Friday, June 02, 2006

Other Items (Jim Hightower on KPFA's The Morning Show)

Germany's external intelligence service, the BND, said yesterday that it knew about the American seizure and detention of a German citizen 16 months before the country was officially informed of his mistaken arrest. It was unclear whether that information had been passed on to senior officials.
Germany had previously maintained that it did not learn of the abduction of its citizen, Khaled el-Masri, until he returned to Germany in May 2004.
The disclosure on Thursday, made as a parliamentary inquiry into the case reconvened in Berlin, adds to suspicions that European governments, or at least their intelligence services, have abetted the American practice of "extraordinary rendition." The phrase refers to the kidnapping of terrorism suspects by American agents who then secretly transport the suspects to third countries for interrogation, beyond the jurisdiction of American laws.
Any European participation in the extrajudicial seizures and detentions, not to mention the torture that is said to be involved, would constitute a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Council of Europe, which enforces the convention, is investigating the allegations of European participation in the American rendition program.

The above is from Souad Mekhennet and Craig S. Smith's "German Spy Agency Admits Mishandling Abduction Case" in this morning's New York Times. This'll be a link-fest, I'm on the phone.

Erika notes this from Feminist Wire Daily, "Progressive Groups Release Rights-Tracking Map of United States:"

Three progressive organizations held a press conference yesterday to announce the launch of a new website that tracks reproductive and sexual rights by state. Ipas, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective collaborated to create a database that evaluates states based on access to abortion and contraception; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues; and other concerns, such as abstinence-only education policies. The website has a color-coded map and each state is given a profile that explains how it was ranked. Aside from providing statistics and links to relevant articles and studies, the website also links to the section of each state government’s website that addresses reproductive and sexual rights.
[. . .]
LEARN MORE Visit to see how your state ranks.

Sounds like a wonderful resource so check it out. I don't know if it's the wonderful review ("Kat's Korner: Dixie Chicks Taking The Long Way home while NYT gets lost along the way") Kat did or the fact that we mentioned the Dixie Chicks in last night's entry but a number of members noted the following two items. Credit's going to the first person who e-mailed them. (Otherwise the list is too long.) Keelan notes John Nichols' "Dixie Chicks are No. 1" (The Online Beat, The Nation):

Cultural conservatives, who have been busy of late trying to claim that the rebellious songs of The Who are other rock groups are really right-wing anthems, have misread America's tastes in a major way when it comes to the Dixie Chicks.
Conservative politicians, pundits and political writers -- from Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston to Media Research Council president L. Brent Bozell and bloggers by the dozen -- couldn't wait to trash Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison for releasing a new album that refused to make nice with President Bush and the thought police who screech "shut up and sing" every time a musician expresses an opinion.
The Dixie Chicks have for the past three years taken more hits than any other musicians because, ten days before Bush ordered the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Maines told a cheering crowd at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire theater: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."
For the "crime" of prematurely voicing a sentiment that is now close to universal in the US--with more than two-thirds of Americans expressing disapproval of Bush--the Dixie Chicks were hit with a full-frontal assault by right-wing media. Talk radio and television labeled them the Ditzy Chicks and their popular songs suddenly were yanked from country-music playlists. Boycotts were announced.

Second popular item (not second most popular, they were more or less noted by a similar amount of people, however, this one is shorter so Nichols went first to provide set up) was first noted by Mia, Lee Ballinger's "What Blacklash Against the Dixie Chicks?" (CounterPunch):

Country radio has been refusing to play the first two singles from the new Dixie Chicks album Taking the Long Way, supposedly because "country people" are still offended by Chicks' singer Natalie Maines' anti-Bush comments made in 2003. The new album, which defiantly takes pride in still attacking Bush, has come on the album charts today at number one, selling 526,000 copies. It is also number one on the country album charts, despite the attempted boycott by country radio.
The supposed justification for this "backlash" against the Dixie Chicks is a myth now just as it was in 2003. What actually happened then when the media was filled with stories about a backlash, with allegations that all country fans and especially Southerners are rightwing rednecks, when country stars such as Toby Keith were attacking the Chicks every day?

It's a wonderful album. If you haven't heard it yet, you're missing out. Good for Ballinger for tackling the nonsense of the 'backlash.' As he's documented before, a careful planned phone campaign played in to getting the Chicks pulled from radio. But we don't ever want to talk about that in the mainstream, do we? So we're stuck with half-truths and liars.

Want to know what ABC News is now stuck with? Carl notes Roland S. Martin's "ABC anchor Gibson blasts New York Magazine for over Africa comments, says he was 'misquoted'" (The Chicago Defender):

ABC World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson told a Chicago radio station Wednesday that he was misquoted in a New York magazine article that called into question the reporting of news from Africa.
During a 16-minute interview on WVON-AM's "The Roland S. Martin Show," Gibson responded to a May 29th article by Joe Hagan in New York Magazine titled, "
Charles in Charge."
According to the Q and A, Hagan asked Gibson if he would be traveling around the globe as much as his competitor, NBC's Brian Williams.
Gibson's response? "That's because of Katrina; you saw him going down there. Now he's in Africa. I don't know why you do that. Why the hell do you go to Africa? It's certainly an interesting choice. We'll do travel, when it warrants."
After the issue was discussed for an hour on WVON, Gibson called into the show to respond.
"This guy, who I will never talk to again from New York magazine who is something of a snake, he took my quote and I think perverted the meaning of it to indicate in some way that I was insensitive to news from one of the five major continents in the world," he said.

From Hagan's article:

[Hagan]:You were rejected for this job so recently--do you feel vindicated?
[Gibson] No, this is not vindication. It’s really circumstance. [TV news critic] Andrew Tyndall said this is a slap in the face to women, but Elizabeth has had a very tough pregnancy. The doctors said she better knock it off and get in bed.

The doctors said that, did they, Charlie? To you? What a loser. Stealing the jobs of a pregnant woman and an injured man (injured in Iraq) and then trying to act like it's all for the best. (See "TV commentary: About the women.")

Check out (LANGUAGE WARNING) "My interview with Kat" for Mike's interview with Kat.
Kayla e-mailed last night about Rebecca's "more marine news and talking about my grandmother." It's more than worth reading but for anyone worried about Rebecca's grandmother, she was fine. She phoned Rebecca this morning, after reading Rebecca's post, and stated she was just upset about Haditha and what she was sure would be more to come [she's right, see "And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)"]. Kayla was worried about Rebecca and I was too when I read the e-mail. We were on the phone throughout last night's indymedia roundup entry and she called this morning (that's who I've been on the phone with during this link-fest) as soon as she got off the phone with her grandmother. So all is well. This evening/tonight, Rebecca and I are planning on doing a joint entry. Among the topics we hope to tackle are the issue of collective guilt. Hannah Arendt quote:

Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.

By the way, this morning's "NYT: Re: Haditha, ask the Times for a correction" -- for any who are confused, possibly they don't read the print edition -- the Times needs to offer a correction on their original Haditha reporting, that's basic. It's all the more basic when not a day goes by without the paper printing a full page for themselves saying something to the effect of "Students, meet your new research assistant." Meaning? The paper itself. If it's going to sell its own accuracy, it needs to correct its mistakes.

Remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) of Democracy Now! today. Among today's guests are John Burroughs and David Albright. And Jim Hightower is one of the guests on KPFA's The Morning Show this morning.

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