Fort Meade K-9 gives WikiLeaks Truck go-ahead to park on base

Photo by Steve Rhodes

For the WikiLeaks truck to be parked at Fort Meade on the first day of the Bradley Manning court martial is a bit of performance art that reaches new heights of irony: WikiLeaks is the media organization which received Manning’s anonymous transmission of documents and video related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For a hypersensitive military, which bans its personnel from viewing anything remotely related to WikiLeaks, it’s a symbolic slap in the face.

It isn’t exactly as if Julian Assange himself is attending Manning’s court martial–the truck isn’t sanctioned by WikiLeaks. It became a familiar sight, though, throughout the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations as artist Clark Stoeckley’s way of drawing attention to Bradley Manning’s situation.

Official or not, the WikiLeaks logo and the words “Top Secret Mobile Collection Unit” emblazoned on the side do have the strange ability to unsettle authorities. Stoeckley was driving the truck near the White House in March 2011 when the Secret Service pulled him over for the fabricated reason of driving in a “no-truck zone.” In November 2011, the NYPD confiscated the truck and temporarily lost it.

Today, Stoeckley had official clearance to enter Fort Meade, regardless of transportation. After a K-9 search, the truck got the green light to park on the base, and Stoeckley took his place among media covering the trial. He’ll draw courtroom sketches, as he has for the pre-trial hearings.

You can see Stoeckley’s sketches in his newly published book, The United States vs. PFC Bradley Manning: A Graphic Account from Inside the Courtroom.

UPDATE via Rob Brune: “The MP dog pissed on Clark’s cooler in the back. The MP apologized, but I’m sure he and the boys on the base are having a good laugh.” I prefer to think of it as the signal for passing a security check–or even the K-9 official seal of approval.

Daniel Ellsberg on Bradley Manning

“I’m here to celebrate an American hero, and a hero of the first amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of thought. And Bradley Manning has really stood for that all his life. In a way he’s been an outlier for a long time and I admire him for that.” -Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, talks about the upcoming court martial of Army Specialist Bradley Manning at a protest in support of Manning on June 1, 2013. Asked to compare Manning’s situation with his own predicament 40 years ago, Ellsberg describes the disadvantages Manning experiences because he is in the military. He credits Manning for alerting people to “this brutal war and the wars that lie ahead.”

 

Sports: Just a distraction from things that matter?

Now there are other media too whose basic social role is quite different: it’s diversion. There’s the real mass media–the kinds that are aimed at, you know, Joe Six Pack–that kind. The purpose of those media is just to dull people’s brains.

This is an oversimplification, but for the eighty percent or whatever they are, the main thing is to divert them. To get them to watch National Football League…. Just get them away. Get them away from things that matter. And for that, it’s important to reduce their capacity to think.

Take, say, sports–that’s another crucial example of the indoctrination system, in my view. For one thing because it–you know, it offers people something to pay attention to that’s of no importance. That keeps them from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea of doing something about. And in fact it’s striking to see the intelligence that’s used by ordinary people in [discussions of] sports. I mean, you listen to radio stations where people call in–they have the most exotic information and understanding about all kind of arcane issues. And the press undoubtedly does a lot with this.

You know, I remember in high school, already I was pretty old. I suddenly asked myself at one point, why do I care if my high school team wins the football game? I mean, I don’t know anybody on the team, you know? I mean, they have nothing to do with me, I mean, why I am cheering for my team? It doesn’t mean any–it doesn’t make sense. But the point is, it does make sense: it’s a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority, and group cohesion behind leadership elements–in fact, it’s training in irrational jingoism. That’s also a feature of competitive sports. I think if you look closely at these things, I think, typically, they do have functions, and that’s why energy is devoted to supporting them and creating a basis for them and advertisers are willing to pay for them and so on.

- Noam Chomsky

Does Super Bowl 2013 reveal a sick culture?

Dennis Trainor, Jr. points out that the Super Bowl is one of the last communal experiences we have. Last year, 71% of TV households watched the Super Bowl. Nevertheless, advertising–full of cars, beer, pizza and surgically enhanced women–is aimed only at the straight male demographic.

No matter how sick and twisted the gladiator games may be, Trainor, a self-professed NFL-aholic, will be watching them anyway.

 

Missing the Jack Lew connection: How a Citigroup exec becomes Treasury Secretary

Jack Lew, former COO of Citigroup Alternative Investments, current White House Chief of Staff–and future U.S. Treasury Secretary (Photo AP / J. Scott Applewhite)

Frontline’s most recent program entitled “The Untouchables,” which aired on January 22, outlined how Lanny Breuer, head of the DOJ’s criminal division, and his Deputy were unwilling to prosecute Wall Street bankers in spite of evidence of fraud. Breuer confessed to the New York Bar Association that he was up nights thinking about how his actions potentially may have had tragic ripple effects throughout the economy.

Frontline did a good job in calling out Breuer and the Justice Department. So good that DOJ called “The Untouchables” a “hit piece,” and Lanny Breuer has resigned his position. Still, Frontline failed to point out a vital connection with a key Obama cabinet appointment.

U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew, the current White House Chief of Staff, used to be in charge of the very Citigroup department that was the subject of a Senate hearing. Frontline documented the Citigroup policy of bank underwriters’ approving mortgages that would eventually go into failure, and even showed Senator Carl Levin questioning the chief underwriter of Citigroup. Levin asked him whether he believed the bank he worked for had been running a scam by intentionally granting housing loans destined to fail while at the same time betting heavily against the housing market.

Of course, it was a scam. It conned many people out of their paychecks, their life savings and their retirements. Ultimately, it crushed the economy. One merely needs to look at the jobs market to see how the economy is devastated beyond repair. And Jack Lew, soon to be Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, played a key role in the mismanagement of risk.

All too often the federal government chooses to address a problem with the very same individuals who played roles in creating the problem. This isn’t the “Hope” and “Change” that Obama voters were expecting when they pledged their support for the President in 2008.

According to an officer outside the Alfalfa Club dinner Saturday night, Metropolitan police have yet to negotiate a contract or receive a pay increase in 7 years. Teachers, healthcare workers or any individual who has a job remotely connected to the government stand to lose their jobs after March 27. Had individuals like Jack Lew not created the economic collapse of 2008, more than likely we would not be facing such harsh cuts.

Like Frontline, mainstream media outlets have dropped the ball as well. Few are making the connection between Jack Lew and his former role at Citigroup (contrast this article on Huffington Post), or pointing out the continuing relationship of the U.S. Treasury with firms which received bailout money, such as Lew’s former employer.

What’s more, the mainstream propaganda machine is hard at work validating President Obama’s choice for Treasury Secretary and whitewashing Jack Lew’s involvement in this fraud. Not only are big bankers going unpunished, in the Obama administration they are being rewarded with cabinet appointments. We need a watchdog media that has the courage to say so.

Inauguration Day: Obama 2.0

Image by DonkeyHotey

Mainstream media cameras will be directed solely at the Capitol, the Mall and the Inaugural Parade route today–sites of carefully coordinated pomp and circumstance.

But there will be much more going on in Washington, DC on Inauguration Day besides tributes to power. And the citizen journalists of DC Media Group will be on the ground providing alternative coverage all day long.

Our website brings together real-time updates from all correspondents–livestreams, Twitter feeds, blog posts and more–at dcmediagroup.info.

There will also be continuous updates on the Facebook page and @DCMediaGroup. Ustream is featuring DC Media Group livestreamers on their front page under the heading “Citizen Reporting the Inauguration.”

DC Media Group: Journalists working for you

Members of the DC Media Group contemplating American media
Members of DC Media Group contemplating the distraction of American media

If you’re interested in the events surrounding the 2013 Inauguration but don’t want to tune into Mainstream Media repetition of soundbites and paeans to pageantry, there’s an alternative for you. DC Media Group, a collective of independent online media sources, will be covering events and dissents of the 2013 Inaugural from a grassroots perspective–on the ground in real time, livestreaming, blogging, photographing, tweeting and more.

Cool Revolution is honored and inspired to be collaborating with these talented and dogged citizen journalists. I’ll be working alongside @GenKnoxx, @Rousseau_ist, @Sikk412, @johnzangas, @OCCUPYCARLISLE and @organizerx. We’ll be contributing to and supported by outlets already producing incredible work–Other Possibilities Network, We Act Radio, and DC Mic Check.

Special thanks to @OPNinfo for setting up our website DCMediaGroup.info, the hub for all livestream feeds, Twitter streams and much more (including updates to Cool Revolution).

You can also find a calendar of events, photos and regular updates on the Facebook page.

And you can look forward to more alternative news coverage and creative, thoughtful journalism from DC Media Group following the Inauguration!

Update: Livestreaming host Ustream highlights the livestreamers of DC Media Group on their Inauguration Central page!

Citizen streamers will hit the ground in Washington, D.C. to document the Inauguration as they see it. Raw, unfilterd and real. Expect rallies and protests, scenes of massive crowds and of course, the unexpected.