Saturday, June 28, 2008

ALA Defends Book Confiscation Worldwide by Communist/Terrorist Regimes? SafeLibraries Asks ALA Councilor James Casey to Clarify Anti-American Stand

Dear ALA Councilor James B. Casey,

In your defense of the American Library Association's [ALA] position to take no meaningful action to support jailed Cuban librarians, you make statements about Saddam's Iraq and the United States that need clarification in view of recent news about religious book confiscation by Saddam's regime. You stated,

"Thanks to [ALA Councilor] Peter McDonald for standing up to the accusatory rhetoric of those who have launched a long term a [sic] sabre rattling offensive against the crumbling Castro regime reminiscent of the rheoric [sic] for 'regime change' against Sadaam [sic] that led to our disastrous invasion of Iraq." [FN 1]

"All of your comments are predicated upon the central premise that the 'independent library movement' rhetoric we have been hearing is true and based upon accurate information and not built upon a tapestry of lies and political posturing similar to the elaborate system of persuasion we heard from the Bush Administration prior to the invasion of Iraq.

"I must admit that I was not absolutely certain that I was right in protesting the invasion of Iraq back in mid-March 2003 before the invasion. However, I strongly suspected that Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney were liars as many protestors declared. Why? Because of the manner they had conducted themselves in the past upon such racist/divisive tactics applied against John McCain in South Carolina during the 2000 primary and in Florida against African American voters in Florida during the general 2000 election (not to mention the withdrawal from the Kyoto Treaty and international efforts to combat global warming). I didn't trust the administration because of its arrogant, divisive and utterly despicable conduct previously in practically every issue from fiscal to environmental policy. Five years later, the truth is 'out' and I can only say that opposition to the Iraq war was correct in every measure of truth. We were lied into war and the war has damage [sic] our country immeasurably." [FN 2]

Now Mr. Casey, recent news reveals that the Saddam regime confiscated hundreds of religious books from Iraqi Jews:

"Some 300 rare and valuable books confiscated from Iraq's Jewish community by Saddam Hussein's regime have been secretly spirited into Israel, an Israeli newspaper reported on Friday.

"The books include a 1487 commentary on the biblical Book of Job and another volume of biblical prophets printed in Venice in 1617, the Haaretz daily said.

"The volumes are part of a massive collection of books confiscated by the secret police of the executed Iraqi dictator and stored in security installations in the Iraqi capital until the US-led invasion of 2003." [FN 3]

It sounds to me that Saddam damaged his own country's intellectual freedom, to say the least, even before "the Bush Administration ... lied." The ALA holds itself out as an expert on intellectual freedom, and you are among the ALA's governing council and have chosen to speak out on the issue of the intellectual freedom of the jailed Cuban librarians. Therefore, Mr. Casey, in view of this recent news about religious book confiscation by the Saddam regime, would you care to amend any of your previous statements quoted above? Is there anything else you would like to add?

By the way, Mr. Casey, the article says,

"Iraq once hosted a thriving 2,600 year-old Jewish community that numbered some 130,000 people at the time Israel was created in 1948.

"But after Israel came into being and into conflict with its Arab neighbours, Iraqi Jews began to suffer discrimination and were often accused of being agents of the new Jewish state." [FN 4]

Similarly, ALA Councilors are accusing the jailed Cuban librarians of being agents of America. For example, ALA Councilor Peter McDonald said the jailed Cuban libraries were not real librarians, but

"were by the whole average citizens journalists, teachers, laborers, who were arrested, tried and convicted for knowingly subverting Cuban law repeatedly -- for one, distributing U.S. funded anti-government materials (among other crimes)." [FN 5]

Setting aside how interesting it is to see an ALA Councilor calling intellectual freedom a "crime," would you care to elaborate on any similarities or differences in being accused of being agents of Israel or agents of the United States so as to excuse book confiscations to which the ALA might otherwise be opposed?

Care to elaborate on how and why ALA Councilors appear to support such confiscations (although with regard to the Iraq matter that may depend on your responses to my questions)?

Care to elaborate on why such confiscations are seemingly ignored or even condoned by the ALA but, for example, in your own public library you and other ALA leaders forced the Oak Lawn, IL, community to keep Playboy magazine available for children, the very basis of "We build a collection of what we think is a reflection of what the community wants to see," Casey said. "We try to serve the public rather than stand in judgment of their tastes." [FN 6]

Thank you, Mr. Casey. I look forward to factual responses free of further ad hominem argument.

Dan Kleinman


[FN 1] Letter from James Casey ( to Peter McDonald (, ALA Council ( dated Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 1:16 PM subject [alacoun-ro] [alacoun] RE: [Fwd: [SafeLibraries] American Troops Defamed by ALA Councilor Peter McDonald]. Accessed June 28, 2008.

[FN 2] Letter from James Casey ( to Stephen Denney, ALA Intellectual Freedom Forum ( dated Friday, June 27, 2008 6:21 PM subject [alacoun-ro] [alacoun] RE: [Fwd: [SafeLibraries] American Troops Defamed by ALA Councilor Peter McDonald]. Accessed June 28, 2008.

[FN 3] "Rare Iraqi Jewish Books 'Surface in Israel,'" by AFP, June 27, 2008. Accessed June 28, 2008.

[FN 4] Ibid.

[FN 5] See "American Troops Defamed by ALA Councilor Peter McDonald," by SafeLibraries, June 26, 2008. Accessed June 28, 2008.

[FN 6] "Oak Lawn Library Vows to Keep Playboy on Shelf," by Jo Napolitano, Chicago Tribune, June 23, 2005. Accessed June 28, 2008.


  1. I don't know what cuba has to do with "safe" libraries, but American librarians have been and are in the fore-front of protecting and advancing Americian's first amendment rights.

    Responding to a recent incident, ACLU PA writes: "Fortunately, these folks weren't dealing with just anybody. They were dealing with a LIBRARIAN. As Rachel Maddow said on Countdown, those people are 'trained democracy super heroes.'"

    And you folks are pretty much regresive authoritarians.

  2. Okay, Alan. But that does not address the issues raised. As the title says, "SafeLibraries Asks ALA Councilor James Casey to Clarify Anti-American Stand." I await that clarification.

  3. As far as I can tell, the "issues raised" in this and recent posts have nothing to do with "safe" libraries or with American libraries or ALA policy. It seems like you are in some sort of feud with one particular member of the ALA whoes personal political view point you disagree with.

    Personally I think this whole "safe" libraries issue is a demogogic tactic being used to introduce mechanisms for authoritarian control over what views will be allowed into our public libraries.

    I'm glad our librarians are "traineed democracy super heroes" and put up resistance to these attempts at thought control.

  4. Alan,

    I really do appreciate your commenting here. But making me the issue is getting tiresome. I have every right to ask the questions I am asking in the various blogs, and you have every right to consistently turn attention away from the ALA and onto me. But that is not very interesting.

    I am not interested in "authoritarian control." I am interested, however, in getting people to think for themselves so they can identify when they themselves are being controlled by the ALA through the use of propaganda, etc.

    Here, for example, is yet another incipient ALA propaganda campaign designed to fool the public into helping the ALA obtain rights for terrorists, in this case with $350,000 of help from George Soros: "OIF Seeking Opinions on Information Privacy via Anonymous Survey." And see my comment there if the ALA has not censored it out yet.

    As to why this issue is relevant to SafeLibraries, in my efforts to educate the public about the ALA's agenda regarding children, it helps to show the true political face of the ALA -- defamers of our troops, protectors of terrorist rights, hypocrites on issues like intellectual freedom, attackers of our very American government, like James Casey's attack as reprinted in this blog. That is why I asked him to clarify what he said. Likely, it is also why you are trying to make me the issue instead of the ALA.

    I think it is relevant to people deciding whether to follow the ALA's guidance vis-a-vis children if they knew the true nature of the very people who are also advising how librarians should allow children access to any material whatsoever without any concern for the sexual inappropriateness of that material being made available for easy access to children.

    I know you know this. I know you are only making the arguments you are to distract people from the issues. I know others know you are doing this. The tactic is used so often that people are starting to see through it.

    Alan, I can tell you are very intelligent. I urgently wish your comments be directed to the issues raised, not to the people like me raising the issues. I won't censor your comments like ALA members censor mine. So let's have an honest conversation on the issues.

    Please reread my original post and address the issues contained therein.

    Thank you.

  5. RE: OIF Seeking Opinions...

    I went to the link, and what scary anti-American plot did I find? A survey on privacy, and a comment about... terrorism?

    Privacy for American library patrons is essentially privacy for terrorists? What a bunch of bunk!

    This makes as much sence as Huckabee responding to the Bhutto assassination in Pakistan by asking how many Pakistanians are sneaking into America from Mexico.

    What a load of fear-mongering BS.

  6. Alan,

    Read the NYT article I cited there where the de facto head of the ALA said a librarian should not have called the police on a 9/11 terrorist because he had rights under Florida's library privacy laws.

    Can you imagine library privacy rights taking precedence over national security and the deaths of thousands of people?

    I don't make this stuff up.

  7. "I would have felt better if she had followed the Florida law." But Ms. Krug added, "I suspect most people faced with the same situation would have done what she did."

    Big deal. So what.

    As far as the laws in 48 states protecting the privacy of library patrons, they are very necessary to the free exchange of ideas and information, as well as to our ability to entertain and enjoy ourselves freely.

    The notion that libraries and librarians have any significant role to play in the "global war against terrorism" is quite a stretch. Librarians are not military or law enforcement officers and should not be forced into such a role. The "chilling effect" for the mission of our public libraries is quite obvious.

    You might want to read Glenn L. Carle's column Overstating Our Fears in Sunday's Washington Post.

    The writer is a 23 year veteran of the CIA's Clandestine service and retired recently from the post of national intelligence officer for transnational threats.

    Then you might want to put your fear mongering on hold.

  8. Well, Alan, at least some of your argument addresses the issues.

    Krug says, "I would have felt better if she had followed the Florida law," and you say, "Big deal"? "So what"? Alan, this is not your average library user she is talking about. She is talking about one of the nineteen terrorists who on 9/11 killed thousands of people. And she would have felt better if this terrorist's privacy rights had been respected? And you say big deal? She's going to lead a "new grassroots initiative to rally Americans around a set of information privacy standards"? Alan, take off your ALA hat and put on your common sense hat.

    Alan, what does terrorism have to do with "the laws in 48 states protecting the privacy of library patrons, ... the free exchange of ideas and information, ... [the] ability to entertain and enjoy ourselves freely"?

    Then you say, "The notion that libraries and librarians have any significant role to play in the 'global war against terrorism' is quite a stretch." Excuse me? The ALA is not at the forefront with the ACLU of the effort to reverse the USA PATRIOT Act, FISA, etc.?

    The detection of terrorists would have a "chilling effect"? Alan, are you for real? If terrorists succeed, would there be any more American libraries or even an American Library Association?

    The Washington Post article you cited does not change the above. And pointing out national media proving that the ALA favors terrorist privacy rights over national security, to which you say "so what" and "big deal," is not "fear mongering." And neither is my suggestion that such an organization cannot be trusted to guide Americans on library privacy issues.

  9. Looking into the "9/11 Terrorist Incident" further the only law relevent Florida law that I can find is this:

    Confidentiality of Registration and Circulation Records – Florida Statutes Section 257.261:

    "All registration and circulation records of every public library, except statistical reports of registration and circulation, are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and from s. 24(a) of Art. I of the State Constitution. Except in accordance with proper judicial order, a person may not make known in any manner any information contained in such records, except as provided in this section. As used in this section, the term "registration records" includes any information that a library requires a patron to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and the term "circulation records" includes all information that identifies the patrons who borrow particular books and other materials. This section does not prohibit any library, or any business operating jointly with the library, from disclosing information to municipal or county law enforcement officials, or to judicial officials, for the purpose of recovering overdue books, documents, films, or other items or materials owned or otherwise belonging to the library. In the case of a public library patron under the age of 16, a public library may only release confidential information relating to the parent or guardian of the person under 16. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083."

    The news article about the Florida librarian stated that she recognized the terrorist as a former patron and informed law enforcement officials. This obviously is not a violation of the above law.

    Maybe you had some other law in mind? What is it?

    The above law is obviously no protection to terrorists or any other criminal and provides the minimal privacy protection any American would expect deserve.

    Or maybe I should say any REAL American.

  10. RE: The detection of terrorists would have a "chilling effect"? Alan, are you for real?

    Maybe we should give the librarians machine guns! Not only could they DETECT the hundreds of thousands of terrorists who visit American libraries every day, they could DISPATCH 'em at the same time!

    Of course, some "egg head" from the ACLU would claim that machine gun fire and dead terrorists would have a "chilling effect" on library patrons. Ha! What do these effete intellectials know!

    An armed librarian makes for a SAFE library!!!

    (Ain't me that needs the reality check brother)

  11. Alan has again done a successful job of again turning the argument to one against me personally. Ad hominem argument is "always invalid."

    Will someone please address the issues raised without engaging in personal attack?

  12. This is not an "Ad hominem argument". It is an example of a satirical literary form called "the modest proposal". It was pioneered by a fellow named Johnathan Swift. My modest proposal is, of course, far more modest than Swift's - I can not claim to be anywhere near his equal.

    Use of satire in argumentation is an informal form of "reductio ad absurdum" based on the rhetorical principle best explained by HLM:

    “One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent.”

    In order to explore the outlook that you project on your web site and blog, I would ask you to take a look at this book and let me know what you think: The Authoritarians, by Bob Altemeyer.

    The book may be read or downloaded at:

    Looking forward to learning what your thoughtful opinion of it is!

  13. Sorry, Alan, I've grown tired of this back and forth. Let's wait for another blog posting by me to have a back and forth again.

  14. OK! In the meantime, look up The Authoritarians. You might be able to use it for a blog post. There might even be some left-wing librarian authoritarians. (But not Ms. Krug! She is a 100% pure democracy super-hero!)

  15. Okay, Alan, I'll take a look. From what I've seen so far, it looks interesting. Note, however, that anything contained therein has nothing to do with Krug making an excuse for an actual 9/11 terrorist and now wanting to guide Americans on the same issue, and with George Soros's help.

    When I blog again, please continue to participate.


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