Saturday, May 31, 2008

`Indonesiagate': Obama's Historic U.S. Embassy Family Connection--Part 3

(See below for parts 1-2)

The U.S. Embassy in Indonesia that employed Barack Obama’s mother in the late 1960s apparently played an historically significant role in supporting the 1965 right-wing military coup in Indonesia. As Pretext For Mass Murder by John Roosa recalled in 2006:

“An NSC [National Security Council] committee approved a proposal in March 1965 for covert actions such as `support to existing anti-Communist groups,’ `black letter operations,’ and `media operations.’…

“U.S. officials repeatedly informed the [Indonesian] army generals that the United States would support them if they moved against the PKI [Communist Party of Indonesia]…

“As the death squads fanned out across the country to hunt down PKI members, the embassy was delighted. [U.S.] Ambassador Green observed in early November [1965] that even the `smaller fry’ in the PKI were `being systematically arrested and jailed or executed.’ In Central Java the army was mobilizing and arming militias of Muslim youth to `keep them out in front against PKI.’

“Green noted in the same memo that the embassy had `made clear’ to a contact in the [Indonesian] army `that Embassy and USG (U.S. Government) generally sympathetic with and admiring of what army doing.’…Green assured Washington that the army was…`working hard at destroying PKI and I, for one, have increasing respect for its determination and organization in carrying out this crucial assignment.’

“The United States backed up its words of encouragement with material aid. The army needed communications equipment to link its various headquarters around the country so it could better coordinate the drive against the PKI. Sometime in late 1965 the United States flew in state-of-the-art mobile radios from Clark Air Base in the Philippines…The United States…had a blow-by-blow account of the army’s assault on the PKI, overhearing for instance, `commands from Suharto’s intelligence unit to kill particular person at given locations.’ A member of the embassy’s political affairs section, Robert Martens, helped the army by providing lists of the names of PKI members. Martens admitted in a letter to the Washington Post that he handed over the names of `a few thousand’ members, whom he disingenuously termed `leaders and senior cadre’—as if a list of that many names could include only the hard-core leadership.

“The embassy also transferred a large sum of money to the army-created civilian front called the Action Front for Crushing the September 30th Movement (Kap-Gestapu). The actions of this organization were, as Ambassador Green noted, `fully consonant with and coordinated by the army.’ To help this front hold demonstrations and carry out its `current repressive efforts targeted against PKI,’ Green authorized in early December [1965] the granting of 50 million rupiah to the front’s representative, Adam Malik…”

Next: “Indonesiagate”: Obama’s Historic U.S. Embassy Family Connection—Part 4

Friday, May 30, 2008

`Indonesiagate': Obama's Historic U.S. Embassy Family Connection--Part 2

(See below for part 1)

The role that folks at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta (where Barack Obama’s now-deceased mother, Ann Dunham, worked in the late 1960s) played in 1960s Indonesian history apparently involved some involvement in covert operations against the Indonesian people. As Pretext For Mass Murder by John Roosa noted:

“In addition to training [Indonesian military] officers, the U.S. government promoted `civic action’…

“…The Indonesian army’s…civic action program was largely under the control of Colonel George Benson whose official title from August 1962 to July 1965 was special assistant to the U.S. ambassador for civic action. Benson enjoyed the full confidence of the army commander Yani, whom Benson knew from his days as U.S. military attache’ at Jakarta embassy (1956-59), and so was allowed a free hand to work within the Indonesian army.

“One virtue of civic action was the cover it proved for covert operations against the Communist Party [of Indonesia]. The NSC [National Security Council] committee on counter-insurgency agreed in December 1961 to spend money in Indonesia `to support civic action and anti-Communist activities’ that would involve the `covert training of selected personnel and civilians, who will be placed in key positions in the [censored] civic action program.’ The many excised passages in the declassified document suggest that the civic action program involved sensitive covert operations in Indonesia…

“Trained, armed, funded and encouraged by the United States to attack the Communist Party [of Indonesia], the army high command decided in January 1965 to begin contingency plans for doing so…”

Next: “Indonesiagate”: Obama’s Historic U.S. Embassy Family Connection—Part 3

Thursday, May 29, 2008

`Indonesiagate': Obama's Historic U.S. Embassy Family Connection--Part 1

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Barack Obama may not be very interested in pushing for a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the exact role that the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia played during the 1960s in Indonesian internal politics. One reason might be because Obama’s now-deceased mother, Ann Dunham, was employed by the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia following the U.S. Embassy-backed 1965 right-wing military coup in Indonesia.

If you ever saw the 1982 movie The Year Of Living Dangerously, you probably realize that more Indonesian civilians were apparently killed as a result of the U.S. Embassy-backed right-wing coup in Indonesia during the Democratic Johnson Administration than were killed as a result of the U.S. Embassy-backed 1973 right-wing coup in Chile during the Republican Nixon Administration. As the 2006 book by John Roosa, Pretext for Mass Murder, recalled:

“In one of the worst bloodbaths of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of individuals were massacred by the army-affiliated militias, largely in Central Java, East Java, and Bali, from late 1965 to mid-1966…

“Suharto’s army usually opted for mysterious disappearances rather than exemplary public executions. The army and its militias tended to commit large-scale massacres in secret: they took captives out of prison at night, trucked them to remote locations, executed them, and then buried the corpses in unmarked graves or threw them into rivers…

“The post-Suharto parliament has maintained the laws forbidding public discourse about Marxism-Leninism and the participation of ex-political prisoners (and their children and grandchildren) in political parties…

“…The U.S. government had been preparing the Indonesian army for a showdown with the PKI [The Communist Party of Indonesia] and a takeover of state power. From 1958 to 1965 the United States trained, funded, advised, and supplied the army precisely so that it could turn into a state within a state…

“In the NSC [National Security Council]’s assessment the PKI `would probably have emerged as the largest party in Indonesia,’ if Sukarno had not canceled the election scheduled for 1959…

“In accordance with the policy of building up the army as the bulwark against the PKI, the U.S. government trained army officers in the United States, donated and sold weapons, and provided financial aid…

“In August 1958 the United States began a military assistance program that supplied equipment to the military, especially the army, and trained officers in the United States. From 1958 to 1965 the United States annually spent between $10 million and $20 million on military assistance. The program for training Indonesian army officers in schools such as those at Fort Bragg and Fort Leavenworth was extensive. From 1950 to 1965 about twenty-eight hundred Indonesian Army officers were brought to the United States for training—most of them after 1958. That number represented about one-fifth to one quarter of all army officers. Through this training the United States was able to develop extensive contacts within the Indonesian army…”

Next: “Indonesiagate”: Obama’s Historic U.S. Embassy Family Connection—Part 2

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

`Ballad of John Garfield'

They crushed John Garfield because he wouldn’t inform
They drove him from the screen and he lost his livelihood.

A funeral was held on the Upper West Side
Ten thousand people mourned and cried
An actor was gone at the age of 39
John Garfield of The Group Theatre had died.

He was born in 1913 on the Lower East Side
In a factory, his father worked all day
Paychecks were small and the tenement halls
Were filled with many worried souls.

His mother passed away when he was just a child
And up to the Bronx, his father moved
He played hooky too much and got expelled from some schools
And he always seemed in a troubled mood.

But then he found a friend in the middle of the rules
A man named Angelo Patri
And Patri helped him out and he boxed and did act
And he hitchhiked across the country.

And then the Thirties came and jobs were hard to find
And around The Group Theatre he hung
They taught him there his craft and he learnt some politics
And from their stage, he went to Hollywood.

His screen intensity caused him to steal the scenes
And he soon achieved great popularity
Among his movies: “They Made Me A Criminal”,
“Gentleman’s Agreement” and “Body and Soul.”

Off-screen, he was restless and felt chained by his wife
And his family still left him unfulfilled
His rise up from the depths to fame and great success
Made some people nickname him “Prince Bart.”

His friends were on the Left who worked for peace and justice
So when the Red Scare came, they got repressed
And John had signed too much to protest Wall Street’s lust
And so his name got smeared by the blacklist.

Although he was still young, his last eighteen months
They would not let him even make one film
To stifle all dissent, John Garfield, Wall Street crushed
For he symbolized resistance to their will.

To listen to the Ballad of John Garfield, you can go to following music site link:

The Ballad of John Garfield biographical protest folk song was written deep in the heart of Brooklyn during the early 1980s, after I read a biography of John Garfield.

To listen to some other biographical protest folk songs, you can check out the “Columbia Songs for a Democratic Society" site at the following link:

Next: “Indonesiagate”: Obama’s Historic U.S. Embassy Family Connection—Part 1

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

CNN's Historic Editorial Politics

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner.)

With then-LBJ Foundation Chairman of the Board Tom Johnson, Billionaire Turner and representatives of companies like Time Warner and Tele-Communications Inc. sitting on the board of CNN’s parent company in the early 1990s, it wasn’t surprising that CNN didn’t devote much of its air-time each day to discussing who really was responsible for JFK’s elimination on November 22, 1963, during the early 1990s.

Ironically, a senior vice-president for CNN’s operations during the 1980s named Kitchell was a former director of NBC’s old Huntley-Brinkley Report who “had put NBC’s facilities and crews in action for coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination” at the time the “Oswald as lone assassin” apparent cover-story was first disseminated by the Big Media, according to CNN: The Inside Story.

Nor was it surprising that some U.S. media critics in the early 1990s didn’t consider CNN’s editorial politics to be counter-cultural or alternative enough. As Jeff Cohen, the former executive director of F.A.I.R., told the authors of Unreliable Sources: A Guide To Detecting Bias In News Media:

“…There’s nothing original about CNN’s talkshow lineup. Opponents of the environmental and peace movements are everywhere on CNN, proponents nowhere…

“F.A.I.R.’s beef with CNN is not that there are too many rightists, but that there are no genuine left advocates…”

Former Village Voice writer Richard Goldstein also criticized Turner and his CNN “alternative media” operation during the 1980s, by writing the following:

“No one expects a cable TV mogul to be modest; but imagine the founders of a real network taking to the airwaves for personal publicity…It also suggests the distinction between Turner’s 24-hour Cable News Network and a major news operation.

“The difference has more to do with sensibility than scale. Even if CNN had a bureau in every bush, its approach to reporting would be provincial; Ted Turner’s New South values would pervade its coverage…Those values include a rigid optimism—the most ominous events are served sunny side up on CNN; a hurricane becomes a warning to wear your rubbers—and preoccupation with sex. It’s no accident that CNN’s most brutal error, broadcasting the name of a sexual assault victim, occurred in its haste to cover a notorious rape trial live. Though it feigns discretion, CNN thrives on the very prurience Turner condemns elsewhere on TV.”

Goldstein also accused Turner’s CNN “of `pilfering formats invented elsewhere,’ of seeing journalism as `a common carrier,’ `as the perfect format for elevators and waiting rooms: newzak,” according to The Sky Barons.

Asked by Downtown in early 1994 for CNN’s response to the criticism that CNN’s news coverage is politically biased and excludes genuinely alternative viewpoints from media access, then-CNN spokesperson Steven Hayworth answered:

“I would reject it out of hand. There are always a variety of viewpoints represented on CNN programs. As a news organization, we are second to none in the range of viewpoints we broadcast.”

Downtown then asked Hayworth how he would respond to the criticism that during the 1991 Gulf War I, U.S. pacifists were given less access to CNN’s airwaves than were pro-Pentagon spokespeople.

“I reject the criticism if it implied that we excluded antiwar viewpoints during the Gulf War. We took an incredible amount of heat for interviewing Ramsey Clark. But you can’t satisfy all the people all the time,” answered the then-CNN spokesperson in 1994.

Hayworth also rejected F.A.I.R.’s criticism of CNN for being politically biased, towards the right, in its programming by noting that CNN had programs in 1994 featuring Michael Kingsley and Jesse Jackson. When Downtown noted in 1994 that one of the criticisms of CNN was that it tended to also deny access to prominent dissident U.S. academics like Noam Chomsky, the then-CNN spokesperson insisted that “I can’t think of any faces that we exclude. We survey people. We look for experts who represent all points of view.”

Asked by Downtown in early 1994 if there was any truth to the charge that CNN wouldn’t let any dissident academic critics of Ted Turner’s business practices appear on its network in 1994, Hayworth replied:

“We report on Mr. Turner to the same degree or in a similar way to how we report on any other U.S. businessman.”

[Yet in 2008 CNN still seems reluctant to let U.S. alternative journalists, radicals and counter-cultural voices get on its screen for any length of time to provide genuinely alternative viewpoints on the news for those cable TV viewers who pay to watch CNN. And it’s still not too likely that Time Warner’s CNN subsidiary will ever broadcast many investigative reporting segments on the 1990s and 21st-century business practices of either the Time Warmer media conglomerate monopoly or U.S. billionaire “philanthropists” like Ted Turner or George Soros].

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: Ballad of John Garfield lyrics

Monday, May 26, 2008

CNN Founder Ted Turner's Personal Wealth In 1994

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner.)

After he aligned himself with Time Warner, Tele-Communications Inc. and other cable company corporate interests in an organizational way, CNN Founder Ted Turner’s personal worth increased from about $535 million to over $3 billion by 1994. Among Billionaire Turner’s personal possessions in 1994 was a 130,000-acre ranch in Montana. He also owned in 1994 the 500 square-mile Ladder Ranch in New Mexico, which made him “one of the largest individual landowners in the West,” according to It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks. In addition, with his CNN/TBS profits, Turner provided each of his five children with a $2 million trust fund.

CNN Founder Turner also used his CNN/TBS profits to set up the Turner Family Foundation, on whose board of trustees sat his children and his then-wife in 1994—the former radical feminist, antiwar movie actress and aerobics instructor, Jane Fonda. After Billionaire Turner married Fonda in 1991, she was then “seen by some as a potential First Lady to a future President Turner,” according to The Sky Barons. The book It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks also stated the following in reference to Turner’s past U.S. presidential ambitions:

“`In 1980,’ recalls Irwin Maz, Turner’s first real business adviser, `Ted…said he was going to be this country’s wealthiest man. And…he told me he was going to be president of the United States.

“`I asked him how in hell he thought he could be president. You have no political base.’ `I’ve got the boob tube,’ he told me.’””

As chairman of the board and president of the CNN/TBS media conglomerate during the 1990s, Fonda’s then-billionaire husband during the 1990s also took home an annual salary that exceeded $676,000 in 1991. Downtown was unable to learn in 1994 whether Fonda ever had any plans to star in a 1990s movie, titled "How To Marry A Billionaire." But as part of Fonda’s pre-nuptial agreement with Turner, she received “a $10 million dowry of TBS stock,” according to It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks.

Even without the $10 million dowry of TBS stock she received in exchange for becoming Mrs. Turner during the 1990s, Fonda was no Cinderella before she married her billionaire ex-husband. As Citizen Jane: The Turbulent Life of Jane Fonda by Christopher Andersen observed in 19990:

“In 1988, according to Forbes magazine, Jane made an estimated $20 million. As for her assets, they included Fonda Films (worth around $40 million in 1989), the…Santa Monica house ($2.5 million), a prize Arabian stallion, the Laurel Springs ranch and spa at Santa Barbara (another $8 million, not counting income from a spa operating on the property and charging clients $2,500 per week), and the fitness empire that netted $35 million annually from videos, books, audiotapes and records…

“…Her multimillion-dollar stock portfolio, if made public, might also have proven embarrassing…She reportedly has large holdings in such companies as DuPont and IBM…”

At the CNN Center in Atlanta, “a $3 million penthouse apartment” was “built into the top floor of this sprawling structure” which was “Ted Turner’s legal residence” in 1994, according to It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks. The same book also noted that in 1994 Turner’s 14th floor office at the CNN Center was “manned by a phalanx of security guards” and that the then-CNN/TBS Chairman of the Board Turner’s desk was “dominated by his personal mantra, `Lead, Follow or Get out of the way,’ which” appeared “on a miniature billboard.”

In addition to being in the global media business in the early 1990s Turner was then “the country’s largest commercial buffalo breeder and could account for nearly 10 percent of all the privately owned bison in the world,” according to It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks. The same book also noted that Turner had “reiterated his serious intention of making a business out of buffalo…’ and Turner had said “`I do think there’s going to be a bigger and bigger market for buffalo meat.’”

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: CNN’s Historic Editorial Politics

Sunday, May 25, 2008

CNN/TBS's Historic 1988-1996 Profitability & Labor Record

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner.)

After Billionaire Ted Turner decided to save his CNN/TBS media conglomerate from bankruptcy in the 1980s by sharing control of CNN/TBS with Time Warner, Tele-Communications Inc. and the other U.S. pay-TV cable operators, CNN’s profitability increased greatly. As Forbes (1/4/93) observed, CNN/TBS’s 1992 net income was “estimated at $105 million on revenues of $1.7 billion, more than double the revenue of 1988” and “in 1991 CNN alone earned more than any of the broadcast networks” (i.e. than CBS, NBC and ABC). By then, the CNN subsidiary produced about 30 percent of CNN/TBS’s annual revenues and by 1991 the CNN “alternative media” operation was valued at about $1.5 billion.

Between 1992 and 1996, CNN/TBS’s total worth was also expected to jump from $5 billion to $11 billion, while its net annual income was expected to increase from $105 million/year to $335 million/year. [So, not surprisingly, in October 1996 the Time Warner media conglomerate decided it would be profitable to fully acquire Turner’s CNN/TBS media conglomerate and add CNN to the Time Warner media monopoly’s stable of mainstream corporate media properties].

One additional reason CNN had become so profitable by the 1990s was that it had tended to reflect Ted Turner’s anti-labor political bias in its employment and business practices. As Through Jaundiced Eyes: How The Media View Organized Labor by William Puette noted, an American University graduate student study reported that interviews with then-AFL-CIO president Lane Kirland were “never granted to the nonunion Cable News Network, whose owner Ted Turner, has made clear his dislike for unions.” And as CNN: The Inside Story revealed:

“To get around unions in the bureaus, CNN had been using subcontractors who hired people to run cameras and crews—such as Mobile Video, run by Sheldon Levy, who had been CNN’s first subcontractor in Washington, D.C. If those employees voted for a union, then CNN could simply cancel its contract (which, eventually, was what happened in the case of Mobile Video) and go to another outfit.”

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: CNN Founder Ted Turner’s Personal Wealth In 1994

Saturday, May 24, 2008

CNN/TBS's Historic `Godfather' & Corporate Connections

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner.)

According to Contemporary Business Leaders, during the 1980s then CNN/TBS Director “Malone had quietly become the dominant force in the American cable industry, while Turner was noisily tilting at various windmills” and “often called the `Godfather of Cable,’ Malone had clearly become TBS’s godfather by 1988…” Malone graduated from Yale the same year that JFK was mysteriously eliminated and worked for Bell Telephone during the Vietnam War era, before becoming a Tele-Communications Inc. cable system company executive in the 1970s.

In the 1990s, the then-52-year-old Malone continued to sit on the board of directors of both the CNN/TBS company that profited from providing programs to cable systems and the Tele-Communications Inc. company that profited from providing cable system programs to pay-TV subscribers. In addition to being a CNN/TBS Director and a Tele-Communications Inc. Director in the early 1990s, Malone was also the chairman of the board of the Wyoming-based Liberty Media Corporation, which owned 50 percent of the American Movie Classics cable-TV programming company in partnership with NBC at that time [and currently owns the MacNeil-Lehrer Productions media firm that produces PBS’s evening NewsHour television show each night].

In 1994, then-CNN/TBS Director Malone’s Tele-Communications Inc. operated 629 cable systems in the U.S. for 7.7 million pay-TV cable system subscribers. In Northern New Jersey, its TCI of Northern New Jersey subsidiary, for example, provided pay-TV cable for a profit to about 194,000 subscribers in 1994. Another Tele-Communications board member at that time, Bob Magness, had also been a director of Republic Pictures, United Artist Communications, Community Tele-Communications and West Marc Communications. Not surprisingly, CNN has not become famous for providing its cable-TV viewers with much investigative reporting about the U.S. pay-TV cable industry or the extent to which cable-TV subscription prices are fixed at an artificially high rate for consumers.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, directors of Time-Warner, HBO, Continental Cablevision, Comcast Corporation, Whittle Communications, American Mobile Systems, United Cable Television, Fashion Channel, Air Atlantic, Frank B. Hall, National Security Bank of Chicago, WMS Industries, Metro Bank-Tech Center and the Cable Advertising Bureau also sat next to Billionaire Ted Turner on the CNN/TBS corporate board.

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: CNN/TBS’s Historic 1988-1996 Profitability & Labor Record

Friday, May 23, 2008

CNN's Historic & Current Time Warner Media Monopoly Connection

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner.)

CNN/TBS’s 1986 purchase of MGM/UA left Ted Turner’s media conglomerate with so much debt--$1.4 billion—that in 1987 Turner was forced to sell 37 percent of his inheritance-based CNN/TBS media operation to “a group of 26 cable operators and Time Inc.” and “if the $525 million deal hadn’t gone through, Turner would have been out of cash,” according to CNN: The Inside Story. As a result, “Turner went from owning more than 80 percent of TBS stock to maintaining from 51 to 65 percent" and “the new stockholders, led by Time Inc. and Denver-based Tele-Communications Inc., immediately appointed seven directors to join Turner’s eight board members” who “would have a lot of power over big decisions in the future,” according to the same book.

In its 1990 edition, Everybody’s Business pointed out that “Tele-Communications, the nation’s largest operator of cable TV systems (and therefore an important Turner customer) “ then owned “38 percent” of CNN/TBS’s Class C shares. “Time-Warner, [then] the second largest operator of cable-TV systems and a major program supplier (and therefore both a customer and Turner competitor)” then owned “32 percent of these C shares, and another cable TV operator, United Cable,” owned “8.9 percent of them,” during the early 1990s.

According to the International Directory of Company Histories, “the backing of the cable industry virtually guarantees the success” of CNN/TBS on a financial level. Contemporary American Business Leaders also revealed that “besides the money,” in 1987 CNN/TBS “got access to a built-in market of more than half the 43 million cable subscribing American homes because of its alliance with John Malone, then-president of Tele-Communications Incorporated, and one of the leaders of the investment group.” CNN: The Inside Story also emphasized that “the investment in Turner Broadcasting by cable operators, who had bailed out Turner…had meant the difference.”

Coincidentally, the cable industry which bailed Turner out when he became “financially overextended in the mid-1980s" and which owned a huge chunk of Turner’s CNN/TBS in 1994 “practically deified Turner" in the early 1990s, according to New York magazine (2/1/92), after CNN/TBS started to become a money-making machine. And, also coincidentally, Time Warner’s Time magazine named Turner as its 1991 “Man of the Year”—at the same time Time-Warner owned 21.9 percent of all types of CNN/TBS stock.

[Subsequently, in October, 1996, CNN finally became a subsidiary division of the Time Warner media conglomerate, after the Democratic Clinton Administration allowed Time Warner to acquire and merge its media monopoly operation with Ted Turner’s Turner CNN/TBS media monopoly operation--despite the existence of U.S. anti-trust laws that prohibit the monopolization of the U.S. media industry by media conglomerates like Time Warner/CNN. And the CNN “alternative” news network, CNN, is still today little more than a TV variant of the Time Warner media conglomerate’s Time magazine culturally and politically straight mind-set; and just another propaganda tool of the Militaristic U.S. Establishment in the 21st-century.]

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: CNN/TBS’s Historic “Godfather” & Corporate Connections

Thursday, May 22, 2008

CNN's Historic MGM/United Artists Connection

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner)

To provide more programming for his Channel 17 Atlanta Super-Station (renamed WTBS in the 1980s) and for the new TNT cable channel it planned to establish in 1988, Turner’s CNN/TBS acquired Hollywood’s MGM/United Artists for $1.5 billion in 1986. It then sold off all of its MGM/UA assets within six months for $800 million—except for the MGM film library of 2,280 titles, which included Gone With The Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ In The Rain, Citizen Kane, Casablanca and Miracle On 34th Street. The Turner Entertainment Company [TEC] film library “subsequently acquired 750 pre-1950 Warner Brothers films as well as the rights to 750 RKO pictures in the U.S.,” according to The Sky Barons by Neville Clarke and Edwin Riddell. The CNN/TBS/TEC media conglomerate thus possessed the world’s largest inventory of old movies prior to 1994.

As Forbes magazine (1/4/93) noted during the early 1990s, “a key element in Ted Turner’s success” had “been his insistence on owning as much programming as possible.” The same magazine observed that “because” Turner owned “many different outlets, he” was able to “use the same programming in many different ways” and “he also” was able to use “each of his networks to cross-promote the others.” Ironically, although Turner’s CNN/TBS claimed to be against censorship in the early 1990s, about 2,700 of the MGM, Warner Brothers or RKO films contained in the CNN/TBS/TEC film library of about 3,700 movies had still not been broadcast by Turner’s super-station or TNT to U.S. cable TV viewers as of 1993, apparently for commercial reasons, according to Forbes magazine (1/4/93).

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: CNN’s Historic & Current Time Warner Media Monopoly Connection

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

CNN's Historic Jerry Falwell & Jesse Helms Connections

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner.)

During the Reagan era, TBS/CNN’s then-chairman of the board, Ted Turner, was a friend of a [now-deceased] right-wing religious extremist named Jerry Falwell. As Contemporary American Business Leaders recalled, “Turner, like his friend Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority, viewed MTV as a moral corrupter of youth.” The same book also noted that, in support of Jerry Falwell’s right-wing social and cultural agenda, “Turner took on MTV, the music video cable channel, unveiling his `Night Track’ in June 1983, which was to play a `pop-40 light’ series of videos.”

It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks also noted that in 1981 “Turner…found himself aligned with the Reverend Jerry Falwell…in demanding that the three major networks return to more wholesome programming like Leave It To Beaver and Father Knows Best." The same book also revealed that on June 19, 1982 Turner spoke to a right-wing Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Philadelphia and “after urging the veterans to join him in his quest for a congressional investigation of network television” Turner “gracefully accepted the VFW’s annual `News Media Award’ as the man who had done the most that year to promote `traditional American values.’”

Turner was also a friend of the ultra-right North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms during the Reagan era and on June 27, 1984 Turner gave “a rousing speech before Washington’s National Conservative Foundation” in which “he vowed he would soon take over one of the Big Three” TV networks, according to It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks. Although Turner’s media conglomerate had lost $77 million on its CNN TV subsidiary operation during the previous five years, “in 1985 Turner decided to take over CBS” after “his friends Jerry Falwell and Senator Jesse Helms had announced their intention to take over the network to end its `liberal bias'” according to Contemporary American Business Leaders.

Hard Right: The Rise of Jesse Helms by Ernest Ferguson also revealed in 1986 that “In a deposition before CBS attorneys, Turner admitted that he had held extensive discussions with Helms and the ultra-right FIM [Fairness In Media] about how they might cooperate in their efforts.” Turner also apparently told a Rotarian luncheon ground in the 1980s that “I think we’d be in a hell of a mess…if we didn’t have a Right Wing.”

But Turner’s 1985 bid to take over CBS was unsuccessful because Turner did not yet have enough money in his bank account to acquire CBS at that time. In response to Turner’s attempt to take over CBS, “CBS filed actions in both New York State and federal courts, accusing TBS of a litany of…security violations, as well as conspiracy to defraud…” according to It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks.

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: CNN’s Historic MGM/United Artists Connection

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

CNN's Historic Apartheid Regime & Citibank Connections

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner)

As security for the initial increase in TBS/CNN corporate debt that resulted from his broadcasting system establishing CNN in 1979, Ted Turner utilized some of his one-ounce, solid gold South African Krugerrand coins. During the years when the apartheid regime ruled South Africa, Turner—despite anti-apartheid movement calls for people not to purchase Krugerrand coins—apparently “bought $2 million worth” of Krugerrand coins “at $275 an ounce,” which rapidly increased in value, since “within a year” after Turner’s Krugerrand purchase “gold had hit $800 an ounce,” according to CNN: The Inside Story. From his investment in the apartheid regime’s Krugerrand coins, Turner “made over $3.6 million profit,” according to It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks.

Turner’s CNN operation wasn’t as profitable at first as his Super Station’s broadcasting of wrestling matches, baseball games and basketball contests to pay-TV cable viewers had been. As Contemporary American Business Leaders observed:

“The first three years were terrible for CNN. It lost oceans of money.”

Yet despite losing $24 million between 1979 and 1982 as a result of his CNN operation, Turner—like Australian global media mogul Rupert Murdoch—was able to convince a few Manhattan-based banks to rescue him financially in the early 1980s. During the early years of the Reagan Era, Turner’s TBS (its name had been changed from TCC in 1979 to TBS) was given a $50 million loan for three years from Citibank and Manufacturers Hanover Trust to enable him to keep his money-losing “alternative” CNN operation going when it was still losing $2 million a month. Turner’s TBS/CNN was also lent $190 million from a Chemical Bank-led consortium and $50 million from First Boston during this same period. Not surprisingly, CNN did not provide its pay-TV viewers with much in the way of hard-hitting investigative reporting about Citicorp between 1980 and 1994.

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: CNN’s Historic Jerry Falwell & Jesse Helms Connections

Monday, May 19, 2008

CNN's Historic Atlanta Braves/Hawks' Sports Connections & Origins

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner)

To provide sports programming for the pay-TV cable viewers of his “Super-Station” without having to pay a third-party for the right to broadcast games, former CNN Owner Turner purchased The Atlanta Braves in 1976 for $9.6 million and, in 1977, also acquired the Atlanta Hawks basketball team. As Current Biography noted in 1982, by owning the Braves Turner avoided “contract disputes and negotiations over broadcast schedules.” Not surprisingly, “alternative” CNN hasn’t, historically, often provided its viewers with much investigative reporting about racism in the ranks of the NBA team owners or among major league baseball team owners (or much investigative reporting about the institutional racism of all the non-sports world business firms owned by these folks--from which these professional sports team owners also make big money).

In 1979 the then-41-year-old Turner decided to enter the world of “alternative” electronic journalism. As CNN: The Inside Story by Hank Whittimore noted, the then-multi-millionaire Turner “decided to take every nickel of profit from his growing Super-Station and from the sale of any other asset of Turner Communications Corporation, and pour it into the cable news network.” After selling his WRET-TV Channel 36 station in Charlotte for $20 million to Westinghouse and being given a $20 million credit line by First National Bank of Chicago, Turner was able to set up his CNN “alternative” media news operation in 1979.

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: CNN’s Historic Apartheid Regime and Citibank Connections

Sunday, May 18, 2008

CNN/TBS's Pre-1979 Hidden History

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner)

The then-55-year-old former yachtsman and playboy who then headed the TBS media conglomerate of which CNN was then a subsidiary in 1994—Robert Edward “Ted” Turner III—inherited his father’s billboard advertising business in 1963 and was able to turn the family firm into a highly influential global enterprise in the years after President Kennedy was mysteriously assassinated. The son of Ed Turner and Florence Rooney Turner, Ted Turner was actually born in Cincinnati, Ohio—although he used to promote himself as “a Southern folk hero” and also became known as “The Mouth of the South” in the early 1970s.

After his ultra-right-wing father moved to Georgia, became a millionaire by selling ad space and purchased plantations in both South Carolina and Georgia, Ted Turner was sent up north to Brown University, where he was suspended for participating in a drunken brawl at a women’s college, prior to serving a six-month stint in the U.S. Coast Guard. Returning to Brown University to resume his studies, Turner was then expelled for violating Ivy League regulations which at that time prohibited men from entertaining women in Brown’s dormitories. A classmate of Turner named Alan Laymon recalled that “Ted…would also run around…bellowing Nazi battle hymns outside the Jewish frat house” while at Brown and “Ted also put signs `Warning from the Ku Klux Klan’ on the doors of the few blacks then at Brown” during his college years, according to It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks: Ted Turner’s Amazing Story by Porter Bibb.

After his expulsion from Brown, Turner returned to the South in late 1960 to become the general manager of the Macon, Georgia branch of his father’s business. Following his father’s March 1963 suicide, Turner became the president and chief executive of Turner Advertising Company prior to his 25th birthday. He also joined the Young Republicans because “he felt at ease among these budding conservatives and was merely following in Ed Turner’s far-right footsteps,” according to It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks.

During the Vietnam War Era, Turner’s billboard business, which “had virtual monopolies in Savannah, Macon, Columbus and Charleston” and was “the largest outdoor advertising company in the Southeast,” according to It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks, prospered. The same book also observed that after his father’s death, Turner “discovered his father had sheltered a substantial amount of taxable income over the years by personally lending it back to the company” and “discovered that the billboard business could be a gold mine, a tax-depreciable revenue stream that threw off enormous amounts of cash with almost no capital investment.” And in the late 1960s, Turner decided to use the super-profits his inherited billboard monopoly generated to get into the more glamorous world of radio and TV broadcasting, by purchasing some Southern radio and TV stations.

After the FCC, in 1975, allowed Turner’s WTCG-TV-Channel 17 station in Atlanta to begin using a satellite on Dec. 27, 1976 to broadcast old movies, situation-comedy re-runs, cartoons and sports events on a nation-wide basis to U.S. cable-TV subscribers as a “Super-Station,” Turner’s Atlanta TV station became an extremely profitable operation. By the end of 1978, Turner’s WTCG-TV Super-Station was reaching two million cable-TV subscribers and Turner was now worth about $100 million. He was, thus, now able to purchase a 5,000-acre plantation in Jacksonboro, South Carolina for $2 million.

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: CNN’s Historic Atlanta Braves/Hawks’ Sports Connection and Origins

Saturday, May 17, 2008

`Downtown''s 1994 Interview With CNN's Then-Public Relations Spokesperson

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner)

In a January 1994 telephone interview, Downtown asked CNN’s then-public relations spokesperson, Steve Hayworth, to describe the nature of CNN’s connection to the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation during the early 1990s?

“None, that I’m aware of,” the then-CNN spokesperson replied.

After Downtown informed the CNN spokesperson that then-CNN President Tom Johnson was also the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation Chairman of the Board, Hayworth responded that then-CNN President Johnson was “acting as an individual” and not for “the network and company” when he sat on the boards of the LBJ Foundation or the Rockefeller Foundation.

Downtown then asked the CNN spokesperson in early 1994 if CNN’s coverage of historical events like the JFK assassination had been affected by the then-CNN president’s past association with Lyndon Johnson?

“No. It would have been revealed in our coverage of the recently released Johnson audio tapes. But we ran more and more excerpts from these tapes than any other network,” Hayworth answered.

When Downtown asked in 1994 how CNN responded to the charge that it has broadcast fewer programs which investigate the JFK assassination than other U.S. television networks, Hayworth noted that “We had a fascinating, live 30th Anniversary show on the Larry King Show," but that CNN was “not an inquisitive” network.

Asked by Downtown in 1994 if he thought it strange that—despite the controversy in the early 1990s surrounding Oliver Stone’s JFK film and the fact that many books on the JFK assassination jumped to the top of the best-seller lists in the early 1990s—the “alternative” CNN had apparently not used its resources to investigate the JFK assassination, the then-CNN spokesperson replied: “This is not an historical or long form network. But if there’s new, revealing news about the JFK assassination, we report it.”

According to Hayworth, a CNN investigation into the JFK assassination in the early 1990s was “not pursued because there’s no new evidence” of any conspiracy or cover-up. Hayworth also asserted that CNN had provided fair access for Oliver Stone and other JFK assassination conspiracy proponents on its interview shows in the early 1990s.

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: CNN/TBS’s Pre-1979 Hidden History

Friday, May 16, 2008

CNN's Historic `Newsday/Los Angeles Times'-Mirror Connection

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner)

One reason Newsday [which was purchased by Cablevision in May 2008] didn’t focus too much on former CNN President Tom Johnson’s historical LBJ connection during the early 1990s was that then-CNN President Johnson was a former top executive of the Los Angeles-based media conglomerate that then owned Newsday during the early 1990s. As the first edition of Everybody’s Business noted in 1980:

“In 1977 boy wonder Tom Johnson…White House fellow at 23, assistant presidential press secretary at 24, confidant of President Lyndon Johnson at 27, editor at 32, publisher at 33—took over the newly created post of president of the Los Angles Times. He was 35. Three years later he became publisher, the first nonfamily member to get the job, which had been held by Otis Chandler for nearly 20 years."

During the 1980s, former CNN President Johnson continued to rise within the Newsday/Times-Mirror media conglomerate. But in the early 1990s, Billionaire Ted Turner hired former Newsday/Times-Mirror Vice-Chairman Johnson to move to Atlanta, Georgia to head the Turner Broadcasting System [TBS]’s then-CNN subsidiary.

As How CNN Fought The War: A View From The Inside by Retired U.S. Air Force Major General Perry Smith noted, “In a remarkable coincidence,” then-LBJ Foundation Chairman Tom Johnson “came on board as the new president” of CNN on “the day before Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait…” Besides being CNN’s president in the early 1990s, LBJ’s former top aide and Newsday/Times-Mirror’s former vice-chairman also sat on the board of directors of the Turner Broadcasting System [TBS] and was a vice-president of CNN’s then-TBS parent company in the early 1990s. In addition, CNN’s then-President Johnson also sat on the board of trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation in the early 1990s.

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: Downtown’s 1994 Interview With CNN’s Then-Public Relations Spokesperson

Thursday, May 15, 2008

CNN's Historic Pre-1994 LBJ Connection

(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner)

“When the news is hot, so is CNN…Entering its second decade [in 1991], the network has a new president, Tom Johnson…He worked in the White House for Lyndon Johnson and most recently was vice-chairman of the Times-Mirror Company…”

New York magazine on Feb. 11, 1991

“Johnson, 50, is an affable Georgia native with a Rolodex full of political contacts, dating from his years as an aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson…”

Time magazine on Jan. 6, 1992

“Turner…controls [in the early 1990s] the largest newsgathering organization in the world…He also controls the largest library of motion pictures anywhere, one of the largest collections of animated film, and more individual programming networks than any other broadcaster. His CNN already airs in Spanish and Portuguese to all of Latin America…”

It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks: Ted Turner’s Amazing Story by Porter Bibb in the early 1990s

The president of the Cable News Network [CNN] in the early 1990s—then Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation Chairman of the Board Tom Johnson—worked as a key aide to the U.S. politician most responsible for escalating U.S. military intervention in Vietnam, following the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy.

As Thinking Big by Robert Gottlieb and Irene Wolf noted in 1977, “during LBJ’s tenure in the White House,” the CNN President in the early 1990s, Tom Johnson, “became an intern under White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers and rose through the ranks to become assistant to Moyers’ replacement George Christian” and “when Lyndon Johnson returned to Texas in 1969, he brought Tom Johnson along to serve as executive assistant in charge of LBJ’s Texas Broadcasting Company.”

The same book also revealed that in 1970 the then-30-year-old Tom Johnson was elected executive vice-president of LBJ’s Texas Broadcasting Company and “he joined the board of directors of the City National Bank of Austin, headed up LBJ’s Austin station KTBC, and participated in the town’s business-dominated civic groups."

The Austin TV station which CNN’s President in 1994, Tom Johnson, headed in the 1970s was profitable because LBJ “had friends in high places among those who controlled the broadcast industry,” according to a 1978 book by another former LBJ aide, Bobby Baker, titled Wheeling And Dealing: Confessions of a Capitol Hill Operator. The same book also revealed that “it is no accident that Austin, TX, was for years the only city of its size with only one television station” and “LBJ demanded, and received, the opportunity to pick and choose programs for his monopoly station from among those offered by all three of the major networks.” Wheeling And Dealing also points out that “no other television station in America had such a unique and cozy arrangement” as the LBJ-owned KTBC station which CNN’s President in 1994, Tom Johnson, used to head for LBJ.

(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: CNN’s Historic Newsday/Los Angeles Times-Mirror Connection

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

`Ben Davis'

“My name it is Ben Davis and I’m in a prison cell
In Terre Haute, Indiana, that’s where I’m forced to dwell
In a segregated section of the penitentiary
And while I’m locked in solitary, I write my life story.

“I grew up in Jim Crow, Georgia and became a people’s lawyer
I defended Angelo Herndon when he organized workers
They wished to execute him for uniting Black and white
To march to the county courthouse and demand `jobs or relief.’

“For defending the free speech rights of a 19-year-old communist
They threatened me with `contempt of court’ and to lynch me by the neck
Inspired by Angelo’s testimony, his Party I did join
And four years after his rigged trial, the verdict was overturned.

“I worked to build the Party and moved up to Harlem
I rented an apartment and owned no stocks and bonds
I found myself elected in 1943
To serve the working people in the Council of New York City.

“I fought discrimination by Metropolitan Life
And demanded that the major leagues cease to be lily-white
I fought against the fare increase and protected rent control
And denounced police brutality and applied the housing code.

“They could not defeat me at the polls in two elections
So they spent a lot of money to change the regulations
Then in July of 1948, while writing in my home,
Six FBI agents did appear and dragged me from Harlem.

“Although I was elected by the people of New York
They threw me in a prison and charged me in their court
An unconstitutional Smith Act, they used to imprison me
And expelled me from the Council in the name of `democracy.’

“Locked inside this prison by Truman, the `Democrat',
I received a 5-year sentence, just because I’m a communist
Along with other comrades, I’m jailed for my beliefs
And this book I write in prison, they vow they won’t release.

“Yes, my name it is Ben Davis and I’m in a prison cell
In Terre Haute, Indiana, that’s where I’m forced to dwell
In a segregated section of the penitentiary
And while I’m locked in solitary, I write my life story.”

To listen to this song, you can go to following music site link:

The Ben Davis biographical protest folk song lyrics were written a few years ago, after I read the book Communist Councilman From Harlem: Autobiographical Notes Written in a Federal Penitentiary by Benjamin Davis, and are sung to the traditional Scottish folk song tune of “Come, All Ye Tramps and Hawkers”. Prior to Ben Davis’s release from prison the manuscript of his autobiography was seized by U.S. prison authorities and kept by the Bureau of Prisons until after Ben Davis’s death in 1964—before the autobiographical manuscript was finally allowed by U.S. government officials to be published in 1969 by International Publishers.

To listen to some of the other protest folk songs that I’ve written since the late 1960s, you can check out the “Columbia Songs for a Democratic Society” music site at the following link:

Next: CNN’s Pre-1994 LBJ Connection

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Vice-President Cheney's 50th Anniversary Tribute To DARPA's Weapons Development Contributions

At an April 10, 2008 commemoration event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Pentagon’s decision to create a research division that has worked closely, historically, with Columbia’s IDA/Jason Division and with other U.S. universities besides Columbia, Vice-President Dick Cheney also indicated how DARPA-funded research helped develop the weapons technology that the Bush Administration needed to launch its endless war in Iraq:

“Good evening. Thank you very much. And I want to extend a special welcome to those of you who've come from out of town to help us mark the 50th anniversary of DARPA.

"I'm genuinely pleased to be here. And let me thank especially my friend and colleague Gordon England for the introduction, and Dr. Tether for the invitation to join all of you tonight. I'm in good company this evening -- with Secretary Don Winter, representatives of the military and industry, and alumni of DARPA. Some of you I've known going back to the time I was Secretary of Defense -- the good old days, when I had real power in this town.

It's possible that some of us go back even further, to my prior service on the House Intelligence Committee, or even to the administration of Gerald Ford, when I served as his chief of staff. In any case, I've always had great respect for DARPA and its people, and I've been closely interested in your mission.

“As Tony remembers, back in 2001, not long after becoming Vice President, I went out to headquarters for a briefing. After eight years out of public life, I was eager to get back up to date on everything that was going on at DARPA. Each time I've met with representatives from DARPA, I've gone away even more deeply impressed by the work product of this agency. Anyone who seeks the very definition of high intellectual standards, creative energy, and hard, persistent effort will find it at DARPA. It's a huge credit to the Defense Department and to the nation. Every one of you can be proud of your association with DARPA -- and tonight I bring congratulations and good wishes from the President of the United States, George W. Bush.

“DARPA was, of course, founded in a moment of urgency. It was 1958, and the United States was facing all the implications of the launch of Sputnik the preceding October. The man in the White House, Dwight Eisenhower, didn't scare easy. He had complete, justified confidence in this nation's ability to reclaim the technological edge, and to hold it from then on. But he knew it would take a focused effort within government, public education, and the private sector. Eisenhower knew, as well, that it would require significant investments -- and he trusted that future Presidents and future Congresses would provide those resources. I'm proud to say that DARPA has had many friends in our administration, from the President and myself to Gordon England and two fine leaders of the Pentagon in Don Rumsfeld and Bob Gates.

“From the earliest days, it's been the fundamental charge of this agency to make sure that America is never again caught off guard. DARPA's job is to prevent technological surprises -- and to make sure that the great inventions, the breakthroughs, and the game-changing technologies are created by us, not by somebody else. And for 50 incredible years, DARPA has kept that charge.

“This agency brought forth the Saturn Five Rocket surveillance satellites, the Internet, stealth technology, guided munitions, unmanned aerial vehicles, night vision, and the body armor that's in use today. During my time as Secretary of Defense, we saw a number of major projects come to fruition. We had the first combat use of stealth technology with the F-117 during Operation Just Cause in '89, and then made extensive use of that aircraft during Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf in 1991. The Gulf War also gave us the first use of the JSTARs command and control aircraft, which allowed us to monitor the movement of enemy forces on the ground hundreds of miles away.

“Obviously, these aren't the sort of technologies you decide you need, and then go to the store to buy them. They took years and years to develop and to bring online. And one of the biggest lessons I learned at the Pentagon is just how much you owe that job to your predecessors and to earlier commanders in chief. When the Gulf War was over with I picked up the telephone and I called former President Ronald Reagan and thanked him for the absolutely essential defense buildup of the 1980s. And I remember feeling tremendous gratitude to former Secretaries of Defense, Democrat and Republican alike, who made sure we had the force we needed in that conflict -- public servants like Frank Carlucci, Cap Weinberger, Harold Brown, and Jim Schlesinger. And Don Rumsfeld, too, of course, because he had been President Ford's Defense Secretary in the mid-70s. As I've reminded Don, this makes him the only man to serve as Secretary of Defense in two different centuries.

"One thing we didn't have a lot of in Desert Storm was the unmanned aerial vehicle. But thanks to DARPA, that technology was advancing rapidly in the early '90s. And we've been able to use it all the time in both Afghanistan and Iraq -- for reconnaissance, for remote sensing, and to strike the enemy. DARPA has also brought us the very small UAV's that are so useful to a fighter in the urban warfare setting -- the little machines that Marines refer to as the "guardian angels." You developed the networking technology that foot soldiers are using every day -- to share information on a fast and secure basis, so they can operate within an enemy's reaction time. And there are so many other tools now in common use -- from advanced alert systems, to special gloves that do an almost miraculous job helping troops stay cool in the desert heat -- tools that simply wouldn't be around now if we didn't have DARPA. Most Americans, perhaps, haven't heard of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. But if they knew how much you've done to save and protect our men and women in uniform, they would be grateful beyond words.

“We're talking here about a federal agency that fulfills its mission, and delivers results, to a degree that most other organizations would envy. And if we look to the reasons why DARPA has been so consistently successful, we can see some fundamental advantages.

"By its charter, DARPA basically has no short-term obligations. It can stay focused not on small increments, but on the big changes. This is critical -- especially in wartime, when the armed forces have more than enough to do, and don't really have the chance to invent, develop, and test disruptive technologies. DARPA is out there every day working on the far side, where the ideas are, and finding ways to bring it over to the near side, where the operations are. And it's driving relentlessly toward the new core of technologies that'll maintain our military superiority far into the future.

“DARPA is not encumbered by parochial interests. It defends no status quo, and it doesn't find itself wasting time on turf wars. As Tony Tether has said, DARPA works best as a `swashbuckling place, constantly getting into -- getting management in trouble, constantly [testing] revolutionary, crazy ideas, but always out there in front' where it belongs.

“Though it's 50 years old, DARPA has never developed the apparatus or the mindset of a bureaucracy. It's still a highly manageable enterprise, leading huge projects but operating on a human scale. By one description, DARPA is a "hundred geniuses connected by a travel agent." And DARPA leadership does a terrific job bringing out the best work in government, academia, and the private sector.

“The whole ethic of this agency is fresh thinking -- and it preserves that ethic with a high rate of turnover. Everyone at DARPA knows this. In fact, if you work there, your last day on the job is printed right on the front of your I.D. badge. Come to think of it, so is mine. This may not be the best way to plan out a career -- but it's all the more reason to admire the people who go into DARPA. The idea is not to settle in, but to dive in, to take up the toughest intellectual challenges, and to know the rewards of turning concepts into actions, and finding out that a project will be a `go.’

“With all its inherent advantages, plus the incredible talent it brings in, DARPA is rightly known for `setting great minds on fire with big ideas.' And it doesn't overstate matters to say that we need this creative force more than ever before.

“We're engaged right now in a struggle against enemies of a kind not easily dealt with. We're not facing a clash of huge armies and navies. The outcome of the fight won't be like chasing Hitler into his bunker, having a surrender ceremony onboard ship, or wearing down a communist empire. The extremists in this war have a backward ideology, but they have genuine global ambitions -- and there is nothing old-fashioned about the weapons they're trying to get their hands on. Their goal is to intimidate the United States and our friends into dropping our global responsibilities. They would move into that void, impose a dictatorship of fear, and build new staging grounds for further attacks on us. And the toughest part of this fight is the enemy's cult of murder -- the utter rejection of any rules of warfare; the contempt for moral standards; the rejoicing in the blood and tears of innocent people. Their mode of operation is to target the unsuspecting, to lie in wait, and to shock the world in moments of spectacular violence.

“As we take the fight to the enemy, they don't engage us force on force. At most, it'll be squad on squad. So we need to keep pressing for absolute superiority in speed, agility, and access to information. In this era of new dangers, I know DARPA has also been pounding hard on the issue of weapons of mass destruction. It's not a pleasant business to think about. But we have to do everything possible to take WMD's off the table as a threat to the United States or its friends. DARPA has already moved us in the right direction, and I'm confident you'll make even more historic progress in that effort. And in the core technologies -- whether it's microsystems, high-efficiency battery cells, or quantum science -- the work of DARPA will be the key to American military dominance far into the future, against any challenge that comes our way.

“That future, I believe, will bring us many victories. And the day will come when the cause of tolerance and freedom overcomes the hateful ideologies that have turned their guns on us. A lot of our successes will be easy to quantify. Others will be harder to measure, because they'll be the things that don't happen: the attacks that don't come, the surprises that don't strike us, the harm that doesn't befall an American soldier. But those victories will be just as real. And many of them will occur because years before, somebody sat down and did some hard, disciplined thinking about the future, and came up with a good idea, and had the sturdy support and the guidance of DARPA.

“If you've been associated with this agency, you're the kind of person who lives and breathes technology -- and you have a place in the story of the past 50 years. It's a story of boldness and excellence; of visionary, high-yield projects; and of service above self. And all of these have been directed to the highest purposes that a citizen can assume: The safety of our people. The security of our nation. And the survival of freedom itself.
We're an honorable country, a decent country, a generous country. And the world is a better place for the power and the influence of the United States of America.

“To have a role in this nation's defense is a privilege -- and that privilege has belonged to many in this room this evening. For that, I want to offer my highest personal respect and gratitude -- and my full confidence in DARPA for another outstanding 50 years.

"Thank heaven for DARPA, and thank you very, very much.”

Next: Ben Davis lyrics

Monday, May 12, 2008

DARPA's Military Missiion & University Connections--Part 8

(See Parts 1-7 below)

In his March 25, 2004 statement before the House Committee on Armed Services’ Subcommittee on “Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities,” the Director of DARPA, Dr. Anthony Tether, also indicated additional specific ways that the DARPA-funded research work that is currently done on U.S. university campuses at places like Columbia is used to help the Pentagon wage war in Iraq:

“We have a program that is testing the use of Kevlar air-bags to thwart rocket-propelled grenade attacks. The idea is to detect the incoming rocket-propelled grenade and then deploy an airbag to smother the round so it doesn’t go off and deflect it slightly. Because rocket-propelled grenades use directional shaped charges, deflecting it should greatly reduce the damage, even if the round still goes off.

“We are also working on various ways to detect improvised explosive devices. One of these involves a technique for detecting, identifying, and locating radio frequency-controlled improvised explosive devices in the considerable background clutter typical of cities.

“To improve communications among our warfighters, we are working on using Aerostats to connect line of sight systems like SINCGARS (Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System) and EPLRS (Enhanced Positions Location Reporting System), and on an inflatable communications tower in a box.”…

Next: Vice-President Cheney’s 50th Anniversary Tribute To DARPA’s Weapons Development Contributions

Sunday, May 11, 2008

DARPA's Military Mission & University Connections--Part 7

(See Parts 1-6 below)

In his March 25, 2004 statement before the House Committee on Armed Services’ Subcommittee on “Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities,” the Director of DARPA, Dr. Anthony Tether, also indicated some of the military applications of the DARPA-funded research work in computer technology and biology that is currently done on U.S. university campuses at places like Columbia:

“The High Productivity Computing Systems program…will maintain information superiority in areas such as weather and ocean forecasting, cryptanalysis, and computing the dispersal of airborne contaminants…

“DARPA’s strategic thrust in the life sciences, dubbed `Bio-Revolution,’ is a broad effort to harness the insights and power of biology to make U.S. warfighters and their equipment safer, stronger, and more effective…

“DARPA’s program in preventing cognitive degradation as a result of sleep deprivation illustrates how the Bio-Revolution will help maintain our troops’ combat performances…

“Many of the systems used today in Afghanistan and Iraq benefited from DARPA investments made many years ago. But there are a number of items in use that might be described as `direct from DARPA.’…

“Software from our Command Post of the Future program is being used by the command post of the Army’s First Cavalry Division to distribute itself across space, instead of being in one spot.

“One of the hardest things about sniper attacks on convoys is knowing you are being shot at—it is hard to hear over the road noise. Over the last few months, DARPA funded development of an acoustically-based, vehicle-mounted sniper detection system to help our convoys detect sniper fire and determine the direction it is coming from. Troops have tested and trained with these systems, and 50 are on their way to Iraq…”

Next: DARPA’s Military Mission & University Connections—Part 8

Saturday, May 10, 2008

DARPA's Military Mission & University Connections--Part 6

(See Parts 1-5 below)

In his March 25, 2004 statement before the House Committee on Armed Services’ Subcommittee on “Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities,” the Director of DARPA, Dr. Anthony Tether, also indicated additional specific ways that the DARPA-funded research work that is currently done on U.S. university campuses at places like Columbia is being used to improve the U.S. war machine’s ability to wage war in urban areas like Baghdad and Tehran:

“Command and control systems to improve the collaboration at all echelons and on-demand, precise air delivery of forces and supplies to the ground are also key elements…

“DARPA has some programs underway already. We are exploring ways to navigate accurately inside buildings and underground in tunnels. Other programs seek to allow forces to accurately determine a building’s layout before they enter, along with capabilities to determine whether hostile personnel are hiding in the building…

“DARPA’s information technology efforts build on traditional and revolutionary computing environments. Our programs strive to provide such things as improved device/system control, autonomous vehicle navigation, more robust and secure software systems, human-robot and robot-robot collaboration, and enhanced human cognition…”

Next: DARPA’s Military Mission & University Connections—Part 7

Friday, May 9, 2008

DARPA's Military Mission & University Connections--Part 5

(See Parts 1-4 below)

In his March 25, 2004 statement before the House Committee on Armed Services’ Subcommittee on “Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities,” the Director of DARPA, Dr. Anthony Tether, also indicated that the DARPA-funded research work that is currently done on U.S. university campuses at places like Columbia is being used to improve the U.S. war machine’s capacity to wage war in urban areas of the globe:

“Urban area operations can be the most dangerous, costly, and chaotic forms of combat. The number of military operations in urban area is increasing and this trend will likely continue for the foreseeable future. By 2025, nearly 60 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Adversaries will seek to fight U.S. forces in cities as a way to mitigate the U.S.’s superior ability to quickly destroy fixed and mobile targets in open and semi-concealed terrain. Accordingly, DARPA has created a new strategic thrust, Force Multipliers for Urban Area Operations.

“The basic idea is to do for the extremely complex urban environment what has been done for open terrain combat: find and use technology that significantly increases U.S. forces’ power and flexibility so that fewer forces are required to accomplish the mission.

“If successful, new urban warfare concepts and technologies would enable U.S. forces fighting in or stabilizing a city to achieve the same or greater overall effect as a larger force using current technology.

“Some initial concepts suggest making strong use of the vertical dimension for entry and attack. Other ideas focus on bringing situational awareness quickly into the complex urban battlespace. Information should flow smoothly from prehostilities intelligence into a tactical network that quickly disseminates information. The goal is to ensure U.S. forces can find and neutralize the enemy wherever he is located—on the streets, inside buildings, or hidden in underground bunkers.

“To achieve this vision, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA), firepower, and communications must be robust, persistent, integrated, and immediately available. Firepower might include highly responsive precision air and ground fires, or even loitering and soldier-launched weapons, all networked directly to RSTA sensors.”

Next: DARPA’s Military Mission & University Connections—Part 6

Thursday, May 8, 2008

DARPA's Military Mission & University Connections--Part 4

(See Parts 1-3 below)

In a March 25, 2004 statement before the House Committee on Armed Services’ Subcommittee on “Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities,” the Director of DARPA, Dr. Anthony Tether, also indicated some specific military applications of the DARPA-funded research work that is currently done on U.S. university campuses at places like Columbia:

“DARPA’s sensor work is exemplified by the Standoff Precision Identification in Three Dimensions (SPI-3D) program to develop an airborne LIDAR sensor to provide positive target identification from standoff ranges via high resolution three-dimensional representations. SPI-3D will be cued by wide area surveillance sensors, such as synthetic aperture radar, which can determine the presence of possible targets but may be unable to confirm target type or identity. SPI-3D technology will close this gap, allowing commanders to positively identify targets as needed by our rules of engagement.

“The National/Tactical Exploitation (NYTEX) program uses imagery and data from both national reconnaissance systems and tactical assets to locate and identify enemy air defense units. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, NYTEX supported our forces in Iraq by screening synthetic aperture radar imagery to look for enemy air defense emplacements.

“Other DARPA programs have performed significant demonstrations. These programs have located short-duration smitters with high accuracy; detected dismounted soldiers moving through trees; identified ground vehicles from acoustic/seismic sensor networks; maintained track on designated vehicles through obscured terrain; and delivered precision munitions to destroy moving tanks and trucks from 30 kilometers away.”

Next: DARPA’s Military Mission & University Connections—Part 5

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

DARPA's Military Mission & University Connections--Part 3

(See Parts 1-2 below)

In a March 25, 2004 statement before the House Committee on Armed Services’ Subcommittee on “Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities,” the Director of DARPA, Dr. Anthony Tether, indicated some of the military applications of the DARPA-funded research work that is currently done on U.S. university campuses at places like Columbia:

“The eight strategic research thrusts that DARPA is emphasizing in response to emerging trends are:

“Detection, Precision ID, Tracking and Destruction of Elusive Surface Targets
“Force Multipliers in Urban Area Operations
“Location and Characterization of Underground Structures
“Network Manned and Unmanned Structures
“Robust, Secure Self-forming Tactical Networks
“Cognitive Computing
“Assured Use of Space

“Force Multipliers for Urban Area Operations is a new area that we have begun this year, partly to response to what we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the increasing likelihood that conflict in the future will be fought in cities.

“…DARPA is assembling the necessary sensors, exploitation tools, command systems, and information technologies to rapidly find and destroy ground targets in any terrain, in any weather, moving or not, at any time…

“DARPA is supporting research in four general areas: sensors to find targets; sensor exploitation systems to identify and track targets; command and control systems to plan and manage the use of sensors, platforms and weapons throughout the battlespace; and information technology to tie it all together and ensure the effective dissemination of information.”

Next: DARPA’s Military Mission & University Connections—Part 4

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

DARPA's Military Mission & University Connections--Part 2

(See Part 1 below)

A professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College in 2001 who also directed studies on space, precision targeting and control for DARPA, William Martel, indicated in the 2001 book that he edited, The Technological Arsenal: Emerging Defense Capabilities, that DARPA is involved in developing directed-energy technologies, new weapons for targeting and advanced computer and information technologies for the U.S. war machine. According to Naval War College Professor Martel’s book, “directed energy technologies are useful for detecting and destroying in real time, military targets anywhere in the world."

The Technological Arsenal: Emerging Defense Capabilities book also stated in 2001:

“Future generations of U.S. cruise missiles will be able to destroy targets with the same degree of precision as piloted aircraft, especially as improvements in sensor and artificial intelligence technologies could hit targets with accuracy measured in feet…

“…U.S. military power is being enhanced by the development of computer, communication, and information technologies. Even now, computers are making life-and-death decisions in war that historically were reserved to humans. For example, computer and fire control systems on Aegis cruisers coordinate the radars and missiles that track hundreds of targets…When the U.S. Air Force deploys the airborne laser during the first decade of this century, its computer will determine when to fire the laser…”

Among the weapons that are being developed these days by DARPA for the 21st-century U.S. war machine are high-power microwaves for naval weapons that use microwave devices, high-power microwaves for the electronic battlefield, microwave weapons to destroy electronic equipment. cruise missile technology targeting weapons, unmanned space or air weapons, precision-guided laser bombs and space-based lasers to attack targets.

Next: DARPA’s Military Mission & University Connections—Part 3

Monday, May 5, 2008

DARPA's Military Mission & University Connections--Part 1

In this 21st-century “era of permanent war and blogging,” U.S. universities like Columbia University sometimes claim that if they formally prohibit on-campus classified research for the Department of Defense they are no longer institutionally involved in doing war research for the Pentagon. Yet in the 21st-century, universities like Columbia still are apparently performing contract research work on campus for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA], whose mission is to develop more advanced weapons technology for the U.S. war machine to use in Iraq and other foreign countries.

In a chapter titled “Managing Public Sector Research and Development: Innovation Versus Responsiveness,” the late 1980s book that Asa Clark IV and John Lilley edited, Defense Technology, described how DARPA has, historically, operated:

“The Under-Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USDRE) also exercises direction and authority over the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Originally created in 1958 as the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) under control of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDRE), it was renamed DARPA in 1972 and is now a separate agency under the Under-Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. DARPA maintains no laboratories and does no scientific research of its own. It operates through…educational institutions to seek out and manage high-risk basic research and applied-technology programs…

“DARPA manages R&D on projects up to the demonstration stage, where feasibility can be assessed. It then transfers the projects to the appropriate military service…In the words of DARPA’s director Robert S. Cooper, DARPA serves, in effect as ‘the venture capitalists of the Defense Department.’”

Asa Clark IV also observed in a chapter titled “Defense Technology: Conclusions and Implications,” of Defense Technology, that “advanced-technology research and development is carried out largely in secret,” by the U.S. war machine.

Next: DARPA’s Military Mission & University Connections—Part 2

Sunday, May 4, 2008

`Big Bill Haywood'

So fight for your class all at one time
And don’t be a scab to get pearls
And stop their machines in One Big Union
The Industrial Workers of the World.

There once was a union builder, his name was Bill Haywood
He organized mines in Utah, so workers could get more food
He fought in Colorado, in Denver and Cripple Creek
The bosses tried to shoot him, but Big Bill could not be beat.

They put his men in bull-pens and broke into their homes
The rich formed vigilantes and tried to gun Bill down
They framed him for a killing and chained him by his feet
But workers rallied ‘round him, and Big Bill could not be beat.

He spoke to textile workers who came from many lands
He told them that the wage system was what enslaved all of them
And when World War broke out, he fought for his free speech
And ‘though the bosses jailed him, Big Bill could not be beat.

So workers if you’re laid off and walking streets in despair
Remember Bill Bill’s teachings and don’t fear “sabotage”
The bosses tried to crush him, but his spirit was too deep
And all the striking workers know that Big Bill could not be beat.

The Big Bill Haywood biographical folk song was written during the 1970s, after I read The Autobiography of Big Bill Haywood. The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) still exists in this 21st-century “era of permanent war and blogging” and has a website at the following link:

The Big Bill Haywood folk song can be heard if you click onto the music site link at:

Some other protest folk songs can also be heard at:

Next: DARPA’s Military Mission & University Connections—Part 1

Saturday, May 3, 2008

PBS: A Publicly-Funded `Private Broadcasting Service?'

If a public broadcasting journalist uses public funds, daily access to publicly-funded television stations and air-time and venture capital from media conglomerates like Gannett or Liberty Media to establish a privately-owned commercial venture which personally enriches the public broadcasting journalist, can it still be considered “noncommercial,” “nonprofit”, legitimate “educational broadcasting”?

Yet you probably can’t expect too much soul-searching from the publicly-funded “Public Broadcasting Service” which seems to exclude most of the antiwar public from being able to use its TV studios to freely speak to each other. Despite its annual “marathon,” PBS still seems to be little more than a “Private Broadcasting Service” for private, special corporate Establishment interests. And whether they call their media operation Gannett, PBS, Channel 13, Liberty Media, or News Corporation/Fox News, the Corporate Straights still don’t seem to believe too much in sharing any of their airtime with counter-cultural antiwar voices who don’t fit their straight philosophical mold.

(Downtown 5/8/91)

Next: Big Bill Haywood lyrics

Friday, May 2, 2008

ACT-UP And PBS Historically

In 1991, Downtown asked Robin Haueter, a then-member of ACT-UP, whether ACT-UP was then satisfied with the public broadcasting system’s coverage of its activities.

“ACT-UP is displeased with all media coverage of the issues it raises. They aren’t really doing anything about the AIDS epidemic. On the whole, MacNeil/Lehrer has certainly done no more than all of the other television news programs, which is very little. The only exception is possibly [the now-deceased] Peter Jennings, who discussed AIDS issues on The World News Tonight,” Haueter replied in the Spring of 1991.

Haueter felt that the public broadcasting system was no better than the commercial broadcasting system in terms of raising the AIDS-related issues that ACT-UP deals with. Among the issues ACT-UP deals with are “research, basic science treatments, access to those treatments and education.”

The only time Haueter can recall that the NewsHour invited an ACT-UP representative to be on its news program before 1991 was once during the June 1990 conference on AIDS in San Francisco. Asked to compare the media coverage of ACT-UP in San Francisco with New York City’s media coverage of ACT-UP, Haueter noted that “the issue of AIDS is covered very well in San Francisco” but “very poorly” in New York.

Although ACT-UP just dealt with AIDS-related issues in the early 1990s, many of its members were then also active in the Queer Nation group which dealt with violence against lesbians and gay men and which was the group that organized a protest inside Channel 13’s studio in the middle of a NewsHour broadcast during the early 1991 “Kuwaitigate” Gulf War I, that interrupted the program for a few minutes.

(Downtown 5/8/91)

Next: PBS: A Publicly-Funded “Private Broadcasting Service?”

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Discrimination At PBS Historically

Although PBS poses as an alternative broadcasting service that is seriously opposed to institutional racism and institutional sexism in the United States, the Carnegie Commission report on public broadcasting in 1979 included some interesting observations about the historic employment practices of PBS-affiliated television stations which indicates that they tended to resemble the Gannett media conglomerate’s properties in their historic employment practices:

“There are few minorities serving as key decision makers (that is, chief executive officer, program or production manager, chief engineer, or chief financial officer) in public broadcasting stations. Of the 583 total key decision makers in public television stations in 1978, 16 (or 2.7 percent) are representatives of minority groups…

“…An additional facet of equal opportunity, insufficiently emphasized by the public broadcasting system, is minority control and ownership of stations. There are very few minority-controlled public broadcasting stations today. Of the 195 radio and 276 television stations in the United States in 1977, only 18 had 51 percent or more minority members on their board of directors. Eleven of these stations are located outside the continental United States (Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands).

The Carnegie Commission’s 1979 report on public broadcasting did not indicate what percentage of PBS’s key decision makers were gay men, lesbians, people with disabilities or people under 30 years of age.

(Downtown 5/8/91)

Next: ACT-UP And PBS Historically