By an historical coincidence, both Julian Assange and Luis Posada Carriles were brought before Western courts around the same time in late 2010 and early 2011—Assange in Britain and Posada in the United States. The contrast in their treatment by the U.S.-Anglo system of justice and in their handling by the Western establishment media is enlightening.
Posada, now 82, is a self-confessed terrorist, Bay of Pigs veteran, School of the Americas graduate, and CIA operative who has been credibly placed at two meetings where the plan was hatched for the October 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed all 73 civilians aboard. He also has been implicated in numerous other terrorist acts in which people were killed or injured and property destroyed, and he played a role in the United States' arms-smuggling network in Central America that eventually came to light in the Iran-Contra investigations.
"The CIA taught us everything," Posada told the New York Times in 1998. "They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb, trained us in acts of sabotage." Posada was a star pupil. But as a longtime CIA asset and, until the past decade, the "most notorious commando in the anti-Castro underground," the U.S. justice system has never charged Posada with a crime related to terrorism or the death of civilians, even though a former FBI counterterrorism expert who investigated the Cuban airliner bombing claims that Posada was "up to his eyeballs" in its planning. Surely this is because his killings and bombings were carried out against targets of U.S. policy, and because he almost certainly would have implicated the CIA.
In fact, the U.S. justice system never charged Posada with any kind of offense until early 2007, when a federal grand jury indicted him with the ludicrously lesser charges of making false statements during his naturalization interview two years earlier. After Posada had slipped into Miami's anti-Castro Cuban-exile community in March 2005, he filed for political asylum but then quickly withdrew his application when he recognized that in the aftermath of 9/11 and Bush's "War on Terror," his past activities made him a "hot potato."
But before he could disappear again, he held a news conference in Miami, and Department of Homeland Security agents grabbed him—and ever since he has faced a series of on-again-off-again perjury charges related to his original interview.
With his current trial now underway in a U.S. District Court in El Paso, things have not moved beyond this point, leading one observer, Jose Pertierra, a Washington D.C.-based attorney who represents the Venezuelan government, which since 2005 has sought Posada's extradition to stand trial for the Cuban airliner bombing, to conclude that "all parties are waiting for a biological solution to this case.”
As U.S. prosecutor Timothy Reardon told the court at the start of this trial, Posada "can do anything he wants to the Cuban regime." But he lied during his naturalization interview, and one "must play by the rules and tell the truth to become a citizen."
Julian Assange, by contrast, has not killed anybody, or so far even broken any law, and key U.S. military officials have denied claims that information released into the public realm via WikiLeaks has resulted in anybody's death...
- an excerpt from Mixed Media: Assange and Posada in the Propaganda System by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson. Herman and Peterson are coauthors of the new book The Politics of Genocide published by Monthly Review Press.
Van Dyke Parks: The thing about Phil that made him interesting was he was totally unequivocal. He was determined, precise, literate, but already filled with rage and political purpose in his songs.
Phil Ochs: [singing] He slowly squeezed the trigger, the bullet left his side. It struck the heart of every man when Evers fell and died. Too many martyrs and too many dead...
Dave Van Ronk: Topical song movement evolved out of opposition to segregation, Jim Crow, and the civil rights movement, in general, subsequently the Vietnam War. Without those howling injustices and outrages, there would have been no protest song movement. Probably there would have been no folk song movement.
Phil Ochs: [singing] And then there came the boycotts and then the Freedom Rides. And forgetting what you stood for, you tried to block the tide. Oh, the automation bosses were laughing on the side, as they watched you lose your link on the chain, on the chain, as they watched you lose your link on the chain.
Michael Ochs: Phil would play anywhere. There were the club things. There’d be a multi-artist thing. You’d hear about all these causes that needed help. He would go to the South and do civil rights things.
Phil Ochs: [singing] If you drag her muddy rivers, nameless bodies you will find. Oh, the calendar is lying when it reads the present time. Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of. Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of.
Michael Ochs: It was a great way to reach people through one’s music. Phil would actually turn down a commercial job for a benefit, because the benefit would usually reach more people.
Abbie Hoffman: No matter how small a group or big the group, whenever anybody asked, I can never remember him turning down anybody, any benefit, any chance to sing for a cause he believed in. He really—Phil Ochs was there.
Lucian Truscot IV: Those guys were true believers. Those guys would show up, you know, for the opening of an envelope to give $10 to some guy that was handing out crackers on the Bowery, to sing a song for the cracker-hander-outter guy.
Arthur Gorson: Phil went down to Hazard, Kentucky, because there was a miners’ strike.
Phil Ochs: [singing] Well, some people think that unions are too strong, union leaders should go back where they belong.
Arthur Gorson: We got to sleep in bathtubs, so that when they came and shot up the rooms at night, you wouldn’t have bullets bouncing off. And it was cool.
Phil Ochs: [singing] Well, mining is a hazard in Hazard, Kentucky, and if you ain’t mining there, you’re awful lucky, because if you don’t get silicosis or a pay that’s just atrocious, you’ll be screaming for a union that will care.
Arthur Gorson: There was sort of a very kind of practical moral politics that had to do with a sincere feeling that people should be treated equally.
Phil Ochs: [singing] But if you want to get together and fight, good buddy, that’s what I want to hear.
- An excerpt from Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune taken from a DemocracyNow! interview with
Kenneth Bowser, the director, and Michael Ochs, the produce and brother of Phil Ochs.
"Examining Tuskegee" seeks to reaffirm the importance of medical ethics and informed consent. Unlike previous studies on Tuskegee, Reverby's
"Examining Tuskegee" highlights the usual black-and-white tale of ethics and deception by documenting the personal stories of surviving victims.
"I was terrified that I wouldn't understand the heavy southern accent and I was more worried that they wouldn't understand my New York accent," Reverby said of her first interactions with former Tuskegee subjects. She traveled to Macon County, Ala. to interview the men directly.
Reverby was not solely concerned with making her findings on Tuskegee known to the government. She spoke to the families of the victims to help them understand the injustice of the syphilis study.
"The scariest thing was speaking at a Southern Baptist church," she recalled. It was in that Baptist Church that she discussed the syphilis study before an audience of approximately one hundred individuals in Notasulga, Ala., just outside of Tuskegee. "About a quarter were family members of the study," Reverby recalled. She had to face down the community's suspicious comments: "‘Why should we believe you? Are you here just to use us one more time?'"
To acknowledge Reverby's efforts in documenting and publishing details on the Tuskegee experiments, Macon County declared a "Susan Reverby Day." "This was a high point in my intellectual career," said Reverby, who was overwhelmed by the response of Macon County and the warmth extended to her.
Although Reverby acknowledged the personal importance of the reaction to her efforts from the local communities, she is even more appreciative of the impact she has had on the academic community. Her work has had a lasting impact on more than twenty historians, a fact that is deeply meaningful to her. - from The Wellesley News