College of DuPage v Academic Freedom

The College of DuPage has once again demonstrated a perverse notion of academic freedom. The Chicagoland community college which has had a tumultuous period of presidents coming and going and board members litigating against each other is greatly influenced by David Horowitz’s, Academic Bill of Rights. The board chair, who is suing prior members for alleged defamation concerning charges of sexual harassment, is attempting to influence what is taught in the classroom and which guests can be invited to speak on campus. One should be deeply concerned about the proposed actions by the College of DuPage Board of Trustees.

It appears to be an explicit violation of the principles of shared governance and academic freedom. It is obvious that efforts to restrict both instructional and student choices are contrary to the basic idea of what an institution of higher learning should stand for: namely the search for truth.

The American Association of University Professors has addressed the grave consequences of adopting the A.B.O.R. in terms of academic freedom, governmental intrusion into higher education and shared governance.

Governing boards need to exercise restraint in imposing their ideological views on faculty and students. They certainly have a role to play in the life of an institution and should do more than merely identify financial sources of support. Yet so many governing boards are unaware of what higher education needs to remain vital and creative. Many board members come from the business community and are not versed in the ongoing issues of higher education. Frequently presidents, who either appoint the board or are utterly subservient to them, rarely clash with or challenge board actions that could eviscerate the quality of education on their campuses. Of course at the College of DuPage presidents don’t last too long and leave under unusual circumstances so it is the duty of the public to support and assist those forces on campus who object to the A.B.O.R. being used as the fundamental guiding document of the community college.
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Al Qaeda’s Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri Was Right About President-Elect Obama

Much has been made about the “insults” and “slurs” directed against Barack Obama by Al Qaeda’s deputy Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, the brilliant Egyptian physician, in a videotape released on November 19. The New York Times described the reference to “house negro” as an “insult” and the Chicago Tribune as “slurs.” The American press also disparaged Malcolm X, who was praised by Dr al-Zawahiri, as a “militant.” I did not see any press accounts that even mentioned that President-elect Obama has threatened to kill Dr Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden. I would assert that Dr al-Zawahiri exhibited restraint and a more conciliatory approach than Obama. There was no threat directed against the American future president. There was no boasting of capturing or killing the Illinois president-elect. I would aver that an insult directed against an individual in response to a death threat does suggest a less belligerent and hostile attitude. If Obama indeed is willing to speak to our adversaries, then why has he consistently excluded Al Qaeda from that conversation and refreshing diplomatic approach?

In fact, Barack Obama wants to merely transfer the war from Iraq to Afghanistan. While the term “house negro” is unfortunate, I think Dr al-Zawahiri was correct in claiming Mr Obama appears to be adopting the Bush-Clinton approach to the Muslim world. Vice-President Elect Joe Biden and Senator Hillary Clinton voted for the 2002 Authorisation to Use Force resolution in Iraq. Senator Clinton threatened to devastate Iran if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. Such murderous and hate-filled speech was not only vicious but also utterly ignorant of key foreign affairs issues. Senator Clinton never mentioned that Israel possesses an enormous nuclear deterrent and that no nation would attack it preemptively with nuclear weapons for fear of a second-strike devastating retaliation.

Yet the racist Hillary Clinton who gloated in the primaries that she gets “the hard-working Americans, the white American” vote and lied about being almost killed in Kosovo at a flower-festooned reception at the airport, is apparently going to become Secretary of State. Twenty-three Senators and 133 members of the House of Representatives voted against the war in Iraq. Why did not President-elect Obama ask one of them to serve as Vice President or Secretary of State or Secretary of “War” or U.N. Ambassador? Where is the peace dividend, that so many of us who supported him initially in the primaries with our financial support and time, hoped would come?

While I have little regard for Al Qaeda due to their use of force and disregard for sparing noncombatants, I do believe President-elect Obama has become captive to the Clinton crowd and the establishment support of Israel that is beyond our geopolitical and national security interests. The crimes against humanity in Gaza and the destruction of the Palestinian people by Israel and the United States is a legitimate concern of Al Qaeda and those who seek justice through PEACEFUL means.

Malcolm X was a great figure. He ultimately did seek reconciliation between Muslims and non-Muslims after he saw white Muslims on his hajj to Mecca. He was an advocate of internationalism and bringing people of colour together from all regions of the world. He was not a captive of the vital center in this country that is frozen in hatred of the Arab nation and is intimidated in even acknowledging that Israel has nuclear weapons but is determined to ultimately go to war with Iran that dares to explore and develop nuclear properties and reactors.

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Wikipedia’s “Gwen Gale”: The New McCarthyism v Academic Freedom

Scare Poster as capitalism eviscerates America’s economy and plunges 45,700,000 without health insurance and at least 6.5% unemployed. Everyone knows it is over 7% when you count those who no longer try to find work as billionaire hedge-fund managers escape criminal prosecution.

One of the reasons why Gwen Gale—it is probably a mere cyber name– has censored my participation in editing on Wikipedia and in particular the “academic freedom” entry is a charge that I am an ideologue who wishes to brainwash my students into adopting a communist ideological worldview. This is her exact statement:

“I’ve thought he might more than likely be talking about an academic freedom to teach Marxism, which is to say, making even private schools follow his notions on this under sway of the law.”

I had mentioned this only briefly in an earlier post but let’s examine this in more detail. She is stating that I am an advocate for academic freedom for ONLY ideological reasons. Namely, to inculcate a Marxist viewpoint among my students and bizarrely to induce “private schools” to adhere to a communist viewpoint. Of course I do teach “Marxism.” It is a course called, “Capitalism, Socialism and Social Justice,” which is jointly offered in both the Department of History and Political Science and the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice. It is a course that obviously encompasses not only classical Marxism but also the democratic socialism of Europe and of course capitalism as well. The course compares and contrasts competing ideological visions.

I suspect, however, Ms Gale, who is an administrator and censor at Wikipedia, was not referring to this course but was engaging in an effort to marginalise me as a leftist seeking to abuse academic freedom for purposes of exploitation and indoctrination of my students. Academic freedom in the United States does not allow proselytisation or indoctrination of students. This is expressly prohibited in American Association of University Professor documents such as “Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students.” A professor may express her opinions; she may construe teaching as a moral act; she may be a disseminator of values and principles but must permit student opinions and disagreements at all times: “students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course.”

During the McCarthy era in the 1950s, 1000s of professors and secondary school teachers were fired or forced to resign because of allegations of being communist. This Red Scare as it were was a dismal period in American history during the imperialist strivings of America during the Cold War with Russia. Innocent Americans who dared to think and advocate for world peace, ending the arms race, reconciliation with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, modifying the greed and rapacity of capitalism and simply articulating an internationalist perspective were hounded from the university, the Hollywood studio, the corporation and even from the stage such as Pete Seeger and The Almanac Singers and Bob Dylan from the Ed Sullivan Show.

Ms Gale may have been merely defencive as she did not expect another victim of her censorship to be this determined and able to challenge her egregious, unprofessional actions. However, she needs to be reminded that there is a history of persecution in the United States that has resurfaced after 9/11. David Horowitz published: The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. Daniel Pipes’s Campus Watch blacklisted Middle East specialists who advocated justice for Palestine. Accuracy in Media published a list of liberals. Professors such as Norman Finkelstein, Mehrene Larudee, Nadia Abu El-Haj, Terri Ginsberg, Nicholas De Genova and many others have been denied tenure, promotion, continued rehiring or have been international targets of opprobium due to their political and scholarly interests.

I urge Gwen Gale to be more judicious in temperament or more respectful of others and avoid possibly derogatory statements that could have significant consequences.

No to censorship. No to blind charges of propagandising students. No to ad hominems. No to silencing dissent.

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“Gwen Gale,” Wikipedia Censor and “Vandal” on Academic Freedom

The word “vandal” is meant as a cyberspace term to indicate indiscriminate deleting of material from various webpages and as a censor in her efforts to ideologically control content on what is supposed to be a value-neutral website. I will continue to unmask the facade of neutrality as professors and others hopefully reassess the value of Wikipedia in both content and administration. This individual banished me from Wikipedia and from contributing this blog to their error-ridden bibliography and shoddy entry on “academic freedom.”

I would be less outraged at this arrogance were it by a specialist as opposed to an ideologue who repeatedly insults me with names as if she were immune from criticism: “Radical,” “Polemicist,” “Marxist” propagandist. You know the usual ad hominems from a reactionary who hides behind her labyrinthine maze of Wikipedia occultism. By the way I offered her an opportunity offline to e-mail me and to conduct a civil discourse over this and did not get a response. So the struggle continues.

This is what Gwen Gale wrote on her blog “Talk” page about academic freedom. I think it displays a rather elementary comprehension of what academic freedom means. I do not expect her to be a specialist but challenge her credentials in banning me from contributing to the academic freedom entry on Wikipedia. That is their loss, not mine. This blog I assure you gets many more hits daily than the academic freedom entry on Wikipedia but I admit this is not a competition but a struggle for free speech and the end of censorship. Her commentary on academic freedom:

“Says he’s a “tenured, full professor at St Xavier University” but he seems to have muddled Wikipedia, which is a private encyclopedia website with sourcing and behaviour rules grown through consensus and supported by its private owners (the WmF), with what he thinks is the “Wikipedia Academic Freedom Site.” I don’t know what he means by academic freedom. In a free market, folks should be able to teach and learn what they please, which also means each private school in a free market would be able to choose wholly on their own whether to offer their teachers and students whatever they thought “academic freedom” might be, swayed only by their own goals, means and whatever market tides might flow upon them. As for state funded schools, any notion of academic freedom is but a lie: The lack sometimes helpful, but often utterly unhelpful and misleading. Does he know his IP was blocked only for edit warring (over a link which didn’t meet WP:EL and nothing else? I’d think he must have read the block notice. Or is he rather stirring things up with a bit of handy polemic propaganda? :) Gwen Gale (talk) 14:09, 10 November 2008 (UTC)”

First of all Wikipedia is not private if it allows access on the Internet to 100,000s of contributors. It is not an intranet vehicle but public in any legal sense of the term. A private restaurant that allows the public to eat cannot discriminate on the basis of private ownership. Wikipedia solicits public input and one cannot shirk its ethical responsibility to be fair and open regardless of its private ownership. Yes it certainly has the right to restrict content if it is inappropriate, irrelevant, unprofessional or libelous but not absolute control given its public nature. The issue of being private has no standing here; it does not require a login password and domain for its users and visitors.

In the United States, academic freedom is NOT restricted to private colleges and universities but applies to state-funded schools as well. The American Association of University Professors’ 1915 and 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure make very few distinctions on the nature of the university in which academic freedom should prevail. Yes there is a provision that with faith-based universities or colleges, some attenuation of academic freedom may be allowed if CLEARLY SPELLED OUT at the time of one’s appointment. Yet in 1970 AAUP downplayed this allowance and requires academic freedom across the academy.

Ms Gale wrote: a “private school in a free market would be able to choose wholly on their own whether to offer their teachers and students whatever they thought “academic freedom” might be, swayed only by their own goals, means and whatever market tides might flow upon them.” This would utterly destroy the concept of academic freedom which is to prevent administrations from arbitrary interference in the teaching, scholarship and extramural [public] utterances of a professor. Academic freedom is not parochial; it is national in scope and application.

Tenure, which is not present in British universities for example, is construed as the sine qua non for academic freedom. If one does not have tenure, one can be fired as an at will employee. With tenure one can only be fired for cause: incompetence, non-performance of duties, moral turpitude and bona fide financial exigency. Gwen Gale misconstrues the essence of academic freedom which is the right of professors to teach in their own name; the right of professors to conduct research and publish their findings without fear of retribution; the right of professors to engage in extramural [public] utterances and activities without censorship or SUSPENSION, or dismissal unless it clearly indicates a lack of capacity to fulfill one’s professional duties.

Gwen Gail again writes: “As for state funded schools, any notion of academic freedom is but a lie:” In the United States this would be a catastrophe and the concept could not exist. A University of Illinois professor or a University of Missouri professor is entitled to the same academic freedom as a professor at Washington University in St. Louis or Saint Louis University or Grinnell College. While it is true some state legislatures are eager to attenuate this concept through funding reductions and sporadic attempts to implement David Horowitz’s Academic Bill of Rights, (ABOR), academic freedom is undergirded by tenure and applies to professors at both private and public universities.

In Keyishian v. Board of Regents and Sweezy v. New Hampshire, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the principle of academic freedom. This is not a casual concept but one developed almost a century ago by AAUP and given constitutional muster by the court.

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Academic Freedom and Censorship: From Wikipedia’s “Gwen Gale” to Veterans Day Suspension Six Years Ago

Academic Freedom is Never Free Nor is Free Speech!

On this date November 11, 2002 I was suspended for having responded to an e-mail from Air Force Cadet Robert Kurpiel. For many it was an egregious violation of my academic freedom. For others it was just retribution in silencing a harsh critic of American imperialism. The Internet contains thousands of items on this case and I never for a moment regretted its occurrence. I knew then as I know now that I was subject to a public lynching for my political beliefs. Yes my e-mail was too harsh in areas and I apologised before this became a national incident. The Air Force Academy acted honourably throughout this auto da fe and apologised to me for its capricous distribution of the e-mail throughout the world.

My category on my blog, A: Kirstein Academic Freedom Case chronicles this extraordinary event when I was thrust unwillingly and hurtled unexpectedly into the national conversation on academic freedom. I have used these past six years to defend professors and to spread the word of resistance against arbitrary and oppressive tactics to silence, marginalise and even blacklist progressive faculty who construe teaching as a moral act and militarism and racism as worthy of resistance and denunciation.

Recently Wikipedia has engaged in reprehensible and indefensible behaviour in censoring my blog link to their entry on academic freedom. Gwen Gail, probably a fake name by the way, an administrator at Wikipedia has prohibited me from posting a mere link to my blog. I have extensively covered this in two previous blog posts but more needs to be stated on this anniversary of my academic freedom case. While Wikipedia cannot deny academic freedom to anyone, since only university governing boards, administrations, faculty and state legislatures can do that, it is playing a similar role in its orchestrated efforts to purge leftist or progressive blogs from an entry on “academic freedom.”

Ms Gail wrote in a so-called “talk page” but it is really an elitist technocratic blog for Wiki officials: “Or is he rather stirring things up with a bit of handy polemic propaganda? :) Gwen Gale (talk) 14:09, 10 November 2008 (UTC)”

This is a charge without foundation. I have been accurately stating the facts of my censorship. She claimed my blog was too “radical.” Her word. My efforts to defend free thinking and free inquiry are dismissed as “polemic propaganda.” Censors rarely concede error and almost never admit to censorship. She has repeatedly claimed I was censored not for my views but for “edit warring.” Let me explain to my audience what she is stating. I refused to be silenced and marginalised and kept posting my blog link despite someone–I did not know who it was–removing it. I was defending my rights as an American citizen living in a democracy to inform the Wikipedia public about my blog which has contributed 100s of posts on academic freedom as can be seen in the Categories in the upper right corner.

A censor such as Ms Gail retaliated against my struggle for free speech and puncturing the walls of censorship by barring me from Wikipedia altogether for several days. I had no choice but to use my blog to respond; I even received a lengthy e-mail tome from apparently her supervisor defending, of course, her actions. Censors usually have it on authority to do just that.

Ms Gail, despite her baseless claims of ideological neutrality, seems unable to control her reactionary bias even while simultaneously claiming to be beyond the ideological fray. In a typical ad hominem, unprofessional and OUTRAGEOUS statement that is reminiscent of McCarthyism she writes on the Internet that I support academic freedom only to spread communist ideology among my students. Here is the exact quotation of this person’s rather incoherent if not unfathomable statement on academic freedom:

“Oh, I think it’s likely he’s a tenured prof and yes, I’ve thought he might more than likely be talking about an academic freedom to teach Marxism, which is to say, making even private schools follow his notions on this under sway of the law. Not that it has any pith at all here, he was blocked for edit warring.”

I have carefully documented in each of the three posts that Ms Gail harbours antipathy toward progressives and arbitrarily decides in her position as administrator, which views mirror her own and receive permission to edit or post items on Wikipedia. As my suspension and numerous other cases such as Dr Norman Finkelstein’s revealed, whether it is Wikipedia, DePaul University or St Xavier University in 2002–not the current administration–the struggle for justice, free speech and academic freedom continues. I will without fear or trepidation resist anyone or any source that attempts to stymie and limit the free flow of information.

On this Veterans Day I remain as committed as I did six years ago to keep the struggle alive and defend democratic ideals without which we shall descend into the darkness of conformity, racism, homophobia and Orwellian autocracy.

A Note to My Students: Wikipedia, henceforth, will be prohibited as a source for research in any of my classes in history or political science. It cannot be construed as reliable, scholarly and unbiased. I do not feel comfortable in its sourcing of information and question its blind pursuit of the truth. Students are free to examine Wikipedia but not to utilise it as a source in historical research or methodology. If a student believes, however, that a Wikipedia entry is vital for a particular citation, kindly share it with me prior to submission.

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Cheryl: USAFA Community Website Responds to Antiwar E-mail to Air Force Cadet: Long Live Academic Freedom! [Updated]

A thank you to a loyal source who supplied me with this information concerning Cheryl’s post. I have subsequently learned her last name from a third party e-mail-which I presume is accurate– but since her son is serving in time of war, I will be prudent and use only her first name which appeared in the initial blog post on the AFA [United States Air Force Academy] website. I assume she is using her real name as well. While this stuff is blood sport for me, I am sensitive to people’s concerns and vulnerabilities.

It’s great to be back in the Air Force target selection again. Cheryl is now aware of my contretemps with the academy and posted this item on the USAFA Community website. Cheryl, is from Mississippi–REMEMBER JAMES MEREDITH— and has a son who graduated from the academy and is now stationed at Barksdale, AFB in Louisiana. She should be complimented for accuracy in quoting me and my reaction to the e-mail. Not too many have been as careful as Cheryl. Generally speaking, the academy acted honourably in this case and frankly did not support my suspension or reprimand. Captain Borders in particular was quite aware that academic freedom, free speech, dissent– even when provocative– and infuriating speech are protected and that some who serve in the military conceive it as a mission of their service.

I will continue to speak out against censorship, barbaric war, inhumane militarism and American imperialism as long as I can. To suspend faculty for engaging in conversation with individuals who are not their students or even affiliated with their institution is suggestive of coercive efforts to restrict speech and punish the unpopular. Work for peace. Reduce the defence budget. Feed the people. Provide health care for ALL Americans. Remove veterans from rat infested hospitals and provide them with appropriate care. End the nuclear arms race and stop the mass murder in Iraq and Afghanistan!!

Cheryl’s post unedited. I added a link in addition to hers but did not alter the text:

In 2002, a USAFA Cadet sent out emails to Professors at Universities around the world asking them to send students to USAFA to participate in an Academy Assembly event. One of the Professors that received the cadet’s email was a professor of history at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois.

In response to the cadet’s email, Kirstein’s response – which was passed all around USAFA and then to USAFA parents all over the world – started a firestorm that crashed the phone and internet systems at St. Xavier University. I have never seen the parents of cadets unite so solidly.

This is an example of when parent involvement worked for the good of the cadets. Subsequently Professor Kirstein was reprimanded and suspended from his job.

This is current news because as you will see at the end of this post, Professor Kirstein has put himself back in the news.

Below is the jest of his email reply to the young cadet who requested his presence at the Assembly – with his comments as of today after each statement he made to the cadet 6 years ago.

From Prof. Kirstein to Cadet Robert Kurpiel: (Bold are his comments in his original email reply……….Following are his comments as of today.[Actually, Cheryl retrieved this from a blog post on the fourth anniversary of the e-mail, October 31, 2006, but are still valid today. She might wish to see my YouTube video at New York University that covers this incident in more detail.]

1) You are a disgrace to this country and I am furious you would even think I would support you and your aggressive baby killing tactics of collateral damage.

1) I should have not called him a “disgrace.” My fury at being solicited is reasonable and just. My accusation of “aggressive baby killing tactics of collateral damage” was the most controversial statement of my career and I believe was the fulcrum that led to my suspension. I stand by that charge and have defended it with lectures on college campuses throughout the United States. I believe U.S. military tactics are obscene, frequently engage in wanton destruction beyond military necessity and their destruction of innocents, such as babies, are dismissed with the monstrously understated and dehumanising term of “collateral damage.” The military uses such patois to shroud and deny their own actions and the horrors perpetrated during war. Over 600,000 Iraqis have died since the March 19, 2003 invasion and many of these casualties have been non-combatants including children killed in a ruthless and barbaric manner by American military personnel.

2) Help you recruit? Who, top guns to rain death and destruction upon nonwhite peoples throughout the world?

2) The cadet was not asking me to recruit directly students or applicants to the academy but certainly wanted me to engage political science students to attend an “Academy Assembly” at the Colorado Springs institution. “Top Guns” are navy pilots such as the folks at the infamous sex orgy Tailhook convention a few years ago but I used that term in a generic manner to refer to the slick, macho culture, Tom Cruise, superpersons who pilot machines and deploy in a cowardly and feckless manner missiles and bombs on unsuspecting “targets” below. I do not think it honourable to train someone to fly an aeroplane or helicopter to kill people. It is barbaric and inhumane to train humans to apply technology in this manner.

3) Are you serious sir? Resign your commission and serve your country with honour.

3) I recognized when I was writing the e-mail that cadets were not yet commissioned officers and that was an obvious error. Only upon graduation are they commissioned as lieutenants in the air force. The statement “serve your country with honour” was robust and harsh but I believe that killing is dishonourable, that military service is not the most appropriate form of patriotic service and that wars, particularly America’s wars, do “dishonour” a nation and those who wage it. For those who believe military service is honourable, and I concede the other side of the argument is worthy of debate, they should realistically assess the carnage and devastation that emanates from America’s war crimes. I am entitled to my opinion recognizing that military personnel may be guided by a sense of duty, but the act of killing and training to kill is so destructive of civilisation that we must stop the unquestioned glorification of military service.

4) No war, no air force cowards who bomb countries without AAA, without possibility of retaliation.

4) I stand by that and I have a right as a military veteran, United States Army Reserves, and as an American to voice that opinion. Now they use pilotless “Predators,” that are remotely controlled by some officer thousands of miles away in the United States, to bomb “high-value targets” etc. Is a suicide bomber, who knows he or she will die, any less honourable than Americans in a aeroplane that flies beyond anti-aircraft range and drops its ordinance, probably in an indiscriminate manner, on humans below? I do not think it courageous for pilots to engage in these actions, although personally they may have attributes that are not cowardly or pusillanimous.

5) You are worse than the snipers.

5) This was in reference to the D.C. snipers John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo who terrorized the D.C. area for some three weeks in October 2002. They killed ten people and one recently admitted to additional killings. My statement in terms of numbers was accurate. So many people are killed in war that the comparison is valid. Also as we have seen in Iraq, marines and army personnel have killed innocent Iraqis, invaded their homes, raped and murdered women, tortured to death Iraqis in prisons. No not all American military personnel behave in this manner but I do stand by this statement in terms of quantity and specific actions in which hundreds of thousands of non-combatants have been killed in Iraq.

6) You are imperialists who are turning the whole damn world against us.

6) I am proud of that observation and how accurate it was in light of the war that was to come. We are the most reviled and least admired nation on Earth right now. Many polls verify this decline in prestige from Europe to Asia. [This was before the 2008 election. PNK]

7) September 11 can be blamed in part for what you and your cohorts have done to the Palestinians, the VC, the Serbs, a retreating army at Basra.
7) Without presenting an exposition on each of the four examples, since I have written on this elsewhere, there is no doubt that the September 11 attacks were not mere purposeless terrorism but retaliation in an ongoing war between the U.S. and Islam. The issue of stateless Palestinians, murderous sanctions then imposed on Iraq, the stationing of American forces in Saudi Arabia and the biased, almost obsequious support of Israel were factors that led to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. The empire strikes back and America fails to see its own culpabilities and sins as it describes its adversaries as “terrorists” without recognizing its own contribution to international savagery and anarchy with our “terrorist” wars and lust for violence and military conquest.
8) You are unworthy of my support.

8) I should not have implied that the cadet personally was “unworthy.” I meant that my participating in a recruiting exercise for the Air Force Academy at a time when war with Iraq was becoming increasingly likely, was unworthy of my time and effort. I cannot and will not retract that sentiment. The St Xavier University chapter of the American Association of University Professors issued a report about a year later defending my rights. It appeared on George Mason University’s History News Network. This was a refereed article in Situation Analysis in the United Kingdom that summarised and placed the case in historical perspective.

The Professor’s comments today
(He’s put himself back in the news because he’s protesting Wikipedia censoring him.)
He says: Recently Wikipedia has engaged in reprehensible and indefensible behaviour in censoring my blog link to their entry on academic freedom. Gwen Gail, an administrator at Wikipedia has prohibited me from posting a mere link to my blog. If you are interested in reading more about this Professor you can Google him or even send him a little message if you so choose. E-mail [Why don’t you Cheryl? It’s your idea!]


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A Pattern Emerges: “Gwen Gail,” Wikipedia Censor of Differing Points of View

Over the weekend, I tried repeatedly to include my blog in the bibliographic component of the Wikipedia entry on “Academic Freedom.” In addition, I was about to correct about seventeen errors in analysis and update its bibliography which uses derivative sources that are not recognised as seminal to the field of analysis. I thought I would be doing Wikipedia’s public a service but someone named Gwen Gail began to instantly remove my insertion of my blog entry. Without identifying herself as an editor or even an employee of this “non-profit” company, she then banned my ability to edit. She then in a fury goes to my page–which was originally entered by another person a few years ago– and makes all these harassing and bullying corrections and criticisms.

I found this blog entry in the myopic and arcane world of Wikipedia technopolitics, and noted several of her colleagues disagreed with her clear and blatant ideologically motivated reasons for censoring me.

Kirstein blog

Hey. I saw you blocked that IP, and it looks like the author of the blog – Kirstein himself – called you out on a blog post. Don’t know if this could lead to any sort of trouble, but I thought you might want a heads-up on that. — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 20:05, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

For some reason I get an error when I click on that. Gwen Gale (talk) 20:14, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

The whole blog seems unavailable, but Google (no cache available) has “Peter N. Kirstein » Blog Archive » Censored on Wikipedia Academic …9 Nov 2008 … I have tried to merely include this blog in the bibliography of “Academic Freedom” on Wikipedia and some CENSOR removes it because it is too…” dougweller (talk) 21:29, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

“…far astray from Wikipedia’s policies on external links”? :) Gwen Gale (talk) 21:33, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Hm, that’s odd. It’s the top post on the main blog, for what it’s worth. I’ll quote it here for you.


I have tried to merely include this blog in the bibliography of “Academic Freedom” on Wikipedia and a Gwen Gale self-appointed CENSOR removes it because it is too “radical” and a “private” blog. Insteaad of behaving in a civil manner, this “owner” of Wikipedia has blocked me from further editing. Such cyberpower is abusive and worthy of condemnation but I will not be silenced by this Ms Gale who dares to censor me. I have this blog, I have my website, I have many vehicles of expressing my views!! Who are you Ms Gale to determine who is politically correct and meets your ideological litmus test of approval before they can put a link on Wikipedia? This is America! What do you know about academic freedom? Are you a university professor or otherwise an expert on the subject?? I would never censor you but defend your rights of speech. I am willing to conduct in an adult manner a civil and polite exchange DIRECTLY with you. This is my e-mail

Goodness, many of the entries are “private” if there is such a categorisation on the Internet! On Saturday, November 9, 2008 and Sunday November 10, 2008 I professionally linked this blog under the bibiliographic category “Web Resources and Support Organisations.” Someone twice removed it for ideological reasons–a kind of sub rosa vandalism–within minutes! This person clearly cannot claim ownership of that site and in the absence of vandalism, vulgarity, libel, ad hominem remarks or abusive commentary, had no legitimate right to remove it. I am a specialist and published author on academic freedom and will not allow such egregious interference with my first amendment rights.

It then goes on to list a handful of his credentials. — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 21:45, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

What’s his PoV anyway? I only blocked him for edit warring over trying to link a blog. Gwen Gale (talk) 21:47, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

I’m not clear on the whole story; I got involved ’cause there was a WP:3RR open for the addition of the blog link. — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 21:57, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

And meanwhile he thinks we care about whatever PoV he’s trying to flog. For all I know, I may agree with him. Gwen Gale (tak) 22:00, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

He’s all about academic freedom. See Peter N. Kirstein. This could get interesting. In fact, it could get much too interesting. dougweller (talk) 22:03, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

I can see his blog today. He says:

Repeatedly Censored For Being “Radical” by Gwen Gale on Wikipedia Academic Freedom Site… HERE I AM CENSORED AND SILENCED BY A PERSON WHO DARES TO VIOLATE MY ACADEMIC FREEDOM… !!

Says he’s a “tenured, full professor at St Xavier University” but he seems to have muddled Wikipedia, which is a private encyclopedia website with sourcing and behaviour rules grown through consensus and supported by its private owners (the WmF), with what he thinks is the “Wikipedia Academic Freedom Site.” I don’t know what he means by academic freedom. In a free market, folks should be able to teach and learn what they please, which also means each private school in a free market would be able to choose wholly on their own whether to offer their teachers and students whatever they thought “academic freedom” might be, swayed only by their own goals, means and whatever market tides might flow upon them. As for state funded schools, any notion of academic freedom is but a lie: The lack sometimes helpful, but often utterly unhelpful and misleading. Does he know his IP was blocked only for edit warring (over a link which didn’t meet WP:EL) and nothing else? I’d think he must have read the block notice. Or is he rather stirring things up with a bit of handy polemic propaganda? :) Gwen Gale (talk) 14:09, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Apparently others have had similar problems with Ms Gale’s censorship and persecution of differing perspectives from her own. To be judicious, I do not know the facts of the following incident and cannot make an independent judgment. Nevertheless, there appears to be an inescapable pattern of attempting to thwart points of view that differ from her own. This is intolerable for the Internet and the dissemination of knowledge and I believe her supervisor–if there is one– should investigate and assess her job performance. I would judge it as unprofessional and unworthy of continued service in that position. In any event, I Googled her and found this recent entry of October 13, 2008:

“Back on topic. Gwen Gale is unbearable. Based on her edit history, she seems to be an extreme conservative who loves Sarah Palin and Michelle Malkin, and she’s been watching me like a hawk as I contribute to different articles. I’ve seen multiple conservative editors run to her when they have a problem that needs enforcing. She told me to stay away from a conservative, and a conservative to stay away from me, but when the other dude posted on my talk page, she did nothing, and when I posted on the other dude’s talk page that same day, she said if I ever posted on that guy’s talk page again, she’d ban me for a week. This is politically-motivated assassination.”
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Repeatedly Censored For Being “Radical” by “Gwen Gale” on Wikipedia Academic Freedom Site



I have tried to merely include this blog in the bibliography of “Academic Freedom” on Wikipedia and a Gwen Gale –self-appointed CENSOR– removes it because it is too “radical” and a “private” blog. Instead of behaving in a civil manner, this “owner” of Wikipedia has blocked me from further editing. Such cyberpower is abusive and worthy of condemnation but I will not be silenced by this Ms Gale who dares to censor me. I have this blog, I have my website, I have many vehicles of expressing my views!! Who are you Ms Gale to determine who is politically correct and meets your ideological litmus test of approval before they can put a link on Wikipedia? This is America! What do you know about academic freedom? Are you a university professor or otherwise an expert on the subject?? I would never censor you but defend your rights of speech. I am willing to conduct in an adult manner a civil and polite exchange DIRECTLY with you. This is my e-mail

Goodness, many of the entries are “private” if there is such a categorisation on the Internet! On Saturday, November 8, 2008 and Sunday November 9, 2008 I professionally linked this blog under the bibiliographic category “Web Resources and Support Organisations.” Three times Ms Gale removed it for stated ideological reasons–a kind of sub rosa vandalism–within minutes! This person clearly cannot claim ownership of that site and in the absence of vandalism, vulgarity, libel, ad hominem remarks or abusive commentary, had no legitimate right to remove it. I am a specialist and published author on academic freedom and will not allow such egregious interference with my first amendment rights.

Several of the entries under “Web Resources and Support Organisations” even LINK my blog: College Freedom, DePaul Academic Freedom Conferences and FIRE was the prinicpal organisation that defended me when I was suspended for antiwar e-mail. My credentials having my blog included on AN ACADEMIC FREEDOM PUBLIC WEBSITE are substantial.

I am a tenured, full professor at St Xavier University.

Vice President AAUP Illinois Conference. Member of Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, Ill Conference

Served on National AAUP Committee on Membership.

Past president St Xavier University AAUP chapter and Ex Officio member of its Executive Committee

Involved in national academic freedom case.

Lecture nationally on academic freedom including such institutions as New York University, American University, DePaul University, Valparaiso University, etc.

Published article in AAUP Academe on teaching Iraq War and academic freedom.

Blog was principal online disseminator and defender of persecuted Professor Norman Finkelstein.

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Barack Obama and Iran: First Press Conference

I told you so. When Barack Obama was asked on November 7 in Chicago at his first news conference as president-elect if he would respond to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s letter of congratulations, the senator refused to be gracious or even charitable. In typical prowar, Zionist fashion, he repeated the mantra that Iran could not get a nuclear weapon and that it supports terrorist groups that dare defy Israeli colonisation and mass-murder. This is what we get with this senator. The same old anti-Muslim bias in which Hamas and Hezbollah inferentially are construed as terrorists and not a word from the president-elect about Israel’s nuclear deterrent which is a threat to arms control and regional stability.

I knew when he named the plagiarist and prowar hawk, racist Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate, that I made a mistake in giving him $2300 for the primaries, attending a fund raiser, serving on his Foreign Policy network and supporting him in the primaries. It appears that we are going to get another militaristic Democrat in the White House. I told you so and I know I am right. A vote for Nader was the only responsible action I could take.

Yes I am glad a bi-racial man was elected president because it makes many so happy. Fine. Good. But will it improve our foreign relations and willingness to sit down and talk to our adversaries? I doubt it due to Barack already being captive to the Israel lobby and Clintonites. He will be forced to abandon his lofty idealism from the Ayers, Khalidi days and will I assure you be slaughtering and decimating nations that resist the hyperpower. Shame on him and a nation that destroys our best hope for peace and justice.

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Predictions on President-Elect Barack Obama’s Presidency

Following the November 4, 2008 presidential elections, I offer the following predictions.

I see more militaristic, vulgar Rahm Emanuels and his Machiavellian ilk infecting the hope and change of an Obama administration.

I see a push to the center as they already prepare for 2012 which will confer only modest change in America.

I guarantee that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be substantially reduced before 100s more Americans die. If wrong, I will openly admit my error and lack of perspicacity.

I see no change in deployment of missiles and interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic. Senator Obama was disgracefully pandering to militaristic America in the campaign with his denunciations of Russia, knowing full well it was Georgia who tried to settle the South Ossetia question by force and Russia attempted to reverse this naked imperialism.

I see no direct negotiations with adversarial heads of state such as Raul Castro or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Il or with Al Qaeda, despite President-Elect Obama’s repeated avowals to do just that–except in the case of the latter.

I see no ending of the blockade against Cuba.

I see no “war” on poverty but merely pandering to the white middle class recognising other ethnic groups are in it.

I am sure the Obama of the Ayers, Khalidi, Hyde Park liberal, community organising days will be sufficiently “liberalised” as to make him virtually indistinguishable from a Senator Chuck Schumer or even worse Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mildly progressive but no war on poverty, no support of gay marriage, no ending of vouchers, continued hate speech against “Middle Eastern oil” and support of the continued genocide by Israel against the Palestinian martyrs in Gaza and West Bank.

At the end of an Obama presidency, the current number of medically uninsured, about 47,000,000, will probably not be reduced by more than 15%-20% of the current total.

I am pleased an African-American is president. I was touched by Congressperson John Lewis and the Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson’s emotional response. It was they who did the heavy lifting to make this possible.

I believe America’s military will never allow a significant reduction in budget, weapons systems or personnel. Their wicked monstrosity of empire and racist murder will not confer an easy surrender. So American militarism and Hitlerian arrogance of racial superiority will not be significantly attenuated due to the fragility of civil-military relations in the U.S. I have no “hope” that I can believe in that Barack can stay true to his earlier ideological instincts. He will be too isolated and feted by royalty to truly stick to his promises.

I “HOPE” I am wrong but Reverend Jeremiah Wright was so correct when he “God damned” America for its atomic genocide and racist history. An attack on him was an attack on progressivism which Barack has convinced so many he represents despite a misogynist Larry Summers-fired from Harvard as president although still teaching there-as key economic advisor and possible return as Treasury secretary. Can’t Mr Summers just go quietly into the night?

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Ralph Nader Calls for True Democratic Socialism: A “Living” Wage

Unlike the Democrats who seek mere increases in the minimum wage, Ralph Nader, a graduate of the Harvard Law School, demands a living wage in which the basic necessities of life are attainable and not a mere flirtation with escaping poverty. Example, Ralph Nader supports health insurance for all Americans unlike Senators Barack Obama and John McCain who have NO intention of insuring all Americans through a single-payer plan.

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Dr Howard Zinn Gives Conditional Endorsement to Ralph Nader

It is being reported my advisor at Boston University and academic role model, Dr Howard Zinn, is endorsing Ralph Nader for president of the United States in the 2008 election. He had endorsed Senator Barack Obama but is now urging voters in slam-dunk states to vote for Nader. It appears in toss-up states he is still recommending a vote for the Illinois senator. I also had supported Senator Obama financially and attended fundraisers and participated in numerous foreign-policy network conference calls. I began to have grave misgivings after his selection of Senator Joe Biden who voted for the Iraq War.

Dr Zinn is one of the preeminent historians of the 20th Century in his approach to revisionist history and giving voice to those who lurked in the shadows of consensus historiography: Namely women, African-Americans, union organisers, immigrants, blue-collar workers, antiwar patriots and socialists.

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Kirstein Blog Endorses Nader/Gonzales For President and Vice President 2008

In Illinois, early voting is allowed from October 13, 2008, through October 30, 2008. I voted for the Nader/Gonzales ticket in Illinois on October 28 and was surprised at the numbers of early voters in long lines. While I hope Senator Barack Obama wins the presidency, I could not in good conscience vote for Senator Joe Biden as a result of his prowar vote to Authorise the Use of Force in Iraq in October 2002. Because of his imperialist ambitions, I could not support the Democratic ticket. I did give Senator Obama the maximun allowed under federal election law for the primaries and met him and spoke to him at a fund raiser. I was also on a conference call with him as well during the New Hampshire primary. I also gave a similar amount for the general election but they graciously returned it upon request.

I would have voted for Governor Sarah Palin for vice president due to the liberal and (some conservative savants), savage, misogynist attacks on her that reek of elitism, intolerance and meanness. She is clearly qualified to be vice president, if not president, due to her current status as governor of Alaska but I could not vote for her without voting for Senator John McCain. I revile and loathe him for his Vietnam crimes against humanity and his gratuitous support of Israel and Manichaean vision of the world. Also my trepidation in Senator Joe Lieberman having a senior position of authority such as Secretary of State in a McCain administration gave me pause to support the Republican ticket.

Ralph Nader is one of the pivotal figures in postwar America who has remained relevant and committed to peace and justice, a more open electoral system and a democratic socialism to replace the rapacious greed of American unbridled capitalism. His career as consumer advocate gives him experience and demonstrated judgment that would make him a wonderful president of the U.S. Recognising his position as one of earnest dissenter as opposed to likely candidate to be elected, I would prefer that of the major party candidates, Barack Obama prevail despite his cynical and irresponsible choice of a running mate.

It is being reported my advisor in college, Dr Howard Zinn, is endorsing Ralph Nader. He had endorsed Senator Barack Obama but is now urging voters in non-slam

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Ralph Nader, who did NOT vote for Iraq War, as Biden and McCain is on Illinois Ballot

The following are candidates for president and vice president of the hyperpower imperialistic American empire that will appear on Illinois ballots for the November 4, 2008 “election.” Illinois which has one of the more restrictive, ELITIST ballot access procedures, has finally allowed easier access to dissenting, creative candidates who are not part of the Democratic-Republican duopoly. In 2004 Ralph Nader was only listed as a pre-approved write-in; now he is on the ballot.

Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez (Independent) – Ballot No. 7

Barack Obama and Joe Biden (Democrats) – Ballot No. 1 Senator Biden voted for the Authorisation to Use Force Resolution in Iraq in October 2002 who asks god only to protect “American troops” as if the children slaughtered by U.S. imperialist forces are mere detritus. He should be arrested for his vote and the resulting mass murder he so ardently advocated.

John McCain and Sarah Palin (Republicans) – Ballot No. 2 Senator John McCain flew an airplane repeatedly over North Vietnam and dropped bombs on a nation that was not a threat to the United States. While he appropriately served some time for his crimes as a prisoner of war, he is not a hero but a coward who bombed high in the air over a country that did not even have an air force. Does he not feel guilt for bombing innocents below? Does he not put humans first and NOT “Country First” when the latter emulates Nazi Germany in its crimes against humanity.

Cynthia McKinney & Rosa Clemente (Green) – Ballot No. 3 Both are minority women.

Bob Barr and Wayne A. Root (Libertarians) – Ballot No. 4

John Joseph Polachek and No Candidate – Ballot No. 5

Charles O. Baldwin and Darrell L. Castle (Constitution) – Ballot No. 6


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Kirstein Posts Comment in New York Times Article on Governor Palin

217. October 27, 2008 3:22 pm

The New York Times has posted an article online on the Governor Sarah Palin vice-presidential pick that appears to be an effort to muster support for the Obama campaign. Its headline and column assumes a priori that Gov. Palin is unqualified and a “drag” on Senator John McCain’s presidential bid. The drag on the ticket is the Dow, Wall Street woes and the burgeoning recession. However, I posted this comment that appears among the multitudinous comments.

On the Campaign

Second-Guessing the Palin Pick

A big question inside and outside the McCain campaign is whether the senator would be in a better position had he not chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate…

245. October 27, 2008 3:22 pm

Joe Biden is less qualified due to his support of the Iraq War. While Senator Obama questioned Senator Clinton’s “judgment” in supporting such a criminal enterprise, he then selects a prowar plagiarist as his vice-presidential running “mate.” Gov. Palin is rather bright, did a brilliant interview on C-SPAN last Feb. on energy and I think is the object of unnecessary ridicule. The press should assess the qualifications of a male candidate who disgraced himself and his nation in voting for mass murder in Iraq and now apparently Syria as well.

— Dr Peter N Kirstein

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An Interview with George W. Bush

At the Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.

PNK: Thank you sir for meeting with me here. Allow me to begin in a provocative manner. Mr Bush are you a war criminal?

GWB: This is irresponsible. I am attempting to defend the free world from Islamic fundamentalism and will until I leave office on January 20, 2009. How can you, a professor, ask such an egregious question?

PNK: Mr Bush do you endorse the use of torture and a never ending war in Iraq?

GWB: You are a disgrace. I agreed to give you an interview in an effort to reach out to the academic community and you come up with these questions. The U.S. does not torture. The U.S. is in accord with international law. We understand our obligations under the Geneva Conventions. We are the model and leader of the free world. The surge in Iraq was successful and the country is stable and in good order. Casualties are down substantially and I am not leaving my successor a major shooting war in Iraq.

PNK: Did you not resist the McCain Amendment to prohibit, “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of POW. You voted for him by absentee ballot so I assume you support most of his views. He does yours; at least he did before his polling data began to plummet. Also you are leaving your successor 160,000 troops in Iraq, a government that is a puppet in terms of its survival dependency on U.S. forces, a lack of consensus on the use of oil revenues, power sharing and even a status of forces agreement.

GWB: Hold on fella. We were concerned that C.I.A. operatives who were trying to prevent perhaps an immiment attack, be allowed appropriate means of inducing information. No one tortures for the U.S. and if they do, they are prosecuted. Also counterinsurgency is not microwave; it takes awhile and nervous nellies like you are always eager to disengage even when vital interests are at stake.

PNK: Some believe that the claims that President Hussein…

GWB: Former president please.

PNK: We use the title of president and senator and governor for those who previously served in that capacity, but to please you sir, “former” President Saddam Hussein you charged had weapons of mass destruction. He did not. Do you feel any remorse in starting a war on an assumption that proved to be false?

GWB: Professor, as you know, presidents do not independently verify intelligence. We received intelligence that we operated on and it was wrong. Pure and simple.

PNK: But 4,187 Americans have been killed; 125,000-250,000 Iraqis have died for a war that was fought for the wrong reasons. Are you not a war criminal or if you prefer an incompetent leader who went to war against the wishes of the international community for reasons that proved to be utterly false? Should you not be arrested or at least removed from office for such a monumental blunder if not intentional effort at deception?

GWB: Let me tell you something Professor Kirstein and all your leftist friends. We overthrew a dictator. We regime changed an animal. We know and have no doubt that Saddam was sympathetic to Al Qaeda, had contacts with Al Qaeda, and was a growing and gathering threat.

PNK: Mr Bush…

GWB: Let me finish! I am the president of the United States and had we not replaced the Baathist government, he would have been a supporter and an enabler of more Al Qaeda operations. 3000 people died on Sept. 11! Maybe you don’t care but I do sir.

PNK: Both the 911 Commission and every independent analysis has concluded that President Hussein, ok, “former” President Saddam Hussein was not involved in the 911 attacks; was not a meaningful or significant ally of Al Qaeda and that claims that Saddam was supporting terrorism, as you call it, were false.

GWB: I know who you are. You were suspended for condemning the military for using “baby killing tactics of collateral damage.” You were reprimanded for denouncing our military–our men and women who fight so you can be free. Free from censorship, free to say whatever you wish! I like the way you say, “as you call it,” when referring to terrorism. I understand people like you are not overly concerned about protecting America from terrorists. I am not questioning your loyalty but you insult me with your casual use of the term.

PNK: Mr Bush, the term “terrorism” some believe sir is used as a means to dehumanise the “enemy” and as a gratuitous effort to deny the legitimacy of any group that opposes US or Israeli foreign policy. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are labeled “terrorist” and Israeli policies of assassinations, settlement expansions in the West Bank, Golan, wanton destruction of housing, concentration-camp barrier construction, refusal to recognise the Palestinian right to a homeland is never condemned. Iran’s nuclear programme is construed as unacceptable and Israeli’s status as a nuclear weapons state is ignored by my country. Some believe that your use of military force is terrorism. Your destruction of Falluja was terrorism. The sanctions against Iraq were terrorism. The use of white phosphorous weapons are terrorism. The bombing of civilian population centers is terrorism. Abu Ghraib was terrorism. Bagram torture in Afghanistan was terrorism. Shock and awe was terrorism. Guantánamo crimes in that gulag are terrorism.

GWB: Are you here to get an interview or a supporter of Barack Obama? I wonder sir if your students are subjected to this reasoning? I wonder if you are even capable of discerning between rhetoric and reality? We are in a war against savage Islamic Jihadists and on my watch we will do everything we can to kill and capture them.

PNK: “Kill and capture them.” Shouldn’t presidents be a better role model? Killing people is wrong isn’t it? Could you imagine Dr King speaking like this–advocating the killing of humans? Don’t you think of the children who listen to this and grow up to be the next carriers of ethnocentrism and violent nationalism? Can’t we move from war to peace? Can we tone down the rhetoric of empire and live creatively with each other? “Kill and capture.” I am not pleased at this level of discourse.

GWB: Professor Kirstein, I have one more thing to say. It was people like you that caused our defeat in Vietnam. People like you who undermined the president’s capacity to wage war against the communists in North Vietnam. Again, you are entitled to your opinion but the left in this country is soft on security, unwilling to recognise the realities of international power and I believe are not helpful to the United States. I am responsible for defending this country and will do everything in my power to do so for the next three months of my term.

PNK: During Vietnam, many allege you shirked your duties when in the Air National Guard and kinda dropped out of sight if not worse. You may wish to compare your military record with mine Mr Bush. But I assume when you say “everything in my power,” that includes illegal spying on Americans by the N.S.A. (Ed: National Security Agency) without a court warrant as required under F.I.S.A. (Ed: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) and holding American citizens incommunicado without counsel or a writ of habeas corpus. I thank you for your time Mr Bush. I wish you peace.

GWB: I wish we had less professors like you giving aid and comfort to the enemy. It would make my job a lot easier. Good day and I hope your students learn a lot in your classes!!

PNK: Oh they do sir. They are free because I am free and I declare that and dare anyone ever again to violate my rights. Thanks again Mr Bush.

[This was a notional interview.]

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Ralph Nader unlike Senators Joe Biden and John McCain OPPOSED the Iraq War

Some of the REAL maverick’s views on public policy.

Ralph Nader:

Because he is the only presidential candidate who supports:

  • Health Care that’s Truly Universal
  • Actual Campaign Finance Reform
  • Sound Financial Policies (Including the Abolition of the Income Tax for those Earning Under 50k a Year)
  • An End to the Iraq War and the Foreign Policy that Brought it About. Why did Senator Barack Obama, who parlayed his 2002 opposition to the Iraq war as his primary issue in defeating the prowar, militarist Senator Hillary Clinton, then cynically select Joe Biden who also voted for the Iraq war? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • An End to the Corporate Strangle Hold on US Politics.

So there’s the issues. There’s that.

But beyond even that, you need to donate to the Nader campaign today because he is the only candidate capable of broadening the discussion and actually governing.

Not just running for office while in office, but actually governing. Showing up every day, trying to make people’s lives better.

What’s at Stake:

Q: If on your first day in office as president, you had one trillion dollars to spend, what would be your priorities?

    A: [My priorities would be]:

  1. I’d rebuild public works – all those things underground. Mass transit and public transit should be built in city after city.
  2. I’d do more to abolish child poverty.
  3. I’d upgrade preventive health care.

That’s what’s on the table:

  • Food
  • Health
  • and Infrastructure

Those are the stakes. Those are the stakes, and the system’s broken.

Help us fix it.

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Kirstein to Speak on “New McCarthyism” at Lewis University: A Note on Shared Governance

Peter N. Kirstein will speak on “The New McCarthyism: Academic Freedom and Shared Governance During Time of War,” at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill. on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. The event will be in the Learning Resource Center and is sponsored by the Lewis University chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

The remarks will analyse the decline of academic freedom since the battle over New York and Washington, D.C.  on September 11, 2001 including the inquisition against Norman Finkelstein and Terri Ginsberg. The author’s own struggle to defend his tenure and progressive worldview amidst a suspension will be discussed. Issues germane to Lewis University in the areas of academic freedom and shared governance will consume the second half of the remarks.

Shared governance refers to decision making in higher education that incorporates governing boards, administration and faculty input. Faculty are considered officers of a university or college and are to be involved in most areas that affect university life. Some administrations construe shared governance as a threat to their power and influence; others view the professorate as a vital resource for innovation and information.

Certainly some decisions do not lend themselves to shared governance in which either the administration or professorate has unilateral power. The faculty is not normally involved in investment portfolio management of an endowment for example or the appointment of members to the Board of Trustees. Conversely, the administration is not normally involved in curricular decisions concerning the introduction of  new course or in approving a faculty unit’s decision to invite an outside speaker. Yet most areas lend themselves to shared governance: selecting the institution’s president, curricular decisions with regard to new programmes, budgeting, library management, strategic planning and student affairs that are related to education.

Peter N. Kirstein will speak on “The New McCarthyism: Academic Freedom and Shared Governance During Time of War,” at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill. on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. The event will be in the Learning Resource Center and is sponsored by the Lewis University chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

The remarks will analyse the decline of academic freedom since the battle over New York and Washington, D.C.  on September 11, 2001 including the inquisition against Norman Finkelstein and Terri Ginsberg. The author’s own struggle to defend his tenure and progressive worldview amidst a suspension will be discussed. Issues germane to Lewis University in the areas of academic freedom and shared governance will consume the second half of the remarks.

Shared governance refers to decision making in higher education that incorporates governing boards, administration and faculty input. Faculty are considered officers of a university or college and are to be involved in most areas that affect university life. Some administrations construe shared governance as a threat to their power and influence; others view the professorate as a vital resource for innovation and information.

Certainly some decisions do not lend themselves to shared governance in which either the administration or professorate has unilateral power. The faculty is not normally involved in investment portfolio management of an endowment for example or the appointment of members to the Board of Trustees. Conversely, the administration is not normally involved in curricular decisions concerning the introduction of  new course or in approving a faculty unit’s decision to invite an outside speaker. Yet most areas lend themselves to shared governance: selecting the institution’s president, curricular decisions with regard to new programmes, budgeting, library management, strategic planning and student affairs that are related to education.

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Kirstein Photos from Cougar 5k Run in Chicago: October 4, 2008!!


The person with the blue shirt–#187 over a Chicago Cubs logo– and black cap-ExxonMobil–{I got it free from robber barons} is Peter N. Kirstein running next to a virtual “Ms Illinois” in the red shirt. I ran a comeback personal best, breaking my previous effort a year ago by 1m 35sec even though my training was interrupted for months with an unexpected medical condition. I am not satisfied with my lousy time but I know what I did in previous years would have placed me easily in the top twenty-five.

Having not run competitively since I was injured running in Amsterdam in 1990–I tripped and sprained my ankle and almost fell in a canal–I guess I should be somewhat satisfied with my recrudescence. At Boston University in my junior year I received an “Athlete of the Year” plaque from my fraternity as we had a very good intramural athletic programme of basketball, touch football and fastpitch softball. Hey, it’s my blog and if I want to indulge in athletic moments, so be it. Not everything has to be about “politics” and “academic freedom”–or the lack thereof as we resist the forces of suspension, persecution and Procrustean conformity. :-)

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Lenin’s Theory of Capitalism and Capital’s Economic Stagnation

Vladimir Lenin was the chief mover of the Russian Revolution in 1917 that overthrew the Czars, the final ruler being Nicholas II. Following the initial 1917 February revolution, Lenin returned to Russia by sealed railcar through Germany, and in somewhat counterevolutionary fashion takes aim at the erstwhile revolutionary ally–the provisional government of Aleksandr Kerensky. This culminates in the second Russian revolution, the transformational October Revolution, that brought communism, or at least a centralised Leninist revisionist model of it, to the first nation-state.

In Lenin’s, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917), the epoch figure was clearly influenced by John A. Hobson (1858-1940), Imperialism (1902) and of course the monarchial decadence and capitalist slaughters of the Great War. Lenin described how capitalism in its mania for production and irrational pursuit of profits is unable to find adequate domestic demand to consume its products. The slave labour of the proletariat is dehumanised with greater efficiency as it produces a cornucopia of products that sit unsold in warehouses as the immiserated masses cannot consume the products they produced according to the labour theory of value.

To find new markets, capital seeks new colonies, new navies to protect sea lanes, new markets on a global basis. Indeed imperialism has always been chiefly motivated by pursuit of wealth. I am not an economic determinist and hardly an advocate of the centrality of power under Marxist-Leninism and willing to concede that imperialist urgings are also motivated by religious, cultural and nationalist impulses. I do agree, however, with the Marxist-Leninist critique that construes profit and wealth enhancement as the driving force behind war, grotesque standing armies and imperialist, racist colonialism. The monster Christopher Columbus had a cross on the masts of his sailing ships, but his primary reason for sailing west was a short cut to the riches of India.

Capital in its business formation develops monopolies that utterly devastate and control the mode of production, the financial and credit markets and of course the supine, sycophantic governments of the superstructure. As Lenin put it so succinctly: “[I]mperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism.” Free competition which is the sine qua non of capitalism is eviscerated by proletarian labour and monopolies that thwart open competition in and between firms.

The result of desperate monopoly capital is a global coordinated effort to seek farflung markets. This is not consummated with free trade but cartels that control the Earth’s riches; this is war, conquest and subjugation in order to develop GLOBAL MONOPOLIES. Conflicts result, subject peoples resist, capitalist nations turn on each other as they compete for diminishing returns from Asia to America. Capitalist-internecine wars lead to the destruction of capitalism and the emergence of a socialist mode of production.

While this model obviously is imprecise as we witness the impoverishment of America and the decline of the global hegemony of capitalism, wars have ruined our nation in pursuit of profit. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the permanent deployment of American soldiers in Korea, Japan, Italy, Germany, Turkey and at sea are chiefly the result of economic imperialism and are plundering the financial solvency of the country. Yes other factors induce such extravagance but economic factors are dominant.

Capitalist governments from America to Iceland to Canada to Indonesia to Germany are frantically trying to rationalise their economic order of greed, rapacity and aggressive free trade. Trillions of dollars are flooding the dying insurance industry, the banks, the financial markets, as the system is disintegrating. Of course in America, such ersatz socialist tendencies do not touch the masses. The people on food stamps, on minimum wage, in emergency rooms for health care are increasing. Relatively few dollars goes to people to pay their mortgages, their credit card debts but primarily to the malefactors of great wealth such as AIG, Citigroup and J.P.Morgan Chase.

Yes, Marx and Lenin knew such a system would fail. I am not advocating a socialist system on the Russian-state model from 1917-1991 but a socialist system in which people rule, more economic equality is realised and the use of force vastly diminished.

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Senator Joe Biden is not competent to be Vice President and has shamed the nation.

Which Vietnam vet John McCain and the plagiarist Joe Biden so ardently support.

I think it ironic that the charge of incompetence and lack of preparation in being able to assume the august position of vice president is solely aimed at the charming Republican Governor  of Alaska, Sarah Palin. While she would not have been my choice, probably Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, should have been selected by Arizona Senator John McCain, Vietnam war criminal. I think Senator Joseph R. Biden, Democrat of Delaware, is even less competent and qualified to serve as vice president of the United States.

This warmonger voted for the Iraq War in October 2002 which was the single most important foreign policy issue of his Senatorial career. He thought there were weapons of mass destruction. He thought murder and invasion were necessary to replace a feckless President Saddam Hussein. Senator Biden’s lack of judgment in authorising Mr Bush to go to war has led to the deaths of 4,176 Americans, roughly 30,000 injured and perhaps 100,000s of Iraqi deaths. It has bankrupted the country, destroyed our reputation in the world, and was an act of Hitlerian aggression similar to the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 and the Low Countries in Spring 1940.

I find it deeply disturbing that Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, who campaigned as an anti-Iraq War peace candidate versus the militant, prowar Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, would then select as his own vice-presidential running mate, a senator who voted for the war. If Senator Obama were truly opposed to the Iraq War, the defining issue of our time, he would have  chosen an antiwar Democrat who shared his prescience and loathing of war. Senator Biden demonstrated incompetence, meanness and a willingness to gratuitously use military force with immoral insouciance and ethical failings.

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Iran Panel Covered in Purdue Chronicle: Kirstein Refers to U.S. “racism” as “demonic”, “irrational.”

Panel discusses U.S., Iran relations

By: Calvin Davis

Issue date: 9/29/08 Section: News

Moderator Yahya Kamalipour awaits answers on Iran from panelists Christopher Preble of the Cato Institute, PUC professor Richard Rupp and St. Xavier Peter Kirstein.

Media Credit: Rick Baultewicz
{L to R} Moderator Yahya Kamalipour awaits answers on Iran from panelists Christopher Preble of the Cato Institute, PUC professor Richard Rupp and St. Xavier Peter Neil Kirstein.

Three experts, gathering to discuss U.S. and Iran relations, agreed Thursday Iran should be viewed as a rational nation and the next U.S. President should arrange to talk with its leaders.

The panel, held at The Calumet Conference Center, consisted primarily of professors including Richard Rupp, associate professor of political science and head of the Department of History and Political Science at PUC. Christopher Preble, director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, and professor Peter Kirstein of St. Xavier University rounded out the group of experts.

All panelists represented a similar anti-war mindset, although New York Sun reporter Eli Lake intended to attend the event to offer an alternate perspective.

A central issue to the panel was Iran’s image and their status as a rational and major power in the Middle East. America’s foreign policy under the Bush Administration was criticized a number of times in regard to its hypocritical and, at times, inaccurate portrayal of Iran.

Kirstein was often the most vocal in his criticisms.

“Part of the inherent racism of the U.S. in its pursuit of global hegemony is to describe the most demonic characteristics of those who dare speak up against it,” Kirstein said. “We [the U.S.] are probably the most irrational major power in the world since World War II.”

While Rupp wasn’t completely critical of the United States, he fundamentally agreed with Kirstein’s assessment.

“I consider it perfectly rational that Iran is seeking weapons of mass destruction…to deal with a threat from outside,” Rupp said.

Another issue tackled by the panel was whether or not the United States should negotiate directly with Iran, a topic currently hovering over the presidential campaign. All three panelists agreed Bush Administration’s isolation policy failed.

“We have isolated Iran for over 28 years,” Rupp said. “It matters a great deal that we haven’t been getting along with Iranians since theirs is an extraordinarily important and powerful state. We need to develop dialogue and we need to do it soon.”

Asked about his advice for the next U.S President, Preble made it clear that negotiations with Iran would simply be a starting point.

“Negotiations are not an end point; they’re a means to an end which I think should be Iran committing to not pursuing nuclear weaponization.”

Overall, panelists expressed a rather sympathetic view towards Iran, stating that while Washington and Tehran may differ, the citizens of each country have common interests. “The people of these countries have common interests – peace, security, open borders, free trade,” Kirstein said. “The governments do not.”

The panel discussion, held the night before the first presidential debate, was moderated by Yahya Kamalipour, director of the Center for Global Studies and head of the department of communication and creative arts at PUC.

Kamalipour plans to remain active in bringing similar panels to PUC.

“My goal is to organize at least one public presentation each year that would bring together experts from throughout the nation to debate a crucial issue of our time.”

He sees the free flow of information as a key component in understanding issues of the world.

“Without having constructive dialogue and sufficient information…we cannot make the right decisions or effectively participate in the democratic process,” Kamalipour said.


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Iran Panel at Purdue Press Account: Kirstein “Dead Babies” Quoted

Negotiations, not war,

needed with Iran

Times Correspondent | Friday, September 26, 2008

Iran will actively pursue nuclear weapons of mass destruction to deter the United States and Israel from military strikes against its sovereignty. And for humanitarian and economic reasons, negotiations, not war, with Iran are vital to Middle East stability.That was the consensus of a panel of Middle Eastern experts who participated at Purdue University Calumet’s lecture series on global understanding Thursday evening at the Hammond campus.

Panelists included Christopher A. Preble, director of foreign policy studies at The Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., and author of the book “Exiting Iraq: Why the U.S. Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War Against Al Qaeda.” Richard Rupp, associate professor of political science and interim department head of history and political science at Purdue Calumet, also was a panel member, as was Peter N. Kirstein, professor of history at St. Xavier University in Chicago. Kirstein is also a peace and academic freedom activist.

Eli Lake, senior reporter for The New York Sun and a proponent of tougher sanctions against Iran, was unable to attend the discussion due to mechanical malfunctions on the plane he was scheduled to take Thursday morning from New York City.

“We intended on having a panel with different perspectives,” said moderator Yahya Kamalipour, director of the Center for Global Studies and professor and head of Purdue Calumet’s Department of Communication and Creative Arts. “Eli Lake is on the other extreme side of this discussion.”

Rupp said that “the Iranians are hell-bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction.” However, he said that “if diplomacy does not succeed, I would not support a military strike against Iran.”

If the United States or Israel tries to attack Iran, the consequences will be catastrophic, the panelists said.

“The effect will be dead babies, just like the U.S. left in Vietnam and Korea,” said Kirstein, who described himself as a pacifist. “Dead civilians, dead innocents, needless suffering.”

Preble said the economic consequences would be enormous, especially if Iran closed the Strait of Hormuz, an important shipping lane which connects the Persian Gulf with the Indian Ocean.

“Forty percent of the world’s oil goes through the Strait of Hormuz,” he said. “It would cause massive economic problems if it was closed.” In addition, an attack on Iran would unleash Hezbollah, the Middle East’s leading radical Islamic movement which would definitely retaliate with terror attacks on the U.S. and its allies, Preble said.

“It is incumbent on the international community to negotiate directly with Iranian leaders,” Rupp said. “We’ve isolated Iran for 28 years, even more than we’ve isolated Cuba under Castro. It doesn’t matter if we get along with Cuba. It matters very much if we don’t get along with Iran.”


Copyright © 2008


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U.S. Made Iran’s Nuclear Bed: Now The Chickens Come Home to Roost.

Natanz is where nuclear enrichment via the gaesous centrifuge process occurs. Uranium is converted into a gas and U-235 isotopes which are only .7% of natural uranium is increased as U-238 isotopes which is 99.3% are whirled to the wall. At 3-4%, electricity can be produced through fission; at 90% a terrorist A-bomb like the ones dropped  by the United States over Hiroshima and Nagasaki can be deployed.

Iran was not part of Mr George W. Bush’s, an international terrorist in my opinion, State of the Union January 2002 Axis of Evil address when Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlevi (1919-80), the Shah of Iran with his Peacock Throne, ruled. This horrid dictator, who fellow war criminal and mass murderer Secretary of State Doctor Henry Kissinger was determined to support after exiled by the 1979 Iranian Revolution, was given nuclear technology and fuel by the United States. During the Cold War in the 1960s the U.S. provided, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, August 24, 2006, a nuclear reactor called the Tehran Research Reactor and, listen to this, 10 lbs of H.E.U. to the dictator. Highly-enriched uranium is weapons’ grade at approximately 90% U-235. This fissile material’s nucleus is capable of being divided by a smashing neutron (fission) and is still at the plant.

We hear much about the New Middle East as if the Bush administration is really interested in spreading liberal democracy to the sheikdoms and oil-rich states along the Gulf. During the Cold War, we were told it was a battle between good and evil, democracy and autocracy, God and atheism. Yet we gave a vicious, quasi-fascist Iranian dictator nuclear materials and a reactor. We exported nuclear materials because the shah was our kind of dictator; he was anti-Soviet although his Savak used the secret policy tactics of the K.G.B. He supported the west in its Manichaean struggle with the Soviets even though he represented the antithesis of democracy and human rights.

Much of Iranian hostility toward the U.S. can be traced to our support of this dictator who was swept from power in 1979 by the then exiled cleric Ayatollah Khomeini.


The U.S. was the progenitor of Iran’s nuclear programme.

The U.S. supported a ruthless dictator and deliberately engaged in nuclear proliferation in explicit violation of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s ban on H.E.U. transfers to non-nuclear states.

Article I

Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices

The Iranians are clearly attempting to advance their nuclear capabilities to generate electricity or other objectives. They construe the U.S. as a threat and, perhaps ironically, are developing a nuclear deterrent to prevent their previous nuclear patron, who has armed forces in the American colonies, Iraq (140,000) and Afghanistan (30,000 and increasing from one to four brigades), from undermining their national sovereignty.

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Kirstein to Appear Sept. 25 on Purdue University Iran Panel

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Islamic Republic of Iran

Professor to participate in  US-Iran Conflicts discussion

Peter N. Kirstein, professor of history at SXU, will appear on a panel to discuss “U.S.-Iran Conflicts: Confrontation or Negotiation?” This event is sponsored by the Center for Global Studies. Other panelists include journalist Eli Lake, senior reporter for the New York Sun, Richard Rupp, associate professor of political science at Purdue University and Christopher Preble, director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. The event is Sept. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Calumet Conference Center at Purdue University Calumet.

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Kirstein Interviewed on “Lessons” of 9/11 Incident



“Lessons learned since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001”


SouthtownStar, September 7, 2008 A6


By Lauren FitzPatrick and Kim Janssen


Osama Bin Laden’s on the loose. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Al-Qaida continues to plague Afghanistan. U.S. troops are still in Iraq. More than 4,000 of them have been killed.


“What we have not learned exceeds unfortunately what we learned,” said Peter N. Kirstein, a history professor at St. Xavier University on the Southwest Side. “One of the lessons of 9-11 that we should have learned is war and violence are not the answer. We are an occupier, and we haven’t had much success with war.”


 “I don’t think we really ask the basic question, ‘Why did Al-Qaida do this?’ and we jumped to the conclusion they were evil and they wanted to destroy our way of life, without looking at this as a battle and a very long war which preceded Sept. 11, 2001.”


Kirstein cited Al-Qaida’s resentment against the United States’ support of Israel, U.S. sanctions against Iraq and deployment of troops in Saudi Arabia, home of Islam’s two holiest cities Mecca and Medinah, as reasons why airplanes were launched into buildings.


“I think it was a terrible, disgusting tragedy, but I think we have not learned the lesson,” Kirstein said. “What we did do was merely develop a larger military and a Department of Homeland Security and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It made us more violent.”


[Ed: The article contained other interviews and this is an excerpt. Image added for blog posting.]

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Update: Purdue Panel on Iran nuclear Controversy

Lecture Series on Global Understanding

US-Iran Conflicts: Confrontation or Negotiation?

Sponsored by

The Center for Global Studies

 Co-sponsored by

The Office of Research and Professional Development


International Programs Office

 7:00 – 9:00 pm, Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Calumet Conference Center

Purdue University Calumet

Hammond, Indiana


US-Iran conflicts, political impasses, rhetorical threats, and repeated economic sanctions vis-à-vis Iran’s nuclear power facilities and its alleged involvement in the ongoing Iraq war are topics of great concern. This timely program is intended to distinguish the myth from reality by illuminating and facilitating a meaningful and balanced discussion.  Such discussions can help lead to a more factual understanding of this volatile situation.  Prominent and knowledgeable Middle East/Iranian experts, with diverse perspectives, will explore and debate the pros and cons of establishing a formal dialogue or escalating the confrontation between the United States and Iran within a collegial setting.


Christopher A. Preble is the director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. Preble was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy and is a veteran of the Gulf War, having served onboard USS Ticonderoga (CG-47) from 1990 to 1993. He is the author of Exiting Iraq: Why the U.S. Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War against Al Qaeda, which examines U.S. strategic interests in Iraq. Preble’s work has been published in major publications including USA Today, the Financial Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, the New Republic, Reason, Political Science Quarterly, the National Interest, and the Harvard International Review. He has also appeared on many television and radio news networks including CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News Channel, NPR, Voice of America, and the BBC.

Eli Lake is a senior reporter for the New York Sun whose work focuses on national security, diplomacy, the Middle East and intelligence.  He is a prolific writer and has traveled to several Middle Eastern countries, including Israel, Iran and Iraq and has conducted extended reporting tours in Iraq as an embedded reporter with the military.

Richard Rupp is Associate Professor of Political Science and Interim Department Head of History and Political Science at Purdue University Calumet.  His research and teaching interests focus on American Foreign Policy.  He is the author of NATO after 9/11:  An Alliance in Continuing Decline (Palgrave McMillan).

Peter N. Kirstein is professor of history at Saint Xavier University, Chicago. A peace and academic freedom activist, he has debated Victor Davis Hanson on the Iraq War and David Horowitz on the Iraq War and academic freedom.  His monograph, Anglo Over Bracero: The History of the Mexican Worker in the United States from Roosevelt to Nixon was nominated for the David D. Lloyd Prize at the Truman Library Institute.  


Yahya R. Kamalipour, Director of the Center for Global Studies, Professor and Head of the Department of Communication and Creative Arts, Purdue University Calumet.  His areas of interest and research include globalization, international communication, and media impact.   Kamalipour has a dozen published books and is the founder and managing editor of Global Media Journal, founder and president of Communication Association, and co-founder and co-editor of Journal of Globalization for the Common Good.

Light Refreshments will be provided

Admission is Free and Open to Public!


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Columbia University Student Cites My Article on New McCarthyism and Academic Freedom

“As a way of creating political support for his policy, the government of George W. Bush turned to New McCarthyism. Peter N. Kirstein, in his essay “Academic Freedom and the New McCarthyism,” explains. “New McCarthyism emerged from a sense of frustration and panic that America’s enemies had not been subjugated and that the empire could strike back. Since the largely unsuccessful wars against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan on October 2001, and the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the United States has been in the throes of a militant-nationalistic crusade fueled by war.”  For entire piece see Christopher Coyle blog post.

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Hiroshima: America’s Crime and Ruthless Genocide


Updated: 22,1,2013

The Hiroshima atomic attack was an act of genocide on August 6, 1945 which among many other crimes such as the gratuitous extermination of Nagasaki three days later, on August 9, has always caused me to question the bombastic hypocrisy of this country. This was perhaps the single greatest act of evil ever perpetrated by a nation and one that has never been acknowledged by the criminal United States:

1) Japan was on the verge of surrender and diplomatically engaged with the Soviet Union, with which it was not yet at war, to find a path to exit the war.

2) The Russians were about to implement their Yalta Conference promise of entering the Pacific War within 90 days after the defeat of Germany which they did early on August 9, 1945, the same morning that later witnessed the Nagasaki genocide. A Russian attack alone would likely have forced Japan into surrender knowing now they faced both the US and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The United States Strategic Bombing Survey in its iconic and devastating report from July 1946 stated:

it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December
1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945,
Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had
not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war,
and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.

3) An American promise of emperor retention may have avoided the use of the untested uranium “Little Boy” atomic bomb and induced Japan to end the war. Acting Secretary of State Joseph Grew and others believed a modest adjustment of unconditional surrender would have led to a Japan surrender prior to August 6, 1945.

4) Unconditional surrender was barbaric and offered little incentive for Japan to cease combat and indeed the emperor was ironcially retained by Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the occupation. President Franklin Roosevelt hastily conceived it as an almost after thought at a press conference at the first “allied” wartime Casablanca conference in January 1943.

5) There could have been a demonstration to show Japan the power of the uranium or plutonium core bomb.

6) There could have been an atomic warning which was never given at Potsdam. The Potsdam Declaration of July 26, 1945 excluded any mentioning of an atomic device that would be burst over the skies of Japan. The weapons never touched the ground. Those who claim there was prebomb leafleting of Japan’s cities as a warning have yet to produce a copy since there was no warning: genocide rarely is offered as a choice by a racist nation such as the United States that held a particular venom against Japan.

7) There could have been a continuation of conventional warfare and island encirclement that would have caused virtually no casualties and eventually compelled a Japanese surrender.

8) The initial ground invasion, that was never necessary, of Japan would not start until November on the island of Kyushu and the principal invasion was not planned until Spring 1946 across the Tokyo plain. There was no need to luanch an atomic bomb attack so months before then.

9) The attack on a defenceless urban area was a criminal act as was all of the allied “Strategic Bombing” during World War II. Americans should have been tried along with the Nazis at Nuremberg and the Tokyo warcrime trials. There is no significant ethical distinction between America and Nazi Germany in their conduct of the war. None, the US also had concentration camps based on ethnicity (Japanese) but that is another issue for another time.

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Kirstein Blog Will Be On Hiatus…


…Keep the transformative demands and the dream of a less violent, hegemonic and nationalistic America alive.

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Dr Sami Al-Arian Granted Bail: This is so heartening

This courageous former professor is finally granted some relief from the American gulag. Previoysly tenured at the University of South Florida, he has been the victim of ideological attack by an arbitrary and reckless academic-judicial axis of academic freedom suppression and vindictive prosecution. Thanks to the intrepid, prolific scholar Norman Finkelstein’s website for this item. For an earlier post see.

Dr. Sami Al-Arian Should not be reincarcerated but allowed to leave the U.S. as agreed upon in a plea agreement.

 07.10.2008 |
By Jonathan Turley
Lead Counsel to Dr. Sami Al-Arian

In a set back for the government, Dr. Sami Al-Arian was granted bail by Judge Leonie M. Brinkema today. Over the objections of the government and the pre-trial services, Judge Brinkema agreed that Dr. Al-Arian was not a flight risk and no danger to the community. The government has suggested that it may now block release by having Immigration officials hold Dr. Al-Arian for deportation — despite the fact that it is trying to hold him for years under a criminal sentence rather than deport him.

At the hearing, I was joined by my colleague P.J. Meitl from the law firm of Bryan Cave. The government was represented by Gordon Kromberg, who was joined at counsel table by Steve Ward of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Judge Brinkema specifically asked him to identify Ward and immediately noted that his office is part of the plea agreement with Dr. Al-Arian. Kromberg admitted that he was. This would be important later during sharp exchanges with Kromberg over Dr. Al-Arian’s cooperation. Kromberg admitted that the alleged contempt by Dr. Al-Arian was his refusal to answer questions from the Florida trial, which was closed with the plea agreement. In this admission, Kromberg established that Dr. Al-Arian is not being charged with failing to answer questions about the IIIT investigation — which were addressed fully in his affidavits. Rather, the government is trying to revisit the Florida trial that it lost when a jury acquitted Dr. Al-Arian of various counts (and came within two votes of acquitting him on all counts).

Judge Brinkema made a number of significant statements in the hearing.

First, she warned the government that she was getting “strange signals” for this case and that the government should not be found to have harassed efforts for another governments to accept Dr. Al-Arian under the plea agreement.

Second, she stated that the plea agreement continued to apply to the case and that the government is required to deport him with expedition.

Third, she said that any resumption of custody by ICE would trigger the deportation provision.

Fourth, Judge Brinkema specifically asked for confirmation that Dr. Al-Arian had already made detailed statements to the government and repeatedly offered to take a polygraph examination to prove that he was not withholding information.

On the question of the government’s failure to deport Dr. Al-Arian, we were astonished by Mr. Kromberg’s insistence that the government did not know of any travel document issued by the Egyptian government. I objected that multiple copies were submitted to the government weeks ago and that Mr. Kromberg was personally informed of the travel documents before the indictment. Despite this record, Mr. Kromberg suggested that Dr. Al-Arian was “a man without a country” and thus could not be deported at this time.

In one of the most curious moments, the government insisted that Dr. Al-Arian had waived any claim under the statute for deportation within the 90 day period. I immediately objected and said that no such agreement was made. We agreed not to invoke the plea agreement for part of the period of negotiation. We never agreed to waive all statutory arguments of removal. The government, however, is arguing that (unlike the plea agreement) the court should just read such an understanding into prior emails between counsel. We will be submitting these emails to the court to clearly show that no such waiver occurred and the time for deportation has expired.

The government also said that Dr. Al-Arian had refused to meet face-to-face with investigators. We will be submitting material today to the court to show that Dr. Al-Arian repeatedly agreed to meet face-to-face with investigators and only refused to revisit the Florida trial. On the questions related to IIIT, Dr. Al-Arian not only submitted detailed answers but agreed to both meet with investigators and to take a polygraph examination to prove that he was not withholding information.

Next week, we will be submitted pre-trial motions as well as seeking Dr. Al-Arian’s release from ICE custody.

We are deeply grateful to Judge Brinkema for her ruling today as well as her words of concern over the “strange signals” in the case. Indeed, there is much strange about this case such as the government claiming to be deporting someone who it is trying to hold for years in a criminal indictment. Things are likely to become stranger still as the government continues its long campaign to hold Dr. Al-Arian by any means or method. We remain hopeful, however, that Dr. Al-Arian will be vindicated and that the government will be forced to comply with its commitment to allow him to leave the country.

Posted in Academia/Academic Freedom | Leave a comment

Norman Finkelstein Academic Freedom Ordeal Featured in Jewish Press

The Dr Norman Finkelstein tenure battle is most demonstrative of the lack of academic freedom and the power of external lobbies to bully and intimidate universities into taking actions that are contrary to the pursuit of truth and knowledge.

Stewart Ain, “A Pariah in Exile,” The Jewish Week, July 4, 2008

He lost an epic tenure battle, then got barred from Israel. Now, Norman Finkelstein is back in Brooklyn, with a provocation or two up his sleeve.

It has come to this for Norman Finkelstein: Back home in the Brooklyn of his youth, living alone in his deceased father’s rent-stabilized apartment on Ocean Parkway, just a few blocks from where the white-hot controversial professor grew up.

No more loyal students, no more lectures to prepare, no more radio debates with his arch-enemy, Alan Dershowitz, no more national spotlight; Finkelstein is the man no one wants, and perhaps for good reason.

A year ago, DePaul University, where he taught political science for six years, denied Finkelstein tenure in one of the most bruising tenure battles in recent memory. The story made national headlines, fueled by Dershowitz’s crusade against Finkelstein’s scholarship.

Finkelstein’s supporters painted the Harvard law professor as an outside agitator encroaching on an internal tenure process; some of his students went on a hunger strike in his support. No major university will touch him now. “Who wants to go through what DePaul went through with a national hysteria,” Finkelstein says, shrugging. “To be told I was a Holocaust denier and a terrorist supporter — would you want me on your faculty?”

And Israel shut its doors on him in May, barring him from entering the country; it never gave him a reason, but news reports attributed it to his strong and highly vocal anti-Israel views, and for associating with elements hostile to the Jewish State. (Finkelstein says he met with leaders of the terrorist group Hezbollah during a trip to Beirut in January.) After 18 hours in detention at Ben-Gurion Airport, he was taken onto a plane and whisked out of the country.

It’s not hard to see why Finkelstein is anathema in most Jewish circles, simply beyond the pale. He has struck out — with a vengeance — at the twin pillars of postwar Jewish life: the Holocaust (which he calls “the Holocaust industry”) and Israel. The Jewish community, he argues, has exploited the Holocaust for financial gain, sullying the memory of the Six Million.

And he has cavorted with Israel’s enemies, meeting with and praising Hezbollah. During the height of Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon, as Hezbollah was raining rockets down on northern Israel and Israel was bombing Hezbollah strongholds in Beirut and targets elsewhere in the country, Finkelstein took the stage at a rally in Brooklyn and intoned, “We are all Hezbollah.”

So the Pariah of Ocean Parkway is at the low point in his life, his academic career in shambles. (The only offer of a job has come from a two-year college he declined to identify that offered a paltry salary for many hours of work.) Here he sits, in his father’s old apartment, surrounded by framed family photographs. The photos, along with glowing pictures and notes from DePaul students that sit on his piano, may be his only comfort as he tries to pick up the pieces of his career.

Finkelstein may be down on his luck, but the provocateur still seems to have some fight in him. He spends hours at the computer on his combative, over-the-top Web site — a video of him debating Dershowitz in a radio studio is interspersed with clips of Bruce Lee-like martial arts warriors fighting to the death.

Finkelstein says he’s content with things, that he wants to avoid further controversy. “I’ve had 15 minutes of fame and then a half-hour and then 10 hours; I don’t need anymore. … I’m not worried about being a pariah,” he says. Yet the title of the new book he’s working on — “A Farewell to Israel: The Coming Break-up of American Zionism” — suggests that controversy may yet find him again, that Finkelstein may be bowed but not broken.

On a muggy late spring day, Finkelstein is walking the old neighborhood around Ocean Parkway and Avenue W. He grew up here in what was an upper-middle-class neighborhood in the late-‘50s and early ‘60s, his parents survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto. He may have absorbed a body blow from DePaul, but at 54 he is lean and trim in a blue T-shirt and khaki shorts, his salt-and-pepper hair tousled. He maintains a disciplined exercise regimen, jogging and swimming regularly.

He spent his first eight years in Flatbush and then moved to Mill Basin with his parents and two brothers until he was 17.

“My parents were devout atheists,” Finkelstein says. (They also had  Communist leanings, according to Haaretz, as did many Polish Jews of their generation.) “You couldn’t discuss religion in my house even though my mother’s father was very Orthodox. She said he was like a rabbi. And my father’s, too.

“My parents were completely Jewish; that’s why they did not feel they needed to prove they were Jewish,” he says.

It was perhaps because of that that Finkelstein, who says he too is an atheist, said he never had a bar mitzvah.

“When I was 13, a bar mitzvah was like a coming-out party and to not have one was shameful,” he recalls. “It was terrible. People would ask me if I was having a bar mitzvah and I said I was having it in Israel. … Not to have a bar mitzvah was a psychologically terrible ordeal, but it gave me character and taught me how to resist peer pressure.”

Both of his brothers — Henry worked for the city and Richard was a computer consultant — retired when they turned 50. “I used to joke that I am still waiting for my first job,” he says with smile.

His brothers are both married and Finkelstein has one nephew. “I don’t have any regrets not marrying,” he says as he walked by the bookshelves that line the entranceway to his apartment.

Among the books were several about Karl Marx, another about the Bolshevik Revolution called, “Ten Days that Shook the World” by John Reed, books about Hitler, and “Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel’s National Security and Foreign Policy.”

Finkelstein’s career, though it began with a doctorate in politics at Princeton University, has been checkered. His thesis sought to expose as a shoddy piece of research Joan Peters’ best-selling book, “From Time Immemorial,” which debunked the notion of a Palestinian population overwhelmed by Jewish immigrants in the Holy Land. His thesis, in turn, was criticized by many as politically driven, and was supported by few, including Noam Chomsky, the outspoken critic of Israel’s right to exist.

Finkelstein has had trouble holding a job, bouncing from Rutgers University to NYU to Brooklyn College and Hunter College.

Despite what he said were solid evaluations at DePaul — in formal public statements DePaul said Finkelstein is an outstanding teacher and a prolific scholar — Finkelstein says he saw the writing on the wall when he first accepted the position. It’s why, he says, he held onto his father’s apartment for the six years he was in Chicago so that he would not find himself out of work and out of a home.

“I had the best teaching record at DePaul University,” he insists, explaining that the evaluation is based upon student assessments and his writing. He even sailed through the early tenure committees, before the campaign against him was launched by Dershowitz. (In his book “Beyond Chutzpah,” Finkelstein had attacked Dershowitz’s “The Case for Israel” as a fraud.)

“Now I can’t even get an adjunct appointment for one semester,” he says matter-of-factly. “I lectured in the past year at 40 universities and I would ask the faculty there about a position and was told it was out of the question.”

Finkelstein rises from his living room chair and points to the picture of his mother on the wall above the piano, as if to take his mind off his dismal job prospects.

“My mother was in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1939 until 1943,” he says, strongly denying that his mother was a Nazi collaborator — a charge leveled by some of his detractors. “She was also in Majdanek and in two slave labor camps and every member of her family was exterminated – her two sisters, a brother and mother and father.”

A job as a high school teacher is also out of the question, Finkelstein says.

“The way they do background checks is to Google your name. With me, they would get 30,000 Web sites, one-third of them saying I am a Holocaust denier, a supporter of terrorism, a crackpot and a lunatic. If 30,000 Web sites are saying that, the assumption is that where there is smoke, there must be fire. Would you take the time to look through 30,000 Web sites?”

“I save my complaints for my friends,” he says when asked his reaction to such Web sites.

“That’s why we have friends in the world — to chew their ears off.”
Peter Novick isn’t one of those friends. The author of “The Holocaust in American Life” has been critical of Finkelstein’s credibility and scholarship, saying that “a lot of [his writing] was pure invention” and that not all of his footnotes are accurate.

Novick said that in his own book he explored how “much of American Jewry has centered on the Holocaust … for Finkelstein it’s a racket, with self-aggrandizing Jewish elites who use it to boost their own power; it is nasty and over-the-top stuff.”

He said he feels sorry that Finkelstein has been unable to secure another teaching job, but Novick said Finkelstein knowingly refused to do what it takes to get tenure: publish academically respectable material in academic journals.

“He was much more engaged in doing political rather than academic work, and that is not how you get a regular academic job,” Novick explains. “I’m not saying it in a way to blame him. He made his choice. … He raises abrasiveness to a matter of principle.”

“On balance,” Novick continues, “would it be a good thing if he had a job? Yes. The idea of this guy in his 50s who has done this all his life now being cut off at the knees is sad.”

He may not have a job, but Finkelstein’s new book, yet to have a publisher, is certain to stir more controversy. Its premise is that American Jews who “embraced Israel [after the Six-Day War] in 1967 — seeing it as a liberal state — now are embarrassed by its use of cluster bombs [in Lebanon]. It’s no longer possible to justify support for Israel on conventional and elementary liberal principles — it’s impossible to justify the occupation.”

A number of surveys suggest that American Jews, especially 20- and 30-year olds, have grown increasingly distant from Israel, but not necessarily for the reasons Finkelstein offers.

“It’s claimed that Israel is searching for peace, yet it says to attack Iran, Syria and Iraq,” Finkelstein continues. “So it’s an embarrassment. Gradually, American Jewry will be bidding farewell to Israel, except in existential cases. And the under-40 generation is growing more and more indifferent” to Israel.

On a drive around his old neighborhood, the discussion turned to his book “The Holocaust Industry,” which claims Israel is an immoral power with a horrific human rights record that seeks to evoke sympathy for its position because of the Holocaust. Finkelstein spoke like a man whom time has vindicated.

“I don’t know if I’ve pushed the envelope,” he said of his claims about Jewish groups extorting money from European countries for Holocaust reparations. “[Famed Holocaust historian Raul] Hilberg supported me, so I’m not sure how much I’m pushing the envelope. Before I charged Jewish groups with a shakedown racket, Hilberg did interviews with the Swiss and German press and said that for the first time in history American Jews are making use of the blackmail weapon. So they were the ones who pushed the envelope by using the Holocaust as a blackmail weapon.”

As he reflected on the fate of some of the main figures in the effort to extract reparations for Holocaust survivors, Finkelstein smiled at the irony of recent events.

Israel Singer, the former secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, was fired after it “turned out he had a secret Swiss bank account he was funneling money to — unbeknownst to the World Jewish Congress — for what he called his pension,” says Finkelstein.

“Burt Neuborne, the lead counsel in the Swiss case, went around saying he was doing the work pro bono for his daughter who was studying to be a rabbi,” he continues. “But it turns out he got $5 million from the German settlement and was asking for $6 million in the Swiss case. Even the New York Times wrote an editorial denouncing him. And Mel Weiss [another lawyer in the case] was indicted [in an unrelated case] and pleaded guilty.”

“They’re all crooks,” Finkelstein says with obvious satisfaction. “The only one not in trouble is me. I’m unemployed, but at least I haven’t been indicted.”

Now, settled into his Brooklyn life, Finkelstein is preparing for what may be his biggest fight, albeit one he doesn’t relish. He plans to go to the Israeli Consulate in New York in September to seek an assurance that he will be admitted in December. Such assurance, he said, would allow all concerned to “avoid the spectacle of me applying under the Law of Return [which gives every Jew the automatic right to acquire Israeli citizenship]. … It’s hard to see which side will find that more ridiculous.

“I don’t incite riots,” he continued. “I’m just going to see a friend in the occupied Palestinian territories. I’m not there to see Israel. I do not need for every facet of my life to be politicized. If Israeli authorities would just grant me a visa, I’ll move on.”

Finkelstein said he hopes to visit a Palestinian, Musa Abu Hashhash, who lives with his wife and children near Hebron. They first met in 1988 when Finkelstein went to Israel with a delegation from the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee and Finkelstein dedicated one of his books to the man, who works for B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group.  He stressed that his visit to Israel would be a “private” affair and that he had “no interest in turning this into a political issue. … I don’t think they can deny me, and I don’t want to turn it into a test case for the Israeli High Court.”

As things stand now, however, Norman Finkelstein, the grand provocateur, waits in limbo for a shot at returning to the Promised Land, a land he has made a career of reviling.�

Posted in Academia/Academic Freedom | Leave a comment

Senator Dianne Feinstein: You Will Not Destroy the First Amendment

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, supported the criminalisation of flag desecration by supporting what would be the Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. She is considered a major player in the Democratic Party; the fawning press is mesmerised by her monotone gravitas. She is adored, respected and indeed her D.C. home was used for a secret encounter between the flip-flopping prowar? Illinois Senator Barack Obama and the racist, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York. [“Hard working Americans, white Americans,” vote for me dear superdelegates.] Senator Feinstein is a threat to America and a vile and reprehensible figure ensconced in her bubble of power and privilege with vast millions and numerous homes. I can well understand why she wants to censor and silence those who challenge the system and the core values of a nation from which she has so profited.

I have never burned the American flag but would not hesitate to do so if it were banned by constitutional amendement. Unlikely with a Democratic majority but a possibility nonetheless. Yet when the Republicans controlled the Senate, Senator Feinstein, with cowardice and shame, voted to amend the Constitution to eviscerate the First Amendment and carve out an egregious taboo on protected speech. The flag is not a sacred symbol for me. It does not represent a positive, progressive, nationalistic ideal. It symbolises Jim Crow, war, greed, colonialism, poverty, genocide and millions of sick Americans who are not provided health care.

We need to deemphasise the sacredness of nation-state and develop a greater sense of planetary solidarity. Love of country unfortunately has created a terrorist democracy that uses war as its pretext for defining its greatness. Until that is shattered, there must be sustained resolve to dissent and protest. Otherwise, one is merely surrendering to autocracy and an ultra-nationalist, ethnocentrism.

Flag desecration is a legitimate and non-violent form of disobedience. People have died to protect that right or so we are told. Senator Feinstein, you cannot take away this precious right: To burn, tear or bespatter a flag in protest must survive assaults on protected speech in our putative democracy.

Posted in Politics/Music/Culture | Leave a comment

Sami Al-Arian Persecution as Political Prisoner Continues

Former Professor Al-Arian has been treated as if this were the Stalin Era. Fired for capricious, ideological reasons while teaching at the University of South Florida; exonerated and found innocent on virtually every government charge by a jury; he plea-bargained an agreement of guilty for one innocuous charge in return for deportation. Yet this monstrous “democratic” country, with its sham self-image as spreader of “freedom and western values” among its colonial subjects in the Middle East, is determined to keep this courageous professor in jail indefinitely because he refused to testify before a grand jury. His plea bargain never required him to do so and so the unseemly prosecutors keep extending his release/deportation date because of their cynical demand for his grand jury testimony.

This is a copy of the indictment, which is nothing more than a cowardly legal run around their prosecutorial failings, since the Justice Department could not convict this former professor before an American jury. So they play this grand jury contempt game to deny him his rightful freedom AS AGREED TO IN A PLEA BARGAIN. What kind of a country do we live in?!

Al-Arian Indicted for Refusal To Testify in Charities Cases

By JOSH GERSTEIN, Staff Reporter of the New York Sun
June 27, 2008

A Palestinian Arab activist and former college professor who has been locked in a long-running legal battle with federal prosecutors, Sami Al-Arian, was indicted yesterday on two counts of criminal contempt for refusing to testify before grand juries investigating Islamic charities based in Virginia and elsewhere. For rest of article. See also George Washington University attorney Jonathan Turley blog.

Posted in Academia/Academic Freedom | Leave a comment

Daughters of Bilitis Women Founders Marry in San Francisco: A Teachable Moment

Jim Wilson/The New York Times Del Martin, seated, and Phyllis Lyon were the first same-sex couple in San Francisco to exchange wedding vows on Monday, June 17, 2008. Mayor Gavin Newsom, left, presided.

I am pretty sure these elderly women are the ones I mention in a topic on the gay liberation movement in my United States History Since 1877 class (Hist 104). I introduced this component a couple of years ago after years of timidity. I decided it was necessary to give a more comprehensive rendering of American history and include gay history of the 1950s and 1960s. While it is not my lifestyle, one has to make choices even if teaching at a Catholic university what is in the best interests of the students–for me that is to have a full complement of disparate groups included in the panorama of American history.

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon founded the first lesbian organisation in the United States, Daughters of Bilitis, in San Francisco in 1955. The group also published the first lesbian-oriented publication, a newsletter called the Ladder. I have not been able to learn the origins of that name or what it represented. I do know where the name, “Daughters of Bilitis” emanated from. A French writer, Pierre Louys wrote in 1894, The Song of Bilitis which purportedly contained erotic love poems between women during classical times. However, further research revealed they were not original poems discovered by the author but WRITTEN by the author himself.

I might add that my students have been very receptive to the material and it was quite useful in discussing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the United States military. While a couple of students, as is their right, used biblical references to condemn homosexuality, the vast majority of my students were quite tolerant of different sexual preferences. During one class, a student declared he was gay and came up to me after class, shook my hand and said, “thanks.” I said something to the effect that I was merely doing my job as a professor but that I respected students’ habits and urgings. After a class this Spring, a student came up to me as I was in the hall and said their orientation was bisexual. I indicated I had read that most bisexuals are actually homosexuals but the student affirmed sexual attraction to both genders.

I wish the presidential candidates would quit pandering to majority opinion and simply state they support marriage regardless of gender and leave it at that. They don’t have to push for a constitutional amendment legalising it but just offer some support to states that permit same-sex marriages such as California and Massachusetts or others such as Vermont, Hawai’i, Connecticut and New Jersey that permit civil unions–kind of a secular junior partner of same-sex marriages. Senator Barack Obama does support the latter but not the Arizona senator war criminal of the Vietnam disgrace and genocide.

Posted in Diversity and Race | Leave a comment