Bill Nevins Update

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Mon, 20 Dec 2004 13:00:00 GMT
# From highroad:
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet." -- armedcitizen

# From picks:

"Americans used to roar like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security." - Norman Vincent Peale

# Dave Workman at Armed Females of America - `Twas the night before Christmas - a retelling of the classic poem. Santa borrows a revolver from Mr. Workman, and uses it to apprehend, without firing a shot, some Christmas gift looters. Hehe. [smith2004]

# Gerard Baker at The Times - Howdy friends! What a year! - Mr. Baker shares the Christmas letter he received from Laura Bush. Hehe. [lew]

We managed to get overseas once or twice. We had a couple of days in France in June when we visited with our European friends. Usual story. They all treated George like the retarded cousin at the dinner table, patiently explaining the difference between Iraq and Iran and using their hands a lot while talking about oil prices.

The year started off really badly. Some of the boys in Iraq took some embarrassing pictures of their friends having a bit of harmless fun with the locals and the whole thing snowballed Then there seemed to be lots of nasty books and films -- all about the Bush family.

# Bill Nevins - Committing Poetry in Time of War - I reported back in May on the firing in early 2003 of Bill Nevins, a New Mexico teacher, for sponsoring a poetry team at Rio Rancho High School, one of whose members, Courtney Butler, read a poem, Revolution X, which satirized the Busheviks. Mr. Nevins contacted me a couple of days ago and sent me a summary of his case. The high school paid $205,000 to him and his lawyer to settle out of court a lawsuit that they filed in September of 2003. Mr. Nevins' son served as a soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq during the time of his firing and lawsuit. A documentary film about his case, Word!--Committing Poetry in Time of War, is in preparation and will be released in early 2005. Mr. Nevins helped found the Poetic Justice Institute, which welcomes poetry for publication.

The school administration enforced a strict pre-censorship policy towards all public statements and literary readings at the school, going so far as to cancel a performance by some of New Mexico's most respected multi-cultural literary figures.

Following student statements of protest to the media, I also spoke to the media about my own concerns about these policies and actions. I expressed concern that students excercising creative expression "with decorum" were being discouraged and silenced.

Soon after, I was informed by the school district that my contract would not be renewed and my teaching job was ended. I was never permitted to return to the school, and the poetry team died.

# George Potter at - ...and Justice for All - nice short story about true justice in an imagined future world after the revolution. [anti-state]

# Paul Craig Roberts at - A System Bereft of Justice - there is no justice available from United States police or courts. Get used to it. [root]

Torture has become routine in American prisons. The goal of the torturers is guilty pleas and false testimony against innocent defendants. The torturers succeed. Napolitano reports that "fewer than 3 percent of federal indictments were tried; virtually all the rest of those charged pled guilty."

Does anyone seriously believe that the police are so efficient that 97 out of 100 people indicted are guilty?!

The cherished code, "you are innocent until proven guilty," no longer holds in America. You are guilty when charged. You will be tortured or abused and threatened with more charges until you agree to a plea bargain.

Diane Lori Kleiman is an attorney who has worked in a district attorney's office and for the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. She says prosecutors have little concern with real crimes, preferring to target high-profile individuals in order to garner headlines and create a political career for themselves. Martha Stewart is a victim of prosecutorial ambition as was Michael Milken, whose false imprisonment created a political career for Rudy Giuliani.

# Alexander Cockburn at Counterpunch - From Kobe Bryant to Uncle Sam: Why They Hated Gary Webb - I don't think I've linked yet to a story about the "suicide" of Gary Webb, the reporter who was skewered by the press after revealing the CIA's drug running through Mena, Arkansas with the help of then governor Clinton and Papa Bush. Mr. Webb is alleged to have fired two shots into his own head with a revolver. [grabbe]

So why did the top-tier press savage Webb, and parrot the CIA's denials. It comes back to this matter of Uncle Sam's true face. Another New York Times reporter, Keith Schneider was asked by In These Times back in 1987 why he had devoted a three-part series in the New York Times to attacks on the Contra hearings chaired by Senator John Kerry. Schneider said such a story could "shatter the Republic. I think it is so damaging, the implications are so extraordinary, that for us to run the story, it had better be based on the most solid evidence we could amass." Kerry did uncover mountains of evidence. So did Webb. But neither of them got the only thing that would have satisfied Schneider, Pincus and all the other critics: a signed confession of CIA complicity by the DCI himself. Short of that, I'm afraid we're left with "innuendo", "conspiracy mongering" and "old stories". We're also left with the memory of some great work by a very fine journalist who deserved a lot better than he got from the profession he loved.

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