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.

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Cool Photo of the Day

Photo by Giralt
Photo by Giralt

In Hawaii, the three nights of Lā’au moon were associated with trees and plants. Planting of certain types of fruit were discouraged during this period because they would be woody instead of tender, though other types of plantings could occur. This period was also an important time for the healers to go out and locate herbs for medicines. On Lā’au Kū Kahi, the moon has waned so much that the sharp points of its horns can once more be seen.

 

The Silken Tent

Photo by ahisgett/Flickr

She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when the sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To everything on earth the compass round,
And only by one’s going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightest bondage made aware.

-Robert Frost

Slapping Medicine Man

The 1491s, a Native American sketch comedy group, were in attendance at the American Indian Society Inaugural Pow Wow. Sociological Images praises their “skewer[ing] of popular representations of Native Americans and their various cultures.”

The group recently released a new video featuring footage of 1491s member Ryan Red Corn dancing at the Santa Fe Indian Market interspersed with shots of visitors to the market and examples of appropriation of Native cultures, all set to Irving Berlin’s “I’m an Indian Too,” from Annie Get Your Gun. It’s a great send-up of the whole Native-culture-as-fashion-statement trend:

My favorite video is “Slapping Medicine Man,” above. Will Slapping Medicine visit Washington, DC too? A few politicians need to schedule an appointment.

Photos from the American Indian Society Inaugural Pow Wow are here.

 

The Gaza Kitchen: A stronghold against despair

The most recent trauma suffered by Palestinians in Gaza was November’s eight-day war, which resulted in a truce with Israel (so far) and recognition of Palestinian statehood by the United Nations. The eruption of conflict leads Westerners to wonder once again, who are the 1.7 million people jammed into Gaza, and what are their lives like?

A cookbook fills in some blanks for us. The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey gives us a window into “that most tortured little strip of land” through food and cooking, which co-author Laila El-Haddad calls “the essence of the everyday.”

Beyond all the discourses, the positions and the polemics, there is the kitchen… hundreds of thousands of women every day find ways to sustain their families and friends in body and spirit.  They make the kitchen a stronghold against despair, and there craft necessity into pleasure and dignity.

The Gaza Kitchen is not only a cookbook. A lot of other things happen in the kitchen as well as cooking: conversations, the re-telling of family histories, and the daily drama of surviving and creating spaces for pleasure in an embattled place. In this book, women and men from throughout Gaza tell their stories as they relate to cooking, farming, and the food economy: personal stories, family stories, and descriptions of the broader social and economic system in which they live.

The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey by Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt is available from Just World Books for $29.

“Outrage”: Art speaks out on behalf of the homeless

by John Zangas

A moving work of art will lead the way during a march for the homeless in Washington, DC on October 26. A banner painted by artist Ray Voide aims to raise awareness of the ongoing social problem of homelessness in the nation’s Capital. Voide, an activist with Occupy DC, has painted about twenty wide-format banners illustrating different protest actions over the last year.

This one, entitled “Outrage,” took over 20 hours to complete. He calls the 4′ x 15′ creation “my favorite and best yet.”

The composition layers scenes with messages depicting the plight of the homeless in the District. A destitute mother cradles her baby, while the wall above them reads, “Housing is a Human Right.” A tear streams down a young girl’s cheek as she gazes over a stark metropolis of corporate buildings, lobby firms, and condominiums. And a child stares bleakly at viewers, the inscription on her torso daring them to “feel.”

“The DC government cut $7 million from its homeless budget this year,” said Voide. “That’s just not acceptable.”

Last year the District cut its homeless shelter capacity by fifty percent, from 300 units to 150. The budget for services to help the poor and homeless was slashed in spite of a $140 million operating surplus for fiscal year 2012.
The banner will accompany hundreds of homeless and activist marchers from Franklin Park to Freedom Plaza.