Monday, April 15, 2013

LINKS and INFORMATION related to 1984 and counter-examples/solutions

 Dear Students,

What follows are a variety of  links on potential abuses of power or societal problems related to abuses of government, corporate, or personal power.

For Wednesday's class, please read and respond to at least one of these of your interest, and write your comments in the Comments section of this post.  Make sure you tell us the topic or link you are writing the response about.

 Big Brother bullying among teens

Focus on corporate versus local ownership in Ohio
The tragedy of the 2008 Wall Street bailout

The role of U.S. torture in the War on Terror and its ethics, or lack thereof, depending on the point of view

Quoted from this Atlantic article on torture:

"In answer to these questions, and with the benefit of experimentation, especially on Mr. Abu Zubaydah, one of the first of the alleged “big fish” al-Qaeda captives, the CIA seems to have arrived at a method that is codified by the International Committee of the Red Cross experts into twelve basic techniques, as follows:
  • Suffocation by water poured over a cloth placed over the nose and mouth…
  • Prolonged stress standing position, naked, held with the arms extended and chained above the head…
  • Beatings by use of a collar held around the detainees’ neck and used to forcefully bang the head and body against the wall…
  • Beating and kicking, including slapping, punching, kicking to the body and face…
  • Confinement in a box to severely restrict movement…
  • Prolonged nudity…this enforced nudity lasted for periods ranging from several weeks to several months…
  • Sleep deprivation…through use of forced stress positions (standing or sitting), cold water and use of repetitive loud noises or music…
  • Exposure to cold temperature…especially via cold cells and interrogation rooms, and…use of cold water poured over the body or…held around the body by means of a plastic sheet to create an immersion bath with just the head out of water.
  • Prolonged shackling of hands and/or feet…
  • Threats of ill-treatment, to the detainee and/or his family…
  • Forced shaving of the head and beard…
  • Deprivation/restricted provision of solid food from 3 days to 1 month after arrest…
with one’s hands extended directly overhead and trying to maintain the position for, say, thirty minutes. Then imagine maintaining it for several hours, or days, or weeks. The physical effects, as described in a notorious study of Communist interrogation methods by two psychologists, are dramatic:
After 18 to 24 hours of continuous standing, there is an accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the legs. This dependent edema is produced by the extravasation of fluid from the blood vessels. The ankles and feet of the prisoner swell to twice their normal circumference. The edema may rise up the legs as high as the middle of the thighs. The skin becomes tense and intensely painful. Large blisters develop, which break and exude watery serum….12
This medical observation is confirmed in the accounts of at least two of the detainees in the ICRC report, including that of Khaled Shaik Mohammed:
…I was kept for one month in the cell in a standing position with my hands cuffed and shackled above my head and my feet cuffed and shackled to a point in the floor. Of course during this month I fell asleep on some occasions while still being held in this position. This resulted in all my weight being applied to the handcuffs around my wrists resulting in open and bleeding wounds…. [Scars consistent with this allegation were visible on both wrists as well as both ankles.] Both my feet became very swollen after one month of almost continual standing.13"
Britain's view of U.S. response to the Occupy Wall Street protests


  1. I read the first article titled "Big Brother bullying among teens". In it you can see a clear abuse of technology in the world we live in. Technology makes it so easy to spread messages, pictures and videos and that can lead to trouble when that gets in the wrong hands. The kids in this article committed a crime and let the whole word see it, only causing them more trouble and ultimately led to the girls suicide. I think this relates to 1984 because things aren't really private anymore. If you take a picture of something or if something gets recorded it has the potential for anyone anywhere to see it. I don't think people realize how powerful technology is and how the amount of privacy we actually have is scarce.

  2. I read and watched the news clip "Big Brother Bullying Among Teens." This article is about Audrie Pott that was sexually abused. She was passed out from alcohol and pictures were taken when she was assaulted. Eight days after her incident she hanged herself. I think she committed suicide because of all her peers traumatizing her. I think that if the pictures weren't broadcasted on social media, then she would of overcome the abuse, and not of hung herself. It makes me sick to think that someone was0 taken advantage of and then evidence of this crime being posted for anyone to see. I can't imagine all the lives that would be saved if their was no bullying over social media, or texting. I hope that people learn from this incident and stop using Big Brother against each other.
    I also watched the video:
    UC Davis protest pepper spraying.
    In this video police over step their boundaries at a protest when they pepper spray students. There were probably twenty students sitting side by side on the sidewalk not moving and a policemen decides to pepper spray them. The crowd starts screaming even more and yelling "shame on you." This shows how emotionless the government officials can be. The students were voicing their opinions and not harming anyone, yet they still had chemicals sprayed in their faces for sticking up for what they believe in. Toward the end of the video the police finally leave, and the students form a bigger group cheering and shouting for their rights.

  3. I read the article called The role of U.S torture in the War on terrorism and it's ethics. In this article you can see the struggle between the man with the boots on the ground and the men who are in the offices of Washington. Some say the torture is necessary and others say that it is ineffective. The men who see the aftermath of a terrorist attack they know what it looks like, they know what it smells like, and they don't want to see that happen again. So they are willing to do what it take to prevent another attack foreign or domestic. So they are willing to use torture in order to gain information. The problem is on the other side they don't feel that torture works because when someone is being torture they will say or do anything so that the torture stops. I feel that in some case torture could be used because just like they said in the article torture doesn't have to be psychical it can be something like sleep deprivation and if something like that is used in order to save lives I'm all for it.

  4. I read the article Big Brother Bullying among Teens. This article showed how an abuse of technology can actually end someones life. In this article it shows how when a person is behind technology they think that they have all the power and they can do whatever they want. This just shows how dangerous technology can be. Everyone needs to be careful what they put out into the cyber world especially because it can hurt someone severely or even put you in risk of loosing your job. Technology is something that everyone needs to take seriously. It is not something to mess around with. I think this article relates to 1984 because this is exactly what Big Brother did. He basically hid behind technology and this is how he got his power. For example, all of the tv's had to be on at all times because Big brother was watching. Big brother used technology to keep his power. Another prime example of why technology is not a joke.

  5. I chose the article "Britain's view of U.S. response to the Occupy Wall Street protests" and this article is about how the Wall Street protesters were treated when the police came an evicted them. TO them they fee; that the police is working for the 1% and not for everyone. A lot of times these protesters would be beaten when the police would come. I do agree with the article saying that it makes the police look weak and cowardly. To me I feel that these protest have run their course and are not accomplishing anything. As we read In the Presence of Fear, he gave a good line from the third essay, In Distrust Movements, and that was "The worst danger may be that a movement will lose its language either to its own confusion about meaning and practice, or to preemption by its enemies." (Wendell Berry, 36) This is true to what is happening to the Wall Street movement since they are getting people to leave because people are having a hard time figuring out what their demands are. While the protest are winding down, they did get a point across that most of the worlds money is controlled by a few people who make up the 1%.

  6. I read the story about torturing terrorists in the war on terror and the ethics behind it. This is a very difficult issue to discuss because you may be torturing a person to protect millions of people, but does that make it okay? I think the we should be able to use a certain degree of torture if it is a necessity of national security. It seems rough, but if people decide they want to commit an act of terror on innocent people then they don't deserve the same rights as you and I. It is a very hard thing to imagine us allowing any degree of torture but I feel like in certain instances it is necessary.

  7. I watched the video about the peaceful protest of the UC students. I've seen the clip several times and honestly, I'm just disappointed. I'm disappointed and downright disgusted every time I see it. I've never agreed with hating police forces or the people that are trying to help do their job with crowd control. It's not easy being a cop and trying to help or be faced with situations that require tough decisions to be made.

    But none of these people were making any aggressive movements. None of them were trying to deface or attack the police officers. Their protest, that had been, and remained without violence was torn down and they were pepper sprayed. The ones that were pepper sprayed were the ones sitting, ALREADY with their heads down. There was no need to start spraying other than to, 'make a point,' that those in charge were the big men in charge. Even after they did this, they left. The protest wasn't even broken up. Other officers were holding back each other to avoid anymore conflict. All that happened was an excess show of power on some college students, just to be shown right back away from the protest.

    There is helping maintain peace in the community, and there's overstepping the line of power and control. And where there are just as many good officers who are trying to help the people, there are ones who let it go to their head. People have flaws, this is very true. But I think we should look a bit more closely into who gets to hold what powers over others.

  8. U.S. Torture: I liked this article, it gave light on new ways to extract information from terrorists and criminals without "torturing" them. Not saying that this method of treating them with kindness will work with everyone, I can imagine they would catch on to it eventually. But it is good that America is still trying to be the better guy, even in the face of danger and evil acts. Truthfully, I agree with some torture methods, I agree with it because terrorists know what they are getting into when they commit these crimes and are caught. They didn't have to do those things, they could have just hated America instead of acting on that hate. We don't want to put off that America is soft or a fuzzy bunny country, that handles everything with kindness and calmness. When thousands of innocent people are blown up, I think we have a right to protect our country by any tactics possible. It's all about one persons life versus a nations or innocent bystanders that had no choice.

  9. I read the article about Big Brother Bullying amoung teens. This article talks about how people abuse the use of technology and because they abuse the use o it it can cause a life a of a person. In the situation that was discussed in the article you can see that technonolgy makes it easy to spread pictures, messages and vidoes about other people. By reading this article we should take away, that we should not abuse the use tecnology. We should always double think about something we post, or send to another person.

  10. I read the first article titled "Big Brother bullying among teens" I can't even believe someone would do that to a 15 year old girl and then brag about it basically by posting it all over the internet. The internet provides way too much power to the society we live in today.With all of the social media sites such as facebook, twitter, instagram there are so many ways people can share their lives and share information about other people's lives. There is no such thing as privacy on the internet, no matter what you post and no matter where you post it there is always going to be somebody who can see it and read it. The world we live in today is a scary place. I just saw on YouTube the video of the Boston Bombings. Why would someone post that? So they can get views out of it and make their channel popular? I think people need to realize that the internet consumes them and serves as a tool to basically invade other people's privacy.

  11. i read the article Big Brother bullying among teens. First off id like to say its really starting to bother me how stories like this are starting to be more and more common. It's sad that people are taking something good, by good i mean the advancement in technology, and turning it bad. Although we don't know for sure what went down that night she was assaulted its had to imagine that the boys are innocent because of them passing around pictures of what happened. I think it was a pathetic thing of the boys to do. I think even if the girl wouldn't have committed suicide the boys would deserve a very harsh punishment that would ruin their lives. because to have the nerve to violate someone and then rub it in their face, shows that they didn't care at all about how it was affect the girl.

  12. I read Britain's View. I loved the fact that the police officer/s at the start of this article could not even debate back as to their role in public protest. Maybe it was because, if an officer engages in a debate, it could land him in trouble to. Or maybe they are simply ignorant to the cause. Either way, if there is one thing I've noticed through American history of police, when they start to get pissed off all hell breaks loose. It's okay for the protesters to be mad; if they weren't then there would be not protest. But when both sides start to get angry it will never end well. And I do believe that, with police being so violent, it does show corruption. We're in the 21st century and still have no good way to deal with protesting. Not that I want protesting to end, but it should not end with bloodshed and anger. It should not end with those who are to protect us beating the crap out of us.

  13. I read the article on the role of U.S. torture in the War on Terror and its ethics. I thought this article was extremely interesting. To me, I think that we are taking these persons feelings to a bit of an extreme. I can see both sides to the story and how torture is just completely wrong. But we're trying to defend the millions of Americans that these "full of feelings" terrorists just harmed. I believe that there are better ways than others to interrogate these terrorists, but I think that should be left up to the people doing it. They know what works. In the end, I think that it comes down to doing whatever it takes to get the information out of these people. I wouldn't expect anything less if they were interrogating Americans. I hope that I don't sound like a bad person here, but after watching things like September 11th, I have no soft spot for anyone that tries to take our country down.

  14. I actually saw this video and followed the story when it first happened. I have a picture on my facebook related to it, where a police officer is pepper spraying the constitution in an iconic American Revolution painting. It's really sad that we have also lost our right to protest in many ways due to loopholes that the government has provided for itself. Much like the K-9 and Patriot Act search and seizure loopholes. It seems as if they have kept the constitution yet written over top of the true words in an effort to provide for their own interests. As I have said throughout the class, I believe the blame lies on American citizens including myself. It is our job to speak out and stand up for what is right and we fail to do so.

  15. Reading all of these I can see how they relate to 1984 all in very different ways. Being a young gemail that has graduated highschoool in the last few years I can really relate to the article about "Bullying Among Teens". As far as 1984 goes I feel that they have constant survalence and anti-sex leagues to prevent this type of act from happening. I remember a similar incident happening to a girl in the town I lived in. Although she never committed suicide she was abused and it was recorded and thrown back at her later on. This was a terrible story and I can't believe this happens as requently as it does in high schools. It's an awful situation for any girl involved. I found the War on Terror article quite interesting as well. I feel like there is a large gap between what is happening in washington and what is happening to the troops over seas. This relates to 1984 in the sense that Big Brother is controlling everything but they don't always have the citizens best interest at heart and they don't know where to draw the line. It torture becomes a necessary means to keep us safe then I feel they should go ahead with it. And like the article says, there are very different definitions of torture and I don't think that we are abusing our power.

  16. I read the article Big Brother Bullying among Teens. This was a tragic story to read and hear about and the ending result was the loss of a teenagers life. This made me automatically think about the violation of privacy that we have been talking about in class and that we read about in 1984. This girl was passed out and three boys took advantage of her and sexually assaulted he. She clearly wasn't in a state to give consent which is the first violation of privacy then the boys took photos of the act which is the second violation. As if this wasn't hard enough for this young girl to cope with, the boys then leaked the photos and this torment and violation of privacy caused this girl to end her own life. The torment that this girl faced from her peers was unjust. She might have been able to overcome this act of abuse after time but the fact that the pictures were going around was tolerable for her. Respecting peoples rights and their privacy are expected rules in society and these boys broke them and many others. They deserve to be trialed as adults and to pay the consequences of ending an innocent girls life.

  17. I read Britain's view of U.S. response to the Occupy Wall Street protests. It is very disturbing to see how the police in this country and Britain acting like thugs. Attacking and arresting protesters is always a very difficult thing to justify, even if they are actually breaking the law. However using excessive force or arresting someone unjustly is not forgivable. One of the founding principles of the United States was to allow the citizens means to express their frustration through peaceful protest without fear of being harmed. Its a scary thought to think that the police only really protect the most wealthy individuals in this country instead of everyone like they are supposed to. Police attacking a peaceful protest should never be acceptable in this country, the idea that is has happened so much but nothing has been done with it is terrible. I don't believe that we are going to be in a world like 1984 where you cant even think bad things about the government but this is something that cannot be allowed to continue. When the police and authorities stop protecting you and start protecting the Government and the wealthy from your opinions you know we are in a bad place.

  18. I read the article Big Brother bulling amoung teens. While reading this article it made me think of all the other articles I have read or incidents i have heard about that were very similar to this one. If it was not terrible enough for that poor girl to have been violated in the way she was, there were pictures of her passed around to all of her peers. Teenagers are very judgemental and have a hard enough time in highschool that the last thing she needed was to be mocked and made fun of. A total loss of privacy happened both when she was violated, one becasue she was unaware, and two because pictures were shown to everyone. Technology has served as one of the key reasons privacy is so rare anymore. With one easy click of a button or even just a touch of a button, a picture or video can be sent to many many people. For the three boys who have been accused of this tradgedy, if they did do it, I personally feel that they need to be handled as adults and face their punishment for what they did. If it was not them then I hope that they find whoever did.

  19. I read the article on the role of the U.S. and torture in the War on Terror. They claim that by being nice to prisoners will give them a better chance to get information out of prisoners. I am not at all convinced that this is true. Maybe to a certain extent it is but all in all we are dealing with people that have been raised to hate the United States and would do anything to harm its citizens. Do people really think that these brain washed maniacs will help us if we are nice to them? We cannot count on that when it comes to the safety of our citizens. We must do whatever it takes to be sure we get information that could protect our country from a potential terrorist attack. I know that this may not sound very great to a lot of people but making one man suffer is worth it to protect the lives of thousands.