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Do we have a free press today? Sure we do. It's free to report all the sex scandals it wants, all the stock market news we can handle, every new health fad that comes down the pike, and every celebrity marriage or divorce that happens. But when it comes to the real down and dirty stuff... that's where we begin to see the limits of our freedoms.
On December 18, I attended Gary Webb's memorial service in Sacramento, along with about 250 other people.
In 1996, Webb wrote a series of articles ("Dark Alliance") for the San Jose Mercury News reporting that, in the 1980s, "a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to... street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to an arm of the contra guerrillas of Nicaragua run by the Central Intelligence Agency" and the "cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America... "
The "contra guerrillas," of course, were the Reagan administration CIA-nurtured darlings who sought to overthrow Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government.
The story, obviously, was huge. Too huge, as it turns out, for certain powerful sensibilities. The disinformation machine soon was cranked up full tilt, and shortly after the series' publication, the Big Three in American newspapers -- the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post -- shamefully dedicated time and column inches attacking the veracity of Webb's assertions instead of pursuing the story. His professional coup de grace was administered by his own editor, Jerry Ceppos, who journalistically ran for cover and left the Pulitzer-winning reporter twisting slowly, slowly in the wind.
Dorothee Soelle was born in 1929. She lived, loved and worked with Fulbert Steffensky, a former Benedictine monk. With him, she developed the political night prayer at the end of the 1960s in Koln, a model for the Munich political Saturday prayer. She was a political theologian and a devout mystic. She was a penetrating thinker and a tender poetess, a feminist who loved and challenged men and women as people. She showed the way from the humble attitude of neediness for redemption for redemption and burdening sin with which we catholic children must still pray today. Lord, I am not worthy to stand under your roof... She showed the way out telling us: God needs us for his creation just as we need God. God waits on you and rejoices in your contribution in the world!
Charity was a political, public theme of building on the reciprocity of giving and taking, more than a private love program. Charity is not a caritive focus on a world to come but love for the living, for what we can experience in grace, joy, cooperation and mutual enrichment if we are not structurally encouraged to greed and fear because greed and anxiety are best suited to capitalism.
Ruppert [whom i have enormous respect for] has made a very compelling case that webb's death was indeed a suicide. i didn't want to believe it, but there is little doubt left in my mind. read ruppert's notes from the above link yourself, and you decide. ruppert makes some very valid points about alex jones and john hankey, and the "high standards" that we should hold ourselves to when trying to understand "the truth". ruppert writes:
"This is a time for all of us who are activists, professional investigator and journalists on the internet to distinguish and separate ourselves from those who do not employ professional standards for their investigation and reporting. These standards are used to make what is consumed by a sometimes too-trusting readership trustworthy and useful. It is a matter of love and honor for those who read what we write.
Just as the dishonest mainstream media distances itself from those of us who use this powerful medium out of fear, it is time for those of us who care about getting it right to draw an unmistakable line between ourselves and the internet "trailer trash" who detract from the very, very difficult job that Gary Webb gave his life for: Telling the truth, getting it right and proving it in a way that can be trusted... No matter what the cost.
This is what Gary Webb taught us."
indeed webb's most important lesson might be the one brought on by his death itself: that we need to always question our assumptions, always seek the truth no matter what we "wish" were so, and use our courage to guide us.
previous: [ Gary Webb, exposer of CIA complicity in cocaine trade, found dead at home (Dec. 13, 2004) ]
AUDIO: Gary Webb in Eugene, January 6, 1999 -- Webb discusses "how the collapse of a brutal pro American dictatorship in Latin America combined with a decision by corrupt CIA agents to raise money for a resistance movement by any means necessary led to the formation of the nations first major crack market in south central Los Angelus, which led to the arming and the empowering of L.A. street gangs, which led to... [ hear it ]
VIDEO: In honor of Webb's legacy of "authentic journalism," GNN [Guerrilla News Network] presents this exclusive interview, in which Webb discusses Dark Alliance, the media maelstrom, and the story's historical importance. The video was produced by a team of GNN's video students at the School of Authentic Journalism 2002 seminar in Merida, Mexico. [ watch it ]
Gary Webb, whose work exposed CIA facillitated and protected drug-smuggling, was found dead in his home this Friday morning. His death has been called a suicide, as he apparently died from a gunshot to the head. Given the nature of his most contraversial work, one can forgive this writer for being suspicious as to whether or not Mr. Webb actually took his own life. The CIA, which was deeply embarrassed by Webb's series in the San Jose Mercury News back in 1996 is known for assassinating political opponents. With the Passage of the USA PATRIOT act, the CIA is now able to conduct such dirty business inside our borders.
Regardless of the circumstances of Mr. Webb's death, authentic, muckraking journalism has lost a true champion.
On December 7, 2002, an anonymous letter was posted on Portland IndyMedia about Gino Perente and the National Labor Federation, decrying the organization as a "cult". One cannot dismiss the appeal of the so-called "National Labor Federation" by simply saying it was a "cult."
I met Gino Perente in 1972 when he, and Polly Gardner, and Mary Seeber (all dead now), and Elizabeth Logan (where is she?) regularly came by one of the Red Balloon Collective suites in the dorms at SUNY Stony Brook, and we'd have all-night sessions.
original story: [ Authoritarian 'cult' organizing at portland universities (Dec. 7, 2002) ]
The other day I took a ride on the #30 Burton bus up here in Vancouver. It's a wild ride, for those unfamiliar with it as it currently looks. A close inspection of the neighborhood this route passes through, the current level of construction activities, and the route itself, all seem to reveal a dirty little secret--or many of them. What it all reveals is probably endemic to the West, maybe even the entire country except areas where expansion (urban growth) is no longer possible.
The Burton bus heads N on 164th Ave., through the area known as Fisher's Landing, but it does pass a Fred Meyer which claims to be in the city of Camas, even though that city is a good 4 miles away. This is probably for tax or related reasons. Everything else is either in Vancouver or unincorporated. It's an area notable for the speed with which development occurred--one chain restaurant and bank after another grace the flanks of 164th Ave. At the intersection of 164th and Mill Plain, the worst is over for the most part, but the party has just begun. The bus goes down a hill and takes a left at NE 39th St., across from fields currently being prepared for either new subdivisions or a new shiny business plaza--a new project by (insert construction company name here).
From the Portland Indymedia Archives (2002):
Saturday, September 4th, 6pm-close
at the Red and Black Cafe 22nd and SE Division
Memorial/Celebration and Benefit in Memory of Sarah Bishop
Sarah Bishop's body was found today on Mt. Hood. All friends, fellow Workers and comrades welcome to share greiving at IWW hall tonight.
Thursday, 6 PM.The IWW is inviting friends, family and comrades of Sarah Bishop to come down to the IWW for wake and gathering. The Hall is open, bring food, drinks, memories, etc.
616 E Burnside
Sarah was an active IWW, an organizer in Social Services, was organizing a voter registration campaign, had helped get the Red and Black together, and was active in other areas...
She was a wonderful fellow worker is will be sorely missed.[ Sarah Bishop's Body Found in Mt. Hood Area ]
Sometimes, greatness is not measured in celebrity status or grand acts. It can be quieter than that, deeper than that. A woman who has left the world recently reminds me of the greatness one can achieve in the simple act of the way one lives one's life.
Probably, you've never heard of Brenda Mendiola. Her work was quiet and often uncelebrated, but the world will be a little bit colder without her. Brenda was a social worker form the Old School, the way it was before it became a "profession." She was a deeply spiritual woman with a quiet faith in God and humanity that I often found as inspiring as it was baffling. She did her praxis in the world face to face, one person at a time.
We Need Your Help!!! Western Shoshone Payoff Bill is on the Move Again!
We just got notification that Sen Reid's bill S.618 will be on the House Floor under Suspension on Tuesday June 1st. Current legislation before the United States Congress, entitled the Western Shoshone Distribution Bill (HR 884/S 618), is an attempt to strip away U.S. treaty obligations and Western Shoshone connections to their homeland by a mere one time payment of cents on the acre. Last week we received information that under the guise of bi-partisanship, Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Jim Gibbons are once again gearing up to force this one time payment on the Western Shoshone people for 24 million acres of land at approximately 15 cents an acre. The bill is HR 884/S 618, entitled the "Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act".
The fear of many Western Shoshone people and the majority of Councils is that the forced distribution of these monies by Congress will be used to silence Western Shoshone concerns regarding U.S. violations of the Treaty of Ruby Valley and ongoing violations against Western Shoshone rights to property, due process and equality under the law. This push is being made at the same time that the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste repository is being pushed along and Congressman Gibbons' is sponsoring other legislation, HR 2869 and HR 2772, which would open up Shoshone lands to privatization by multinational mining companies and massive geothermal energy development with no provision for Western Shoshone interests or concerns. Additionally, in the last two weeks, Notices of Intent to Impound livestock have again been received by Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann and other Western Shoshone ranchers.
Painter, philosopher, clown, politician, nudist, and cable access firebrand James Spagnola, much better known as Jim Spagg, died in his Portland home Saturday. Spagg's long-running late-night cable television show had a loyal cult following in Portland for years. Thousands of Portlanders of all types stumbled across intimate videotape of Spagg's genitalia while flipping through the channels late at night. His show also featured a never-ending supply of young women who danced naked while Spagg played air guitar on a piece of plywood in the rough shape of a guitar. Canned phrases such as "jumping geehorsey farts" and "yowza! wowza! bowza!" danced across the screen in random order and rainbow colors.
About an hour ago a memorial flag was hung overlooking I-5 on the Northeast side of the Skidmore bridge in North Portland commemorating the one year anniversary of the murder of Kendra James by a Portland Police officer.
Between the etchings of KENDRA and MAY 5 are two small banners sewn to the 4'x 6' black flag. One banner a picture with the slogan OUR WAR IS HERE, the other simply the words DO NOT FORGET. To either side of the flag are lists of names, 38 in all, some I recognize, victims of the Portland Police, many I do not. Bouquets of flowers attached to the wire fencing surround the flag and candles flicker and burn out. A year has passed, the list of names is longer and room still remains on the flag for more to be added. OUR WAR IS HERE! DO NOT FORGET! [ add your comments... ]
Videos From the Resistance: Holding Up that BloodStained Banner (video available for download)
It was one year ago today that Kendra James was shot and killed by Scott McCollister of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). Lofty words were exchanged after her death about how things would change, how the PPB had learned from it's "mistakes," how it would never happen again. On this day, one year later, it's time to look back.
May 5th, 2003. A patrol car with PPB's N Precinct spots a car, driven by an African American, driving through the working-class neighborhood of N Portland. Although the driver has, by the officer's own statement, done nothing wrong, the patrol car turns around and begins following the "suspect." The white police officer hounds the driver of the car, following at close range, waiting for some pretext -- anything -- to pull the car over. Why? Because it was "suspicious" that the car was out so late in "that area." At some point, the car attempts to make a turn, probably to get out of the path of the ongoing police intimidation. The driver uses a turn signal, but the officer's subjective statement is that the driver did not turn on the signal soon enough. Just as in so many other "isolated incidents" of police harassment, the officer uses the turn signal violation to pull the car over and go on a fishing expedition that intrudes into the civil rights, the human rights, and the very lives of the occupants of the car.
In the course of this all-too-routine traffic stop, a young, unarmed African American woman is pepper sprayed, tazed and then shot to death by the Portland Police. Although she was unarmed and weighed less than 100 lbs, the huge and fully-armed officer Scott McCollister claimed he was justified in the killing because "I feared for my life." McCollister never paid for his crime, and is still walking among us with a loaded service revolver, waiting to strike again. [ read the full article... ]
Tre Arrow was taken into custody this morning in Victoria, BC.
Earlier today info came to portland imc that wasnt entirely correcty: [ COMMENT ], here is the update. Tre Arrow was arrested earlier today in a Victoria British Columbia Hardware store. He was caught shoplifting a set of bolt cutters. He is currently in the custody of Canada, being held on charges of: theft, assault and obstructing a peace officer.
The Portland Joint Terrorist Task Force held a press conference today commending themsleves for the capture by proxy. The FBI has already updated their website to declare that Arrow is "captured" although terms have not released regarding his return to the US. Local activistws are already calling for legal funds to help when the time comes.
Tonight, 02-24-2004, Bobby Seale one of the two founding members of the Black Panther party spoke on PSU campus about the real history of the Black Panthers to dispel myths and to motivate. His style of talking brought things down to the grass roots level and at the same time showed the depth of Black Panthers. The talk lasted about two and half hours. Listen for yourself on a live stream of whole speech from PDX IMC Web Radio.Bobby Seale at PSU - 02/24/2004
Thursday the 19th we'll be showing some powerful movies. This is a benefit to raise postage and funds to purchase books for prisoners. The event lasts from 7 till 10pm and is located at the Horn of Africa 3939 ne MLK blvd. and Shaver st. There will be an all you can eat African Vegan Buffet.
The Portland Peace Encampment was forcefully disbanded in August from the space between City Hall and the Green-Wyatt Federal Building. The Encampment had been alternately occupying the sidewalk and part of the grounds of Terry Schrunk Park on SW 4th Avenue since bombs began falling on Baghdad March 19, 2003.
On January 21, 2004, two members of the Peace Encampment visited the Mayor and City Council during the open 'Communications' period prior to the start of official council business at that day's meeting. The campers brought with them some video of police brutality on the streets of Portland, a couple of quotes in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and one or two questions for the Mayor in her role as commissioner of police. [ READ MORE... ]
Previous stories about the Peace Camp on portland indymedia (most recent first): [ Call to attend trials for Peace Camp victims of police abuse/conspiracy | Peace Camp WE MISS YOU | Portland Police Arrest Sit-Lie Protesters in front of City Hall | Peace Emcampment raided and cleared; Activists vow to continue | City Council Changed the Law to Get Rid of the Peace Encampment | Peace Encampment Rousted | Portland Peace Encampment scheduled to be terminated with-in next 14 hours. | Peace Camp News. Peace camp blues. | City Commissioners Threaten to 'Escalate' City Tactics Against Portland Peace Encampment - Violent Police Raid Predicted | Two More Arrested at Portland Peace Encampment | Portland Police and Homeland Security Raid Peace Camp | Stopped by the Portland Peace Encampment Tuesday | Portland Peace Encampment Update - I'm out!!! | Peace Camp Under Attack | Peace Encampment Busted Again Today | Monday, June 30 - Portland Peace Encampment Gets Their Stuff Back! Police Try To Clear Peace Camp | PDXPE ART 'OPENING' | Portland Peace Encampment speaks to City Council | Handicap Assault at Peace Camp | Police Send Disabled Peace Protestor to Hospital | City turns up the heat on Portland Peace Encampment | May 4th Update on peace camp | City turns up the heat on Portland Peace Encampment | Peace Camp Raid Pictures | Apr 14 Police Raid Portland Peace Encampment | Peace Encampment Needs Well Rested Volunteers | The Latest Police Tactic at Peace Camp | Friday April 11 update -- Encampment still there! | Portland Peace Encampment Given 24 hours Notice by Police | Day 22 - Peace Encampment | 24 hour eviction served (sort of) | Portland Peace Encampment needs YOU! | Portland Peace Encampment Update day 19 | Photos of Closed Terry Shrunk Park | Homeland Security Evicts Portland Peace Encampment | Peace Camp still needs support | Shots Fired Near Portland Peace Encampment | Update: Pictures and report of hit and run | Hit and run at Peace Camp | Kitchen to cook meals for peace campers | peace camp is looking for donations | Peace Park Legalities. Strong Free Speech Right U.S. / Oregon Const. Some Traps | Peace Camp Action Alert! | PEACE PARK LIVES! MAJOR VICTORY! SUPPORT NOW .... TARPS, BLANKETS, SCRABBLE | Portland Peace Encampment releases statement of purpose | Peace Encampment carries on without tents; Shelters forbidden by Homeland Security | peace camp asks for help | Peace Camp update: Still there despite Homeland Security Threats | Peace March to Terry Schrunk Plaza in Solidarity with Peace Encampment | Portland Peace Camp may be evicted ]
Portland's Sisters of the Road Cafe will hold its 12th Annual Martin Luther King Day March for Peace and Justice on Monday, January 19th, gathering at two different locations at 5:30 p.m.
As in past years, marchers will gather either at the Sisters of the Road Cafe (133 NW Sixth Avenue, at corner with NW Davis) or at the Lorenzen Conference Center of the Legacy Emanuel Hospital (N. Graham Avenue at N. Gantenbein Avenue, just West of N. Vancouver Avenue).
Both marches will converge on the Oregon Convention Center at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial. For more information, please call Sisters of the Road Cafe at (503) 222-5694. Check their website at www.sistersoftheroadcafe.org for updates.
PDX- MLK Jr. Commemoration at Lewis & Clark College all day.
New Book: On The Mountaintop | A. Philip Randolph's Dream | Before Brown: Charles H. Houston and the Gaines Case | Frederick Douglas | New Book: Black Freedom Fighters in Steel | William F. Pepper & MLK | Dr. Martin Luther King Poster Project
The Daily Poetry Movement author: Migratory Bird Jan. 11, 1912 Bread and Roses Strike begins in Lawrence , Mass, textile mills. Read the 19th century poems Bread and Roses, Child Labor, The Slaughter of Innocents, The Slave Children of Our Free Land, and take a virtual museum tour of sweatshops, then follow the links to read about modern sweatshops and how to get involved. When Cheyney comes to town they are going to protecting sweatshop goons like Niketown and Gap. But you still have chalk. Let downtown blaze with poetry!
We are the wisest, strongest race:
In Los Angeles, nearly 70% of immigrant garment workers receive below minimum wage. In several Central American countries, women workers are often forced to undergo pregnancy testing or take contraception. In many Asian countries, workers making shoes are exposed to dangerous chemicals. Sweatshops also exist in other manufacturing industries, such as toys, electronics and agriculture. www.corpwatch.org/