tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Sam Husseini 2020-09-24T16:56:13Z Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1593090 2020-09-11T04:58:00Z 2020-09-11T21:29:54Z My 9-11 and Jack Whitten's
I'm not out to compare myself to Jack Whitten, but on this day, my mind is on his 9-11 story and my own. 

I'm sure we all have lots of 9-11 stories, but I told one of mine for the first time in my new art show, "Invisibly Present/Visibly Absent" that just opened at Gallery Al-Quds at the Jerusalem Fund near the Kennedy Center.

The piece is "The Scorching Sun Which Brings Them Forth" (see below).  ]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1592952 2020-09-10T14:51:46Z 2020-09-10T14:51:46Z Origin of Pandemic and Biowarfare: Writings and Interviews
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1590199 2020-09-03T02:38:27Z 2020-09-03T02:42:33Z Invisibly Present/Visibly Absent, at Gallery Al-Quds
Here is my talk today with Dagmar Painter, curator emerita at Gallery Al-Quds, and Mohamed K. Mohamed, executive director of the Jerusalem Fund about my new art show: "Invisibly Present/Visibly Absent." Catalogue is here


More of my art is at: BeThatEmpty.org
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1564133 2020-06-24T14:03:45Z 2020-08-04T21:25:08Z The Problem of Racism is Not Black and White
The Problem of Racism is Not Black and White
by Sam Husseini
[From the January/February 1998 issue of Poverty & Race]

In what was billed as one of President Clinton's most important speeches, he urged us to "begin" a dialogue on race relations. Clinton spoke of "the problem of race." There is no such thing — except for racists. There is the problem of racism, a word Clinton managed to use only once during his  speech.
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1554662 2020-06-05T12:25:50Z 2020-06-08T20:37:14Z President Barr
Barr is Cheney 2.0. He is CIA from way back. His father was OSS. His father hired Jeffrey Epstein to be a math teacher at the Dalton School. Barr was Attorney General when Bush I gave Christmas eve pardons to Elliott Abrams and others after Bush I was voted out of office in 1992.

Barr was brought into the Trump administration about the same time as Elliott Abrams. He basically declared that based on his reading of the Mueller report that there was no obstruction of justice. So Barr basically got to decide if Trump stays or goes. Trump has been serving at Barr's pleasure.
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1548720 2020-05-23T17:58:57Z 2020-05-23T17:58:58Z Recent interviews on the origins of the pandemic, misreporting, and the threat of biowarfare
Was just interviewed by the thoughtful Pat Thomas of the Organic Consumers Association

Earlier this month, I was interviewed by John Kirby and Libby Handros of "Perspectives on the Pandemic." Under a tight deadline, they did a great job of pulling together some visuals as well. Transcript attached (which I've not double checked as yet.) Unfortunately, some of their content is getting purged and my interview seems to be shadow banned

 
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1538038 2020-04-30T22:25:10Z 2020-09-24T16:56:13Z Averting our Gaze from Biowarfare: Pandemics and Self-fulfilling Prophecies
by Sam Husseini

Those bastards in their white lab coats
Who experiment with mountain goats
Should leave the universe alone
It's not their business, not their home
-- John Prine, "Lonesome Friends of Science"

People who are dismissing the possibility that the pandemic might have come from a lab -- either accidentally from a Wuhan lab or them being effectively framed, as we saw with the 2001 anthrax attacks -- are basically risking the future of humanity because they don't want to have an uncomfortable discussion.

On Feb. 11, I asked Anne Schuchat, the CDC's Principal Deputy Director, at the National Press Club if it were a "complete coincidence" that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus happened in Wuhan, a center of China's declared biowarfare/biodefence capacity. I didn't get a satisfactory answer. In fact, at the end it was remarkably evasive. She wouldn't answer my followup question about whether the claimed "zoonotic origin" precluded the outbreak from being caused pathogens from nature that then could be accidentally leaked from the labs.  

But such simple facts are not being given to the public. Take "Democracy Now," the ostensible flagship broadcast of progressive thought. A search on "Democracy Now" shows that the first time the program mentioned "Wuhan" and "lab" or "laboratory" was on April 6 -- to credit "the Wuhan lab that identified the coronavirus that causes COVID-19." Mainstream outlets at least reported the existence of the lab to their audiences in a somewhat timely manner, even if they distorted the information. 

And skew the info they did. 

Forbes (3/17/20) published the piece "No, COVID-19 Coronavirus Was Not Bioengineered. Here’s The Research That Debunks That Idea," which depends on a misreading of a strange and misleading Nature Medicine article to dismiss the notion that it came out of a lab. The Forbes senior contributor on health, Bruce Y. Lee writes: "it’s a lot easier to leak a pocket of air though your butt than a virus from a BSL-4 facility." Apparently this was supposed to be reassuring. 

Similarly CNN (4/6/20) mocked the notion of a lab leak when re-assessing the source of the pandemic, describing one possibility being that: "It leaked -- like a genie out of a bottle -- from a lab in an accident."

But even a cursory look at the record shows that these labs, where ever they exist, have a lot of accidents -- just from 2019, the New York Times (8/5/19) reported: "Deadly Germ Research Is Shut Down at Army Lab Over Safety Concerns" regarding Fort Detrick in Maryland: "Problems with disposal of dangerous materials led the government to suspend research at the military’s leading biodefense center." (The local paper, the Frederick News-Post has provided some coverage, including publishing letters by local activist Barry Kissin who has focused on the issue.)

USA Today had a reporter on this beat, Alison Young, but she left the paper. A sampling of her work: 

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1534916 2020-04-24T10:31:20Z 2020-07-24T18:15:53Z Contrary to claims, the pandemic may have come from a lab — and regardless, it exposes the threat of biowarfare arms race
[Originally published in Salon.]
By Sam Husseini

There is no scientific finding that the novel coronavirus was bioengineered, but its origins are not entirely clear. Deadly pathogens discovered in the wild can be studied in secret in labs — and sometimes made more dangerous. That possibility, and other plausible scenarios, have been incorrectly dismissed in remarks by some scientists and government officials, and in the coverage of most major media outlets.

Regardless of the source of this pandemic, there is considerable documentation that a global biological arms race going on outside of public view could produce even more deadly pandemics in the future.

While much of the media and political establishment have minimized the threat from such lab work, some hawks on the American right like Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., have singled out Chinese biodefense researchers as uniquely dangerous. 

But there is every indication that U.S. lab work is every bit as threatening as that in Chinese labs. American labs also operate in secret, and are also known to be accident-prone.

The current dynamics of the biological arms race have been driven by U.S. government decisions that extend back decades. In December 2009, Reuters reported that the Obama administration was refusing even to negotiate the possible monitoring of biological weapons.

Much of the left in the U.S. now appears unwilling to scrutinize the origin of the pandemic — or the wider issue of biowarfare — perhaps because portions of the anti-Chinese right have been so vocal in making unfounded allegations. 

Governments that participate in such biological weapon research generally distinguish between "biowarfare" and "biodefense," as if to paint such "defense" programs as necessary. But this is rhetorical sleight-of-hand; the two concepts are largely indistinguishable. 

"Biodefense" implies tacit biowarfare, breeding more dangerous pathogens for the alleged purpose of finding a way to fight them. While this work appears to have succeeded in creating deadly and infectious agents, including deadlier flu strains, such "defense" research is impotent in its ability to defend us from this pandemic. 

The legal scholar who drafted the main U.S. law on the subject, Francis Boyle, warned in his 2005 book "Biowarfare and Terrorism" that an "illegal biological arms race with potentially catastrophic consequences" was underway, largely driven by the U.S. government.

For years, many scientists have raised concerns regarding bioweapons/biodefense lab work, and specifically about the fact that huge increases in funding have taken place since 9/11. This was especially true after the anthrax-by-mail attacks that killed five people in the weeks after 9/11, which the FBI ultimately blamed on a U.S. government biodefense scientist. A 2013 study found that biodefense funding since 2001 had totaled at least $78 billion, and more has surely been spent since then. This has led to a proliferation of laboratories, scientists and new organisms, effectively setting off a biological arms race. 

Following the Ebola outbreak in west Africa in 2014, the U.S. government paused funding for what are known as "gain-of-function" research on certain organisms. This work actually seeks to make deadly pathogens deadlier, in some cases making pathogens airborne that previously were not. With little notice outside the field, the pause on such research was lifted in late 2017.

During this pause, exceptions for funding were made for dangerous gain-of-function lab work. This included work jointly done by U.S. scientists from the University of North Carolina, Harvard and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This work — which had funding from USAID and EcoHealth Alliance not originally acknowledged — was published in 2015 in Nature Medicine

A different Nature Medicine article about the origin of the current pandemic, authored by five scientists and published on March 17, has been touted by major media outlet and some officials — including current National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins — as definitively disproving a lab origin for the novel coronavirus. That journal article, titled "The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2," stated unequivocally: "Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus." This is a subtly misleading sentence. While the scientists state that there is no known laboratory "signature" in the SARS-Cov-2 RNA, their argument fails to take account of other lab methods that could have created coronavirus mutations without leaving such a signature.

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1532271 2020-04-17T00:14:07Z 2020-06-04T04:22:14Z Questioning the CDC: Is it a Complete Coincidence That China's Only BSL4 Is in Wuhan? -- Audio and Video
I asked about the origins of the outbreak at a news conference with a Center for Disease Control representative at the now shuttered National Press Club on Feb. 11. I asked if it was a complete coincidence that the pandemic started in Wuhan, which seems a hub of Chinese biowarfare capacity -- with the only declared BSL4 (biosafety level 4 laboratory, which deals with the most deadly pathogens) while the bat caves (in Yunnan province) some have cited as the relevant source of bats are over 1,000 miles from Wuhan. I noted that controversial gain-of-function lab work results in more deadly pathogens (like making them airborne), and that major labs, including in the U.S., have had accidents. The CDC's Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat replied that based on the information she has seen, the virus was of "zoonotic origin." She also stated regarding gain-of-function lab work that it's important to "protect researchers and their laboratory workers as well as the community around them and that we use science for the benefit of people." 

I followed up, asking if an alleged natural origin didn't preclude it coming out of a lab, since a lab could have acquired a bat virus and been working on it. Schuchat replied to the assembled journalists that "it is very common for rumors to emerge that can take on life of their own," but didn't answer the question. She noted that in the 2014 Ebola outbreak, some pointed to nearby labs as the possible cause, claiming this "was a key rumor that had to be overcome in order to help control the outbreak." And she reiterated: "So based on everything that I know right now, I can tell you the circumstances of the origin really look like animals to human. But your, your question, I heard." 

But there's no rumor. It’s a fact: Labs work with dangerous pathogens. U.S. and China have such dual use biowarfare/biodefense programs. China has major facilities at Wuhan. There are leaks from labs. (See Preventing a Biological Arms Race, MIT Press, 1990, edited by Susan Wright -- see (partial) review in Journal of International Law (10/92).)

Notice of event is here. Full video here and my questioning begins at 41:41. Audio attached, my question begins at 6:10 on the audio. Full article to come. Transcript: 

Husseini: Obviously the main concern is how to stop the virus and deaths and so on. But I think that we should look into the origins of this. Is it the CDCs contention that there's absolutely no relation to the BSL4 lab in Wuhan? It's my understanding this is the only place in China with a BSL4 lab. We in the United States have I think two dozen or so and there have been problems and incidents. Some of them have been shut down out of concerns of leakage of potential pathogens. And it's an ethical struggle in the United States about gain of function research. That is, research that actually attempts to make pathogens more lethal. China is a very opaque society [with a] totalitarian regime. We have no idea, or I don't know, you tell me: Do you have any idea of what kind of research could potentially be done? I'm not contending that this was intentional in any way. I'm just asking is it a complete coincidence that this outbreak happened in the one city in China with a BSL4 lab and shouldn't we be having at least some of the discussion about the ethics of some of the research that happens here? Thank you.

Schuchat: Thank you for those comments. Based on everything that I know about what is going on with this outbreak and the research that's being conducted, well as the genomic sequences that have been posted and the comparison with animals strains, the pattern that we're seeing is quite consistent with emergence from animal to human acquisition and adaptability or mutations that permit the virus to be easily spread between people. There's some emerging research about, you know, the virus itself is related to bat viruses, that's what the SARS virus and the MERS virus. But there was an intriguing report about pangolin sequencing -- an animal that is apparently a large part of the wildlife trade around the world, with 99 percent similarity. But what our scientists tell us is you actually need more like 99.9 percent similarity for us to understand origin. The animal origins and the circumstances of the emergence of this virus are really important to understand and it's one of the key questions that the global community wants to look into.

Schuchat: In terms of the question about gain of function research and laboratory issues. Very important for us as a scientific community to have practices that protect researchers and their laboratory workers as well as the community around them and that we use science for the benefit of people. So I am closely involved in this response and everything that I've seen so far is very consistent with the animal to human spread that we've seen other zoonotic origin. 

Husseini: May I follow up on that -- just -- I mean, the two things don't necessarily preclude each other. That is, the Chinese lab could well have acquired the bat [virus]. It's one or two thousand miles away -- the caves where the bats are [from] that are allegedly the cause. So wouldn't -- the two things aren't mutually exclusive, are they?

Schuchat: Yeah, let me leave a comment. Information is critical and having the very best information available to those who -- to everyone, to be able to protect themselves, their families, their communities is essential. In the midst of new infections, it is very common for rumors to emerge that can take on life of their own. So as you mentioned, a laboratory in the center of what else is happening in that province -- I'm reminded of concerns we heard when I was in Sierra Leone in 2014 with the Ebola response. There was a concern that there was a hemorrhagic virus research center in Sierra Leone, and maybe that's where the virus had come from. It was a key rumor that had to be overcome in order to help control the outbreak. So based on everything that I know right now, I can tell you the circumstances of the origin really look like animals to human. But your, your question, I heard.
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1528729 2020-04-08T17:42:40Z 2020-08-03T06:00:18Z Sanders Suspends: What Happened? What Now?
Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk commented just as Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign: "Bernie made a number of mistakes that I highlighted and broke down in detail. No excuses. Having said that, you're out of your fucking mind if you think I'll forget or look past 'bloody monday', aka the day Obama got Pete & Amy to drop & endorse Biden. Saving his campaign."

In fact, the "Bloody Monday" move -- when Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both endorsed Biden just after his South Carolina win and just before "Super Tuesday" -- might be the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the DNC or other establishment forces molded the campaign to producer this outcome. 

Consider:

* Kamala Harris and Cory Booker pulled out of the race before South Carolina, paving the way for Biden's win there. Jim Clyburn of course endorsed Biden just before South Carolina. Tragically, Jesse Jackson only endorsed Sanders after. 

* Warren split the progressive ranks throughout and ultimately refused to endorse Sanders. 

* Even the choices of the candidates was useful to stopping Sanders. Pete Buttigieg was from Indiana and the net effect of his campaign was to deny Sanders a clear win in not-so-far-away Iowa. Amy Klobuchar was from Minnesota and so the net effect of her campaign was to throw that state to Biden so that Biden won something substantial outside of the south on Super Tuesday, making his rise appear national and therefore plausibly inevitable. 

* Ostensibly antiwar candidate Tulsi Gabbard throughout refused to meaningfully criticize the war addicted Biden -- even when she had a clear shot to do so during the debates on his Iraq war lies. Meanwhile, Sanders just kept saying Biden voted for the Iraq war while Sanders didn't. Sanders never meaningfully made the case that Biden played key role in making the Iraq invasion happen and never really tore into his lies

* Mike Gravel -- who might have really tore into Biden -- was excluded from the debate stage throughout. 

* Julián Castro was marginalized shortly after he attacked Biden. 

  * Bloomberg coming in had the net effect of Warren going after him -- for things she could well have gone after Biden about but didn't. His demise effectively gave the base a sense of weird relief that Biden is the nominee: "Well, at least we didn't get stuck with Billionaire Bloomberg".

You couldn't have planned it better for Biden if you tried. And lots of forces -- from the DNC to the establishment media did try in thousands of ways.
 
Additionally, the entire "Ukrainegate" obsession -- contrary to a slew of deluded progressive commentators at the time -- built up Biden as the anti-Trump. Trump was trying to attack him, so he must be the one Trump is afraid of was the obvious logic. That was the net effect of the entire media focus on that including the ultimate impeachment (remember impeachment?). 

Indeed, in this incredibly vicious cycle, just as many Republicans likely turned to Trump because they felt they needed a corrupt celebrity to stop Hillary Clinton, many Democrats likely turned to Biden for similar reasons this year.

And at a societal level, the pandemic struck chords of fear in people's collective psychology. It was like the Y2K story. As January 1, 2000 approached, people were filled with dread and fear, so that what should have been a time for great hope was a time for just hoping to get by. Like now. The pandemic pushed many people to turn to the familiar, to something that they associate with not being a disaster. (This is the opposite of what happened in 1900 -- that period was apparently greeted with great embrace.)
 
Then there's Sanders' own role, his incapacity -- or more likely, his unwillingness -- to mount sharper attacks on Biden, of shedding his imperial presumptions and more deeply taking on the foreign policy establishment. Sanders' ultimate legacy may be what the late great Bruce Dixon called "Sheepdogging." 

So, now what?

As I outlined last month:

There are two obvious responses:

Burn it Down: The impulsive thing to do would be to want to burn down the Democratic Party. It’s possible that the establishment of the Democratic Party would be OK with this — they seem to fear a President Sanders more than the fear another term of Trump. So, people would stay home or vote for a third party or independent candidate who openly states that they have virtually no chance of winning.

Cave In: Others might insist that no matter how badly the Democratic Party establishment treats its voters, they need to get in line come November and vote for whoever the nominee is. This is euphemistically referred to as “hold your nose and voting.” People have done this for decades and it’s typically resulted in the corporate wing of the Democratic Party becoming more and more powerful.

The first of these will be disastrous because it will help Trump.

The second will be disastrous because it effectively surrenders control of the Democratic Party to the corporate wing, probably for the foreseeable future.

But there is a third choice: The VotePact strategy.

With the VotePact strategy,  in the general election, disenchanted Democratics team up with a disenchanted Republicans. They pair up: spouses and friends and coworkers and neighbors and debating partners and ex-facebook friends. Instead of the two of them voting for candidates they don’t want, they pair up and vote for the third party or independent candidate of their choice.

Given the pandemic, all bets may be off. Things could slide into disaster -- or a great new world could be born. One could almost envision the rise of the Stay-At-Home party. People can talk to their loved ones in a way they never have. And they may embrace their neighbors -- even if it is at ten feet -- as the never have before. Zoom could be filled with hopes and dreams and a path might be found to get there. We might be driven by fear and shallow hate and sectarian thinking -- or we might decide to come together as a country and as a world as we never have before. 

VotePact takes work. But it's a path out of the duopoly and toward freedom. Given the tumult before us, it is actually a rather moderate proposal, drawing us to a sane center, away from the disastrous paths of both Biden, which gave birth to Trump -- and Trump himself. 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1506017 2020-02-03T20:47:00Z 2020-02-07T17:54:40Z Big ABC Debate Friday Night. Tell Them What You Think Saturday.
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1482875 2019-11-27T19:00:26Z 2020-02-27T19:34:05Z Giving Thanks for Political Disagreements
How a Would-be Thanksgiving Argument Can Help Birth a Revolution
by Sam Husseini

It's become something of a cliché: Many people dread Thanksgiving in part because they have to break bread with friends -- and especially relatives -- who they adamantly disagree with politically. 

One is pro-immigration, the other wants to build a bigger wall, etc. 

But what if this annoying encounter was actually a blessing?

I don't identify as either a Democrat or a Republican, but I recognize that there are millions of people who identify as "Democrats" for some good reason and there are lots of people who identify as "Republican" for good reason.

Thing is, those "good reasons" mostly have to do with how bad the other party is.

And a further rub is that many rank and file Democratic voters and Republican voters agree on certain core issues: They are sick of Wall Street and big business domination. They are skeptical of perpetual wars, etc. This is in spite of the fact that the establishment of both the Democratic and Republican parties are deeply tied to Wall Street and back perpetual wars, occasional rhetoric to the contrary.

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1480874 2019-11-22T16:50:05Z 2020-02-27T19:34:53Z Can the Religious Left Take Down Nuclear Weapons?
Pope Francis will travel to Hiroshima and Nagasaki this weekend. On Sunday, he will give a public address at the ground-zero site of the nuclear attack on Nagasaki. He is expected to give the clearest articulation yet of the Vatican's position, since 2017, that condemns the "very possession" of nuclear weapons. This is something Plowshares activists have been arguing -- and acting upon -- since 1980.

                                                                                                   ***

Prosecutor E. Greg Gilluly railed to the jury as he held up a copy of Daniel Ellsberg's book -- The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner: It was evidence, but not "for the truth of it." Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia only grudgingly allowed the book to be entered into evidence since the seven activists, who could face decades in prison, had left it at Kings Bay base which houses the Trident submarine nuclear weapons arsenal on the Atlantic coast.

In her testimony, Plowshares defendant Clare Grady of the Ithaca, New York Catholic Worker community tried to explain to the jury the motivation and urgency of the group: US government is using nuclear weapons daily as a gun pointed at the head of the planet. But even as she spoke, she had a series of legal guns pointed at her own head. She and her fellow defendants had been threatened with contempt if they disobeyed Wood's edict not to cite evidence or legal arguments that might result in acquittal. As law professor Francis Boyle  warned before the trial: “This is a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp and a railroad all put together.”

So, Grady and the six others -- the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 -- pleaded with the jury to look to their conscience. The activists were following the biblical edict to turn swords into plowshares, after all. But the jury seemingly didn't crack open either Ellsberg's book or their hearts, deciding on guilty verdicts on all four counts, including conspiracy, destruction of property and depredation, against all seven defendants in under two hours late last month.

Defendant Elizabeth McAlister, the 79-year-old widow of Phil Berrigan from Jonah House in Baltimore, who donated her own blood for the action said: “The government has set up a religion of nuclearism. It is terrifying and dead, dead wrong. It is a form of idolatry in this culture." 

If that seems like hyperbole, consider that Wood allowed prosecution witnesses to state -- under oath -- that they could "neither confirm or deny" the existence of nuclear warheads at the base. The defense had objected to this -- which had been allowed in prior trials of Plowshares activists -- in pretrial motions, but as with much else, the prosecution got away with things without so much as an objection being heard by the jury. Thus Wood effectively denied the central empirical reality of the case, that Kings Bay houses six Trident submarines each submarine can carry 24 submarine-launched ballistic missiles designated Trident D5. Each of those missiles can carry up to eight 100-kiloton nuclear warheads -- about 30 times the explosive force of the Hiroshima bomb. All the while, the defense was effectively dismissed for acting on their "subjective" beliefs.

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1470774 2019-10-27T20:52:58Z 2020-02-27T19:35:36Z Plowshares History Talk by Art Laffin
Plowshares History Talk 

(Talk by Art Laffin given on Oct. 22, 2019 at evening support gathering during  the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Trial at St. Athanasius Episcopal Church, Brunswick, Georgia. This version Includes some slight revisions. Audio is here. Laffin is member of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community in Washington, D.C. He is also editor of the two-volume work Swords into Plowshares, which has a forward by the late Father Daniel Berrigan.)


]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1469108 2019-10-23T01:03:00Z 2019-10-23T01:03:01Z Art Laffin on Plowshares 2
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1469105 2019-10-23T01:02:35Z 2019-10-24T01:17:07Z Art Laffin on Plowshares Actions Part 1
Part 2
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1454942 2019-09-13T14:28:22Z 2019-09-16T22:42:46Z Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max
Presidential candidate Joe Biden is adding lies on top of lies to cover up his backing of the Iraq invasion.

At last night's ABC/DNC debate Biden lied about his Iraq record, just like he did at the first two debates.

In the July debate, Biden claimed: “From the moment ‘shock and awe’ started, from that moment, I was opposed to the effort, and I was outspoken as much as anyone at all in the Congress.”

When he first said that, it received virtually no scrutiny except for Mideast scholar Stephen Zunes, who wrote the piece "Biden Is Doubling Down on Iraq War Lies." Zunes outlined much of Biden's record, including his insistence in May 2003 -- months after the Iraq invasion -- that “There was sufficient evidence to go into Iraq.”

At last night's debate on ABC, Biden claimed that he voted for the Iraq invasion authorization to "to allow inspectors to go in to determine whether or not anything was being done with chemical weapons or nuclear weapons."

But the congressional vote happened on October 11 (see Biden's speech then). And by that time Iraq had agreed to allow weapons inspectors back in. On Sept. 16, 2002, the New York Times reported: "U.N. Inspectors Can Return Unconditionally, Iraq Says." (This was immediately after a delegation organized by the Institute for Public Accuracy -- where I work -- had gone to Iraq.)

Now, independent journalist Michael Tracey, who interviewed Biden in New Hampshire recently, reports that Biden made the ridiculous claim that he opposed the invasion of Iraq even before it started. Said Biden: “Yes, I did oppose the war before it began." See Tracey's piece: "Joe Biden's Jumbled Iraq War Revisionism" and video.
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1450129 2019-08-30T15:46:28Z 2020-02-27T19:36:27Z Film "Official Secrets" Points to a Mammoth Iceberg
Two-time Oscar nominee Keira Knightley is known for being in "period pieces" such as "Pride and Prejudice," so her playing the lead in the new film "Official Secrets," scheduled to be release in the U.S. this Friday, may seem odd at first. That is until one considers that the time span being depicted -- the early 2003 run-up to the invasion of Iraq -- is one of the most dramatic and consequential periods of modern human history. 

It is also one of the most poorly understood, in part because the story of Katharine Gun, played by Knightley, is so little known. I should say from the outset that having followed this story from the start, I find this film to be, by Hollywood standards, a remarkably accurate account of what has happened to date. "To date" because the wider story still isn't really over.

Katharine Gun worked as an analyst for Government Communications Headquarters, the British equivalent of the secretive U.S. National Security Agency. She tried to stop the impending invasion of Iraq in early 2003 by exposing the deceit of George W. Bush and Tony Blair in their claims about Iraq. She was prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act -- a juiced up version of the U.S. Espionage Act, which has in recent years been used repeatedly by the Obama administration against whistleblowers and now by the Trump administration against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange.  

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1447496 2019-08-22T18:59:57Z 2020-02-27T19:37:09Z “One America" -- To What Ends?
The report is 121 pages. I've delved into it. I could immerse myself in it and write a dissertation, but who would read it? For a short piece, it's enough to just look at the cover -- and consider how this administration uses this issue as cover.

"One America in the 21st Century" is the title. Not "Finally Overcoming Racism." Not "Towards an America of Equality." "One America" -- is that really the point? Should that be the goal of this race initiative?

National cohesion is the driving concern here. How can we make these differing ethnicities get along well enough to ensure that this stays one nation is a question elites must ask themselves. We are called to "overcome the burden of race." In some respects, the people -- their very genetic makeup and heritage -- is implicitly viewed as a threat to the great goal: "One America." Is that more important than reaffirming our humanity with regards to ethnicity? Indeed, humanity is viewed at best as a mere lever, a tactic for national unity, just as racial diversity is viewed as a means to economic success.

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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1418795 2019-06-10T20:02:09Z 2020-06-08T00:51:37Z "Radical": Frank Lloyd Wright interviewed by Mike Wallace
I came across this wonderful pair of interviews with Frank Lloyd Wright years ago. They are on the website of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. While their site has transcripts of the interviews, there seems to be no easy way of linking to them, so I've posted their transcript here, while making a few corrections. See my piece "Frank Lloyd Wright, Used by GOP, Since His Actual Ideas Are So Little Understood."

Video is also on youtube, but audio isn't as good:

WALLACE: Good evening, what you are about to witness is an unrehearsed, uncensored interview. My name is Mike Wallace, the cigarette is Philip Morris. (OPENING CREDITS) 

WALLACE: Tonight we go after the story of one of the most extraordinary men of our time. You see him behind me, he is eighty-eight-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright, perhaps the greatest architect of the twentieth century. And in the opinion of some, America's foremost social rebel. According to a story in Life Magazine not many years back, fellow architects have called him everything, from a great poet to an insupportable windbag. The clergy has deplored his morals, creditors have deplored his financial habits, politicians, his opinions. And we'll get Frank Lloyd Wright's views on morals, politics, religion and architecture in just a moment. My guest's opinions are not necessarily mine, the station's, or my sponsor's Philip Morris Incorporated, but whether you agree or disagree we feel sure that none will deny the right of these views to be broadcast. 

WALLACE: And, now to our story. Admirers of Frank Lloyd Wright hail him as a man one hundred years ahead of his time. Now, eighty-eight years old, he is still designing homes and buildings which are revolutionary, including plans for a mile-high skyscraper for which he's had no buyers yet. But just as radical as Frank Lloyd Wright the architect is Frank Lloyd Wright the social critic. Mr. Wright, before we go any further, I'd like to chart your attitudes specifically, by getting your capsule opinions as an architect or as a social critic of the following: First of all, organized Christianity. 

WRIGHT: Why organized it? Christianity doesn't need organizing according to the Master of it, the great master poet of all times didn't want it organized, did he?. Didn't Jesus say... that wherever a few are gathered in my name, there is my Church? 

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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1408041 2019-05-12T00:49:36Z 2019-06-12T19:33:18Z From Mother's Day to #SexStrike: The Obscured Roots of Global Peace Solidarity
To much attention, the actress Alyssa Milano ‏on Friday tweeted: "Our reproductive rights are being erased. Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy. JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back. I’m calling for a #SexStrike. Pass it on." Much of the reaction online focused on the alleged irony of a liberal woman advocating abstinence from sex. 

The same day, Donald and Melania Trump hosted a celebration of military mothers at the White House. Said Donal Trump: "To the active-duty moms here today: We thank you for your courage, and we applaud your noble service. You have two of the most important jobs in the world: bravely defending America from our enemies and helping to raise the next generation of American patriots."

While Trump focuses on Mother's Day, Milano hearkens back to the sex strike as depicted in the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes.

What's striking is that both of these are rooted in movements against war. In the case of Milano, it's obscured, while Trump actively opposes the antiwar roots of Mother's Day.
 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1390753 2019-03-27T17:06:18Z 2019-04-29T15:17:47Z Debunking "Russiagate" in Real Time -- List of Accuracy.org News Releases
Here's a list of news releases on "Russiagate" and related issues that the Institute for Public Accuracy -- accuracy.org -- where I work, put out from roughly March 2017 to March 2018. These news releases are sent to thousands of producers and reporters, mostly in the US:
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1388293 2019-03-21T12:51:17Z 2019-04-29T15:18:44Z Iraq War Lies: My Letter to Rob Reiner on "Shock and Awe" Here's a letter that was sent to Rob Reiner in April 2016. At the time, he was directing the film "Shock and Awe" which would be released the following year. 

Dear Rob Reiner --

I've of course enjoyed your work over the years.

I recently tweeted "Finally saw 'The Big Short'. Good. Sure they'll produce a film about folks who were right about Iraq wmds any decade now."

Immediately, a couple of McClatchy reporters I know responded, tweeting that you are working on "Shock and Awe."

At the Institute for Public Accuracy, we got a lot of critical information out scrutinizing claims regarding alleged Iraq WMDs from 2002-03 and I thought you'd be interested in learning of it.

A sample: in October, 2002, John R. MacArthur, author of Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf War, noted on one of our news releases: "Recently, Bush cited an IAEA report that Iraq was ‘six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.’ The IAEA responded that not only was there no new report, ‘there’s never been a report’ asserting that Iraq was six months away from constructing a nuclear weapon." That's just the tip of the iceberg of what was knowable at the time. See other such news releases we put out from before the invasion: "White House Claims: A Pattern of Deceit" and "Bush’s War Case: Fiction vs. Facts at Accuracy.org/bush" and "U.S. Credibility Problems" and "Tough Questions for Bush on Iraq Tonight." 

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1382322 2019-03-06T20:53:54Z 2019-07-23T13:56:54Z Rep. Omar's Choice
As a virtual lynch mob moves to chastise Rep. Ilhan Omar over her recent remarks around Israel, the new congresswoman basically has three options before her: (1) Fold; (2) Continue the back and forth of the last several weeks or (3) Get more specific and expand the public critique. 

Fold: Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Omar herself can go largely silent on Israel. She can perhaps even offer a bigger apology than she did before or she can find some other way to draw closer to the establishment. This is a convenient path. 

Continue the Current Pattern: Thus far, Rep. Omar has made statements about the Israel lobby and support for Israel that at one level are obviously true: 

* "It's all about the benjamins": The pro-Israel lobby uses money to further its interests in Congress, just as virtually any other well-funded lobby does; 

* "I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is ok for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. And I want to ask, why is it ok for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby." There are some in the U.S. establishment that have loyalty to Israel rivaling if not exceeding what they have for the United States. 

The issue with these statement is that in addition to being true, is that they are being read by some to play to ugly anti-Jewish refrains if limited to Jews: They use money to control, they love Israel, not the U.S. The problem with the second readings of them is that they require -- at best -- a remarkably a high level of sensitivity regarding Rep. Omar's actual words. This may well be the reason the draft text of the resolution effectively targeting Rep. Omar reportedly doesn't actually mention her -- because they're not actually referencing her words. As Abba Solomon noted to me: "AIPAC allies should stop hiding behind Jews, and Democratic politicians should stop feigning such sensitivity to Jewish feelings when Zionist lobbying is the subject." Indeed, some of the readings are akin to being offended by someone saying the word "gypped" -- it really is an offensive word to Roma, but it is widely used with hardly anyone blinking an eye. 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1366717 2019-01-24T17:26:59Z 2020-01-21T18:25:21Z Questions at Doomsday Clock Event

I asked about Russiagate and Israel's nuclear arsenal at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock event Thursday at the National Press Club. 

Here's transcript: 

Sam Husseini: I'd like to raise two things that I don’t believe have come up explicitly and I'd like you address them. One, explicitly, is Russiagate. Several people including fellow Nation writer Steve Cohen, a Russia expert, have warned that the focusing and the charges and demonization of Putin have reached such a level that they cause a threat, that they increase the instability and the dangers between the U.S. and Russia. If someone could make an assessment about the dangers of that. I am not talking about Trump’s tweets. I am talking about the Democratic party establishment and allied media. And the other thing that I don’t believe has come up, there's been some discussions about Iran, is Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal. Israel just targeted Iranian forces inside Syria. We have Turkey, a NATO member bound by Article 5, involved in Syria as well. It is my understanding that the U.S. government has refused to even acknowledge the existence of Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal, which was of course exposed years ago by Mordichai Vanunu . Do you recommend a change in that and can you address how that long-standing abnormal can be addressed?

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1360244 2019-01-04T19:25:11Z 2019-04-29T15:21:17Z Warren Works Up Economy, Not War
In her New Years Eve announcement forming an exploratory committee for the presidency, Sen. Elizabeth Warren made a great point: "Right now, Washington works great for the wealthy and the well-connected. It's just not working for anyone else."

In case you missed that, she pointedly did not say "the economy isn't working well" or such, as we've all heard numerous politicos say countless times.

She rather said the opposite of that -- repeatedly: "The way I see it right now, Washington works great for giant drug companies, but just not for people who are trying to get a prescription filled. Washington works great for for-profit colleges and student loan outfits, but not for young people who are getting crushed by student loan debt. And you could keep going through the list. The problem we have got right now in Washington is that it works great for those who've got money to buy influence."

And in case anyone at all missed the point, she said it yet again: "We want a government that works not just for the rich and the powerful. We want a government that works for everyone."

It's laudatory that Warren is using her perch and analytical skills to avoid a common rhetorical trap and is articulating the truism that the political establishment largely does the bidding of the wealthy and connected when it comes to the economy.

The problem is that she doesn't articulate that in the same manner when it comes to bloody wars. Quite the contrary. That is, she says that she goes down a list -- drug companies, for-profit colleges and student loan outfits -- but that list doesn't seem to include those who have an interest in continuing horrific wars.

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1343512 2018-11-13T15:38:40Z 2018-11-13T15:38:40Z Trump and Big Media: Clash or Collusion?

My latest piece, "Trump and Big Media: Clash or Collusion?" -- pegged to the Trump-Acosta controversy -- was published over the weekend at Consortium News. Among other things, it gets into Acosta's misreporting about my expulsion from the Trump-Putin news conference in Helsinki and the symbiotic relationship between Trump and much of the major media. 

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1333571 2018-10-18T14:44:42Z 2020-08-09T01:16:26Z The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
[Portrait of House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer by Sarah Darley made up of logos of his largest funders.]

Especially with Brett Kavanaugh's accession to the Supreme Court, many are understandably absorbed with the importance of trying to end the Republican majorities in Congress for the midterm elections.

But simply always backing Democrats will likely propel the party further toward the establishment corporate right. If voters are just going to get behind a Democratic candidate no matter what, there's no incentive for them to be progressive in any sense.

Some may point to some new left-leaning candidates coming out of the Democratic Party. But even the most optimistic assessment of these candidates must acknowledge they are far outnumbered by establishment Democratic Party incumbents.

And there's a reason for that: Establishment apparatchiks in the Democratic Party go around the country kneecapping candidates who might, maybe, have some actual progressive tendencies.

Exhibit A is Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Whip in the House of Representatives who was caught on a secret audio recording doing exactly that earlier this year.

Now, noted activist and author Pat Elder is challenging Hoyer. If people of whatever stripe -- Democratic, Green, independent, whatever -- want to challenge the Democratic Party establishment, then strongly backing Elder's campaign is perhaps the shrewdest move they can make right now.

Earlier this year, Lee Fang of The Intercept reported, based on secretly taped audio, how Hoyer works "to crush competitive primaries and steer political resources, money, and other support to hand-picked candidates in key races across the country." 

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1329587 2018-10-06T13:31:23Z 2018-10-06T18:55:25Z Young and Professional Kavanaugh: "It's All Part of the Same Scummy Guy" I don't often think fondly of Christopher Hitchens, but an insight of my ex-friend did brighten my eyes the last week.  

Specifically, after I sent out a series of news releases effectively arguing that then-president Bill Clinton should be impeached "for the right reasons" -- specifically, illegal bombings, Hitchens objected. He argued that the distinction between Clinton's personal and professional actions was a false one, that "it's all part of the same scummy guy."

As some argue that Kavanaugh shouldn't be judged on actions he committed when he was 17, are they pretending they are ignorant of his professional record, of his pattern of lying under oath even before Ford came forward?

Are we to act as though Kavanaugh's apparent attempted rape of Christine Blasey Ford has no relation to his backing torture?

Are we supposed to pretend that there's no connection between being a privileged hoodlum and flacking for corrupt presidents and corporations?

Are we supposed to just go along as though there's no relationship between putting misogynistic crap on your high school yearbook and expecting to get away with it and brazenly lying about it under oath decades later?  

Should we really pretend that having a high school cabal who clearly seem to use their sense of privilege (Kavanaugh's mother was a judge) to get away with whatever they want to do doesn't relate to cliquish associations like the Federalist Society, using the law to further the interests of elites?

The problem is that the power of privilege is used to cause silence among those who are not part of it.

Where are those "values voters" I hear about? 

I've heard feminists say to the point of cliché that rape "isn't about sex, it's about power". I've seen a few articles pointing out the "power of sexual violence" exposed by Ford's testimony, but virtually no utterance connecting that violence and will to power to Kavanaugh's professional work.

Kavanaugh didn't just apparently try to rape Ford years ago, he shamelessly lied about it now, openly falsifying what terms he used meant -- as he lied under oath about other things regarding is professional work to the Senate Judiciary Committee. With Barely. Anyone. Raising. Their. Voice. At. Him

Kavanaugh -- like Oliver North and Clarence Thomas before him -- was able to use a faux anger to bully punching bag Democrats who seemed more concerned about appearing judicious than winning. Many ask if Kavanaugh has the temperament to be a judge, almost to preclude more substantial arguments against him. The unasked question is if the Democrats have the temperament to be effective. 

Who showed fire in their belly and articulated Kavanaugh's lying under oath? Who went for the jugular? Sen. Dick Durbin came close to doing so about Kavanaugh failing to call for an FBI investigation -- and then a (pathetic) FBI investigation happened. That should be a lesson. 

Kavanaugh, when he was working for Ken Starr, suggested that Clinton be asked “If Monica Lewinsky says you inserted a cigar into her vagina while you were in the Oval Office area, would she be lying?”

Where was the senator asking "If someone says 'boofing' means anal sex and not flatulence as you claim and 'Devil's Triangle isn't a drinking game as you claim under oath, but a reference to sex between two males and a female, would they be lying?" or "Amnesty International has recommended that your nomination be slowed since you could be involved in violations of international law. So, are you a war criminal?"

Such a senator was not to be found. Some senators laid the basis for showing Kavanaugh lied under oath. And perhaps they expect that he will be impeached once they get a majority. But who knows what happens between now and then. 

In terms of making the case to the public in a way that could not be ignored, they at best fell short. The best a few senators could bring themselves to do was mumble something about perjury when what was needed was to do down the litany. 

By contrast, it would appear Kavanaugh, who was charged with getting right-wing judges through congress during the Bush administration, rolled out his own nomination by inoculating himself against the weakness he knew he had: Stressing his credentials as a girl's basketball coaching, loving dad to his daughters and mentor to females in the legal profession. 

And then he and Republican senators put on their act of moral outrage that should have come from the critics of Kavanaugh. Perhaps there was some of the genuine anger in the streets in protests against Kavanaugh -- that seem to have come too little too late -- but at best rarely from the committee hearing room. 

And those optics largely prevailed -- all part of the same scummy system. 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1325617 2018-09-25T21:25:13Z 2018-12-02T11:56:13Z Craig Newmark on Open Source Social Media Platform: "Don't know if there is a need for that" @craignewmark
Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist spoke at the National Press Club yesterday, largely about spending $20 million to back The Markup. 

Only one of my several questions got in without getting mangled: 

Question: "Do you think there should be an open source social media platform?"

Craig Newmark: "Boy, I don't know if there is a need for that. Just reflexively almost, I supports open source almost automatically. The idea is that some people have tried to do that -- I think one of them recently shut down because of lack of interest. I do think as more and more of the ethics of our social media platforms, as more and more of that is explored, I think things are going to get better for all of us. One of the big problems for example is the lack of informed consent. A social media platform should clearly tell you what it is collecting, who they will share it with and so on. And those things are happening. I am involved with the Center for Humane Technology which is doing that kind of thing, and for that matter, there is the European GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation], which goes ways in that direction, requiring platforms to tell you, hey, here is what we are going to tell about you and here is what we are going to show about you. Different countries have different flavors. Some opt in, some opt out. And that's a controversial topic because implementing that is going to be hard for some people but I can see all of those areas improving. And I am committed."

Here's the video, that question is at about 45 min.

(Other questions I submitted included if Russiagate possibly threatens humanity (totally garbled so the point was unclear) and couple of questions on possible nationalization or democratic control over internet corporations (dumbed down to "do you favor regulation"). Newmark  repeatedly said he doesn't think any good regulation will come from DC, kept mentioning Sacramento, was kind of a running gag in his talk.)
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