Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Democracy Now: Robert Fisk, 1000 days of the invasion/occupation, Dr. Les Roberts, Anuradha Mittal

Pentagon Monitoring Anti-War Events Across the Country
Meanwhile, NBC News is reporting the Pentagon has been extensively monitoring the events and gatherings of peaceful anti-war groups across the country. A military database obtained by the network lists small activist meetings and events among 1,500 “suspicious incidents” over a 10-month period. The events included a gathering at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Florida, to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. In total, the database listed over four dozen anti-war meetings or protests.

European Investigation Finds Evidence of CIA Abductions
In Europe, an investigation into the existence of secret CIA prisons has found evidence that reportedly bolsters recent allegations U.S. operatives kidnapped and transferred detainees on European soil. In an interim report submitted Tuesday, Dick Marty, the Swiss parliamentarian heading the investigation for the Council of Europe, wrote : "the information gathered to date reinforced the credibility of the allegations concerning the transport and temporary detention of detainees -- outside all judicial procedure -- in European countries." Marty also criticized Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for not giving an adequate explanation during a visit to Europe last week.

Marty said he has asked Romania and Poland for specific information concerning allegations the countries played host to the secret prisons. Both countries have denied this charge. Marty said he believes the secret prisons have been shut down and moved to North Africa.


Jailed Environmental Activist Accused of Additional Crimes
And one of the six environmental activists arrested last week in connection to a series of arsons in the Pacific Northwest has been accused of several additional crimes. Chelsea Gerlach of Portland, Oregon, awaits trial on charges she took part in the destruction of an Oregon power transmission tower in 1999. At a bail hearing Tuesday, prosecutors said Gerlach took part in half a dozen other crimes, including a firebombing at a Colorado ski resort and an arson at an Oregon meatpacking plant. Gerlach’s attorney dismissed the charges as baseless, and said the evidence against her amounts to only two statements from informants.


Nicole asks that everyone think of all the allegations against Jose Padilla and the trumpeting of them in the press versus what the government's currently claiming about Padilla.  Nicole picked out the item on the enivornmentalists.  All three items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and the other two items were selected by Lloyd and UshaDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):


Headlines for December 14, 2005

- World Reacts to Execution of Stanley Tookie Williams
- European Investigation Finds Evidence of CIA Abductions
- Report: New Interrogation Techniques May Conflict With Torture Ban
- Campaign Period Ends in Iraq as Voting Opens Thursday
- Search of Iraq Prisons Yields 120 Abused Prisoners
- Pentagon Running $300 million Foreign Psy-Ops Operation
- Pentagon Monitoring Anti-War Events Across the Country
- Jailed Environmental Activist Accused of Additional Crimes
Robert Fisk on The Murders of Gibran Tueni, Rafik Hariri and the Changing Tide in Lebanon

In Lebanon, tens of thousands of people have turned out for the funeral of prominent anti-Syrian publisher and lawmaker Gibran Tueni. Tueni was killed, along with three others, in a massive car bomb in Beirut on Monday. The blast came just hours before a UN inquiry team said it had fresh evidence to reinforce earlier findings of Syrian involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. We go to Beirut to speak with veteran Middle East Correspondent Robert Fisk. [includes rush transcript]
The Iraq Invasion: Day 1,000

1,000 days ago today, the U.S. invasion of Iraq officially began. Since then, over 2,300 coalition troops and as many as 100,000 Iraqis have been killed. Zero weapons of mass destruction have been found and the cost of the war has topped $200 billion dollars. We speak with Iraqi humanitarian Sami Rousuli in Karbala and Robert Fisk in Beirut.
Study Shows Civilian Death Toll in Iraq More Than 100,000

On the 1,000th day of the U.S. war on Iraq, we look at a subject that usually receives little attention -- the Iraqi civilian death toll since the war began. We speak with Dr. Les Roberts, the lead researcher of a study released last year on the number of deaths in Iraq, which put the toll at more than 100,000.
Protests Continue at WTO Conference as Talks Stall Over Agricultural Trade

The World Trade Organization has entered its second day of its ministerial meeting in Hong Kong. South Koreans have led attempts to reach the convention center by swimming across Hong Kong Bay. They have been blocked off by heavily armed police barricades and beaten back by riot police with pepper spray and batons. We speak with Anuradha Mittal, an expert on world trade issues in Hong Kong.
Let's especially note the segment on the 1000 days (all are worth listening to, watching or reading):
1,000 days ago today, the U.S. invasion of Iraq officially began. Since then, over 2,300 coalition troops and as many as 100,000 Iraqis have been killed. Zero weapons of mass destruction have been found and the cost of the war has topped $200 billion dollars. We speak with Iraqi humanitarian Sami Rousuli in Karbala and Robert Fisk in Beirut.
President Bush took to the nation’s airwaves on March 19, 2003 to declare that the war to “disarm Iraq” had begun. Bush claimed the United States was entering the conflict reluctantly but that the war was needed to prevent Iraq from having what he called weapons of mass murder.

The Independent newspaper of London has published a series of statistics to mark what has happened in the 1,000 days since then:

  • Zero weapons of mass destruction have been found.
  • At least 30,000 Iraqi civilians have died so far though some studies put the toll over 100,000.
  • 66 journalists have been killed.
  • 183,000 British and American troops remain in Iraq.
  • Over 2,300 U.S. and coalition troops have been killed.
  • At least 16,000 U.S. troops have been wounded in action.
  • $200 billion has already been spent by the U.S. And news reports today indicate the total cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars could top half a trillion dollars.
  • Between 60% and 80% of Iraqis still strongly oppose the presence of U.S. troops in their country.
  • 67% of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation.
  • There are currently an average of 90 attacks staged each day by the Iraqi resistance.
  • 8% of Iraq’s children are suffering acute malnutrition.

    • Sami Rousuli, he was living in Minnesota at the time of the invasion but has since returned to Iraq to live. He now heads up the Muslim Peacemaker Team. He joins us from Karbala.
    • Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the London’s Independent who has reported extensively from Iraq during the war.
  • It has been a thousand days.  The mainstream media in the United States has done a pitiful job of covering any of it.With few exceptions, they've been stationed in the Green Zone, sometimes in a villa, flacked by body guards, parroting what military officials told them.  That is bad enough but what's worse is the failure to inform the audience of that. 
    When they present themselves as someone who can move freely around the country, they're giving a false impression of Iraq.  They haven't moved freely.  That didn't start today, or yesterday, or last month, or last year.  They've been fine passing off reporting press releases live from the Green Zone.  Would it have taken so long for the American people to turn against the war if they'd known a long time ago that the reality on the ground was always far different than what we were led to believe?
    So here's the thing, don't confine yourself to the Green Zone.  You have a voice.  It may be with your friends and family, it may be in a small circle, it may be with your religious community or some other community.  You need to use that voice.  It's been a thousand days.
    Kyle missed Democracy Now! yesterday.  He caught today's show on the radio and wondered where Amy Goodman was?  The medical answer, which she gave yesterday, is that she has laryngitis.  The metaphorical answer?
    How about this?  How about it's time for people to stop pointing to Amy Goodman and saying,  "Oh well she talks about it."  Yes, she does.  She reports on it, she analyzes it.  She puts herself out there.  A lot of people don't.
    Are you supporting the voices who do that speak to you?  Are you making a point to listen or read or watch the voices that speak to you?  Are you getting the word out the way Carl did this week by having friends over to listen to  The Laura Flanders Show  together?
    Is Randi Rhodes the voice (or one of the voices) that speaks to you?  Or CounterSpin?  Or maybe it's someone online?  Or someone in print?
    I'm a print reader, so let's focus on that for a moment.  Irving Mansfield had a thing he liked to do.  Sometimes to one up someone (HGB's husband), sometimes to just raise interest and get the word out -- but he liked to "arrange" for Jaqueline Susann's novels to just pop up.  Maybe you were pool side and you looked around and saw, for instance, the majority of the people reading Valley of the Dolls?  Or it was in a deli?
    So let's say you're Lloyd reading The Progressive or Tracey reading The Nation or Dallas reading In These Times.  Are you sneaking it around?  Or are you reading it publicly?  On a train, on a subway, a bus, a trolley, a coffee shop, etc?
    The point is that there are many ways to get the word out.  And at a time when we aren't getting assistance from the mainstream media and some outside the mainstream have on interest, even after a thousand days, in Iraq, it's up to all of us to get the word out.
    Amy Goodman does a wonderful job (as do many others) but she shouldn't be out there by herself.  The above was prompted by ???'s e-mail asking that we please note that Democracy Now! has a challenge going on this holiday season.  Every dollar that you donate (if you donate) will be matched.  So if you had, for instance, five dollars, that would be ten thanks to the matching.  If you had ten, twenty, you get the idea.  If you'd like to join ??? and donate something, there's information at Democracy Now! where you can donate or you can mail your donation to:
    Democracy Now!
    P.O. Box 693
    NY, NY 10013
    Check that address online.  Your contributions are tax-deductible.
    So that's one way you can help with money if you have it, but there are other ways as well.  You can help by finding your voice and using it.  Getting the word is a contribution.  Speaking the truth is a contribution.
    At a time when so much in our world (and daily conversations) is fluff, you can choose reality.
    We've noted Democracy Now! at ???'s request.  Not to guilt anyone.  If you're not able to give anything (or if you just don't want to), that's your right.  If you're someone who would like to make a monetary contribution but are unable to, remember that if you share Democracy Now! with a friend, you are making a contribution.
    Tomorrow, we'll be noting an organization Erika's asked to be noted.  ??? and Erika both wrote last night.  Once this goes up, if you want something noted between now and the new year, you'll need to write your own pitch.  ???'s point is that we are in a period where people give gifts and Erika made a similar point.  She noted that if you work in office and you have a Secret Santa, you can ask that your Secret Santa make a donation (whatever the agreed upon limit your offic has).  Or if someone's asking you,  "Well what do you want?" and you can't think of anything, you can think of an organization or something that speaks to you.  (CounterPunch, Consortium News are two more worthy ideas).
    Katha Pollitt makes up a list at this time each year.  I kept waiting for someone to note it so we could link to it but no one did.  You can read it here.  I'm noting it now because it's on the same topic. 
    But contributions aren't just money.  And sometimes money's the easiest thing some people can give.  Write a check and forget about it.
    So regardless of whether you are able to give money to a worthy cause or not, let's up our contributions with regards to informing people around us and getting the word out. 
    Let's use our voices and work within our circles to raise the issues that others won't.
    You can't count on those being silent, those practicing "clutch the pearls" journalism.
    And on that, we'll go to Mia's highlight, April Hurley's "NPR Swallows Bush Geustimate on Iraqi Dead" (CounterPunch) on gaskateer Steve Inskeep of Morning Edtion:

    Dear Mr. Inskeep:

    Yesterday, on your National Public Radio Show, Morning Edition, you asked an "expert" to comment on G.W. Bush's evident ignorance. Your stooge pundit, Michael O'Hanlon, was satisfied with George's guestimate that 30,000 Iraqi civilians and combatants have been killed during 32 months of invasion and occupation. He suggested that G.W's figure doesn't include Iraqi crime victims. This proposes a mortality rate for Iraqis from combat alone that is lower than Washington D.C.'s homicide rate during the year of the latest stats, 2002. A war zone also safer than Baltimore, Detroit and New Orleans before Katrina. Perhaps a paid professional at NPR, who isn't busy doing the bidding of a White House propagandist, would wonder what's wrong with this picture and do some minimal investigation. Such as the most globally respected survey, an independent and heroic study on the casualties in Iraq, peer reviewed and published in The Lancet. A curious child could get those US city homicide figures and do the math!

    I witnessed Shock and Awe in Baghdad and the tsunami of lies discounting those deaths. The bombing then was brutal and the occupation since has been a serial massacre. Iraq today is our massive Guernica. It is obscene that this war president continues in denial that he has, conservatively, caused the death of 150,000-200,000 Iraqi men, women and kids. And this after, conservatively again, more than 500,000 died under Clinton's promoting of UN sanctions. How can you National Public Radio people live with your complicity in hustling such horrific crimes and distortions about them. 

    Thanks to ___ for typing up this dictated entry.  The e-mail address for this site is

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