Monday, May 24, 2010

Remembering 40th Anniversary of Kent State Massacre

May 4th marked the 40th anniversary of the 1970 killing of four students at Kent State University by members of Ohio's National Guard. Barry Levine was the boyfriend of Allison Krause, one of the slain students. In his eulogy for her, Levine described what happened on May 4, 1970 in Kent, Ohio:

"...We stood for a few seconds watching the soldiers move out behind a screen of gas, before deciding to retreat with the crowd of students.

"...A gas cannister landed at our feet, exploding in our faces...

"After a few seconds of recovery, Allison turned in her tracks and froze. She stood in the path of the pursuing troops screaming at the top of her lungs...The hand drawn to her face, holds a wet rag used to protect herself from the gas, and her other hand holds mine, with which I pulled her over the hill and into the parking lot, a safe distance from the troops.

"For several minutes we stood in the parking lot watching these men threaten us with their rifles...And then they turned..."

In his 1981 book Mayday: Kent State, J. Gregroy Payne also noted the following:

"In the fall of 1980, additional information from the FBI investigation on Kent State housed at the National Archives was released to the public. This information revealed that President Nixon instructed FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover--who thought the four victims `got what they deserved'--to find information in the fall of 1970 to substantiate the Guardsmen's claims about the incident. Nixon's directive was issued during the FBI's investigation of the incident. Despite the recent shocking revelations, thousands of pages of the FBI report remain classified, therefore, unavailable for public scrutiny..."

(Downtown 4/27/94)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Exxon Mobil & The U.S. Mass Media Historically

In the early 1990s, before Exxon was allowed to merge with Mobil (despite U.S. anti-trust laws which are supposed to prevent corporate monopolies from being created within the U.S. economic system), Mobil was then the U.S. corporation with the largest direct investment in Saudi Arabia. It was then involved in two huge joint ventures with the Saudi Government: a refinery and a petrochemical complex. Each Mobil-Saudi business project cost more than $1 billion to construct.

In addition, 12 percent of Mobil's imported crude oil came from Iraq before Saddam Hussein decided to annex Kuwait's oilfields in August 1990, in his failed attempt to increase his bargaining power with Mobil and the other transnational oil companies at that time.

Coincidentally, in 1990 a member of Mobil's board of directors, J.Richard Munro, was also the then-chairman of the Executive Committee of Time Warner's corporate board.

Mobil had long been represented on the corporate board of Time magazine's parent company. As early as 1967, for example, Mobil's president at that time, Rawleigh Warner, also sat on Time Inc.'s board of directors.

Despite its historic ties to Time magazine, Mobil was not reluctant during the 1980s to take legal action against U.S. mass media institutions over which it had no control. According to a 1988 book by former Time-Life Broadcast Chairman Richard Clurman, entitled Beyond Malice: The Media's Years of Reckoning, in the 1980s Mobil created a new $10 million insurance policy for its top 100 executives "to cover their costs should any of them find a reason to sue for libel" any U.S. mass media institutions that print articles about them which the Mobil executives don't like.

Newsweek magazine's parent company, The Washington Post, was sued for $100 million by then-Mobil President William Tavoulareas in the 1980s, for example, after the newspaper printed a front-page article which, according to Clurman's Beyond Malice book, charged Mobil's then-president "with setting up his 24-year-old son in a multimillion dollar oil shipping business, which profited mightily from its special relationship with Mobil."

In 1987, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. found the Washington Post story on Mobil's then-president "substantially true" and ruled that "an adversarial stance"--even in relation to Mobil--"is fully consistent with professional investigative reporting." When the then-Mobil president appealed this court decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to even consider reviewing the anti-Mobil, pro-freedom-of-the-press verdict.

(Downtown 10/24/90)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

65th Anniversary of Nazi Germany's Military Defeat

This May marks the 65th anniversary of Nazi Germany's military defeat in Europe, following its launching of a world war which claimed the lives of over 50 milliion people, 50 percent of whom were civilians. After Nazi Germany's military surrender, Hitler's successor as Nazi party fuehrer--Martin Bormann--apparently "made it to South America," according to Martin Bormann: Nazi In Exile by Paul Manning. In 1981, this same book noted the following about the state of the exiled Nazi Party organization in the early 1980s:

"As the Fuehrer in exile guards the party treasury, and keeps a close eye on the investments and corporations controlled through stock ownership by the organization, the leadership in position today remains relatively young and viable...

"The Bormann organization continues to wield enormous influence. Wealth continues to flow into the treasuries of its corporate entities in South America, the United States and Europe. Vastly diversified, it is said to be the largest landowner in South America and through stockholdings controls German heavy industry."

Some of the former Nazis and their collaborators who didn't quickly change into civilian clothes and sneak into Argentina apparently ended up being hired by the U.S. government, after Nazi Germany surrendered militarily. As Blowback: America's Recruitment Of Nazis And Its Effects On The Cold War by Christopher Simpson observed:

"The fact is, U.S. intelligence agencies did know--or had good reason to suspect--that many contract agents that they hired during the cold war had committed crimes against humanity on behalf of the Nazis. The CIA, the State Department, and U.S. Army Intelligence each created special programs for the specific purpose of bringing selected former Nazis and collaborators to the United States. Other projects protected such people by placing them on U.S. payrolls overseas."

(Downtown 4/19/95)