Dennis Loo

 Dennis Loo is an award-winning sociologist, co-editor of Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney, Associate Professor of Sociology at Cal Poly Pomona and an honors graduate in Government from Harvard. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is a former journalist and his research specialties include polling, public policy-making, social movements, and criminology.He can be reached via his blog: http://dennisloo.blogspot.com

Department of Defense Training Manual: Protests are "Low-Level Terrorism"

By Dennis Loo
The Department of Defense is training all of its personnel in its current Antiterrorism and Force Protection Annual Refresher Training Course that political protest is "low-level terrorism." 
The Training introduction reads as follows:
"Anti-terrorism (AT) and Force Protection (FP) are two facets of the Department of Defense (DoD) Mission Assurance Program. It is DoD policy, as found in DoDI 2000.16, that the DoD Components and the DoD elements and personnel shall be protected from terrorist acts through a high pirority, comprehensive, AT program. The DoD's AT program shall be all encompassing using an integrated systems approach."
The first question of the Terrorism Threat Factors, "Knowledge Check 1" section reads as follows:
Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism activity?
Select the correct answer and then click Check Your Answer
O   Attacking the Pentagon
O   IEDs
O   Hate crimes against racial groups
O   Protests
*** 
The "correct" answer is Protests.

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Senate and Obama Block Torture Photos’ Release: Thank Jesus!

 By Dennis Loo 

 By unanimous consent, the United States Senate on Wednesday agreed that the dirty deeds of our torture of detainees should be kept hidden.
                                     
Every single one of the Senators present to vote, the people who allegedly make the law for all of us, have said that what's wrong with torture is not that it's torture. What's wrong with torture is when the evidence of it escapes from behind closed doors into the light of the day before the world and when the ugly, monstrous reality of the blood and death are revealed to be going on.
 
We don't need to uncover the truth and punish those responsible because, according to the bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Lindsay Graham (S. Carolina):
 

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DoD Deletes "Protest = Terrorism" But Problem Remains

By Dennis Loo
 
In response to the ACLU’s June 10, 2009 letter demanding that the DoD pull a question from its DoD training exam that equated protest with “low-level terrorism,” which I wrote about at Open Salon on June 14 (“DoD Training Manual: Protests are ‘Low-Level Terrorism’”) – and which was reposted and written about on scores of websites and blogs, both left and right - the DoD has removed the question from the exam.
 
This is good news. The problem, however, goes deeper than this one question. Before going into that, let’s look at the DoD’s latest actions and its explanation:
 
As reported by Fox News:
 
“The Pentagon has removed a controversial question from its anti-terrorism training exam that labeled ‘protests’ a form of ‘low-level terrorism,’ calling the question ‘poorly worded.’
 

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Iran: A Report from World to Win

By Dennis Loo

(This was originally posted at Open Salon)

An Iranian teacher's letter on the situation there is at Lotf Ali's OS blog in a piece entitled "30 Khordad June 20." The letter is amazing and a must read.

I want to cite a passage from the letter that says so much in a few lines, including the transition underway among the people from initially many moving on the basis of election fraud over now to combating the system as a whole:

"You can get in any car to go back home. People trust one another now. The woman in the back seat sitting next to me says, ‘It’s no longer about Mousavi or election results. We have suffered for thirty years. We didn’t live a life.’ An old man next to her offers me fresh bread. They tell jokes about the political figures and laugh out loud. They feel victorious. ‘I had waited thirty years for this. Now I feel relieved.’ She writes down my phone number to send me news. ‘Send it to The Guardian!’ she says."

 --

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Sadists in black robes

As part of the National Torture Accountability Day Actions today, June 25, 2009, protesters gathered in Pasadena, California in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where Judge Jay Bybee, author of several of the infamous Torture Memos, presides.

Speakers were Mimi Kennedy, PDA Board Chair,  Jodie Evans, CodePink Co-Founder, and Dr. Dennis Loo, National Steering Committee Member of World Can't Wait and Sociology Professor. Most of the crowd, numbering 30-40 people, wore orange. Most of the group were in their fifties or older, but there were also several people in their twenties or younger. Two wore orange jumpsuits and black hoods. One of the young people wearing the detainee uniform said that she thought she should have been able to "retire the outfit" after Obama's election, but "apparently not." 

Code Pink's banner read "Congress (Heart) Torture." Most of the crowd, after being instructed to strip any evidence of political statements from our clothes and persons, were then allowed into the Court House in order to deliver a petition to the Court Clerk calling for Bybee's impeachment for misconduct.

Asked of the LAPD representative at the scene if we'd have had to also take off an American flag lapel pin as a political statement had any of us been wearing it, the officer thought this question impertinent and said that wearing an American flag wasn't a political statement.

A member of Iraq Veterans Against the War attended and spoke to cameras afterwards.

Here is a link to the Pasadena Star-News Story.

This is the text of the talk by Dennis Loo:

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Obama’s Statement on the UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

By Dennis Loo

Update: The President's Statement on Torture that I posted here yesterday was Bush's 2003 statement. I took the link from a Jason Leopold article (Leopold apparently also didn't notice this but he has now corrected it). I am leaving Bush's statement up but first inserting Obama's 6/27/09 Statement, also revised for truthfulness. 

 ***

Revisions are in boldface. They are inserted so that Obama's Statement will no longer be a bald-faced lie.

This statement was actually released on Friday by the White House Press Secretary's Office. 

 

THE WHITE HOUSE


Office of the Press Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  June 26, 2009

Statement by President Barack Obama on United Nations International Day in Support of Torture Victims

Twenty-five years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention Against Torture, and twenty-two years ago this very day, the Convention entered into force. The United States’ leading role in the negotiation of the Convention and its subsequent ratification and implementation enjoyed strong bipartisan support.  Today, we join the international community in reaffirming unequivocally the principles behind that Convention, including the core principle that torture is never justified (except when we in the United States government think that it is justified). 

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Obama v. Bush on Terror Policies: Star Trek’s Lokai v. Bele

 

By Dennis Loo
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!
 YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
 Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
 -- “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” The Who
  ***
Jack Goldsmith, Office of Legal Counsel Assistant Attorney General under Bush, quoted in a July 1, 2009 New York Times’ article by Charlie Savage, “To Critics, New Policy on Terror Looks Old, states: “There is a faux debate that something new is afoot and both the Obama administration and Cheney have an interest in that being the case, but it’s just not true,” he said. “It just serves almost everyone’s political interests to make it seem like something brand new is happening, but it’s mostly window dressing for just what was going on before.”

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What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

By Dennis Loo

 Shortly before invading Iraq in 2003, George W. Bush declared in a speech aimed at Iraqi military and civilian personnel, “War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say ‘I was just following orders.’”

 

 

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The Town Hall Fracases and the Fascist Movement

 By Dennis Loo

By now we have nearly all heard about the raucous town hall meetings over health care. In the August 11, 2009 Washington Post, for example, Sen. Arlen Specter, meeting with the public in a Lebanon, PA town hall meeting, reproducing a similar scene that greeted him in Philadelphia last week, is this revealing excerpt: 
"’You have awakened a sleeping giant,’ said Katy Abram, 35, a stay-at-home mother from Lebanon. ‘I don't want this country turning into Russia, turning into a socialized country.’
“Specter fielded 13 questions before someone voiced support for the health-care reform efforts. Questioner No. 14, Marilyn Boogaard, said she was nervous to stand up and say something positive about Democrats' health plan for fear of being booed.
"’I almost didn't want to ask my question because it's so intimidating,’ said Boogaard, 58, a nurse practitioner from Lebanon.”

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Health Care Fracas: What Do Vampires and the GOP Have in Common?

By Dennis Loo

In the August 13, 2009 New York Times Paul Krugman (“Republican Death Trip”) wrote about the brawl over health care:

“[Quoting Obama] ’I am in this race because I don’t want to see us spend the next year re-fighting the Washington battles of the 1990s. I don’t want to pit Blue America against Red America; I want to lead a United States of America.’ So declared Barack Obama in November 2007, making the case that Democrats should nominate him, rather than one of his rivals, because he could free the nation from the bitter partisanship of the past.

“Some of us were skeptical. A couple of months after Mr. Obama gave that speech, I warned that his vision of a ‘different kind of politics’ was a vain hope, that any Democrat who made it to the White House would face ‘an unending procession of wild charges and fake scandals, dutifully given credence by major media organizations that somehow can’t bring themselves to declare the accusations unequivocally false.’

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Mission Impossible: Seeking Common Ground with Fascists

By Dennis Loo

The Town Hall brawls are the latest, and some of the most dramatic, evidence of the fascist remaking of the U.S.
Previously sacrosanct arenas have been invaded and bright lines crossed: an assassin shoots Dr. George Tiller in the head in church, mainstream media give airtime to Christian Fascist leaders celebrating the assassin’s actions and calling for more of the kind; town halls, which used to be polite exchanges between constituents and public officials, have become more reminiscent of brown shirt behavior than of small town virtues; fascists posing as journalists like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly call for blood and get their wishes, yet continue to enjoy a national platform; lie after lie is paraded as truth; torture and rendition continue after becoming enshrined as explicit policy by the U.S. government under Bush; sadists such as Cheney, John Yoo and Jay Bybee continue to roam the land freely, given national interviews and Op-Eds in “respectable” papers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer; Obama judges these leaders to be well-intentioned and respectable, refuses to release the incriminating torture photographs and to prosecute the admitted torturers; peaceful demonstrators at the 2008 RNC are infiltrated by police agents and rounded up before they can even begin their protests and are charged as domestic terrorists; the rule of law and habeas corpus in particular, which Bush and Cheney dramatically and repeatedly overrode, Obama rhetorically upholds but has done nothing to concretely restore, thereby rendering the rule of law dead; Obama continues to spy upon all of us in warrantless surveillance, blocks detainees’ lawsuits on the grounds of “state secrets” and threatens the British government if they do not do likewise; wars are being escalated in two theatres; “preventive detention” under Bush becomes “prolonged detention” under Obama who declares that even if you are acquitted by a military commissions tribunal or by a criminal court, you may still be detained indefinitely if the government deems that you might do something in the future.
The list is long and growing. Each new revelation and action is more unbelievable and more alarming than the previous one.
What nightmare have we been living in for these last many years?
It’s time to wake up and smell the sulfur.

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About

World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.