Published in the Colorado Daily, 10/11/99
The masks fall, and the truth is ugly
By Evan Ravitz
When I lived near Taos, NM in the mid-‘70s, the late David Monongye, Keeper of the Hopi Prophesy, stayed several times with the Kimmey family that I lived with. One of David’s prophesies was that the time of world "purification" that started a few years earlier would feature the "unmasking" of long-held secrets. (There is a web site with David’s 44 newsletters I just discovered, Techqua Ikachi: Land and Life, The Traditional Viewpoint.
As the millennium turns, the masks are falling like flies, revealing the corruption of so many institutions. The corruption likely had long been there, but is now unmasked by things like the Freedom Of Information Act, Open Records and Open Meetings laws, the internet and "tapes." We’ll talk a bit about two corrupt institutions: CU and the FBI. First, a hearty thanks to the new, resurrected Colorado Daily for having the guts to use these tools to reveal the truth, and to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable," what newspapers should do.
Marge of TV’s Simpsons said it: "As long as everyone is videotaping everyone else, justice will be done." Her creators refer, of course, to the video of LA cops beating Rodney King. Here we have 2 tapes: the ABC video showing CU Regents Chairman Peter Steinhauer getting physical with reporter Brian Hansen to keep him from questioning CU President Beuchner, and the Daily audiotape featuring Steinhauer and CU PR honcho Bob Nero pretending the meeting had already started so they could accuse Hansen of disrupting it, and evict him. The video gives the lie to Steinhauer’s letter to the Boulder Daily Camera which states that Hansen "pushed me." I hope Hansen sues Steinhauer for defamation of character and CU for violations of his civil rights and the Open Meetings Law. I hope to see the video all over TV so people can see how power corrupts. Too bad tape wasn’t running when Steinhauer was heard by a Daily editor to introduce someone with "He’s a queer among fags."
(Marge wasn’t quite right. Rodney King’s attackers were acquitted in their criminal trial. Then, after massive riots and arson in LA, King won his civil trial against them. CU students also learned that their 4th Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure weren’t respected until after the riots of May 3-5, 1997. )
CU has also been effectively hiding their huge human rights archives by not providing funding to preserve, organize and facilitate access. This would aid investigation and prosecution by the proposed World Criminal Court –which is now obstructed by the US government. Curator Bruce Montgomery told the Boulder Daily Camera (9/19/99, p.4A) that just as outside funds were being committed, "On the inside things were disintegrating, crumbling, and I have no reason why."
Let me guess: CU wants to hide what the archives hold about crimes against humanity implicating CU’s corporate sponsors and investments with Shell Oil, Nike, Chevron, Peabody Coal -now sucking the Hopis’ water dry- etc. I’m sure CU contracts with these monsters include clauses prohibiting "disparaging" the corporations. Revealing information that Shell money and helicopters helped Nigeria’s dictatorship butcher whole villages would certainly "disparage" Shell, for example. I’d move that archive out of CU before the evidence gets shredded.
The FBI’s supposedly terminated COINTELPRO program is actually alive in spirit if not name, and actively harassing environmentalists who try to get the US to enforce our environmental laws. They refuse to investigate whether Vail torched its own buildings, even though most arsons are committed by owners. They refuse to file charges against a logger who killed protester David Chain by dropping a tree on him. They’re being investigated for their conduct in Waco, in Russia, and hopefully soon, here in Boulder:
The FBI apparently violated the "Lindbergh Law" by not taking immediate charge of the JonBenet Ramsey case in the first 7 hours or so when it appeared to be the kidnapping of a top Defense contractor’s daughter by foreign terrorists. The FBI and police backup that Detective Linda Arndt said she repeatedly asked for stayed away while lone Linda couldn’t control the crime scene, enabling John Ramsey to move and contaminate the body and his friends to tromp all over. This travesty has cost Boulder citizens $2 million, 2 ¾ years and the truth, so far. Who is powerful enough to call off the FBI? Why would they? Why does the DA, in rejecting applications by my friend Dr. Bob McFarland and myself to testify to the grand jury, say this radical breach of FBI duty is irrelevant? Email me, email@example.com, for a copy of my letter to the DA.(See our Ramsey web site.)
One correction to Hansen: CU PR man David Grimm released the documents regarding the TLE that the Daily sued for not because he is "media-friendly" but "law-fearful" -of the Open Records law. (For this he was "redeployed.") KGNU radio old-timers remember when then-general manager Grimm in 1981 shut down the station for "financial" reasons while checks up to $1000 sat in his desk uncashed. Volunteers worked like hell to rescue our community station from Grimm’s "friendliness." Grimm was then rewarded with a high-paying job as "spokesman" for the City of Boulder, and now CU.
My predictions: "Our" dinosaur institutions will continue the masquerade. David Grimm will write CU fairy tales in the background, while new PR honcho Bob Nero will fiddle with the truth in the foreground. And more than half the graduates of the Journalism School will become not journalists, but PR people, better paid by far to keep the masks on than journalists are to remove them. As the millennium -and my stomach- turn.
Evan Ravitz was voted "Best Activist" by READERS of the Boulder Daily Camera, NOT the Camera! A brief bio is at vote.org/evan.htm. www.sudval.org and vote.org have good ideas as to how to run more honest and responsive institutions.