Tattletales for an Open Society | The Nation


Tattletales for an Open Society

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My name is Steve Cook, PhD, Oregon State University. I teach Environmental Conservation, mostly. I encourage my classes to use critical thinking, and as an example, I highlight the lies we were fed by the military during the Gulf War, lies that were only repudiated years later. I say, "If you get your information from Donald Rumsfeld, the US military or from CNN, which has correspondents and photographers riding in approved military vehicles, then you aren't getting accurate information. Use critical thinking."

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I also have a series of political cartoons pointing out our contracting civil rights under the Bush Administration posted next to my office door under a bumper sticker which reads, "If you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention."

Instructor of Geography
Oregon State University


During the final week of class in December, I said to my students, that because of recent events in the Justice Department and the organization created by Cheney and Lieberman, "I advise you to go out and buy a copy of the US Constitution and read it carefully."

Department of English
University of Oregon


I openly confess that during a class I was teaching in Biostatistics and Medical Research Methods at Seton Hall University, I made an off-the-cuff remark that the United States should be more circumspect in its definition of terrorism since the actions of our own government (El Salvador, Guatemala, inter alia) could easily fall within the parameters.

Research Scientist in Clinical Medicine
Director of Research
Atlantic Health System


Please include my name on the list of academics that have publicly criticized some aspects of the "war on terrorism." I am not a professional teacher or lecturer and am not affiliated with any university; however, I hold a Masters Degree in History, I am conversant in three languages and I have publicly criticized those aspects of the "war" that I believe are exploitive, prejudicial and harmful to the fabric of American society. Furthermore, I have supplemented superficial and sometimes misleading government and media information with my own research of numerous published authorities as well as the foreign press, and I have disseminated the resulting information to a large number of people. To make matters worse, I have failed to associate myself with the peace movement in this country, which I believe has reacted to the "war on terrorism" in a superficial, knee-jerk manner that fails to address the complexity of the situation. I know it is a lot to ask, but if we can modify the criteria of this list to include essentially any educated member of society, who fails to accept everything the government says and does, then please add me to it. Hopefully as the list evolves it will contain the names of every member of society who criticizes the government, not just academics.



On several occasions, both public and private, I have questioned the wisdom of our military involvement. I have said: "Why don't we pursue bin Laden as we do criminals here? We don't bomb our local suburbs when we think a murderer is hiding in one of the houses, so why bomb a whole country to retaliate against one man?"

I have also said: "Why did the European powers decide that giving Palestine to the Jews was the best compensation for the Holocaust? Rationally speaking, they should have been given Bavaria. That would have prevented many of the current problems in the Middle East."

I have also publically stated various other points, including the importance of questioning the government's actions as an exercise and demonstration of the workings of democracy.

If I can recall any other statements verbatim, I'll let you know. I'd like ot point out that I am both a faculty member an an administrator.

Chair, Humanities Department, Midlands Technical College
Columbia, SC


I'm turning myself in on suspicion of "unpatriotic" criticism of mistrust and surveillance. My criticisms weren't of post-9/11 Administration efforts per se, but rather of our society's growing distrust and disrespect of personal liberty.

On December 8 I published a column in the Austin American-Statesman, questioning the constant demands for showing IDs.

On January 9, I wrote an angry email to Dollar rent-a-car, protesting their (now reversed) policy of requiring renters to give thumbprints.

Tomorrow, January 15, I will violate the University of Texas's policy on proctoring exams by having my Business Calculus (M403K) class vote on implementing an honor code.

Department of Mathematics, University of Texas, Austin


A couple months ago I discovered what the ACTA had done. Without being prompted to do so I did what apparently many others have done. I asked to be included on the list. I told them it would be a badge of honor. I submitted the following comments from an editorial I wrote in November for my school's newspaper. The topic was right-wing political correctness and conservative media bias. I'm proud to submit this to The Nation's collection.

"These limited examples represent but a small fraction of the conservative political correctness that rules the day. It has been repeated that if we sacrifice our freedoms in the face of this tragedy then the terrorists have won. Well, these religious fascists and their idiotic jihad have not come close to winning. But if current practices on the American right are any indication, the fascists have a familiar ally."

Chicago-Kent College of Law
Co-Chair, Chicago-Kent National Lawyers Guild


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