Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Democracy Now!: Patrick Seale, Clare Short, Shocking and Awful; Danny Schechter; Matthew Rothschild; Elaine Cassel on the Lynne Stewart verdict

This morning's Democracy Now! is very strong and "always worth watching" as Marcia says. I'll add to that how great it is to see (or hear, or read the transcripts) Clair Short covered by our media in this country. (The few brave enough to do so. Democracy Now! is always brave.)
Headlines for February 15, 2005
- Bush Requests $80 Billion For Wars In Iraq & Afghanistan
- Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming Goes Into Effect
- Alberto Gonzales Sworn in As Attorney General
- Senate to Vote on Chertoff As Homeland Security Chief
- Germany Investigates U.S. 'Kidnapping' Of German Citizen
- World Governments Protest Coup in Nepal
- Stun Gun Firm To Sell Tasers To Public

Ex-Lebanese Prime Minister Assassinated in Car Bombing
Lebanon's army has been put on high alert after former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed in a massive bomb explosion Monday. We go to Beirut for a report on the ground and talk to longtime Middle East journalist Patrick Seale on the impact the assassination will have on U.S.-Syrian relations.

Clare Short On Why She Quit Tony Blair's Government In Protest of the Iraq War & How British Intelligence Spied On UN Chief Kofi Annan
One of Europe's leading critics of the Iraq invasion joins us in the Firehouse Studio. Two years ago Clare Short resigned her top post in the Blair government. She recently wrote about her resignation and the war in her book "An Honourable Deception? New Labour, Iraq and the Misuse of Power"

Shocking and Awful: A Grassroots Response to War and Occupation
As President Bush requests $80 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we play an excerpt from a new 13-part series produced by Deep Dish TV featuring interviews with Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and Larry Everest. It is narrated by David Barsamian.

On this morning's Media Dissector Blog, Danny Schechter addresses a number of issues including Eason Jordan:

The Tribunal also issued a statement saying it "finds the sudden 'resignation' of CNN News executive Eason Jordan very troubling and suspicious in light of his recent comments suggesting as many as 12 journalists were killed in Iraq by the U.S. military. His remarks were made in an off-the-record discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Afull transcript has not been published.
"It is clear that Mr. Jordan was intimidated and pressured into stepping down after intense criticism by some pro-war US politician sand media outlets led by Rupert Murdoch's Fox News and New York Post questioning his patriotism. His resignation calls into question freedom of speech within the media and the right to dissent.
"Are Mr. Jordan's claims accurate? Many journalists and press freedom groups believe that such targeting and killings have taken place in the Iraq war as we have heard in testimony before the tribunal by journalists documenting massive abuses by the U.S. military against civilians in Fallujah and other Iraq cities. We have been told of the harassment of journalists and the barring of members of the media from covering aspects of the U.S. military campaign.

Also, check out Matthew Rothschild's "In Defense of Ward Churchill:"
Ward Churchill is under attack.But it’s not about him.
It’s about free speech and academic freedom.
And it’s about the ability to criticize U.S. foreign policy in the context of 9/11.
As you’ve probably heard, Ward Churchill is a professor at the University of Colorado who wrote some regrettable words in an essay after 9/11, comparing what he called “the technicians” in the World Trade Center to “Little Eichmanns.” That unfortunate comparison was outrageous and insensitive, and I wish he hadn’t made it.
But that doesn't mean he didn't have the right to make it.
He has the right that all Americans have: the right of free speech.
And he has the right that all tenured faculty have: the right to express themselves and their ideas freely so that in the free exchange of ideas, truth will eventually win out.

CounterPunch has Elaine Cassel's latest colum on the Lynne Stewart case. It's entitled
"The Stretching the Definition of 'Terrorism' to New Limits:"

Now, however, the First and Sixth Amendments have been gutted -- at least in terms of the attorney-client relationship. Indeed, as I argued in the first article I wrote about Stewart, the government seems to be conducting an all-out assault on the right to counsel.
Defense attorneys who represent alleged terrorists - or even detainees who are merely suspected of some connection to terrorism -- now know that the government may listen in on their attorney-client communications. They also know that this eavesdropping may give rise to evidence that may be used in their own prosecution for terrorism if they cross the imaginary line drawn by the government.
How can these attorneys be zealous advocates with this government-inspired fear overshadowing their every word?
If the attorneys are prosecuted, they can expect, at trial, to be conflated with their clients - just as Stewart was. The prosecution showed an old tape of Osama bin Laden promising revenge if Rahman were not released. In a courtroom only a short distance from Ground Zero, the tape must have meant a great deal. But it related to Rahman, not Stewart. Though Rahman may be a Bin Laden confederate, that does not mean his attorney is.
The larger issue here is not whether Stewart "stepped over the line" from lawyer to criminal co-conspirator, as the jury verdict implies. Nor is it whether terrorism fears caused the jury to reach an irrational verdict - as may well be the case. The larger issue is that those who face terrorism-related charges will now be entitled to a government-crippled defense.
The Ashcroft Justice Department showed disdain for attorneys--save its own. Unfortunately, the Gonzales Justice Department likely will be even worse on this score. Referring to the Stewart verdict, Gonzales was quick to warn that he would "pursue both those who carry out acts of terrorism and those who assist them with their murderous goals." (Emphasis added.)
This is pure hyperbole - treating Stewart's willingness to assist her client in putting out a press release as the moral equivalent of financing or arming terrorists. It furthers the lie that a terrorist's lawyer, by zealously representing her client, at the same time aids and abets terrorism.
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