...colonialism or imperialism, as the slave system of the West is called, is not something confined to England or France or the United States. The interests in this country are in cahoots with the interests in France and the interests in Britain. It's one huge complex or combine, and it creates... an international power structure.... used to suppress the masses of dark-skinned people all over the world and exploit them of their natural resources."
Enter the Empire: Comfort and Masquerade
...Will the American people ever wake up to the destruction of their cherished rights and freedoms, knowing that one more 9/11 false flag type incident will be enough for the elite to make extinct all remaining illusions of liberty and democracy? The lust for Empire in America has blinded the elite to reality, and its people to the approaching storm. The world entire has realized the danger to the world of the unrivaled superpower, hijacked by greed and addiction to vice.
Rising superpowers are aware they are being targeted and threatened, for what was the Iraq invasion turned debacle but a preemptive move against Russia, China, India and the European Union, designed to control Iraq’s vast oil fields? What is the approaching storm in Iran but the continuation of the Empire’s power grab of natural resources, of putting in place those nations who have not fallen in line with the Empire’s vision of the future? What is Afghanistan but a beachhead into central Asia, a pipeline route to vast oil fields, a grand prize in the great chess match between nations?
In the grand chessboard of geostrategic and geopolitical realpolitik, the invasion and occupation of Iraq served notice that the Empire was declaring the 21st century America’s century, fully willing to embark on a most ominous journey of resource acquisition and control, through war, if it had to, through peace, if rivals acquiesced and submitted, bending down to kiss the royal ring of Empire. Iraq was and is seen as a new American colony, its oil now belonging to the Anglo-American enterprise, its 100 acre embassy, larger than Vatican City, serving to remind the world that Iraq will never be abandoned, it will never be relinquished. Its prize, besides the oil fields, is the geostrategic location it provides, opening up a giant military presence in the Middle East and central Asia. The availability of its two rivers, providing enormous amounts of water to the Arab world, assures America of control over the Middle East in this respect as well.
The endgame, of course, is Empire, the inevitable continuation of manifest destiny, begun long ago, traversing through time and space, exterminating everything in its way. The opportunity to be recorded in history as a rival to Rome has also become a large incentive to those whose egos are larger than their intellect. The endgame, as always in the system called capitalism, is resource control, human exploitation, wealth maximization, competitor extermination and power unrivaled[...]
from Arabian Sights...
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
[Adapted from Walter Rodney, East African Educational Publishers, Nairobi, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, 1972]
..."The big contradiction of Development is that it makes the majority suffer in order to make its capitalist achievements possible. One of the major ideas behind Development is a comparative one. All the countries named as underdeveloped in the world are exploited by others and the underdevelopment with which the (‘educated’) world is preoccupied is a product of capitalist imperialist and colonialist exploitation…African societies were developing independently till they were taken over by capitalist powers. One of the most common means by which one nation exploits another and one that is relevant to Africa’s external relations is trade. The whole export-import relationship between Africa and its trading partners is one of unequal exchange and of exploitation [and] the ownership of the means of production in one country by citizens of another country. When the citizens of Europe own the land and mines of Africa, this is the most direct way of sucking the African continent. Foreign investment ensures that the natural resources and the labor of Africa are stored for future extraction and exploitation."
Over the years, the players in this game of exploitation have changed but the script remains the same. Ownership, Control and Exploitation need not be done overtly anymore as subtle/sophisticated models exist for achieving similar ends. One of the most effective ways of achieving control is through indoctrination! In the colonial era naked force was used to rob people of their material possessions, break their intellectual-spiritual capacities and re-construct their social realities. Today, modern institutional structures- themselves drawing from and sharing an intellectual breeding ground with colonialism’s assumptions are helping to achieve these ends-effectively. We have controls being exerted through the instruments of international finance-loans, deceptively called ‘aid’ are used to, not only control, but also to entrench a dehumanizing culture of dependence. Worse is the mental colonization. Perhaps the most important mission of colonial education- actively being pursued today- is the ‘naturalization’ of capitalist individualism and competition, which creates slavery to the Market and blunts creative, independent thinking. The result is the tearing apart of societies’ social fabrics- a manifestation of individualistic ethos.
Europe’s Contribution to Africa’s Underdevelopment
"In the case of manufacturing, achievements in Africa have been contemptuously treated because the modern conception of the word brings to mind factories and machines. Most African societies fulfilled their own needs for a wide range of articles of domestic use, as well as farming equipment. The colonial system led to a delay in industrial and technological developments in Africa. It totally destroyed/eradicated or neglected pre-existing indigenous industries, processing of locally produced raw materials and agricultural products, building materials, pottery and cookery, iron-tools etc. It has to be remembered that traditional Africa’s technological-industrial capacities emerged out of a completely unique set of social, cultural, environmental, and economic milieu. Its ‘greatness’-if one must use this word at all- must be seen in light of its adaptability to surrounding cultural, ecological, spiritual and moral sensitivities. In contrast to its modern exterminator, it was never avaricious, exploitative, dis-empowering, plunderous or competitive. Colonialism also saddled most colonies with mono-crop economies. Each colony was made to produce a single cash crop or two and no attempt was made to diversify agriculture. To this day, many African societies lack food for internal consumption, rice, maize, and other foods have to be imported."
"In the case of slavery, the [sudden] changeover from peaceful economic activity to war-like activities [of] kidnapping, raping, humiliating, burning affected all branches of economic activity for centuries to follow. The brutal and disruptive nature of slavery prevented millions of people from engaging in meaningful agriculture and industry. Hence there was stagnation in these fields. The connection between slavery and capitalist development in the growth of England is well documented by Eric Williams in Capitalism and Slavery. England derived immense benefits from trading and exploiting slaves –outstanding examples are provided in the persons of David and Alexander Barclay who were engaging in the slave trade in 1756 and who later used the loot to set up Barclays Banks!"
The reason why it is important to re-think these issues now is because there are myths (some 500 year-old) which are today badly affecting our intellectual/moral regenerative capacities and which we need to explode. For example, the myth that Americans (Westerners) are hardworking while Africans are lazy is as vacuous as it is racist. "The acquisition of wealth is not due to hard work alone or the Africans working as slaves in America and the West Indies would have been the wealthiest in the world. The individualism of the capitalist must be seen against the hard and unrewarded work of the masses." Such myths are in fact inhibiting our capacities to recognize that colonial/Western institutions were designed to destroy, not to respect and appreciate our wealth of experiences. It is upon such myths that we, the educated people, have forced huge sections of our people to abandon their meaning making systems ostensibly to join us in a costly march towards a narrowly defined Progress, an illusory ideal. Today, communities around the world are already conceiving of fresh ways of knowing, based on rich historical and civilizational experiences. We may want to reflect upon certain questions
What kinds of questions and views should we raise and reflect upon to liberate and discover new understandings about our societies? [...]
Christian-fascist crusaders for a global capitalist kingdom of white supremacist 'manifest destiny':
“The Christian Taliban is Running the Department of Defense”
By Robert Koehler
... a contingent of religious zealots, with contempt for secular values (and such manifestations of secular order as the U.S. Constitution) - with zest for holy war in control of the most potent fighting force and weaponry in human history http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17642.htm
US Theocons Fight Battle in Iraq
Many has been written about the privatization of the Iraq war, but in his new bestseller book Jeremy Scahill sheds much needed light on the ideological roots of the largest US private mercenary firm and its links to the theocons and the Christian militia Sovereign Military Order of Malta. The book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, exposes the infiltrating influence of the North Carolina-based largest private mercenary firm... http://www.uruknet.de/?p=32592
Imperialist Rulers Unity:
Democrats Back Down On Iraq Timetable
President Bush and congressional leaders began negotiating a second war funding bill yesterday, with Democrats offering major concession: an agreement to drop their demand for a timeline to bring troops home from Iraq.http://snipurl.com/1j93h
Insurgents' 'right to take on US'
Insurgents in Iraq are right to try to force US troops out of the country, a former British army commander has said.
Gen Sir Michael Rose also told the BBC's Newsnight programme that the US and the UK must "admit defeat" and stop fighting "a hopeless war" in Iraq.
Iraq: At Least 61 Killed In Another Deadly Day of U.S. Occupation:
"Iraqi army" killed 25 "insurgents", arrested 122 others in last 48 hours in Iraq http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IBO222782.htm
“Zarqawi’s successor” Al-masri killed …Again
Al-masri... is alive in a jail in Egypt, Egyptian government moved him into another prison and keep in isolation.
This is the third time the "Green Zone" government announces that Al-Masri killed, the first one was Oct. 6, second in Feb. 7.
The "Green Zone" government means the myth behind Al-masri is killed, but the US wants to keep this fictional boogieman for coming few months or years
Egyptian newspaper almesryoon reported that a call issued by the lawyer of the so called “Zarqawi’s successor” = “Abu Ayoub Al-Masri”, for his release from prison after he has been detained since ten years. Sharif Haza’a, is in hunger strike since June last year after he was transferred to a new prison and kept in isolation, Egyptian authorities denied him from meeting his family and visitors. His lawyer still insists that Haza’a never traveled to Iraq in his life, had nothing to do with “Al-Qaeda” ...
NO AMOUNT OF GENOCIDAL TERROR WILL STOP THE IRAQI RESISTANCE -- ALL WHO GENUINELY 'OPPOSE' THE WAR MUST SUPPORT THE JUST RESISTANCE
Another 3,700 American occupation troops arrives in Baghdad
"NO MERCY": Annals of the Afghan Liberation
Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque
...because the Terror War has... no real purpose beyond loot and power for a few -- it devalues and degrades everything it touches. To kill a human being is nothing more than stirring up a bit of dust; it's easy -- "the odds are on our side" -- it's fun, "I really enjoy it."
This is the ethos of the War on Terror ... "No mercy." "Extreme aggression." "Uncompromising force." And this is the dictum with which Bush now sends his troops into battle -- a directive that echoes almost precisely the instructions given by another "war leader" to his armies as they stood poised to launch a war of aggression based on false pretenses, some 68 years ago:
"Close your hearts to pity."
UPDATE: Yet another example of the effectiveness of the "extreme aggression" ordered by the Bush Administration in its Afghan satrapy cropped up on Sunday -- in the same province where the Marine rampage last month caused a spot of bother. AP reports:
Hundreds of angry protesters chanting "Death to Bush" demonstrated in eastern Afghanistan after six people — including a woman and a teenage girl — were reportedly killed when U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces raided a suspected car bomb cell early Sunday...
The protest was held on the same highway where a U.S. marines convoy, fleeing after being hit by a suicide car bomb on March 4, fired indiscriminately on vehicles and pedestrians, killing 12 people.
Index on Afghanistan: April 2007: Murder in Nangarhar
Sarah Meyer, INDEX RESEARCH
The horrors in Iraq are mirrored in Afghanistan: civilian murders; harassment; no improvements in water, electricity, hospitals, schools. Now, Afghanistan has its very own 'Haditha’ - which boomerangs back to Fallujah, Iraq. Two stories on the 4 March murder disaster appeared. Carlotta Gall wrote in the New York Times 16 Civilians Killed as U.S. Troops Fire on Afghan Road. The press office blamed the [terrorists] - Lt. Col. Accetta then blamed the 'Taliban...: http://www.uruknet.de/?p=32596
U.S. Puppetmaster Karzai says Afghans losing patience over killing of civilians by occupation forces
Nearly 60 civilians have been killed in raids by U.S.-led troops in the past week, Afghan officials say, sparking four days so far of anti-American, anti-Karzai protests
"SECURING" AFRICA FOR U.S. IMPERIALIST GEOSTRATEGIC DOMINATION IN THE NAME OF "ANTI-TERRORISM":
U.S. AFRICOM aims to secure Africa:
AfriCom will preside over all countries on the continent except Egypt and is expected to be operational by the fall, according to Pentagon officials. They say it is needed to secure vast, lawless areas where terrorists have sought safe haven to regroup and threaten U.S. interests.
VENEZUELA NATIONALIZATION CONTINUES:
Venezuela has continued its nationalisation drive by taking control of privately run crude oil installations in the Orinoco basin that together account for one-fifth of the country’s production. http://snipurl.com/1j4yj
SHAM U.S.-LIKE CAPITALIST ELECTORAL POLITICS IN FRENCH
MEDIA FOCUSES ON STYLE/GENDER BECAUSE ROYALE THE "SOCIALIST", AS WELL AS "RIGHTWING" CANDIDATES, ARE ALL PRO U.S. IMPERIALISTS- ZIONISTS. SHOWTIME 'DEBATES' ABOUT DOMESTIC MATTERS ARE REVEALING: THE "SOCIALIST's" SILENCE ON FASCIST ANTI-IMMIGRATIONISM LINE SOUNDS LIKE THE COMPLICITY OF A NATIONAL SOCIALIST.
from Arabian Sights....
"Yes, I do believe in the inequality of races"
After serving in France's colonial war in Vietnam, Le Pen was first elected to parliament in the 1950s as a representative of an extreme right-wing party whose core constituency was made up of shopkeepers and rural petit-bourgeois conservatives. When an independence movement broke out in Algeria, then a French colony, Le Pen joined with the Socialist government in voting to send troops to "maintain order."
In the kind of political gesture that became his signature, Le Pen enlisted himself. He was made a lieutenant in charge of an intelligence unit whose job was to torture and murder Algerian freedom fighters. "I tortured because it had to be done," he later bragged, after France voted an amnesty for the crimes its army committed. A boy whose father was tortured to death by Le Pen's unit when they burst into his home during the battle of Algiers found a paratrooper's knife inscribed with Le Pen's name in the courtyard. It is in a museum in Algiers today, a vivid souvenir of Le Pen's basic message. The Socialists (including the future President Mitterrand) and the traditional right led by De Gaulle all have Algerian blood on their hands. The difference is that while the traditional parties have tried to cover up these facts, Le Pen makes them his banner.
Then there is the Nazi question. Mitterrand himself, it was revealed toward the end of his life, was a minor official in the Nazi collaborationist Vichy regime during World War 2 and protected high-level Nazi collaborators afterwards. De Gaulle, Chirac's political mentor, also protected Nazi henchman--he made one of them his Paris police chief when it came time to slaughter Algerian demonstrators in the capital by the hundreds. But unlike the Socialists and the Gaullists, Le Pen publicly flaunts his close association with Vichyites, French Nazis and the German Nazi SS....
Sarkozy: The French Neocon
Ghali Hassan -- 01 May, 2007
The Italian media compare Nicolas Sarkozy to Gianfranco Fini, the leader of the fascist Alleanza Nationale party. Sarkozy has shown to be greatly influenced by the Nazis’ ‘eugenic’ theory of ‘superior race’. It is also revealed that Sarkozy was involved in violation of international humanitarian law concerning immigrants...
Sarkozy’s main target is the marginalised Muslims and Muslim immigrants in France. Like other Western leaders, Sarkozy is banking on the current anti-Muslim plague – the Islamophobia contagious virus – in “the West”... He has called for more Nazi’s-like repression against immigrants, and he is in favour of creating a Ministry of Immigration and National Identity.
As France’s Minister of the Interior in 2005, Sarkozy was involved in illegal deportation of immigrants and engaged “in expulsion quotas and charter flights”. Sarkozy’s attacks on French youth (mostly descendants from Muslim and non-Muslim African immigrant families) demonstrating against discrimination and police violence calling them “scum” and “riff-raff”, saying that they should be hosed with "Karcherized" (pressurized water) brought him notoriety and revealed his real colour.
Sarkozy has made it public knowledge that he is in favour of the Nazis’ ideology of ‘superior race’. (See Sarkozy’s interview in Philosopie Magazine conducted by French Philosopher, Michel Onfray).....
Furthermore, Sarkozy is one of the few European politicians to support U.S. illegal invasion of Iraq and the ongoing mass murderous Occupation of that country by the U.S. and Britain. His policy on Israel and the Palestinians is U.S. policy. He said, he will “defend Israel’s security”, a deliberately constructed Western cliché designed to justify Israel’s terror, Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and dispossession of the Palestinian people from their land and their rights. He has praised France imperialist past, including France crimes against humanity. His attitude to Turkey’s membership in the European Union (EU) is: “If you let 100 million Turkish Muslims come in, what will come of it?” Of course the comment is grossly misleading and Sarkozy engages in fear mongering and spreading of the Islamophobia virus...
Ghali Hassan is an independent writer living in Australia.
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Potential terror jurors cite 9/11 doubts:
Many potential jurors in the Jose Padilla terrorism-support case say they aren't sure who directed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks because they don't trust reporters or the federal government.
9/11: Building 7 Was Demolished : 4 Minute Video:
In April 2007, Italian TV broadcasted a definite proof that Building 7 was demolished .
9/11: Major Italian TV network:
Conclusive evidence that WTC Building 7 was demolished with explosives
FISA Secret handpicked court OKs all but one domestic spying request:
FISA approved all but one of the government's requests last year to search or eavesdrop on suspected terrorists and spies, according to Justice Department data
MAYDAY IN L.A. "WE WILL NOT BE DIVIDED"
Wednesday, 02 May 2007
by Cynthia McKinney
Former Georgia Congresswoman McKinney delivered the following speech at an immigrant workers rights rally in Los Angeles, May 1.
Two centuries ago, the United States, Latin America, and Haiti were joined in the struggle for dignity and freedom. In 1779, when a fledgling United States was fighting for its independence, a unit of Haitian volunteers answered the call and fought alongside George Washington in the Battle of Savannah.
When Haiti threw off imperial domination, it helped Latin America to become free. In fact, Simon Bolivar received supplies from Haiti for his victorious war over Spanish imperialism while Venezuela's first tri-color flag was unfurled on Haitian soil.
Enslaved Africans in the United States fled to freedom in Haiti--and also to Mexico.
Black people and the diverse peoples of Latin America share a bond of blood and the struggle for freedom. Whether we are children of Bolivar or the children of la negra Hipolita, we are one. [...]
FASCIST STATE ATTACK ON IMMIGRANTS MAYDAY
Massive police attack on a peaceful rally in MacArthur Park brought a violent end to May Day celebrations.
LOS ANGELES, May 2, 2007
victim-of-lapd.jpg, image/jpeg, 325x432
Police violence began when police deliberately provoked marchers at Wilshire & Parkview when they drove a column of motorcycles head on into the march. Another incident at 7th & Alvarado became the flashpoint for the police attack and storming of the park. Thousands of people fled as the police fired hundreds of rounds of rubber bullets into the crowd. Entire families with young children were caught up in the attack. Many injuries from rubber bullets and batons have been reported.
Journalists from Telemundo were also injured in the police attack. Video broadcast on local TV evening news shows the reporters getting beaten, in the video a cameraman is seen knocked to the ground and his camera smashed by rioting police.
Police swept the park clear and broke up a rally estimated at over 15,000 people. People were forced into the surrounding streets and police pursued people for a number of block and then cordoned off the area. There are unconfirmed reports of incidents of street fighting with police at some locations, but most all of the people fled the park for their own safety.At a press conference later that night police chief “Baton” claimed the police attack was in response to people throwing rocks and bottles at the police, but numerous eye witnesses discount this. Victims of the attack stated the police attack came without warning and that it was the police that initiated an unprovoked attack on the May Day Celebrations.
Immigration rally attacked by police: Video:
It was a dramatic and chaotic end to what was otherwise a peaceful day here in Los Angeles. Police started to move and disperse the crowd and fired rubber bullets, dozens of rubber bullets, into the crowd. People went running and to get out of their way http://thinkprogress.org/2007/05/02/immigrant-march-disrupted-by-police/
Tape 'reveals order' to shoot Vietnam war protesters:
37-year-old recording of Kent State killings found
B.A.R SHEDS SHARP LIGHT ON HOW CULTURE FUNCTIONS TO INTENSIFY & JUSTIFY CAPITALISM'S GENOCIDAL OPPRESSION OF THE BLACK NATION:
Hip Hop Profanity, Misogyny and Violence: Blame the Manufacturer
Wednesday, 02 May 2007
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
The often convoluted debate over hip-hop lyrics and images frequently misses the point: mass marketed rap recordings, videos and stage acts are corporate products, and the artists are virtual employees and subcontractors of huge multinationals. Corporate control of the cultural marketplace is the real villain in this story, not artists who did not pick themselves for stardom and cannot on their own alter boardroom business models. Corporations have been usurping and reshaping Black mass culture for decades - hip-hop is just the latest product line:
"What the public sees, hears and consumes is the end product of a process that is integral to the business model crafted by top corporate executives."
Yet, unlike the swift and certain public condemnation that would crash down upon our hypothetical McDonald's-from-Da Hood, the bulk of Black community anger at hip hop products is directed at foul-behaving artists, rather than the corporate Dr. Frankensteins that created and profit from them. As the great Franz Fanon would have understood perfectly, colonized and racially oppressed peoples internalize - take ownership - of the social pathologies fostered by the oppressor. Thus, the anti-social aspects of commercial hip hop are perceived as a "Black" problem, to be overcome through internal devices (preaching and other forms of collective self-flagellation), rather than viewed as an assault by hostile, outside forces secondarily abetted by opportunists within the group.
In order for our nightmare McDonald's analogy to more closely fit the music industry reality, all the fast food chains would have to provide the same type of profane, low-life, hyper-sexualized, life-devaluing service/product: "Bitch-Burgers" from Burger King, served with "Chronic-Flavored Fries," "Ho Wings" from KFC, dipped in too-hot "187 Murder Sauce." If you wanted fast food, you'd have to patronize one or the other of these thug-themed chains. So, too, with hip hop music.
A handful of entertainment corporations exercise total control of the market, in incestuous (and illegal) conspiratorial concert with corporate-dominated radio. Successful so-called "independent" labels are most often mere subcontractors to the majors, dependent on them for record distribution and business survival. They are no more independent than the owner of a McDonald's franchise, whose product must conform to the standards set by global headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois.
As "conscious" rapper Paris wrote in an article republished in BAR, April 25, there is no viable alternative to the corporate nexus for hip hop artists seeking to reach a mass audience. "WHAT underground?" said Paris. "Do you know how much good material is marginalized because it doesn't fit white cooperate America's ideals of acceptability? Independents can't get radio or video play anymore, at least not through commercial outlets, and most listeners don't acknowledge material that they don't see or hear regularly on the radio or on T.V."
"Successful so-called ‘independent' labels are most often mere subcontractors to the majors."
The major record labels actively suppress positive hip hop by withholding promotional support of both the above- and below-the-table variety. Hip hop journalist and activist Davey D reported that Erykah Badu and The Roots' Grammy-winning hit "You Got Me" was initially rejected by the corporate nexus due to its "overtly positive" message..."so palms were greased with the promise that key stations countrywide would get hot ‘summer jam' concert acts in exchange for airplay. According to Questlove [of The Roots], more than $1 million in cash and resources were eventually laid out for the success of that single song." (See BAR, "Commerce is Killing the Spirit of Hip-Hop," March 7.)
Black America's hip hop problem cannot be laid at the feet of a few hundred wayward performers - and should certainly not be assigned to some inherent pathology in Black culture. African Americans do not control the packaging and dissemination of their culture: corporations and their Black comprador allies and annexes do. The mass Gangsta Rap phenomenon is a boardroom invention. I know.
From 1987 to early 1994, I co-owned and hosted "Rap It Up," the first nationally syndicated radio hip hop music program. During the first half of this period, the Rap genre accomplished its national "breakout" from New York and LA, spreading to all points in between. By 1990, the major labels were preparing to swallow the independent labels that had birthed commercial hip hop, which had evolved into a wondrous mix of party, political and "street"-aggressive subsets. One of the corporate labels (I can't remember which) conducted a study that shocked the industry: The most "active" consumers of Hip Hop, they discovered, were "tweens," the demographic slice between the ages of 11 and 13.
"A whole generation has been locked in perpetual arrested social development."
The numbers were unprecedented. Even in the early years of Black radio, R&B music's most "active" consumers were at least two or three years older than "tweens." It didn't take a roomful of PhDs in human development science to grasp the ramifications of the data. Early and pre-adolescents of both genders are sexual-socially undeveloped - uncertain and afraid of the other gender. Tweens revel in honing their newfound skills in profanity; they love to curse. Males, especially, act out their anxieties about females through aggression and derision. This is the cohort for which the major labels would package their hip hop products. Commercial Gangsta Rap was born - a sub-genre that would lock a whole generation in perpetual arrested social development.
First, the artists would have to be brought into the corporate program. The term "street" became a euphemism for a monsoon of profanity, gratuitous violence, female and male hyper-promiscuity, the most vulgar materialism, and the total suppression of social consciousness. A slew of child acts was recruited to appeal more directly to the core demographic.
Women rappers were coerced to conform to the new order. A young female artist broke down at my kitchen table one afternoon, after we had finished a promotional interview. "They're trying to make me into a whore," she said, sobbing. "They say I'm not ‘street' enough." Her skills on the mic were fine. "They" were the A&R people from her corporate label.
Stories like this abounded during the transition from independent to major label control of hip hop. The thug- and -"ho"ification of the genre is now all but complete.
Blame the manufacturer.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be reached at Glen.Ford (at) BlackAgendaReport.com.
A 'HO' BY ANY OTHER COLOR: THE HISTORY & ECONOMICS OF BLACK FEMALE SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
Wednesday, 02 May 2007
by contributing editor Dr. Edward Rhymes
While white women's sexuality is celebrated in movies and magazines, Black women acting out the same behavior are relegated to the ranks of whoredom. This gross double standard is rooted in slavery and super-exploitation of Black females, who were made prey to white male lust and depicted as sexually animalistic, in addition to bearing the burden of unremunerated labor. Conversely, "even at her most licentious," a white woman "is made to appear innocent, wholesome and strangely virginal."
"Raunchiness is deracialized when the practitioners are white."
Don Imus in his "apology" went on to say that the term "ho" didn't originate in the white community, but rather in the Black community. As the term "ho" is a variation of the word "whore" (a word not foreign to the American lexicon and indeed has been used with great frequency in the white community), that assertion does not hold water. So once again, what is endemic in American society is viewed as a specific "Black" identifier or just a "Black thing." That would be the equivalent of saying that the first person to call the television a TV undeniably invented it or the individual who first referred to the automobile as a car, now holds the patent to the creation. However, let it be understood, this truth does not excuse or exonerate sexist hip-hop from its shameful contribution to the debasement of women.
In regard to gender, there have been two, pronounced, conflicting and unjust narratives concerning female sexuality in America. Although all women who were viewed or accused as loose or promiscuous faced the ire and consternation of a (predominantly white) male-dominated society, there has always been this duplicitous racial application of the penalties incurred for committing perceived "moral" crimes against society. Historically, White women, as a category, have been portrayed as examples of self-respect, self-control, and modesty - even sexual purity - but Black women were often (and still are) portrayed as innately promiscuous, even predatory. I would like to focus on the various ways White female sexual promiscuity has been viewed, recognized and oft-times celebrated in today's media and in popular culture.
In her publication, "Female Chauvinist Pigs," New York magazine writer Ariel Levy argues that the recent trend for soft-porn styling in everything from music videos to popular TV is reducing female sexuality to its basest levels. In short: "A tawdry, tarty, cartoon-like version of female sexuality has become so ubiquitous, it no longer seems particular."
"Black women were often (and still are) portrayed as innately promiscuous, even predatory."
Kathleen Parker in her article, "Girls Gone Ridiculous," further elaborates this point: "...the message to girls the past 20 years or so has been that they can be and do anything they please. Being a stripper or a porn star is just another option among many. In some feminist circles, porn is seen as the ultimate feminist expression - women exercising autonomy over their bodies, profiting from men's desire, rather than merely being objectified by it. Self-exploitation has become the raised middle finger of women's sexual freedom." And that "raised middle-finger" in popular culture, rap videos aside, has largely been a white one.
Society, by and large, has deracialized white female sexual explicitness while at the same time strongly accentuating what is perceived as Black female promiscuity and immodesty. That message has been communicated to us time and time again on the pages of Maxim, FHM, Playboy, Penthouse and Sports Illustrated - and this list goes on. Although these mags have, in the past 10 years, featured more women of color, they are still (overwhelmingly) a celebration of white female sexual explicitness.
The ultra-celebrity accorded to white female sexual explicitness burst on the scene in the person of Marilyn Monroe. Can anyone argue that Monroe was more recognized for her acting talents than for her "natural assets?" Yet, she is regarded as a legend. The celebrity that has been granted to white women such as Anna Nicole Smith, Pamela Anderson, Carmen Elecktra, Paris Hilton and a whole host of others, is also given based upon sexual assets and not upon talent. This theme is consistent in today's raunch-infested society, but the raunchiness, once again, is deracialized when the practitioners are white. WWE women's wrestling has increased in popularity in the past few years with its predominantly white roster of sex-kittens and their highly sexualized plots and subplots. Even current and former white porn stars such as Ginger Lynn, Traci Lords and Jenna Jameson are made the topics of E! Hollywood True Stories exposes, thus giving them a place of prominence and legitimacy and without ever linking their promiscuity to her whiteness. While, in contrast, one would be hard-pressed to name as many Black women (or any other women of color) - absent of talent - who enjoy the same level of celebrity and success.
"Even at her most licentious, the white woman is made to appear innocent, wholesome and strangely virginal."
Even in, seemingly light-hearted (at least that is the impression that we've been given), popular movies we see this phenomenon played out. Risky Business, the film that introduced Tom Cruise to mainstream America, was about a young man (with the help of a spunky prostitute fleeing her pimp, played by Rebecca De Mornay) who opened up a brothel in his parent's home while they were away on vacation. Pretty Woman, the film that made Julia Roberts a megastar, essentially is a remake of the children's classic Cinderella, except this time Cinderella is a hooker. The Woody Allen (that alone gives it legitimacy) film The Mighty Aphrodite stars Mira Sorvino in the "acceptable" prostitute role (for which she won an Oscar). In the recent film, The Girl Next Door (featuring another rising star, Elisha Cuthbert) the movie centers on the relationship between an accomplished high school senior and his 19 year-old porn star (Cuthbert) neighbor. In the descriptions of the main characters in these films (the women) words such as, free-spirited, spunky, playful, spontaneous were used. I tried imagining these same films with Black main characters and I could not envision the same light-hearted response by the American public-at-large. There has yet to be a critically-acclaimed or commercially successful film, where a central character was a Black prostitute. So even when the "textbook" requirements of what constitutes being promiscuous is met, her whiteness saves the day. Even at her most licentious, she is made to appear innocent, wholesome and strangely virginal.
These movies were huge box office successes, and if one subscribes to the theory that the lyrics contained in some hip-hop songs desensitizes individuals to misogyny and normalizes sexism, then that same ethos would have to applied to the films that have essentially "deified" and normalized white female explicitness and promiscuity. So when the same messages that are being demonized in hip-hop are also found in these popular films and white-dominated music genres (but couched in the safety and familiarity of whiteness), what society is essentially telling us is that it is better PR that hip-hop needs, not a lessening of sexist themes in their music and videos.
So it has to be understood that racism is at the heart of this current debate regarding misogyny and sexism. America continues to prove (day in and day out) that it has absolutely no problem with sexual promiscuity. So what is their problem with hip-hop? It is the sheer "Blackness" of it. Historically (as well as now), there has been a fear of Black (especially Black male) sexuality. This irrational and racist fear was repeatedly used in the countless lynchings of Black men in the history of this nation (which often included castration as well). Black equals dangerous; Black equals savage; Black equals barbaric; Black equals forbidden, infected and inferior. Therefore hip-hop, like Blackness, is something that society should be, must be, protected from. It is from this context that ALL things Black have been realized and it is from this context that white female sexual explicitness has been sanitized.
The History of the "Sexploitation" of the Black Woman
The degrading images of Black women were cemented in American culture centuries previous to the first rapper uttering their first words into a microphone. The English colonists accepted the Elizabethan image of "the lusty Moor," (Moor being Elizabethan for Black) and used this and similar stereotypes to justify enslaving Blacks. In part, this was accomplished by arguing that Blacks were subhumans: intellectually inferior, culturally stunted, morally underdeveloped, and with a bestial sexuality. The hypersexualized stereotype of Black women was used during slavery as a rationalization for sexual relations between White men and Black women, especially sexual unions involving masters and slaves. The Black woman was depicted as a woman with an insatiable appetite for sex. She was not satisfied with Black men. It was claimed that the female slave desired sexual relations with White men; therefore, White men did not have to rape Black women. James Redpath, who was of all things an abolitionist, wrote that slave women were "gratified by the criminal advances of Saxons." This view is contradicted by Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist and former slave, who claimed that the "slave woman is at the mercy of the fathers, sons or brothers of her master." Douglass's account is consistent with the accounts of other former slaves. In Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, An American Slave, Bibb tells of how his master forced a young slave to be his son's concubine; later, Bibb and his wife were sold to a Kentucky trader who forced Bibb's wife into prostitution.
"The hypersexualized stereotype of Black women was used during slavery as a rationalization for sexual relations between White men and Black women"
Slave women were property; therefore, legally they could not be raped. Often slavers would offer gifts or promises of reduced labor if the slave women would consent to sexual relations. Nevertheless, as John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman state in Intimate Matters: A Sexual History of Sexuality In America, "the rape of a female slave was probably the most common form of interracial sex" during that time.
The idea that Black women were naturally and unavoidably sexually immoral was reinforced by several features of the slavery institution. Slaves, whether on the auction block or offered privately for sale, were often stripped naked and physically examined. In premise, this was done to ensure that they were healthy, able to reproduce, and, equally important, to look for whipping scars - the presence of which implied that the slave was rebellious. In practice, the stripping and touching of slaves had a sexually exploitative, sometimes sadistic function. Nakedness, especially among women in the 18th and 19th centuries, implied lack of civility, morality, and sexual restraint even when the nakedness was forced. Slaves, of both sexes and all ages, often wore few clothes or clothes so ragged that their legs, thighs, and chests were exposed. Conversely, Whites, especially women, wore clothing over most of their bodies. The contrast between the clothing reinforced the belief that White women were civilized, modest, and sexually pure, whereas Black women were crude, immodest, and sexually deviant.
Black slave women were also frequently pregnant. The institution of slavery depended on Black women to supply future slaves. By every method imaginable, slave women were "encouraged" to reproduce. Deborah Gray White, in Ar'n't I a Woman?, speaks of major periodicals carrying articles detailing optimal conditions under which bonded women were known to reproduce, and the merits of a particular "breeder" were often the topic of parlor or dinner table conversations. Gray White goes on to say "the fact that something so personal and private became a matter of public discussion prompted one ex-slave to declare that ‘women wasn't nothing but cattle.' Once reproduction became a topic of public conversation, so did the slave woman's sexual activities."
The portrayal of Black women as sexually promiscuous began in slavery, extended through the Jim Crow period, and continues today. Although the Mammy distortion was the dominant popular cultural image of Black women from slavery to the 1950s, the depiction of Black women as sexually licentious was common in American material culture. There was practically no item that was considered out-of-bounds in depicting the Black woman as immodest and lacking in sexual restraint as ordinary articles such as ashtrays, postcards, sheet music, fishing lures, drinking glasses, featured scantily-clad Black women. For example, a metal nutcracker, from the 1930's, depicts a topless Black woman. The nut is placed under her skirt, in her crotch, and crushed. Were sexually explicit items such as these made in the image of white women? Yes. However, they were never mainstreamed like the objects that caricatured Black women. The seamy novelty objects depicting white women were sold on the down-low, the QT and always hush-hush. An analysis of these racist items also reveals that Black female children were sexually objectified. Black girls, with the faces of pre-teenagers, were drawn with adult sized buttocks, which were exposed. They were naked, scantily clad, or hiding seductively behind towels, blankets, trees, or other objects.
"Black girls, with the faces of pre-teenagers, were drawn with adult sized buttocks, which were exposed."
As we enter the late 60's and early 70's the vestiges of the old Mammy and Picaninny caricatures were replaced with the supersexualized female (as well as male) protagonists and heroines - often in the form of prostitutes or women using sex as a means to the greater end of achieving a vendetta. These films are now referred to as "blaxploitation" movies. These movies were supposedly steeped in the Black experience. However, many were produced and directed by Whites. Author and film historian Daniel J. Leab in his narrative, Sambo to Superspade: The Black Experience in Motion Pictures, wrote: "Whites packaged, financed, and sold these films, and they received the bulk of the big money." The world depicted in blaxploitation movies included corrupt police and politicians, pimps, drug dealers, violent criminals, prostitutes, and whores. In the main, these movies were low-budget, formulaic interpretations of Black life by White producers, directors, and distributors. Black actors and actresses, many unable to find work in mainstream movies, found work in blaxploitation movies. Black patrons supported these movies because they showed Blacks fighting the "White establishment," resisting the "pigs" (police), in control of their fate and sexual beings.
There are compelling parallels between this period and where we find ourselves today in regard to sexist hip-hop. Parallels such as the erroneous perceptions that certain images were and are indeed steeped in the true Black experience: who controlled and controls the production and distribution of the "black" product; the preeminence of distorted sexual roles; and who disproportionately benefits, financially, from this destructive typecasting. It is a painful reality that the lack of real opportunities can sometimes tempt us to be co-facilitators in our own cultural demise, as we engage in endeavors that aid in the buttressing and reinforcement of pernicious and racist stereotypes.
One of our strengths as Black people (contrary to popular opinion) is our ability to engage in deep and insightful self-critique - and in that spirit we must take responsibility for our role in this. Toni Morrison, in addressing the dynamics of racial and gender internalized oppression in her novel The Bluest Eye, stated that it was "as though some mysterious all-knowing master had said, ‘You are ugly people.' . . . [a]nd they (Black folk) took the ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it. And we as Black people (male & female), have now taken ownership, or taken it in our hands as it were, this deplorable legacy and have worn this disgraceful and destructive garment proudly; and we have indeed gone about the world with it. We in the Black community who have consumed, purchased and repeated the words and images; we, Black male and female exploiters of Black sexuality, who have participated in this dishonor are like the Laodecians who were rebuked by Christ because they were convinced that they were rich and increased with goods and had need of nothing without understanding; without realizing that they were blind, wretched, miserable and naked. And like Esau, we have gave up our God-given birthright that entitled us to something better, for a mess of pottage; for husks that satiate us for only a little while; with nothing to show for the bitter and foolish trade but pain, regret and longing."
"The lack of real opportunities can sometimes tempt us to be co-facilitators in our own cultural demise."
Seeing that her womb supplied the steady flow of slaves that facilitated the accumulation of wealth for plantation owners and the various industries in this country (rice, cotton, tobacco and sugar to name a few), America was built, in large part, on the sexual exploitation of the Black woman. With the coffers of the major corporations that own the record labels and the music video networks, bursting from the profits of this new millennium's minstrel show, it is a malicious irony of epic and tragic proportions that we have now come full circle.
What The Market Will Bear
It is a multibillion-dollar industry, accounting for one of every five records sold in America. Eighty percent of buyers are white. The music that now generates over $10 billion per year (according to Forbes magazine) was initially ignored by corporate America. Now corporations use the phrases, the images, and the sounds of hip-hop to sell everything from McDonald's dollar menus to Cadillacs.
Although the faces of hip-hop are predominantly Black and the Black community birthed the music, who are the real power-players at Universal Music and Viacom that are pushing the green or red button on what gets produced and promoted in hip-hop? Dr. Jared Ball in his composition, "Hip-Hop, Mass Media & 21st Century Colonization," states: "Given the societal need and function of mass media and popular culture, all that is popular is fraudulent. Popularity is in almost every case an intentionally constructed fabrication of what it claims to represent. Too few who comment on the lamentable condition of today's popular hip-hop seem to grasp this, the political nature of the nation's media system, nor the political function that system serves. Hip-hop is often taken out of the existing context of political struggle, repression, or the primacy of a domestic/neo-colonialism in the service of which mass media play a (the?) leading role. Media, often incorrectly defined by their technologies, are the primary conduits of ideology or worldview and must be seen as such. Therefore, their highly consolidated ownership and content management structure (corporate interlocking boards of directors, advertisers, stockholders, etc.) cannot be understood absent their ability to disseminate a consciousness they themselves sanction and mass produce. Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrable than in hip-hop."
"Hip-hop is often taken out of the existing context of political struggle, repression, or the primacy of a domestic/neo-colonialism."
Entertainment has always been a sponsor/market-driven entity. This is important to remember as a multitude begins to mourn Don Imus as the latest "sacrifice" on the altar of the god called political correctness, their outrage is suspect at best and hypocritical at worst. To say that a campaign of this sort has never been lodged against a rap artist deemed guilty of derogatory attitudes towards Black women is not supported by history or the facts. In 2002 Pepsi-Cola pulled a national, 30-second commercial featuring multiplatinum rapper Ludacris from the air after Fox News Channel's host Bill O'Reilly called for a boycott of the company. O'Reilly characterized Pepsi as "immoral" for using the rapper, whom he described as a rap thug. O'Reilly, on his program, read several of the rapper's lyrics, which he said emphasized a lifestyle that included getting intoxicated, selling drugs, fighting people, and degrading women - by the way, in all my research, not once did I discover that Ludacris was ever sued for sexual harassment or charged with sexual misconduct. The same cannot be said of Mr. O'Reilly and yet he still holds a position as a moral authority with millions of Americans.
Pepsi-Cola released a statement explaining its decision to pull the ad, "We have a responsibility to listen to our consumers and customers, and we've heard from a number of people that were uncomfortable with our association with this artist. We've decided to discontinue our ad campaign with this artist and we're sorry that we've offended anyone."
Let's fast-forward two years to 2004 when Whoopi Goldberg's sexual puns on President Bush's name at a John Kerry fundraiser got her fired as spokeswoman for Slim-Fast weight-loss products. The West Palm Beach, Fla.-based maker of diet aids pulled the ad campaign featuring Goldberg stating that it regretted that Goldberg's remarks "offended some of their consumers." Contrast the rapidity of Pepsi and Slim Fast in dispatching Ludacris and Whoopi, with the decades-long, accommodating, look-the-other-way attitude of sponsors and networks when it comes to individuals such as Imus.
Armstrong Williams on the MSNBC news program Hardball (4/11/07), said that Don Imus should not be fired and "the marketplace should make that decision." And alas, the marketplace did make that decision when the sponsors pulled out en masse. If that is the criterion that we are to use, then what do we do when hip-hop's/rap's vast popularity is determined by that same marketplace - and as was stated previously, that purchasing marketplace is 80% white and the company executives making the final decision as to what gets made and what gets played are predominantly white.
If corporations want to push anti-woman and sexist music this year, millions of dollars will be pumped into the budget of whatever rapper is ignorant enough to write the lyrics. Sure the artists can choose to make something different. They just won't have the backing that others do who agree to play the game. So, by all means hold hip-hop (and ALL artists of ALL genres) who are guilty of producing the misogynistic and sexist messages in their lyrics and videos morally and politically accountable. However, although they may be guilty of providing the supply, it is the American culture that created the demand.
Dr. Edward Rhymes, author of When Racism Is Law & Prejudice Is Policy, is an internationally-recognized authority in the areas of critical race theory and Black studies. Please view his website: Rhymes Reasons. He can be reached at Edward@rhymesworld.com
ADDITION TO 4/23/7 COMPILATION: GOVT. PLANS "SECURE" INTERNET
If you missed 'the digest' collection of material posted 4/23/7 see: A "Secure" Govt. & Corporate Controlled Internet Under Construction, Microsoft a Key Partner: "The Dangers of Digital Imprimatur" http://www.pwgd.com/blog/lb/ or in the 'archives' section of http://www.burbankdigest.com/
The following submitted by a techie. In the tech world the big propaganda pitch about exciting and profitable tech-improvement obscures the politics behind it and its orwellian implications:
"TRUSTED COMPUTING" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1H7omJW4TI
WHAT IS TCPA? WHY SHOULD YOU GIVE A DAMN?
Here we will try to untangle the whole subject and concentrate us on the core points. Most it's impossible to understand the network of technologies, companies and laws at a whole.
TCPA stands for Trusted Computing Platform Alliance. For the technology we will speak from TCP (The trusted computing platform). This plans that every computer will have a TPM (Trusted Platform Module), also known as Fritz-Chip, built-in. At later development stages, these functions will be directly included into CPUs, graphiccards, harddisks, soundcards, bios and so on. This will secure that the computer is in a TCPA-conform state and that he checks that it's always in this state. This means: On the first level comes the hardware, on the second comes TCPA and then comes the user. The complete communication works with a 2048 bit strong encryption, so it's also secure enough to make it impossible to decrypt this in realtime for a longer time. This secures that the TCPA can prevent any unwanted software and hardware. The long term result will be that it will be impossible to use hardware and software that's not approved by the TCPA. Presumably there will be high costs to get this certification and that these would be too much for little and mid-range companies. Therefore open-source and freeware would be condemned to die, because without such a certification the software will simply not work. In the long term only the big companies would survive and could control the market as they would like.
Some could think that it should be possible to get around this security. But probably they would be proved they're wrong. Until now there're no such hardware-implemented security systems and actual security systems have to work offline. This would be changed with TCP. The rights and licenses would be central managed by the TCPA (USA?). And as soon a violation is noticed, they will get notified. Read the chapter "The bills" to get an overview about the possible resulting consequences.
The TCPA was founded 1999 by Compaq, HP, IBM, Intel and Microsoft. But in the meantime around 200 companies joined them. You will find Adobe, AMD, Fujitsu-Siemens, Gateway, Motorola, Samsung, Toshiba and many other well known companies. IBM already sells first desktops and notebooks with integrated TPM.
In the USA there's a planed bill, the so called CBDPTA (Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act). First it was called SSSCA (Security Systems Standards and Certification Act). The new name reads much more harmless. Looks like the first name made it too easy to discover the purpose of this bill.
This bill plans to legally force secure (TCPA-conform) systems. So in the USA it would then not be allowed to buy or sell systems that are not TCPA-conform. Passing this law would be punished with up to 5 years of prision and up to $500.000 fine. The same would apply for development of "open" software. Open means that it would work on systems that're not TCPA-conform.
Even if this bill would only valid in the USA it would have catastrophical effects worldwide. Because US companies are not allowed to develop and sell "unsecure" software, others would have to jump onto the TCP-train, so they would give total control over themself to the TCPA (USA?), or they would have to live completely without software and harware from US-companies. No Windows, Solaris, MacOS, Photoshop, Winamp or to say it short: The largest part of all software that's used on this planet would not be usable.
Thus you're able to determine the consequences for your own situation, we kept this section very generell. But it should be easy to determine the resulting restrictions that would apply for you.
The informational self-determination isn't existing anymore, it's not possible to save, copy, create, program, ..., the data like you want. This applies for privates as for companies
The free access to the IT/Software market is completely prevented for anyone except the big companies, the market as we know it today will get completely destroyed
Restrictions in the usage of owned hardware would apply
The liberty of opinion and the free speech on the internet would finally be eliminated
The own rights while using IT-technologies are history.
The national self-determination of the der particular countries would be fully in the hands of the USA
Probably the world would break into two digital parts (Countries that express against TCPA)
If you now want to read some more in-depth about all this, you should take a look at Ross Andersons detailed FAQ.
Lucky Greens Defcon X slides (PDF)
Ross Andersons TCPA/Palladdium-FAQ
Heise Newsticker: Totale Copyright-Kontroller per US-Gesetz (German)
Experten warnen vor massiven Problemen bei TCPA und Palladium (German)
HOW NYT & CO. COVER [UP] THIS MAJOR ISSUE:
Spying on Americans
May 2, 2007
For more than five years, President Bush authorized government spying on phone calls and e-mail to and from the United States without warrants. He rejected offers from Congress to update the electronic eavesdropping law, and stonewalled every attempt to investigate his spying program.
Suddenly, Mr. Bush is in a hurry. He has submitted a bill that would enact enormous, and enormously dangerous, changes to the 1978 law on eavesdropping....
his bill grants immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated in five years of illegal eavesdropping. It also strips the power to hear claims against the spying program from all courts except the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which meets in secret.
According to the administration, the bill contains “long overdue” FISA modifications to account for changes in technology. The only example it offered was that an e-mail sent from one foreign country to another that happened to go through a computer in the United States might otherwise be missed....
Moreover, FISA has been updated dozens of times in the last 29 years. In 2000, Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, who ran the National Security Agency then, said it “does not require amendment to accommodate new communications technologies.” And since 9/11, FISA has had six major amendments.
The measure would not update FISA; it would gut it. It would allow the government to collect vast amounts of data at will from American citizens’ e-mail and phone calls. The Center for National Security Studies said it might even be read to permit video surveillance without a warrant.[...]
Pentagon Redirects Its Research Dollars
April 2, 2005
AN FRANCISCO, April 1 - The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency at the Pentagon - which has long underwritten open-ended "blue sky" research by the nation's best computer scientists - is sharply cutting such spending at universities, researchers say, in favor of financing more classified work and narrowly defined projects that promise a more immediate payoff.
Hundreds of research projects supported by the agency, known as Darpa, have paid off handsomely in recent decades, leading not only to new weapons, but to commercial technologies from the personal computer to the Internet. The agency has devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to basic software research, too, including work that led to such recent advances as the Web search technologies that Google and others have introduced....
University researchers, usually reluctant to speak out, have started quietly challenging the agency's new approach. They assert that Darpa has shifted a lot more work in recent years to military contractors, adopted a focus on short-term projects while cutting support for basic research, classified formerly open projects as secret and placed new restrictions on sharing information.
This week, in responding to a query from the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Darpa officials acknowledged for the first time a shift in focus. They revealed that within a relatively steady budget for computer science research that rose slightly from $546 million in 2001 to $583 million last year, the portion going to university researchers has fallen from $214 million to $123 million....
University scientists assert that the changes go even further than what Darpa has disclosed. As financing has dipped, the remaining research grants come with yet more restrictions, they say, often tightly linked to specific "deliverables" that discourage exploration and serendipitous discoveries.
Many grants also limit the use of graduate students to those who hold American citizenship, a rule that hits hard in computer science, where many researchers are foreign.
The shift at Darpa has been noted not just by those researchers directly involved in computing technologies, but by those in other fields supported by the agency...
"The key is a focus on high-risk, high-payoff research," Jan Walker, a Darpa spokeswoman, stated in an e-mail message. Given the threat from terrorism and the demands on troops in Iraq, she wrote, Darpa is rightly devoting more attention to "quick reaction" projects that draw on the fruits of earlier science and technology to produce useful prototypes as soon as possible....
The transformation of Darpa has been led by Anthony J. Tether, a Stanford-educated electrical engineer who has had a long career moving between executive positions at military contractors and the Pentagon....
"The network has now become as vital as the weapons themselves," Dr. Tether said in an appearance before the advisory committee last year, testifying that secrecy had become more essential for a significant part of the agency's work....
Despite the complaints, some pioneering researchers support the changes being driven by Dr. Tether and say they are necessary to prepare the nation for a long battle against elusive enemies.
"There are pressures and demands on Darpa to be relevant," said Robert Kahn, a former Darpa administrator who is now president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives in Reston, Va. "People think it should stay the same, but times have changed."...
Pentagon Surveillance Plan Described as Less Invasive
Published: May 7, 2003
...The Pentagon official, Dr. Tony Tether, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, also known as Darpa, told a House Government Reform subcommittee that ''we are not developing a system to profile the American public.''
Dr. Tether offered a vision of the program that sounded much less threatening than the description given last year by John M. Poindexter, the retired admiral who is in charge of the project. Mr. Poindexter told a California audience then that ''we must become much more efficient and more clever in the way we find new sources of data, mine information from the new and old, make it available for analysis, convert it to knowledge and create actionable options.'' He described a system that could tap into Internet mail, culling records, credit card and banking transactions and travel documents....
Dr. Tether said he hoped that the agency's impending report on the project, due on May 20, would calm public and Congressional fears....
Dr. Teher said that, ''We knew that the American public and their elected officials must have confidence that their liberties will not be violated before they would accept this kind of technology.''
A military agency spends billions on seemingly fantastic projects to ensure U.S. [battlefield] supremacy.
September 18, 2000
Darpa gave birth to the Internet in the late 1960's. Other projects helped create many of the nation's most impressive computers, the chips used in cellular phones and vital networking technologies like the ability to send simultaneous signals of many wavelengths down a single fiber optic cable....
''B2B and enterprise software are low-hanging fruit technically compared to defense needs,'' said Shankar Sastry, director of the agency's Information Technology Office, referring to products that allow businesses to interact with each other over the Internet and software that allows many parts of an enterprise from finance to production to marketing to share data.
Darpa studies are looking at how to create and manage networks of up to 100,000 components that must be quickly able to shift how they communicate. Some components may periodically change functions -- a device, for instance, might be monitoring radio signals at one moment and jamming them the next.
Similarly, the agency is financing research on networks of information users. It wants the Defense Department to be able to set up coalitions of up to 100 allies capable of sharing secure information and coordinating logistics within minutes. Just as important, it wants to be able to cut a party off a network instantly and notify all other members.
In both cases, the need for artificial intelligence is obvious. Even if the ability of humans to interact easily with computers were vastly improved by, say, flawless voice recognition software, the amount of information flooding in would be overwhelming. The agency's response includes research on software that can screen widely diverse data sources for relevant trends, automatically reshape networks and write new programs to respond rapidly to emerging needs.
One project partly addressing such concerns is the effort to develop so-called Darpa agent markup language. D.A.M.L., as the language is known in technical circles, would would create a universal format for telling computers what kind of information is in a data source. It would allow Internet search machines to extract data not just from the World Wide Web but from computer programs, sensors and other machines.
The computer language embodies one of the major changes the agency has confronted in adapting to the information age. While much of the agency's work still focuses on technology that it would just as soon see stay in American military hands, there are a growing number of developments that will go nowhere unless they also permeate civilian life.
TANGRAM: SON OF T.I.A.
... In response to the discovery of the son of the Total Information Awareness, Tangram, described as “a program in which former TIA contractors build on existing TIA research to create a new, enhanced form of the program,” according to Justin Rood, the ACLU tells us the state is “misdirecting resources towards this kind of fanciful, science-fiction project… while neglecting the basics” of what Shaun Waterman of the UPI calls “good counter-terrorist detective work.”
In fact, since the vast majority of terrorists out there are working directly or indirectly for the Pentagon, CIA, MI6, or Mossad, no “good counter-terrorist detective work” is required. John Negroponte, CFR member and former overseer of the El Aguacate torture and murder dungeon in Honduras, now Director of National Intelligence, is building upon Iran-Contra criminal John Poindexter’s Total Information Awareness, a “closed-loop” snoop system supposedly closed down on October 1, 2003.
Of course, cutting edge snoop technology and programs are never closed down and TIA lived on, thanks to the NSA under the classified annex to the 2004 DOD Appropriations Act. It now appears TIA finally surfaced in Negroponte’s office and is called Tangram. It is “a computer system capable of data-mining huge amounts of information about everyday events to discern patterns that look like terrorist planning,” although “officials have said it is being tested without using any data about Americans.”
Naturally, the truth is the exact opposite—the system is designed specifically to data-mine “huge amounts of information about everyday events to discern patterns that look like terrorist planning,” that is to say planning, or for that matter even discussion, by people opposed to the unitary decidership of Bush and the neocons.
In effect, according to the Air Force Materiel Command, Tangram compiles “a set of disjointed technologies that are difficult for non-technical users to apply, cumbersome to configure into a self-configuring, continuously operating system” and will, with enough money and jobbing out to the usual suspects (Booz Allen Hamilton, 21st Century Technologies, and SRI International) create “a fully automated, continuously operating, intelligence analysis support system” designed to snare terrorists, that is to say anybody who organizes against or merely talks about opposing our rulers.
Tangram “will also include ‘collective inferencing techniques’—a way of scoring whole populations on a kind of suspicion index,” according to Waterman of the UPI. In other words, if you are guilty of dissing Bush or Rumsfeld on MySpace or a far-flung forum, chances are your family, friends, and associates will be flagged as possible miscreants as well. “This technique is capable of making simultaneous inferences (scores) about large numbers of likely interrelated entities in large data collections,”...
According to Capitol Hill Blue’s sources, Bush told his new head of the CIA, Gen. Michael Hayden, “to ‘take whatever steps necessary’ to monitor Americans 24/7 by listening in on their phone calls, bugging their homes and offices, probing their private lives, snooping into their financial records and watching their travel habits…. Hayden, who oversaw the National Security Agency’s questionable monitoring of phone calls and emails of Americas, plans to consolidate much of the country’s domestic spying into a new desk at the CIA, calling it a ‘domestic terrorism prevention’ operation. The desk will oversee not only NSA’s increased monitoring of electronic communications by Americans but also [DARPA] the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s ‘terrorist information awareness’ program that monitors travel and financial activities by Americans by gathering real-time data from banks, airlines, travel agencies and credit card companies.”
In short, this data will be rolled into Tangram and will be accessed by the CIA, even though the agency is supposedly forbidden by its charter from domestic snooping. Add to this NSA-CIA-FBI mix the Pentagon with its Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, and you have a recipe for robust police state surveillance.
Last October, the Senate Intelligence Committee “approved broad-ranging legislation…. that would allow the Pentagon and other U.S. intelligence agencies greater access to federal government databases on U.S. citizens, and another granting the DIA new exemptions from disclosing any ‘operational files’ under the Freedom of Information Act,” Newsweek reported.
In 1976, Morton Halperin, Jerry Berman, Robert Borosage, and Christine Marwick wrote in the introduction of the book, The Lawless State: The crimes of the U.S. Intelligence Agencies, “investigations have shown that every intelligence agency had one or more surveillance programs that spied on law-abiding American citizens, in violation of the laws, the Constitution, and the traditions of the country.”
The number of citizens who have been the objects of the professional voyeurs is truly staggering. The FBI headquarters in Washington alone has over 500,000 domestic intelligence files, each typically containing information on more than one group or individual. Nearly a quarter of a million first-class letters were opened and photographed by the CIA in the United States between 1953 and 1973 producing a computerized index of nearly one and one-half million names. The ClA’s six-year Operation CHAOS produced an index of 300,000 individuals. Uncounted millions of international telegrams and phone calls have been intercepted by the National Security Agency. Some 100,000 Americans are enshrined in Army intelligence dossiers. The Internal Revenue Service created files on more than 11,000 individuals and groups. During a three-year period, from 1971-74, political grand juries subpoenaed between 1,000 and 2,000 persons.
In addition, both at home and abroad, the intelligence agencies went beyond the mere collection of information. They developed programs to disrupt, “neutralize,” and destroy those perceived as enemies-as threats to the political order at home and abroad. The CIA’s covert action programs around the world were paralleled by the FBI’s COINTELPRO at home, by the misuse of the IRS and the grand jury-all were part of a purposeful effort to live up to the mandate of a classified report of the 1954 Hoover Commission on Government Organization that “we must learn to subvert, sabotage, and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated and more effective methods than those used against us.” Thus the illegalities exposed by the investigations were not isolated incidents of zealous agents exceeding their authority in the field, however frequently such may occur. Rather, the abuses were ongoing, bureaucratic programs, often continuing over decades, involving hundreds of officials, aimed at thousands of citizens, and ordered and approved at the highest level of the executive branch of government.
In the years since Halperin, Berman, Borosage, and Marwick wrote their book, computer technology has advanced exponentially, increasing the effectiveness and precision of the “professional voyeurs” to not only skulk through our houses, papers, and effects, but also “subvert, sabotage, and destroy” the opposition[...]