Thursday, June 26, 2008

American Troops Defamed by ALA Councilor Peter McDonald

Peter McDonald, American Library Association [ALA] Councilor and Dean of Library Services at Fresno State, has publicly defamed American troops with known false misinformation, but you be the judge. In an open letter to the ALA Council, Mr. McDonald said:

"Where's Mr. Kent's outrage on this travesty where, if we're talking library-related, the prisoners' Korans have been routinely desecrated by soldiers and where they have NO freedom to read?"

Everyone now knows Korans have not been "routinely desecrated by soldiers." And there is doubt any have ever been desecrated at all, let alone "routinely." See Koran Controversy. What Mr. McDonald has said is or should be known to him to be false and misleading, yet that did not stop him from saying it and other calumnies regarding those ALA members trying to support jailed Cuban librarians. He even discusses why American prison policy is worse than Castro's, all in an effort to convince other ALA members not to support all Cuban librarians and their intellectual freedom. Will it work?

Mr. McDonald's email was written using his official Fresno State position, as displayed in his signature lines. His own library's "Code of Conduct" specifically excludes harassment. "[H]arassing other users or Library staff IS FORBIDDEN," emphasis in original. McDonald apparently gets to harass those trying to assist Cuban librarians. Read his letter--is it not harassment? Does not his own policy apply to him?

Here is his entire letter so you can see for yourselves:

From: Peter Mcdonald
Date: Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 9:40 PM
Subject: [alacoun-ro] [alacoun] Re: Fwd: The same old Mis- Corrections

Dear Colleagues,

The facts of the matter regarding ALA and Cuba have been plainly spoken by ALA, its finest committees and caring librarians for well over a decade now. No amount of histrionics, evasions, outright lies, overblown hyperbole, bogus "facts" and name-calling, indeed this endless one-note nasal bleat perpetrated against our fine association by the writer below can change the simple fact that what we have here is the same tired old propaganda spewed forth by the "Friends" of Cuban Libraries as they were peddling by the bucket years ago.

These "Friends" are a shadowy "member supported" organization with no discernible structure, no dues, no list of members, no organizational officers and no explanation where their money actually does come from. My bet is Miami via U.S. government Helms-Burton slush funds (start by Googling Jorge Sanguinetty). Only Mr. Kent is listed on their website. Hmmmmm.

My sympathies go out to you my fellow Councilors. We have had to deal now 10 interminable years with Mr. Kent's endless vitriol and misinformation campaigns, indeed virtually since the day he was himself deported from Cuba for espionage when it was clear to Cuban authorities that he was in their country as nothing more than an agent provocateur. Some reports say he was in cahoots then (as now?) with Miami rightwing anti-Castro elements (among other fellow travelers, easily gleaned from net accessible sources, for example: but don't stop there, there's dozens of similar sites.)

As has been said a hundred times, there is not a shred of evidence that any of these Cubans were jailed because they were "librarians", still less that they were even 'librarians' at all. They 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), not from 'libraries' but from their living rooms and store fronts.

I will grant the terms of imprisonment were harsh, but hey! America has the largest (corporate-run) prison population in the world not only in real numbers of the incarcerated (over a million+ citizens behind bars at last count), but in average terms of incarceration (10-15yrs), and as a percentage of general population in the top echelon. And we have hundreds (not a handful as in Cuba) of U.S.-held prisoners under solitary lock-up by our military who have never even been charged with a crime, let alone tried and convicted. Where's Mr. Kent's outrage on this travesty where, if we're talking library-related, the prisoners' Korans have been routinely desecrated by soldiers and where they have NO freedom to read?

Sender 'kidzread' might have at least extended Council the courtesy to both identify his/herself and to say (as is customary) why s/he was forwarding these discredited claims of Mr. Kent's to us all. I have emails from 10 years ago from Mr. Kent from which he obviously cut and pastes this one. Basta!

Peter McDonald
Dean of Library Services
Henry Madden Library
Fresno State


  1. Peter McDonald responds, and I reprinted it below.

    Notice the use of selective sources (the BBC and the NYT) to support his calumny while I had provided an encyclopedic article that presented many sources from all sides of the issue. Notice the defamation that SafeLibraries "will destroy anything" and is "happy to destroy lives" while implying defaming American troops is not defamation. We then says, "Orwellian McCarthyism more like it." Projection?

    My point here addressed the defamation of American Troops, not the ALA's failure to support Cuban librarians. Just a glance at the title tells you that. My point was to illustrate how rules he makes for others do not apply to him. Yet notice how we conflates these issues with the Cuban librarian issue so as to denigrate both at the same time. Very clever.

    He says, "Already one of the Cuba resolution co-signers has asked for their name to be removed having seen these appalling tactics at work." Really? Has McDonald fooled people that my exposure of his defamation of American troops should hurt the interests of those defending Cuban librarians? The issues are not even related, except Gitmo is in Cuba.

    Here is his letter to the ALA Council, and to me, it further proves I was right to say what I did:


    This is the typical rightwing blogosphere's intimidation tactics that Kent & Co. will use against ALA itself if we don't stand up to it. Already one of the Cuba resolution co-signers has asked for their name to be removed having seen these appalling tactics at work. These folks will destroy anything to get what they want no matter how twisted their logic. Obviously they are happy to destroy lives to score their points.

    Even the laziest of Google searches gets you to the BBC and the New York Times (internationally accepted sites of record, among dozens of other authoritative sites), to realize what hollow claptrap these vicious people spew in their intimidation. See the Koran story below from BBC and the NYT's (but one among dozens):

    Since when were inconvenient and incontrovertible facts "defamation'? We have to stand up to these bullies. SafeLibraries? Puh-lease. Orwellian McCarthyism more like it. Yrs truly,

    Peter McDonald
    Dean of Library Services
    Henry Madden Library
    Fresno State

  2. the "librarian" is an IDIOT! Maybe he should resign, wear sack cloth and beat himself about the face????

    what a loser!

  3. Oak Lawn Public Library Head and ALA Councilor James B. Casey, one of the three ALA leaders responsible for children in Oak Lawn, IL, still having access to Playboy magazine despite what the town did that led to the creation of, has sent the following to the ALA Council list in response to Peter McDonald's email in the first comment to this blog post:

    "Thanks to Peter McDonald for standing up to the accusatory rhetoric of those who have launched a long term a sabre rattling offensive against the crumbling Castro regime reminiscent of the rheoric for "regime change" against Sadaam that led to our disastrous invasion of Iraq. Let's not allow ALA to be dragged into this "international culture war" by those who seek to profit through upheaval and bloody conflict.

    "James B. Casey --- Councilor-at-Large"

    Note he is talking about me, in part. Note he too is conflating my rightly standing up against the calumny against our troops with the just efforts regarding Cuban librarians, lumping us together and besmirching both at the same time.

    When leaders, at least one, of the American Library Association stab our troops in the back, are we supposed to do nothing, say nothing?

    Conflating different things is a clever tactic, and the use of clever tactics partly explains why Oak Lawn children still have access to Playboy magazine despite this being opposed by the government and about 94% of the people.

  4. All we can do is stand up when our troops are defamed and try our best to stop it. I have spoken out with my blog, and now I have reported the matter to an organization that is defending our brave troops from other cases of defamation. (Hat tip: Steve Malzberg) I do not know whether my submission will be accepted, but at least I am trying. I urge others to act as well when they too see injustice.

    Here is that organization that defends defamed soldiers, I'm sure one of many:

    Thomas More Law Center

  5. What is disconcerting about this is that the directorship of a state university library and a seat on the governing body of the principal trade guild for librarians have been allocated to a man whose quality of mind is such that he is pleased to act as a press agent for the hemisphere's most repressive government (as the organization fusses over the infringement of liberty in ordinances that limit the trade in skin magazines to children) and is contemptuously dismissive of ordinary people being jailed for trading in literature. In some trades, the scum also rises.

  6. Bingo. Worse, he defames our troops, essentially adopting the tactic of the enemy.

  7. I find the following article is entirely analogous:

    "Murtha Sued Over Remarks," by Mike Faher, The Tribune-Democrat, 26 September 2008:

    In May 2006, six months after 24 people were killed in a small Iraqi town, U.S. Rep. John Murtha made a startling accusation.

    American soldiers, he contended, had killed innocent civilians “in cold blood.”

    Now, less than six weeks before the longtime Johnstown Democrat is up for re-election, a Marine involved in the now-infamous Haditha incident is suing Murtha for slander.

    Justin Sharratt of Canonsburg, Washington County, left the Marine Corps last year. But he claims Murtha’s statements have caused “permanent, irreversible damage to his reputation.”

    “What Murtha did is outrageous, and I am seeking punitive damages,” said Noah Geary, a Pittsburgh attorney representing Sharratt.


    The lawsuit claims Murtha violated Sharratt’s constitutional rights to presumption of innocence and due process of law.


    “I sincerely hope that Congressman Murtha will use this opportunity to admit his mistake and take responsibility for the harm his false accusations have done to Justin Sharratt and his family,” Russell said.

    “Justin’s right to justice goes beyond politics.”

  8. See also, "Answering Peter McDonald," by David Durant, Heretical Librarian, 6 July 2008.

    "Safe Libraries has the text of a message posted to the ALA Council listserv by radical leftist ALA Councilor Peter McDonald. I would be remiss if I signed off without offering my reactions to Mr. McDonald's comments. ...."


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