“Messing with Our Minds: Psychiatric Drugs, Cyberspace and `Digital Indoctrination`


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Messing with Our Minds: Psychiatric Drugs, Cyberspace and “Digital Indoctrination”

Global Research, November 11, 2013
Brain-altering drugs and digital “indoctrination” pose a potential threat not only to the stability of many individuals but of society itself.

At least 10 percent of all Americans over six-years-old are on antidepressants. That’s more than 35 million people, double the number from less than two decades ago. Anti-psychotics have meanwhile eclipsed cholesterol treatments as the country’s fastest selling and most profitable drugs, even though half the prescriptions treat disorders for which they haven’t been proven effective. At least 5 million children and adolescents use them, in part because more kids are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

This raises some troubling issues: Are a growing number of people experiencing psychological troubles? Have we just become better at recognizing them? Or is some other dynamic at work?

One possibility is that the criteria for what constitutes a mental illness or disability may have expanded to the point that a vast number appear to have clinical problems. But there’s an even more insidious development: the drugs being used to treat many of the new diagnoses could cause long-term effects that persist after the original trouble has been resolved. That’s the case made by Robert Whitaker in his book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.

Speaking of long-term impacts on the brain, we’re also heading toward a world where humans are directly linked with computers that profoundly influence their perceptions and ideas. Despite many potential benefits, there is danger here as well. Rather than simply augmenting our memories by providing neutral information, the brain-computer connection may lead people into separate realities based on their assumptions and politics.

Brain-altering drugs and digital “indoctrination” – a potent combination. Together, they pose a potential threat not only to the stability of many individuals but of society itself. Seduced by the promise that our brains can be managed and enhanced without serious side-effects, we may be creating a future where psychological dysfunction becomes a post-modern plague and powerful forces use cyberspace to reshape “reality” in their private interest.

Do prescription drugs create new mental problems? And if so, how could it be happening? For Whitaker the answer lies in the effects of drugs on neurotransmitters, a process he calls negative feedback. When a drug blocks neurotransmitters or increases the level of serotonin, for instance, neurons initially attempt to counteract the effects. When the drug is used over a long period, however, it can produce “substantial and long-lasting alterations in neural function,” claims Steven Hyman, former director of the National Institutes of Mental Health. The brain begins to function differently. Its ability to compensate starts to fail and side effects created by the drug emerge.

What comes next? More drugs and, along with them, new side effects, an evolving chemical mixture often accompanied by a revised diagnosis. According to Marcia Angell, former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, it can go this way: use of an antidepressant leads to mania, which leads to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which leads to the prescription of mood stabilizers. Through such a process people can end up taking several drugs daily for many years.

What may happen after that is deeply troubling. Researcher Nancy Andreasen claims the brain begins to shrink, an effect she links directly to dosage and duration. “The prefrontal cortex doesn’t get the input it needs and is being shut down by drugs,” she explained in The New York Times. “That reduces the psychotic symptoms.” But the pre-frontal cortex gradually atrophies.

Anyone who has been on the psychiatric drug roller coaster understands some of the ride’s risks and how hard it can be to get off. But the new implication is that we may be experiencing a medically-induced outbreak of brain dysfunction caused by the exploding use of drugs. One big unanswered question at the moment: What does Big Pharma really know, and when did they learn it?

Drug companies are not the only ones experimenting with our brains. Bold research is also being pursued to create brain-computer interfaces that can help people overcome problems like memory loss. According to writer Michael Chorost, author of World Wide Mind and interface enthusiast who benefited from ear implants after going deaf, we may soon be directly connected to the Internet through neural implants. It sounds convenient and liberating. Ask yourself a question and, presto, there’s the answer. Google co-founder Larry Page can imagine a not-too-distant future in which you simply think about something and “your cell phone whispers the answer in your ear.”

Beyond the fact that this could become irritating, there’s an unspoken assumption that the information received is basically unbiased, like consulting an excellent encyclopedia or a great library catalog. This is where the trouble starts. As Sue Halperin noted in a New York Review of Books essay, “Mind Control and the Internet,” Search engines like Google use an algorithm to show us what’s important. But even without the manipulation of marketing companies and consultants who influence some listings, each search is increasingly shaped to fit the profile of the person asking. If you think that we both get the same results from the same inquiry, guess again.

What really happens is that you get results assembled just for you. Information is prioritized in a way that reinforces one’s previous choices, influenced by suggested assumptions and preferences. As Eli Pariser argues in The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You, environmental activists and energy executives get very different listings when they inquire about climate science. It looks and feels “objective” but they’re being fed data that fits with their existing view – and probably not seeing much that conflicts.

A study discussed in Sociological Quarterly looked at this development by following attitudes about climate science over a decade. Here’s a strange but significant finding: Although a consensus emerged among most scientists over the years, the number of Republicans who accepted their conclusion dropped. Why? Because the Republicans were getting different information than the Democrats and others who embraced the basic premise. In other words, their viewpoint was being reflected back at them.

Does this sound dangerous? Pariser thinks so, and suggests that the type of reinforcement made common by search engines is leading to inadvertent self-indoctrination. For democracy to function effectively, people need exposure to various viewpoints, “but instead we’re more and more enclosed in our own bubbles,” he writes. Rather than agreeing on a set of shared facts we’re being led deeper into our different worlds.

Whether this is a problem depends somewhat on your expectations. For some people it is merely a bump in the road, a faltering step in the inevitable evolution of human consciousness. Techno-shamen and other cosmic optimists see the potential of drug-induced enlightenment and an Internet-assisted “hive mind,” and believe that the long-term outcome will be less violence, more trust, and a better world. But others have doubts, questioning whether we’ll really end up with technological liberation and a psychic leap forward. It could go quite differently, they worry. We could instead see millions of brain-addled casualties and even deeper social polarization.

How will current trends influence democracy and basic human relations? Increased trust and participation don’t immediately come to mind. Rather, the result could be more suspicion, denial and paranoia, as if we don’t have enough. In fact, even the recent upsurge in anger and resentment may be drug and Internet-assisted, creating fertile ground for opportunists and demagogues.

In False Alarm: The truth about the epidemic of fear, New York internist Marc Siegel noted that when the amygdala — the Brain’s central station for processing emotions – detects a threatening situation, it pours out stress hormones. If the stress persists too long, however, it can malfunction, overwhelm the hippocampus (center of the “thinking” brain), and be difficult to turn off. In the long term, this “fear biology” can wear people down, inducing paralysis or making them susceptible to diseases and delusions that they might otherwise resist. Addressing this problem with drugs that change the brain’s neural functioning isn’t apt to help. Either will the Internet’s tendency to provide information that reinforces whatever one already thinks.

More than half a century ago, Aldous Huxley – who knew a bit about drugs – issued a dire prediction. He didn’t see the Internet coming, but other than that his vision remains relevant. “There will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude,” he wrote in Brave New World, “and producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods.”

Pretty grim, but there’s no going back. Despite any dangers posed by computer algorithms and anti-psychotic drugs, they are with us for the foreseeable future. Still, what we have learned about them in recent years could help us to reduce the negatives. Not every illness listed in the DMS – that constantly growing, Big Pharma-influenced psychiatric bible – requires drug treatment. And the results of your online searches will very likely tell you what you want to know, but that does not mean you’re getting a “balanced” or comprehensive picture.

Greg Guma lives in Vermont. His new sci-fi novel, Dons of Time, was released in October.
Copyright © 2013 Global Research

More than the name: Native Americans support changing the Washington football team´s name….


Map of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Map of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Thomas White Face Oglala Sioux

English: Thomas White Face Oglala Sioux (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Chief Bone Necklace of the Oglala Lak...

English: Chief Bone Necklace of the Oglala Lakota photographed in 1899 by Heyn Photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Flag of the Pine Ridge Indian Reserva...

English: Flag of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


709961182_3023d464fa_b_sm_aMore than the name

Native Americans support changing the Washington football team’s name–but this is only one symptom of systematic racism inflicted on them, writes Brian Ward.

October 21, 2013

THE DEVELOPING momentum around changing the Washington, D.C., football team’s name, including Bob Costas’ courageous comments during halftime of a Sunday Night Football game earlier this month [1], has been refreshing. Using Natives as mascots, contrary to what team owner Dan Snyder or NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would say, dehumanizes a group of people who have faced attacks on their livelihoods since Christopher Columbus set foot in this hemisphere.

Many will say we have to “move on”–or that this is an issue from “the past.” But Native American communities today are impacted by systematic discrimination today, as in the past–indeed, these communities have been some of the most affected by government cuts, corporate land grabs and, more recently, the government shutdown.

Consider the 16-day-long shutdown of the federal government. Like in most such crises, those who are at the bottom of society get hurt the most.

The Navajo Nation in Arizona is the largest tribe in the U.S. Currently, two-thirds of its budget comes from federal money [2] because of treaty promises guaranteed to them. According to Mason Big Crow, treasurer for the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, of the tribe’s $80 million budget, $70 million is from federal sources.

If the shutdown had continued, it would have forced many tribes to cut critical programs [3], such as Tribal Colleges and Head Start programs.

Even before the shutdown, the Obama administration and Congress had little concern for Native peoples, and were proposing more cuts and austerity. The drive to open the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline has left Natives on the sidelines, instead of engaging them. After a half-hearted effort by the State Department to hold “nation to nation” talks in May with Native American leaders representing 10 different tribes, tribal leaders walked out of the meeting in Rapid City, S.D. [4]

Then, on July 29, the White House held its first “Council on Native American Affairs”–without one single tribal leader being present [5].

According to the New York Times [6], Deborah Jackson-Dennison, the superintendent of the Window Rock Unified School District in Navajo Nation, “is in the process of reducing the school budget to about $17 million, from about $24 million, absorbing a cut from sequestration as well as from the local government. ‘It’s like getting two black eyes at once,’ she said. She has let go of 14 employees, and moved the school district down to four buildings from seven.”

Tribes argue that they should not be affected by austerity and sequestration because of treaty promises made by the U.S. government in the past. It’s not just about the federal government giving tribes money, but about a nation-to-nation relationship in which the U.S. keeps its word.

Obviously, we know that the United States has broken just about every treaty that it has ever made with Natives, but the legal documents still gives grounds to fight in court.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

THE ONEIDA nation in upstate New York has been running a terrific campaign around the country to build pressure for changing the name of the Washington football team [7]. Their efforts counter the idea put around by sports journalists and others that the campaign is a bunch of white liberals wanting to be politically correct. As a result, more polls are showing support for the name change [8].

But how do people who actually live on Indian reservations feel?

One of the most popularly quoted polls is an Annenberg Public Policy Center poll from 2004, which supposedly “found that 90 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the name.” Never mind the flaws in the poll and that it was taken years ago–you will hear this attitude echoed among Native Americans. In a recent article from Buzzfeed’s Joe Flood [9], Elaine YellowHorse from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation summed up what many people on reservations think, “There are just so many other things that I need to worry about before that.”

From my time spent on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, I have asked many people this same question. Corbin Conroy, who was born and raised on Pine Ridge, said to me, “I don’t really care. We have bigger issues to deal with on the reservation.”

However, more times than not, when I continue to ask questions, it becomes clear that the term “redskin” is considered a racial slur, and most would favor changing the name of the Washington football team. They just don’t see this as a top priority in their life.

What are their “other priorities”?

Many reservations face unemployment in incomprehensible numbers–rates like 50 to 90 percent. Many houses don’t have running water, and many reservations have housing shortages. In Pine Ridge alone, you may not see homelessness, but an average of 17 people live in a home. When you step on many Indian reservations, you are effectively stepping into the global South, but in the middle of the world’s richest nation.

Racial profiling is commonplace in areas with reservations because police recognize license plates that are from a “certain area” in the state–and a common attitude is, “They must be Indian and are up to no good.”

In other words, it’s understandable that Native American peoples might not see changing the name of a football team thousands of miles away as their top priority when it do anything to change their standards of living. But that doesn’t mean they support the name. As Joe Flood writes:

People, Native American people in particular, in my limited experience, have the ability to ignore all manner of historical insults–like the Medals of Honor still on record for the soldiers who perpetrated the Wounded Knee Massacre, or the faces of U.S. presidents carved into a site the U.S. government took through warfare, forced starvation and treaty violations. That resiliency, though, seems a pretty poor excuse for heaping on much smaller insults–like “Redskins”–and justifying them with “See? They’re cool with it.”

Those advocating for changing the Washington team’s name aren’t doing so so they can feel good. Rather, they are demanding a change in a way of thinking. It’s about no longer dehumanizing a people–and demanding justice for all Native people in this country.

That means not only standing up to change the name in Washington, but standing up against the Keystone XL pipeline. It means demanding full sovereignty for Native Americans, and insisting that the U.S. government keep treaty promises to Natives around the country. It that means fighting the 21st century land grabs happening on Native land and fighting racism against Natives. And, yes, it means recognizing the type of racism that this country is founded on.

So let’s fight to change the name of the Washington football team–as part of

http://socialistworker.org/2013/10/21/more-than-the-name

our call for justice for all Natives in this country.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

What you can do

Sign a petition [10] to show your support for changing the name of the Washington, D.C., football team.

Editors on the NSA files: “What the Guardian is doing is important for democracy”


English: Detail of a New York Times Advertisem...

English: Detail of a New York Times Advertisement – 1895 Deutsch: Detail einer New York Times Werbung – 1895 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editors on the NSA files: ‘What the Guardian is doing is important for democracy’

On Thursday the Daily Mail described the Guardian as ‘The paper that helps Britain’s enemies’. We showed that article to many of the world’s leading editors. This is what they said

New York Times masthead

In a democracy, the press plays a vital role in informing the public and holding those in power accountable. The NSA has vast intelligence-gathering powers and capabilities and its role in society is an important subject for responsible newsgathering organisations such as the New York Times and the Guardian. A public debate about the proper perimeters for eavesdropping by intelligence agencies is healthy for the public and necessary.

Jill AbramsonThe accurate and in-depth news articles published by the New York Times and the Guardian help inform the public in framing its thinking about these issues and deciding how to balance the need to protect against terrorism and to protect individual privacy. Vigorous news coverage and spirited public debate are both in the public interest. The journalists at the New York Times and the Guardian care deeply about the wellbeing and safety of their fellow citizens in carrying out their role in keeping the public informed. Jill Abramson, executive editor, the New York Times

Der Spiegel masthead

The utmost duty of a journalist is to expose abuses and the abuse of power. The global surveillance of digital communication by the NSA and GCHQ is no less than an abuse on a massive scale with consequences that at this point seem completely unpredictable.

Wolfgang BuechnerIt is understandable that the governments of the US and Britain aren’t pleased that journalists, with the assistance of informants within government ranks, are exposing this abuse of power. It is a classic approach for governments to attack media that have the courage to publish such stories with arguments that they threaten national security or that they are supporting an enemy of the state. And it is a tragedy that media outlets aligned with governments are now accusing the journalists uncovering these abuses of “lethal irresponsibility”.

In terms of DER SPIEGEL‘s position on this affair: With each story we have published, we have given both the NSA and GCHQ the opportunity to comment prior to publication and to alert us to aspects that could be highly sensitive. The NSA took advantage of this opportunity, GCHQ did not.

The material contains myriad evidence of terrorist investigations. However, for good reason, we have refrained from reporting on these specific operations.

It is the indiscriminate mass surveillance of communications that DER SPIEGEL considers to be a scandal — not the search for terrorists. As we stated, it is the media’s duty in a free society to report on these abuses.

Exposing the intensity with which intelligence agencies conduct surveillance on the Internet does not provide proof that such reporting in any way assists terrorists.

It is common knowledge that security agencies monitor telephones, and yet, terrorists still use them.

What is clear is that the surveillance conducted by the NSA and GCHQ goes far beyond anti-terror measures.

It is for this reason that SPIEGEL and numerous other media outlets around the world will continue to take their duty seriously and report when a security apparatus spins out of control and acts beyond its remit. Wolfgang Buechner, editor-in-chief, Der Spiegel

Haaretz masthead

Journalists have only one responsibility: to keep their readers informed and educated about whatever their government is doing on their behalf – and first and foremost on security and intelligence organisations, which by their nature infringe on civil liberties. The Snowden revelations, and their publication by the Guardian, have been a prime example of fearlessly exercising this journalistic responsibility.

Aluf Benn In Israel, the media are subject to pre-publication review by a military censor of any news related to security and intelligence. Israeli editors are therefore relieved from the dilemmas faced by our British or American counterparts, who should judge what might harm national security. Nevertheless, we struggle endlessly to push back the walls of government secrecy and concealment and expand the scope of public debate. Aluf Benn, editor-in-chief, Haaretz …

and many of those important news-papers, please, read here this phänomenal article:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/10/guardian-democracy-editors

A federal judge in Manhattan declined on Friday to order the release of Lynne F. Stewart, former defense lawyer, who is dying in federal prison in Texas


Dying Lawyer’s Request for Release From Prison Is Turned Down

By 
Published: August 9, 2013

 

Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

 

The judge, John G. Koeltl of United States District Court, said he could not order such a release under a federal Bureau of Prisons program for terminally ill inmates without the bureau’s first making a motion seeking such action. But the judge suggested that he would look favorably upon such a request if it were presented by the bureau.

“The court would give prompt and sympathetic consideration to any motion for compassionate release filed by th

e B.O.P, but it is for the B.O.P. to make that motion in the first instance,” he wrote. …

Read more, please:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/10/nyregion/judge-denies-ill-lawyers-plea-to-be-freed-from-prison.html?src=recg

NJAMIN WEISER http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/10/nyregion/judge-denies-ill-lawyers-plea-to-be-freed-from-prison.html?_r=0&pagewanted=print

YES! YES! YES!: “Even the accused should be treated as human beings,” ex-President and Manila Mayor-elect Joseph Estrada, himself a former detainee, told prisoners when he visited the Manila City Jail (MCJ) on Monday.


Manila City Jail in Manila, Philippines

Manila City Jail in Manila, Philippines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

erap1-300x206Estrada visits disgruntled city jail inmates, promises them aid
By Erika Sauler
Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:08 am | Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Manila Mayor-elect Joseph Estrada greets an elderly detainee at the Manila City Jail during a visit on Monday, June 10, 2013. RICHARD A. REYES

“Even the accused should be treated as human beings,” ex-President and Manila Mayor-elect Joseph Estrada, himself a former detainee, told prisoners when he visited the Manila City Jail (MCJ) on Monday.

Estrada’s statement was met with cheers and applause by the prisoners who had asked him for a dialogue after some of them staged a noise barrage last Thursday to air their grievances against the jail warden who has since resigned.

In an interview with the Inquirer, some prisoners complained about the food, the lack of medicine and the alleged abuses committed by former jail warden Supt. Lyndon Torres.

“When you have fever and you go to the infirmary, they will just give you vitamins instead of medicine. Sometimes it’s even expired,” an inmate said.

Another complained that they were fed with adobo that consisted of just chicken bones or bean sprouts doused in hot water. The MCJ has a daily food budget of P50 per detainee.

One said that gay detainees used to be free to wear makeup and sport long hair but Torres had their heads shaved.

Another inmate claimed Torres would ask one inmate to hit another with a baseball bat as part of the “initiation” to become a “trustee.” The trustee-detainee would in turn have the “privilege” of receiving food and money from a jail personnel in exchange for services rendered like doing the laundry, cooking food or running other errands.

The new warden, Supt. Noel Montalvo, gave Estrada a briefing on the problems at the facility, which included congestion, the proliferation of informal settlers around the facility and the lack of medicines and logistical support.

Estrada, accompanied by daughter Jackie, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, Councilors Let-Let Zarcal and Dennis Alcoreza, promised to address the issues after he assumes office on June 30.

He also led in the distribution of 4,000 gift packs that contained a shirt, a pair or slippers, toothpaste, rice and snacks to the detainees.

There are 3,224 inmates in MCJ when the ideal number should be 1,150, a congestion of 180 percent, Montalvo said.

Other problems were the lack of jail personnel, administrative supplies, flooding, security hazards and insufficient support from the local government.

“I didn’t expect the situation to be like this. We’ll do something about it,” said Estrada who also promised to provide volunteer lawyers to help inmates obtain a speedy trial.

 

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/424127/estrada-visits-disgruntled-city-jail-inmates-promises-them-aid#ixzz2VtjhkFSG
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Lynne Stewart


English: Photo of Lynne Stewart by Robert B. L...

English: Photo of Lynne Stewart by Robert B. Livingston Friday February 23 Women’s Bldg., 3543 18th St. San Francisco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right the Wrong: Release Lynne Stewart Now!

 Lynne Stewart

By Andrea Bauer

March 21, 2013 “Information Clearing House -FSP” - Attorney Lynne Stewart has many friends and fans. But the U.S. government is not one of them, and now it seems ready to turn the 73-year-old’s prison sentence into a death sentence, by denying her the medical care she needs to defeat a spreading cancer.

In 2005, Lynne was convicted of supporting terrorism after serving as the court-appointed lawyer for Egyptian cleric and alleged terrorist Omar Abdel-Rahman. Her crime? Helping her ailing client publicize a press release that she hoped might play a role in transferring him back to Egypt.

The charges came in April 2002, two years after the fact. Post-9/11 hysteria over terrorism and the persecution of Muslims and Arabs in the U.S. was at a peak. Bush had begun war against Afghanistan six months earlier.

The case against Stewart was a show trial, announced by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft during an appearance with David Letterman. The message: Don’t defend the victims of the government witch-hunt, or you will become one yourself.

On March 10, I spoke by phone with Lynne’s partner, Ralph Poynter. The two met while working at a public elementary school in Harlem in the 1960s, she a young white librarian and he a slightly older Black teacher, a unionist fighting for labor rights and improvements in Black lives.

Lynne’s legal career was spent defending the poor, the outcast, and the targets of the ruling class, from teenagers accused of dealing drugs to Black Panthers and Weather Undergrounders. She believes, as Poynter told me, “We must be consistent in seeking justice for everyone.”

There’s a terrible irony here. While Stewart understands the racist, sexist, and anti-working class nature of the justice system, she fearlessly fights for its supposed principles, like innocent until proven guilty; equality under the law; the right of the accused to a capable, vigorous defense.

And for this the system punished her.

Now, after decades spent jousting with the legal system on behalf of others, Lynne is struggling for her own life.

During her long ordeal in the courts after she was charged and before going to prison, Lynne was battling breast cancer. This was treated at a highly respected New York hospital and went into remission. Now, after two years in the prison system hellhole, the cancer is back, and has invaded lymph nodes, bones, lungs, and shoulder.

Woefully substandard medical care is a well-documented “double jeopardy” for U.S. inmates. A spot on Lynne’s lung was discovered in June 2012; after a slow progression of tests, treatment began this February. Lynne goes to the doctor with 10 pounds of shackles chained to her wrists and ankles; when in the hospital, she’s shackled to the bed.

Stewart desperately needs expert medical care. And there’s a remedy for her problem: compassionate release, which the Bureau of Prisons can recommend for “extraordinary and compelling reasons.” But, as the New York Times editorialized last December, the justice system has not only underused this program, it has “crippled it.”

There is much more to Stewart than her important legal defense of the marginalized and oppressed. She is a feminist and all-round critic of the status quo who is quick to respond to all manner of appeals, from accepting speaking gigs for Radical Women to agitating for freedom for other political prisoners, like Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Poynter and Lynne’s defense committee have posted an online petition for compassionate release at www.lynnestewart.org. Sign it and circulate it! At the Web site, readers can also find information about the legal case. Lynne has filed a request for the Supreme Court to review her case. If it does, supporters will be able to file friend-of-the-court briefs; if interested,

Poynter asks that you contact him at  917-853-9759 

or ralph.poynter@yahoo.com.

Also needed are letters and cards to keep Lynne’s spirits up and let her wardens know we are looking out for her. Write to her at Lynne Stewart #53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, PO Box 27137, Ft. Worth, TX 76127.

Giving a speech to the National Lawyers Guild in 2007, Lynne described her credo: “We go forth to safeguard the right to speak and write; to join; to learn; to rest safe at home, to be secure, fed, healthy, sheltered, loved and loving, to be at peace with one’s identity.”

It is time now for those of us who benefit from Lynne’s commitment to fight for her. Don’t let Lynne Stewart die a victim of bureaucratic murder behind bars!

daniel ellsberg: in hearing bradley manning act…


Walter Goodman

Walter Goodman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/12/daniel_ellsberg_in_hearing_bradley_manning

HERE YOU´LL FIND THE WHOLE ARTICLE

a daily independent global news hour
With Amy Goodman & Juan González
 
 
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Daniel Ellsberg: In Hearing Bradley Manning Act Out of Conscience, Secret Tape Refutes Media Slander

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To discuss Bradley Manning’s recorded court statement that was recently leaked to the press, we’re joined by perhaps the country’s most famous whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, the secret history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. “What we’ve heard are people like The New York Times who have consistently slandered him … that he was vague and couldn’t think of specific instances that had led him to inform the American people of injustices,” Ellsberg says. “The American people can now, for the first time, hear Bradley in his own words, emotionally and in the greatest specific detail, tell what it was that he felt that needed revelation.” [includes rush transcript]

 
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Transcript

          This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.       

AMY GOODMAN: Our guest in studio at the University of California, Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower, co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Dan, can you talk about the significance of the release of this surreptitiously recorded audio of Bradley Manning’s statement in court?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Hello, hello, hello. They’re working on—

AMY GOODMAN: Hi, Dan. Can you talk about the significance of the audiotape?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Yes, this is the first time in three years that the American public has had a chance to have an unfiltered impression of Private Bradley Manning himself, in his own words, in his own voice. For three years, he has been virtually incommunicado except for his lawyers, and we’ve heard only third-hand hearsay, often by people who aren’t at all sympathetic to him, about his nature and why he did.

By pleading guilty to these military—violating these military regulations, which he almost surely did, he’s freed himself to speak out now as to what exactly he did do and why he did it. If he can, of course, explain why he did what he did while he was still pleading not guilty and putting the burden of the proof on his actions on the government, that was his right to do, but it prevented him from saying that he had done the things, the acts, they were charging. In other words, he’s in exactly the same position I was in at the beginning of my trial, when I took full responsibility and I stipulated to all the facts that were presented in the trial. There was nothing to argue about, about what I had done.

The issue in my case was whether any law had been broken. Apparently, The New York Times never got to understand how I was pleading not guilty when I had indeed admitted to exactly what I had done. Bill Keller, obviously, the later executive editor of the Times, has never come to understand the problematic nature of the charges I was faced with and that Bradley Manning is faced with. I know them by heart: 18 U.S.C. 793 paragraphs (d) and (e). The best legal advisers at the time, like Mel Nimmer, said that those acts were unconstitutional, those portions, as applied to a leaker, instead of being applied to someone who had secretly given information to a foreign government or an enemy, the espionage that the Espionage Act was named for. To use them against someone like Manning or me who gave information for the benefit of the American people was not at all the intention of Congress, never was the intention of Congress. And so, whereas I did what I did, essentially, in my era, the comparable acts to what Manning did, the argument is very strong, legally, that we had not broken any law that could hold up as constitutional.

AARON MATÉ: Well, Dan Ellsberg—

DANIEL ELLSBERG: I was—moreover, he was also free now, by having admitted these acts, as I was at the beginning of my trial, to take full responsibility, not only morally, but to say specifically: No one else in the government had helped me, no one had taken any part of it, no one knew anything of it. So they were off the hook, even though President Nixon continued to suspect, wrongly, that the FBI was wrong and that I had not acted alone.

In Manning’s case, he’s now able to say, in his own voice, for the public to hear for the first time, that he acted before he had had any contact with Assange. He had made his decision. They did not encourage him or press him. They did nothing more than any journalist would do in course of allowing him to get his information to them. In short, The New York Times, which should not be subject to these charges, surely, is, in the eyes of the government, just as guilty as WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. And if there’s going to be continued, after this acknowledgment, a grand jury investigating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, there should be a grand jury investigating The New York Times — there won’t be — because they did exactly the same thing.

AARON MATÉ: Well, Dan Ellsberg, speaking of The New York Times

DANIEL ELLSBERG: So he was able to then—yes. ….

 

mentally ill man …


Mentally ill man gets 10 years in prison for plotting ‘terrorist attack’

 
Ahmed Ferhani (AFP Photo/Gregory P. Mango)

Ahmed Ferhani (AFP Photo/Gregory P. Mango)

 

A mentally ill Muslim man was sentenced to a decade in prison this week after pleading guilty to 10 charges related to a 2011 plot to blow up synagogues and churches in New York City.

Attorneys for 27-year-old Ahmed Ferhani accepted Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus’ decision Monday of 10 years behind bars after the defendant admitted on the stand to conspiring to “create chaos and send a message of intimidation and coercion to the Jewish population of New York City.”

Ferhani could have faced 32 years in prison had he pleaded not guilty and tried for a slew of charges relating to hatching a scheme involving the bombing of synagogues and churches across New York. Prosecutors say Ferhani thought of himself as the “mastermind” of an elaborate terror plot and planned to go undercover as a Hasidic Jew in order to infiltrate non-Muslim religious communities and wreak havoc. Ferhani’s attorney had been adamant with having the most serious charges against their client thrown out, however, citing a history of mental illness and possible police entrapment as factors in their defense.

Ferhani “has been getting institutionalized since he was 17 years old,” defense attorney Lamis Deek told reporters after Monday’s court proceeding.

“The NYPD was called to his house more than a dozen times. They would show up at his house and then take him to Bellevue” hospital,” Deek said.

According to the New York Daily News, Ferhani’s mother said her son was hospitalized for psychiatrist issues more than two dozen times since high school.

Starting in late 2010, agents with the New York Police Department investigated Ferhani for several months because they believed he was interested in committing acts of terrorism. An undercover officer with the NYPD using the name Ilter reached out to Ferhani during the investigation, befriending him in order to get closer to the suspect.

“Ilter pursued Ahmed, driving him to doctor’s appointments, spending money on him, lending him money, and calling him his brother,” supporters of Ferhani write on the Justice for Ahmed website.

“Ahmed was a vulnerable target–he was broke, unemployed, depressed, and struggling with emotional imbalances. The NYPD was fully aware of Ahmed’s condition, and most likely chose him as a target because of it.”

In May 2011, Ferhani and another man were arrested for allegedly trying to purchase semi-automatic pistols, a grenade and 150 rounds of ammunition from an undercover officer posing as an arms dealer. Ferhani was making a $100 down payment on the arsenal of weaponry when he was apprehended and eventually charged with counts involving hate crimes and terrorism.

“Ahmed was tricked and coaxed into a scheme that was completely initiated, constructed, and performed by NYPD agents praying on one Muslim man who they knew to be impressionable and in need of help,” his supporters write.

Entrapment or not, state prosecutors say that they successfully thwarted what could have been a real catastrophe — albeit it one law enforcement orchestrated themselves by using a mentally ill man.

“The threat of terrorism is real,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance tells the New York Times this week, adding that the case highlights “the importance of state prosecutors and NYPD intel working in partnership to play a critical role to complement our federal colleagues.”

Ferhani’s plea marks the first time a terrorist has been convicted on the new state terror charges set in place following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Previously, all terrorism cases in New York had been tried on a federal level.

Prosecutor Faces Justice


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/13/opinion/nocera-a-texas-prosecutor-faces-justice.html?smid=tw-share

some lines here:

Op-Ed Columnist

<NYT_BYLINE>

<NYT_TEXT><NYT_CORRECTION_TOP>In just about a month from now, Texas will witness a rare event: a former prosecutor is going to be held to account for alleged prosecutorial misconduct.

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He is Ken Anderson, who for nearly 17 years was the district attorney in Williamson County, a fast-growing suburb of Austin. (In 2002, Gov. Rick Perry made him a district judge.) As Pamela Colloff writes, in a brilliant two-part series in Texas Monthly, Anderson was the kind of prosecutor who “routinely asked for, and won, harsh sentences and fought to keep offenders in prison long after they became eligible for parole.”