Monday, May 08, 2006

Democracy Now: Part II of the Stephen Kinzer interview, Robert McChesney, Larry Johnson

Report: 4,100 Civilians Killed in Baghdad During First Three Months
In other news from Iraq, the Los Angeles Times, reports at least 4,100 civilians were killed in Baghdad during the first three months of the year. Many of the dead were found hogtied and shot execution-style. Many bore signs of torture such as bruises, drill holes, burn marks, gouged eyes or severed limbs. Execution-style killings are now claiming nine times more lives than car bombings.

At Least 80 Killed In Iraq In Bombings & Executions
In Iraq, at least 80 people have died since Saturday. A series of car bombings in Baghdad and Karbala killed 30 people on Sunday. Another 51 bodies were found in the capital. All of the dead were handcuffed, blindfolded and shot in the head and abdomen.

Goss' Appointee Tied To Defense Contractor Bribery Scandal
Goss quit just days after it was revealed that one of his top appointees within the agency was under a federal criminal investigation. The official, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, has been linked to a defense contractor bribery scandal that has already sent former Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham to jail. It has been alleged that a defense contractor named Brent Wilkes bribed Cunningham and other lawmakers with prostitutes, limousines rides and free rooms at the Watergate and Grand Westin Hotels.

Tens of Thousands Protest in Greece Against U.S. Wars
In Greece, tens of thousands of protesters marched in Athens on Saturday to condemn the Iraq invasion and a possible U.S. attack on Iran. According to press account, one small group of protesters fired petrol bombs and stones at police outside the U.S. embassy. Riot police responded with tear gas.

Indonesian Author and Dissident, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, 81, Dies
And the Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer has died at the age of 81. A lifelong dissident, Pramoedya spent years in prison under both the Dutch and Suharto regimes. His best known work, the "Buru Quartet" told the story of a young political activist coming of age under Dutch colonial rule. After a US-backed coup, Pramoedya spent 14 years doing hard labor at the Buru Island Penal colony, which he chronicled in his memoir The Mute's Soliloquy.

The above five items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Gina, Beth, Micah, KeShawn and Ida. Democracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):

Headlines for May 8, 2006

- Bush Nominates Ex-NSA Chief Michael Hayden to Head CIA
- Porter Goss On His Resignation: "[It is] Just One of Those Mysteries"
- Goss' Appointee Tied To Defense Contractor Bribery Scandal
- At Least 80 Killed In Iraq In Bombings & Executions
- Basra Erupts in Anti-UK Riots After Helicopter Shot Down
- Report: 4,100 Civilians Killed in Baghdad During First Three Months
- Iranian President Reaches Out to U.S. President in Letter
- Bush Administration Rejects Torture Allegations At UN Hearing
- U.S. Releases Five Innocent Chinese Muslims From Guantanamo
- Jury Awards Exonerated Death Row Prisoner $2.25 Million
- Indonesian Author and Dissident, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, 81, Dies

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

Fmr. NSA Chief General Michael Hayden Nominated to Replace Outgoing CIA Director Porter Goss

Porter Goss resigns as director of the CIA. Four star general Michael Hayden has been nominated to head the civilian agency. As head of the National Security Agency, Hayden oversaw the warrantless domestic spy program, which many say is illegal. We speak with former CIA analyst Larry Johnson and Newsweek investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff.

COPE Telecom Bill Affects Net Neutrality, Local Cable Franchises and Funding for Public Access

The House is expected to vote this week on the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006. We take a look at the various aspects of the bill with University of Illinois professor and Free Press co-founder Robert McChesney.

Part II...Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq

Author Stephen Kinzer discusses his book, "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq." In it, Kinzer writes that over 110 years, the United States has deployed its power to gain access to natural resources, stifle dissent and control the nationalism of newly independent states or political movements. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: And the Guatemalan coup of 1954, the U.S. overthrowing the democratically elected President Arbenz, came one year after the U.S. overthrew Mossadeq in Iran.
STEPHEN KINZER: After Mossadeq was overthrown in Iran, the C.I.A. agent who carried out that coup, Kermit Roosevelt, actually the grandson of Teddy Roosevelt, who was an early American intervener, came back to the White House to brief President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles and other members of the foreign policy team. And Kermit Roosevelt later wrote about this episode. He said, "As I was carrying on my briefing, I looked over at John Foster Dulles, and he had a big smile on his face, and he seemed to be purring like a giant cat." Now, Roosevelt did not know what Dulles was thinking, but I think I know what he was thinking. I believe he was thinking, "This is great! Now I'm listening to the news of how easy it was to overthrow the government in Iran. It means that we have a whole new tool now, a whole new way to overthrow governments."
AMY GOODMAN: And with Iran, it was for British Petroleum?
STEPHEN KINZER: With Iran, the sin that Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq committed, that ultimately -- that originally set this intervention in motion was nationalizing the oil company. So, actually, these two situations were very similar. Mossadeq in Iran and Arbenz in Guatemala were nationalist leaders, not responding to any Soviet influence, who, responding to their own people's legitimate demands, decided that the wealth from their own natural resources should go to benefit their own people, rather than the Americans, the British or outside powers.
AMY GOODMAN: Let's stay in Latin America, going from 1954 to 1973, to another September 11th. You have a rare picture of Henry Kissinger shaking hands with the man who overthrew the democratically elected leader: Pinochet. Can you talk about what happened in Chile?
STEPHEN KINZER: Chile is another one of those cases where we overthrew a leader who in many ways embraced and represented American principles, and we replaced him with a tyrant who despised everything the United States stands for.

(Part one of the interview was on April 21st: "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq.")

Iraq snapshot.

Chaos and violence continue.

Sunday, Australia's ABC reports, car bombs took the lives of at least 21 and wounded at least 52 in Kerbala while two went off in Baghdad killing at least nine and wounding at least 20. CNN notes the death of one police officer and two others wounded in Baquba on Sunday evening as well as ten Iraqis wounded from a bomb blast in Muqdadiya. CBS & the AP note the names of the five British soldiers who died when their helicopter crashed (shot down with a rocket) this weekend: Sarah Mulvihill, John Coxen, Darren Chapman, David Dobson and Paul Collins. Sarah Mulvihill was "[t]he first British servicewomen to die in action in Iraq." Today?

As noted this morning by Sandra Lupien during the news breaks of KPFA's The Morning Show, a car bomb outside a courthouse in Baghdad claimed the lives of at least five and wounded at least ten, while 2 Iraqi journalists kidnapped Sunday have been found (dead, bullets to the head).

The bombing at the courthouse wasn't the only one in Baghdad. Reuters reports a second one (in the al-Tayaran Square) took the lives of at least five and wounded at least eight. Another bombing in Baghdad, "eastern Baghdad," resulted in at least 17 wounded (four of which were police officers). While southeast of Baghdad, the Associated Press notes (as did Lupien) the death of an American soldier from a roadside bomb.

In Sunday's New York Times, Sabrina Tavernise noted the kidnapping (on Saturday) of three with the Interrior Ministry. Today in Baghdad, Reuters reports that a bus with employess of the Ministry of Higher Education was fired upon (the driver was killed, at least three others on the bus were wounded). (BBC notes only one wounded "policeman who was guarding the bus.")

Taverinse also noted that on Saturday, 43 corpses had been found in Iraq ("All of the victims were handcuffed and shot in the head."). In Baghdad today, Reuters notes, six more corpses have been discovered ("signs of torture . . . gun wounds to their heads"). Three corpses were found in Khan al-Mahawil, CNN reports. The three had been "police commandos" and were kidnapped Friday ("single bullet to the head").

BBC notes the attack on a pipeline that's shut down "Mussayab power station." MSNBC notes Iraqi "police Col. Ahmed Mijwayl" as explaining that the pipeline carried "oil from Dora refinery in Baghdad to Musayyib power station."

Finally, on today's The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis interviewed Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, an Iraqi-American who reported on her recent visit to Iraq (Dec. 2005 to March 2006). Wasfi found limited electricity, no potable water (none "through tap water, people have to buy water") and no security. From 2 hours of blackouts two years ago, they now have rolling blackouts which means those with electricity are buying generators (and buying gas to fuel them). The American bases and the British bases have electricity and running water, Wasfi noted. Which says, "We could not care less about the suffering of the Iraqi people. . . . The Iraqis have had about all the help they can take from the American people." She repeatedly found that things were worse now "than before 2004 . . . before we invaded and life wasn't great then." Healthcare is a "disaster." She cited several examples but this one may be the one underscores the point the most: Hospitals "in Basra . . . couldn't do operations for a week because they had no gauze." She summarized the current state with this: "There is chaos, there is anarchy in Iraq and it will continue after we leave . . . because we destroyed the civilian infrastructure . . . We don't belong there."

By the way Dahlia Wasfi, Christian Peacemaker Team Beth Pyles, Pablo Paredes and Yussef El Guindi will be at an event ("Building Resistance" A Not in Our Name Benefit of Theatre and Conscience") in Oakland, CA (The Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Avenue) and Andrea Lewis will be the moderator of the event. ** Thursday, May 11th; 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.**

Question for the day? Does MSNBC think it's okay to rip off the Associated Press without crediting them? (This was pointed out to me by someone at one of NBC's
rival networks.)

First here's what appears at MSNBC (credited to "MSNBC News Services" and link takes you to the "report"):

Insurgents often try to prevent Iraqi citizens from cooperating with their country’s new democratically elected government by attacking government workers and killing men who have been recruited into Iraq's military and police forces.

CBS is running an Associated Press article (no individual author credited at CBS, however it's Sameer N. Yacoub's "Bombs Kill U.S. Soldier and 7 Iraqis"):

Insurgents often try to prevent Iraqi citizens from cooperating with their country's new democratically elected government by attacking government workers and killing men who have been recruited into Iraq's military and police forces.

That's word for word. CBS notes it is an AP article. MSNBC pulls the paragraph and runs it without crediting it to AP. (Note: First paragraph contains a link to a CBS & AP story. That's another article -- one with joint credit.)

Highlights? CIA remains a topic of interest. We'll go with Brandon's highlight which pulls together a number of strands. From Katrinva vanden Heuvel's "Sex, Limos and Government Contracts" (Editor's Cut, The Nation):

"The Culture of Corruption" is a clever alliteration, a catchy political phrase, but without a vivid image to bring it to life, it amounts to a series of statistics: the increase in earmarks, the number of no-bid contracts, etc. But a rather vivid picture has started to emerge of a new scandal Wonkette is calling WatergateGate.
According to reporting in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and The Nation's own David Corn, the CIA inspector general and the FBI are investigating whether Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the CIA's executive director, helped businessman Brent Wilkes win overpriced CIA contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Foggo was a regular at Wilke's poker game.
Wilkes stands accused of conspiring with defense contractor Mitchell Wade to bribe Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Wade, who has pled guilty, claims he also provided the Republican congressman with free limos, prostitutes, and rooms at, yes, the Watergate Hotel. The feds are investigating whether any other current or former Congressmen or their staffs received similar perks.

We're noting a BuzzFlash premium. A warning, the title may get some in trouble at work -- we'll note it here as "Bullsh*t Artist: the 9/11 Leadership Myth." There's no star blocking out the "i" via the link. You've been warned. From BuzzFlash's review of Ron Schalow's "Bullsh*t Artist: The 9/11 Leadership Myth:"

Subtitled "America was under attack for 102 minutes and for 102 minutes the president did nothing: How George W. Bush turned his pathetic performance on 9/11 into political gold," this book certainly caught our attention.
This 312-page compilation of the Bush crew's totally inept performance on 9/11 -- including their failure to take a single action to prevent it from occurring even when warned -- was fascinating even to the eyes of jaded 'ol BuzzFlash, who monitored the news reports of 9/11 as it happened.
Part of the attraction of "Bullsh*t Artist: The 9/11 Leadership Myth" is that its citizen-author, Ron Schalow of North Dakota, mixes fact with sardonic commentary and a playful layout. Can it be fun finding out how the Bush Administration is incompetent? Well yeah, in a sort of "all hail to the dunce" perverse sort of way.

Shirley reminds me to note that Kat's review of Neil Young's Living With War went up Saturday. Kat plans to post another review this evening. We'll have some reviews from Kat in the evenings over the next two weeks so look for those.

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