Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Democracy Now: Kevin Anderson, Mark Feldstein, Daniel Ellsberg; Michael Ratner ...

World Bank Accused of Falsifying Data on Malaria Program
In other news, a group of leading medical experts has accused the World Bank of falsifying data to exaggerate the successes of malaria treatment programs. The experts made the claim in an article published on the website of the British medical journal The Lancet. According to the article, the World Bank falsified the data to cover up for its approval of treatments it knew were ineffective and its failure to live up to its funding commitments. According to the health experts, the World Bank failed to deliver as much as $400 million dollars in promised funding to African countries to combat malaria. The World Bank denied the charges.
Carriles To Apply For US Citizenship
Lawyers for detained Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles have announced he has applied for US citizenship. Carilles is wanted in Cuba and Venezuela for his role in a 1976 bombing that killed 73 people aboard a Cuban airliner. He was arrested in Miami last May after entering the US two months earlier.
Nevada Tribe Challenges Desert Military Bomb Test
In Nevada, a Native tribe has launched a lawsuit aimed at preventing the US government from carrying out a large-scale bomb test in the Nevada desert. On June 2nd, the government plans to set off a 700-ton ammonium nitrate and fuel oil bomb. Members of the Winnemucca Indian Colony, say the blast could let loose radioactive material left over from previous nuclear tests. They warn the blast will create a 10,000-foot mushroom cloud that could threaten their well-being. Thomas Wasson, chair of the Winnemucca Indian Colony, which is part of the Western Shoshone nation, said: "After destroying our lands and causing untold death and human misery with their radiation, the U.S. government now wants to do the same thing again. They must be stopped, for the good of the Western Shoshone and all people."
Bush Admin. Urges Nicaraguans To Vote Against Sandinista Leader
In other news, the Bush administration is again being accused of interfering in Nicaragua's national elections. Last week, State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack urged Nicaraguans to vote against presidential frontrunner Daniel Ortega, whom he called: "a former dictator." Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador Paul Trivelli convened a meeting of Nicaraguan politicians to form a coalition against Ortega's candidacy. Ortega has been one of the leading figures of Nicaragua’s Sandinista movement. In the 1980s, the Sandinistas were the target of a decade-long economic and covert military warfare campaign after they overthrew the US-backed Somoza dictatorship. In previous elections, the US has funded Ortega's opponents and accused his party of links to terrorism. Ortega was in Venezuela Tuesday where he spoke alongside Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: "Today the winds of hope, winds of joy, winds of victory, blow through Latin America and the Caribbean towards the building of a truly democratic Latin America." Nicaragua's presidential elections are scheduled for November.
The above four items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Lily, Brady, Francisco and SusanDemocracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for April 26, 2006

- President Bush Announces Gas Measures
- GOP Blocks Oil Company Tax
- Zarqawi Denounces Iraqi Government, Bush in New Video
- Iraq Oil IG: Corruption, Smuggling Biggest Threats To Iraq Economy
- New White House Spokesperson Criticized Bush
- Bush Admin. Urges Nicaraguans To Vote Against Sandinista Leader
- Government, Rebel Clashes Fuel Talk Of Sri Lankan Civil War
- Carriles To Apply For US Citizenship
- Venezuela To Extend Subsidized Oil Program in US
- Nevada Tribe Challenges Desert Military Bomb Test
- AT&T Donated $1M To Non-Profit Chaired By Telecom Bill Sponsor
Nat Hentoff on the Government Crackdown on Information From Whistleblowers to Journalists

Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff discusses the government's attempt to clamp down on the ability of the public to transmit or receive information the government deems secret. Hentoff says the prosecution of two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is the "first in which the federal government is charging violations of the Espionage Act by American citizens who are not government officials for being involved in ,until now, what have been regarded as first amendment protected activities."
FBI Seeks to Seize Control of Files of Deceased Investigative Journalist Jack Anderson

FBI agents last month sought to sift through the files of the late muckracking journalist Jack Anderson to take back those it deemed classified over concern they could hurt U.S. interests. We speak Jack Anderson's son, Kevin, as well as George Washington University journalism professor, Mark Feldstein. [includes rush transcript]
Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg to Government Insiders: Risk Prison to Leak Information Exposing Illegal Government Actions

As we focus on the government crackdown against leakers, we speak with perhaps the most famous government whistleblower of the twentieth century, Daniel Ellsberg. In 1969 he leaked the Pentagon Papers, setting in motion actions that would eventually topple the Nixon presidency and end the Vietnam War.
Chernobyl 20 Years Later: New Report Finds Death Toll From Nuclear Disaster Close to 100,000

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. A new report by Greenpeace claims the consequences of the disaster could top one million cancer cases, nearly 100,000 of them fatal, far higher than previous estimates.
Iraq snapshot.
Chaos and violence continue.
The Associated Press notes that "[m]ore than 100 Iraqi civilians or police have been killed . . . since [Jawad] al-Maliki was tapped as Iraq's prime minister designate on Saturday . . ."  Not a pretty picture.  Thank goodness the word's premier video popped up to distract everyone with instead.  (Has so much time been consumed covering a video since Madonna's "Like a Prayer"?)  South of Baghdad (to use the 'location' favored by the BBC here and CNN here -- Reuters identifies it as Yusufiya), a US air strike (and "ground forces") have attacked a house in Baghdad an twelve people are dead including one woman.  The media's running with the US military's statements (presented not as quotes) that it was a "safe house."  The facts are, as known now, a US air strike and "ground forces" has resulted in 12 deaths "south of Baghdad." In Baghdad?  China's People's Daily reports that a minibus contained a bomb which killed at least three Iraqis and wounded at least four while a roadside bomb "hit a passing police patrol" and killed at least one person and wounded at least two others. The AP notes that four corpses were found in Baghdad. Reuters notes that the four bodies had "signs of torture and . . . gun shot wounds to their head".
Corpses continue to surface all over Iraq.  As noted last week by Knight Ridder, the US administration didn't take the militia issue seriously.  That may be the nicest explanation. Jawad al-Maliki is calling for the militias to disarm according to Reuters
Knight Ridder's Lelia Fadel reports that sectarian lines are forming in Iraq's university system as well.  KUNA reports that a "decomposed dead body in a bag" was discovered in Kirkuk. Reuters notes six corpses found "signs of torture and gunshot wounds" in Kerbala. In Kirkuk, "a wealthy trader" was kidnapped while, in Mahmodiya, "a bomb blast" has wounded three police officers.
Staying on Iraq for the first highlight, Rita notes Robert Bazell's "Brain injuries common for Iraq war vets" (NBC News):
More injured troops are surviving the war in Iraq than any other. But because of the terrible force of IED explosions, more are surviving with brain injury than in any other war.
Jason Poole was on his third tour in Iraq when, as he puts it, he got "blasted."
"I was unconscious for two months," Poole says. "And then I woke up in Bethesda, in Washington, D.C."
Rita notes it's text but that there's a video clip as well.
Eddie notes Michael Ratner's "Congress Must Halt CIA's Outsourcing of Torture" (Center for Constitutional Rights):
U.S. torture must stop.  And if you thought Sen. John McCain's amendment stopped it already, think again.
Last year, the Bush administration's support for torture came out into the open.  Vice President Cheney lobbied Congress to allow torture as U.S. policy, in a clash with McCain, R-Ariz., who himself was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.  Despite the adminstration's attempts, Congress overwhelming passed an amendment banning torture.
But, unforunately, the McCain amendment has not halted torture as U.S. policy, for two reasons.
First, President Bush has unilaterally announced he will only follow it as he sees fit.  He used a disturbing "signing statement" that could nullify the ban by arguing he will only follow the law "consistent with the constitutional authority of the president" as commander in chief.
Second, the United States continues to send people abroad for torture.  New CIA flight disclosures prove that even if torture is restricted on our soil, it can be outsourced.
Staying with this topic for a moment for Gareth's highlight, from James Sturcke's "EU report condemns secret CIA flights" (Guardian on London):
The CIA has carried out more than 1,000 undeclared flights over European territory since 2001, European parliament investigators said today.
Politicians scrutinising illegal CIA activities in Europe also said incidents in which terror suspects were handed over to US agents did not appear to be isolated, and suspects were often transported in the same planes and by the same groups of people.
The preliminary report was compiled using data provided by the EU's air safety agency, Eurocontrol. It also used information gathered during three months of hearings and more than 50 hours of testimony by human rights groups and people who said they had been kidnapped and tortured by US agents.
Data showed CIA planes made numerous undeclared stopovers on European territory, violating an international air treaty requiring airlines to declare the routes and stopovers for planes on police missions, the Italian politician Giovanni Claudio Fava, who drafted the report, said.
So they whitewashed their own culpability and then acknowledged that the torture flights take place . . . apparently because the US just wants prisoners to see the world? 
Sarcasm?  Yeah.  Flights take off from one point and it lands in another -- usually for a reason. 
The National Lawyers Guild, as noted yesterday on the KPFA Evening News and also aired during the first news break anchored by Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show today, has filed for key documents on the Iraq war including documents pertaining to the rules of engagement for the slaughter of Falluja. This is a FIO lawsuit.  In addition, they are requesting documents on the incident involving Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena -- after Sgrena was rescued by Italians and being taken to the airport, her car was fired upon by US forces and Nicola Calipari died.
On the NLG, Jonah notes a profile written by Jefferson Siegel and entitled "A Salute to Volunteers" (The Villager):
Pro bono publico is the Latin phrase meaning "for the public good."  It connotes the legal profession's performance of free work as a public service.  The work is a suggestion by bar associations, not a mandate.
One group of motivated, idealistic lawyers and legal students takes that concept to heart, striving to tip the scales of justice in favor of civil rights and civil liberties.  Their pro bono work is a voluntary undertaking, often consuming more hours than a full-time job.
The National Lawyers Guild was founded in 1937 and in the intervening 70 years has championed democracy and justice on behalf of those lacking a voice of influence within the status quo.
Heidi Boghosian, an East Villager, is the executive director of the guild's national office, located on Nassau St. in Lower Manhattan.  While at Temple Law School in Philadelphia, she said, friends advised her that, "because of my progressive interests, the guild would be a natural fit."
Boghosian and Ratner (his column was noted earlier) are two of the co-hosts of WBAI's Law and Disorder  (Dalia Hashad and Michael Smith are the other two hosts).
Ruth hopes to have her report completed tonight.  I wasn't expecting it be completed but, had it been, it wouldn't have gone up this morning except in place of one of this morning's entries.  I woke up late.  I did phone Ruth to see if she'd completed and sent it (as I flipped through the Times and rushed through e-mails) and she hadn't.  There wouldn't have been time to post it this morning and I explained to Ruth that I was actually glad it wasn't finished because I had overslept by at least an hour.
Mayra gives a heads up to KPFA's Guns and Butter at one p.m. (PST) today

"Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election" with Mark Crispin Miller.
Mark Crispin Miller is the author of three books dealing with the Bush/Cheney administration and the dangerous conservative movement that is driving it. In his most recent, "Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They'll Steal the Next One Too", he argues it wasn't moral values that swung the election - it was theft. In this presentation on April 9, 2006 at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, he spoke about the 2004 stolen presidential election and the take-over of the Republican Party by religious fundamentalists.
Lastly from CODEPINK:
March for Peace, Justice & Democracy! On Saturday, April 29th in New York City CODEPINK will be hitting the streets as part of a massive mobilization saying YES to peace, justice, democracy, environmental, civil and human rights. We have had enough of the occupation of Iraq, the threat of military strikes against Iran, and the diversion of our resources away from the needs of people in this country into never-ending wars. We are coming together with a broad coalition of activist groups to march, speak, and recommit ourselves to our shared values of respect for all people, our planet and our communities. Join us, and click here for more info!
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