Since 1876, the American Library Association has had a stated mission of providing leadership for improving libraries in the U.S., but watchdogs point to radical shifts in policies that make the once reliable institution not only hard to trust but a genuine threat to America.
In recent years, the ALA has become more and more “terrorist friendly, child unfriendly and outright dishonest and unethical,” according to Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org. He has many examples to make his point but looks to the most recent partnership with billionaire activist George Soros as one indicator of just how far the library group has veered from its intended mission.
Earlier this year, ALA received a large grant from the Soros-funded Open Borders Foundation and has now released a professionally produced video that states: “It’s our hope that well beyond Choose Privacy Week, libraries, schools, and community groups will watch the film and use it as a springboard for a discussion about privacy and surveillance in a digital age.”
Kleinman asked regarding the grant from Soros and the video production: “Why is the American Library Association prostituting itself out to the likes of George Soros to issue propaganda for him and his message on topics that are not a library issue?”
He added: “The video is clearly promoting an end to illegal immigration enforcement, to usher in an era of open borders. What do open borders have to do with libraries?”
Kleinman exposed Soros’ financial grant in January via a video recording of ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom Director Barbara Jones.
Jones told her audience of librarians, “My office just had this nifty, big, grant from the Soros Foundation to do the work with newsrooms and with media and with journalists.
“And my question to you is, we just got it, and we’re just still thinking and formulating. What might we do? I mean journalists and librarians have been meeting together now for about a year, about things we have in common, and stuff like that.”
Jones revealed at the Milwaukee conference that the ALA has been strategizing about how to best work with journalists on media reform in the same breath that she admitted to a large donation from Soros. Kleinman wondered if a government entity would investigate the tax ramifications of such a donation, as Jones also admits in the video that the money is not intended to be used under the umbrella of the ALA.
A second person in the video can be heard asking Jones, “Under the content, under the umbrella of the ALA, or …”
To which Jones answers: “No. The first meeting was in Boston adjacent to the national conference on media reform.
“And we had a meeting at MIT about, called ‘Beyond Books’ about libraries. … But, I’m just trying to think I mean we have this money to do some stuff to think and do things.”
The recent video, rolled out during the ALA’s “Choose Privacy Week,” features speakers from many arenas, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Council on American-Islamic Relations, National Immigration Project, Rights Working Group and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
The video begins with speakers talking about the erosion of civil liberties in America since Sept. 11, 2001, and points the finger at President Bush for seizing “unprecedented power” in the name of keeping Americans safe. The speakers point to the enabling of the federal government to establish an “incredible security infrastructure,” which can be concerning to all Americans but particularly to immigrant communities.
Margaret Huang, executive director of Rights Working Group, claims in the video that government spying on immigrant communities makes them fearful of the government. Another speaker declares, “I think non-citizens are often the first target of any surveillance plan.”
Beyond surveillance of immigrant communities, the video criticizes government efforts to ensure immigration laws have been followed when someone is arrested for a crime.
Forwarding fingerprints from a local police station to the FBI, which is standard practice, according to the video, now allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement to compare the prints in its own database as well under the guise of “Secure Communities.”
What is the problem with immigration officials investigating immigration violations? The video says ICE treats the suspicion of an immigration violation through the use of the database as if it is a violation of the law. They then hold the person to investigate.
“Immigration violations are treated like they are criminal violations and national security threats,” said Paromita Shah, associate director of the National Immigration Project.
She accused the Obama administration of lying to Americans about the Secure Communities program, saying it was rolled out “recklessly” and “deceitfully” after Obama took office.
In the video, Michael German of the ACLU offers his take on immigration enforcement: “The policy of the United States is to deport as many undocumented people as they possibly can.”
The video then points out the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, which suggested that various government agencies should communicate with one another.
Through Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the video alleges that data collected and shared between agencies may be analyzed by people who lack proper training and don’t necessarily know what to do with the information collected.
Ultimately, the video of community organizers encourages people to question the authority of the government’s ability to enforce not just immigration laws but to hamper the government’s ability to prevent terrorist activity on the nation’s shores.
Of the Soros-ALA connection, Kleinman warned, “George Soros is using the ALA as the pretty face to obtain access to American school children and American communities.”
The ALA has already shown a propensity to put its agenda ahead of that of the U.S., he said.
Kleinman pointed to an incident in 2001, just after Sept. 11, that was reported by the New York Times:
When the names and photographs were first released, Kathleen Hensman, a public librarian in Delray Beach, Fla., recognized some of the suspected hijackers in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as men who had used the computers in her small library.
She immediately called the police.
That broke a Florida law that guarantees confidentiality to library patrons. It also violated a cardinal principle of librarians never to tell the police, in absence of a court order, about who uses their rooms and what books they check out.
Ms. Hensman, the librarian, said she was well aware of the Florida law and of her professional responsibility, but she had no qualms about calling the police.
“People were murdered,” she said, ”and people have a right to know that terrorists were here in our library using our public facilities.”
After Ms. Hensman called, the police in Delray Beach, between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, notified the FBI agents obtained a court order and seized two computers the suspects were thought to have used. Officials said they hoped to retrieve e-mail messages the hijackers sent and received.
Although law-enforcement authorities probably wouldn’t have known to follow the terrorists trail to the Florida library, the ALA expressed its disgust with the librarian’s actions.
Judith Krug, then director of the ALA’s office of intellectual freedom, said, ”I would have felt better if she had followed the Florida law.”
It isn’t the first time Soros’ money has funded programs within American libraries geared toward privacy issues.
According to Kleinman, the Soros organization Open Societies also helped develop curricula designed to encourage America’s schoolchildren to bypass parental privacy controls through the use of jailbreak devices.
“The ALA continues to seek major influence in American schools and libraries,” Kleinman said. “Donors like Soros seize the opportunity to have the ALA give credence to his own agenda, thereby giving it legitimacy.”
He added, “The bottom line is this: The ALA has expanded its mission to promote causes that have nothing to do with librarianship – and that’s concerning.”
The ALA did not respond to a WND request for comment.