News Release Archive - Media

Oppenheimer and the Profiteers of Armageddon



Hartung is a senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the author of “More Money, Less Security: Pentagon Spending and Strategy in the Biden Administration.”

He just wrote the piece “The Profiteers of Armageddon: Oppenheimer and the Birth of the Nuclear-Industrial Complex,” for TomDispach, which notes positive and negative elements of the recently released film “Oppenheimer”: “The staggering devastation caused by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is suggested only indirectly without any striking visual evidence of the devastating human consequences of the use of those two weapons. Also largely ignored are the critical voices who then argued that there was no need to drop a bomb, no less two of them, on a Japan most of whose cities had already been devastated by U.S. fire-bombing to end the war. General (and later President) Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote that when he was told by Secretary of War Henry Stimson of the plan to drop atomic bombs on populated areas in Japan, ‘I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary.’

“The film also fails to address the health impacts of the research, testing, and production of such weaponry, which to this day is still causing disease and death, even without another nuclear weapon ever being used in war. …

“Another crucially important issue has received almost no attention. Neither the film nor the discussion sparked by it has explored one of the most important reasons for the continued existence of nuclear weapons — the profits it yields the participants in America’s massive nuclear-industrial complex.

“Once Oppenheimer and other concerned scientists and policymakers failed to convince the Truman administration to simply close Los Alamos and place nuclear weapons and the materials needed to develop them under international control — the only way, as they saw it, to head off a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union — the drive to expand the nuclear weapons complex was on. Research and production of nuclear warheads and nuclear-armed bombers, missiles, and submarines quickly became a big business, whose beneficiaries have worked doggedly to limit any efforts at the reduction or elimination of nuclear arms. …

“We need to abolish nuclear weapons before they abolish us. Hopefully, Oppenheimer will help prepare the ground for progress in that all too essential undertaking, beginning with a frank discussion of what’s now at stake.”

Britain’s Imprisonment of Journalist Craig Murray “Disgraceful”


Craig Murray — a former British ambassador who has become a journalist — has been imprisoned on the charge of “jigsaw identification.” Murray and others charge that he was targeted for his anti-establishment political stances including his exposing British and U.S. complicity with torture in Uzbekistan, where he was ambassador, and for his outspoken defense of Wikileaks founder Jullian Assange.

Scottish PEN noted the prosecution was without recent precedent, expressing “grave concern over the imprisonment of Craig Murray and calls for his release. The writer is the first person to be imprisoned in Scotland for media contempt for over 70 years. We fear this ruling will have a chilling effect on reporting and free expression.”

    Pilger is a longtime, award-winning journalist who has written several books and produced dozens of documentaries. He noted that the ruling against Murray drew a distinction between the actions of establishment outlets and those of independent journalists or bloggers: “The truly shocking jailing of Craig Murray means that journalists approved by the state are protected and those who challenge power — real journalism — are in grave danger.” See recent piece by Jonathan Cook: “Craig Murray’s jailing is the latest move in a battle to snuff out independent journalism.”

    Mohamed Elmaazi broke down several aspects of the case in May, following the original ruling and before Murray’s appeal was recently denied, in the article: “Whistleblower Craig Murray Sentenced To 8 Months In Prison Over His Reporting on Former Scottish First Minister’s Trial“: “A three-judge panel determined on March 25, 2021 — following a two-hour trial in January — that information published by Murray in a number of his blog posts was likely to lead indirectly to people being able to identify witnesses in [former Scottish First Minister Alex] Salmond’s sexual assault trial. This process, known as ‘jigsaw identification,’ refers to the possibility that a person may piece together information from various sources to arrive at the identification of a protected witness. … Salmond was acquitted by a jury on all 14 counts of sexual harassment and assault brought against him. However, that fact was considered irrelevant by the court when deciding the contempt of court case against Murray. Before Salmond was tried in March 2020, evidence had already emerged of a potential conspiracy against the former leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP).”

    Hugh Kerr, a former vice chair of Scottish Executive Council of the National Union of Journalists, was a Labour Party Member of the European Parliament before he joined the SNP. He told Elmaazi that he considered both the verdict and the sentence in Murray’s case to be “disgraceful.”

    “Craig Murray has compiled a remarkable record of courage and integrity in exposing crimes of state and working to bring them to an end,” Professor Noam Chomsky stated, contending Murray “fully merits our deep respect and support for his achievements.”

    Murray put out a statement which was noted by the support group Craig Murray Justice before being imprisoned on Sunday: “I believe this is actually the state’s long-sought revenge for my whistleblowing on security service collusion with torture and my long term collaboration with Wikileaks and other whistleblowers. Unfortunately, important free speech issues are collateral damage.”

Hollywood Actor Invokes Cultural Boycott of Israel, Risks Netflix Lawsuit, California Law Reprisal


In 2019, the Hollywood Reporter wrote: “David Clennon, an Emmy-winning U.S. actor with more than four decades of work across film and TV, has revealed that he turned down an audition for a new Netflix series from the makers of hit Israeli show ‘Fauda’ because of his support for Palestinian rights.”

Now, Clennon has escalated the issue, providing spoilers to undermine the Netflix series, risking lawsuits.

He is working with Jewish Voice for Peace/Los Angeles in calling on viewers to boycott “Apartheid TV,” especially in its most recent incarnation, Netflix’s “Hit and Run,” a U.S./Israeli co-production.

“Hit and Run’s” Israeli partners were behind the series “Fauda,” a Netflix commercial success, which was based on the premise that Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land is necessary and justified. “Fauda” was, Clennon notes, “widely criticized for its racist portrayal of Palestinians, and for its message that Palestinian resistance to occupation is illegitimate.”

The call by Clennon and Jewish Voice for Peace marks the opening of a new front in the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel: Hollywood.

Clennon just wrote a piece revealing narrative plot points in the “Hit and Run” series, in order “to encourage viewers to focus on the racism and violence inherent in Israeli domination of Palestine.”

He hopes that the revelation of plot twists will “undermine the suspense which the creators of this U.S./Israeli series are trying to build, in order to keep viewers engaged.” Clennon’s new piece is entitled, “For Justice in Palestine, Boycott Netflix’s Apartheid TV: ‘Hit and Run.’

Clennon is aware that his revelations, also known as “spoilers,” could leave him “vulnerable to lawsuits by Netflix, as well as by the U.S. and Israeli producers of the series.”

He also states that any film or television company that might hire him in the future “could be punished under California’s anti-BDS law, AB2844.”

Working with Clennon is the Jewish Voice for Peace/LA Education and Visibility Committee which has organized online boycott-awareness programs, and, before the pandemic, multiple street demonstrations and vigils.

Available for a limited number of interviews:


  The actor David Clennon has also written about how various media images are manipulated. Earlier this year, he wrote the pieces “Hollywood’s New Blackface” and “How Hollywood Neuters the 60s: Sorkin’s ‘Trial of the Chicago 7’ Sentences American Radicalism to Oblivion.”

Biden, Building on Trump’s Censorship, Targets Iranian and Palestinian Websites


Al Jazeera reports in “U.S. seizes three dozen websites used for ‘Iranian disinformation’” that: “Seized sites include Press TV and Houthi and Palestinian outlets. Move comes amid tense efforts to revive nuclear deal.”

At NATO headquarters recently, Biden spoke of his commitment to the “important shared missions” of “renewing and strengthening the resilience of our democracies” as well as “protecting the free press and independent judiciaries.” Later, he spoke of his insistence to Russian President Vladimir Putin of the “importance of a free press and freedom of speech.”

See Institute for Public Accuracy news release from last year: “Code Red: Barr Seizes Internet Domains of Media Outlets.”

On Tuesday, Stewart wrote the piece “FBI & Dept of Commerce Seize Iranian Press TV Web Domain” for Washington Babylon.

He states: “This step by Commerce and the FBI proves … rhetorical flourishes are a smokescreen for a widening censorship mandate within Washington. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the federal policing agencies have sharpened a carceral lens upon the information superhighway, invoking moral panics like ‘internet radicalization,’ aberrant sexual behavior, multimedia piracy, or illicit drug trafficking to justify the crackdown. While there’s certainly no denying that serious malfeasance like white nationalist indoctrination, child pornography, copyright infringement, or sales of narcotics take place online, laws passed in the name of combatting such practices are wildly overreaching and create judicial precedents for later use in cases like that of Press TV. These legislative efforts also conveniently ignore that there were already plenty of laws with harsh, sometimes overly-sadistic penalties for sexual assault, kidnapping, murder, or narco vending. However, none of those laws provided censorship opportunities, something that Washington and Silicon Valley have been desperate to implement after the early Wild West days of the web opened floodgates for free information that could not be used for profits and taxes.

“I have always been wary of state-sponsored broadcasters like RT or Press TV. Both have editorial lines driven by the geopolitical concerns of their sponsors, which is anathema to what journalists are mandated to serve. … None of these qualms, however, justify censorship.”

Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War, but Will He?


SHIREEN AL-ADEIMI, @shireen818
Al-Adeimi an assistant professor of education at Michigan State University. Since 2015, she has played an active role in raising awareness about the Saudi-led war on her country of birth, Yemen, and works to encourage political action to end U.S. support.

She just wrote the piece “Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War — But It’s Too Soon to Celebrate” for In These Times. She gives Biden credit for positive moves, but scrutinizes his speech at the State Department yesterday in which he said: “We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen including relevant arms sales. … At the same time, Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks and UAV strikes and other threats from Iranian supplied forces in multiple countries. We are going to continue to help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people.”
But Al-Adeimi notes: “Unfortunately, qualifiers like ‘offensive’ and ‘relevant’ do not signal a clear commitment to ending all forms of support for the U.S. war in Yemen, which includes targeting assistance, weapons sales (the U.S. is the largest supplier of arms to Saudi Arabia), logistics, training, and intelligence sharing with the Saudi-led coalition. Labeling Yemen’s Houthis as ‘Iranian supplied forces,’ and making a commitment to defending Saudi Arabia’s ‘sovereignty,’ echoes President Obama’s initial pretense for entering the war on Yemen in 2015. …

“Importantly, [National Security Advisor Jake] Sullivan noted that ending the war in Yemen ‘does not extend to actions against AQAP,’ or al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. While sanctioned by the [2001] AUMF [which is continuing to be used to justify attacks in many countries], it’s important to oppose this parallel U.S.-led war in Yemen that has also led to the killing of civilians.

“Now, more than ever, it is vital to hold a firm line about what a real end to U.S. participation in the Yemen war means: an end to all U.S. assistance, including intelligence sharing, logistical help, training, providing spare parts transfers for warplanes, bomb targeting, weapons sales and support for the naval blockade (we still don’t know the full extent of U.S. support for the latter). It also requires that the United States immediately reverse the Trump administration’s designation of the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), a determination that is cutting off critical aid to northern Yemen and significantly escalating the crisis of mass starvation.

“Because these things have not yet come to pass, it is critical to keep up the pressure until the war is really ended. As much as we might welcome positive messaging – no doubt a result of the pressure exerted by dogged organizers – we must not rest until we have won actual material relief. …

“The Obama-Biden administration made numerous announcements in 2012 and 2013 that it would end the U.S. war in Afghanistan by 2014. But we saw that declarations do not, in themselves, end U.S. aggression. This principle especially applies when declarations are loaded with red-flag-raising qualifiers like ‘offensive operations’ and ‘relevant weapons systems.'”

Are they “Debates” or Joint Televised Appearances?


Media analyst Jeff Cohen comments: “When you see the VP candidates ignoring most questions and giving stump speeches that make the ‘debate’ look more like a ‘NATIONALLY TELEVISED JOINT APPEARANCE,’ that’s by design. Literally. It happens because nonpartisan groups and independent journalists don’t run the debates.

“Instead, the debate rules and moderators are dictated by the two major parties — operating behind the fig leaf of a ‘Debate Commission’ set up to remove control over debates from the nonpartisan League of Women Voters (which had run the presidential and VP debates in 1976, ‘80 and ‘84). In 1985, as the national chairs of the two major parties — Democrat Paul Kirk and GOPer Frank Fahrenkopf — moved to sideline the League and set up their Commission, they signed a remarkable agreement that referred to future debates as ‘nationally televised joint appearances conducted between the presidential and vice-presidential nominees of the two major political parties … It is our conclusion that future joint appearances should be principally and jointly sponsored and conducted by the Republican and Democratic Committees.’ (Joint Memorandum of Agreement on Presidential Candidate Joint Appearances, Nov. 26, 1985.)

Thus, Susan Page was inaccurate when she claimed at the beginning of the event last night that it was sponsored by the “nonpartisan” Commission on Presidential Debates. The group is a creation of the Democratic and Republican parties, and is bipartisan.

Beckerman is the founder and director of Open the Debates, “a cross-partisan effort to open up and elevate the political debates of our nation.” The group states: “Three-quarters of U.S. voters agree that if you are on enough state ballots to win the Electoral College, you should be in the debates. But the corrupt Commission on Presidential Debates has squashed that principled sentiment like a bug, cycle after cycle.”

He just co-wrote the piece “The Two-Party System’s Failure Opens Door for Independent Debate,” for Independent Voter News, which notes: “This week, at least five presidential contenders will join us in Denver for another open presidential debate. With the Commission on Presidential Debates reeling from its poor stewardship of the debate process, Thursday’s cross-partisan debate is an opportunity for the nation to advance a much more meaningful political discourse — one that represents our deep yearnings for a more perfect union.”

Zoom Censors University Event


Nora Barrows-Friedman reports in the Electronic Intifada: “Major Silicon Valley companies censored an event at San Francisco State University on Wednesday.

“This means that during the pandemic, private companies closely aligned with the government have immense power over what can be said, even in an academic setting.

“Zoom, the web-based videoconferencing platform, announced Tuesday evening that it was prohibiting SFSU from using its software to host a planned webinar on Wednesday with Leila Khaled, the Palestinian resistance icon who is now in her seventies and lives in Jordan. … A member of the left-wing political group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Khaled is best known for her role in a series of plane hijackings in 1969 and 1970. She has not been involved in any armed resistance activities in decades.”

Abdulhadi is director of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora program at San Francisco State University. She co-moderated the event with Tomomi Kinukawa. They said in a statement: “This censorship violates our freedom of speech and academic freedom as faculty to teach, deprives our students from the right to learn, and denies the general public the right to hear from speakers who are not readily available in mainstream media.” Other panelists were a former member of the armed wing of the African National Congress, a current member of Jewish Voice for Peace and a former member of the Black Liberation Army.

Khalidi, director of Palestine Legal, said: “This is a dangerous attack on free speech and academic freedom from Big Tech: Zoom cannot claim veto power over the content of our nation’s classrooms and public events. The threat to democracy is elevated by the fact that Zoom’s decision to stamp out discussion of Palestinian freedom comes in response to a systematic repression campaign driven by the Israeli government and its allies.”

Jillian York, author of the forthcoming book Silicon Values tweeted: “Note that this is ToS [terms of service] and not law, despite what Facebook and co have repeatedly and incorrectly claimed. … The New York Times can and has hosted op-eds from US-designated terrorists; so too can Facebook host their page or Zoom their call. They just don’t want to so they conveniently claim it’s the law.”

See also from CommonDreams: “Advocates Demand Facebook #StopCensoringPalestine After Platform Blocks Livestream Featuring Palestinian Rights Defenders.”

Why Is Barr Prosecuting Catholic Peace Activists?


On Wednesday at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Attorney General William Barr denounced “a new orthodoxy that is actively hostile to religion,” arguing that “militant secularists” are trying to move religion out of the public square and out of conversations on the common good. Trump also spoke and Barr accepted an award from the group. The event was held online and was delayed from its originally scheduled date in March.

The Catholic News Agency reported: “‘Separation of church and state does not mean — and never did mean — separation of religion and civics,’ said Barr, as he insisted Catholics should be more involved in public life through advocating for religious freedom.”

As Attorney General, Barr has continued to prosecute seven Catholic activists who attempted to fulfill the Biblical calling to turn swords into plowshares. At their trial last year, they were prevented from mounting a series of defenses, including invoking the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Six of the defendants have sentencing dates currently scheduled for Oct 15 and 16.

One of the seven Catholic Plowshares activists, Colville is co-founder of the Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven with his wife Luz Catarineau. In late December, the New Haven Register wrote: “For their sustained, compassionate approach to building and supporting their community and for their lived opposition to war and violence, the Colvilles are the New Haven Register’s Persons of the Year.”

Colville, with the other six activists — known as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 — entered a major nuclear weapons facility in Georgia on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. They were protesting U.S. nuclear weapons policy and sought to “nonviolently and symbolically disarm the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay.” Colville used a hammer made from melted-down guns to smash parts of a shrine to nuclear weapons at the facility.

One of the seven, Father Steven Kelly, a Jesuit priest, is in jail, where he has been for 29 months. Others, like Elizabeth McAlister, the elderly widow of Philip Berrigan, spent over 17 months in jail prior to trial with little media attention. Colville spent over a year in jail. The other defendants are Clare Grady of Ithaca, New York, Martha Hennessy from Vermont (the granddaughter of Dorothy Day who founded the Catholic Worker movement), Carmen Trotta from New York and Patrick O’Neill of North Carolina — who gave oral arguments regarding religious freedom.

They were supported in their efforts by many in the clergy, including Rev. Desmond Tutu of South Africa.
Said Colville: “The Trident Submarine is an idolatrous blasphemy against God. It’s mere existence refutes all of the basic tenets of faith that I have embraced as a Christian. While our leaders frequently invoke Christianity as this nation’s heritage, they wantonly violate its most basic command, namely, that we are to place our ultimate security in God alone, not in a weapon or a nation. Trident is an omnipresent threat to all life on the planet, and it has never been more urgent that the human community, and particularly the people of the United States, confront exactly what that reality means: We stand poised to murder our own children, for no other reason than to preserve our nation’s dominance in the world. This is the definition of idolatry. This is the definition of insanity.”

Bill Ofenloch,
Mary Anne Grady Flores,

Should Negative Things About the U.S. be Taught?


On Thursday Trump attacked the work of Howard Zinn, whose books include A People’s History of the United StatesUntil his death in 2010, Zinn was repeatedly featured on news releases.

Kumashiro is former dean, University of San Francisco School of Education. His books include Teaching toward Democracy.
He said today, “Here we go again. Yesterday’s attacks by the Trump administration on efforts to raise awareness about the historical and systemic nature of race and racism are not new.

“Divisive, un- or anti-American, biased, inflammatory — for decades, such were the claims made about efforts to teach a more accurate and complete history of the United States. From the multicultural curriculum of the Civil Rights era and the ‘people’s history’ by Howard Zinn, to recent struggles to include ethnic studies curriculum and the 1619 Project in schools, scholars and educators have long argued that curriculum is irresponsible, misleading, and undemocratic when it fails to include the experiences of marginalized groups, as well as the dynamics, systems, and ideologies that caused or perpetuated their disenfranchisement. Such inquiry is particularly important to make visible the many ways that race and racism are invisible, normalized, obscured, or rationalized, including in the curriculum itself. Not surprisingly, it is this whitewashed curriculum that often gets framed as objective and neutral, whereas efforts to raise awareness about the discomforting realities of race and racism get framed as, in Trump’s words, ‘toxic propaganda.’

“Two weeks ago, the White House directed against using taxpayer dollars to support ‘divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions’ — and by explicitly flagging trainings about ‘critical race theory’ and ‘white privilege,’ demonstrated once again the easy tendency to conflate studying racism with being divisive or weakening the nation. Yesterday, at the White House History Conference, Pence warned that, in schools, ‘some are seeking to erase our history.’ Trump attributed this erasure to ‘decades of leftwing indoctrination’ by the likes of Zinn and others, even threatening to withhold funding from California schools that teach the 1619 Project. Earlier that day, Education Secretary DeVos praised the ‘1776 Unites Curriculum’ for its more positive portrayal of the experience” of African Americans in the U.S. when “compared to the 1619 Project, and Trump echoed this praise and suggested that the government should support the creation of more such ‘pro-American’ curriculum.

“Our country cannot become more just and democratic without illuminating, addressing, and healing from its long legacies of injustices, including imperialism, colonialism, and racism, which means that continuing to deny or ignore the legacies and systems of racism that have defined the United States for centuries will only perpetuate the problems. The battle over what story about the United States gets taught in schools, and who gets to tell that story, is what makes education, at its core, one of the main sites of ideological struggle for any democratic society — and is, therefore, a battle that the general public must engage.”

See talk by Howard Zinn at MIT in 2005: “The Myth of American Exceptionalism.” “Democracy Now” played a clip from an interview with Zinn Friday morning that talked about overlooked heroes in U.S. political history, like Mark Twain, who was the Vice President of the Anti-Imperialist League and Helen Keller, who was a socialist.

How Racists Have Manipulated the Post Office


Commondreams reported recently: “Postmaster General Urged to ‘Immediately Step Aside’ as North Carolina AG Backs Probe Into Campaign Finance Fraud Allegations.”

Lusane is author of $20 and Change: Harriet Tubman, Andrew Jackson, and the Struggle for a Radical Democracy (forthcoming from City Lights Books) and The Black History of the White House.

He said today regarding Trump’s repeated attacks and statements about the Postal Service and mail-in balloting: “Regrettably, the Post Office has been used politically before by past administrations to disrupt efforts at racial justice or black progress. In the 1830s, President Andrew Jackson, Trump’s favorite predecessor, sided with local officials in South Carolina who stopped the mail distribution of abolitionist materials. … Jackson, who had been a slave trader and a slaveowner … proposed federal legislation that would ‘prohibit, under severe penalties, the circulation in the Southern States, through the mail, of incendiary publications intended to instigate the slaves to insurrection.’ …

“In the early 20th century, the postal service went after Nashville black activist Callie House. In 1894, she founded and led the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty, and Pension Association that sought to win pensions for African Americans who had survived slavery. The movement grew to over 800,000 according to researcher Mary Francis Berry. Like other organizations of the period, she used the mail to solicit and receive donations for her movement. Unhappy with the effort by this black group, Postmaster General A. S. Burleson charged her and other Association leaders with using the mail to commit fraud in 1915. The U.S. government argued that since black survivors of slavery would never receive a pension, her campaign was criminally misleading. After her arrest and nearly year-long imprisonment in 1917-1918, the organization faded.

“Perhaps, most famously, the same law used to go after House was used against Pan-Africanist leader Marcus Garvey. Long under scrutiny by U.S. law enforcement for his strong advocacy of black repatriation to Africa, the newly formed Bureau of Investigation searched for a means to destroy him politically. Garvey’s Black Star Steamship Line, funded in part by mail solicitations, was in financial trouble, and this became an opening for his enemies. Using informants and perjured witnesses, Garvey was charged with mail fraud and convicted. He was sent to prison in 1925, although he was released and deported two years later.”