Friday, November 04, 2005

Democracy Now: Mark Crispin Miller, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, James Petras, Elsa Montero; Cynthia McKinney, Naomi Klein ...

Red Cross Calls for Access to Detainees in Secret Prisons
The International Committee of the Red Cross has called for access to detainees held in secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. The unidentified facilities were revealed in Wednesday's Washington Post. Meanwhile, the European Union announced it would be looking into allegations made by Human Rights Watch that Poland and Romania are the likely sites of the prisons. Both countries have denied the allegations.

Riots Intensify in Paris Suburbs
In France, clashes intensified as rioting in several Paris suburbs entered its eight day. The violence started October 27 following the deaths of two teenagers in the poor area of Clichy-sous-Bois. The two teens were electrocuted in a power grid while fleeing from police. One of the child's parents has filed a complaint with local authorities. The suburbs are home to a large North African community and plagued by chronic unemployment and poverty. Unrest has now spread to at least 20 towns. Police say they've made over 140 arrests. French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has drawn criticism for calling the suburban youths "scum," and pledging a "war without mercy" on them.

Alito Advocated Firing HIV-Positive Employees
This news on the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito the Washington Post has revealed Alito co-authored a 1986 Justice Department opinion that said employers should be able to legally fire HIV-positive employees. The opinion stated "fear of contagion, whether reasonable or not," was a sufficient reason for firing an HIV-positive worker. Alito later said : "We certainly did not want to encourage irrational discrimination, but we had to interpret the law as it stands." Meanwhile the Senate Judiciary Committee announced confirmation hearings for Alito will begin January 9th. President Bush had pushed for a confirmation vote by year's end.

The above three items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Juan, Brady and Marcia. Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):

Headlines for November 4, 2005

- Libby Pleads Not Guilty at Arraignment
- Red Cross Calls for Access to Detainees in Secret Prisons
- Riots Intensify in Paris Suburbs
- UN Warns of Ethiopia-Eritrea War
- Senate, House Approve Food Stamp, Health Care Cuts
- Alito Advocated Firing HIV-Positive Employees
- Brown Complained, Discussed Wardrobe as Katrina Hit

Was the 2004 Election Stolen?: A Debate on Ohio One Year After Bush's Victory

A year later, questions remain over the outcome of the Ohio election and whether George W. Bush fairly won the state and the presidency. We explore some of these questions with a debate between Mark Crispin Miller and Mark Hertsgaard. [includes rush transcript]

Mark Crispin Miller: "Kerry Told Me He Now Thinks the Election Was Stolen"

New York University professor and author Mark Crispin Miller says in an interview on Democracy Now!: "[Kerry] told me he now thinks the election was stolen. He says he doesn't believe he is the person that can be out in front because of the sour grapes question. But he said he believes it was stolen. He says he argues with his democratic colleagues on the hill. He said he had a fight with Christopher Dodd because he said there's questions about the voting machines and Dodd was angry."

Thousands Protest Bush in Argentina, People's Summit Counters Free Trade Talks

In the wake of the Summit of the Americas and President Bush's arrival in Argentina, a People's Summit is also being organized as a counter protest and thousands have gathered to hear Venezuelan President Chavez speak at a rally. We hear from Nobel Peace prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel in Argentina and others.

Lonnie e-mails to note Cynthia McKinney's "An Occurrence at Gretna Bridge" (CounterPunch):

City of Gretna police chief Arthur Lawson is equally impressive. His justification for trapping Katrina survivors in New Orleans is, he is reported to have said, "If we had opened the bridge, our city would have looked like New Orleans does now: looted, burned and pillaged."

Eyewitnesses report that before they were close enough to speak, officers began firing their weapons over the heads of the New Orleans survivors. Other officers are reported to have said that they wanted "no Superdomes in their city."

The world got a chance to see what too many of us here in this country already know: that racism is alive and well in America.
Could it be that the police chief and the sheriff are guilty of a hate crime? How can federally funded roads be blocked by local officials at a time of emergency? Where was the Federal Government that should have been ensuring the lives of all Katrina survivors?
Didn't the New Orleans survivors have the right to life? And civil rights?

And where's the outrage?

I've personally learned that many people black and white are outraged about what happened. But you wouldn't know that by the response up here on Capitol Hill, where one of my colleagues is reported to have said to a group of lobbyists: We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

No one has asked for his resignation, no one has even suggested that he could have chosen less offensive language-no one has suggested that they were offended at all by what he said. And so we are left with what too many New Orleans residents quietly suffered for years:
the soft underbelly of American racism.

The Justice Department should investigate this very sad incident.

We'll note this from NOW:

NOW and Progressive Allies Announce New Orleans March
NOW President Kim Gandy today joins the Hip Hop Caucus, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, New Orleans organizers and other civil rights allies in announcing a Nov. 7 march across the bridge to Gretna, LA.


Who: Kim Gandy, NOW President and New Orleans native
Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.)
Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus
and other progressive allies
What: Announcement of Nov. 7 march over the Gretna bridge
When: Wednesday, Nov. 2
11:00 am - 12:00 noon
Where: Cannon Terrace (Independence & New Jersey Ave., SW)

Reminder, November 7th is this Monday.

I'm almost caught up on the e-mails* and one was from Sarita noting a story worth reading but also approriate in context of the above, Mike Davis and Anthony Fontenot's "Hurricane Gumbo" (The Nation):

While Edna was saving the living, his brother-in-law, a police detective from another city, was engaged in the grueling, macabre work of retrieving bodies. "Vincent" (his real name can't be used) went out each night in a Fisheries boat with a scuba diver and an M-16-toting National Guard escort.

"I wore a [hazmat] space suit and piloted the boat. I was chosen because I'm trained in forensics, and since I am a Cajun the higher powers assumed I was a water baby. We worked at night because of the heat and to avoid the goddamn news helicopters that hover like vultures during the daytime. We didn't want some poor son of a bitch seeing his grandma covered with ants or crabs on the 6 o'clock news."

Ants and crabs? "Hey, this is Louisiana. The minute New Orleans flooded it became swamp again. The ecosystem returns. Ants float and they build big colonies on floating bodies the same as they would upon a cypress log. And the crabs eat carrion. We'd pulled the crabs off, but the goddamn ants were a real problem."

Vincent described the exhausting, gruesome work of hauling bloated bodies aboard the boat and then zipping them into body bags. (FEMA neglected water, food rations and medicine, but did fly thousands of body bags into Louis Armstrong Airport.) Although Vincent was supposed to tag the bags, few victims had any identification. Some didn't have faces.

One of us asks about the demographics of death. "We pulled seventy-seven bodies out of the water. Half were little kids. It was tough--no one died with their eyes closed, and all had fought like hell, some slowly drowning in their attics.

"I deal with crime scenes and human remains all the time and usually keep a professional distance. You have to, if you want to continue to do your job. But sometimes a case really gets to you. We found the corpse of a woman clutching a young baby. Mother or sister, I don't know. I couldn't pry the infant out of the woman's grasp without breaking her fingers. After finally separating them, the baby left a perfect outline imprinted across the lady's chest. That will really haunt me. And so will the goddamn cries of the people we left behind.

We'll be doing something on Danny Schechter's "Tell the Truth About the War" program. There were a lot of e-mails and Ava, Jess, Shirley, Martha and I have gone through them. If it's okay, due to the volume on this topic, I'd like to do a summary. I don't know how else, to get anything up on that. I'm running way behind as a result of being sick but if anyone has a problem with a summary, please e-mail the private address and I'll attempt to figure out another way to handle it.

We'll close with Naomi Klein's "The Threat of Hope in Latin America." You can find the article both at The Nation, here, and at No Logo (Klein's site) where it's currently the top item:

When Manuel Rozental got home one night last month, friends told him two strange men had been asking questions about him. In this close-knit indigenous community in southwestern Colombia ringed by soldiers, right-wing paramilitaries and left-wing guerrillas, strangers asking questions about you is never a good thing.
The Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca, which leads a political movement that is autonomous from all those armed forces, held an emergency meeting. They decided that Rozental, their communications coordinator, who had been instrumental in campaigns for agrarian reform and against a Free Trade Agreement with the United States, had to get out of the country--fast.
They were certain that those strangers had been sent to kill Rozental--the only question was, by whom? The US-backed national government, which notoriously uses right-wing paramilitaries to do its dirty work? Or was it the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), Latin America's oldest Marxist guerrilla army, which does its dirty work all on its own? Oddly, both were distinct possibilities. Despite being on opposing sides of a forty-one-year civil war, the Uribe government and the FARC wholeheartedly agree that life would be infinitely simpler without Cauca’s increasingly powerful indigenous movement.

We'll also note that in a recent poll (20,000 voters) determing the "top intellectual," Naomi Klein was the highest ranked woman on the list (at number eleven).

The e-mail address for this site is *Thanks to Jess and Ava for all their help with the e-mails.

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