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The current effort gaining steam which would seek to use the tactics
of intimidation and propaganda in order to squelch free speech and
force a uniformity of thought at the Council and organizational level
must be stopped.
The underhanded effort is a clear violation of several core principles
as outlined in The Library Bill of Rights and the stated Policies of
the ALA regarding intellectual freedom. The current Chair of the
Intellectual Freedom Committee, Kenton Oliver, has written about this
"practice of gagging and deriding members who dissent" in Ohio
Libraries, and Councilors are encouraged to read excerpts of that
article added just below.
This authoritarian course of action being promoted by a relatively small
number of librarians seeks to criminalize efforts to engage in open
dialogue with ALA Council candidates about their positions. Serious
but unsubstantiated charges of fraud and ethical violations
have been publicly leveled at librarians, who are then provided no
opportunity to respond. What is worse, those using these tactics
refuse to respond to repeated public challenges to debate
these issues in open library forums, and some are now even seeking
to use the implied threat of legal action in an unprofessional attempt
to shut down the free exchange of ideas.
I invite all the ALA Council and ALA membership to resist these
censorious reactions to the exercise of prima facie democratic rights.
Resist the "rehearsed responses" to unpopular ideas that W. H. Auden
warned against. It is a very troubling trend when elected leaders who -- Read More
Now anyone can hear just what famed-author, Anthony Lewis, said at his speech for a Freedom to Read fundraiser at the ALA Convention in Philly. His remarks begin at minute 34:40 on this podcast http://feeds.feedburner.com/%7Er/NCCPrograms/%7E3/221187849/anthony_lewis_01_14_08%2864%29.mp3 from the National Constitution Center.
"I'm going to do something which I'm not entitled to do, but I'm going to raise it because I promised I would. There is an issue that has engaged some people. I don't know if they are in this room or not, maybe a few are, and that is the fate of some private librarians in Cuba who have been imprisoned by the Cuban government.
I just urge you not to take that lightly. I think there can't be anything worse than putting librarians in prison because of their being librarians and giving people books to read. So please don't ignore the issue.
That's from my point of view, even if you don't like the librarians or you don't like Cuba or whatever it is you don't like, its "freedom for the thought that we hate." Please think about it."
Moderator: "How could we not like librarians?"
(See blog for links:
It has been over year since the ad-hoc group, "Librarians for Yankees Rights", petitioned, threatened, cajoled, and pilloried the ALA mini-wigs about showing preference to the REDS in baseball.
The ALA STILL has pictures of the great Yankee batter, Johnny Damon, in a Boston Red Sox uniform, flashing on their website along with other posters of role models who urge reading.
I guess they want to be just as behind the times in Sports and Culture
as they are in politics :)
An individual burning a book may be a crime against common sense but there is no violation of common law or the Constitution. Indeed, burning books is a Constitutionally-protected form of free expression. People and organizations are free to burn books if they want to (unless they violate a local fire department permit!). I don't have the time to defend this position in more detail, but I bring it up because of the recent publicity stunt of a gay artist atheist zealot who torched a rare Koran. Gay.com reports:
Charles Merrill, the out gay artist who gained notoriety for editing the Bible with a black marker and a pair of scissors, now says he's made what he called a statement against Muslim homophobia by burning an antique Koran valued at $60,000.
"The purpose of editing and burning Abrahamic Holy Books is to eliminate homophobic hate," Merrill, 73, said in a statement from his gallery, the Broadway Gallery in New York City. "Both ancient books are terrorist manuals."
While I think his comments about the Word of God are over-the-top, and without merit, I for one am glad he burned a Koran. Given the sorry state of support for free expression in the face of Islamic support for turning Western nations into Sharia thought-control camps, people need to be reminded that the choice of free expression is far to be preferred than Islamic totalitarianism.
I say, "Burn the Damn Koran" if you want to. Of course, I think it is far better that people in the West actually read it.
You may say "Burn the Bible." So what.
Here is what I do NOT agree with. You will notice I said very carefully, in defense of burning books, that INDIVIDUALS or organizations have this right. Governments or laws should not concern themselves with such legal actions by citizens. However, it would be a crime, as it was in Cuba, for an official court to order books burnt, or for a political party or a person acting on behalf of a government, to order or call for books to be burned. That most certainly would be a violation of the principals of free speech, and a dangerous way to proceed, in domestic politics or diplomatically.
If I had a Koran worth 60,000 grand I'd probably auction it off and use some of the money to help the families of Christians and others who are murdered by Islamist regimes, acting under what they consider the dictates of the Quar'an.
I have no problem with people in Pakistan wanting to burn copies of Satanic Verses. It is when groups or governments send hit squads into other nations with order to kill authors like Salmon Rushie that we have to stand up and fight back, and squarely defend the principals of rule of law and freedom of expression.
If the West wiggles and wobbles on this core issue, this would be a denial or our heritage of liberty.
All librarians are invited to join a memorial book buring and press conference at 12 Noon on Saturday the 23rd. We will be gathering in front of the DC Convention Center.
Come join the picket line from 10 to 1 PM as we hold pictures of imprisoned librarians in Cuba and have a memorial book burning of the books which have been burned by court order in Cuba....a burning which leading ALA officials continue to ignore or deny.
Details are at: http://4freadom.blogspot.com/
Join us as we call for the ALA to finally call for the release of all the jailed librarians and for the return of their stolen collections.
For more information, read the newly released report by Freadom "Betrayal of Core Values: A Four Year Saga"
Here is Rory Litwin, a Council member of the ALA, working in cohoots with another Councilor, fishing for well-marketed titles for political propaganda sessions in order to reel in more naive support for their non-library agendas....the circus goes on.
From: email@example.com on behalf of Larry Romans
Sent: Mon 3/26/2007 3:48 PM
To: SRRT Action Council; ALA Member Forum
Cc: Larry Romans
Subject: [MEMBER-FORUM:52] "When Should ALA Jump into Political and Social Issues?"
Rory Litwin's focus on ALA and "non-library" issues comes at a
great time. At annual conference, before each Membership meeting,
we will have a 1/2 hour "forum" to allow people to talk. One of
the topics will be something like "When Should ALA Jump into
Political and Social Issues?" We could use your help in trying to
come up with provocative wording that will draw people to the forum
and the membership meetings.
I agree with almost everything Rory said on his blog.
Chair, Committee on Membership Meeting
> We could do the "talk to ALA leaders" before one meeting and "What
> Political Stands Should ALA Take?" before the other meeting.
> One thing that's important is to get the form of the issue that
> will pull in members:
> "Take on the ALA Leaders" (probably not)
> "What "non-library" issues should ALA tackle?"
> "When Should ALA Jump into Political and Social Issues?"
> Any wording suggestions?
Government Information Librarian
Vanderbilt Central Library
Nashville, TN 37240
Just back from the annual Board Meeting of Amnesty International USA, Freadom Co-Chair, Steve Marquardt, has these very insightful comparisons between the so-called "Progressives" who formulate ALA Cuban policy, and the behavior of "Right Wing" ideologues.
Right Wing Characteristics of the ALA Progressives, or
Why the So-Called ALA Progressives are really the ALA Right Wing regarding Cuba
1. Unlike flakey human rights types who advocate the freedom to read anywhere and at any time with no regard to geopoliticallectual "contexts," the ALA Progressive takes a cautious, prudent, conservative and context-sensitive posture to avoid unwarranted categorical condemnation of book burning and naÃ¯ve unthinking advocacy of freedom for imprisoned promoters of questionable, subversive and useless books.
2. The ALA Progressive avoids association with such radical groups as the French Communist Party, which in knee-jerk fashion immediately called for release of the imprisoned Cuban dissidents. The PCF stubbornly holds to that unyielding position.
3. The ALA Progressive understands the need for law and order and respects the right of nations to "take a bite out of crime" and to crack down, get tough and send a message to their respective criminal elements. In Cuba this message includes the death penalty, which is also in force in 38 of the most Republican states of the USA. The US Trading With the Enemy Act has a maximum sentence of ten years for accepting non-informational items from Cuba. Cuba's version of this law is twice as severe, doubling that sentence to 20 years for receipt of informational (as well as non-informational) items and for both receiving information and sending information out of the country.
4. The ALA Progressive apparently considers the context of book burning in Cuba to be similar to the same events in Nazi Germany 70 years ago, in the sense that in both cases the burned anti-patriotic books were those in the possession of cosmopolitan anti-patriotic elements who threatened to stab the current regime in the back, despite the regime's nearly universal popular support.
5. The ALA Progressive joint committee members who authored the Cuba approved by ALA Council in January 2004 expressed "support and assistance to the Cuban library community in safeguarding free access to â€¦ the Internet," an access then as now among the most unfree and restricted in the world, to a degree that would be the envy of any school board in the Bible Belt.
6. The ALA Progressive is pro-business, advocating the 19th century colonialist principle that freedom follows the vanguard of economic enterprise. This belief in the primacy of business activity â€“ that intellectual freedom and other freedoms must be preceded by free trade â€“ is evident in their belief that if only the embargo is lifted, then Cuba's political prisoners will be released.
7. The ALA Progressive respects and approves the role of the armed forces in domestic society, viewing with basic approval the achievements of the only two remaining regimes in Latin America led by figures who parade about in military uniform.
8. The ALA Progressive views sympathetically the family-centered Mafia approach to leadership, which retains control within the family by passing national executive authority on to close family members, such as a younger brother.
9. The ALA Progressive understands the need for a fundamentalist belief system that guides a purpose-driven life within the Church of the Revolution and protects the mass of the faithful by separating heretics into institutions that can encourage them to repent their false beliefs, by means of torture if necessary.
10. The ALA Progressive in the Office for Intellectual Freedom shares the same proclivities to covering up crimes, as demonstrated by conservative administrations from Nixon through G.W. Bush. The sealing of Bush archives and the closing of EPA libraries is echoed in the ALA OIF restrictive selectivity in posting news of book burnings, as shown by its (January 2007) posting of five (5) violations of Harry Potter titles, but not the incineration of a Martin Luther King Jr biography or any other titles in the six (6) independent libraries destroyed by order of Cuban provincial courts.
11. The ALA Progressive in the Office for Intellectual Freedom has said, "I cannot rely solely upon â€¦ a website funded by grants from the U.S. government." Perhaps if the website were hosted not by the federally compromised Florida State University, bur rather by the ultraconservative Hillsdale College (which refuses even federal work study funds for students) it would be trustworthy.
12. Like banana republics that ratify the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and every UN human rights convention that comes down the pike, while ignoring oppression of indigenous peoples, minority groups and dissenting voices, the ALA Progressive adopts eloquent Intellectual Freedom language while voting down the calls for the physical freedom of dissidents imprisoned for pursuing their nonviolent interest in studying and expanding their conscientiously held ideas.
Â© Steve R. Marquardt, 2007
(this challenge was just posted to this blog:
How to Liberate Hillary's Thesis?
We hear a LOT from librarians about the need for open access in a democracy (I concur)...and a lot of complaints about how copyright laws infringe on the right of the public to know. I sympathize with much, but do not concur with all of that bellyaching, BUT,
How about the librarians of the land leading an effort to liberate Hillary Clinton's senior thesis to the public? Here is how it would work: start the sign up in the comments if you wish to join.(At freadom or here)
In the excellent MSNBC article, the author writes:
"Besides being available for reading, but not copying, at the Wellesley archives (on the fourth floor of the library, Monday through Friday), the thesis can be read at your local library â€” one library at a time, that is. A single copy, on microfilm, can be ordered from Wellesley on a 30-day interlibrary loan.
While the traveling copy raises the possibility that someone could check out the microfilm, photocopy it or retype it, and post the text on the Internet, doing so would run the risk of a lawsuit."
The journalist also reported:
The attempt was unnecessary, said a copyright specialist, professor Laura N. Gasaway of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With or without the mark, an unpublished work is protected as soon as it's written, and the protection extends until 70 years after the author's death, Gasaway said. Readers can comment on the thesis, or publish limited quotations from it, but anyone who publishes the text could be liable for statutory damages of up to $150,000.
Of course, it's not clear whether a presidential candidate would want to draw even more attention to her writings on an old radical by suing.
OK, so how about someone, I'm game to begin with, gets a copy of the microfilm, makes a copy of the whole thing, and sends that copy to about 20 different librarians who stand for open inquiry? Then, each of them publishes 5 pages on their own website, which would appear not to violate copyright laws. Then, the public wanting to read the whole thing could click from site to site and read it all.
If the copying of the thesis and sending it to others would leave one open to lawsuit, then the microfilm would have to circulate 20 times to participating players, who would make copies of their own.
A quicker way to do this would be to have 20 librarians and journalist in New England go to Wellsely one after the other and copy their five pages in the archives. Then they can each post that to their own websites.....
Let's Liberate Hillary's Thesis, in the spirit of Alinsky and the core values of librarianship and democracy. Let the PEOPLE into the archives to judge for themselves!
Perhaps some or most of the members of the ALA's IRC Committee are unaware of the falsehoods which Judith Krug and Don Wood have tried to slip by them, most recently in their recent astonishing comments at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, where the chief watchdog (NOT) for our liberties, said she was going to dig her heels in.
Great: Books are burned, whole library collections are destroyed, innocent librarians are tossed into the Cuban Gulag, Martin Luther King is trashed as an anti-communist, son-of-a-dissident, black-ass upstart bitch, and Mrs. Krug is more concerned about her petty fights with Bob Kent, and covering up for the obvious ideological bias of Don Wood, who deletes all dissident posts from his ALA blog, just like Castro tries to delete dissent in Cuba. That is my editorial on this remarkable situation, all DOCUMENTED below, in words less "scurrilous" than mine...
Any member of the IFC, or the IFC for that matter, who can point out the factual errors in this analysis is welcome to post those comments here or send them to me. WE won't delete your viewpoint, like the head piglets over at the ALA's OIF Animal Farm do. (For the RECORD: note my sarcastic designation of head piglets--- it is NOT the ALA Council, nor current or past Presidents, it is specifically the elites who run the show at the Office of Intellectual Fiction.)
From: Steve Marquardt
Date: Feb 12, 2007 9:22 PM
Subject: Cuba discussion in ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee
To: Barbara Jones , "Barbara K. Stripling" , Beatrice Nichols < firstname.lastname@example.org>, Bowie Kotrla , Carrie Gardner , "Catherine C. Collins" < email@example.com>, Douglas Archer , Erin Rushton , "Gail A. Weymouth" , Helen Ruth Adams , Jack Forman < firstname.lastname@example.org>, "James K. Teliha" , Jim Scholtz , "Joyce L. McIntosh" , Judith Krug , "June A. Pinnell-Stephens" < email@example.com>, "Karen R. Lemmons" , "Kathleen D. Krepps" < firstname.lastname@example.org>, Kendall French Wiggin , Kenton Oliver , "Lara L. Rudolph" , "Margaret A. Rohdy" , Marta Deyrup , Michael Sawyer , Michael Wright , Neal Wyatt , "Robert P. Holley" , Ruth Newell < email@example.com>, Samantha Hines , "Stephanie C. Sarnoff" , Suzan Parker , "Sybil L. Boutilier" , Yvette Tetrault Johnson < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Members of the ALA IFC and IFRT,
The recent blog report of the meeting of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee contained statements that indicate a astonishing grasping for any excuse available to avoid facing the truth of book burning in Cuba. I have pasted below the blog notes of the recent Midwinter meetings in Seattle by Greg McClay, posted at http://www.shuch.ws/wordpress/, and I have added my own comments of explanation and rejoinder. There will be one or two follow-up e-mails containing attachments relative to some of the points made below. I welcome any responses. -- Steve Marquardt9383 123rd Avenue SELake Lillian, MN 56253-4700(320) 664-4231Amnesty International USA Legislative Coordinator for Minnesota(Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Amnesty International.)
The Notebook blog comments of January 2007 at the ALA MidWinter meetings of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, in Seattlehttp://www.shush.ws/wordpress/
BLOG: Day 2 PrologueJanuary 21st, 2007â€¦ quote of the day goes to Judith Krug [Director of ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom]: I've dug in my heelsâ€¦ I refuse to be governed by people with an agenda!
COMMENT: I thought the Office for Intellectual Freedom agenda was also our "pro-independent librarians" agenda â€“ defending intellectual freedom and the freedom to read, and opposing book burning.
BLOG: Heh. The Intellectual Freedom Committee was a hoot.D2 IFC I con't â€“ CubaJanuary 22nd, 2007BLOG: (Don't roll your eyes, just read.) Less than half way through the meeting we had two guests, John Berry (the former ALA President one, not the LJ one or the Native American one) and (I believe) Michael Dowling, Director of the International Relations Committee ( http://www.ala.org/ala/iro/internationalrelations.htm). Krug announced that "Cuba wouldn't die", despite her inclination to "drown it".
COMMENT: Was this a Freudian slip or a conscious and considered choice of word? "Drown" is indeed the fate of tens of thousands of Cuban rafters, of whom certainly half and perhaps and many as 75% have failed to survive at sea long enough to be rescued, this is an appalling choice of word. Fidel Castro in 1994 said that since 1989, "51,076 Cubans tried to leave and 13,275 made it." ( U.S. New and World Report, September 26, 1994, page 26). Many were intercepted and others interred and returned by the US Coast Guard, but the estimates of those drowned since 1959 vary widely, from 16,000 to 100,000. For the Director of ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom to choose this word to respond to the support by ALA members for the freedom to read initiative in Cuba is most regrettable.
BLOG: But staff at the Office of Intellectual Freedom was "taking a beating on this" and she wanted to make sure the committee was informed of what was going on. [John W.] Berry talked a little about IFLA (ALA=USA, IFLA=UN) and its group FAIFE [Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression] (the international equivalent of the Intellectual Freedom Committee). Dowling gave some background on IFLA and FAIFE expressing 'deep concern' over the jailed librarians in Cuba.
COMMENT: The demands from Amnesty International, International PEN, Human Rights Watch and others seeking release of the prisoners have been reiterated several times since their first publication, usually on the anniversary of the trials. In contrast, ALA's expression of "deep concern" has not been the subject of a report or press release since its adoption in Council on January 14, 2004. Is this "deep concern" or Deep Six? You decide.
BLOG: Both gave a fairly detailed account of the Cuba situation with the jailed librarians and certain parties involved with it, specifically Robert Kent ( http://www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org/ ). What seems to give them the most pause is the fact that the US gov't has provided a number of grants to Cubans to assist in regime change and that 8 of those grants, totaling $2 million dollars, were given to support the independent librarian movement.
COMMENT: This is true. The USA also provided legal assistance to human rights defenders during the Argentine "Dirty War," employed sanctions against apartheid in South Africa, joined the AFL-CIO is support of the Solidarity labor movement in Poland, and pressured the USSR on human rights through the vehicle of the Helsinki Accords.
BLOG: They are also highly suspicious of Kent's income, his lack of interest in moving up the ladder at his place of work,
COMMENT: Of the seven people I consider most vocal in opposition to the freedom to read in Cuba, only one has "moved up the ladder" to become a library director, or even an assistant director. As for Bob Kent, he joined Amnesty International in 1983 and has contributed much time to human rights work through his local AIUSA Group. Many times during my 24 years as a library director I thought it would be more fulfilling to be a cataloger or acquisitions librarian once again and thus have more time for human rights and less for time for reports, meetings, proposals, budget reviews, more meetings, performance evaluations and other such stuff.
BLOG: â€¦ and his ability to travel to all the IFLA conventions around the world and apparently are trying to find a money trail that leads from our government to Kent's wallet.
COMMENT: If Bob Kent were a government agent, he would have been provided with much more effective training in diplomacy and tact. See also the ALA International Relations Committee action on January 24, 2007, at the conclusion of this report.
BLOG: Back to the librarians in jail, Berry said they took unnecessary risks in accepting the funds and that even other Cuban dissidents had warned them against doing so.
COMMENT: What funds? Sentencing documents from the Cuban courts posted at the "Rule of Law and Cuba" web site of Florida State University contain no documentation of direct cash receipts by the arrested persons from the US Interests Section in Havana. The sentencing documents allege receipt of funds from points in North America from a variety of sources and by a variety of means. Some independent minded people were paid for news articles, just as are freelance journalists in the USA. Whether other remittances are from friends, colleagues, co-conspirators or family members remains uncertain. See the following e-mail, "Cuba: funds received bu dissidents arrested in March 2003."
BLOG: (Side note: during the conversation Krug gave some her own background in dealing with international issues. Prior to FAIFE's existence back in the 70's she was involved in ALA's handling of an issue concerning a Raisa Polatnik (sp?) who was arrested in Russia by the KGB for having some type of book collection. This led to Krug's convincing IFLA to create FAIFE and thereby fluff off international issues like this to them. Bleg: more info on the Polatnik issue would be appreciated.)
COMMENT: I've not been able to track down this person or story.
BLOG: The reason this whole discussion took place is because it has been learned that materials confiscated by Cuba from the independent librarians were destroyed, possibly burned. Book burning. And it has been requested that this info be posted on ALA's book burning page (multiple posts on the issue at Freadom's blog, http://4freadom.blogspot.com/. Krug refuses to do it at this point (see quote of the day). Why? In part the players involved.
COMMENT: Two of the three most prominent players â€“ Bob Kent and me â€“ have a total of 49 years' volunteer leadership service to Amnesty International. Clearly players not to be trusted?
BLOG: Also in part the documents that say the books were destroyed came from a website funded by one of those grants up above. Berry: "You never entirely know who's being truthful."
COMMENT: My first thought here, as a recently retired land grant university library director, was the fear of misinformation that may be rife in the grant-supported Agricultural Extension and Experiment Station bulletins. Then I thought of the disinformation that has crept into any and all federally funded research. But the potential for corrupted information is greatest in those libraries participating in the FCLP â€“ the Federal Depository Library Program. Just think about it!
BLOG: Without an "impartial" source stating it, they won't go up. Irony being that in a communist country there are no impartial sources to provide such information.
COMMENT: Amnesty International, a Nobel Peace Prize winning organization known for its nonpartisan independence, has accepted the Cuban court sentencing documents as valid, citing them 73 times in its June 2003 report on the crackdown in Cuba. The court documents contain an order to destroy a biography of the Nobel Peace Prize winning civil rights hero, Martin Luther King Jr. Online publication of the documents on the Florida State University web site was reported in at least two Florida newspapers and an Associated Press release in September 2004. Yet ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom continues to demand a "legitimate" newspaper article specifically about the book burning as its price of recognizing this crime against the freedom to read. If Amnesty were a newspaper and published an extended 3000 word article on this subject, OIF ould be satisfied. Instead, Amnesty in 2003 published a 31,500 word report bolstered by 237 footnotes ( http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR250172003?open&of=ENG-CUB) and the ALA OIF refuses to accept this as "legitimate" validation of the court documents and the orders contained therein!
BLOG: During discussion the idea about the confiscated books being burned was played down. Berry said that other items like faxes and copiers were also destroyed, according to the documents, so it wasn't really book burning as we think of it.
COMMENT: Not true â€“ books were destroyed but hardware was given to various government agencies. A spreadsheet documenting follows in my next e-mail, subject line "Cuba: books burned, hardware to government agencies." HAS ANYONE BESIDES ME READ THE SENTENCING DOCUMENTS, much less ANALYZED THEM? Two librarians on the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee â€“ Bowie Kotrla and Lara Rudolph â€“ work at the FSU libraries. Have they ever given them a look, or crossed campus to check out the history and validity of the documents?
BLOG: Someone else actually said the US does the same thing with some confiscated materials from raids and that we must have burnt books as well. Of course I would think how the destruction is seen might be influenced by what the person was arrested for, but that's just me.
COMMENT: Is there any documentation of US authorities destroying books because of subversive content? Have US authorities raided any US libraries and seized and destroyed their contents? Where is this documentation? Remember, a major newspaper report will be required by the ALA OIF.
BLOG: Don Wood also spoke up to play down the book burning website, saying it was really only a site for high school students to get research material from. Its not meant to be comprehensive.
COMMENT: It's comprehensive regarding Harry Potter, a fictional person who merits five (5) book burning entries. As regards posting the destruction of a Nobel Peace Prize winner's biography, well, editorial judgment is being exercised. Even during the current Black History Month, the score is Potter 5, King 0.
BLOG: Krug was extremely perturbed by the end, referring to Kent's "tactics" as "beyond the pale". (Kent wasn't the only person mentioned, two other non-ALA members were discussed but I didn't catch the names she gave and didn't want to make assumptions) She was tempted to say something else but kept it in check. Happily, near the end of the conversation a couple people in the room did tell their personal stories. One had actually visited Cuba and been told by an elderly gentleman that when he and his diabetic wife spoke up against Castro her medicine stopped coming and she died. (The dangers of Universal Healthcare?) Another had gone to China and, in response to Berry's discussion about his own visits to the official Cuban libraries, talked about how the Chinese libraries looked good at first but once you spent some time looking they were very superficial. Another member discussed how easy it is to find similar library issues in other countries. Summation: Obviously there's a lot of confusion on the Cuba issue, but then that's usually what people say when they don't want to deal with it. Cuba gets special attention because it's a communist country that's a stone's throw from Florida. People are literally dying to try and get here from there. For all the focus that was once on Elian Gonzalez let's try not to forget that his mother died in an effort to get him here. That's not what normal people do unless they're in a very extreme environment that they have to get out of. That should make us take note. Do gov't monies blur the issue and make everything suspect? I'm not sure that's true but it's the kind of thing that gives most people pause. In general we like everything to be above board. Espionage is for dime store novels. Do I think less of Robert Kent? No, but hopefully he'll respond to some of this. What about Krug? Well, let's put it this way. Her and Berry were very agitated about the pro-independent librarian side using each other as sources, sort of looping back into one another and creating a false sense of legitimacy.
COMMENT: The number of sources cited in this and the following e-mail message's attachment are as follows: "pro-independent librarians" = 2; other sources = 10. Speaking for myself â€“ a Ph.D. in History addicted to footnotes and a former Copyright Office steeped in proper attribution â€“ I always try to provide citations for the facts, because the facts are on the side of human rights and intellectual freedom. Let's stick to the facts.
BLOG: Krug refuses to deal with international issues because they don't fall under the 1st amendment.
COMMENT: The OIF has "issues" with international book burning, as shown on its "Book Burning in the 21st Century" web site, where you may find news of book burning in Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Republic of Georgia. This accords with ALA Policy 53.1.12: "The American Library Association believes that freedom of expression is an inalienable human right, necessary to self-government, vital to the resistance of oppression, and crucial to the cause of justice, and further, that the principles of freedom of expression should be applied by libraries and librarians throughout the world. Adopted 1989." [Emphasis added by S.M.]
BLOG: She encouraged IFLA to create FAIFE in order for them to deal with issues that we would see as anti-human rights. However IFLA is made up of countries from all over the world, many of whom have little interest in the ideals we hold dear (they haven't done much on the Cuba issue either, or issues like it). Krug has created her own moral loop, saying she doesn't have to deal with international free speech issues because there is FAIFE even though FAIFE is made up of countries that aren't really interested in international free speech issues. Its exactly like Democrats and the UN. Maybe she's naÃ¯ve, but the fact she seems to reserve her anger for those opposed to dictatorships instead of dictators makes me think less than kind things about her.
COMMENT: Maybe it's a fondness for historic preservation â€“ preservation of the last of the military dictatorships that once dotted the Latin American landscape and the Caribbean seascape. Only one of this species remains and it is endangered by the freedom to read movement.
BLOG: In any case, the damage is done. IFC and Cuba don't mix. The International Relations Committee should be pressured and ALA should stop relying on IFLA and starting speaking out on all the most egregious acts against libraries and librarians around the world, simply, directly.
COMMENT: As long as IFC maintains a web page reporting on book burnings worldwide, there will be continuing appropriate and "legitimate" requests to post the destruction of six entire independent library collections on that web page.
BLOG: D6 ACIII con't International Relations Committee CD #18 January 24th, 2007 +a follow-up item on the Cuba issue, CD#18 specifically mentions the US Gov't Accountability report that discusses the 8 grantees supporting the independent librarians in Cuba. CD#18 specifically says that the International Relations Comm will be submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain information about those grantees: "who they are, how much funds were received, what were the grants for, and reports on their activities."
COMMENT: This initiative is welcomed. It was suggested in July 2006 by one of the persons working for the release of prisoners and the posting of the book burning news. The following web site shows the National Endowment for Democracy initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean: http://www.ned.org/grants/05programs/grants-lac05.html#Cuba, Foreign Assistance: U.S. Democracy Assistance for Cuba Needs Better Management and Oversight. "Highlights" document: http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d07147high.pdf. Entire report: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07147.pdf. Report Abstract: [ http://www.gao.gov/docdblite/summary.php?rptno=GAO-07-147&accno=A63388]. As the search for the money trail to Bob Kent's wallet begins in earnest, I urge persons on the IFC and the IRC to search also through the sentencing documents at http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/, in order to avoid further incorrect statements about the dissidents and the reasons for their imprisonment.
COMMENTs by Steve Marquardt.
Gorman Supports Intellectual Freedom
Speaking for myself, and not in my capacity as co-chair of FREADOM, I would like to respond to the accusations that Bob Kent has made about M. Gorman.
I would like to point out, for the record, these positive statements that Gorman has made in the past, some of them with direct reference to Cuba.
1.During the Codrescu Q&A, Presidential Keynote event at the ALA Midwinter Conference in San Antonio, TX, 22 Jan. 2006, re: Cuba:
"... the people in prison, these people should not be in prison. They should be freed immediately. They should never have been sentenced, sent to prison for the activities connected with any kind of dissemination of information or literature."
2. From "The value and values of libraries: a Talk given at the Celebration of Libraries," Oxford, England, September 20, 2002.
"It seems to me that libraries stand, above all, for the enlightened and rational notion that human beings are improved by the acquisition of knowledge and information and that no bar should be placed in their way. We stand for the individual human being pursuing whatever avenues of enquiry she or he wishes."
3. In answer to a specific question about Cuba when he was a candidate for ALA President, Thursday, December 18, 2003:
Question: As a librarian and as a visitor to Cuba back in 2000, I am wondering what you, as candidate for ALA President, believe ALA should say or do regarding the crackdown on the persons who set up independent libraries in Cuba.
Gormans answer, later that same day: I am utterly and unalterably opposed to restrictions on freedom of speech and experession [sic] by any government or government agency in any country. I believe in intellectual freedom and the right of free expression and wish those were available to all people in all countries.
All librarians who feel the same way are respectfully invited to join the FREADOM Train in our effort to get high school and college students actually reading and discussing the books which tyrants have burned.
Secondly, I would like to point out that there is no proof whatsoever that Mr. Gorman saw Mr. Kents follow up question at the Chronicle of Higher Education live chat. A question that I sent to the editor, asking if Mr. Gorman will join a growing number of librarians in endorsing the Read A Burned Book campaign, was also not in the list of questions asked. Saying that the guest â€œremained silentâ€? about something he probably never even saw is not justified.
That's EXACTLY what would happen here if our so-called "fascist" government were to treat the ALA free-speechers the same way dissent is treated in Cuba. Here, from the very latest Amnesty International report, release today. Most of the ALA Council members committ these crimes on a weekly basis.
"Political dissidents and critics are often sentenced for a crime known as â€œsocial dangerousnessâ€?. This is a pre-emptive measure that is defined as the â€œproclivity to commit a crimeâ€? and targets any behaviour contrary to the â€œsocialist moraleâ€? like â€œdrunkennessâ€?, â€œdrug addictionâ€? and â€œanti-social behaviourâ€? but it is applied to political dissidents, independent journalists and critics. People tried for â€œdangerousnessâ€? are sentenced for up to 4 years of prison while the law provides for â€œtherapeutic treatmentâ€?, â€œre-educationâ€? or â€œsurveillance by the Revolutionary National Police.â€?
Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a bricklayer and plumber, was arrested on 20 March 2003 whilst taking part in a hunger strike at the FundaciÃ³n JesÃºs YÃ¡nez Pelletier in Havana to demand the release of Oscar Biscet and other political prisoners.
He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment in 2003 on charges of showing â€œcontempt to the figure of Fidel Castroâ€?, â€œpublic disorderâ€? and resistanceâ€?. In November 2005 he was sentenced to an additional 15 years for â€œcontemptâ€? and â€œresistanceâ€? in prison. In May 2006, he was again tried on the same charges and sentenced to an additional seven-year term. He is now serving a prison sentence of 25 years and six months.
As part of FREADOMs new International Read A Burned Book Campaign, high school and college students are encouraged to read one of the Top Ten books burned in Cuba.
The list is based on the court evidence of the trials in which thousands of books were ordered burned, after whole library collections were confiscated, with no warrant, and the directors were jailed.
1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Perhaps the most incinerated document taken from the independent libraries in Cuba has been the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
2. Cuba's Repressive Machinery: Human Rights Forty Years After the Revolution, by Human Rights Watch (Human Rights Watch, July 20, 1999).
3. View of Dawn in the Tropics, by G. Cabrera Infante. Translated from Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine. (London: Faber, 1988)
4. Martin Luther King: Contra todos las exclusiones, by Vincent Rousell (Bilbao [Spain]: Editorial DesclÃ©e De Bouwer, 1995).
5. George Orwell, ALA Farm. (Oops, thatâ€™s Animal Farm)
6. EI Viaje de Juan Pablo II, or The Journey of John Paul II.
7. El Proyecto Varela [The Varela Project] by Alberto Muller [and] Oswaldo PayÃ¡ (Miami, FL : Ediciones Universal, 2002).
8. Reporters Without Borders Report
9. The Black Book of Communism (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999).
10. The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe, by Vaclav Havel
Librarians and Authors may still sign one the campaign, which Is drawing international support. E-mail libertas at dialmaine.com
If you wish to add your name to the list of distinguished people:
See statement and signatories: http://www.4freadom.org/RBBStatement.html
(This question and invitation was just emailed to ALA President, Leslie Burger, and posted to FREADOM's blog)
Dear Mrs. Burger,
Last year, during the Banned Books week, you were quoted in a nationwide press release as follows:
"Throughout history, there always have been a few people who donâ€™t want information to be freely available. And this is still true," said ALA President Leslie Burger. "The reason more books arenâ€™t banned is because community residents - with librarians, teachers and journalists - stand up and speak out for their freedom to read. Banned Books Week reminds us that we must remain vigilant."
We would like to ask the same question that Honorary Lifetime ALA member did earlier this month in a letter to you. He wrote to you on January
January 6, 2007
Princeton Public Library
65 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542
CIF maintains a "Book Burning" web page. However, despite repeated
requests, it has failed to provide links to Amnesty International and
OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rightsâ€™ reports concerning the
destruction of books and other library materials in Cuba. Court
documents indicate judicially ordered â€œincinerationâ€? of myriad items,
largely confiscated from bibliotecas independientes.
Please explain why ALA/OIF refuses to acknowledge such bibliocide.
With best wishes,
4400 Morningside Road
Edina, MN 55416
Enclosed: â€œBooks Known to Have Been Burned in Cuba in 2003â€?
The last document he referred to is the one Amnesty International activist, ALA member and library director, Emeritus, Steve Marquardt, Ph.D, compiled, which is part of our new "Read A Burned Book" campaign.
Mrs. Burger, you are the President of a great organization that tries to speak up for those who are silenced. Don't you understand that the librarians and teachers and journalists in Cuba who do stand up to actual BOOK BURNING (not merely banning) get beaten, or jailed, or exiled?
We hope you will lead by example and sign this statement. But, if you do not wish to support this Intellectual Freedom effort of FREADOM's, could you at least explain why?
Poet, Librarian, Journalist
Librarians, authors and civil libertarians are invited to sign onto the Read A Burned Book campaign, which will be officially launched very soon. The statement and current list of signatories is below. Anyone wanting to add their name can please email libertas(@)dialmaine(dot)com
"There are worse crimes than burning books.
One of them is not reading them"
Joseph Brodsky, 1940-1996
We, the undersigned authors and librarians, voice our support for the
â€œRead A Burned Bookâ€? campaign, and we urge freedom-loving people around
the world to read the books which tyrants burn.
We especially urge young people in all lands to read and discuss the books
which were ordered â€œincineratedâ€? by judges subservient to Fidel Castro in
2003. The paper of books written by Guillermo Infante, George Orwell,
Martin Luther King Jr., Carlos Franqui, Vaclav Havel, Oswaldo Paya, Pope
John Paul II and many others may have been burned, but their words have
flown like birds to the minds of those who yearn to be free.
Tyranny in any nation cannot long survive, nor easily arise, when the
people demand to freely read. We look forward to the day when the people
of a truly-independent Cuba will thrive in a land where books are not
burned, independent libraries are not destroyed, and journalists are not
Carlos Franqui, Cuban Revolutionary, Author "Family Portrait with Fidel",
editor of Carta de Cuba literary journal.
Prof. Carlos Eire, Yale; Author "Waiting For Snow in Havana", Winner of
National Book Award
Amb. Armando Valladares, Poet and Author of "Against All Hope", former
prisoner of conscience in Cuba and US Ambassdor to the United Nations
Human Rights Commission.
Humberto Colas & Berta Mexidor, Founders, Independent Library Project of
Cuba, ALA Members
Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Author of Lupe Solano Mystery Series and
recipient of the Flamingo Award.
Nat Hentoff, Internationally-respected Journalist, Jazz Critic, and Civil
Andrei Codrescu, Poet, Novelist, and National Public Radio columnist,
recipient of ACLU Freedom of Speech Award.
Sandy Berman, Maverick Library Author and Honorary Lifetime member of
American Library Association
Steve Marquardt, Ph.D, Co-Chair FREADOM and South Dakota State University
Dean of Libraries Emeritus
Beth Hill, Asst. Professor, University of Idaho, Librarian & ALA Council
Steve Fesenmaier, Librarian, ALA member
Wojciech Siemaszkiewicz, Former Solidarity activist and Librarian
Walter Skold, Poet, Librarian, and Co-Chair of FREADOM
Werner A. Lind, Assistant Director, Easley Library, Bluefield College ,VA
Liar, liar, socks on fire.....
From WSJ, in light of final report from House Goverment Reform Committtee:
One incident is particularly suggestive. By his fourth and final visit to review documents and prepare for testimony before the 9/11 Commission, the Archives staff had grown suspicious of how Mr. Berger was handling the documents, so they numbered each one he was given in pencil on the back of the document. When one of them--No. 217--was apparently removed from the files by Mr. Berger, the staff reprinted a copy and replaced it for his review. According to the report, Mr. Berger then proceeded to slip the second copy "under his portfolio also." In other words, he stole the same document twice.
This gives the lie to Mr. Berger's story that he was taking the documents for his own convenience, to assist with his preparation for testimony to the commission. If that were the whole story, one copy of document 217 would surely have been sufficient. That document was an email pertaining to a draft of the Millennium After-Action Report on the attempted bombing of Los Angeles International Airport. The episode suggests that Mr. Berger had some other motive for removing No. 217, even if he was ultimately unsuccessful in doing so. But neither his April 2005 plea agreement, nor the Congressional report, nor the report of the Archives' Inspector General shed any light on what that motive might have been...
"The more we learn about Sandy Berger's brilliant career as a document thief, the clearer it becomes that there is plenty we still don't know and may never learn. On Tuesday, the House Government Reform Committee released its report on Mr. Berger's pilfering of classified documents from the National Archives.
The committee's 60-page report makes it clear that Mr. Berger knew exactly what he was doing and knew that what he was doing was wrong. According to interviews with National Archives staff, Mr. Berger repeatedly arranged to be left alone with highly classified documents by feigning the need to make personal phone calls, and he used those moments alone with the files to stuff them in his pockets and briefcase."
Now that Congress has released a final report, and it has such damning conclusions in a matter involving our nation's most-sensitive archivist positions, maybe the MSLP (Main Stream Library Press) will deem it newsworthy...
O, shucks, Sandy Burglar is not a lying Republican so maybe he'll just continue to get a library pass from them....
If government-ordered book burning is OK with you, you need read no further. Have a nice day.
If, however, ALA's refusal to post such news on its "Book Burning in the 21st Century" web site concerns or at least puzzles you, then I ask for your help in restoring the integrity of ALA.
Cuban courts in April 2003 ordered the incineration or destruction of the entire holdings â€“ thousands of items â€“ held in six independent libraries. You can read the documentation for yourself as follows, as the Rule of Law and Cuba web site of the Florida State University, by using the following key words:
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-matanzas-9e.cfm. Search for "incineration."
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-santiago-6e.cfm. Search for "incineration."
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-sancti-spiritus-4e.cfm . Search for "destruction."
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-matanzas-2e.cfm . Search for "incineration."
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-havana-10e.cfm. Search for "destruction."
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-ciegodeavila-2e.cfm . Search for "destruction."
After 18 months of repeated requests to post news of this crime against intellectual freedom on its web site devoted to "Book Burning in the 21st Century" ( http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bookburning/21stcentury/21stcentury.htm)
ALA has yet to do so. We have supplied a paragraph for posting, complete with links to the court documents (see final page of attachment), but Don Wood of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom continues to say that he needs verification of the book burning from a major news source (despite posting news on his web page from small local newspapers). We have sought this coverage, but there is understandably little interest in "news" that is now nearly four years old!
Reputable and objective verification does exist in the total of 151 direct references to Cuba's sentencing documents in the comprehensive reports published by Amnesty International ( http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR250172003?open&of=ENG-CUB)
and the Organization of American States ( http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2006eng/CUBA.12476eng.htm ). The details are in the attachment.
This issue is important to the reputation of our profession and the integrity of our Association. Reasonable people can differ about the legitimacy of Cuban laws allegedly violated by persons operating independent libraries and accepting information materials from the US Interests Section in Havana, but if government-ordered burning of thousands of "subversive" books is not worthy of mention, then our professional association has indeed turned a new ethical corner.
I urge you to send a letter, preferably a letter on your letterhead and in your own words, asking ALA President Leslie Burger why, given reputable and objective documentation at the international level, the Office for Intellectual Freedom refuses to post news of the book burning in Cuba. Even a quick e-mail will help.
Please send the letter SOON â€“ preferably no later than January 11, to be sure that she gets it before leaving for ALA MidWinter in Seattle.
The ALA President's address is:
Leslie Burger, ALA President
Princeton Public Library
65 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542
609-924-8822 ext. 253
AND please send a copy of your letter to the editorial page editor of the Seattle Post Intelligencer or the same officer at The Seattle Times, in the hope that they also may pose the same question during the ALA MidWinter conference:
Editorial Page Editor
101 Elliott Ave. W.
Seattle, WA 98119
James F. Vesely
Editorial Page Editor
The Seattle Times
P.O. Box 70
Seattle, WA 98111
Steve Marquardt, Ph.D.
9383 123rd Avenue SE
Lake Lillian, MN 56253
Dean of Libraries Emeritus, South Dakota State University
Amnesty International USA Legislative Coordinator for Minnesota
For more than two days the folks who run the new OIF blog have censored the very first comment that was posted there. Why is that? Why are the folks there afraid of a simple question, which I post below? Is this going to be the way they start off such a good venture -- by refusing to post the first comment to a blog that is dedicated to dissent, questioning, and freedom of speech?
Here is the question they seem to wish readers not read:
When is the leadership of the OIF going to break the censorship of book burning information from Cuba, and make an official response, which was PROMISED over a year ago, to librarians and human rights activists who have asked again and again for a response to the documentation, which was provided to Don Wood at his request?
for the documentation.
Why does the book burning page still have no reference to one of the worst cases of State-sponsored book burning in the last decade?"
I just emailed the staff at the OIF to ask what their policy is going to be; an answer would be nice.
Dear OIF Staff,
I posted what may have been the first comment to your new blog. The
purpose of the blog would seem to indicate that your office welcomes posts
and questions -- yet my post has NOT been "moderated" in over two days,
while other comments are now appearing.
Is it going to be the policy of your new blog to post comments that are
relevant to intellectual freedom issues, especially as they relate
specifically and fundamentally to ALA principles as related to book
burning, or is it going to be your policy to flush such comments down the
The best response would be to simply post the comment and answer the
question -- a question which I am my colleagues have waited over one year
Does anybody know which library the Cascada video was filmed at?
Jack has posted it and here is the UTube Link:
I know it is old news, the song anyway, but a quick search did not reveal which library it was shot in, only that it took them all night to shoot and they had to have the place cleaned up by daylight.
It almost looks like a room in the NYPL, but she is from Germany....
She never came to MY library school for a class?
Jack asks this very pertinent question about why the silence on S. Berger from the establishment library press? I'm willing to say "let them have Christmas off, that is why no news," but, when the 12 Days are over, let's bet : Will there be coverage of this story? Also, if the theif in question had been a high-ranking Republican, is there someone who doubts whether the Archives official who nabbed him would be on the cover of LJ/AmL?
Jack writes: "THIS MORNING MARKS ONE WEEK SINCE THE RELEASE of the National Archives inspector general's official report on former national security advisor Sandy Berger's theft and destruction of highly classified documents from the Archives in Washington, D.C.
The heavily redacted report, made public by Pajamas Media (viewable here), recounts Berger's removal of documents from the Archives building (pdf):
Mr. Berger exited the Archives on to Pennsylvania Avenue, the north entrance. It was dark. He did not want to run the risk of bringing the documents back in the building risking the possibility [redacted] might notice something unusual. He headed towards a construction area on Ninth Street. Mr. Berger looked up and down the street, up into the windows of the Archives and the DOJ, and did not see anyone. He removed the documents from his pockets, folded the notes in a "V" shape and inserted the documents in the center. He walked inside the construction fence and slid the documents under a trailer.
There has been no mention of the inspector general's report at Library Journal. No mention at American Libraries. No story at LISNews. Not a word.
The reader is invited to imagine the bloodcurdling howls, the rending of clothes we would even now be witnessing from our library media and institutions, had such an official report been released concerning any former official of a Republican administration, let alone a former national security advisor.
Ever wonder what the ole fraud does with the letters he gets from kids?
This new documentary finally answers the questions.
Remember, Santa ain't noth'n but a ho!
WARNING--if you do happen to believe in Santa, this short expose is not for you!