Tuesday, August 16, 2022

LEO SZILARD AND MY DAD, FRED DROSTEN

I was recently in Springs on Long Island, to see an exhibit of the work of my old friend Johanna Vanderbeek. Peter and I stayed at Arnold Leo's, another old friend, father of Melissa and Erik and ex-husband of my dearest friend Peggy.In the days (mid 1960s) when our two families spent many hours together, Arnold was working as an editor at Evergreen Press founded by Barney Rossett. I remember speaking with Arnold about Leo Szilard. Arnold had met him through Barney. Szilard had not published with Evergreen, but was working as an activist warning of the dangers of Atomic War. Arnold was so impressed with him that he bought a box of a book that Szilard had written called The Voice of the Dolphins. At the time, I was busy with two very young boys, Ezra and Peter, working at Henry Street Settlement, with little time for reading. When my parents came to visit in our basement apartment at Henry Street, Fred grabbed the book and began reading it. He had worked in Oak Ridge doing research for that project and was well aware of Szilard. I was glad to unload the book to him. Several years later he mentioned that Szilard had come to Washington University and that he had heard him speak. It struck me on reading about Szilard's difficult life that he and Fred had similar problems-- in that each was a scientist with conscionce, stuck in a system that 1. did not respect or listen to them, and 2. their work was instrumental in some pretty bad things that our government had done. Szilard became one of the founders of the Bulletin of Atomic Energy, a journal which Fred had subscribed to from the beginning. These last few August days were the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagazaki. With each imperialist conflict, the United States inches closer to another use of these terrible weapons. We can't say we weren't warned.

Monday, August 15, 2022

DAY OF THE DEAD

I was working with Richard Serra on a film about the Bronx (which ultimately becam Bronx Baptism"). We spenT a great deal of time and footage driving through the devastated areas of the Bronx without any specific goal except to somehow make a "landscape film" about the South Bronx. Richard was buying the raw stock and paying the lab's processing. I said, "Richard, we should write a guide book: The Bronx on $5000 a day." We decided to take time off to think about where we were going with the film. We decided to look at some footage to get inspired. Richard suggested the silent camera reels of Eisenstein in Mexico, which are located at the MoMA archive. We made an appointment with Charles Silver to see the reels. We took the subway up to the museum and went in the administration entrance. Charles himeslf brought out the film cans and we were ushered into a room with a Steenbeck to view them.I took notes in the form of quick sketches of specific frames that were particularly striking.
We saw imagery of the sugar skulls from the Day of the Dead, images of native faces juxtaposed with cacti,,, We were just watching an amazing reel of bones with a glistening riding spur when we were interrupted by Charles. Richard had an important call. I have no idea how they knew to call MoMA, but Richard rushed off to Charles'office and came back in shock. His mother had died. She had walked into the ocean at the beach in San Francisco.
This is my last sketch before we got the call. We left for the day and headed downtown in a cab. Richard had me write the numbers of his two brothers in my sketch book. He was flying out and would be at one of their houses that night.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

'
This is what Guy looked like when I first met him in Yellow Springs, lugging his guitar and a slide carousel.

Guy Carawan has died. I met Guy at Antioch in 1958. He was passing through and had recently returned from a trip to China. I was Activities Director (a student government position) and had a budget and was able to pay him an honorarium and set up a screening of his slides from Mao’s China in the old gym. it was packed. China was a mystery in those days. It was before Lucy Jarvis took NBC there. Even before Felix Greene had made his film or published his books. A slide show from this forbidden territory caused a big stir in middle Ohio. People came from Dayton and even Cincinnati. It was one of my biggest “activities”. 
Guy liked listening to my partner Mahlon’s banjo and took to it like a fish to water. It replaced his guitar as his signature instrument. Guy and me and Alice Foster (Gerrard) and I think it was Joan Goodman crammed into a tiny VW bug and headed south to Highlander one weekend from Yellow springs.
Highlander was a civil rights training center where Rosa Parks, Septima Clark, CT Vivian and many other leaders met and held strategy workshops. I had been there many times while in high school in Chattanooga and wanted to share the experience with my Antioch friends. Guy had been there in 1953 and was anxious to see it again. We had a great time. It wasn’t a workshop weekend, so we spent time listening to Myles Horton telling us mountain stories and helping the cook Dodie shell peas to freeze. And of course Dodie and Guy traded songs. Later that very month Highlander was raided and shut down for “selling liquor without a license” because of the donation can near the six packs in the frig. Grundy Country was dry, even though The University of the South down the road was the drinkingest college in the country. The informer apparently was that same Dodie, the cook. 
As years passed, I saw Guy several times in New York whenever he came for a concert and once I helped him edit a video of a Highlander music workshop, Come All You Coal Miners, which had been shot on reel to reel tape. We edited at EAI at their place on 5th ave. I last saw Guy and Candie, his wife, at the New Market Highlander when I was there for a media activism workshop. Guy leaves many recorded songs, several books (my favorite is “Ain’t you gotta Right to the Tree of Life?”about the Georgia Sea Islands) and a lovely tape by his daughter Heather, The Telling Takes Me Home.
    
Guy Carawan has died. I met Guy at Antioch in 1958. He was passing through and had recently returned from a trip to China. I was Activities Director (a student government position) and had a budget and was able to pay him an honorarium and set up a screening of his slides from Mao’s China in the old gym. it was packed. China was a mystery in those days. It was before Lucy Jarvis took NBC there. Even before Felix Greene had made his film or published his books. A slide show from this forbidden territory caused a big stir in middle Ohio. People came from Dayton and even Cincinnati. It was one of my biggest “activities”.
Guy liked listening to my partner Mahlon’s banjo and took to it like a fish to water. It replaced his guitar as his signature instrument. Guy and me and Alice Foster (Gerrard) and I think it was Joan Goodman crammed into a tiny VW bug and headed south to Highlander one weekend from Yellow springs.
Highlander was a civil rights training center where Rosa Parks, Septima Clark, CT Vivian and many other leaders met and held strategy workshops. I had been there many times while in high school in Chattanooga and wanted to share the experience with my Antioch friends. Guy had been there in 1953 and was anxious to see it again. We had a great time. It wasn’t a workshop weekend, so we spent time listening to Myles Horton telling us mountain stories and helping the cook Dodie shell peas to freeze. And of course Dodie and Guy traded songs. Later that very month Highlander was raided and shut down for “selling liquor without a license” because of the donation can near the six packs in the frig. Grundy Country was dry, even though The University of the South down the road was the drinkingest college in the country. The informer apparently was that same Dodie, the cook.
As years passed, I saw Guy several times in New York whenever he came for a concert and once I helped him edit a video of a Highlander music workshop, Come All You Coal Miners, which had been shot on reel to reel tape. We edited at EAI at their place on 5th ave. I last saw Guy and Candie, his wife, at the New Market Highlander when I was there for a media activism workshop. Guy leaves many recorded songs, several books (my favorite is “Ain’t You Gotta Right to the Tree of Life?”about the Georgia Sea Islands) and a lovely tape by his daughter Heather, The Telling Takes Me Home.


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Saturday, January 26, 2013

George Kennan Set to Music by John Halle




FROM JOHN HALLE:

Noam weighs in contra Rick Perlstein on the questions raised by the PPS/23 document which I set.

The usual firehose in response to a request for a sip of water:

JH: In any case, my position is that a) the document says what it says-i.e. that we plan to exercise our power to maintain our disparity in wealth and privilege. and b) that these recommendation were influential and were to a large extent carried out in subsequent years.

Perlstein seems not to object to a) but he takes issue with b)"


NC: Your position is quite accurate. PPS 23 went beyond the paragraph cited (and note that that passage was specifically about Asia, not the industrialized world, Europe and Japan), and was one of a series of policy statements produced under Kennan's direction by his Policy Planning Staff. The general idea was that the industrial societies should be reconstructed, but within the framework of world order that the US would administer. Other parts of the world were assigned particular "functions" within this system. Thus Africa was to be "exploited" (Kennan's phrase, in PPS 23) for the reconstruction of Europe, Southeast Asia would "fulfill its major function as a source of raw materials for Japan and Western Europe", etc. Of course the industrial world had to be reconstructed. The primary reason was the "dollar gap." The US had a huge manufacturing surplus, and the only countries that could serve as markets and targets for investment were the industrial societies -- that's aside from the obvious geostrategic concerns about world domination. Triangular trade relations were therefore established linking the US, Europe, Japan, and their former colonies -- for Japan, as Kennan put it, the US must provide it with "an empire toward the South" -- in other words, its "New Order in Asia," but now under US control. That was the motivating factor for the Indochina wars, from 1950, after the "loss of China". In Europe, the Marshall plan was a bonanza for American capitalists. And they knew it. Here's a passage lifted from my book World Orders Old and New, where all of this is discussed, with documentation and scholarly sources cited (notably Willam Borden’s excellent study):

The Marshall Plan "set the stage for large amounts of private U.S. direct investment in Europe," Reagan's Commerce Department observed in 1984, laying the groundwork for the Transnational Corporations (TNCs) that increasingly dominate the world economy. TNCs were "the economic expression" of the "political framework" established by postwar planners, Business Week observed in 1975, lamenting the apparent decline of the golden age of state intervention in which "American business prospered and expanded on overseas orders,...fueled initially by the dollars of the Marshall Plan" and protected from "negative developments" by "the umbrella of American power."

So Perlstein is partially right, but apparently missing the point of the elaborate and sophisticated planning of which PPS23 was a central part – not an outlier at all, as is clear from reading it through and understanding that it is part of a series of policy proposals, then implemented.

He’s right that open admissions of intent are rare and that mostly policy makers bask in self-serving rhetoric. I doubt, frankly, that it’s deceiving themselves. There’s every reason to suppose that they believe it – and as everyone knows, it’s not hard to convince oneself of what it’s convenient to believe. I’ve reviewed material from captured Japanese archives and from recently released Kremlin records, which reveal the same commitment to noble goals, overflowing humanity, etc., right at the times of the worst atrocities. And it’s painfully familiar from the history of imperialism, slaveowning, patriarchy, and much else.

The most naïve part of Perlstein’s comments is the reference to American “generosity.” Policies aren’t made by and for the public. There was plenty of generosity, but from the taxpayer to US investors, owners, managers – internal class war. That holds of every one of the cases he cites, and as I just quoted, they’re quite aware of it, even if liberal intellectuals prefer tales about “our” generosity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoSApfp2Sgo&feature=youtu.be

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Visit to the Toronto ICANN Conference

Three of the organizers of the Non-Commercial Users Constituency sector of ICANN, Milton Mueller, Robin Gross and Rafik Dammak.  

A great panel at the conference organized by NCUC (Non-commercial Users Constituency) was on domain takedowns. It was unusual for ICANN to have a panel with more women than men.  The panel is streamed at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYFLRpJu7S0yDoudlRAe-QzB6ZXK47le- 



This photo was taken in the Law Enforcement meeting. I walked in, not realizing it was a closed meeting. It was 99% male. The discussion was about data mining-- not how to stop it, but how domain registrants could do it more effectively. Also they discussed how to watch for certain types of spam and the various types of software that could show spikes in usage that would indicate something was going on.  

No more free coffee. In the past there were free snacks and coffee in the trade show room, but at this conference ICANN was trying to make a buck.



On Sunday, at the GAC (the Government Advisory Committee) the African governments requested a meeting for themselves. Other participants were asked to leave. I took this photo before I left. 

Despite being an "internet" organization, ICANN is still quite dependent on paper. This was the totally useless cache in my conference bag, photographed before I placed all this crap in Toronto's paper recycle.


On Saturday I played hookey and visited a wonderful farm market at a repurposed Toronto trolley garage.



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Friday, October 05, 2012

"We've Come from the City!"


A cantata by Herbert Haufrecht, written for Camp Woodland. It is sung by members of the Hudson Valley Folk Guild and performed at the Parish Hall in Phoenicia, NY, summer, 2012.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Waiting for the Invasion in 1983


In the fall of 1983, after the invasion of Grenada, many of us thought there would be a similar invasion of Nicaragua. Skip Blumberg, Karen Ranucci, Joel Kovel, Eddie Becker, Karen Ranucci, Joan Braderman snd I flew to Managua to document the US citezens who were in solidarity with the Sandinista Revolution and were expecting to be attacked by their own government. We returned with the footage and Shulea Cheang and I edited it into Waiting for the Invasion, which we finished in January. My favorite screening story was about the Iowa State Fair. We were approached by a group in solidarity with Nicaragua who were from Iowa and wanted to show a film in a booth at the Iowa fair that next summer. They said they had screened dozens of films about Central America and Nicaragua and that our film was the only one that they felt could speak to a crowd of Iowa farmers, so they showed it in a loop for an entire week. I think it was all the corn plants that were in our film that hooked them in. In terms of stopping the invasion, well, we did what we could. Unfortunately the US kept up with their invasion-- only much more covertly than Grenada. The Contra War ranks with the wars against the Cherokees and other tribes as an example of just how cruel and heartless the National Security State can be.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Melissa Leo Reads an Anti-Fracking Letter


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Camp Woodland Reunion


 Sue Rosenberg reads from Camp Woodland's newspaper, The Catskill Call and Pete sings Guantanamera.


Pete Seeger explains the origen of the poem Guantanamera, which was written in Haines Falls, NY state, where the great Cuban poet was recuperating from illness.


Atheists and Patriots:
Campers speak of their camp experiences-- from arguments about the existence of God to raising the US flag every morning.


Niela Miller Sings Searching for the Lambs.


 Putting on the Agony, Putting on the Style


 Last Night I had the Strangest Dream followed by Down by the Riverside


Two songs from the Cantata "We Come From the City" by Herb Haufrecht sung by the Hudson Valley Folk Guild.

 Sue Rosenberg sent more information about the musicians:
 So here are the names of the people on the stage: 
Eric Weissberg on the banjo, playing with him was Mickey Vandow. 
Karl Finger played guitar and he's the one singing Guantanemara with Pete and Pat Lamanna. 
Niela Miller was all the way on the right (near me) and Dan Mack-Ward was the other guy with the guitar. He sang When a Feller is out of a job. Bob Lusk from Heritage Folk Music sang Big Bill Snyder with Ira McIntosh- who is the story teller from Andes.

 I will be posting these songs in the next few days.
It takes time to compress the material and then to post it on YouTube.
DeeDee Halleck

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

George Stoney

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Paper Tiger Clean Up Unearths Trove of Rare Media Journals


Patricia Gonzalez, Rebecca Centeno and Tomoko Abe on Clean Up Day

The Paper Tiger office is getting reshuffled and we found collections of several magazines that I refused to put on the street! I know everything is digital, but I thought that surely there are people who might want to have in their archive.

If you are interested, call me (DeeDee 845 594 4871) and I will deliver to any place within the metropolitan area.

Afterimage-- many issues from the early 1980s
Community Television Review--1984 on for several years
Channels of Communication-- EARLY 80S
CINEASTE -- 1979 on for several years
Kick It-- unusual Australian magazine from th early 90s
Cultural Correspondence-- 1983 , 1984
Colors- some of the early issues 1995
Off Our Backs 1980s
Sojourners--1980s
Mom Guess What 1980s
Nacla 1984 for many years-- great Latin American journal
Extra 1995 on-- lots of issues.. great journal from FAIR

Don't let these end up on the street!
call or email: deedeehalleck@gmail.com

Great for Media Literacy Classes

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

REMEMBERING SHIRLEY CLARKE



 Shirley Clarke's film, The Connection is opening at IFC this week. Her great film set in Harlem, The Cool World, is still hoarded by vicious misogynist Frederick Wiseman.  This photo of a Video Space Troop meeting is by Peter Simon. That's me on the left with the sandal and Shirley with the hat.

The following is a piece I wrote about her the day I heard she had died-- it is included in my book Hand Held Visions.    

Shirley Clarke was my mentor.  I learned more from her than anyone else I ever knew--  mostly about how to be a mentor-- how to energize people, how to push them to do good work, how not to give up when the technology was failing, the people lethargic or the situation impossible.  Shirley pushed things and people to the edge.  She never gave up.  Altziheimer claimed her about ten years ago, but she held on, tenderly nursed by two of her beloved disciples, Piper and David Cort, who bathed her and tucked her in and smoothed her forehead.  Her daughter Wendy and many of her colleagues were with her during her last days in a Boston hospital.  She died last month in a sweet sleep surrounded by Felix the Cat and Betty Boop, the toys of her youth held tight for all these years.

Shirley was somewhere between Betty Boop and Felix the Cat herself, with a bit of Charlie Chaplin's tramp thrown in.  She often wore a bowler hat and tight smart little suits, like something out of a 1930's chorus line. All she needed were spats to complete the costume.  She had style.  A small woman with the body of a dancer, she had piercing black eyes, like a beady little mouse.  She was witty and bright, and endlessly energetic. 

Shirley started as a dancer.  Her first films were dance films, such as Dance in the Sun (1953) and In Paris Parks (1954), a lyrical look at gesture and movement in a public landscape.  I saw this early work and Bridges Go Round, a piece she did for the Brussels World Fair at the Hunter Art Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  It changed my life.  Seeing her name on the credits and the joy and energy of the images made me realize that women could and should make their own films.  I decided to try to study film in college. 

Her work in the early 60's, The Connection and The Cool World are landmarks of the American New Wave movement.  The Cool World is a New York version of Italian neo-realism, every bit as powerful and poignant.  It remains (with Robert Frank's Pull My Daisy) the best expression of marginal life in that era.  Her film, Portrait of Jason (1967) was one of the first with a gay protagonist in an open and sympathetic (and completely unromantic) manner.  Shirley and Viva Superstar shared the screen as talent in Agnes Varda's Lion's Love, which was always my favorite Varda film.  Somehow Shirley (and Viva) added a New York edge to Varda, who can wax sentimental and cloying. 

In the early seventies I somehow found my way up to her workshop space in the penthouse of the Chelsea Hotel.  Shirley lived and worked there making live and taped video performance, installation and documentation with a collaborating group of artists.  I was lucky to have been a part of that work.  We formed a troupe, those of us who worked with Shirley.  She called us the TeePee Video Space Troupe and the idea was to experiment with performance that integrated video and other technologies.  It was the days before video cassettes and each tape had to be hand threaded into the portapak decks.  Not that it was really about recording per se.  Most of what we did was never on tape: the tape was only one of the elements of the constructions, the happenings, the events.  It was electronic performance in an interactive mode.  The troupe included myself, Andy Gurian, Shirley's daughter Wendy, Bruce Ferguson, Vicki Polon, David Cort, Bob Harris, Parry Teasdale, Shalom Gorewitz, Susan Milano, Shridir Bapat and others.  There were regular drop-ins like Agnes Varda, Shigeko Kaboda, Beryl Korot, Nam June Paik, Skip Blumberg, Barbara Haspiel, Steina and Woody Vasulka, Jori Schwartzman, or neighbors at the Chelsea, Carl Lee, Viva (toting one of her kids), photographer Peter Simon, Doris Chase, Andre Vosnevshenski, George Kleinsinger, Virgil Thompson, Harry Smith, Arthur C. Clarke (no relation).  


At any given time there always seemed to be one or two Japanese dancers around.  Sometimes even Andy Warhol climbed that flight of stairs after the last elevator stop, looking for Viva.  Louis Malle came by, as did Susan Sontag, Joris Ivens, Peter Brooks, Jean Rouche and Shelly Winters.  The Chelsea had a certain cachet for visitors from Europe, Hollywood and Japan and Shirley was queen of the Chelsea. 

Around Shirley swirled miles of video cables, cameras, monitors and telephones.  She was wired. Shirley had a new project every night.  We were needed to help make it happen.  It was sometimes frustrating, often exhausting, but it was hard not to trot over there, because you never knew what you might miss if you stayed away.

One time Arthur Clarke somehow got hold of a laser beam.  He unwrapped a long rectangular box with a fat cable, borrowed from some Columbia lab by a fan of 2001 Space Odysey.    This was many years before those red needles of light sparkled on every cashier's counter.  The laser was exotic and thrilling and Shirley and Arthur giggled like kids phoning in bogus pizza orders as they plugged it in and carried it out to the edge of the Chelsea roof, aiming it down at the sidewalk. From that distance it was hard to keep steady, but Shrider quickly screwed it into a tripod tilted over the edge.  Passers-by on 23rd street stooped to pick up the resulting tiny red jewel.  Both Clarke's roared with laughter as they made it jump five feet out of reach.  When we tried using the laser in our performances, it etched intricate patterns on several of our cameras.

One night we all agreed to do dawn.  We broke into five groups and went out to video dawn.  We recconoitered on the roof with stacks of monitors and cued up the five tapes from the five groups.  Shirley rang up for bagels and champaigne and when they were delivered we toasted the pink sky and switched on the decks for a multi channel piece of morning in New York.  Shots of steam rising from the street vents, tracking shots of bottle collectors pushing their carts, shots of pigeons in flight mixed and matched across the screens.  The natural sounds of the live streets below us mixed with the taped steam hisses and pigeon coos to make a city symphony of sounds as well as sights. Behind the pyramid of monitors flickering the black and white visual poems were the pastel sky scrapers, their windows reflecting the rising red sun ball.  One special moment was when pigoens flew right to left across one of the monitors and appeared in the bottom left of the neighboring monitor, as if in one continuous flight. It was one of those synchronisities that we were all sure Shirley planned. We didn't giggle during that event.  Exhausted and emotional we sat in the rosy light with tears streaming down our cheeks, the kind of tears that can punctuate a late Beethoven quartet played well.  When the tapes spun empty at the end we came together and hugged.  Like some Omega circle, just more spontaneous and real. 

I remember one night we set up an elaborate elevator installation: a camera on each Chelsea floor aimed at the elevator door and a Pisa-like leaning stack of monitors on the roof recreating the Chelsea's 10 floors.  Wires ran up the center staircase picking up the feed on each floor.  Then someone would do a performance on the elevator and we would watch the roof TV stack.  We could see the performance only when the doors opened on floor after floor.  It was a great idea.  It never quite worked.  None of Shirley's projects ever "worked" in the conventional sense, but we knew that the ideas totally worked.  It was exhilerating.    It was being high every night.  We were urban guerillas of the Chelsea penthouse, plotting an electronic coup that would liberate the imaginations of the world.

The image of Felix the Cat was one of the very first images to glow from a cathode ray tube in television experiments in the 1930's.   At this moment, high above us on a flickering celestial screen, an implike Shirley in a spiffy bowler hat morphs in and out with Felix in a perpetual soft shoe routine.  Goodnight, Shirley.  May some of us, your students, transmit electric visions as sassy and brilliant as you and Felix, with an edge as sharp and a passion as deep.  


Workshop Photographs by Peter Simon     Shirley kissing Nam June photo by DeeDee Halleck


AND HERE IS SHIRLEY IN ACTION: AN INTERVIEW WITH NOEL BURCH AND OTHERS (INCLUDING RIVETTE!)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Michael Ratner on Bradley Manning's "Trial"


On 24 April, a hearing in one of the most important court martial cases in decades will take place in Fort Meade, Maryland. The accused faces life in prison for the 22 charges against him, which include "aiding the enemy" and "transmitting defense information". His status as an alleged high-profile whistleblower and the importance of the issues his case raises should all but guarantee the proceedings a prominent spot in major media, as well as in public debate.
Yet, in spite of the grave implications, not to mention the press and public's first amendment right of full and open access to criminal trials,no outside parties will have access to the evidence, the court documents, court orders or off-the-record arguments that will ultimately decide his fate. Under these circumstances, whatever the outcome of the case, the loser will be the transparency necessary for democratic government, accountable courts and faith in our justice system.
In the two years since his arrest for allegedly leaking the confidential files that exposed grand-scale military misconduct, potential war crimes and questionable diplomatic tactics, army private Bradley Manning has been subjected to an extremely secretive criminal procedure. It is a sad irony that the government's heavy-handed approach to this case only serves to underscore the motivations – some would say, the necessity – for whistleblowing like Manning's in the first place.
The most well-known of the leaked files, a 39-minute video entitled"Collateral Murder", depicts three brutal attacks on civilians by US soldiers during the course of just one day of the Iraq war. The footage, recorded from the cockpit of a US Apache helicopter involved in the attacks, shows the killing of several individuals, including two Reuters journalists, as well as the serious injury of two children. Beyond the chilling images of US soldiers eagerly pleading for chances to shoot, the release of this footage placed a spotlight on the military's blatant mischaracterization of the events, in which a spokesman claimed that there was "no question" that the incident involved engagement with "a hostile force", and underscores the vital role that public scrutiny plays in government accountability.
As an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and a legal adviser to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, I continue to attend Manning's hearings and can only describe them as a theater of the absurd: the trial involves numerous and lengthy off-the-record conferences, out of sight and hearing of the press and public, after which the judge provides an in-court summary that hardly satisfies standards of "open and public". Perhaps more remarkable is the refusal even to provide the defense with a pre-trial publicity order signed by the judge – an order that details what lawyers can and cannot reveal about the case. Yes, even the degree to which proceedings should be kept in secret is a secret, leaving the public and media chained in a Plato's Cave, able only to glimpse the shadows of reality.
The press and advocacy groups, however, have not been quiet about the trampling of their rights. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, on behalf of 46 news organizations, urged the Department of Defense to take measures that would allow the news media to view documents prior to court arguments. The committee pointed out that the trial for the "alleged leak of the largest amount of classified information in US history" is of "intense public interest, particularly where, as here, that person's liberty is at stake". The Center for Constitutional Rights, too, has requested access in the interest of an "open and public" trial, but neither appeal has been answered.
This is a clear violation of the law, but it will likely take burdensome litigation to rectify this lack of transparency. The US supreme court has insisted that criminal trials must be public, and the fourth circuit, where this court martial is occurring, has ruled that the first amendment right of access to criminal trials includes the right to the documents in such trials.
The greater issue at hand is why this process should be necessary at all. As circuit judge Damon Keith famously wrote in Detroit Free Press v Ashcroft, "Democracies die behind closed doors." Yet it is evident from the many layers of secrecy around Manning's arrest, imprisonment and prosecution that the government shows no sign of relinquishing its claimed powers to obscure rightfully transparent judicial proceedings. The doors appear to be tightly shut.
Unless we challenge the growing culture of secrecy within our government, and counter the ever-increasing, reflexive claims of "national security" by claiming our own constitutional rights, we risk finding those doors shut indefinitely.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Paper Tiger Exhibition at NYU Library


AN INTERVIEW WITH DEE DEE HALLECK FROM PAPER TIGER TELEVISION
March 22, 2012, 6:14 pm
Filed under: ExhibitionNew York CitytelevisionActivism | Tags: ,

Citywide aims for progressive programming. We bring many people onto the show who stand to make a change in the world in whatever way they strive to do. This can take place in a number of different ways. Some of our guests are out there trying to improve conditions for less privileged parts of our society as well as spreading a humanitarian message, see our post on Immortal Technique. Some of our guests are actively trying to expand on what the human being can physically be, like recent guest Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Some of our guests have represented a change itself in being an original artist, like Mykki Blanco who was on last month.
These are people our program has brought on for our audience to check out and have something different to think about. Paper Tiger Television, our feature this week, is another weekly program in the City which doesn’t just discuss the people who are doing progressive work this day, the people on the show itself have been pioneering and innovative since the show’s formation in 1981. PPTV recognizes that there must be an aggressive front to counter a mainstream media that is largely controlled by large corporations. Formed entirely by volunteers who share the concern of what control mass media has over today’s culture, PPTV has been one of the most consistent and driven organizations of people who insist that there be a source of criticism and information outside the commercial world.
I spoke with one of the founders of Paper Tiger Television, Dee Dee Halleck, who took me through some of the early years of the new form of media activism which PPTV represented at the beginning of the 1980s. It is important to note about PPTV that while that not only did they set a new precedent for activists trying to reach a mass audience, they also set an important precedent for the mediums of public cable television which was just emerging at the time. And while programs such as The Coca Crystal Show and Glenn O’Brien’s TV Party (“The TV party that could be a political party”) had already fought to claim the medium as one belonging to the people, PPTV ensured that the medium would balways be used to also speak for the people.
It’s an extraordinary organization that continues to do extraordinary work. Greatest of all is that they are always accepting volunteers. Check out their website and see what you think about the work they do; see if maybe you even want to help. You can also watch many of the programs tand documentaries they have produced. That’s righthere.
PPTV is currently celebrating it’s 30 year anniversary with an exhibition at Fales Library at New York University. This is the exhibition’s website. Here is a video about the 30 year history of Paper Tiger Television-

Dee Dee Halleck also told me about a great new effort of hers to unite activists with similar causes around the world. Check out Deep Dish Waves of Change for more information about that. This program derives from another project of Dee Dee’s calledDeep Dish TV, a similar organization to PPTV, doing with satellite what Paper Tiger did with cable television.
Dee Dee told me some wonderful stories herself. Check out the interview here-
Here is one of the first PPTV programs, Herb Schiller reads the New York Times-



Lucas Green

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

1968

thank you John Douglas

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Paper Tiger Exhibition at Fales








Camcorder Commando

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Bifo Manifesto

Thursday, July 14, 2011

IAMCR in Istanbul


From a history of the organization by Kaarle Nordenstreng and Cees Hamelink:
The history of the IAMCR goes back to the first years of Unesco. Its Committee on Technical Needs in the Mass Media drafted in 1946 a constitution for an “International Institute of the Press and information, designed to promote the training of journalists and the study of press problems throughout the world............

IAMCR reception in Prague 1984.
From left to right: Robin Cheesman (Section Head, Denmark), Kaarle Nordenstreng (Vice President, Finland), Cees Hamelink (Vice President, The Netherlands) and Peggy Gray (President Halloran's executive assistant, UK).
Over the five decades the aims and scope of the Association remained focused on the creation of a global forum where researchers and others involved in media and communication can meet and exchange information about their work. The Association wants to stimulate interest in media and communication research, to disseminate information about research and to create a broad constituency of researchers, practitioners and policymakers.

Throughout its history the Association has adopted public statements on such issues as the protection of journalists, the right to communicate, the freedom of research, the support for international communication policies in the service of democratic development, and the need to contribute to the improvement of communication facilities in the Third World. The concern about public presence of communication research and its role in public life has been a leading motive throughout the years. This became very concrete in the contributions of the IAMCR made to the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2003 (Geneva) and in 2005 (Tunis).

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BRIEF REPORT FROM THE OPENING OF THE IAMCR CONFERENCE IN ISTANBUL
Over the years, IAMCR was unusual in the fact that several of their meetings took place in Eastern Europe (Prague, Bled, Leipzig), during intense cold war years. In addition there was an implicit support for the principles of the MacBride Report, which was viciously fought by the US, to the extent that funding for UNESCO and the UN itself was dropped because of the commission's report. In what seems like a reversal of previous policy, this year's IAMCR meeting saw the organization's annual award presented to Eliu Katz, who made concerted efforts to undermine the NWICO (New World Information and Communication Order) principles in discussions at the time. Katz promulgated a theory of "active audience" which undercut the position of cultural imperialism and the need for democratic access to information technology and equitable means of expression.

In addition, another award was presented to a local scholar and official Turkish UNESCO rep during the harsh 1950s whose stance on "free flow of information" paralleled that of the US State Department at that time.

Two of the usual annual awards (the Herb Schiller Award and the Dallas Smythe Award-- two researchers who were adamantly critical of the corporate and imperial stance against NWICO by US policy makers and dictatorial regimes such as Turkey at the time) seem to be conveniently forgotten in the current revisions of IAMCR's position. Those awards were not included in the ceremony.

What was included was a long cello and piano recital of Bach and Italian medleys -- finishing with several compositions by the pianist in what has to be called easy listening style.

-- DeeDee Halleck, Istanbul, July 13, 2011.