The Swedish Bahnhof facility raided, along with female employees, Friday evening
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — A backpack weighed heavily on this reporter, as I stood beside one of 30 men in full riot gear regalia, as he, among others, awaited his raid, Friday night, on the Bahnhof Web hosting facility deep beneath Stockholm, Sweden. Goons from the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) prepared to storm the most secure privately owned Web hosting company on earth. Their target: RonPaul.com.
RonPaul.com, after serving as the grassroots hub for libertarian activists eager to see Dr. Paul become president, has recently received scrutiny from the former congressman’s attorneys, who wish to see the server remain safely out of the hands of “the rabble.” After the sovereign hand of the U.S. government proved impotent against the mighty force of the Internet, Dr. Paul decided that appealing — closer to grave than cradle — to the globalist nanny state would be his best bet for real justice.
A man, who would only agree to be identified as “Karl,” made small talk as he swept snow from the barrel of his Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun. Nine-term former Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) stepped between us, the elderly man who personally organized the team after the proprietors of RonPaul.com, he said, “sought to capitalize on my legacy.”
Spokesman Jesse Benton — then at my other side, sporting a bulletproof vest emblazoned with the initials “U.N.” — winked at me through a gas mask as the WIPO squad prepared to cut through the Web host’s alloy door. We could expect the door, a U.N. covert paramilitary officer said before the raid, to be over a foot thick. The former Galveston representative stepped to the front of the crowd of men in ski masks and, from brown paper wrapping, unveiled a brick of material.
“This is nano-thermite, boys,” he said with a chuckle. “NIST handed some of this off to me as a congratulatory present on my 2008 New Hampshire primary showing.”
After only a few seconds, the door of the compound glowed and disintegrated under the pressure of the igniting thermite. The WIPO men moved in.
One by one the paramilitary officers removed bags from around their shoulders, each unraveling suctions cups on tubes and ominous black machines roughly the size of a normal desktop’s power unit. They restrained weeping female workers in the facility, ripped their clothes from their bodies and proceeded to fasten the machines to their respective labia minora.
Dr. Paul, salivating, watched as the women screamed and squirmed as their uteruses were sucked cleaned by the elite globalist soldiers. He said to me, as I wrote furiously his words down, “We have to be sure that these anarchists haven’t stored a backup version of the pirate RonPaul.com anywhere in their body cavities. Even their wombs could be offering safe harbor to thumb drives, micro-computers. You know how these namby-fancy Euro-types are.”
“The global government has spoken,” he added. “We can’t allow their offspring to rob or humiliate me or Rand ever again.”
Banhof has been host to numerous controversial Internet projects — everything from 4chan.org/b/ to WikiLeaks to the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Members of the WIPO team seemed earnestly convinced that the gynecologist was a member of the 113th Congress, as he seemed to have identified himself on his WIPO complaint form. Dr. Paul left office last month, after declining to seek another term.
A U.N. stormtrooper rushed up a flight of stairs, elegantly polished in steel and IKEA-esque efficiency. He briskly saluted Dr. Paul, then said, “Sir, we’ve deactivated and transferred to Mr. Benton control of RonPaul.com. We at the training center admire your pro-family agenda. At your discretion, we could also permanently shut down WikiLeaks and NAMBLA, if you’d like.” The WIPO paramilitary officer gestured to a Banhof control screen, at which the duo could swiftly and permanently deactivate the whistleblower and pro-pedophilia activists’ respective Web presences.
“Deactive WikiLeaks. Those rapist hippies beat me to the punch,” said the elfin gynecologist, his hands clasped behind his back. Then, Dr. Paul clenched a fist. “They never did put me on the Intelligence Committee. Leave NAMBLA up, though. Those boys are the new voice of freedom. The rest of it can come down.”
“Yes, sir,” said the dutiful WIPO soldier, dutifully typing commands into the server, shutting down Web dissidents and deviants as perennially despised as the former presidential candidate.
The aging libertarian turned, staring upwards, having had a realization. “Oh, and one more thing,” he said. “Keep Stormfront.org going. I owe Don Black a favor for those campaign donations.”
WASHINGTON — City College of San Francisco Computer Science Professor Sam Browne told The Internet Chronicle that whatever NullCrew has planned for the Pentagon on Valentine’s Day, it won’t be hacktivism. Mr. Brown, who teaches ethical hacking and has addressed the DEF CON cybersecurity conference, says that NullCrew acts in violation of the liberal causes they tout.
A NullCrew spokesperson has variously described the hacking group’s motives in terms of nihilistic schadenfreude and activism.
Their real message is: “We are powerful, fear us!” The political slogans they spout are just a paper-thin cover story.
If you want real social change, you do it the way Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. did it–carefully reasoned nonviolent actions, done in the open, accepting the social sanctions they provoke. Hiding in the shadows, stealing data, harming innocent people, and evading justified law enforcement actions, is not the way to influence people to support your cause. It just scares people, as it should, and encourages them to support more Draconian law enforcement measures to stop the scary hackers.
Several Anonymous actions and threats of action have operated under the presumption that, in threatening the online security of randomly chosen individuals, government entities will be inspired to not clamp down on users’ Internet privacy; or users’ redistribution of links to copyrighted content, for whatever end.
Wednesday Boy Scouts of America decided to hold off until May a decision on whether to allow gay scouts or scout masters. The May vote, to take place in Grapevine, Texas among 1,400 national council members, will decide a potential religious and ethical turn for the federally funded youth organization. For decades the Boy Scouts have been encumbered by debates about the meaning of their public support in relationship to values that critics see as springing exclusively from the domain of religion.
Six years ago this reporter interviewed the unsuccessful plaintiff in a suit regarding the religiosity of the Scouts’ oath, which calls on members to be “morally straight” as well as theistic, in relationship to the organization’s federal funding. Scout leadership has decided that that oath prohibits homosexuality among the ranks. The report was filed in relationship to a Virginia beat.
At least someone among the federal authorities funding the Boy Scouts long ago began to imagine that they could pin God down like a frog under academic dissection – any confounding or appealing mystery to the whole matter officially sliced into ribbons by the magistrate. Though it has left the womb of the state, religion has hung onto the establishment by a seemingly indestructible umbilical cord.
The cord’s transfusion flows strongest at times like the beginnings of legislative or city council meetings, wherein a preacher or other religious authority is called in by custom to ceremonially unite representatives through their faith in a mortality-transcending god or gods.
In 2007 Rajan Zed, a Hindu cleric from the Reno-based Indian Association of Northern Nevada, appeared as Senate guest Chaplain, to jeering:
That same year, 2007, Attorney General Bob McDonnell — now the governor of the purple Commonwealth of Virginia — sent an advisory brief to an Illinois Federal District Court, his public relations efforts chalking up his intended influence as defending “traditional understanding of religious freedom” and halting “the possible loss of the direct and substantial impacts [a military base Boy Scout event] has on the Commonwealth.” Mr. McDonnell’s intended consequence was to defend the the Defense Department’s monetary and logistical support for the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, near Bowling Green, Virginia. By email, he expressed his pleasure to the press that a Chicago decision indicting the Defense Department had been overturned.
Then Governor Tim Kaine, now a senator, voiced his understanding that the case was a federal, as opposed to a commonwealth, funding matter. “It’s not one that I have really focused on at all,” he said. Though, he alluded to having supported the Boy Scouts in one way or another while Richmond mayor.
Mr. McDonnell’s press secretary, Justin Tucker Martin, explained the governor’s advisory brief to me as this: “The Boy Scouts of America are a theistic organization, not a religious one.” Mr. Martin advised me that the Boy Scout Jamboree’s standing congressional support did not constitute a violation of the establishment clause, which prohibits the government from prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
Soon after the federal trial had wound down in early April, I conversed with Eugene Winkler, the primary plaintiff on the suit against the defense secretary. Winkler was at the time the head of Gary United Methodist Church in Wheaton, Illinois. We spoke on the phone for a few minutes.
Tyler Bass: What was your personal stake in preventing the federal funding from going to the Jamboree?
Eugene Winkler: The Boy Scouts discriminate. I am not only a religious man, a pastor. I was an Eagle Scout, and have served on regional Boy Scout councils. So all of those are in my favor in terms of the Boy Scouts, OK? I am not antagonistic toward the Boy Scouts, but the Boy Scouts have a very limited understanding of what it means to believe in God. On their authority, if you don’t believe in their concept of God, you can’t be a Scout. Their concept of god is — it is my concept of god, certainly — a Judeo-Christian concept of God, but if you don’t accept that concept of God, you can’t get into the Scouts. And they’re a discriminatory organization and federal funding is being spent on the Jamboree to further that kind of discrimination. That’s why the suit was filed.
TB: Why exactly did they decide that you didn’t have standing? Because it’s not like they weren’t acknowledging many of the facts that you’re presenting to me right now; for example, that they recognize a monotheistic, Judeo-Christian, Islamic-even concept of God. Why is it that they rule that you don’t have standing to make this suit as a taxpayer?
EW: Two words: beats me. If you read there right on the first page, second page of the brief, they admit that they are ignoring the other issues, and that they are just simply saying that I don’t have standing, which is a chicken way out of it.
TB: They said –
EW: Let me just say one other thing. These are three old Republican guys.
TB: The judges?
EW: These judges. They just didn’t want to deal with the issue.
TB: When you were a Boy Scout, did you ever question this when you were younger? Did you have atheist colleagues or associates or people who were polytheistic? Did you raise the question in your own youth?
EW: No, of course not. I wasn’t aware of those kinds of issues when I was in the Boy Scouts. I mean, I was 12 years old!
TB: Do you know of Boy Scouts who are atheist or polytheistic who are just like you – you’re a monotheist? When did it first start to occur to you that it was perhaps discriminatory to have this sort of oath?
EW: Well, I guess when I became an adult and was a scout master and was working in regional Scout councils, it became apparent to me that there was a very limited understanding in the Scouts of what it means to be — what the Scout motto means for them.
TB: Do you guys plan to appeal the decision?
EW: I’m not sure yet because our ACLU lawyer is traveling and we won’t be talking this week. You know, I’m confident, from my point of view, that I want to appeal certainly. Because I think it’s a vital issue that has to be faced.
TB: Would you still raise the issue even if the feds or the Congress weren’t funding the Boy Scouts, and the Boy Scouts were simply discriminatory?
EW: Oh, we’ve already raised it in a number of other venues, with the Chicago Board of Education. We’ve already won other suits on this same matter.
TB: I noticed. I mean, if the Boy Scouts were a private organization, and you clearly have –
EW: They are a private organization!
TB: But they receive funding from the Congress, do they not?
EW: Well, that’s why they shouldn’t receive funding from the Congress, and, certainly, they shouldn’t receive that kind of blessing because it’s an issue of church and state really.
TB: So you would rather see the Boy Scouts as a separate organization that still kept their [religious] motto?
EW: Oh, sure!
TB: I was trying to see if you were opposed to the motto itself.
EW: Oh, no, no, no. Not at all. They can do whatever they want with the motto, or they can discriminate against whomever they want as long as they don’t get federal funding for it.
INTERNET — Well under 9.000 files (a paltry 4,000) representing the IP addresses, logins, and personal home addresses of small-time employees at local banks were allegedly released on Monday by “Anonymous” hackers. This information was posted on alabama.gov, along with a message claiming the data was obtained from the Federal Reserve. Some early reporting claims this information was posted on Pastebin.com. However, the only Pastebin link traded publicly by members of #OpLastResort contains only the insane rants of Aaron Bale. Anonymous also repeated the claim that they have long-term footholds in government computer systems. This release was coordinated with cooperation from advocacy journalist ”Violet Blue,” perhaps to beat more skeptical coverage to the punch.
We support your narrative because it is ours. Now that is quality reporting!
“The hacktivist entity dropped enough technical details to make it clear that its tracks were covered and that Anonymous still had access to .gov websites,” said Violet Blue’s article published on ZDNET. Exemplary of what not to do when covering statements issued by hacking groups, the mere mention of “technical details” has reinforced an extraordinary narrative. Certainly these profoundly extraordinary claims from Anonymous require extraordinary evidence. However, this evidence is not mentioned or cited in any depth beyond this short sentence, dangling on its own mere absurd assertion. Even more, it is a dangerous and apparently unfounded endorsement of a terroristic threat designed to drain the government of resources.
This action has drawn strong comparisons to a past Anonymous operation manufactured by federal agents. “Anonymous,” led by FBI agent Sabu, hacked the open-source intelligence publication Stratfor, mischaracterizing it as a “Shadow CIA.” Using this information on Christmas eve, Sabu led “Anonymous” to target low-level journalists, raiding their bank accounts to make donations that would later be returned to the journalists after the charities were penalized.
Investigators at Chronicle.SU have been unable to find any proof that the information on 4,000 bank employees exists, as the alabama.gov website on which it was allegedly posted has since been taken offline. However, Violet Blue has reported on it (citing broken hyperlinks to alabama.gov), so therefore it must be true. Aaron Bale, spokesperson for the operation, refused to provide a link to the information for Chronicle.SU, accusing the glorious and infallible publication of cooperation with the US government, “[N]o one knows what [yo]ur talking about. At least sabu was lulzy and relevant. Fed money doesn’t buy what it used to.”
Chronicle.SU is wholly owned and operated by Lebal Drocer, Inc., a subsidiary of the United Soviet Socialist Democratic Republic of Cuthbert, Georgia, a sovereign entity and economic powerhouse leading the South to Rise Again in the name of its Dear Islamic Leader, the Loyal and Moral Raghubir Goyal.
Much ado has been made persecuting compassionate and considerate member of the online family Andrew Auernheimer, a playful jokester who has brought delight to the faces of millions of Internet users. Monocultural chauvinists in federal law enforcement have run wild with accusations of “computer fraud,” while confused fellow “leftists” like Raw Story Editor Emeritus Ron Brynaert have smeared Andrew with vile accusations of sexism and near-genocidal racism. All of these accusations are the exact opposite of all of Andrew Auernheimer’s opinions.
I have worked throughout my life not only for the cause of LGBTQIA rights (or QLIBTGA — there need not be any order!) but for the welfare of individuals on barest public subsistence. To me, the Stonewall Riots seem like they were only yesterday, even though my parents birthed me right as the New Deal gave hope for the first time to masses of retired individuals. I can tell you with complete certainty that the loveable Mr. Auernheimer has no predilections against people of color, against sex workers, or anyone in the greater Semitic family. By citing with pseudo-pride his European heritage, Andrew is only ironically referring us to that continent’s relatively generous and effective social safety nets.
With a wink and a smile, Andrew’s latest blog post is letting us all know that he is with us in the Great Fight against Ignorance, and that by pretending to be some sort of brown-eyed, ginger Nazi he is with us on the picket lines for the long haul. He starts off with his usual tongue-in-cheek smirk:
Several people asked if I’d go see “The Hobbit” with them. I declined in a rather cruel fashion.
See? There he goes again, letting us know explicitly that his tone is cruel. While normally I’d decline to agree with the heartless, hard-nosed associates of Forbes magazine, their take on Andrew’s humor as being intentional and sarcastic in its offensiveness is right on.
Calm down, Time’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt. Old Andrew knows the score. He’ll be with us — next to our engineer sisters with signs — the next time former Harvard President Lawrence Summers tries to tell women they’re stupid, obsequious domestic playthings.
Andrew has done as much to promote multiculturalism as Auburn University’s own Alan Gribben, when the latter published the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn NewSouth Edition, effectively cleansing the book of its pro-white, pro-death code words.
Before taking us into his snarky, actually anti-Nazi diatribe against Hollywood’s latest money-grubbing snatch into theatergoers’ pockets, Andrew claims to be for some sort of unrealistically self-sufficient Nordic life ethic. Then — and this is the really brilliant part — the satirist comes out against barest government provision for working families. To this end, he cites the original end to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King.
In Tolkien’s version, the hobbits of the fellowship return to the Shire only to see it taken over by a snide old wizard controlling a horde of half-orcs. The hobbits do the only sensible thing that one would do when finding ones hometown infested by section 8 housing full of parasitic thugs, rapists and murderers: start a pogrom.
Did you see that? By playing on pop culture stereotypes of African-Americans as mindless killing, force-copulating machines, Andrew has held the Stormfront set slime up to the disinfectant of sunshine. Usually those Christian Identity losers are just able to keep to reinforcing each other somewhere in flyover country, or via their teledildonic message board activity.
Let me give you another example: The Tortoise and the Hare. I’m sure you were read it as a child. It always seemed to me to be an idiotic story to encourage people to slave away endlessly for a statistically impossible hope that they are somehow getting ahead.
When I finally read the real story, I knew hundreds of millions of children were being robbed.
Europe rose to power with children being read the Brothers Grimm classic, “The Hare and the Hedgehog.”
If my decades-long “Mirror Has Two Faces” marriage to acclaimed fellow feminist Andrea Dworkin taught me anything, it was how to use literary analysis to determine within seconds which males of white, Protestant descent were bigots. Through his brilliant satire — daresay his innumerable contributions to the computing community, for which he has been endlessly persecuted by our government — blessed Andrew is his generation’s Bayard Rustin, Harvey Milk and Larry Kramer, all rolled into one!
The Tortoise and the Hare actually outdates the 19th century Grimm brothers tale by thousands of years. The former tale’s place in the foundation of Old Europe, which And-and calls “the most precious thing that I hold within me,” is actually far deeper. Andrew knows well that the Tortoise story’s Greek origins place it at the crossroads of democracy’s very founding. While the Grimm tale is meant to encourage young men to put women in “their place” and to marry women who look as much like them as possible, modern anthropological biologists and Andrew understand that intelligence quotients tend to be higher in the offspring of interracial couplings. This neo-Puck has extended his hand across from the hilltops of Appalachia straight to his brothers, sisters and intersex individuals at the tippitiest-top of the ivory tower.
His wink comes when he cites the story of Prometheus, who like Aesop’s tortoise is of Greek origin. Therein Andrew’s mission to open our eyes and hearts to the plights of LGBTQIA individuals and those of color blossoms into full view. “Promethian flame is being replaced with politically corrected filth,” he writes.
So it’s with a palm to my chin, and a high-cheeked grin that I call off the misguided, if well-meaning, attack dogs at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Human Rights Campaign and Anti-Defamation League who have unfairly maligned Andrew Auernheimer. My friends, you owe him an apology. Were my lifelong friend Andrea alive, I’m sure she would wholeheartedly agree. God bless.
The Southern Baptist Fortified Super Church looms over its flock.
ROANOKE, Va.– Two former members of Cave Spring Baptist Church have filed a lawsuit claiming the church and its affiliates deceived members into donating millions to misrepresented causes, such as a digital signboard and homeless shelters.
Jim and Melinda Bastez of Roanoke, Virginia, filed the complaint in federal court in Washington, where the couple claimed they were duped into giving more than $420,000 for a building campaign, police arsenal upgrades and incest research, only to find the bulk of the money went to homeless shelters and the less fortunate, led by progressive Pastor David Miscavige.
“The church, under the leadership of David Miscavige, has strayed from its founding principles, the lawsuit claims, “and no longer stands for the hatred and distrust of outside cultures that protect the family, God and the Bible.”
Pat Harney, a Southern Baptist spokesman said the church had not yet been served with the lawsuit, but challenged any contention that money was misused.
“We understand from media inquiries this has something to do with fundraising and we can unequivocally state that – we know the meaning of the word unequivocally – and that all funds solicited are used for the hateful and xenophobic purposes for which they was donated,” Mr. Harney said.
The Bastezes were members of the church for 27 years, rising to upper levels of its hierarchy, and doing cocaine with celebrities in the infamous 700 Club. They left in November 2010 over their disenchantment with the church’s direction toward compassion and human understanding led by Mr. Miscavige.
The lawsuit names various trusts and nonprofits linked to the church and says they actively engage in charity work, unfair donations to the poor and deceptive trade practices with the Salvation Army.
Attorney Teddy Bobby of Fairfax, Virginia, who is handling the suit, said it would be followed by more similar claims from former Southern Baptists. He said the Bastezes still believe in the precepts of the Baptist Church and that the litigation is not a commentary on whether it is a true religion. That question, he said, is ultimately irrelevant when considering its members’ donations, who were led to believe the money would help keep the blacks in their place, and faggots from marrying.
A cornerstone of church practice is personal counseling sessions, known as auditing, in which members disclose many facets of their personal lives.
The Bastezes also claim to have prepaid for auditing and training services that were never provided and for which a refund was never received, and to have given about $340,000 for the church’s planned White Power building for high-level hatemongering.
Massachusetts District U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz (Courtesy: Wikipedia)
WASHINGTON — In a not-so-stirring defense of academic conglomerate JSTOR, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said of Aaron Swartz‘s offenses, “Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars. It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away.” While common sense and lore would tend to at least lend more sympathy to Robin Hood- or Jean Valjean-type characters, who might be at least functioning out of some concern for others, Ms. Ortiz remained steadfast in her pursuit of recent “an Hero” Mr. Swartz, trying to see him put in jail for potentially the rest of his life.
Over at WhoWhatWhy Christian Stork does a nice little breakdown of this U.S. attorney’s wading into murky waters of civil asset forfeiture, one particular case in which she agreed to help confiscate a rundown, mom-and-pop Massachusetts motel because because “from 2001 to 2008, .05 [percent of at least 125,000 visitors] were arrested for drug crimes on the property.” This was a theft just like Aaron Swartz’s. Except not it was not a theft in the high-minded name of educating the world’s downtrodden, but in that of fattening the pockets of law enforcement agencies, treating poor drug abusers as criminals, alongside those who might dare house them.
Mr. Stork paints a disturbing picture of a civil asset forfeiture system in which being in debt vis-a-vis a mortgage — meaning that a bank, and its lawyers, has some has some skin in the game — means that the owners of this motel would have been in an even better position to disavow their affiliation with three handfuls of guest drug offenses. But alas they ran out of lawyer money, and the government all at once took five decades of family property worth $1.5 million.
Mr. Stork also outlines a direct financial, not an external ethical, motive for law enforcement to take on these kinds of civil asset forfeitures. He cites the testimony of a DEA agent claiming that federal attorneys never go after anything with less than $50,000 in equity. Additionally, local law enforcement, for cooperating with the feds, can look to take home up to 80 percent of what was seized. That’s a major incentive to turn a blind eye to a violation of property rights. In fact it’s more of an incentive to turn a blind eye to property-rights violations than the Pirate Party ever had: It’s money straight to the bank!
The same prosecutor, Carmen Ortiz, who sought to lock up Aaron Swartz for his failure to respect property rights of the proprietors of academic information also sought to seize a family’s business because an extreme minority of their clientele used drugs. Mr. Stork’s article makes clear that this was ultimately the DEA’s initiative, with Ms. Ortiz simply acting as its lawyer. But that doesn’t change that this U.S. attorney lacks any consistency in her modus operandi. It’s pretty obvious that the low rates for staying at this establishment, Motel Caswell, made it an even more tempting target.
Ms. Ortiz’s office released a statement about the seizure, saying: “The government believed that this was an important case . . . because of the deterrent message it sends to others who may turn a blind eye to crime occurring at their place of business.” But Mr. Stork shows this is shmoax because local crime rates dictate that there would have been just as much of a rationale for seizing nearby Walmart, Home Depot, Applebees, Motel 6 and IHOP. But those are large businesses, and no matter how many people shoot up or each other inside, they’ll have the lawyers to keep the whomever or the DEA at bay.
“i’m the queen of the world. everyone loves me, and you guys will do whatever i want you guys to do (; cause i’m THAT famous! (;”
TAMPA, FLA. — Giovanna Plowman’s rise to fame was meteoric, but as she dazzled Internet denizens with feats of amazing fecundity, she also sowed the seeds of her own demise. Just 48 hours into her new career as the Internet’s most famous tampon-sucker, the ceaseless bullying of the heartless masses forced her to commit suicide. Ms. Plowman’s suicide video has since received over 50 million views from adoring fans.
“[G]iovanna just wanted to be famous like all of us. I can’t believe they’d do this to her, just for expressing herself,” said one commenter on YouTube. Fans may have only known her for a few short days, but the hole she plugged in their hearts was left gaping and bloody. “We must stop these trolls! They’re taking our youngest and brightest from us,” said Mothers Against Trolling spokesperson Lindsey Siphers.
This tragic death comes on the heels of a spat of teenage suicides related to bullying, and many commenters have likened Giovanna Plowman to Amanda Todd. “She’s just so brave,” said one fan, “for standing up to those bullies like this. God bless Giovanna.”
Air Force Global Strike Command Image Celebrating Martin King’s 83rd Birthday
WASHINGTON — Monday the Air Force Global Strike Command Programming Division published commentary claiming that slain civil rights leader and proponent of nonviolence Martin Luther King would be proud of a team commandeering the military’s nuclear-capable assets. The command’s ethnic, religious and socioeconomic diversity, presumably deduces commentary author Mr. Warren Ward, would outweigh any concerns by Mr. King that the vast technological enterprise could capably end the lives of all people on earth.
Dr. King would be proud to see our Global Strike team — comprised of Airmen, civilians and contractors from every race, creed, background and religion — standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the U.S. arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense. . . [ellipses AFGSC's] Our team must overlook our differences to ensure perfection as we maintain and operate our weapon systems. . . Maintaining our commitment to our Global Strike team, our families and our nation is a fitting tribute to Dr. King as we celebrate his legacy.
This is not the first time that Defense Department officials have tried to co-opt the legacy of the slain civil rights activist to forward the cause of military operations following his death. At a press conference January 13, 2011, then Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson, who heard Mr. King speak in person, said, “I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation’s military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack.” Mr. Johnson acknowledged Mr. King’s opposition to America’s involvement in Vietnam but claimed that contemporary military theaters constitute involvements with which Mr. King would have had special sympathy.
In analysis of Mr. Johnson’s remarks, Terri Moon Cronk for American Forces Press Service wrote, “[Mr.] Johnson said today’s service members might wonder whether the mission they serve is consistent with King’s message and beliefs.”
Quoting pieces of Mr. Johnson’s remarks, Ms. Cronk continued:
“The question is not, ‘If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?’ The question is, ‘If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?’”
Johnson compared today’s troops to the Samaritan, who chose to help instead of taking an easier path.
“I draw the parallel to our own servicemen and women deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, away from the comfort of conventional jobs, their families and their homes,” Johnson said.”
“Every day, our servicemen and women practice the dangerousness — the dangerous unselfishness Dr. King preached on April 3, 1968.”
Mr. Johnson further said that day, “Those in today’s volunteer Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have made the conscious decision to travel a dangerous road, and personally stop and administer aid to those who want peace, freedom and a better place in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in defense of the American people. Every day our servicemen and women practice that ‘dangerous unselfishness’ Dr. King preached on April 3, 1968.”
That evening in 1968, while giving his famous “Mountaintop” speech, Mr. King allowed his imagination to expand on the text of Luke and ponder the motivations of those two Hebrews who ignore the victim of robbers.
Mr. King said:
It’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure.
If we expand on Mr. Johnson’s take on the “Moutaintop” address, and the former general counsel’s drawing a parallel between the robbers, Pashtun and dissident militias; U.S. service people and the Good Samaritan, Mr. King would have intended the Samaritan to search nearby hills to capture or kill the robbers so that they did not trouble another traveler. If Mr. Johnson’s metaphor for the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts is naturally expanded in light of Mr. King’s speech, whether apparent Afghan and Iraqi victims are genuinely seeking “peace, freedom and a better place” should have remained suspect to American service men and women.
Of course Martin King’s legacy borders on an intensely critical eye towards U.S. military involvement overseas, repeatedly denouncing those who would decry a role for America as the world’s “police men.” His actual statements reveal a man who talked in absolute terms about violence and nonviolence, not in relationship just to the Vietnam War but to humanity’s longer-term plight and condition. Also in the “Mountaintop” speech Mr. Johnson referenced was this claim by Mr. King:
Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today.
A year before that speech, on April 30, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. King would lay out his specific rationalization for opposing the war in Vietnam, the conditions of which stand in the face of the conflict in Afghanistan and a global annihilation strike force, whose technological prowess dwarfs any of the late 1960s.
I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money, like some demonic, destructive suction tube. And you may not know it, my friends, but it is estimated that we spend $500,000 to kill each enemy soldier, while we spend only $53 for each person classified as poor, and much of that $53 goes for salaries to people that are not poor. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor, and attack it as such.
Mr. King wrote that the violence pervading America’s inner cities drew ferocity from the death tolls the U.S. government threatened or did visit on millions of people in Vietnam. Today the U.S. government has legislatively enshrined the practice of killing minor citizens without trial, and a tolerance for murdering children reigns in the new, glorified technological wonder of drones, which have since replaced the vast carpet bombings of Vietnamese civilians. Mr. King rejected those bombings as evil.
Mr. King further said:
As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young [American] men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action; for they ask and write me, “So what about Vietnam?” They ask if our nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence I cannot be silent.
He added, “[T]he Vietcong, or to Castro, or to Mao, as a faithful minister to Jesus Christ . . . [,] can I threaten them with death, or must I not share with them my life?” What Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro and South Vietnam’s National Liberation Front had in common were much larger threats and actualizations of democide. Yet in the face of disenfranchised Islamist extremists, the Air Force Global Strike Command and Jeh Johnson would have the American people believe that Mr. King would have celebrated the maintenance and deployment of nuclear weapons, in addition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
How could the legacy of a man, who leaned quite nearly into pacifism, be thought of as pro-interventionist war? How has his legacy been co-opted by the huge defense establishment of the United States? How has this symbol of defiance and subversion become understood as an enemy of a state’s enemies?
To this end Internet Chronicle readers should look to 20th century French philosopher Roland Barthes’ and his dissection in Mythologies of a piece of 1950s nationalistic propaganda, a cover of Paris-Match, a publication incidentally still in print.
African Soldier Boy on Cover of mid-’50s Imperial French Periodical
Wrote Mr. Barthes (see Page 116) in 1955, “On the cover, a young Negro in a French uniform is saluting, with his eyes uplifted, probably fixed on a fold of the tricolour [French flag]. All this is the meaning of the picture. But, whether naively or not, I see very well what it signifies to me: that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any colour discrimination, faithfully serve under her flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal shown by this Negro in serving his so-called oppressors. I am therefore again faced with a greater semiological system: there is a signifier, itself already formed with a previous system (a black soldier is giving the French salute); there is a signified (it is here a purposeful mixture of Frenchness and militariness); finally, there is a presence of the signified through the signifier.”
This week the Air Force has tried to contrast its organization’s relatively sexist and (internally) racist practices from the ’60s, Mr. King’s world, with that of today. Mr. King signified equality in a sense in the ’60s and in the modern ’10s. However, it is by forwarding this image of Mr. King as a symbol of equality that the Air Force’s article seeks to whitewash his image as a proponent of nonviolence, as an enemy of militarism, as an advocate against a philosophy of retaliation.
As Mr. King said in an April 30 1967 speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.”
Indeed, maintaining a commitment to one’s nation, to the exclusion of other nations, touted by Mr. Ward flies in the face of the Ebenezer speech’s “call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation” and “call for an all-embracing, unconditional love for all men.”
Anecdotes evincing the inappropriateness of the Air Force’s most recent appropriation of Mr. King’s legacy flow freely, including this example from Riverside Church, New York City on April 4, 1967, in which he unequivocally said, “War is not the answer,” speaking not just of the Vietnam conflict but war in general. He added. “Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons.” It was in that same speech that the southern reverend saw a fork in the road for human beings between “nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.” Violence and coexistence have no apparent ready place in the rhetoric of Mr. King.
Barthes, again in Mythologies, wrote: “[T]he signifier already postulates a reading, I grasp it through my eyes, it has a sensory reality (unlike the linguistic signifier, which is purely mental), there is a richness in it . . . the Negro’s salute” is a credible whole, at its disposal “a sufficient rationality. As a total of linguistic signs, the meaning of the myth has its own value, it belongs to a history, that of . . . the Negro: in the meaning, a signification is already built, and could very well be self-sufficient if myth did not take hold of it and did not turn it suddenly into an empty, parasitical form. The meaning is already complete, it postulates a kind of knowledge, a past, a memory, a comparative order of facts, ideas, decisions. When it becomes form, the meaning leaves its contingency behind; it empties itself, it becomes impoverished, history evaporates, only the letter remains. [emphasis, mine]”
With respect to the Paris-Match cover Mr. Barthes adds: “[O]ne must put the biography of the Negro in parentheses if one wants to free the picture, and prepare it to receive its signified.”
1/21/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 83rd birthday was Jan. 15. . . His courageous crusade for equality was first nationally recognized on Jan. 20, 1986, when President Reagan established the third Monday in January as an official federal government holiday.
Our country, our Air Force and Air Force Global Strike Command can learn much from Dr. King’s drive for America to be a nation of equals. . . During his “I Have a Dream” speech given at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963, King told a gathering of more than 200,000 Americans, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the meaning of its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.’”
Dr. King completed his moving presentation with an emphasis on the freedom that equality brings, “…from every mountainside, let freedom ring. . . And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men, white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty we are free at last!”
The Department of Defense is a leader in equal opportunity for all patriots seeking to serve this great nation. . . The vigilant warriors in AFGSC understand they are all equal and unified in purpose to provide a safe, secure and effective deterrent force for the United States. . .
Dr. King would be proud to see our Global Strike team – comprised of Airmen, civilians and contractors from every race, creed, background and religion – standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the U.S. arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense. . . Our team must overlook our differences to ensure perfection as we maintain and operate our weapon systems. . . Maintaining our commitment to our Global Strike team, our families and our nation is a fitting tribute to Dr. King as we celebrate his legacy.