All Notebook Entries

  • Gary Webb drew blood

    It's funny how things come back to you when you lose a friend.

    As I was smoking a cigarette on my patio the other night, thinking about Gary Webb and how everything I stood for in journalism was now quaking under my feet, I recalled that Gary told me there was one person, in particular, that he trusted completely: journalist Chuck Bowden.

    Gary had once told me that he would “trust Chuck Bowden with his life.”

    So in the wake of Gary’s recent death, I decided to look up Bowden and give him a call.

  • An Anonymous Eulogy for Gary... and Truth

    From a former journalist in the United States, to my mailbox, to your eyes…

    I never met Gary Webb, or, really, knew much about him. I remember hearing about how he was fired from the California Assembly staff, and the back-stabbing way in which it was done -- he was an investigator, he was out in the field investigating, and when he got back they told him he was fired because he wasn't in the office (the real reason of course being that the new Speaker of the Assembly wanted to clean house and put his own cronies in place, cronies who wouldn't dig up embarrassing dirtlike Gary did) -- but did not think much about it at the time. Gary had, after all, been effectively dead for all intents and purpose since 1997, when the entire newspaper industry turned its collective back to him and shat upon him. This was just another case of Gary getting comfortable, doing things the way he had always done them under the assumption that his bosses would support him because he was doing a good job, then getting shat upon for doing his job too well. CYA was never, apparently, Gary's thing. I figured he'd shrug, and move on to something else.

    As we know now, he didn't...

  • Colombian Oil, Texas Profits

    Texas companies with ties to the Bush administration are reaping profits in Putmayo...
  • Let Gary Webb Speak.../Permita que Gary Webb hable...

    When I heard Gary was gone, my first instinct was to go to the tape.  My biggest regret of the 1st J-School was that I didnt take part in, or record, his investigative journalism workshop--at the time, I thought I would benefit more from learning web skills.  But I knew I had a recording of him speaking on a panel discussion in Merida--the theme was "How to Write on Deadline"--Gary spoke first, followed by Maria Botey Pascual.  I listened intently, hoping for some jewels, some insight into his mind, but most of the discussion was nuts and bolts of how to write under pressure--Gary was there to teach, not preach or wax philosophical.  But then came a student asking about the "dilemma" that the more time a reporter spends on a story, the more emotionally involved they become--It ended wiith the question---Do you believe In objectivity?

    Gary's words...

    palabras de Gary...

  • Corruption alleged in U.S. Customs' Miami operations

    A respected attorney who fought the system for years to prove that one of his clients had been framed by the mob and FBI has leveled serious corruption charges against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

    Those charges are outlined in a letter the attorney, John Cavicchi, sent last month to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. In addition to raising the corruption allegations, Cavicchi’s letter also advocates that the current commissioner of CBP, Robert Bonner, be replaced by Mark Conrad, a former U.S. Customs regional supervisor who has earned a reputation as a government whistleblower.

    CBP, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, employs some 41,000 people charged with managing, controlling and protecting the U.S. borders. Cavicchi’s charges take aim at the South Florida operations of CBP -- specifically Miami, one of the busiest seaside entry points in the country.

    Cavicchi gained national prominence as the lawyer for Louis Greco, who was convicted in Boston of being party to a 1965 mob-related assassination. Greco, a disabled WWII veteran, spent some 30 years in prison, all the while contending he was innocent.

  • Gary Webb: Do What He Did

    LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, DECEMBER 15, 2004: I keep imagining the last moments of Gary’s life. He is looking down the barrel of a gun. His eyes are puffy from the swell of too many tears. The moving van is coming to his house near Sacramento, a place he never wanted to be in the first place, to which he was exiled years ago for the crime of telling a powerful but uncomfortable truth. Everyone he has ever trusted or loved has abandoned him: By that I mean everyone, including you and me. What he is about to do requires the utmost in courage: to pull the trigger and plunge into the unknown, perhaps into nothingness, never to write or report or tell his truth to the post-human mortals who couldn’t handle his truth anyway.

    The hand on the trigger at that moment – his – is not the first, nor is he acting alone. Gary had to wait in line and take a number behind all those who set his suicide in motion years ago. It was a miracle he didn’t do this back when San Jose Mercury News editor Jerry Ceppos, now 58 and vice president of the Knight-Ridder news company, cocked the shotgun and pulled the trigger on the most authentic journalistic career of the late 20th Century. That was the day that the bullet flew out of the cartridge and, as if in very slow motion, took years to reach Gary’s head...

  • Authentic Journalism: The flip side, the torturing thorns of rosy Internet.

    Quot homines tot sententiae

    The opinions of a libertarian anarchist in Austin, TX.
    « The Hypocrisy of Daily Kos | Main | Lynne Stewart's Violent Motives »

    Monthly Archives | Recent Entries
    November 11, 2004
    Franz J. T. Lee is a Flailing Moron

    From South African Apartheid to North American Fascism

  • Elections and Protests

    Elections have a certain similarity in many countries and all over the world; a certain aura of corruption succeeding on the back of public indifference and/or ineffectiveness.
  • Gary Webb, ¡Presente!

    (English translation follows)

    Querido Gary: Esta noche volví a la casa y en cuatro líneas George Sanchez me explicó por qué esta vez no podrás contestar a mi palabras. Simplemente, como decía el poeta salvadoreño Roque Dalton, decidiste pasar a mejor vida... y eso, por supuesto, no nos incluía a mí, a George y a Reed Lindsay, que mucho te debemos y tanto te hemos querido. Está bien, Master Webb, no contestes, solamente lee...

  • Gary Webb - R.I.P.

    Excerpt from an obituary in the Sacramento Bee:

    Gary Webb, a prize-winning investigative journalist whose star-crossed career was capped with a controversial newspaper series linking the CIA to the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles, died Friday of self-inflicted gunshot wounds, officials said.

    Mr. Webb, 49, was found dead in his Carmichael home Friday morning of gunshot wounds to the head, the Sacramento County Coroner's Office said Saturday.

    He left a note, but officials would not disclose its contents.

    "I'm still in a state of shock," said Tom Dresslar, who works as a spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and had known Mr. Webb for 15 years.

    "He was a hard-core, no-fear investigative reporter," Dresslar said. "He wasn't afraid to stand up to whatever authority."

  • President Chavez Frias studying Trotsky, Revolution and Emancipation

    As we reported, a while ago, in Moscow, President Hugo Chavez Frias bought Trotsky's famous work "The Permanent Revolution" and is currently eagerly studying its historic application and relevance. Apart from the well-known theory of global permanent revolution of Trotsky ... the establishment of socialism on a world scale, and not the Stalinist version of socialism in one bloc, country or island ... what should interest Venezuela in particular at this moment are Trotsky's views concerning the social relation between "violence" and "emancipation" in the "Third World," in Latin America.
  • Man! Do we ever need grassroots authentic media in order to know the truth!

          The corporate media is burying the news about the possibly-stolen U.S. election. Some folks wrote me after my last posting, the one titled, “Blessed be the killers, Part III: A strategy for removing the Bush administration”, saying in effect that I was wrong, in either or both judgment and strategy. I think the letters I got are indicative of the success of corporate media in shaping people’s consciousness, even those of us who try to be very critical and independent. In this note I share some of the comments and exchanges.
  • let 'em eat bush: an immodest proposal

    yep. the dream of a liberal america is over. i'm waving my white flag high. it's time for the coasts and the cities to focus on taking care of their own. and if the heartland is so in love with republican values, well, let's let them live with them for a while. let 'em live with low minimum wage, no unions, lousy health care...all that shit the coasts and the cities have tried to legislate and even pay's easy to see now why the liberals have been taking such a beating for the past twenty years...
  • Maybe I'm a stubborn bastard, but

    I'm not ready to accept as true that Bush won the election, despite the fact that even many of those who are strongly opposed to his regime seem to have accepted the seemingly unending proclamations in the corporate media that he even garnered a majority of the votes, and not only the electoral college vote.

    In a number of articles, the most recent of which is at iscus/2004-12-06.htm,  I've argued for challenging continuation of the Bush administration, and proposed a strategy for getting rid of it.

  • La Jornada: "Denuncian que se realizan obras en Montes Azules para saquear las riquezas"

    The Mexican government, (and behind them, North American conservation NGOs, most likely) is stating to the world: we had to Kill the Jungle In Order To Save It.

    This is parallel to these same actors trying to steal indigenous pharma knowledge so they can patent it and make billions off of it.

    Read about it here: pol.php

  • OK, So what the hell is going on in Haiti?

    Maybe Reed and Daniel can help us out, but I saw this report while perusing the counterpunch site:
    "We Must  Kill the Bandits!"
    Lula's  Troops in Haiti

  • US Election: Electors to be Chosen Before Recount

    On November 22, a Federal district court judge denied a request by Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik to expedite the Ohio recount.  The judge said Cobb and Badnarik do not face "irreparable harm" if the recount doesn't take place until after the December 7 date to certify presidential electors, since they will not have any electors anyway.

    The judge did not consider the irreparable harm faced by the world or the nation, and Cobb and Badnarik as citizens, should constitutional democracy be subverted a second presidential election in a row.

  • Medical Marijuana a States' Rights Issue in USA

    The United States Supreme Court will have to either allow the use of marijuana to treat pain or else reverse itself on recent limitations to national government intervention in states' internal decisions, reported The Christian Science Monitor today ("Showdown over medical marijuana" by Warren Richey).
  • Magnetic fake yellow ribbons, credit cards, and U.S. soldiers

    Credit card companies call commanding officers in the United States armed forces to pressure soldiers to pay their interest-inflated debt, National Public Radio reported several days ago.

    In other news, yellow ribbon magnets emblazoned with "Support Our Troops" are more popular than ever on cars, trucks, and low-mileage so-called Sport Utility Vehicles.

  • Stark, dark realities facing Latin America and the World

    Nationally and internationally, studying the latest urgent actions of the Venezuelan government, definitely, life in sheer ad hoc probabilities and mere pro forma possibilities is ending here and now.

    Stark, dark, stormy, Orwellian realities are spreading very fast across Latin America and the world.

    Millions and millions across the globe are already vegetating in sub-human life conditions, generated by corporate, imperialist ultra-exploitation and by bellicose, merciless oppression.

  • Where's Lula? The Decree that Hasn't Come

    According to Brazilian government records, President Lula da Silva's expected presidential decree authorizing decriminalization of drug users, the creation of safe-use rooms for injected drug users, and the change in the name of the lead agency from "National Anti-Drug Secretary" to "National Secretary about Drugs," was not issued on November 24th.

    As reported last week by the daily Folha de Sao Paulo (and translated by Narco News) the various drug policy agencies in Lula's administration had reportedly come to a "consensus" for a policy change that would be signed by Lula this past Wednesday.

    However, the national drug czar, General Paulo Uchoa, did give a media interview on Wednesday in which he said there will be safe-use houses for injected drug users established... but only in an "experimental" manner...

    Let's read the tea leaves of the information that is available today...

  • Cuba/North America Labor Conference Dec. 10

    A message passed on in an e-mail from the International Action Center - Boston:

    On the weekend of December 10, 11 and 12th in Tijuana, Mexico - a conference will give people from North America the opportunity to hear, meet and discuss first hand with Cuban union leaders.

    Also in attendence, the e-mail read, will be union leaders and organizers involved in Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution, including Jacobo Torres de Leon, Coordinator of the Venezuelan Workers' Bolivarian Force (Fuerza Bolivariana de Trabajadores de Venezuela), and a lead organizer of the Million Worker March, Clarence Thomas.

  •'s firewall eliminated 11,468 viruses in the space of one hour

    11,468 computer viruses were eliminated in the space of one hour by's firewall at around 7:00 p.m. New York time yesterday, November 22 ... the corporate enemy is becoming desperately dangerous ... all this reminds me of a fatally wounded man-eater that launches the barbaric "law of the jungle," that becomes more ferocious as it nears its inexorable demise.
  • La esclavitud de la mente: El control mental en sus dimensiones psicológica y fisiológica


    Enjoy the following lecture of Jutta Schmitt, held a few days ago at the University of The Andes, Mérida, Venezuela, concerning coming dangers for Latin America and Venezuela.

    Centro de Estudios de África, Asia y Diásporas Latinoamericanas y Caribeñas

    “José Manuel Briceño Monzillo”

    Congreso Nacional 1854-2004: 150 años de la Abolición de la Esclavitud en Venezuela. ¿Pasado y Presente de una misma Realidad?

    <>Eje Temático: Viejas y nuevas formas de esclavitud que se practican en el mundo de hoy. Los esclavos“ocultos a plena vista” del Siglo XXI.

    Ponencia:        La esclavitud de la mente: El control mental en sus dimensiones psicológica y fisiológica.

    Ponente:          Jutta Schmitt M.A

    _________________ ________

    You can also download this document at the following URL:
    También se puede escarga el documento aquí abajo:

  • American Fascism

     What did the Fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, and Spain have in common?   They consisted of a highly militarized state, backed by corporation and a wealthy elite, that rose to power through a false populism that exploited the public’s fear of foreigners and “moral degenerates.”   This precisely defines the formula that Karl Rove designed to consolidate the Bush administration’s power in the recent election.
  • Workers Unite? 5 years since WTO in Seattle this month.

    Tampa, Florida
    I was covering the release of a report about the local effects of “offshoring”, otherwise known as “outsourcing”, which has become a big topic in the States this election year.  Basically, because its so cheap for large companies to do business in other countries, millions of workers in the United States are either becoming unemployed, or are forced to work for sub-par wages and benefits.  The 2-hour presentation centered on statistics, and came up with some decent solutions for making the US workforce more attractive to corporations---like better education.  The goal of the discussion seemed to be “how can we make it so that companies don’t want to leave our state/country?” But one man in the audience kept asking questions related to labor unions; questions that never really got answered.....
  • When &quot;60 Minutes&quot; Asks for My Contacts...

    I received an email today from a producer of the "60 Minutes" TV news magazine program.

    She wanted my "contacts" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - a city where I lived in for a good chunk of 2003 - to do a story on "Rio's out of control crime rate and drug problems."

    And, oh, could I also provide her with translators because, she writes, "I cannot speak Portuguese so an English speaker would be great"?

    I will publish the text of her email - and my response, in which I explain why the very premise of her story, and how she plans on doing it, will prevent it from telling the whole truth - below...

    And I will explain to her (and to all) why the days when this project blindly helped Commercial Media correspondents with their projects, except under carefully specified and disclosed circumstances, are now over...

  • Where Democracy Is the Emerging Target

    Al's hasta luego from Big Left Outside reminds us of the "continuing the battle South of the Border where we are moving toward authentic democracy rather than, as in the North, away from it.." The mean little war criminal in the White House's handlers have reeminded him of it too.  Frank Gaffney has outlined a 7-point "checklist." According to Portside, No. 7 is: "Bush must adapt "appropriate strategies for contending with China's increasingly fascistic trade and military policies, [Russian President] Vladimir Putin's accelerating authoritarianism at home and aggressiveness toward the former Soviet republics, the worldwide spread of Islamofascism, and the emergence of a number of aggressively anti-American regimes in Latin America"
  • A Failed Policy? Boston Debates the War on Drugs

    Boston, Massachusetts, USA - "We have a public policy crisis: we are spending billions of dollars to fight a war on drugs and we don't seem to be able to stop the flow of drugs into this country. We are spending more and more public dollars on housing men and women who are involved with the drug trade, drug addiction seems to be increasing, and yet we don't seem to have the money to help those who want to turn their lives around and recover from addiction." With these words, Boston City Councillor Chuck Turner started the public hearing to investigate the war on drugs. He called the hearing "just the beginning of a long dialogue in Boston to see how we can move forward".
  • Brazil's Lula to Sign Drug Decriminalization Decree on Nov. 24

    According to a report in today's Folha de São Paulo (subscription only), the government of Brazilian President Lula da Silva has reached a "consensus" to step forward into a bold new era of drug policy: decriminalizing the drug user, and opening 250 safe drug use centers across the country during the year 2005.

    Lula is expected to sign an executive decree on November 24, taking drug enforcement responsibilities away from police agencies, and placing the problems of drug use under the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry, which will be charged with supporting the safe drug-use centers and make Harm Reduction - a policy to reduce the harms associated with drug use - the law of the land.

    Here is an excerpt from today's report from Brazil's largest daily newspaper:

    Policy proposal considers drug consumption as a public health problem, and no longer one for the police

    The government wants to create centers for drug use

    By Luciana Constantino and Iuri Dantas
    Folha de São Paulo, Brasília Bureau

    After a series of internal disagreements about drug policy, the federal government is preparing a realignment of national policy to define drug consumption as a public health problem, and not one for the police as it is today.

    There will be a presidential order creating rules for treating drug dependents, with emphasis on Harm Reduction...

    (More of the translation appears after the jump.)

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