Friday, March 24, 2006

Democracy Now: Sam Gardiner, Andrew Buncombe, protests in Paris ...

Iraq Death Toll Tops 80 Over Past Two Days
In other news from Iraq, at least 80 people have died over the past two days in a series of drive-by shootings, roadside bombings and executions. In one of the deadliest attacks, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the major crimes unit of the Interior Ministry killing 25.
U.S. Rounds Up All Adult Males in Iraqi Village
Meanwhile to the west of Baghdad, over 1,000 U.S. troops have surrounded a village near Abu Ghraib. After the town was cordoned off, U.S. soldiers conducted house-to-house searches and rounded up the entire adult male population of the town. Soldiers handcuffed and then interrogated every man in the village. After questioning, each man was marked with an X on the back of their necks. One U.S. colonel defended the operation saying "What we're doing is building a Michelin guide to the area."
New Study Criticizes Power of Israeli Lobby in Washington
And a dean at Harvard University and a professor at the University of Chicago are coming under intense criticism for publishing an academic critique of the pro-Israeli lobby in Washington. The paper charges that the United States has willingly set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of Israel. In addition the study accuses the pro-Israeli lobby, particularly AIPAC -- the American Israel Public Affairs Committee -- of manipulating the U.S. media, policing academia and silencing critics of Israel by labeling them as anti-Semitic. The study also examines the role played by pro-Israeli neo-conservatives in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of iraq. The authors of the study, Stephen Walt, a dean at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and John Mearsheimer of University of Chicago are now themselves being accused of anti-Semitism. In Washington, Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel of New York described the professors as "dishonest so-called intellectuals" and "anti-Semites." Harvard professor, Ruth Wisse called for the paper to be withdrawn. Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz described the study as trash that could have been written by Neo-Nazi David Duke. The New York Sun reported Harvard has received several calls from 'pro-Israel donors' expressing concern about the paper. Harvard has already taken steps to distance itself from the report. Earlier this week it removed the logo of the Kennedy School of Government from the paper and added a new disclaimer to the study. The 81-page report was originally published on Harvard's website and an edited version appeared in the London Review of Books. The controversy comes less than a year after Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz attempted to block the publication of Norman Finkelstein's book "Beyond Chutzpah: On The Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History."
Sioux Tribal Leader to Allow Abortions on Tribal Land in S. Dakota
In South Dakota, the leader of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation has reportedly announced plans to allow Planned Parenthood to open a clinic on the reservation in defiance of the state's new ban on abortion. Cecilia Fire Thunder, who is a former nurse, said the clinic will be allowed to open because the state has no jurisdiction over tribal lands.
The four items above are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Mayra, Rachel, Micah and FranciscoDemocracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for March 24, 2006

- Freed Peace Activists Plan To Head Home From Iraq
- U.S. Rounds Up All Adult Males in Iraqi Village
- Massive Protests Against Immigration Bill Continue
- U.S. Mutual Fund Backs Divestment From Sudan
- Puerto Rico Sues U.S. Officials Over Ojeda Rios Killing
- New Study Criticizes Power of Israeli Lobby in Washington
IRS Audited Greenpeace At Request of ExxonMobil-Funded Group

The Wall Street Journal revealed this week that a little-known watchdog group, largely subsidized by ExxonMobil, was responsible for getting the IRS to audit the environmental organization Greenpeace. We speak with the reporter who broke the story and the head of Greenpeace USA.
The PsyOps War: A Look at the Lincoln Group and the U.S. Military's Planting of Stories in the Iraqi Press

The Pentagon defends its policy of paying Iraqi news organizations to publish pro-American articles secretly written by the U.S. military. Its contractor, the Lincoln Group is being paid over a hundred million dollars to write and plant stories. We speak with reporter Andrew Buncombe of the London Independent and retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner.
Mass Protests Continue in France to Oppose Controversial Labor Law

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in France to oppose a controversial new law that makes its easier for employers to fire young workers. We go to Paris to speak with a student protester at the Sorbonne and a journalist who covers politics and social movements in France. [includes rush transcript]
Let's begin by noting Iraq.  Reuters notes that a bomb went off outside a mosque in Khalis killing at least five people while wounding at least twelve more. Forbes notes a home invasion (I'm terming it that based on the lack of details) in Mahmudiya has left four dead and the mother of the family wounded. CNN reports that a bakery ("south of Baghdad") was where four people died and one was wounded in attack.  The attackers
deposited a package which exploded killing at least one police officer.  The violence continues but Bully Boy and Rumsfeld would rather we talk about anything else.
The peace march goes on and is actually called "Latino Moritorium March" (thanks to Sabina for noting that). Click here for the route.
Oliver notes "231-Mile March for Peace to Go From Tijuana to San Francisco" (San Francisco Indybay Media):
On Saturday, March 25, locals will be meeting in Watsonville at 10am (Saint Patrick's Church) to join the march for Peace and Immigrant Rights. They will march to Pajaro and carpool/bus from there to Salinas. Read more, including info about the march route and initiators. The march is in need of help such as funding, volunteers, media, organizers, and donations.
Charlie wasn't able to find anything on the march but he did find something new about one of the particpants, Aidan Delgado.  From Carol Mallett-Rifkin's "Robert Cray blends past and present with some social commentary at The Orange Peel" (Citizen-Times):
QUESTION: I have been listening to your new record and watching the video. It's hard to get past the powerful images in "Twenty" of a soldier who dies in Iraq and the field full of tagged empty boots.
ANSWER: I wrote the song and then a friend of my wife Sue's (Sue Turner-Cray) named Renee said, 'We've got to do something with this song.' One by one pieces started to fall together. Renee knew somebody who worked for the American Friends Service Committee who does the exhibition "Eyes Wide Open" with the boots. She heard actor Aidan Delgado -- he actually was a soldier who served in Iraq in Nasiriyah and at Abu Ghraib prison -- available and got him to play the part of the soldier in the video. My wife produced the video. The idea for the song came about from what you see and read every day, about the soldiers. I was feeling bad for the soldiers and innocent civilians who are dying.
Robert Cray's "20" is from the album of the same name and lyrics to the title track can be found here:

Standing out here in the desert
Trying to protect an oil line
I'd really like to do my job but
This ain't the country that I had in mind
They call this a war on terror
I see a lot of civilians dying
Mothers, sons, fathers and daughters
Not to mention some friends of mine
Some friends of mine
Was supposed to leave last week
Promises they don't keep anymore
Got to fight the rich man's war
From peace march to peace mom, Billie notes Cindy Sheehan's "Volunteers for Endless War" (BuzzFlash):
Being on the road constantly and being in the trenches for peace leave me little time (and, if truth be told, little inclination) to keep up with George's dishonest and oftentimes incoherent ramblings; nonetheless, this week two of his more calculated comments caught my attention.
The first comment was on the White House lawn on Sunday, March 19 th, the 3rd anniversary of the invasion. By the way, the White House website has entitled this speech as "The President's remarks on the third anniversary of the liberation!!!! (italics and exclamation points added by me) of Iraq." A few sentences in his short remarks were:
Ours is an amazing nation where thousands have volunteered to serve our country. They volunteered to -- many volunteered after 9/11, knowing full well that their time in the military could put them in harm's way.
Notice how many times George says a variation on the word "volunteer:" three times in one sentence. This caught my eye because right-wing warniks who don't want to take any responsibility for supporting George's war of terror and it's accompanying mayhem are always reminding me that Casey "volunteered." And you know what? The warniks got me there! Casey did volunteer. He volunteered in May of 2000, to, first of all, serve his country and, second of all, get the benefits that his recruiter deceived him about. The biggest lie that Casey's recruiter told him was that "even if there is a war, you won't see combat…you scored so high on the ASVAB test, you will only go to war in a support role." The tragic thing about this false promise is that Casey, a Humvee mechanic, was killed in combat five days after he arrived in Baghdad. The truly alarming and upsetting thing about the false promise made to Casey, though, is that recruiters are using that same lie today to potential volunteers while our country is in the middle of an occupation where many of our troops are being deployed for their third and fourth tours of duty.
Bully Boy's statements and actions?  Zach notes Robert Parry's "9/11 & Bush's 'Negligence'" (Consortium News):
Amid this bureaucratic inertia, Bush's role was crucial. As President, he was the best-positioned official to force the various parts of the government to undertake a top-down review of what was known, what evidence was being missed, what could be done.
Richard Clarke, who had been President Bill Clinton's counterterrorism chief and stayed in that job after Bush took office, said the Clinton administration reacted to such threats with urgent top-level meetings to "shake the trees" at the FBI, CIA, Customs and other relevant agencies.
Clarke said senior managers would respond by going back to their agencies to demand a search for any overlooked information and to put rank-and-file personnel on high alert, as happened when an al-Qaeda plot to bomb Millennium celebrations was thwarted in 1999.
"In December 1999, we received intelligence reports that there were going to be major al-Qaeda attacks," Clarke said on CNN's "Larry King Live" two years ago. "President Clinton asked his national security adviser Sandy Berger to hold daily meetings with the attorney general, the FBI director, the CIA director and stop the attacks.
"Every day they went back from the White House to the FBI, to the Justice Department, to the CIA and they shook the trees to find out if there was any information. You know, when you know the United States is going to be attacked, the top people in the United States government ought to be working hands-on to prevent it and working together.
"Now, contrast that with what happened in the summer of 2001, when we even had more clear indications that there was going to be an attack. Did the President ask for daily meetings of his team to try to stop the attack? Did (national security adviser) Condi Rice hold meetings of her counterparts to try to stop the attack? No."
In a March 19, 2006, speech in Florida, former Vice President Al Gore also noted this contrast between how the Clinton administration reacted to terrorist threats and how the Bush administration did in the weeks before Sept. 11.
"In eight years in the White House, President Clinton and I, a few times, got a direct and really immediate statement like that (Aug. 6, 2001 warning), in one of those daily briefings," Gore said.
"Every time, as you would want and expect, we had a fire drill, brought everybody in, (asked) what else do we know about this, what have we done to prepare for this, what else could we do, are we certain of the sources, get us more information on that, we want to know everything about this, and we want to make sure our country is prepared.
"In August of 2001," Gore added, "such a clear warning was given and nothing -- nothing -- happened. When there is no vision, the people perish." [To see Gore's speech on C-Span, click here.]
Negligence?  Bully Boy?  (Ask with feigned shock.)  Doug notes Peter Phillips' "Impeachment Movement Gains National Momentum" (CounterPunch):
If a national movement calling for the impeachment of the President is rapidly emerging and the corporate media are not covering it, is there really a national movement for the impeachment of the President?
Impeachment advocates are widely mobilizing in the U.S. Over 1,000 letters to the editors of major newspapers have been printed in the past six months asking for impeachment.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette letter writer George Matus says, "I am still enraged over unasked questions about exist polls, touch-screen voting, Iraq, the cost of the new Medicare, who formulated our energy policy, Jack Abramoff, the Downing Street Memos, and impeachment."  David Anderson in McMinnville, Oregon pens to the Oregonian, "Where are the members of our congressional delegation now in demanding the current presiden'ts actions be investigated to see if impeachment or censure are appropriate actions?"  William Dwyer's letter in the Charleson Gazette says, "Congress will never have the courage to start the impeachment process without a groundswell of outrage from the people."
City councils, boards of supervisors, and local and state level Democrat central committees have voted for impeachment.
World Water Day was this week and Erika notes "Women's Groups Speak Up at World Water Forum" (Feminist Wire Daily):
At the Fourth Annual World Water Forum, held this past week in Mexico City, the Women's Caucus called on the conference attendees to uphold women's human right to water by including women in decisions related to water usage and sanitation and by taking gender issues into consideration when making policy. They cited the United Nations General Comment 15 to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which says that "The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights." The Women's Caucus proposed many recommendations for action, including: recognizing women as full partners in water and sanitation efforts; recognizing intentional contamination or withholding of water as a crime against humanity; developing gender equity policies for institutions that deal with water; and creating gender-sensitive and gender-balanced responses to water crises.
Marcia notes Cedric's "Will Interview With The Vampire become the new Catcher in the Rye?" (Cedric's Big Mix) where Cedric's discussing a news item from yesterday's Democracy Now!:
American Arrested for Bolivian Bombing
In Bolivia, an American man has been arrested along with an Uruguayan woman for bombing two hotels in La Paz. Two people died and at least seven were injured in the blasts. The attacks were denounced by the Bolivian government. President Evo Morales said "This American was putting bombs in hotels. The U.S. government fights terrorism, and they send us terrorists." Police initially identified the American as 24-year-old Claudio Lestad of New Orleans but he reportedly used several other names. Police said the he might be mentally ill.

Here was my first thought: black ops operation. I still think that's possible. The 24 y.o. could be CIA. "Claudio Lestad"? Made up name. That's so obvious. I thought I had to be remembering wrong so I called Ty who loves horror and science fiction novels. He's read all of Ann Rice.
"Claudio" equals "Claudia" the young girl who's turned to a vampire by . . . Lestat. "Lestad" equals "Lestat." And where did it take place? New Orleans. It's a cover of some kind and a pretty obvious one -- unless the guy's mentally ill but being mentally ill might not be a liability in working for the CIA. But Claudio Lestad is totally made up. Will Interview With The Vampire, by Ann Rice, become the new Catcher in the Rye?
I never read Interview With The Vampire, but I did see the movie. I'm guessing that name was pretty obvious, pretty obviously a phoney, to most people.
Lily agrees with Rebecca about one of the funniest moments on TV this week.  From Rebecca's "news roundup and grace (will & grace) socks it to the repubes" (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude):
grace hired a middle eastern woman. the woman was worse than karen when it came to working and grace didn't feel like she could fire her because the woman was middle eastern. however, grace found out that the woman was jewish and was thrilled because that meant that she, grace - who is jewish, could fire her. which she did.

with karen after, grace pinned her reluctance (before learning that the woman was jewish) on 'liberal guilt.' that's all the set up to grace's lines.

here it is:

sometimes i wish i were a republican. then i wouldn't have to worry about anyone's feelings; i'd just have to worry about being indicted.
On the March 21 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, the national political correspondent for National Public Radio and a member of Special Report's "All-Star Panel," again asserted, in defiance of NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin, that "whenever there's any kind of a contest or a contrast between the person at the podium in the White House briefing room and the press corps, the press corps generally loses. ... I think that happened in this case, too." Liasson was referring to the testy exchange between President Bush and Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas at Bush's March 21 news conference. Liasson offered this opinion despite repeated criticism by Dvorkin, who recently admonished NPR reporters for going on programs "that are looking to appear fair and balanced" and expressing their opinions rather than simply recounting what their reporting shows.
This is not the first time that Liasson has claimed that the press looks bad in televised confrontations with the administration, nor is it the first time that Liasson has offered an opinion in defiance of admonitions by Dvorkin. On the September 7, 2005, edition of Special Report, discussing a heated exchange between NBC News chief White House correspondent David Gregory and White House press secretary Scott McClellan, Liasson said: "Look, any time there's a contentious exchange in the White House press room, it makes the press look bad." She made this comment despite Dvorkin's July 2003 admonition that "NPR reporters ... should not be in the business of making their own opinions known about matters of public controversy. When they do, the public quickly senses that NPR compromises its ability to report in a fair manner."
The coverage goes on to note Mara Lie-Liasson's trashing of Democrats in July of 2003.  She didn't learn from that scolding.  (Nor was that her first time forgetting "reporter" versus "opinion columnist."  She's also attacked Amy Goodman while being given her platform on Fox "News.")  So exactly what is NPR going to do?  Mara is a bad reporter on NPR and one whose actions on Fox "News" have called her reporting skill and the quality of her reports into question.  When is NPR going to actually do something about it? 
Never.  They've done nothing all this time.  They never will.  Remember that when they hit you up for money (members who formely pledged to NPR but have switched to Pacifia Radio have noted repeated letters asking them to please send money to NPR).
Two more radio items.  First, Ruth asked that we note the new episode of CounterSpin is available online today.  She has an e-mail from a member who can listen on Friday if reminded.  So that's your reminder. (Ruth says there's a lot in this week's episode including a discussion on the way the New York Times' covers abortion on the op-ed page.)
Second, Molly, noting that Eddie is a huge Randi Rhodes fan, wanted to highlight her weekly e-mail (which you can sign up for the weekly e-mail at Randi's site online -- as Molly has):
It has been a real interesting few days for Americans who rely on a vital, aggressive free press.
Bush has been out in force delivering his matinee "Happy War" talks which are designed to direct and intimidate the corporate media, not to actually be seen by the American public (hence the time of day he does them).
And it works. The media has actually taken to scolding themselves for barely reporting car bombs and IED stories instead of all the "good news" in Iraq.
Here's a newsflash: Car bombs & IED's ARE the good news in Iraq. Until Americans start seeing the babies melted by white phosphorus or shot in head or blown apart by artillery... Until we see the tens of thousands of American kids coming home with fewer body parts than they went there with, or the torture videos, or the flag draped coffins, or learn about the suicides and life-long damage done to our troops in a WAR OF CHOICE…
Until we understand that war is the ugliest man-made thing there is and Bush chose it unnecessarily, then he should thank God that the pathetic media is ONLY reporting car bombs and IED's.
And the soulless right-wing freaks that shill for this president are beyond redemption. Here's one that I played on my show Thursday:
- Laura Ingram selling out her country for her political party on NETWORK TV.
Fortunately, even with the mainstream media held tightly in the grip of the corporate elite, a few small voices still make it through...
- Keith Olbermann responds to Ingram on BASIC CABLE.
Even though we truth tellers are out numbered 1000:1 in the media nowadays, the truth always has a way cutting through the BS.
So the fight then becomes a simple race against the clock...the longer it takes to get the truth out there, the more lives we lose to the lies.
Keep up the fight and thank you soooo much for listening.
We'll throw in two more links from the e-mail Molly forwarded.  First up, Randi's putting her weight behind a good cause:

Join Randi in helping to rebuild lives by building homes in the areas devastated by Katrina.


Randi's debut on Lou Dobbs showers viewers with truth, intelligence and can't-miss chemistry between the The Dobbs and our Randi.
The Randi Rhodes Show can be heard on Air America, Monday through Friday.  (Eddie would add "But not live in Dallas!"  And Eddie's not the only member in that area complaining about the way the Dallas station has played with the schedule.)
If you hear it live, the show begins at three p.m. eastern time and ends at seven p.m. eastern time.  Regardless of whether or not you have an Air America Radio station in your area, you can listen to the show online either at the AAR site or at Randi's site.
The News Dissector Danny Schechter has an upcoming book presentation.  We'll note this again (and how often will depend upon how many times I'm reminded):
If you are in New York City, please come out for a talk I will be giving on my new book WHEN NEWS LIES: Media Complicity and The Iraq War at Housing Works' handsome Used Book Café on Cosby Street just below Houston, one block east of Broadway at 7 PM March 29. CSPAN will be in the house broadcasting so it is especially important to have a crowd. Please tell your friends. It is free.
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