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Who and/or What is Behind the Fetullah Gulen Organization?

COMMENT: In FTR #739, we took a brief look at the powerful international organization of the Pennsylvania-based Turkish Muslim cleric and author Fetullah Gulen. Being investigated by the FBI and excoriated by numerous sources for Machiavellian gambits to destroy political opponents, the organization has a significant presence in 80 countries, including sponsorship of charter schools here in the United States.

Suspicions and reservations about the Gulen organization include: fears in Central Asian republics that the group is Islamist and/or pan-Turkic in nature; convictions among journalists like the estimable Sibel Edmonds and intelligence and military officers in Turkey and elsewhere that the Gulenists are fronting for CIA agents; that the Gulenist cadre engage as a matter of course in illegal acts to destroy their opponents, including numerous incidents of forgery and perjury, as well as libel and propaganda.

In Gulen’s native country of Turkey, the organization has become a key ally of the supposedly “moderate” Islamist government of Tayyip Erdogan. A significant and growing body of documentation suggests that the Gulenists have been instrumental in forging evidence used by the Erdogan government to stage trials of military officers allegdly involved in a coup plot against the government.

(Historically, the military has served as a bulwark in modern Turkey against Islamization, preserving with the gun the secular tradition established by Kemal Attaturk following the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. Far from being “moderate,” the Erdogan government is, as we have seen in FTR #737, derived from the Islamofascist al-Taqwa milieu.)

It is worth noting that the Erdogan government’s “moderate” Islamist nature is belied by the fact that Turkey currently has more journalists in prison than China and Iran combined! Hey, that is SOME moderation, no?!

Of even greater significance is the fact that the Erdogan government is seen as an appropriate template for “moderate” Islamist regimes currently taking form in places like Egypt, where the clit-cutters of the Muslim Brotherhood are ascendant. The Brotherhood, of course, was allied with the Axis in World War II and has been used by numerous intelligence services, including elements of CIA, as a vehicle for covert action and repression in the postwar period.

In addition to supporting Muslim Brotherhood, elements of CIA have also supported the Pan-Turkist movement in the past. Pan-Turkists have also allied historically with the Third Reich, as we have seen in FTR #720, among other programs.

In connection with the Fetullah Gullen organization, a number of considerations suggest themselves:

  • If the allegations concerning CIA involvement with the Gulenists are accurate, what might be the goal of the CIA/Gulen alliance?
  • Might the GOP/petroleum industry/Underground Reich element of CIA be aiming to use Islamists and/or Pan-Turkists against Russia and/or China?
  • As preposterous as it may seem at first glance, might that same element of CIA and other Western intelligence services be promoting a “neo-Ottoman Empire” as a vehicle for gaining control of resource-rich parts of the “Earth Island,” petroleum-producing areas in particular?
  • Might such a “neo-Ottoman Empire” be a key element in the ongoing “Earth Island Boogie?”
  • The brand of Islam embraced by the Gulen organization is generally represented as moderate. Ms. Edmonds and, apparently, some of the group’s critics in Central Asia allege that the group is, in fact, extremist. If that is, in fact, the case, might the alleged CIA/Gulen alliance be part of the same political manifestation as the “Arab Spring” that we looked at in FTR #’s 734 through 739?
  • The tactics apparently pursued by the Gulen organization suggest that its true nature is anything but moderate.
  • The Turkish foreign minister is indeed pursuing a “neo-Ottoman,” Pan-Turkist agenda.
  • What might be the agenda/goal of the considerable Gulenist presence in the United States?
  • Is the FBI investigation of the Gulenist activities in the U.S. another example of the bureau cutting across an operation by elements of CIA?
  • Is the Underground Reich a player in this scenario?

Is the CIA Infiltrating Central Asia Via Turkish Muslims?” by Joshua Kocera; eurasianet.org; 1/6/2011.

EXCERPT: That is apparently the claim of former top Turkish intelligence official Osman Nuri Gundes, who has published a memoir alleging that the Fethullah Gulen movement has been sheltering CIA agents in Central Asia since the 1990s. According to the Washington Post’s SpyTalk blog, “in the 1990s, Gundes alleges, the movement “sheltered 130 CIA agents” at its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone.”

The Gulen movement already is a controversial one in Central Asia, with governments cracking down to varying degrees because of the group’s alleged Islamist or pan-Turkic bent. And that’s without allegations of being a CIA stalking horse. . . .

. . . . Anyway, Sibel Edmonds, the FBI-translator-turned-whistleblower, says that account doesn’t go far enough, and the Gulen movement is an extremist Islamist one — and that the CIA is cooperating with them nevertheless: “. . . Based on what I personally know, US Islamization Operations in Central Asia via Gulen started in late 1997, early 1998 . . .”

“A Moscow Show Trial on the Bosporus” by Dani Radrik; “Conscience of a Liberal” by Paul Krugman [The New York Times]; 3/12/2012.

EXCERPT: In what is probably the country’s most important court case in at least five decades, hundreds of Turkish military officers are in jail and on trial for allegedly having plotted to overthrow the then newly-elected Justice and Development Party back in 2003. The case also happens to be one of the most absurd ever prosecuted in an apparent democracy. The evidence against the defendants is such an obvious forgery that even a child would recognize it as such. Imagine, if you can, something that is a cross between the Moscow show trials and the Salem witchcraft hysteria, and you will not be too far off.

The government’s case rests on a set of documents (mostly Word files) that describe in gory detail preparations for the coup (codenamed Sledgehammer), including false-flag operations to set the stage for the takeover and a list of cabinet members to be appointed. These are unsigned digital documents on electronic media (CDs, a detached hard drive, a flash drive) that have never been traced to actual military computers or otherwise authenticated. The military has vehemently denied that such plans ever existed.

Most tellingly, a torrent of evidence has come out since the documents first emerged that points to their fraudulent nature. The documents contain hundreds of anachronisms – names of NGOs, military installations, or firms that did not yet exist – that make clear beyond any reasonable doubt that they were produced years later and backdated to implicate the officers on trial. Some of the defendants have shown that they were outside the country at the time they are alleged to have prepared these documents or attended planning meetings.

An American forensic specialist has determined that the “hand writing” on the CDs was actually produced by mechanically replicating individual letters from the notebooks of one of the defendants. Deviations from military formatting suggest the documents were prepared by individuals not fully familiar with the army’s style requirements. As long-time Turkey analyst Gareth Jenkins put it to the New Yorker: “It’s absolutely clear that these documents have been forged.” . . . .

. . . . The Turkish military has a history of political intervention and has often clashed with the Islamists. So the allegations have been a godsend for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has exploited the trial to gain control over military promotions and to break the army’s political power.

But the real moving force behind this and a number of other similar trials is the Gülen movement, a key ally of the Erdoğan government made up of the followers of the Pennsylvania-based Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen. Gülenists have a long track record of framing their perceived opponents and engaging in judicial dirty tricks. Their control of key positions in the national police and judiciary enables them to mount targeted operations disguised as legal investigations. Prosecutors scrutinizing them, whistleblowers revealing their activities, critical journalists, and even businessmen have been among their victims, in addition to military officers. As Ahmet Şık, a journalist who wrote an expose about the movement and then found himself facing preposterous charges of helping terrorists even before the book was published, exclaimed on his way to jail: “he who touches [them] burns.”

The police and prosecutors who have staged the coup plot trial are known Gülen sympathizers. And Gülenist media have worked overtime to shape public opinion, whipping up hysteria against the defendants and producing a steady stream of disinformation about the case. The occasional judge who has ruled in favor of the officers and commentators pointing to problems with the prosecutors’ evidence (including me) have become targets of Gülenist defamation. . . .

Discussion

18 comments for “Who and/or What is Behind the Fetullah Gulen Organization?”

  1. I followed that line of enquiry myself when I was a listener of Ms Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs Show. I wrote an article in French about it, if you can read it, but all references are in English, published on her website at BoilingFrogs.com. And especially, there is an interview with Aland Mizell that you don’t want to miss. He has a strong accent (like me!) but the witness account information that he presents to Ms Edmonds and co-host Peter B. Collins is invaluable. There is also a short documentary in French about Gulen. Check that out folks, it’s worth it!

    http://lys-dor.com/2012/02/19/le-reseau-scolaire-de-fethullah-gulen-lorsque-les-operations-de-renseignement-et-lislamisation-vont-de-pair/

    Posted by Claude | March 28, 2012, 10:36 am
  2. Great post Dave. This has been one of my personal areas of research. I hope to find the time to post some more on the subject. The Gulen org (not to be confused with the Gehlen org), really embodies what you have dealt with in FTRs 27 & 681 Specialized Knowledge & Abilities. They arguably have their tendrils reaching through all sectors of Turkish society, and are completely deniable.

    Here is a seminal article on Gulen from the Middle East Quarterly, which documents, among other things, that Gulen sits on top of slush fund valued at $25 billion.

    http://www.meforum.org/2045/fethullah-gulens-grand-ambition

    But don’t worry, Gulen doesn’t have to use his own money, because Bill Gates recently gave him more than $10.5 million to establish Gulen Islamic schools in the USA.

    http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.6307/pub_detail.asp

    And more from Walmart’s Walton Family foundation.

    http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.7149/pub_detail.asp

    Posted by Vanfield | March 28, 2012, 1:23 pm
  3. I appreciate investigative journalists; they really work hard when they write a story. But this story has so many mistakes. In addition, many experts wrote about so called Gulen charter schools. Either he did not read them or he is not unbiased.
    This one, for example, argues that Islamophobia is one reason to attack those charter schools: http://www.hizmetnews.com/index.php/columns/item/3

    You may find more articles here on the same matter: http://www.hizmetnews.com/index.php/latest-news/itemlist/tag/Gulen%20charter%20schools

    I hope you check some of these stories to reach the truth.

    Posted by Levent Koc | March 29, 2012, 11:10 am
  4. […] Who and/or What is Behind the Fetullah Gulen Organization? […]

    Posted by Miscellaneous articles for – Articles divers pour 03-29-2012 | Lys-d'Or | March 29, 2012, 11:35 am
  5. Sorry Levent Koc,

    The articles you link to are all Gulen publication. They offer no serious rebuttal to the information presented.

    Islam­o­pho­bia is a rather lame, PC, red herring to bring up, when serious concerns are presented.

    What connections do you have Hizmet/Gulen?

    Posted by Vanfield | March 29, 2012, 3:18 pm
  6. Freed Turkish Journalist at European Parliament

    Thursday, 29 March 2012

    Journalist Ahmet Şık sharply criticized Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws and the religious Fethullah Gülen community while addressing the Liberal Democrat Group in the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday, only 16 days after his release from prison.

    “Many a journalist who assumed a critical stance toward the AKP [Justice and Development Party] and the Gülen community, the government’s invisible partner, [or] attempted to maintain a dissident outlook toward their policies either lost their job or had to keep quiet through auto-censure,” journalist Şık told his audience at the European Parliament…

    …An explanation is warranted as to why the Gülen community is so eager to organize within the police and the military, Şık said, adding that he had also been targeted by the community because he asked such questions. “This system has to distort everything, as it has been enslaved by its own lies. It distorts the past. It distorts the present. It distorts the future,” Şık said,…

    …The Gülen community is both avenging the past and trying to destroy its political opponents by organizing within the judiciary and the police, according to Şık. “The Anti-Terrorism Law [depicts] everyone who is a dissident or exhibits unfavorable behavior as a ‘terrorist,’ through a mentality that is based on protecting not the interests of citizens but of the state.

    A recent list of 105 Turkish Journalists currently in prison for reporting the news can be found here…

    http://www.theglobetimes.com/2012/03/07/list-of-journalists-in-jail-in-turkey/

    FBI & Dept of Labor Investigating Gulen Schools

    http://articles.philly.com/2011-03-20/news/29148147_1_gulen-schools-gulen-followers-charter-schools

    …But federal agencies – including the FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education – are investigating whether some charter school employees are kicking back part of their salaries to a Muslim movement founded by Gulen known as Hizmet, or Service, according to knowledgeable sources…

    …Gulen schools are among the nation’s largest users of the H1B visas. In 2009, the schools received government approvals for 684 visas – more than Google Inc. (440) but fewer than a technology powerhouse such as Intel Corp. (1,203)…

    …Ruth Hocker, former president of the parents’ group at the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School in State College, began asking questions when popular, certified American teachers were replaced by uncertified Turkish men who often spoke limited English and were paid higher salaries. Most were placed in math and science classes…

    …Other school parents described how uncertified teachers on H1B visas were moved from one charter school to another when their “emergency” teaching credentials expired and told of a pattern of sudden turnovers of Turkish business managers, administrators, and board members…

    …Further evidence of the ties comes from a disaffected former teacher from Turkey who told federal investigators that the Gulen Movement had divided the United States into five regions, according to knowledgeable sources. A general manager in each coordinates the activities of the schools and related foundations and cultural centers, he told authorities. Ohio, California, and Texas have the largest numbers of Gulen-related schools. Ohio has 19, which are operated by Concept Schools Inc., and most are known as Horizon Science Academies. There are 14 in California operated by the Magnolia Foundation. Texas has 33 known as Harmony schools, run by the Cosmos Foundation…

    Kickbacks

    …And the disaffected teacher who described the five regions gave authorities a document called a tuzuk, which resembles a contract and prescribes how much money Turkish teachers are supposed to return to Hizmet

    Note, Hizmet, which means “action” in Turkish, is also the name of a branch of the Gulen org. All previous poster Lev­ent Koc’s links are Hizmet websites.

    Posted by Vanfield | March 29, 2012, 4:10 pm
  7. @Vanfield: Interesting. Sad thing is, though, if this ‘Levent Koc’ person really is connected to Hizmet and not just one of their biggest fans….then his statements might prove harmful to those exposing actual Islamophobia(Just as a reminder, it is indeed sometimes used as a cover but real examples do unforunately exist. Please don’t forget that, especially since there’s been a recent murder in Calif. in which an Iraqi immigrant lady was murdered simply for being of foreign origin. No offense meant, just wanted to point that out.)

    Posted by Steven L. | March 29, 2012, 5:09 pm
  8. @Steven L.: If I read you correctly, your talking about a ‘boy who cried wolf’ meme.

    Posted by Vanfield | March 29, 2012, 8:55 pm
  9. Here is a link that shows more information on the Gulen Schools in Arizona. The Pima Counta IDA has given millions in Az. tax dollars to support these schools. They have donated money to Tom Horne to prtect themselves from his wrath of auditing teachers with accents and his anti ethnic studies bill.

    http://azstarnet.com/search/?l=50&sd=desc&s=start_time&f=html&q=Gulen

    The Turkish Gulenists will often times as you can see on this thread pretend to be happy parents and attack those that post about Gulen and his objectives. It is there attempt to derail the conversation.

    Posted by Parent | March 31, 2012, 7:41 am
  10. As a parent who’s daughter attended one of these schools I can tell you first hand just how dangerous these schools really are. I would love to interview with you as I have done with other radio shows in the past about Fethullah and his objectives. I am also doing speaking engagements on the dangers of Gulen Charter Schools and to educate parents and the community about this issue.

    Posted by Parent | March 31, 2012, 7:44 am
  11. Hey Steven L. weren’t you just on the Washington Post Blog story about your Hocaefendi TRYING to post the SAME stupid story about the Iraqi woman who was killed. The only thing is, you posted under “Jason Tuff”
    Are you also hearing voices in your head, poor little Gulen Lighthouse school boy. They are so brainwashed, all this truth about Fetos is hard for them to process.
    So they make a feeble attempt to create straw man arguments while deflecting the glaring question about the 130+ charter schools in the USA that are owned, managed/operated by known followers of the Gulen Movement (Hizmet)
    Lousy attempt, and the Gulen Movement has nothing to do with religion as it is a CULT. One that is mixed with commerce, social controls, education, and politics.
    Make no bones about it, they are not wanted in Turkey where their coward leader fled after his famous anti-secular speech about “getting into the arteries of the system, until you reach all power centers”
    We have heard it all:
    “We have no organic connections”
    “Your children are getting a private education for free”
    “Your children will be taught by Turkish Scholars”
    “Our teachers may be Gulen Inspired, but we are not a Gulen School<—-what the hell is that suppose to mean?

    I had sex but didn't ejaculate?

    These Gulen Lighthouse boys are virgins. Taught to guard secrets like they guard their chastity. They are instructed to not marry until they reach 50 years of age.

    They have issues with women and treat them horrible within their movement. Conversely, the American females teachers have filed many EEOC discriminatory lawsuits against this group. The best one was Chesapeake Charter where the Turk male principal forbid them to use the Internet, was very controlling to the point the local police had to escort him off campus.

    With this group of Gulen Lighthouse boys there is always drama and scandals. It follows them from school to school, country to country.

    Enjoy reading some of them here:
    http://www.gulencharterschoolsusa.blogspot.com
    http://www.charterschoolscandals.blogspot.com

    http://www.charterschoolwatchdog.com
    (make sure you read the entry "teachers with guns")

    Posted by Dr. Ahmet Kaz | March 31, 2012, 4:10 pm
  12. @Parent: I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with them. These Gulenist charter schools really need to be investigated and I do wonder just how far down the proverbial rabbit holes go.

    Thankfully, we have intrepid researchers like Dave Emory blowing the whistles on stuff like this. =)

    @Dr. Kaz: I’m sorry, but what? I have no such alias as ‘Jason Tuff’. I didn’t even know that name existed until today, to be honest.

    BTW, the Iraqi woman I was refer­ring to, was one Shaima Alawadi, who was liv­ing El Cajon, Calif.
    http://utsandiego.com/news/2012/mar/24/el-cajon-woman-dies-after-beating-earlier-week
    The only rea­son I brought her up because I got the impres­sion that Van­field might have been think­ing that real Islam­o­pho­bia doesn’t exist, when in fact, it still does.

    In all hon­esty, Dr. Kaz, I never once argued against the con­tent put forth in this post, and I have my own sus­pi­cions about these peo­ple myself.

    And, I’m sorry if this ‘Jason Tuff’ char­ac­ter was par­tic­u­larly nox­ious to you but I had no knowl­edge of this person’s exis­tence until you brought him up, and quite frankly, I really didn’t appre­ci­ate being falsely con­flated with this per­son, nor your quite frankly semi-libelous com­ment call­ing me a ‘Gulen Light­house school boy’ and claim­ing I was hear­ing voices in my head(seriously?).

    This isn’t the place to be doing such things, Doc­tor. I will gladly study the links you have posted but will also request that you refrain from such unfounded accu­sa­tions in the future. This is seri­ous stuff, and we need not be fight­ing each other when we could be spread­ing the word and wak­ing peo­ple up.

    Best regards,

    –Steven L.

    Posted by Steven L. | March 31, 2012, 8:14 pm
  13. Adnan Oktar is a Turkish cult leader, who looks like the Devil, out of central casting, sees himself as a candidate for Madhi, ruling over a reformed Ottoman Empire. Old friend’s with Erdogan, he is trying to claw his way to the top, while running a sex cult.

    Stand for Peace, an interfaith group, as an interesting report on Oktar, which can be downloaded at the site below.

    It’s well worth checking out.
    V.

    http://standforpeace.org.uk/adnan-oktar-and-the-islamist-sex-cult/

    Adnan Oktar and the Islamist sex cult
    Download Report Here

    Israeli politicians and Jewish media across the World have excitedly embraced the efforts of Turkish television channel A9 to effect and encourage interfaith dialogue – or, as the channel itself puts it, promote “peace and love” between all peoples.

    The programme is part of a hardline group run by Turkish Islamist Adnan Oktar (aka Harun Yahya), an extremist with a history of promoting Holocaust Denial and who fuses Ataturk nationalism with Turkish Islamism in his attacks upon Jews, Darwinists and Atheists. His group of followers is best described as a cult; one accused by a number of critics of using sexual abuse and blackmail to achieve political leverage.

    A9 is falsely perceived by a number of media outlets as an example of a moderate Islamic voice that is working to bring Jews and Muslims closer together. While this is indeed the declared purpose of A9, it is a facade that shrouds a hostile Islamist agenda. Just as democracy was a useful means for Turkish Islamists to propagate their anti-democratic views, so too is A9’s declared devotion to interfaith dialogue a sanitising veneer that distracts from its more sinister ideas.

    Jewish media outlets, from the Los Angeles Jewish Journal to Arutz Sheva and the Jerusalem Post, have published opinion pieces by Oktar and a number of his disciples. Israeli politicians, including former cabinet ministers, have appeared on Oktar’s television show. By embracing Oktar, they risk burying the truth about Oktar’s anti-Semitism and will legitimise Oktar and his group as a respectable organisation.

    Summary

    Adnan Oktar (aka Harun Yahya), a Turkish author, fuses Ataturk nationalism with Turkish Islamism in his attacks upon Jews, Darwinists and Atheists. His group of followers is best described as a cult; one accused of using sexual abuse and blackmail to achieve political leverage.
    Oktar’s claim, after 2001, to abhor anti-Semitism and to be a voice of peace and moderation is, in our opinion, a charade designed to bring him greater influence and respectability. His websites are replete with anti-Semitic ideas and references to anti-Semitic works that Oktar claims he did not write.
    Likewise, the A9 television channel’s interfaith programme is a front for Oktar’s hardline Islamist ideology, designed to earn Oktar legitimacy.
    Jewish media and Israeli politicians have mistakenly latched on to Oktar as a moderate; without grasping the truth about Oktar’s ideology. By engaging with him and his cult, Jewish leaders run the risk of betraying bona fide liberal Muslim groups and legitimising Oktar as a pro-peace and anti-terror voice.
    Oktar’s group is typical of Turkish Islamism, which increasingly seeks to adopt and exploit Western processes in order to propagate its ideological values. Just as the AKP has used democratic methods to promote anti-democratic ideas, so too is Oktar using interfaith dialoue to both sanitize himself and propagate anti-Western and anti-Semitic tropes.

    Posted by Vanfield | April 27, 2013, 11:29 pm
  14. @Vanfield and Pterrafractyl–

    Kudos to both of you. Please do check out the extent to which your recent posts (3 in all, two by Vanfield) complement and supplement one another.

    Turns out the Marathon bombers’ uncle is married to Graham Fuller’s daughter.

    Fuller was former station chief for CIA in Kabul, was a strong advocate of alliance between the U.S. and the Muslim Brotherhood and also runs interference for the Fetullah Gulen organization!

    Brings the Earth Island politics about which I’ve been speculating for so long, into focus.

    THIS is what I’ve been trying to get across to people.

    It is NOT that these guys are doing this at behest of CIA to establish a “police state”–the standard “Truther” line. (Though a police state certainly lies ahead and will be welcomed by significant elements of the power elite.)

    The point is that the transnational corporations, the GOP and the Underground Reich that controls both of them have tabbed the Islamists as footsoldiers to: drive a wedge into the Earth Island, getting hold of the Russian and Chinese mineral-rich, Muslim-inhabited lands; finish off Israel and the Jews; harass and/or attack/subjugate the United States and residua of the British Commonwealth as needed; tar Obama with the “terror brush,” thereby assuring GOP ascendance in the next election.

    In this context, recall my observations about Michael Morell and the Petraeus scandal.

    I STRONGLY suspect we’re looking at a complex situation involving double or triple agents.

    It will be interesting to see if Obama’s reboot of relations with Russia is damaged by the fallout.

    It is obvious that the alleged perps were on the radar screens of various intelligence and law-enforcement agencies.

    The fact that these elements have been tabbed as “corporate combatants”–to coin a term–assures that the tracks of their handlers will remain obscured, past a point.

    Think of this as an extension of World War II, which it is, to an extent.

    Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen fought a very real and bloody, stressful conflict against an enemy whose anti-communist, anti-labor and racist/anti-Semitic ideology endeared it to the powerful U.S. economic and political interests who financed it in the first place.

    As documented in so many of the books, interviews and posts available here, de-Nazification failed as a matter of policy, as the fascist were returned to power in the countries occupied by the Western allies as a bulwark against communism.

    What we are looking at here is a similarly janus-faced entity.

    Best,

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | April 28, 2013, 3:53 pm
  15. Interesting note re: Graham Fuller. I’m surprised Mr. Emory doesn’t reference “America’s Nazi Secret” by former State Department lawyer John Loftus, as it fills in the background to a story that includes such characters as Reinhard Gehlen, who Mr. Emory was speaking about way back when his “Hard Rain” show played on KALX radio in Berkeley.

    Posted by Mark Tea | April 28, 2013, 11:09 pm
  16. […] back by heavy-handed tac­tics by the country’s Fetul­lah Gulen–dom­i­nated police estab­lish­ment, the demon­stra­tions appear to embody a broader […]

    Posted by Have Turkish Citizens Had Enough of Erdogan’s Taffy? (Viva Attaturk!) | The Freedom Report | June 7, 2013, 3:43 pm
  17. As the Waltons have been teaching the world for decades, some dreams must be built on the nightmares of others:

    Arkansas Times
    Arkansas Blog
    The Walton dream realized in New Orleans: All charter schools. Or is it a nightmare?
    Posted by Max Brantley on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    I highly recommend this big Washington Post article on the end of conventional public schools in New Orleans. Thanks to Katrina, recovery money and Louisiana politics, the schools have been turned over to charter school operators.

    The story is about winners and losers. On the surface, the overall numbers look better on student test scores. But the Katrina diaspora of poor families from New Orleans makes it impossible to neatly compare overall scores today with pre-Katrina. Black school employees were fired wholesale. Many have been replaced by young, white Teach for America recruits.

    But then this passage is stunning in its honesty:

    White students disproportionately attend the best charter schools, while the worst are almost exclusively populated by African American students. Activists in New Orleans joined with others in Detroit and Newark last month to file a federal civil rights complaint, alleging that the city’s best-performing schools have admissions policies that exclude African American children. Those schools are overseen by the separate Orleans Parish School Board, and they don’t participate in OneApp, the city’s centralized school enrollment lottery.

    John White, the state’s superintendent of education, agreed that access to the best schools is not equal in New Orleans, but he said the state is prevented by law from interfering with the Orleans Parish School Board’s operations.

    “The claim that there’s an imbalance is right on the money,” White said. “The idea that it’s associated with privilege and high outcomes is right on the money.”

    Stan Smith, acting superintendent of the Orleans Parish schools, said his district’s charter schools have agreed to participate in the OneApp when their contracts are renewed, in two to 10 years from now.

    So black children might have equal access to the best schools in 10 years? In 1954, it would have been unthinkable that the U.S. Supreme Court would countenance such as this. But it is 2014. And we have no less than Chief Justice John Roberts telling us that it is a post-racial world and no correctives are necessary any longer.

    The Walton Family Foundation is a big player in New Orleans, of course.

    Educational success! Brought to you by the Walmart. It’s the kind of story that’s a reminder that success doesn’t come easy. It takes time, energy, dedication, and a willingness to subvert the meaning of success:

    The Huffington Post
    On the ‘Success’ of a 100 Percent Charter Recovery School District
    Mercedes Schneider
    Public school teacher, education activist, PhD

    Posted: 05/30/2014 5:58 pm EDT Updated: 05/30/2014 5:59 pm EDT

    On May 29, 2014, Lindsey Layton of the Washington Post wrote this article on the conversion of the state-run New Orleans Recovery School District’s (RSD) conversion to charters.

    I would like to clarify a few of Layton’s glossy statements about RSD.

    Let us begin with this one:

    The creation of the country’s first all-charter school system has improved education for many children in New Orleans.

    Layton offers no substantial basis for her opinion of “improvement” other than that the schools were “seized” by the state following Katrina.

    Certainly school performance scores do not support Layton’s idea of “improvement.” Even with the inflation of the 2013 school performance scores, RSD has no A schools and very few B schools. In fact, almost the entire RSD — which was already approx 90 percent charters — qualifies as a district of “failing” schools according to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s definition of “failing schools” as C, D, F schools and whose students are eligible for vouchers.

    The district grade for RSD “rose” to a C due to a deliberate score inflation documented here and here.

    The purpose of vouchers is to enable students to escape “failing” schools. Ironic how the predominately-charter RSD has the greatest concentration of such “failing” schools in the entire state of Louisiana.

    Let us now turn our attention to a quote by New Schools for New Orleans CEO Neerav Kingsland:

    “We’ve reinvented how schools run,” said Neerav Kingsland of New Schools for New Orleans, which promotes and supports charter schools. Kingsland is leaving the organization to try to export the model to other cities. “If I am unhappy with service I’m getting in a school, I can pull my kid out and go to another school tomorrow. I don’t have to wait four years for an election cycle so I can vote for one member of a seven-member board that historically has been corrupt.” [Emphasis added.]

    In truth, New Orleans parents cannot “just” decide upon which school their children will attend. What is clear is that the Walton-funded OneApp open-enrollment process is anything but simple — with most choices having “failing” grades by the state’s own school letter grade system.

    The OneApp even includes misleading information that the cream OSPB schools have seats and then on a subsequent page, such schools are declared not open for more students.

    As for the organization New Schools for New Orleans- they are willing to manipulate what information the public is allowed to see- and to reshape the RSD message from one of “miracle” to “improvement.”

    After eight years, RSD does not have a single A school. One can see the need to bury the “miracle” message.

    As to “corruption” — do not believe Kingsland’s misleading words that “corruption” did not happen in RSD following Katrina. Here’s just a brief example:

    The relatively gargantuan salaries of many of the consultants who appeared to rule the new system was another factor in the public’s general unease. Functionaries of the accounting firm Alvarez & Marsal, for example, which will have taken more than $50 million out of its New Orleans public schools’ operation by year’s end, were earning in the multiple hundreds of thousands, billing at anywhere from $150 to more than $500 per hour. The firm’s contracts continued unchallenged, despite the fact that one of its chief assignments — the disposition of left-over NOPS real estate — was being handled without the services of a single architect, engineer, or construction expert. This omission cost the city a year of progress in determining how and where to rebuild broken schools, and endangered hundreds of millions of dollars in FEMA money. It only came to light when the two Pauls [Pastorek and Vallas] were forced to hire yet more consultants for real estate duty, and to bring in the National Guard to oversee the engineering operations…[Emphasis added.]

    Compare the above blatant robbery of school funding with Layton’s words about OPSB pre-Katrina:

    When Katrina struck in 2005, the public schools in New Orleans were considered among the worst in the country. Just before the storm, the elected Orleans Parish School District was bankrupt and couldn’t account for about $71 million in federal money.

    Read here for more of the story on post-Katrina millions squandered — millions that were meant to rebuild New Orleans schools.

    Charter conversion has not “solved” fiscal misappropriation, friends.

    White’s refusal to properly oversee charters only confounds the issue.

    As to Layton’s report of the less-than-stellar “57 percent of students performed at grade level in math and reading in 2013,” read here for the latest on Louisiana Superintendent John White’s botch job on 2014 LEAP/iLEAP reporting. And notice that his press release was quiet about RSD’s performance. It was nothing to showcase.

    And then there’s Teach for America (TFA).

    Charter presence produces continuous churn — charter school turnover — as one charter operator comes in, makes relatively unregulated money for at least three years, and then leaves, only for another to come in its place.

    Charters depend upon turnover staff. TFA provides such people.

    John White is counting on a strong TFA presence in RSD. He has the TFA-lucrative contracts to prove it.

    One final Layton article quote, this one by RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard:

    The Recovery School District closed failing traditional schools or turned them over to charter operators, never intending to reconstruct a traditional school system, said Patrick Dobard, the superintendent. [Emphasis added.]

    That is true. RSD was not supposed to be a permanent district. However, Dobard is not telling the entire story. Following Katrina, state-run schools were supposed to be returned to home districts according to this Cowen Institute history of RSD:

    Intended as a mechanism for restructuring and reform, the RSD was never meant to be a permanent part of the public school governance landscape in New Orleans. Instead, the RSD was meant to take control of and turn around chronically failing schools for an initial period of five years. After that time, and assuming adequate school improvement, schools would be released from the jurisdiction of the RSD and returned to their local school board. [Emphasis added.]

    In 2010, former State Superintendent Paul Pastorek and Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) changed the rules. No need for state-takeover schools to return — a perfect scenario for charter-promoting privatization.

    Wonder what Dobard’s job will be if RSD is “transformed” into a 100% charter district.

    Superintendent of Charter School Turnover?

    Layton might not realize it, but that is the end game of this “grand experiment”:

    Charter churn, churn, churn.

    Churn, churn, churn, change rules, and, voila, privatized schools! Then rinse and repeat:

    Arkansas Times
    Arkansas Blog
    Arkansas charter school operator teaching creationism in Texas
    Posted by Max Brantley on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    A fascinating, even explosive, investigative article in Slate says that a Texas-based charter school operator with an expanding footprint in Arkansas is teaching creationism instead of evolution in biology classes in Texas and otherwise using texts and materials full of fractured history and religious dogma thinly disguised as academic material.

    The outfit is Responsive Education Solutions of Lewisville, Texas, which recently won approval of an application to open a Quest charter middle school in ritzy Chenal Valley, a school likely to attract upscale white parents anxious to avoid the majority black and poor Little Rock School District schools available. They at least still teach science, not religion.

    From Slate:

    A Texas charter school group has a secular veneer and is funded by public money, but it has been connected from its inception to the creationist movement.

    When public-school students enrolled in Texas’ largest charter program open their biology workbooks, they will read that the fossil record is “sketchy.” That evolution is “dogma” and an “unproved theory” with no experimental basis. They will be told that leading scientists dispute the mechanisms of evolution and the age of the Earth. These are all lies.

    The more than 17,000 students in the Responsive Education Solutions charter system will learn in their history classes that some residents of the Philippines were “pagans in various levels of civilization.” They’ll read in a history textbook that feminism forced women to turn to the government as a “surrogate husband.”

    Responsive Ed has a secular veneer and is funded by public money, but it has been connected from its inception to the creationist movement and to far-right fundamentalists who seek to undermine the separation of church and state.

    Infiltrating and subverting the charter-school movement has allowed Responsive Ed to carry out its religious agenda—and it is succeeding. Operating more than 65 campuses in Texas, Arkansas, and Indiana, Responsive Ed receives more than $82 million in taxpayer money annually, and it is expanding, with 20 more Texas campuses opening in 2014.

    As I’ve written before, this article notes Responsive Education’s poor achievement record, according to the respected CREDO study at Stanford University.

    The organization has nonetheless received significant support for its charter schools from the Walton Foundation, which favors letting a thousand charter schools bloom and worrying later about the failures, charlatans and kooks. Responsive Education was approved in 2012 to open the Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy in Bentonville, Premier High School in Little Rock and a Quest Middle School in Pine Bluff.

    UPDATE: Responsive Education also got approval from the charter authorizing panel for charter schools to operate in cooperation with the Fountain Lake School District and Pea Ridge districts. Anybody look at the curriculum? It also will advise a new conversion charter high school in West Memphis. Arkansas school officials are untroubled by the revelations..

    The Slate writer also finds religious and cultural bias in history books Responsive Education uses in Texas — such as finding anti-Christian bias in the roots of World War I. It blamed World War II, in part, on a non-existent group in Japan. It makes unusual cultural comments about the Philippines.It refers to homosexuality as a “lifestyle.” It makes erroneous statements about stem cell research. It questions John Kerry’s war credentials. Feminism and homosexuality are held in low regard.

    This stuff is too rich to be believed. Funny if it wasn’t so sad that so many gullible people think this is better than going to a school with a sound curriculum because it has too many people with the wrong skin color. (Noted: Responsive Ed also operates schools aimed at nearly all-black constituencies, following the rapid resegregation patterns of charters everywhere.)

    One of Responsive Ed’s schools, Founders Classical Academy in Lewisville, Texas, where Responsive Ed is based, uses a curriculum far worse even than the Responsive Ed Knowledge Units. The school teaches American history from A Patriot’s History of the United States. The patriots book is “required reading,” according to Glenn Beck, and it opens with an interview between Rush Limbaugh and the author. It is a book that, as Dave Weigel says, “will make you stupider.”

    This book teaches the superiority of the West, which in the 1400s and 1500s was apparently “quantum leaps” ahead of “native peoples,” including Ming Dynasty China, one of the most prosperous Chinese dynasties. It explains that the West was superior to “native populations” in battles because “Aztec chiefs and Moor sultans alike were completely vulnerable to massed firepower, yet without the legal framework of republicanism and civic virtue like Europe’s to replace its leadership cadre, a native army could be decapitated at its head by one volley.”

    Feminism gets ripped.

    On the feminist movement, Founders Classical Academy students are taught that feminism “created an entirely new class of females who lacked male financial support and who had to turn to the state as a surrogate husband.”

    There’s “character” education galore.

    These lessons were lifted directly from a company called Character First Education, which was founded by an Oklahoma businessman named Tom Hill. He is a follower of Bill Gothard, a minister who runs the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a Christian organization that teaches its members to incorporate biblical principles into daily life. IBLP is considered a cult by some of its former followers. Gothard developed character qualities associated with a list of “49 General Commands of Christ” that Hill adopted for his character curriculum. Hill then removed Gothard’s references to God and Bible verses and started marketing the curriculum to public schools and other public institutions.

    The values taught by Responsive Ed can often be found word for word on Gothard’s website.

    Gotthard, you should know, teaches the need for obedience of women and children to men.

    Well done America. This + This = The National Investment in the Future.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 3, 2014, 2:58 pm
  18. “We have no concern about what the EU might say, whether the EU accepts us as members or not, we have no such concern. Please keep your wisdom to yourself.” Erdogan’s war with Fethullah Gulen is clearly a pretty high priority:

    Turkey’s Erdogan says media raids a response to ‘dirty’ plot

    By Humeyra Pamuk

    IZMIT, Turkey Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:41am EST

    (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday defended weekend raids on media outlets close to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric as a necessary response to “dirty operations” by the government’s political enemies, and told a critical European Union to mind its own business.

    Sunday’s raids on the Zaman daily and Samanyolu television marked an escalation in Erdogan’s battle with former ally Fethullah Gulen, with whom he has been in open conflict since a corruption probe targeting his inner circle emerged a year ago.

    Erdogan accuses Gulen of establishing a ‘parallel’ structure in the state through his supporters in the judiciary, police and other institutions, and of wielding influence through the media. The cleric denies any ambition to overthrow Erdogan.

    “They cry press freedom, but (the raids) have nothing to do with it,” Erdogan said, speaking at the opening of an extension to an oil refinery near Istanbul.

    “We have no concern about what the EU might say, whether the EU accepts us as members or not, we have no such concern. Please keep your wisdom to yourself,” he said.

    The European Union, which Turkey is seeking to join, said the raids ran counter to European values. EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn described them as “not really an invitation to move further forward” with Turkey.

    German Chancellor Angel Merkel’s spokesman said it was “in Turkey’s own interest to clear up any possible doubt over its commitment to basic democratic principles” following the raids, in which 24 people including top executives and former police chiefs were detained.

    Erdogan’s comments sent the Turkish lira, already suffering in an emerging markets sell-off, falling further, hitting 2.34 to the dollar TRYTOM=D3.

    “I wonder if we will look back and see this day as the final death of Turkey’s EU accession bid,” said Timothy Ash, head of emerging markets research at Standard Bank in London.

    “SABOTAGE”

    Erdogan, whose AK Party was elected in 2002, introduced many democratic reforms in his first years in power and curbed army involvement in politics. NATO allies often cited Turkey as an example of a successful Muslim democracy, but more recently critics have accused Erdogan of intolerance of dissent and, increasingly, a divisive reversion to Islamist roots.

    He has cast the battle against Gulen’s “Hizmet” (service) network as a continuation of Turkey’s “normalization”, a struggle to root out anti-democratic forces, and said on Monday that Turkey’s democratic standards were rising.

    “This process is the planting of the seeds of the new Turkey,” he said.

    “Those who try to get involved in dirty business and dirty relations with the hope of returning Turkey to its old days are getting the necessary response, and will continue to get it.”

    Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Hadi Salihoglu said on Sunday arrest warrants had been issued for 31 people on charges of “establishing a terrorist group”, forgery and slander.

    Two former police chiefs, Samanyolu’s chairman and the staff of two Samanyolu drama series, one about an anti-terrorism squad and the other set in a southeast hit by Kurdish rebellion, were among those detained.

    Asked whether he expected “sabotage” from Gulen allies ahead of a parliamentary election next June, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the pro-government Sabah newspaper on Monday that the state had to “take precautions”.

    “This is not an investigation into journalistic activities,” he was quoted as saying, and more details would emerge as the legal process took its course.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 15, 2014, 11:12 am

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