.

The panel was told that the FBI's top-secret listening devices picked up all sorts of extraneous noise and conversation, making it impossible to decipher meaningful information as it was recorded. We were also told that well after the fire FBI experts had deciphered a conversation in which the Branch Davidians' inner circle reported that on the night of the final day Koresh had decided it would end with them "stepping out onto the surface of the sun." Obviously, we were told, if the FBI had heard that information in real time, they would have taken a different course the next morning. But here was the convincing but secret evidence that the Branch Davidians had committed mass suicide. The FBI never played that tape for the panel nor were we ever given a transcript. Nonetheless, I accepted this oral information as the basic factual premise of my report and concluded that the FBI had inadvertently driven the Branch Davidians to this extremity. To my knowledge this "secret" information convinced the other panelists as well that Waco had ended in mass suicide.

Gazecki's film argues that I got it wrong, as has everyone else who believed the Justice Department's investigation and the Dennis Report. The film presents three kinds of evidence about that final day. First, there is a still photograph, apparently taken by authorities after the tragedy, of a ferret round of CS gas that was fired into the compound. A Branch Davidian survivor has testified that many such rounds were fired and that they sounded like mortar fire. This information is confirmed by the Dennis Report, which describes the ferret rounds as "non-burning." Gazecki's film, however, claims that they are pyrotechnic devices that explode to deliver the gas, and further argues that these devices, not the Branch Davidians, set fire to the compound. Ferret rounds are either pyrotechnic or not: that question can easily be resolved. However, as the CS gas is in fact a powder that must be dispersed, it is not inconceivable that the canister includes some mechanism for that purpose. The Dennis Report's description of these rounds as "non-burning" seems evasive rather than definitive. And as the compound was filled with highly volatile fumes, pyrotechnic devices could have sparked the fire.

The documentary's second kind of evidence consists of films, presented at the congressional hearings, that show a tank ramming back and forth repeatedly through a section of the compound until it collapses. The panelists were never told that this was part of the FBI's "not an assault" plan. Yet Gazecki also has tape of an FBI spokesman saying that they knew in advance that the women and children might be placed in a bunker near the kitchen, and so intentionally rammed the tank through the wall to deposit gas in the bunker area. The Justice Department has consistently argued that tanks were used only to inject gas or to create exits so that the Branch Davidians could escape. But the Dennis Report reveals that one of the tanks was ordered to clear a path through the compound to the main tower so that another tank could insert CS gas in that area; that during that "endeavor" a portion of the roof collapsed; and that "an apparent deviation from the approved plan began that involved . . . dismantl[ing] the building."

These uses of the tanks could not have occurred without risk of injury to the occupants. Did Attorney General Reno know the tanks would be used in this risky destructive fashion when she approved the plan? On the day of the tank assault Reno was scheduled to give a talk in Baltimore. She testified that the FBI advised her to go ahead with the talk so as not to create unwarranted concern. She was therefore not in the Washington situation room when the tanks began demolishing the walls of the compound. The documentary argues that the maimed bodies described at autopsy were in fact mangled by the tanks. We see film of the disabled tank being towed away and a Congressman at the hearing complains that after two years there has still been no report of what caused the tread to come off. Gazecki leaves viewers with the impression that a Branch Davidian's body may have been caught in the tread and that the truth has been covered up.

Because I was very concerned about the lethal risks to small children of prolonged exposure to CS gas, I asked many questions about the tank plan. Not until Gazecki's film, however, did I learn that the FBI intended to deposit the noxious substance directly on the bunker where they believed the children would be. Nor was I informed that tanks would push down walls to reach that location. The FBI plan in fact imposed much greater risk of loss of life than I was told or had imagined. Gazecki may therefore be correct in believing that some Branch Davidians were crushed by tanks. I had never before considered that possibility.

The documentary's third kind of evidence is based entirely on heat-sensitive film and an expert's interpretation of it. The expert repeatedly points to flashing lights on the film which he claims are bursts of heat that do not occur in nature and can only be made by automatic weapons. He asserts that those weapons are firing into the compound on the side away from the television cameras. There has already been enough discussion of this heat-sensitive evidence in the media to suggest that Gazecki's expert has given a plausible but not irrefutable opinion. If it is true, then many FBI agents knew about it and there was a massive cover-up.

Gazecki seems to want us to believe that FBI agents intentionally crushed Branch Davidians with their tanks and slaughtered them with their automatic weapons. Again, this is a mirror image account of the FBI's description of the Branch Davidians killing their own people rather than letting them escape the mass suicide. Surely the human truth lies somewhere between these extremes. There is no doubt in my mind that the FBI's plan for the last day went awry, just as the ATF's did on the first day. Some of the FBI agents obviously did not follow the established plan. Even the Dennis Report acknowledges this much. The FBI may have circled their wagons after the fact, honoring the law enforcement code of silence. They would not be the first or last law enforcement group to do so. But the Justice Department's job was to dig out the truth; that was what the Attorney General promised the American people.

One might naively think that the highest priority after a tragedy like Waco would be for everyone involved to consider what went wrong and what they would now do differently. The ATF conceded errors but never acknowledged that the raid was tragically unnecessary. Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department conceded any errors. The government's self-investigation glossed over the evidence of conflict within the FBI at Waco; it denied the lethal risk of CS gas to infants; it never explained the "apparent deviation" in the tank plan; it never described how decisions were made at Justice or who made them; it never offered convincing reasons for its failure to use third-party negotiations; and it never questioned the wisdom or the practical consequences of demonizing the Branch Davidians. The film documents each of these failings, and Gazecki builds the viewers' sense of moral outrage by his method of juxtaposition. Because much of what he shows us does seem to be true, his further allegations of extreme wrongdoing become more believable.

Gazecki stops short of suggesting that Waco was a government conspiracy, but he gives conspiracy theorists all the ammunition they will need. Unfortunately, the responsible officials did such an inadequate job of investigating Waco that most viewers will have almost no realistic basis against which to measure Gazecki's film. Waco: The Rules of Engagement will be another reason for people to distrust their government.

Also see: Alan Stone's original report to the Justice Department.

history of eugenics

Malthusianism refers primarily to ideas derived from the political/economic thought of Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, as laid out initially in his 1798 writings, An Essay on the Principle of Population, which describes how unchecked population growth …

Malthusianism refers primarily to ideas derived from the political/economic thought of Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, as laid out initially in his 1798 writings, An Essay on the Principle of Population, which describes how unchecked population growth is exponential (1?2?4?8) while the growth of the food supply was expected to be arithmetical (1?2?3?4). Malthus believed there were two types of "checks" that could then reduce the population, returning it to a more sustainable level. He believed there were "preventive" checks such as moral restraints (abstinence, delayed marriage until finances become balanced), and restricting marriage against persons suffering poverty and/or defects. Malthus believed in "positive checks", which lead to 'premature' death: disease, starvation, war, resulting in what is called a Malthusian catastrophe. The catastrophe would return population to a lower, more "sustainable", level.[1][2] The term has been applied in different ways over the last two hundred years, and has been linked to a variety of other political and social movements, but almost always refers to advocates of population control.[3]

Neo-Malthusianism generally refers to people with the same basic concerns as Malthus, who advocate for population control programs, to ensure resources for current and future populations.[2] In Britain the term Malthusian can also refer more specifically to arguments made in favour of preventive birth control, hence organisations such as the Malthusian League.[4] Neo-Malthusians seem to differ from Malthus's theories mainly in their enthusiasm for contraceptive techniques. Malthus, as a devout Christian, believed that "self-control" (abstinence) was preferable to artificial birth control. In some editions of his essay, Malthus did allow that abstinence was unlikely to be effective on a wide scale, thus advocating the use of artificial means of birth control as a solution to population "pressure".[5] Modern "neo-Malthusians" are generally more concerned than Malthus was, with environmental degradation and catastrophic famine, than with poverty.

Many critics believe that the basis of Malthusian theory has been fundamentally discredited in the years since the publication of Principle of Population, often citing major advances in agricultural techniques and modern reductions in human fertility.[6] Many modern proponents believe that the basic concept of population growth eventually outstripping resources is still fundamentally valid, and "positive checks" are still likely in humanity's future if there is no action to curb population growth.[7][8]

Malthusian terms can carry a pejorative connotation indicating excessive pessimism and inhumanity.[9][10] Some proponents of Malthusian ideas believe that Malthus's theories have been widely misunderstood and misrepresented; these proponents believe his reputation for pessimism and inhumanity is ill deserved.[3][11] Malthusian ideas have attracted political criticism from diverse schools of thought, from Marxists[12] and socialists [13] to libertarians and free market enthusiasts,[14][15] American conservatives,[16] feminists[17] and human rights advocates.

Malthus was not the first to outline the problems he perceived. The original essay was part of an ongoing intellectual discussion at the end of the 18th century regarding the origins of poverty. Principle of Population was specifically written as a rebuttal to thinkers like William Godwin and the Marquis de Condorcet, and Malthus's own father who believed in the perfectibility of humanity. Malthus believed humanity's ability to reproduce too rapidly doomed efforts at perfection and cause various other problems.
His criticism of the working class's tendency to reproduce rapidly, and his belief that this, rather than exploitation by capitalists, led to their poverty, brought widespread criticism of his theory. [18]

Malthusians perceived ideas of charity to the poor typified by Tory paternalism were futile, as these would only result in increased numbers of the poor, and was developed into Whig economic ideas exemplified by The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. The Act was described by opponents as "a Malthusian bill designed to force the poor to emigrate, to work for lower wages, to live on a coarser sort of food",[19] which initiated the construction of workhouses despite riots and arson.

Malthus revised his theories in later editions of An Essay on the Principles of Population, taking a more optimistic tone, although there is some scholarly debate on the extent of his revisions.[1] According to Dr. Dan Ritschel of the Center for History Education at the University of Maryland,
The great Malthusian dread was that "indiscriminate charity" would lead to exponential growth in the population in poverty, increased charges to the public purse to support this growing army of the dependent, and, eventually, the catastrophe of national bankruptcy. Though Malthusianism has since come to be identified with the issue of general over-population, the original Malthusian concern was more specifically with the fear of over-population by the dependent poor!
[20]

One of the earliest critics was David Ricardo. Malthus immediately and correctly recognized it to be an attack on his theory of wages. Ricardo and Malthus debated this in a lengthy personal correspondence. [21]
Another one of the 19th century critics of Malthusian theory was Karl Marx who referred to it as "nothing more than a schoolboyish, superficial plagiary of De Foe, Sir James Steuart, Townsend, Franklin, Wallace" (in Capital, see Marx's footnote on Malthus from Capital - reference below). Marx and Engels described Malthus as a "lackey of the bourgeoisie." [18] Socialists and communists believed that Malthusian theories "blamed the poor" for their own exploitation by the capitalist classes, and could be used to suppress the proletariat to an even greater degree, whether through attempts to reduce fertility or by justifying the generally poor conditions of labour in the 19th century.

One proponent of Malthusianism was the novelist Harriet Martineau whose circle of acquaintances included Charles Darwin, and the ideas of Malthus were a significant influence on the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution.[22] Darwin was impressed by the idea that population growth would eventually lead to more organisms than could possibly survive in any given environment, leading him to theorize that organisms with a relative advantage in the struggle for survival and reproduction would be able to pass their characteristics on to further generations. Proponents of Malthusianism were in turn influenced by Darwin's ideas, both schools coming to heavily influence the field of eugenics. Henry Fairfield Osborn advocated "humane birth selection through humane birth control" in order to avoid a Malthusian catastrophe by eliminating the "unfit."[1]

Malthusianism generally became a less common intellectual tradition as the 19th century advanced, mostly as a result of technological increases, the opening of new territory to agriculture, and increasing international trade.[1] In 1888, political economist William Petty wrote that larger populations should be a benefit to society, claiming “[I]t is more likely that one ingenious curious man may rather be found out amongst 4,000,000 than 400 persons.” [23] Although a "conservationist" movement in the United States concerned itself with resource depletion and natural protection in the first half of the twentieth century, Desrochers and Hoffbauer write, "It is probably fair to say... that it was not until the publication of Osborn’s and Vogt’s books [1948] that a Malthusian revival took hold of a significant segment of the American population."[




From the elimination of undesirables from the human race; mass culling in the name of saving the earth; to altering the genetic code of humanity with advanced technology; eugenics has moved into a new era.
Old-thinker news | August 27, 2007
By Daniel Taylor



This report is not meant to be a comprehensive history of eugenics. The initial article that I was going to write was less than half of what you will read here, but as I investigated this area I discovered how ignorant I was as to how expansive this topic is. Initially researching John D. Rockefeller, a Pandora’s box of information opened up, inevitably leading to the topic of this article. I hope that this information will help you come to a greater understanding of this subject, and to warn others of its grave dangers.
From the elimination of undesirables from the human race; mass culling in the name of saving the earth; to altering the genetic code of humanity with advanced technology: Eugenics has moved into a new era.
What is eugenics?

The word eugenics comes from the Greek words eus (good or well) and gen?s (born) meaning “well born”. The American Heritage dictionary of the English language describes eugenics as, “The study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding.” Sir Francis Galton was the man who coined the term, and developed the first eugenic policies. Galton expressed distress at the lack of emphasis on the betterment of the human race during his time, comparing men and women of his day to “pariah dogs”. In 1864, Galton wrote in an article titled “Hereditary Character and Talent,” published in two parts in MacMillan’s Magazine,
“If a twentieth part of the cost and pains were spent in measures for the improvement of the human race that is spent on the improvement of the breed of horses and cattle, what a galaxy of genius might we not create! We might introduce prophets and high priests of civilization into the world, as surely as we can propagate idiots by mating cretins. Men and women of the present day are, to those we might hope to bring into existence, what the pariah dogs of the streets of an Eastern town are to our own highly-bred varieties.”
The Population Council was founded by John D. Rockefeller the 3rd in 1952
The history of eugenics in America is filled with controversy and harrowing stories of forced sterilization throughout many U.S. states. In 2002 Mark R. Warner, the governor of Virginia issued an apology for the thousands of individuals that the state had sterilized from 1924 to 1979. USA Today reported on the governors statement,
“With the governor’s statement Thursday, Virginia becomes the only of the 30 states that conducted eugenics sterilizations to apologize. There are believed to be more than 60,000 eugenics victims nationwide.
‘Today, I offer the commonwealth’s sincere apology for Virginia’s participation in eugenics,’ Warner said.
‘As I have previously noted, the eugenics movement was a shameful effort in which state government never should have been involved,” he said. ‘We must remember the commonwealth’s past mistakes in order to prevent them from recurring.’”
The aristocratic, wealthy elite of America played a central role in the development of eugenics in America and abroad. Two such elite families are the Rockefellers and the Carnegies.
In 1902, Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Institute which among other things, funded the Eugenics Record Office in America. The ERO (1910-1944) operated from Cold Spring Harbor in New York. Eugenics policies, which led to the sterilization of thousands of Americans, were developed in this office.
The Rockefellers, perhaps more so, were also heavily involved with eugenics. Rockefeller influence in American eugenics can be traced to the beginnings of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. John D. Rockefeller, along with Averell Harriman gave $11 million to create the facility in the early 1900?s. Rockefeller influence also spread overseas to Germany, where the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Eugenics, Anthropology and Human Heredity resided. Much of the money used to run these facilities came from Rockefeller. These weren’t just average scientific institutes; the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes would become the center for Nazi eugenics programs.
As documented by Gary Allen in “The Rockefeller File” the Rockefellers continue to give money to eugenics and population control related organizations,
“In 1970, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave $500,000 to the Population Council. The Rockefeller Foundation gave ecology grants of $10,000 to the New School for Social Research, and $10,000 to the Population Reference Bureau.”
In 1973, the Rockefeller Foundation again gave $500,000 to the Population Council and $25,000 to the Population Crisis Committee, while the Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave $250,000 to the Population Council, and $250,000 to the Population Institute.
The Population Council was founded by John D. Rockefeller the 3rd in 1952. The first president of the Council, Frederick Osborn, was appointed by Rockefeller. Osborn was the leader of the American Eugenics Society, and member of the Galton Society, founded in 1918.
Osborn stated in the 1956 edition of “The Eugenics Review” that,
“…the reasons advanced must be generally acceptable reasons. Let’s stop telling anyone that they have a genetically inferior genetic quality, for they will never agree. Let’s base our proposals on the desirability of having children born in homes where they will get affectionate and responsible care, and perhaps our proposals will be accepted. It seems to me that if it is to progress as it should, eugenics must follow new policies and state its case anew, and that from this rebirth we may, even in our own lifetime, see it moving at last towards the high goals which Galton set for it.”
Killing to save the earth
Since the early days of eugenics, a new “brand” of this science has emerged in modern times. The environmental branch of eugenics believes that, due to overpopulation, measures must be taken to either impede population growth through various eugenic policies, or take drastic measures to eliminate living human beings from the earth. Unlike those who advocate eugenics to strictly rid humanity of “undesirables,” some advocate the culling of humanity in general in order to save planet earth. Many globalist initiatives surround environmental issues, one of which has been population control and reduction.
John Glad, a professor of Russian studies who has taught at several universities and worked for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, wrote a book titled “Future Human Evolution: Eugenics in the Twenty-First Century.” In the introduction, Glad writes,
“Eugenics views itself as the fourth leg of the chair of civilization, the other three being a) a thrifty expenditure of natural resources, b) mitigation of environmental pollution, and c) maintenance of a human population not exceeding the planet’s carrying capacity. Eugenics, which can be thought of as human ecology, is thus part and parcel of the environmental movement.”
Notable quotes:
“In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it’s just as bad not to say it.” – Jacques Cousteau
“The world has a cancer, and that cancer is man.” – Merton Lambert, former spokesman for the Rockefeller foundation
“…The first task is population control at home. How do we go about it? Many of my colleagues feel that some sort of compulsory birth regulation would be necessary to achieve such control. One plan often mentioned involves the addition of temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food. Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government to produce the desired population size.” – Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb, p.130-131
“If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”  - Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, leader of the World Wildlife Fund – quoted in “Are You Ready For Our New Age Future?,” Insiders Report, American Policy Center, December ’95
“A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”  – Ted Turner – CNN founder and UN supporter – quoted in the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, June ’96
“Even though it is quite true that any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for UNESCO to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that now is unthinkable may at least become thinkable.” – Sir Julian Huxley, first director general of UNESCO (1946-1948)
Photo: David Rockefeller with Ted Turner
News articles regarding sterilization:
UNICEF Nigerian Polio Vaccine Contaminated with Sterilizing Agents Scientist Finds
KADUNA, Nigeria, March 11, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A UNICEF campaign to vaccinate Nigeria’s youth against polio may have been a front for sterilizing the nation.
U.N. Complicit in Forced Sterilizations
There is compelling evidence that the United Nations collaborated in the forced sterilization of poor, rural women in Peru from 1995 to 1997.
Video presentation by David Ayoub, M.D.: Mercury, Autism and the Global Vaccine Agenda
In 2004 the publication World Watch published an article titled, “Global Population Reduction: Confronting the Inevitable,” by Ken Smail, a professor in the Anthropology department of Kenyon College in Ohio. In this article, Smail proposes that the earth’s carrying capacity will reach, or has reached already, its limit. In what Smail calls a modern day “Malthusian dilemma”, he cites measures to merely slow population growth as being inefficient, stating that,
“Looking past the near-term concerns that have plagued population policy at the political level, it is increasingly apparent that the long-term sustainability of civilization will require not just a leveling-off of human numbers as projected over the coming half-century, but a colossal reduction in both population and consumption.” [emphasis added]
Smail says that a large scale global population reduction is inevitable, but that there are two possible ways for this to happen,
“That there will be a large-scale reduction in global human numbers over the next two or three centuries
appears to be inevitable. The primary issue seems to be whether this process will be under conscious human control and (hopefully) relatively benign, or whether it will turn out to be unpredictably chaotic and (perhaps) catastrophic.”
The new eugenics
“Eugenic goals are most likely to be attained under another name than eugenics.” - Frederick Osborn
Since the founding of eugenics, the movement has changed, but it has retained its core goals over the years. Thomas H. Campbell of the University of California believes that the eugenics model of Galton is outdated and impractical, as do many other scientists. Instead of relying on breeding “better humans,” without the intervention of technology, many scientists believe that technological means should be employed to further our “evolution.” With the rise of advanced scientific technologies, the ability to alter the genetic code of living organisms, and the augmentation of human bodies has become a reality. Some individuals who are involved with the modern eugenics movement see the rise of these capabilities as an opportunity to create or alter human beings to acquire the most “desirable traits” and rid humanity of traits deemed “undesirable”.
Is there a link between eugenics and the Human Genome Project? If so, what does this mean for future generations?
During the 34 years (1910-1944) the Eugenics Records Office was active, it collected information on specific human traits in what was called The Trait Book. Also collected was information on “Pedigree” families and their specific traits. Today, the Human Genome project is in effect carrying on what the Eugenics Records Office could only dream of.
James Watson, who began the initial research for the Human Genome Project, directed the operation from 1988-1992. Watson then served as director at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and would eventually become president of the Laboratory in 1994. Watson’s beliefs about the betterment of mankind mirror those of past eugenics leaders.
Watson is quoted as saying at a 1998 UCLA conference that,
“I mean, sure, we have great respect for the human species …. But evolution can be just damn cruel, and to say that we’ve got a perfect genome and there’s some sanctity to it, I’d just like to know where that idea comes from. It’s utter silliness. And the other thing, because no one really has the guts to say it, I mean, if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we do it?”
Celera Genomics
Craig Venter caused many to question his ethics when he moved to found Celera Genomics in 1998, carrying the study of the human genome into the private sector, using the “shotgun strategy” to sequence the human genome at a faster clip than the public project.
In a press release dated March 1, 2001, Celera Genomics announced that it signed a “multi-year agreement” with AMDeC LLC to “allow member institutions to access Celera’s database information [Human Genome data] through its Celera Discovery System.” Some of those member institutions included Rockefeller University, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Interestingly, Rockefeller University was founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1901 with a dedication to biomedical research. Today, David Rockefeller, grandson to John D. Rockefeller Jr., is the Chairman of the Rockefeller University Council.
Venter further maddened fellow scientists when he moved to patent human genes. Serious ethical discussions took place after the first attempts to patent human genes, but ultimately the decision stood to allow patenting. The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued guidelines on patenting. The American Medical Association describes the guidelines,
“The rules are intended to help end a bitter debate on gene patenting. These regulations have put to rest any question about whether genes can be patented at all — making it clear that companies may indeed patent both whole genes as well as pieces of genes…”
The guidelines allow patenting when the those applying for a patent on a gene show a “utility” for the gene. The AMA goes on to state that arguments were heard opposing the decision based on the fact that these genes were not created by anyone, and thus could not be patented. The AMA describes how the Patent office rejected these ideas,
“The PTO firmly rejected this notion based upon the fact that a gene may be removed from a person, then a clone of that gene may be made in a machine, which is then not a part of nature, but a product of the lab.”
A search in the online patent database for “human genes” yields an astonishing 159021 results as of August 2007.
Designer babies
The apex of a futuristic eugenics program comes with the advent of designer babies, embryos that are genetically enhanced through various methods. The knowledge gathered through the study of the human genome will, according to some, lead to the ability to create such designer babies.
In 2000, the BBC aired a documentary called “Who’s Afraid of Designer Babies?” Featured in this clip is Lee M. Silver, professor at Princeton University and former investigator for Cold Spring Harbor (1980-1984).

The future is now: Genetically altered babies already born

There is still doubt among scholars and scientists that the Human Genome Project will lead to a new eugenics program, such as designer babies. They cite limitations on current technology and the need for further research as reasons for this position. However, unknown to many, genetically altered babies have already been born. The implications of this development are immense, but it has received little attention. Because these babies were “created” in the private sector and the lab did not receive government funding, there were no governmental restrictions on what could be done. As Wired magazine reported in 2001,
“Researchers have genetically-altered humans for the first time, but experts question the moral implications of tinkering with the unborn.
The scientists weren’t looking to create genetically-enhanced Michael Jordans or Anna Kournikovas. Rather, they repaired the defective eggs of prospective mothers by injecting them with DNA from the eggs of healthy donors.
But regardless of the scientists’ intentions, they’ve created the first human offspring with changes to their “germline,” or the genes they’ll pass on to future generations. In this case, the babies’ genes contain DNA from two women instead of just one.
Researchers at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of Saint Barnabas in West Orange, New Jersey, have achieved 15 births using the technique. In their paper, published in the March 2001 issue of the Human Reproduction journal, they say at least 15 additional healthy babies have been born as a result of this technique in other labs.
The researchers performed the fertilizations in 1997 and 1998. In March, they published data on the results of DNA fingerprint tests on two of the children, each one year old, confirming that they contain a small quantity of additional genes not inherited from either parent.
Most scientists consider altering the germline unethical, since no one knows what the long-term effects might be. The researchers, however, are confident the technique is safe.”
What will the future look like?
What will the future hold in a world in which eugenics, utilizing advanced technology, has become a reality?
Lee Silver describes in his book “Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World”, a future scenario in which humanity splits into two distinct classes, the “GenRich” and the “GenPoor.”
“The GenRich–who account for 10 percent of the American population–all carry synthetic genes. Genes that were created in the laboratory….The GenRich are a modern-day hereditary class of genetic aristocrats….All aspects of the economy, the media, the entertainment industry, and the knowledge industry are controlled by members of the GenRich class.”
Those who are not as fortunate to have access to genetic modification, called “Naturals” by Silver, will “…work as low-paid service providers or as laborers.”
Bertrand Russel says in “The Impact of Science on Society” (1953) on pages 49-50 that,
“Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species. A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton.”
Hollywood has apparently been keeping up to date on genetic technologies, adding their own theatrical twist. The movie “Gattaca”, released in 1997, portrays a despotic future world in which designer babies are born every day, and the perfection of genes has become the center of society.


Thomas H. Campbell of the University of California believes that humanity is destined to gain access to methods of “autoevolution.” Writing in his paper, “The Moral Imperative of Our Future Evolution“, Campbell describes future technologies and their eugenic implications. Campbell praises eugenics policies, and cites the Human Genome Project as a positive development in the identification of “defective” genes.
“We have catalogued defective genes behind a variety of dreadful neurological and metabolic disorders as parts of programs to eliminate them eugenically. Our systematic mapping of the human genome will identify many others. Everyone applauds the goal of purging these defects in our heredity – notwithstanding quibbles over the ethics of the techniques of amniocentesis, abortion and even contraception. I emphatically embrace this eugenic program even though its evolutionary impact is insignificant. Most defective genes are rare, and their total elimination does little for evolution except squeeze the range of variation of humans.”
“We probably will begin our interventions into brain and embryonic development with drugs and hormones and subsequently engineer the desirable intrusions into the genome. Then, after a further generation of accumulating biological information about individual gene function, developmental pathways, and the neural substrate of brain function, evolutionists probably will write novel genes for these traits from scratch using a DNA synthesizer.”
“Of course, the methods for evolving our genetics extend beyond biotechnology. Ultra-sophisticated parallel processing computers and software programs will predictively model how particular gene configurations translate into phenotype, and how particular phenotypic traits can be engineered into developmental pathways. As a start, new computer technology is being developed today as an integral part of the human genome project.”
Campbell, like others, says that future genetic technologies will be extremely expensive, leaving the average person out of the loop. Campbell expresses his approval of this expense due to the fact that only the “most successful generative lines” will have access to these technologies.
“The costs will be enormous, far beyond what most people could afford. This has kept our democratic society from appreciating that these possibilities will be used and will be important. However, their feasibility cannot be judged from what the average person will be willing to pay to procreate. What matters are the resources that the most successful generative lines will be able to apply to their goals. A million dollars per conception seems a great underestimate to me for the beings who hold evolution’s frontier.”
The legacy of Galton, John D., and Carnegie lives on. Though terms have changed, the names of organizations altered, the methods of propagandizing the public reformed; the ideology behind eugenics is being carried into the twenty-first century, and a new eugenics is creeping into our society. Will humanity as we know it today become a fossil as some have proposed? Public awareness is the key. The information contained in this report needs to be spread far and wide, for the future of humanity as we know it depends on it.

The Charter of the Forest

The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them. ? Robert Frost And that is the very problem with socialism. The same can be said with property of capitalism. One should not … Continue reading

The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.
? Robert Frost

And that is the very problem with socialism. The same can be said with property of capitalism. One should not get hanged on labels.

Once the rules are set, human beings will be able to follow the letter while circumventing their spirit in search of personal gain.

Independently of government ideology there are always three classes in society: upper, middle, and lower. And the real purpose of government is to protect the prerogatives of the upper class. Change always comes from the middle class trying to take over the upper class and the lower class is cannon fodder for both.

Labels are a tool used to herd people. The essential thing for democracy and freedom is not the ideology, but the existence of check and balances to limit the power of the government. There are socialist democracies and autocratic capitalist regimes. A country like Canada, for example, with a more socialist government than the States, has a gentler society than the US.

Freedom and democracy peaked in the US in the late 1930s and are nowadays in decline.

The dichotomy Capitalism/Socialism is actually dated. In the USA the term socialism, let alone communism, is used solely as a pejorative term to discredit individuals and ideas, often arbitrarily. If one understands socialism as government control of the economy, all, 100%, of the world’s governments, even Republican’s are socialist to some degree.

There is a confusion of capitalism with the American worship of the individual and the nuclear family. It might be argued that these ideas are related but they are different and independent. According to the American work ethic you only get what you work for, and those who are willing to work will succeed and those who are willing to let them will not; but this is not what Capitalism is. For example, the German government of World War II was a rabid anticommunist capitalist regime that despised the individual.

Capitalism is the idea that market forces, carried out by intelligent agents looking for profit (self interest), let by themselves will generate wealth and prosperity for society as a whole. From this perspective the ideal government is indeed one with zero regulations and that concentrates in providing security and guaranteeing social order, without levying taxes.

Down the road only a few generations, the millennium of Magna Carta, one of the great events in the establishment of civil and human rights, will arrive. What we do right now, or fail to do, will determine what kind of world will greet that event. It is not an attractive prospect if present tendencies persist — not least, because the Great Charter is being shredded before our eyes.

The first scholarly edition of Magna Carta was published by the eminent jurist William Blackstone. It was not an easy task. There was no good text available. As he wrote, “the body of the charter has been unfortunately gnawn by rats” — a comment that carries grim symbolism today, as we take up the task the rats left unfinished.

Blackstone’s edition actually includes two charters. It was entitled The Great Charter and the Charter of the Forest. The first, the Charter of Liberties, is widely recognized to be the foundation of the fundamental rights of the English-speaking peoples.

The significance of the companion charter, the Charter of the Forest, is no less profound and perhaps even more pertinent. The Charter of the Forest demanded protection of the commons from external power. The commons were the source of sustenance for the general population: their fuel, their food, their construction materials, whatever was essential for life. The forest was no primitive wilderness. It had been carefully developed over generations, maintained in common, its riches available to all, and preserved for future generations — practices found today primarily in traditional societies that are under threat throughout the world.

The Charter of the Forest imposed limits to privatization. The Robin Hood myths capture the essence of its concerns (and it is not too surprising that the popular TV series of the 1950s, “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” was written anonymously by Hollywood screenwriters blacklisted for leftist convictions). By the seventeenth century, however, this Charter had fallen victim to the rise of the commodity economy and capitalist practice and morality.

The rise of capitalist practice and morality brought with it a radical revision of how the commons are treated, and also of how they are conceived. The prevailing view today is captured by Garrett Hardin’s influential argument that “freedom in a commons brings ruin to us all,” the famous “tragedy of the commons”: what is not owned will be destroyed by individual avarice.

An international counterpart was the concept of terra nullius, employed to justify the expulsion of indigenous populations in the settler-colonial societies of the Anglosphere, or their “extermination,” as the founding fathers of the American Republic described what they were doing, sometimes with remorse, after the fact. According to this useful doctrine, the Indians had no property rights since they were just wanderers in an untamed wilderness. And the hard-working colonists could create value where there was none by turning that same wilderness to commercial use.

In reality, the colonists knew better and there were elaborate procedures of purchase and ratification by crown and parliament, later annulled by force when the evil creatures resisted extermination.

The grim forecasts of the tragedy of the commons are not without challenge. The late Elinor Olstrom won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2009 for her work showing the superiority of user-managed fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes, and groundwater basins. But the conventional doctrine has force if we accept its unstated premise: that humans are blindly driven by what American workers, at the dawn of the industrial revolution, bitterly called “the New Spirit of the Age, Gain Wealth forgetting all but Self.”

Popular struggles to bring about a freer and more just society have been resisted by violence and repression, and massive efforts to control opinion and attitudes. Over time, however, they have met with considerable success, even though there is a long way to go and there is often regression. Right now, in fact.

The most famous part of the Charter of Liberties is Article 39, which declares that “no free man” shall be punished in any way, “nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land.”

The capitalist model has exhausted its usefulness because in its implementation requires a consumption society with infinite resources and relentless growth. I recommend to check the site Do the Math by a UCSD Physics professor and start with the article about the irrationality of this way of thinking (http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/04/economist-meets-physicist/).


the WikiLeaks threat

ReutersBy Mohammed Abbas and Alessandra Prentice | Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Thursday that any decision by Ecuador to give Julian Assange political asylum wouldn’t change a thing and that it might still revoke the diplomatic status of Quito’s embassy in London to allow the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder.

The high-profile Australian former hacker has been holed up inside the red-brick embassy in central London for eight weeks since he lost a legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over rape allegations.
Britain’s tough talk on the issue takes what has become an international soap opera to new heights since Assange angered the United States by publishing secret U.S. diplomatic cables on his WikiLeaks website. It may also raise difficult questions for London about the sanctity of embassies’ diplomatic status.

The Ecuadorean government, which said it would announce whether it had granted Assange’s asylum request on Thursday at 7 a.m. (1200 GMT), has said any attempt by Britain to remove the diplomatic status of its embassy would be a «hostile and intolerable act».

«It is too early to say when or if Britain will revoke the Ecuadorean embassy’s diplomatic status,» a Foreign Office spokesman said. «Giving asylum doesn’t fundamentally change anything.»
«We have a legal duty to extradite Mr Assange. There is a law that says we have to extradite him to Sweden. We are going to have to fulfill that law.»
Outside the embassy, British police tussled with protesters chanting slogans in support of Assange and at least three supporters were detained.
Quito bristled at Britain’s warning.

«We want to be very clear, we’re not a British colony. The colonial times are over,» Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said in an angry statement after a meeting with President Rafael Correa.
Britain’s threat to withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorean embassy drew criticism from some former diplomats who said it could lead to similar moves against British embassies.

«I think the Foreign Office have slightly overreached themselves here,» Britain’s former ambassador to Moscow, Tony Brenton, told the BBC.
«If we live in a world where governments can arbitrarily revoke immunity and go into embassies then the life of our diplomats and their ability to conduct normal business in places like Moscow where I was and North Korea becomes close to impossible.»

LONDON EMBASSY

Ecuador’s embassy, near London’s famed Harrods department store, has been under tight surveillance, with police officers manning the entrance and patrolling its perimeter.

A group of pro-Assange protesters gathered outside the building overnight in response to a rallying call by his supporters on social media websites.
Wearing trademark Guy Fawkes masks – to evoke the spirit of the 17th century English plotter – they held banners and blasted out songs by punk group The Jam from a portable speaker.

A Reuters reporter saw at least three protesters being dragged away by police. About 20 officers were outside the embassy trying to push away the crowd of about 15 supporters.

«I am upset that the British government is willing to go in there and take him by force,» said Liliana Calle, 24, an Ecuadorean student waving her country’s flag outside the embassy. «It makes me think they don’t believe in human rights.»
In what appeared to be prank, taxis lined up outside the embassy asking for Julian Assange.

«I’ve lived, worked and traveled in places with proper dictatorships and nowhere have I seen violations of the Vienna convention to this extent,» said Farhan Rasheed, 42, a historian wearing an «I love Occupy» badge, outside the embassy.
«Here we have a government which claims to be a government of law and justice, stretching and possibly about to break a serious binding international agreement.»
Swedish prosecutors have not yet charged Assange, but they believe they have a case to take to trial.

Assange fears Sweden could send him on to the United States, where he believes authorities want to punish him for publishing thousands of diplomatic cables in a major embarrassment for Washington.

Even if he were granted asylum, Assange has little chance of leaving the Ecuadorean embassy in London without being arrested.

There has been speculation he could travel to an airport in a diplomatic car, be smuggled out in a diplomatic bag, or even be appointed an Ecuadorean diplomat to give him immunity.

But lawyers and diplomats see those scenarios as practically unworkable.
Ecuador’s leader Correa is a self-declared enemy of «corrupt» media and U.S. «imperialism», and apparently hit it off with Assange during a TV interview the Australian did with him in May. Correa joked then with Assange that he had joined «the club of the persecuted».

The Ecuadorean government has said it wants to avoid Assange’s extradition to Sweden, but if it did decide to grant him asylum it would offer no legal protection in Britain where police will arrest him as soon as they get a chance.
(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas and Alessandra Prentice; Writing by Maria Golovnina and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Andrew Osborn)


Wikileaks a threat to our soldiers

Published September 8, 2010 

DEBATE. John Daniels, head of the military intelligence Must, warn of attacks by the Taliban and criminals after Wikileaks publishing secret documents. He calls for a «dual» to secure the military’s IT systems with large amounts of secret material.

When Wikileaks publishes secret documents from Afghanistan revealed not only that there are shortcomings in the protection around the secret data, the publication can also create an immediate danger to life of individuals.

Information relating to the Armed Forces’ operations give an opponent a basis for adapting tactics and countermeasures. For protection of personnel to operate and be effective in many cases remain confidential. Divulged our protection and our plans, we become vulnerable to attacks from the Taliban and criminals, who have a different agenda for Afghanistan over the international community.

Especially serious and devastating to the mission in Afghanistan is about secret personal data of persons who are reporting to and cooperating with the international force is running out. In the event that these people’s identities from being disclosed is an obvious risk of deadly reprisals.

If the claim is true that Wikileaks informant is a single person, the men think. Military IT systems that contain large amounts of information requires a special security protection. These systems should be designed so that an individual not on your own can collect large amounts of information. By creating a system of «dual control» prevented this and the risk of large information leakage. A sloppy comparison would be the principle to fire nuclear weapons, which requires two independent persons keys to perform a firing.

In order to obtain the documents that have so far been published on Wikileaks had, before the modern information technology, demanded that a wide range of safes broken open. I? Days is enough to hack an IT system or as an authorized user fill out the entire database.

It previously came across classified documents and wanted to publish them, were first forced to find an interested journalist and then a chief who was willing to take the risk of revealing secret information. With the Internet, the individual has become his own editor with the ability to publish in real time.

Wikileaks disclosure also shows the need for thorough background checks of personnel handling classified information. This would hopefully reveal a disgruntled employee and the leak could have been avoided.

The military intelligence is constantly working to develop methods and mechanisms for the protection of the Armed Forces information and personnel. Security threats are very much alive, especially in operational areas such as Afghanistan. In recent years we have found that social media is used for intelligence gathering and targeting of staff. In 2009, there are also a number of cases in which soldiers in Afghanistan, or closely associated with them, have been subjected to threats, which have been found to be linked to the Swedish troop contribution to Afghanistan.

The incidents have mainly been linked to the employee’s erroneous use of mobile phones and social media. These incidents have in some cases affected the personal safety and in other cases, led to loss of information.

No matter how technically secure IT systems we build, stands or falls on the safety of the individual employee’s safety awareness and behavior. The solution to the problem of leaks can never be reduced to a technical question, but must also be a matter of how well trained our staff are and how we ensure that only persons who are trustworthy and loyal may have access to secret information.

John Daniels

Chief of Military Security


Informal discussions have already taken place between US and Swedish officials over the possibility of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being delivered into American custody, according to diplomatic sources.

Mr Assange is in a British jail awaiting extradition proceedings to Sweden after being refused bail at Westminster Magistrates’ Court despite a number of prominent public figures offering to stand as surety.

His arrest in north London yesterday was described by the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates as “good news”, and may pave the way for extradition to America and a possible lengthy jail sentence.

The US Justice Department is considering charging Mr Assange with espionage offences over his website’s unprecedented release of classified US diplomatic files. Several right-wing American politicians are pressing for his prosecution and even execution, with Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential candidate, saying he should be pursued the same as al-Qa’ida and Taliban leaders.

Mr Assange’s appearance in the London court, the focus of massive international media attention, puts Britain in the centre of the controversy and recrimination over the publishing of thousands of diplomatic cables which have caused acute embarrassment to the administration in Washington. If the man responsible for putting them in the public domain is to be silenced, his supporters say, the process started here.

The Swedish government seeks Mr Assange’s extradition for alleged sexual offences against two women.

Sources stressed that no extradition request would be submitted until and unless the US government laid charges against Mr Assange, and that attempts to take him to America would only take place after legal proceedings are concluded in Sweden.

Mr Assange, 39, had voluntarily gone to a police station accompanied by solicitors after the issuing of an international warrant.

The court heard that Jemima Khan, the sister of the Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, the film director Ken Loach and journalist John Pilger were among those who had offered to stand bail to the sum of £180,000. But District Judge Howard Rule remanded him in custody on the grounds that there was a risk the WikiLeaks founder would fail to surrender.

Mr Loach, who offered £20,000, explained that he did not know Mr Assange other than by reputation, but he said: «I think the work he has done has been a public service. I think we are entitled to know the dealings of those that govern us.» Mr Pilger, who also offered £20,000, said he knew Mr Assange as a journalist and personal friend and had a «very high regard for him».

«I am aware of the offences and I am also aware of quite a lot of the detail around the offences,” said Mr Pilger. “I am here today because the charges against him in Sweden are absurd and were judged as absurd by the chief prosecutor there when she threw the whole thing out until a senior political figure intervened.» Ms Khan offered a further £20,000 «or more if need be», although she said she did not know Assange.

Gemma Lindfield, appearing for the Swedish authorities, successfully opposed bail being granted because there was a risk he would fail to surrender – and also for his own protection, she said. She outlined five reasons why there was a risk: his «nomadic» lifestyle, reports that he intended to seek asylum in Switzerland, access to money from donors, his network of international contacts and his Australian nationality.

Mrs Lindfield added: «Any number of people could take it upon themselves to cause him harm. This is someone for whom, simply put, there is no condition, even the most stringent, that would ensure he would surrender to the jurisdiction of this court.»

Ms Lindfield told the court that Mr Assange was wanted in connection with four allegations of sexual offences.She said the first complainant, Miss A, said she was victim of «unlawful coercion» on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Mr Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.

The second charge alleged Mr Assange «sexually molested» Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her «express wish» one should be used. The third charge claimed Mr Assange «deliberately molested» Miss A on August 18 «in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity».

The fourth charge accused Mr Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on 17 August without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.

District Judge Riddle said: «This case is not, on the face of it, about WikiLeaks. It is an allegation in another European country of serious sexual offences alleged to have occurred on three separate occasions and involving two separate victims. These are extremely serious allegations. From that, it seems to me that if these allegations are true, then no one could argue the defendant should be granted bail.”

However he added: «If they are false, he suffers a great injustice if he is remanded in custody. At this stage in these proceedings, the nature and strength of the allegations is not known.»

Mr Assange’s solicitor, John Jones, said he agreed the case was not about WikiLeaks but was a «simple accusation» case with the right to bail.

He said: «In relation to the state of play in Sweden, it is important for the court to be aware of the background to this. Mr Assange has made repeated requests that the allegations against him be communicated to him in a language he understands. That has been ignored by the Swedish prosecutor. Another Swedish prosecutor dropped this case early on for lack of evidence and it was resurrected in Gothenburg rather than Stockholm.»

Another of Mr Assange’s lawyers, Mark Stephens, said he believed British authorities would go to extreme lengths to ensure his client was «perfectly comfortable» during his time in jail. While he is confident Mr Assange’s time behind bars will be brief, he said he did not want to appear to be «too cocky».

«I think a lot of people, including the police, thought that he would get bail today. They were very surprised he didn’t,» he said.

Praising District Judge Howard Riddle’s assessment of the case, Mr Stephens said: «We are incredibly grateful to the judge for making it clear to the prosecutor that he thinks he wants to have a look at the evidence, to make assessments as to whether there is a real risk of conviction or not, because that will make a difference as to whether or not he wants to put him out on bail, or not, on the next occasion.»

Criticising Swedish authorities involved with the case, Mr Stephens said: «It’s a persecution, not a prosecution.».

He maintained that while Mr Assange was not prepared to go to Sweden to face alleged sexual assault claims, his client was prepared to meet the Swedish prosecutor in England.

«That, I think, is a reasonable approach,» he said.

The pressure on WikiLeaks, which relies on online donations from a worldwide network of supporters to fund its work, continued after Visa and Mastercard suspended all payments to the website.

A spokesman for Visa E said: «Visa Europe has taken action to suspend Visa payment acceptance on WikiLeaks’ website pending further investigation into the nature of its business and whether it contravenes Visa operating rules.» A MasterCard spokesman said: «MasterCard is currently in the process of working to suspend the acceptance of MasterCard cards on WikiLeaks until the situation is resolved.”

Kristinn Hrafnsson, a WikiLeaks spokesperson, said: «WikiLeaks is operational. We are continuing on the same track as laid out before. Any development with regards to Julian Assange will not change the plans we have with regards to the releases today and in the coming days.»

The legal proceedings

Q Why is Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, facing legal proceedings in the UK when the allegations against him relate to events in Sweden?

A Under the European arrest warrant procedure any EU state can request the legal assistance of another EU country in the detention of a suspect wanted for an offence committed abroad.

Q Mr Assange’s lawyers say he is not on the run and has voluntarily surrendered to police. So why is he being held in prison?

A District Judge Howard Riddle, sitting at the City of Westminster magistrates’ court, refused Mr Assange’s application for bail because he decided there was a danger he might abscond.

Q What happens next?

A First his lawyers will return to court next week to try to secure his release on conditional bail. Eventually there will be an extradition hearing at which the Swedish prosecution authorities will present prima facie evidence to show there is case for Mr Assange to answer.

Q How long will the proceedings last?

A Mr Assange’s legal team are already preparing to challenge the extradition in the High Court in London. If they lose the case there, they can take it all the way to the Supreme Court, a process which could last many months.

Conservative propaganda machine calls for the assassination of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

Companies such as PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and Western Union have not let their customers use their services to donate money to the Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur discuss on The Young Turks. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/world/europe/blocks-on-wikileaks-donations-… Cenk’s interview with Julian Assange: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL8g3vye4xo



LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Thursday that any decision by Ecuador to give Julian Assange political asylum wouldn't change a thing and that it might still revoke the diplomatic status of Quito's embassy in London to allow the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder.



The high-profile Australian former hacker has been holed up inside the red-brick embassy in central London for eight weeks since he lost a legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over rape allegations.
Britain's tough talk on the issue takes what has become an international soap opera to new heights since Assange angered the United States by publishing secret U.S. diplomatic cables on his WikiLeaks website. It may also raise difficult questions for London about the sanctity of embassies' diplomatic status.

The Ecuadorean government, which said it would announce whether it had granted Assange's asylum request on Thursday at 7 a.m. (1200 GMT), has said any attempt by Britain to remove the diplomatic status of its embassy would be a "hostile and intolerable act".

"It is too early to say when or if Britain will revoke the Ecuadorean embassy's diplomatic status," a Foreign Office spokesman said. "Giving asylum doesn't fundamentally change anything."
"We have a legal duty to extradite Mr Assange. There is a law that says we have to extradite him to Sweden. We are going to have to fulfill that law."
Outside the embassy, British police tussled with protesters chanting slogans in support of Assange and at least three supporters were detained.
Quito bristled at Britain's warning.

"We want to be very clear, we're not a British colony. The colonial times are over," Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said in an angry statement after a meeting with President Rafael Correa.
Britain's threat to withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorean embassy drew criticism from some former diplomats who said it could lead to similar moves against British embassies.

"I think the Foreign Office have slightly overreached themselves here," Britain's former ambassador to Moscow, Tony Brenton, told the BBC.
"If we live in a world where governments can arbitrarily revoke immunity and go into embassies then the life of our diplomats and their ability to conduct normal business in places like Moscow where I was and North Korea becomes close to impossible."

LONDON EMBASSY


Ecuador's embassy, near London's famed Harrods department store, has been under tight surveillance, with police officers manning the entrance and patrolling its perimeter.

A group of pro-Assange protesters gathered outside the building overnight in response to a rallying call by his supporters on social media websites.
Wearing trademark Guy Fawkes masks - to evoke the spirit of the 17th century English plotter - they held banners and blasted out songs by punk group The Jam from a portable speaker.

A Reuters reporter saw at least three protesters being dragged away by police. About 20 officers were outside the embassy trying to push away the crowd of about 15 supporters.

"I am upset that the British government is willing to go in there and take him by force," said Liliana Calle, 24, an Ecuadorean student waving her country's flag outside the embassy. "It makes me think they don't believe in human rights."
In what appeared to be prank, taxis lined up outside the embassy asking for Julian Assange.

"I've lived, worked and traveled in places with proper dictatorships and nowhere have I seen violations of the Vienna convention to this extent," said Farhan Rasheed, 42, a historian wearing an "I love Occupy" badge, outside the embassy.
"Here we have a government which claims to be a government of law and justice, stretching and possibly about to break a serious binding international agreement."
Swedish prosecutors have not yet charged Assange, but they believe they have a case to take to trial.

Assange fears Sweden could send him on to the United States, where he believes authorities want to punish him for publishing thousands of diplomatic cables in a major embarrassment for Washington.

Even if he were granted asylum, Assange has little chance of leaving the Ecuadorean embassy in London without being arrested.

There has been speculation he could travel to an airport in a diplomatic car, be smuggled out in a diplomatic bag, or even be appointed an Ecuadorean diplomat to give him immunity.

But lawyers and diplomats see those scenarios as practically unworkable.
Ecuador's leader Correa is a self-declared enemy of "corrupt" media and U.S. "imperialism", and apparently hit it off with Assange during a TV interview the Australian did with him in May. Correa joked then with Assange that he had joined "the club of the persecuted".

The Ecuadorean government has said it wants to avoid Assange's extradition to Sweden, but if it did decide to grant him asylum it would offer no legal protection in Britain where police will arrest him as soon as they get a chance.
(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas and Alessandra Prentice; Writing by Maria Golovnina and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Andrew Osborn)




Wikileaks a threat to our soldiers


Published September 8, 2010 

DEBATE. John Daniels, head of the military intelligence Must, warn of attacks by the Taliban and criminals after Wikileaks publishing secret documents. He calls for a "dual" to secure the military's IT systems with large amounts of secret material.






When Wikileaks publishes secret documents from Afghanistan revealed not only that there are shortcomings in the protection around the secret data, the publication can also create an immediate danger to life of individuals.

Information relating to the Armed Forces' operations give an opponent a basis for adapting tactics and countermeasures. For protection of personnel to operate and be effective in many cases remain confidential. Divulged our protection and our plans, we become vulnerable to attacks from the Taliban and criminals, who have a different agenda for Afghanistan over the international community.

Especially serious and devastating to the mission in Afghanistan is about secret personal data of persons who are reporting to and cooperating with the international force is running out. In the event that these people's identities from being disclosed is an obvious risk of deadly reprisals.

If the claim is true that Wikileaks informant is a single person, the men think. Military IT systems that contain large amounts of information requires a special security protection. These systems should be designed so that an individual not on your own can collect large amounts of information. By creating a system of "dual control" prevented this and the risk of large information leakage. A sloppy comparison would be the principle to fire nuclear weapons, which requires two independent persons keys to perform a firing.

In order to obtain the documents that have so far been published on Wikileaks had, before the modern information technology, demanded that a wide range of safes broken open. I? Days is enough to hack an IT system or as an authorized user fill out the entire database.

It previously came across classified documents and wanted to publish them, were first forced to find an interested journalist and then a chief who was willing to take the risk of revealing secret information. With the Internet, the individual has become his own editor with the ability to publish in real time.

Wikileaks disclosure also shows the need for thorough background checks of personnel handling classified information. This would hopefully reveal a disgruntled employee and the leak could have been avoided.

The military intelligence is constantly working to develop methods and mechanisms for the protection of the Armed Forces information and personnel. Security threats are very much alive, especially in operational areas such as Afghanistan. In recent years we have found that social media is used for intelligence gathering and targeting of staff. In 2009, there are also a number of cases in which soldiers in Afghanistan, or closely associated with them, have been subjected to threats, which have been found to be linked to the Swedish troop contribution to Afghanistan.

The incidents have mainly been linked to the employee's erroneous use of mobile phones and social media. These incidents have in some cases affected the personal safety and in other cases, led to loss of information.

No matter how technically secure IT systems we build, stands or falls on the safety of the individual employee's safety awareness and behavior. The solution to the problem of leaks can never be reduced to a technical question, but must also be a matter of how well trained our staff are and how we ensure that only persons who are trustworthy and loyal may have access to secret information.

John Daniels

Chief of Military Security






Informal discussions have already taken place between US and Swedish officials over the possibility of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being delivered into American custody, according to diplomatic sources.

Mr Assange is in a British jail awaiting extradition proceedings to Sweden after being refused bail at Westminster Magistrates’ Court despite a number of prominent public figures offering to stand as surety.

His arrest in north London yesterday was described by the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates as “good news”, and may pave the way for extradition to America and a possible lengthy jail sentence.

The US Justice Department is considering charging Mr Assange with espionage offences over his website’s unprecedented release of classified US diplomatic files. Several right-wing American politicians are pressing for his prosecution and even execution, with Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential candidate, saying he should be pursued the same as al-Qa’ida and Taliban leaders.

Mr Assange’s appearance in the London court, the focus of massive international media attention, puts Britain in the centre of the controversy and recrimination over the publishing of thousands of diplomatic cables which have caused acute embarrassment to the administration in Washington. If the man responsible for putting them in the public domain is to be silenced, his supporters say, the process started here.

The Swedish government seeks Mr Assange’s extradition for alleged sexual offences against two women.

Sources stressed that no extradition request would be submitted until and unless the US government laid charges against Mr Assange, and that attempts to take him to America would only take place after legal proceedings are concluded in Sweden.

Mr Assange, 39, had voluntarily gone to a police station accompanied by solicitors after the issuing of an international warrant.


The court heard that Jemima Khan, the sister of the Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, the film director Ken Loach and journalist John Pilger were among those who had offered to stand bail to the sum of £180,000. But District Judge Howard Rule remanded him in custody on the grounds that there was a risk the WikiLeaks founder would fail to surrender.

Mr Loach, who offered £20,000, explained that he did not know Mr Assange other than by reputation, but he said: "I think the work he has done has been a public service. I think we are entitled to know the dealings of those that govern us." Mr Pilger, who also offered £20,000, said he knew Mr Assange as a journalist and personal friend and had a "very high regard for him".

"I am aware of the offences and I am also aware of quite a lot of the detail around the offences,” said Mr Pilger. “I am here today because the charges against him in Sweden are absurd and were judged as absurd by the chief prosecutor there when she threw the whole thing out until a senior political figure intervened." Ms Khan offered a further £20,000 "or more if need be", although she said she did not know Assange.

Gemma Lindfield, appearing for the Swedish authorities, successfully opposed bail being granted because there was a risk he would fail to surrender – and also for his own protection, she said. She outlined five reasons why there was a risk: his "nomadic" lifestyle, reports that he intended to seek asylum in Switzerland, access to money from donors, his network of international contacts and his Australian nationality.

Mrs Lindfield added: "Any number of people could take it upon themselves to cause him harm. This is someone for whom, simply put, there is no condition, even the most stringent, that would ensure he would surrender to the jurisdiction of this court."

Ms Lindfield told the court that Mr Assange was wanted in connection with four allegations of sexual offences.She said the first complainant, Miss A, said she was victim of "unlawful coercion" on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Mr Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.

The second charge alleged Mr Assange "sexually molested" Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her "express wish" one should be used. The third charge claimed Mr Assange "deliberately molested" Miss A on August 18 "in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity".

The fourth charge accused Mr Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on 17 August without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.

District Judge Riddle said: "This case is not, on the face of it, about WikiLeaks. It is an allegation in another European country of serious sexual offences alleged to have occurred on three separate occasions and involving two separate victims. These are extremely serious allegations. From that, it seems to me that if these allegations are true, then no one could argue the defendant should be granted bail.”

However he added: "If they are false, he suffers a great injustice if he is remanded in custody. At this stage in these proceedings, the nature and strength of the allegations is not known."

Mr Assange’s solicitor, John Jones, said he agreed the case was not about WikiLeaks but was a "simple accusation" case with the right to bail.

He said: "In relation to the state of play in Sweden, it is important for the court to be aware of the background to this. Mr Assange has made repeated requests that the allegations against him be communicated to him in a language he understands. That has been ignored by the Swedish prosecutor. Another Swedish prosecutor dropped this case early on for lack of evidence and it was resurrected in Gothenburg rather than Stockholm."

Another of Mr Assange's lawyers, Mark Stephens, said he believed British authorities would go to extreme lengths to ensure his client was "perfectly comfortable" during his time in jail. While he is confident Mr Assange's time behind bars will be brief, he said he did not want to appear to be "too cocky".

"I think a lot of people, including the police, thought that he would get bail today. They were very surprised he didn't," he said.

Praising District Judge Howard Riddle's assessment of the case, Mr Stephens said: "We are incredibly grateful to the judge for making it clear to the prosecutor that he thinks he wants to have a look at the evidence, to make assessments as to whether there is a real risk of conviction or not, because that will make a difference as to whether or not he wants to put him out on bail, or not, on the next occasion."

Criticising Swedish authorities involved with the case, Mr Stephens said: "It's a persecution, not a prosecution.".

He maintained that while Mr Assange was not prepared to go to Sweden to face alleged sexual assault claims, his client was prepared to meet the Swedish prosecutor in England.

"That, I think, is a reasonable approach," he said.

The pressure on WikiLeaks, which relies on online donations from a worldwide network of supporters to fund its work, continued after Visa and Mastercard suspended all payments to the website.

A spokesman for Visa E said: "Visa Europe has taken action to suspend Visa payment acceptance on WikiLeaks’ website pending further investigation into the nature of its business and whether it contravenes Visa operating rules." A MasterCard spokesman said: "MasterCard is currently in the process of working to suspend the acceptance of MasterCard cards on WikiLeaks until the situation is resolved.”

Kristinn Hrafnsson, a WikiLeaks spokesperson, said: "WikiLeaks is operational. We are continuing on the same track as laid out before. Any development with regards to Julian Assange will not change the plans we have with regards to the releases today and in the coming days."

The legal proceedings


Q Why is Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, facing legal proceedings in the UK when the allegations against him relate to events in Sweden?

A Under the European arrest warrant procedure any EU state can request the legal assistance of another EU country in the detention of a suspect wanted for an offence committed abroad.

Q Mr Assange's lawyers say he is not on the run and has voluntarily surrendered to police. So why is he being held in prison?

A District Judge Howard Riddle, sitting at the City of Westminster magistrates' court, refused Mr Assange's application for bail because he decided there was a danger he might abscond.

Q What happens next?

A First his lawyers will return to court next week to try to secure his release on conditional bail. Eventually there will be an extradition hearing at which the Swedish prosecution authorities will present prima facie evidence to show there is case for Mr Assange to answer.

Q How long will the proceedings last?

A Mr Assange's legal team are already preparing to challenge the extradition in the High Court in London. If they lose the case there, they can take it all the way to the Supreme Court, a process which could last many months.





Conservative propaganda machine calls for the assassination of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.




What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.



Companies such as PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and Western Union have not let their customers use their services to donate money to the Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur discuss on The Young Turks. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/world/europe/blocks-on-wikileaks-donations-... Cenk's interview with Julian Assange: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL8g3vye4xo

Mind control

Project MKUltra, or MK-Ultra, was a covert human research program into behavioural modification run by the CIA‘s Office of Scientific Intelligence. The program began in the early 1950s, was officially sanctioned in 1953, was reduced in scope in 1964, further curtailed in 1967 and finally halted in … Continue reading

Project MKUltra, or MK-Ultra, was a covert human research program into behavioural modification run by the CIA‘s Office of Scientific Intelligence. The program began in the early 1950s, was officially sanctioned in 1953, was reduced in scope in 1964, further curtailed in 1967 and finally halted in 1973.[1]It controversially used unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens as its test subjects.[2][3][4][5] MKUltra involved the use of many methodologies to manipulate people’s individual mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals,hypnosis,[6] sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as various forms of torture.
The research was undertaken at 80 institutions, including 44 colleges and universities, as well as hospitals, prisons and pharmaceutical companies.[7]The CIA would operate through these institutions using front organizations, although sometimes top officials at these institutions would be aware of the CIA’s involvement.[8] MKUltra was allocated 6 per cent of total CIA funds.[9]
Project MKUltra was first brought to wide public attention in 1975 by the U.S. Congress, through investigations by the Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller Commission. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKUltra files destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms’ destruction order.[10]
In 1977, a Freedom Of Information Act request uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents[11] relating to project MKUltra, which led to Senate hearings later that same year.[3] In July 2001 most surviving information regarding MKUltra was officially declassified.[

The Stanford prison experiment was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The experiment was conducted at Stanford University from August 14 to August 20 of 1971 by a team of researchers led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo.[1] It was funded by the US Office of Naval Research[2] and was of interest to both the US Navy and Marine Corps as an investigation into the causes of conflict between military guards and prisoners.
Twenty-four male students out of 75 were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. The participants adapted to their roles well beyond Zimbardo’s expectations, as the guards enforced authoritarian measures and ultimately subjected some of the prisoners to psychological torture. Many of the prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse and, at the request of the guards, readily harassed other prisoners who attempted to prevent it. The experiment even affected Zimbardo himself, who, in his role as the superintendent, permitted the abuse to continue. Two of the prisoners quit the experiment early and the entire experiment was abruptly stopped after only six days. Certain portions of the experiment were filmed and excerpts of footage are publicly available.

When the Abu Ghraib military prisoner torture and abuse scandal was publicized in March of 2004, many observers[who?] were immediately struck by its many similarities to the Stanford Prison experiment. Chief among them was Zimbardo himself, who paid close attention to the details of the story. He was dismayed by official military and government representatives’ shifting the blame for the torture and abuses in the Abu Ghraib American military prison on to “a few bad apples” rather than acknowledging it as possibly systemic problems of a formally established military incarceration system.
Eventually, Zimbardo became involved with the defense team of lawyers representing one of the Abu Ghraib prison guards, Staff Sergeant Ivan “Chip” Frederick. He was granted full access to all investigation and background reports, and testified as an expert witness in SSGT Frederick’s court martial, which resulted in an eight-year prison sentence for Frederick in October 2004.
Zimbardo drew from his participation in the Frederick case to write the book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, published by Random House in 2007, which deals with the striking similarities between his own Stanford Prison Experiment and the Abu Ghraib abuses.

Authority (from the Latin auctoritas) is a right conferred by recognized social position. Authority often refers to power vested in an individual or organization by the state. Authority can also refer to recognized expertise in an area of academic knowledge. An Authority (capitalized) refers to a governing body upon which certain authority (with lower case a) is vested; for example, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.


The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of notable social psychology experiments conducted by Yale Universitypsychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience. Milgram first described his research in 1963 in an article published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology,[1] and later discussed his findings in greater depth in his 1974 book, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View.[2]
The experiments began in July 1961, three months after the start of the trial of German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised his psychological study to answer the question: “Was it that Eichmann and his accomplices in the Holocaust had mutual intent, in at least with regard to the goals of the Holocaust?” In other words, “Was there a mutual sense of morality among those involved?” Milgram’s testing suggested that it could have been that the millions of accomplices were merely following orders, despite violating their deepest moral beliefs. The experiments have been repeated many times, with consistent results within societies, but different percentages across the globe.[3] The experiments were also controversial, and considered by some scientists to be unethical, physically or psychologically abusive, motivating more thorough review boards or committee reviews for working with human subjects.

He is best known for his popular book on persuasion and marketingInfluence: The Psychology of PersuasionInfluence has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into twenty-six languages. It has been listed on the New York Times Business Best Seller List. Fortune Magazine lists Influence in their “75 Smartest Business Books.”

6 key principles of persuasion by Robert Cialdini

  • Reciprocity - People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethiopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. The good cop/bad cop strategy is also based on this principle.
  • Commitment and Consistency - If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy. Cialdini notes Chinese brainwashing on American prisoners of war to rewrite their self image and gain automatic unenforced compliance. See cognitive dissonance.
  • Social Proof - People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. See conformity, and the Asch conformity experiments.
  • Authority - People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.
  • Liking - People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed. See physical attractiveness stereotype.
  • Scarcity - Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a “limited time only” encourages sales.

Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms.[1] Norms are implicit rules shared by a group of individuals, that guide their interactions with others and among society or social group. This tendency to conform occurs in small groups and/or society as a whole, and may result from subtle unconscious influences, or direct and overt social pressure. Conformity can occur in the presence of others, or when an individual is alone. For example, people tend to follow social norms when eating or watching television, even when alone.
People often conform from a desire for security within a group—typically a group of a similar age, culture, religion, or educational status. This is often referred to as groupthink: a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics, which ignores realistic appraisal of other courses of action. Unwillingness to conform carries the risk of social rejection. Conformity is often associated with adolescence and youth culture, but strongly affects humans of all ages.[2]
Although peer pressure may manifest negatively, conformity can have good or bad effects depending on the situation. Driving on the correct side of the road could be seen as beneficial conformity.[3] Conformity influences formation and maintenance of social norms, and helps societies function smoothly and predictably via the self-elimination of behaviors seen as contrary to unwritten rules. In this sense it can be perceived as (though not proven to be) a positive force that prevents acts that are perceptually disruptive or dangerous.
As conformity is a group phenomenon, factors such as group size, unanimity, cohesion, status, prior commitment, and public opinion help determine the level of conformity an individual displays.

Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group.
This change is in response to real (involving the physical presence of others) or imagined (involving the pressure of social norms / expectations) group pressure.
Conformity can also be simply defined as “yielding to group pressures” (Crutchfield, 1955). Group pressure may take different forms, for example bullying, persuasion, teasing, criticism etc.  Conformity is also known as majority influence (or group pressure).
The term conformity is often used to indicate an agreement to the majority position, brought about either by a desire to ‘fit in’ or be liked (normative) or because of a desire to be correct (informational), or simply to conform to a social role (identification).
There have been many experiments in psychology investigating conformity and group pressure.
Jenness (1932) was the first psychologist to study conformity. His experiment was an ambiguous situation involving a glass bottle filled with beans.  He asked participants individually to estimate how many beans the bottle contained. Jenness then put the group in a room with the bottle, and asked them to provide a group estimate through discussion.  Participants were then asked to estimate the number on their own again to find whether their initial estimates had altered based on the influence of the majority.  Jenness then interviewed the participants individually again, and asked if they would like to change their original estimates, or stay with the group’s estimate.  Almost all changed their individual guesses to be closer to the group estimate.
However, perhaps the most famous conformity experiment was bySolomon Asch (1951) and his line judgment experiment.

Types of Conformity

Man (1969) states that “the essence of conformity is yielding to group pressure”. He identified three types of conformity: Normative, informational and ingratiational.
Kelman (1958) distinguished between three different types of conformity: Compliance, Internalization and identification.
Normative Conformity Informational Conformity
 

    • Yielding to group pressure because a person wants to fit in with the group. E.g. Asch Line Study.

 

    • Conforming because the person is scared of being rejected by the group.
    • This type of conformity usually involves compliance – where a person publicly accepts the views of a group but privately rejects them.

 

 

 

    • This usually occurs when a person lacks knowledge and looks to the group for guidance.

 

    • Or when a person is in an ambiguous (i.e. unclear) situation and socially compares their behavior with the group. E.g. Sherif Study.
    • This type of conformity usually involves internalization – where a person accepts the views of the groups and adopts them as an individual.

 

Compliance Internalization
 

    • Publicly changing behavior to fit in with the group while privately disagreeing.

 

    • In other words, conforming to the majority (publicly), in spite of not really agreeing with them (privately).
    • This is seen in Asch’s line experiment.

 

 

    • Publicly changing behavior to fit in with the group and also agreeing with them privately.

 

    • This is seen in Sherif’s autokinetic experiment.

 

Ingratiational Conformity Identification
 

    • Where a person conforms to impress or gain favor/acceptance from other people.

 

    • It is similar to normative influence but is motivated by the need for social rewards rather than the threat of rejection, i.e., group pressure does not enter the decision to conform.

 

 

 

    • Conforming to the expectations of a social role.

 

 

Sherif (1935) Autokinetic Effect Experiment

Aim: Sherif (1935) conducted an experiment with the aim of demonstrating that people conform to group norms when they are put in an ambiguous (i.e. unclear) situation.

Method: Sherif used a lab experiment to study conformity.  He used the autokinetic effect – this is where a small spot of light (projected onto a screen) in a dark room will appear to move, even though it is still (i.e. it is a visual illusion).

It was discovered that when participants were individually tested their estimates on how far the light moved varied considerably (e.g. from 20cm to 80cm).  The participants were then tested in groups of three. Sherif manipulated the composition of the group by putting together two people whose estimate of the light movement when alone was very similar, and one person whose estimate was very different. Each person in the group had to say aloud how far they thought the light had moved.
Results Sherif found that over numerous estimates (trials) of the movement of light, the group converged to a common estimate.  As the figure below shows: the person whose estimate of movement was greatly different to the other two in the group conformed to the view of the other two.
Sherif said that this showed that people would always tend to conform.  Rather than make individual judgments they tend to come to a group agreement.
ConclusionThe results show that when in an ambiguous situation (such as the autokinetic effect), a person will look to others (who know more / better) for guidance (i.e. adopt the group norm).  They want to do the right thing but may lack the appropriate information. Observing others can provide this information.  This is known as informational conformity.

Further Information

References

Asch, S.E. (1951). Effects of group pressure upon the modification and distortion of judgments. In H. Guetzkow (Ed.), Groups, leadership and men. Pittsburg, PA: Carnegie Press.
Crutchfield, R. (1955). Conformity and Character. American Psychologist, 10, 191-198.
Jenness, A. (1932). The role of discussion in changing opinion regarding a matter of fact.  The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 27 , 279-296.
Kelman, H. C. (1958). “Compliance, identification, and internalization: three processes of attitude change”. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2, 51–60.
Mann, L (1969). Social Psychology. New York: Wiley.
Sherif, M. (1935). A study of some social factors in perception. Archives of Psychology, 27(187) .

How to cite this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2007). Conformity in Psychology. 
Retrieved from
http://www.simplypsychology.org/conformity.html

The Asch conformity experiments were a series of laboratory studies published in the 1950s that demonstrated a surprising degree ofconformity to a majority opinion. These are also known as the Asch Paradigm.

In a control group, with no pressure to conform to an erroneous view, only one participant out of 35 ever gave an incorrect answer. Solomon Asch hypothesized that the majority of participants would not conform to something obviously wrong; however, when surrounded by individuals all voicing an incorrect answer, participants provided incorrect responses on a high proportion of the questions (32%). Seventy-five percent of the participants gave an incorrect answer to at least one question.
Variations of the basic paradigm tested how many cohorts were necessary to induce conformity, examining the influence of just one cohort and as many as fifteen. Results indicate that one cohort has virtually no influence and two cohorts have only a small influence. When three or more cohorts are present, the tendency to conform increases only modestly. The maximum effect occurs with four cohorts. Adding additional cohorts does not produce a stronger effect.
The unanimity of the confederates has also been varied. When the confederates are not unanimous in their judgment, even if only one confederate voices a different opinion, participants are much more likely to resist the urge to conform (only 5-10% conform) than when the confederates all agree. This finding illuminates the power that even a small dissenting minority can have. Interestingly, this finding holds whether or not the dissenting confederate gives the correct answer. As long as the dissenting confederate gives an answer that is different from the majority, participants are more likely to give the correct answer. Men show around half the effect of women (tested in same-sex groups); and conformity is higher among members of an ingroup..
The Asch conformity experiments are often interpreted as evidence for the power of conformity and normative social influence.[2][3] That is, the willingness to conform publicly in order to attain social reward and avoid social punishment. Others have argued that it is rational to use other people’s judgments as evidence.[4] Along the lines of the latter perspective, the Asch conformity experiments are cited as evidence for the self-categorization theory account of social influence. From that perspective the Asch results are interpreted as an outcome ofdepersonalization processes whereby the participants expect to hold the same opinions as similar others.[

Magna Carta

Magna Carta (Latin for Great Charter),[1] also called Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, is an Angevin charter originally issued in Latin in the year 1215. It was translated into vernacular French as early as 1219,[2] and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions. … Continue reading

Magna Carta (Latin for Great Charter),[1] also called Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, is an Angevin charter originally issued in Latin in the year 1215. It was translated into vernacular French as early as 1219,[2] and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions. The later versions excluded the most direct challenges to the monarch’s authority that had been present in the 1215 charter. The charter first passed into law in 1225; the 1297 version, with the long title (originally in Latin) “The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, and of the Liberties of the Forest,” still remains on the statute books of England and Wales.

The 1215 charter required King John of England to proclaim certain liberties and accept that his will was not arbitrary—for example by explicitly accepting that no “freeman” (in the sense of non-serf) could be punished except through the law of the land, a right that still exists.

Magna Carta was the first document forced onto a King of England by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. It was preceded and directly influenced by the Charter of Liberties in 1100, in which King Henry I had specified particular areas wherein his powers would be limited.

Despite its recognised importance, by the second half of the 19th century nearly all of its clauses had been repealed in their original form. Three clauses currently remain part of the law of England and Wales, however, and it is generally considered part of the uncodified constitutionLord Denning described it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.[3] In a 2005 speech, Lord Woolf described it as “first of a series of instruments that now are recognised as having a special constitutional status”,[4] the others being the Habeas Corpus Act (1679), the Petition of Right (1628), the Bill of Rights (1689), and the Act of Settlement (1701).

The charter was an important part of the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world. Magna Carta was important in the colonization of American colonies as England’s legal system was used as a model for many of the colonies as they were developing their own legal systems.

It was Magna Carta, over other early concessions by the monarch, which survived to become a “sacred text”.[5] In practice, Magna Carta in the medieval period did not generally limit the power of kings, but by the time of the English Civil War it had become an important symbol for those who wished to show that the King was bound by the law. It influenced the early settlers in New England[6] and inspired later constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution


The New Black

In a first ever musical collaboration between South Africa and Palestine, South African band, The Mavrix, and Palestinian Oud player, Mohammed Omar, have released a music video called «The New Black». The song is taken from The Mavrix’ upcoming album,»…



In a first ever musical collaboration between South Africa and Palestine, South African band, The Mavrix, and Palestinian Oud player, Mohammed Omar, have released a music video called "The New Black". The song is taken from The Mavrix' upcoming album,"Pura Vida", due for release in June 2012.

Written and composed by Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet, the song was a musical reaction to the horror of the Gaza Massacre of 2008/2009 and then subsequently inspired by the book "Mornings in Jenin", authored by Susan Abulhawa. Mayet had penned the first lyrics in 2009 after the Massacre and the song went into musical hibernation. Having read the novel, "Mornings in Jenin", he then re-wrote the lyrics and the song evolved into its current version.

Haidar Eid, a Gaza based BDS activist and friend of the band, heard the song in 2011 and urged the band to do a collaboration with Palestinian Oud player, Mohamed Omar. He also suggested that the band do a video highlighting the collaboration between South African and Palestinian musicians and also the similarities in the two struggles.

The song was recorded by The Mavrix in South Africa whilst Mohamed recorded the Oud in Gaza and, although never having had the opportunity to meet, the musical interplay between the musicians so far apart illustrates the empathy the musicians feel in solidarity with each other.

Produced by The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (South Africa) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) along with written endorsements from Haidar Eid of PACBI, Omar Barghouti of the BDS Movement, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada and Susan Abulhawa, author of "Mornings in Jenin", the song represents a message of support from South Africans, who having transgressed and crossed over their own oppression under apartheid, stand in solidarity with Palestinians who are currently experiencing their own oppression under Israeli apartheid


In a first ever musical collaboration between South Africa and Palestine, South African band, The Mavrix, and Palestinian Oud player, Mohammed Omar, have released a music video called "The New Black". The song is taken from The Mavrix' upcoming album,"Pura Vida", due for release in June 2012.

Written and composed by Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet, the song was a musical reaction to the horror of the Gaza Massacre of 2008/2009 and then subsequently inspired by the book "Mornings in Jenin", authored by Susan Abulhawa. Mayet had penned the first lyrics in 2009 after the Massacre and the song went into musical hibernation. Having read the novel, "Mornings in Jenin", he then re-wrote the lyrics and the song evolved into its current version.

Haidar Eid, a Gaza based BDS activist and friend of the band, heard the song in 2011 and urged the band to do a collaboration with Palestinian Oud player, Mohamed Omar. He also suggested that the band do a video highlighting the collaboration between South African and Palestinian musicians and also the similarities in the two struggles.

The song was recorded by The Mavrix in South Africa whilst Mohamed recorded the Oud in Gaza and, although never having had the opportunity to meet, the musical interplay between the musicians so far apart illustrates the empathy the musicians feel in solidarity with each other.

Produced by The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (South Africa) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) along with written endorsements from Haidar Eid of PACBI, Omar Barghouti of the BDS Movement, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada and Susan Abulhawa, author of "Mornings in Jenin", the song represents a message of support from South Africans, who having transgressed and crossed over their own oppression under apartheid, stand in solidarity with Palestinians who are currently experiencing their own oppression under Israeli apartheid.



The video shows a soldier aim and fire his weapon at a Palestinian man's legs

An Israeli human rights group has released a video that shows an Israeli soldier shooting a blindfolded Palestinian man with a rubber coated steel bullet at close range.

The video shows a Palestinian man, whom BTselem named as Ashraf Abu Rahma, handcuffed and blindfolded standing by a group of Israeli soldiers.

One soldier aims his weapon at the Abu Rahma's legs, from about 1.5 metres away, and appears to fire at him.