Friday, March 11, 2005

Democracy Now: Madrid, Juan Cole and Osama Siblani; The Daily Howler, The News Dissecter and the ACLU

Democracy Now! usually gets Marcia's tag line of "Always worth watching" but she requests that today it be noted that it's "jaw droppingly incredible." (Watch, read or listen and you'll see why.)

Headlines for March 11, 2005
- Shiites & Kurds in Iraq Form Coalition Government
- 50 Die In Suicide Bombing At Shiite Funeral In Iraq
- Pentagon Considers Shipping Guantanamo Detainees Overseas
- Democrats Slam Pentagon Report On Military Abuse
- Senate Oks Overhaul of Bankruptcy Laws
- Judge Dismisses Agent Orange Lawsuit
- Court Hears Case Accusing Kissinger of Role in 1970 Killing
- Ex-NYPD Detectives Arrested For Mafia Ties

A Day of Mourning: Spain Marks Anniversary of March 11 Madrid Train Bombings
Across Spain today, people are marking the first anniversary of the March 11 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people and left more than 1,800 wounded. We go to Madrid to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent, Maria Carrion. [includes rush transcript]

Juan Cole and Osama Siblani on Middle East Politics, U.S. Media Coverage of the Region, and the Arab American Landscape
We broadcast from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor - home to the first antiwar teach-in forty years ago this month. Also, the region surrounded by Detroit and Dearborn is home to one of the largest Arab communities in this country.
We spend the rest of the hour looking at issues surrounding the Middle East, both in terms of U.S. foreign policy as well as here at home and how Arab Americans and Arab immigrants have been affected by the Bush administration's so-called war on terror. We speak with University of Michigan professor, Juan Cole and Osama Siblani, publisher and editor-in-chief of "The Arab American" newspaper. [includes rush transcript]

Arab American Publisher Says Bush Told Him in May 2000 He Planned to "Take Out" Iraq
Osama Siblani, publisher of "The Arab American" newspaper, says George W Bush told him in May 2000 - before he was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate - that he is going to "take out" Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

Over at The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby continues to cover social security and continues to
rate the arguments put foward by people who are supposed to be conveying to Americans how
myth based the Bully Boy's argument is and how faulty. From today's entry:

Meanwhile, E. J. Dionne further deceived the Post's misused readers on this key matter (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/9/05). Try to believe that the fiery "liberal pundit" typed this absurd account:

DIONNE (3/9/05): As for personal accounts, their more forthright advocates acknowledge that paying for them will require either substantial tax increases or borrowing on the order of $2 trillion. Bush has finessed this nasty detail, hoping that such brave Republican legislators as Sens. Lindsey Graham and Chuck Hagel would take the hit for delivering the bad news.

That is complete, total horsesh*t. In fact, Dionne achieves a twofer with this account. First, he grossly misleads the Pos'’s misused readers about the likely cost of transition. Second, he implies that Republicans who put the cost at two trillion dollars deserve high praise for being so "brave" and "forthright!" In fact, such Republicans are baldly misinforming the public, just like the Democrats who enable them. But so what? All around the liberal web, lackeys let this nonsense continue. No, they won't criticize those wonderful Dems; after all, some bloggers work for the Democrats now. And no, they won't challenge Saint Dionne. Some of them want to work for the Post (some publish op-eds for the paper right now), and they want to attend those insider parties, where fiery Washington liberals like Dionne swill wine and develop their swill. Who gets royally screwed in the process? You do, along with the rest of the public. So do your critical interests.
As polls have indicated, the actual size of those transition costs could drive a stake through the heart of this plan. But how is the public supposed to learn about the probable costs? Plainly, the Democrats are wholly inept, and the big news orgs refuse to report. And liberal bloggers? They refuse to complain! Go ahead, folks -- have a good weekend.

There's much more in today's entry (and we'll be discussing Somerby & The Daily Howler in another entry -- hopefully tonight but there are posting problems tonight like last night).

Danny Schechter's News Dissector blog is always a worthy read combinging all things domestic and international. Tori e-mailed today asking that one topic in today's News Dissector be noted:

As we think of those wars, think of the bloodshed that once again rocked Iraq, this time in Mosul. And also think of this story from Al Jazeera:
US detained children in Abu Ghraib
An 8-year-old was among the children detained by US soldiers at Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib jail, a former prison commander has said.
Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski told officials investigating prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib that the child was crying and wanted to see his mother.
Karpinski's statement is among hundreds of pages of US Army records about Abu Ghraib the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released on Thursday.
The ACLU got the documents under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records about abuse of detainees in Iraq."

Tori also wants everyone to know that with the new design of Schechter's blog, you can post comments. I agree that's a great addition but don't know how many members here will be interested just because the community didn't like that feature for this site. However, if you are someone who doesn't like that feature and you haven't yet checked out Danny Schechter's blog, please note that he has a section at the bottom of each entry that revolves around e-mails sent to him. (That's a feature the community as a whole seems to prefer.)

Rob asks that we note this from the ACLU, "ACLU Says New Detainee Report Does Not Absolve Senior Officials of Responsibility for Abuses; Special Prosecutor Needed:"

Despite aggressive claims to the contrary by the Defense Department, an investigation into detainee torture by American military personnel released today did not and likely could not have absolved senior-level Pentagon officials of responsibility for the widespread abuse of men and women in American military custody, the American Civil Liberties Union said.
"Military investigations can only look down," said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director. "An impartial and comprehensive investigation of senior-level Pentagon officials would require the appointment of a special prosecutor by the attorney general."
The Navy investigation was conducted by Vice Adm. Albert T. Church, the Navy’s inspector general, who, according to the former head of the Navy’s legal corps, would have had limited authority to actively investigate criminal conduct by his superiors.
The only way criminal conduct by senior-level civilian officials at the Pentagon could be properly assessed, Romero said, is through the appointment of a special prosecutor by the attorney general. Without such an appointment, criminal conduct by civilian political appointees at the Pentagon will forever go unpunished.
Last week the ACLU filed a civil complaint on behalf of detainees who were abused in Iraq and Afghanistan against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, alleging that he is legally responsible because he failed to exercise his command responsibility to prevent and stop abuse and torture. If military commanders have reason to know of illegal conduct by their subordinates, and they do not take adequate measures to stop it, they are liable for their subordinates’ conduct under Supreme Court legal precedent.
"Secretary Rumsfeld authorized techniques that were clearly unlawful," Romero said. "What’s worse is that he violated his command responsibility by ignoring the reports of torture that came to his attention in 2003 and 2004. Turning a blind eye to the torture that was going on under his command is not a sufficient legal or moral excuse."