Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Democracy Now: Murray Waas, Julian Bond, Dorothy Height, Cicely Tyson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Oprah ...

Report: 40 Iraqis Die in U.S. Bombings Near Syria
In Iraq, hospital officials in the town of Qaim say up to 40 people were killed Monday in U.S. bombings near the Syrian border. An Iraqi doctor said many of the killed were women and children. Local residents said U.S. aircraft carried out a series of bombing raids beginning shortly after midnight and continuing until dawn. Military officials said they were targeting safehouses used by a local Al Qaeda leader.

October Marks Fourth Deadliest Month for U.S. In Iraq
And U.S. losses in Iraq continue to rise. Seven U.S. soldiers were killed on Monday bringing the monthly death toll to 92. This made October the fourth deadliest month of the war for U.S. troops.

Bush's Church Calls for U.S. Troop Withdrawal
President Bush and Dick Cheney are facing more opposition about the war in Iraq - this time from their own church. Last week the United Methodist Church passed a resolution calling for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq. The resolution read in part "As people of faith, we raise our voice in protest against the tragedy of the unjust war in Iraq. Thousands of lives have been lost and hundreds of billions of dollars wasted in a war the United States initiated and should never have fought." The church board also called on Congress to create and independent, bipartisan commission to investigate U.S. treatment of detainees overseas.

World Can't Wait Organizes 185 Protests for Nov. 2
Meanwhile anti-Bush demonstrations in over 185 cities and campuses are being organized for Wednesday by a group called The World Can't Wait. The group picked the first anniversary of the 2004 election to launch its effort to drive out the Bush government.

The above four items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Charlie, Marci, KeShawn and Gina. On the fourth item, Gina reminds everyone that World Can't Wait is discussed in last Friday's edition of the gina & krista round-robin but wants to be sure that even visitors are aware of it. More information can be found here. Democracy Now! ("always worth watching" as Marcia says):

Headlines for November 1, 2005

- Senate Prepares for Battle Over Alito Nomination
- NY Times: Alito Nomination is "Another Lost Opportunity"
- Alito's Mother: "Of Course He's Against Abortion"
- Report: 40 Iraqis Die in U.S. Bombings Near Syria
- October Marks Fourth Deadlines Month for U.S. In Iraq
- Bush's Church Calls for U.S. Troop Withdrawal
- U.S. Army Dumped 64 Million Pounds of WMDs into Ocean

Los Titulares de Hoy: Democracy Now!'s daily news summary translated into Spanish

Cheney Taps Torture Memo Author to Replace Scooter Libby

On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney appointed his legal counsel, David Addington, to be his new chief of staff following the resignation of Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Addington once wrote the war on terorrism has rendered the Geneva Conventions "obsolete." We speak with investigative reporter Murray Waas and hear former Ambassador Joseph Wilson speak out on the outing of his wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame. [includes rush transcript]

AMY GOODMAN: So far the investigation into the C.I.A. leak has led to the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Libby was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and false statements. He resigned following the indictments. President Bush's Chief Advisor, Karl Rove, has so far escaped indictment for his role in the leak. He remains, though, under investigation. Back in August 2003, Wilson first fingered Rove, saying, quote, "At the end of the day it's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs." In his address yesterday Wilson repeated his view Rove should be fired.

    JOSEPH WILSON: I'll say it again. I don't believe Mr. Rove should be permitted to resign. I believe that this is a firing offense. To be so cavalier in the handling of the secrets of this great nation really is an abuse of the public trust.

AMY GOODMAN: That is Ambassador Joseph Wilson. While Karl Rove remains in the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney has appointed his legal counsel, David Addington, to replace Scooter Libby. Cheney also appointed John Hannah, who served on his national security staff since March 2001 as assistant to the Vice President for national security affairs. Libby had held both positions. Addington was referred to -- by the job title in the indictment of Libby on Friday and appears likely to be called as a witness should Libby's case go to trial. On Monday, I spoke with investigative journalist Murray Waas, one of the leading investigative reporters in the C.I.A. leak case. He co-authored an article in the National Journal Sunday about David Addington.

MURRAY WAAS: David Addington is one of the Vice President's closest aides. Lewis Libby was a guy with unprecedented authority and power. Lewis Libby was one of the most powerful staff assistants to a vice president, who in himself was perhaps the most powerful vice president in the country's history. So Lewis Libby had the positions of not only being the Chief of Staff to the Vice President before his resignation following his indictment on Friday, but he's also the President's National Security Advisor, and he also had the title of being special assistant to the President. The third one was kind of symbolic in the sense of -- to show that his loyalty was also to the President, that he didn't just serve the Vice President. It was a unified White House. So David Addington worked under Lewis Libby. Libby was his mentor, but David Addington was the counsel to the Vice President of the United States. And so today -- yesterday, the Vice President named his successor -- the successor to Lewis Libby as Chief of Staff, and that appointment is going to be David Addington.

Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson, Julian Bond, Dorothy Height & Others Pay Tribute to Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks

On Monday, thousands of mourners filled the Metropolitian AME church in Washington for a memorial service for the late Rosa Parks, who died last week at the age of 92. Over the past two days, more than 40,000 people filed past her casket in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda Monday where her body had lain in honor. She was the first civilian and only second woman or African-American to receive such an honor. Speakers at Monday's memorial included Oprah Winfrey, actress Cicely Tyson, NAACP chair Julian Bond, civil rights pioneer Dorothy Height, Parks' childhood friend Johnnie Carr, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and NAACP President Bruce Gordon.

JULIAN BOND: We are gathered here to say goodbye and well done to Rosa Louise McCauley Parks. She leaves us as she lived her life with honor and dignity. She was daughter, sister, wife, aunt and mother to the Movement. But she was more than that. She leaves us just short of the 50th anniversary of the day she showed the world you can stand up for your rights by sitting down. Her actions produced a movement and introduced America to a new leader. Dr. King said she was anchored to that seat by the accumulated indignities of days gone by and the boundless aspirations of generations yet to come.

Now, she wasn't the first to refuse to surrender to Montgomery's apartheid. There had been Claudette Colvin, there had been Mary Louise Smith and countless others before her, those who believed they had rights just like any other citizen. But Rosa Parks was the first person to plead not guilty; for her, breaking Alabama law was obeying the Constitution. It was defending justice. She was tired, alright. She was tired of mistreatment. She was tired of second class citizenship. But, you know, she didn't want to be known as the bus woman. She was much, much more than that.

A historian writes, "Although Martin Luther King played crucial role in transforming a local boycott into a social justice movement, he was, himself, transformed by a movement he did not initiate." In Montgomery, the boycott owed its success to what a historian calls the self-reliant NAACP stalwarts who acted on their own before King could lead. Rosa Parks was first among those NAACP stalwarts. She had been active with the NAACP for more than a decade before the boycott began. When it began, she was secretary to the Alabama NAACP state conference. She was secretary to the Montgomery branch of the NAACP. She was advisor to the youth council of the NAACP. She was secretary to the Alabama Voters League. But she was more than that.

We'll note "How Karl Rove Got His Groove Back" (BuzzFlash):

Karl Rove, like Goebbels, is a master of propaganda -- and a key component of crisis management propaganda is timing. If Monday, October 31, began with another wave of TreasonGate headlines, it could spell further erosion for a White House that not only daily betrays a nation, but is totally and utterly incompetent. (Any person not caught up in the national state of right wing hysteria is suicidal if they support this administration, because the WH's bungling ineptitude daily threatens our national security and economic well-being.) So Scalito was "rolled out" early, before he was probably even out of bed, to divert the press from Friday's indictment (that was really a door opening onto the entire conspiracy behind lying America into war).

Marcus e-mails to note Moira Feeney's "Trial Begins for Salvadoran Commander Nicolas Carranza in Memphis" (Tennessee Independent Media):

Memphis, TN: October 31, 2005. Today Colonel Nicolas Carranza, former Vice-Minister of Defense of El Salvador, comes face-to-face with five individuals who accuse him of torture, extrajudicial killing and crimes against humanity. The trial is expected to last about three weeks. This is the first time Carranza has ever had to answer accusations that he oversaw widespread human rights violations in El Salvador. Carranza came to the United States in 1985 and settled in Memphis. He became a U.S. citizen in 1991. The plaintiffs allege that, as Vice-Minister of Defense, Colonel Carranza exercised command and control over the three units of El Salvador's Security Forces from late 1979 until early 1981. It was during that time, in July 1980, that death squad members murdered the parents of Ana Patricia Chavez due to their membership in the ANDES 21 de Junio teachers' union. In September 1980, Francisco Calderon witnessed the murder of his father, also a member of ANDES, by plain-clothes gunmen working with the National Police. The same month, university student Cecilia Santos was arrested and tortured in the National Police headquarters. In late November of that year, Manuel Franco, the husband of Erlinda Franco, and five other pro-democracy leaders of the Frente Democrático Revolucionario were abducted in a Security Forces operation, tortured and killed. The FDR assassinations were among the most shocking incidents carried out by the Salvadoran military during 1980, and they led directly to the commencement of a full-scale civil war a conflict that claimed an estimated 75,000 lives.

Due in part to U.S. government concerns about his human rights record, Carranza was transferred out of his post as Vice-Minister in early 1981.

In 1983, Colonel Carranza was appointed director of the notorious Treasury Police shortly after the murder of a U.S. military advisor, Lt. Cmdr. Albert Schaufelberger, in San Salvador. In a reckless attempt to find the person responsible for the killing, five men dressed in civilian clothes abducted engineering student Daniel Alvarado and took him to the headquarters of the Treasury Police. There he was tortured severely and forced to sign a confession stating that he had been involved in the Schaufelberger murder. U.S. officials investigating the case concluded and reported that Daniel was not responsible in any way for the assassination and that he had made the confession in order to stop the brutal torture.

In 1984, while Colonel Carranza was still chief of the Treasury Police, The New York Times reported that he had been a paid informant for the CIA. He was subsequently removed from his position at the Treasury Police and came to the United States.

The suit is jointly brought by the Tennessee-based firm Bass, Berry & Sims, PLC, and the Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA), a non-profit human rights organizations that works to bring perpetrators of human rights abuses to justice.

Lead counsel David Esquivel stated, "Finally these plaintiffs will have an opportunity to tell their stories of survival to the jury. They have waited too long for justice, and I am honored to represent them in this action." Esquivel was recently named pro bono attorney of the year by the Tennessee Bar Association largely due to his work on this case.

Matt Eisenbrandt Litigation Director of CJA said, "Today's trial marks a pinnacle in CJA's efforts to hold Salvadoran human rights violators accountable. We will continue to work with the community of survivors to break the cycle of impunity that persists in El Salvador." In 2004, CJA won a landmark judgment against a California resident who organized the assassination of revered Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. The victory led to calls in El Salvador for the repeal of the country's Amnesty Law. The Romero case followed a $54 million jury verdict in 2002 against Generals Jose Guillermo Garcia and Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, who, along with Carranza, were top military leaders in the 1980s.

Patty Blum, CJA Senior Legal Advisor and Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley's Boalt Hall Law School, commented: "This trial will address some of the most infamous incidents in the tragic history of El Salvador. The repressive military was responsible for thousands of deaths in the 1980s, and now the plaintiffs hope to hold Colonel Carranza responsible for his role in the abuses."

For additional information about the case and regular updates from the trial, please see CJA's website: www.cja.org.

Polly e-mails to note "Salvadoran torture trial begins" (BBC):

The lawsuit says that Mr Carranza commanded military and police units that took part in what they call a deliberate reign of state terror with the use of torture and murder.

In a pre-trial ruling, a judge found that claims of torture or witnessing wrongful deaths by at least four of Mr Carranza's accusers were valid.

More than 75,000 people died during El Salvador's 12-year civil war between the US-backed government and left-wing rebels, which ended in 1992.

Colleen e-mails to note Nora Ephron's "What's Eating George Bush?" (The Huffington Post):

I'm sorry to have to return to what continues to be, for me, the Rosebud event of the second Bush term, but since I live in New York and am free from the kind of facts and "inside information" that burden most people who write about politics, I keep thinking about the day the plane flew into the airspace while the President rode his bicycle.

As you may recall, on May 11, 2005, a small plane made an unauthorized detour into the air space over the nation's Capitol, setting off a red alert. The Secret Service evacuated Dick Cheney and rushed Laura Bush to a bunker in the White House. The President was not there. He was off riding his bicycle in Beltsville, Maryland, and the Secret Service didn't notify him about the incident until it was over. At the time they claimed they didn't want to disturb his bicycle ride. It's my theory that this incident was one of the reasons for the rift between Bush and Cheney -- a rift, I'm proud to say, that I was one of the first to point out (on the Huffington Post), on the basis of no information whatsoever, and which now turns out (according to this week's Newsweek) to be absolutely true.

Emboldened by the success of this deduction, I would like to ask another question that I've been wondering about for some time: What's wrong with the president? Is he fighting depression? Is he being medicated in some way that isn't quite working? What's up? I even bought a copy of one of the supermarket tabloids that alleged he'd started drinking again, but the article (like all articles in supermarket tabloids) was extremely disappointing; even the over-exciting picture of the President on the front page, holding a glass of wine, turned out to be an old irrelevant photograph of him making a toast at some banquet; there was no real evidence in the article that he was back on the sauce.

FYI, if you missed Danny Schechter on Ring of Fire Saturday on Air America, click here and (via Air America Place) you can still hear it.

Gilbert e-mails to note Grace Lee Boggs' "The first change I'd make in Detroit" (Michigan Citizen):

Yet the only kind of "school reform" that we are getting is No Child Left Behind, a program that measures learning by test performances, guarantees that students who are already failing
will continue to fail, and blames and punishes everyone involved in the school system, students, teachers, administrators, parents and the community, for the deepening crisis in our public

Why is it so hard to start real school reform? I think it is because the crisis in our schools mirrors

the conflict in our own hearts between our professed love of equality and our willingness to accept the inequality and hierarchy inherent in capitalism. Imbedded in our public school system is the fundamental contradiction between our concept of public schools as the repository and vehicle of democratic citizenship, on the one hand, and, on the other, the need of the capitalist system for stratification.

Because tests are allegedly value-free and only measure merit, they cover up and allow us to

evade this contradiction.

Nevertheless history shows that schools remain the laboratories for struggles over what it means

to be an American. Does it mean becoming more democratic, more egalitarian, and more
transparent? Or does it mean increasing the great divide between the haves and the have-nots,
as our school system is now doing. That is why the 50 percent rate at which students of color
are dropping out of public schools is the major social justice issue of our time. By voting with
their feet, these young people are declaring that they are no longer willing to participate in this cover-up.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com. And, as promised, upcoming dates for Amy Goodman's Un-Embed the Media tour:

* Amy Goodman in Cortland, NY:
Wed, Nov 2
SUNY college at Cortland
Brown Auditorium
Event is free and open to the public

* Amy Goodman in Stonybrook, NY:
Thur, Nov 3
7th Annual George Goodman Symposium
Provost Lecture by
Phil Donahue and Michael Ratner
Stony Brook UniversityStudent Activities Center Auditorium
Amy Goodman will attend, but will not be speaking
For more information, visit http://www.stonybrook.edu/sb/provlec

* Amy Goodman in Keene, NH:
Fri, Nov 4
World Affairs Symposium on Globalization
Keene State University
Event is free and open to the public
For more information, visit www.keene.edu

* Amy Goodman in San Francisco, CA:
Sat, Nov 5
*TIME: Noon
Green Festival
San Francisco Concourse
8th & Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94123
Day Pass: $11 each ($15 at the door) good for either Sat or Sun
For more information, visit http://greenfestivals.com

* Amy Goodman in Redding, CA:
Sat, Nov 5
*TIME: 7:30 PM
$10 reserved seating in advance,
$15 at the door
Available for sale at:
Bogbean Books & Music 1740 California Street
and Graphic Emporium 1965 Pine St.
(530) 241-4278
Pre-show reception:
$50--includes admission to event and Goodman's book, The Exception to the Rulers.
For more information, call (530) 245-3488,
or visit www.peaceredding.org/TicketsforAmyGoodmanevent.htm

* Amy Goodman in Poughkeepsie, NY:
Wed, Nov 10
*TIME: 5:30 PM
Vassar College
The Villard Room, Main Building
Poughkeepsie, NY
Free and open to the public