Saturday, March 26, 2005

ACLU on torture; Jesse Jackson, Sr: world bank; undembedded journalists in Iraq; DeLay; Julian Bond; silicone implants; reporter killed in Philippines

Kyle e-mails asking that we highlight something he found at, Rverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.'s "Choosing Poverty's Banker." Here's an excerpt of Jackson's column on the World Bank:

The Bush administration in general, and Paul Wolfowitz in particular, would have you believe that 1,500 Americans have died, perhaps 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, and more than $200 billion has been spent on invading and occupying Iraq, in the name of "democracy."
Funny, then, that Paul Wolfowitz is now being promoted in a secret, opaque, closely held process that freezes out most of the world. Of special note, the selection of the new World Bank head freezes out the 1 billion people who live on less than $1 per day, and the 3 billion who live on less than $2 per day. It freezes out the entire Southern hemisphere, Africa, Asia and South America. In fact, it freezes out everyone who is not a Bush loyalist in the United States, or a nervous European elite.
It is as if fighting world poverty were a ping-pong game between the United States and Europe, a game in which the poorer nations are not even allowed to enter.
But why? Why should the world’s poorest people be excluded from the process of selecting one of the most important leaders who will affect their lives? Why are the nations most controlled by World Bank and International Monetary Fund policies not allowed to nominate--or even participate in any meaningful way--in the selection of new leadership?

Toni wants us to note Jill Carroll's "Letter from Baghdad: What a Way to Make a Living" which appears in the American Journalism Review and addresses being a freelance journalist in Iraq.
From the article:

Covering the war gives journalists an opportunity to recall the noblest tenets of their profession and fulfill the public service role of journalism.
The sense that I could do more good in the Middle East than in the U.S. drove me to move to Jordan six months before the war to learn as much about the region as possible before the fighting began. All I ever wanted to be was a foreign correspondent, so when I was laid off from my reporting assistant job at the Wall Street Journal in August 2002, it seemed the right time to try to make it happen. There was bound to be plenty of parachute journalism once the war started, and I didn't want to be a part of that.
Idealistic, for sure, but I am not the only one. Ashraf Khalil had the same motivation. The 33-year-old Chicago native had been living in Cairo for six years as a freelancer when he decided his years of experience in the region could add depth to the torrent of coverage coming out of Iraq.
"I feel I have a responsibility to try to bring something to these stories," says Khalil, who freelanced in Iraq in January and February 2004 and is now a reporter in the Los Angeles Times' Baghdad bureau. "I spent a lot of time waiting for someone to sponsor me, and finally I realized it just wasn't going to happen unless I did it myself."

Lloyd e-mails Derek Cressman's "Ethics DeLayed" from Lloyd notes Cressman offers "a great and informative summary that will bring people up to speed on Tom DeLay." From the article:

DeLay is a conservative and so are most of the people in the 22nd congressional district in Texas that he represents.
They elected him to fight for their values and he is right to do so. So when DeLay noticed that the Lone Star State's congressional delegation was comprised of 57% Democrats despite the fact that a solid majority of Texans had been supporting Republicans in statewide races, he had every right to try to change the congressional district lines in a way that would more accurately represent the political beliefs of most Texans.
The most principled course of action would have been to turn redistricting over to a non-partisan commission that could fairly balance the principles of competition, accurate political representation, and preservation of local communities. That is what Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to do in California. Instead of creating a fair process, DeLay helped elect Tom Craddick and other allies to the Texas legislature so long as they promised to redraw congressional districts once in office.

Rob e-mails to note an announcement on the NAACP web site that Julian Bond will be receving an award:

NAACP Board of Directors Chairman Julian Bond will receive the 2005 Hubert H. Humphrey award presented by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights May 4, 2005 during their annual dinner at the Hilton Washington and Towers hotel. The Hubert H. Humphrey (HHH) Award salutes individuals or organizations that best exemplify Vice-President Hubert Humphrey's legacy of “selfless and devoted service in the cause of equality."

Lily e-mails asking that we note an action alert from NOW:

A lobbyist for implant manufacturer Mentor Corporation is trying to convince Congress and the Food and Drug Administration that silicone implants are safe, despite the clear evidence we provided to Congress on March 2 showing they are not. It is essential that members of Congress and the FDA understand the truth about the risks of silicone implants. We need you to help Congress and the FDA see their way through the implant industry's deception. A new letter is being circulated around Congress and the FDA that refutes the comments from Mentor and provides additional evidence to support the concerns we have about the risks of silicone implants. Please send a message to Congress and the FDA to help them get the facts straight. Don't let the silicone implant industry mislead Congress and the FDA into approving silicone implants for general use. They are simply too risky.

For more information, visit NOW's action alert.

Keesha asks that we note this from Reporters Without Borders, "Newspaper columnist gunned down in front of her 10-year-old daughter:"

Reporters Without Borders voiced "horror" today at the murder of newspaper columnist Marlyn Garcia Esperat of the weekly Midland Review, who was shot dead in her home in front of her 10-year-old daughter by two gunmen on the eve of Easter on 24 March in Tacurong, on the southern island of Mindanao.
Noting that this was the second murder of a journalist since the start of the year in the Philippines, the press freedom organization said in a letter to interior minister Angelo Reyes that there was an "urgent need to restore a climate that allows the press to work properly after repeated attacks that have gone completely unpunished."

Cedric notes that the ACLU has something we should pay attention to, "Army’s Own Documents Acknowledge Evidence That Soldiers Used Torture." From that press release:

The American Civil Liberties Union today charged that the government is attempting to bury the torture scandal involving the U.S. military by failing to comply with a court order requiring release of documents to the ACLU. The documents the government does release are being issued in advance to the media in ways calculated to minimize coverage and public access, the ACLU said.
The reason for the delay in delivering the more than 1,200 pages of documents was evident, the ACLU said, in the contents, which include reports of brutal beatings, "exercise until exhaustion" and sworn statements that soldiers were told to "beat the fuck out of" detainees. One file cites evidence that Military Intelligence personnel in Iraq "tortured" detainees held in their custody.
"These documents provide further evidence that the torture of detainees was much more widespread than the government has acknowledged," said ACLU attorney Jameel Jaffer. "At a minimum, the documents indicate a colossal failure of leadership."

The ACLU notes that "The documents released today include evidence of:
*Abuse of a high school student detainee
*Death of detainee with no history of medical problems
*Soldiers being told to "beat the f*ck out of detainees"
*Perceptions of chain of command endorsement of "pay-back"

"Army’s Own Documents Acknowledge Evidence That Soldiers Used Torture" provides a summary as well as links to the documents themselves in pdf format.

Please note that there have been problems with posting this morning. (A long entry on this morning's Times was lost as I attempted to save the draft.) And although it is Saturday and I will be helping The Third Estate Sunday Review, we will have a Women's History Month note posted as well as, hopefully, at least one more entry if not two.

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