UN says British libel law violates human rights

I’ve always been appalled by British libel law as long as I’ve known about it. Basically it puts a strong onus on defendants to prove that what they have said is true, rather than on the accuser to prove that it is false. The result is an excessive real-world limitation on freedom of speech for … Read more UN says British libel law violates human rights

Intellectual Freedom advocacy in a Huxleyan world

A favorite debate of pessimistic sophomores, or perhaps sophomoric pessimists, is as to whether our society and its future is more like George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. It’s such a common juxtaposition and so simple to talk about it that I bring it up at the risk of terribly oversimplifying things. … Read more Intellectual Freedom advocacy in a Huxleyan world

The Cuba Debate – Why the “middle” is not the middle

It is still not dead. A resolution has just been sent to the ALA Council list for discussion, calling on ALA to recognize the dissident “independent librarians” as members of the library community who deserve our support as colleagues, calling for the return of “library materials” to the “independent libraries,” and calling for the release … Read more The Cuba Debate – Why the “middle” is not the middle

NY Times reports on media manipulation by Pentagon

You could call it a bombshell if what the New York Times is reporting now were not already well known by skeptical observers, but it’s significant that the Times is reporting it, and that it’s being picked up by TV outlets. The big news is that “military experts” who have been been giving “objective analysis” … Read more NY Times reports on media manipulation by Pentagon

Drug companies authoring articles in medical journals and adding scientists as authors after the studies are written

Here’s some predictable news: A group of four researchers have published findings in the new issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that articles in medical journals are often written by drug companies and publishers, with legitimate scientists added as authors when the articles are submitted. Their research was based on court … Read more Drug companies authoring articles in medical journals and adding scientists as authors after the studies are written

New issue of Information for Social Change

The new issue of Information for Social Change, issue 25, is available online. It is another theme issue, this time dealing with libraries and information workers in conflict situations. Examples of what’s in it include articles in disinformation during wartime, truth commissions in Latin American countries and libraries in relation to them, women living under … Read more New issue of Information for Social Change

Wikipedia Scanner

One nice thing about true open source software, especially when it’s running a huge website like Wikipedia, is that creative programmers can make useful add-ons to it. Wired Magazine (which I generally dislike) has an interesting article in the August issue about Virgil Griffith’s Wikipedia Scanner, which can tell you what organizations have edited what … Read more Wikipedia Scanner

Guantanamo secrecy through plea-bargains

Another example of the Bush Administration’s information evil. Marjorie Heins has some commentary on the Free Expression Policy Project’s website about Guantanamo prisoners’ recantations of abuse charges in exchange for release from custody. The government knows they got the wrong guy, but won’t release him unless he signs off on a promise to back off … Read more Guantanamo secrecy through plea-bargains

Fighting the Bush Doctrine of Disinformation is a Librarian’s Mandate

I urge everybody to read Kathleen de la Peña McCook’s post on her main blog, Fighting the Bush Doctrine of Disinformation is a Librarian’s Mandate. She hits the nail on the head: the key to the our urgent political problems right now are in the Bush Administration’s governance by manipulation of information. She puts a … Read more Fighting the Bush Doctrine of Disinformation is a Librarian’s Mandate

Library and non-library issues

I am going to take another stab at outlining my views on “library and non-library issues.” Last time I did it I was sloppy in the way that I stated my views, and I surprised and disappointed some people who I think would not have been so surprised and disappointed if I had been clearer … Read more Library and non-library issues

John Rendon – the Goebbels of our era

My friend John Gehner just told me about this watershed piece of investigative reporting by James Bamford, an article from Rolling Stone that won the 2006 National Magazine Award in the “Best Reporting” category: The Man Who Sold the War. It is about John Rendon, who heads the “perception management” firm that was hired by … Read more John Rendon – the Goebbels of our era

Dick Cheney’s stealth operation

Here’s a little detail about the present government that everybody should know. The Office of the Vice President, along with all executive branch offices, is required to submit a list of its staff for publication in the government’s “Plum Book,” and is required to submit statistics on its document classification activities. Cheney has been refusing … Read more Dick Cheney’s stealth operation

9th Circuit rejects Kahle vs. Gonzales, AAP PR

Just briefly mentioning two important things that I have neglected to follow here. 1). The 9th Circuit Court’s rejection of Brewster Kahle’s constitutional challenge to copyright laws that prevent people from using orphan works. That link is to the Cyberlaw project at Stanford and will be updated with commentary and future developments. This couirt decision … Read more 9th Circuit rejects Kahle vs. Gonzales, AAP PR

PLG endorses AHA resolution on US gov’t and historical preservation

The Progressive Librarians Guild has endorsed a resolution by the American Historical Association, titled Resolution on United States Government Practices Inimical to the Values of the Historical Profession. The resolution addresses the Bush Administration’s violations of historic preservation practices and other principles held by historians, in the context of the war in Iraq. The violations … Read more PLG endorses AHA resolution on US gov’t and historical preservation

Bush refuses to be photographed

After his last address on Iraq, President Bush broke with precedent and refused to be photographed at the podium by journalists, instead distributing an official, government produced photo which he expected the media to publish. Some media outlets did publish the official photo, and some published still video captures from the address. Put it on … Read more Bush refuses to be photographed

Reports disappearing from EPA library website

As you may have noticed throughout the EPA library closure situation, the government’s big justification for closing the libraries has been that it is a digital age, meaning that physical libraries have lost their relevance. We know that that is hardly true, but aside from that, shouldn’t this argument mean that we will see EPA … Read more Reports disappearing from EPA library website

LibrariansForFairness a project of PR firm Rothstein and Memsic

This is from LISNews. It turns out that LibrariansForFairness, the ostensible library group that opposed SRRT’s criticism of Israel a few years ago, is actually a project of the PR firm Rothstein and Memsic, which is connected with Standwithus, a pro-Israel lobby group. The rundown is LISNews, though brief, is very interesting and presents the … Read more LibrariansForFairness a project of PR firm Rothstein and Memsic

Are you proud of our “National Book Festival?”

There’s a brief article in Counterpunch about the National Book Festival, which features our very non-warlike First Lady. It is intended as a happier source of news than the complete disaster we have created in the Middle East, from which news consumers and election-hopeful Republicans would understandably like some relief. The main things that Russell … Read more Are you proud of our “National Book Festival?”

10 Miami Herald journalists on US gov’t payroll

In a way I think it is unfortunate that this story is about Cuba, because being about Cuba means that a lot of people just aren’t going to want to hear it. But it is something that should be well understood. 10 journalists working for the Miami Herald and its Spanish-Language sister paper were discovered … Read more 10 Miami Herald journalists on US gov’t payroll