Friday, March 31, 2006

Democracy Now: Noam Chomsky; Josh Key, Laith Al-Saud ...

IAEA Head Warns Against Iran Sanctions
In other news, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog agency said Thursday Iran does not pose a nuclear threat and should not be subjected to sanctions. International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei said: "We need to lower the pitch ... [the] only durable solution is a negotiated solution."The US has threatened to impose sanctions if Iran fails to halt uranium enrichment activities.
New York Admits To Routine Videotaping of Political Rallies
The city of New York has revealed undercover police officers have been routinely videotaping political demonstrations over the last two years. The city maintains the surveillance was legal under police authority expanded in 2003 to stop terrorist attacks. At a court hearing this week, one city attorney said the taping was necessary because rallies could become targets of terrorist attacks. But Jethro Eisenstein, a civil rights lawyers challenging the videotaping, said the policy was "Orwellian," and accused the city of adopting "a bullying view of the terrorism threat to block critical thinking."
US Soldier Testifies at Asylum Hearing in Canada
And in Canada, a US soldier who fled to avoid serving in Iraq is having his asylum case heard in front of an immigration board. Josh Key, who served in Iraq for eight months, said he decided to desert military service after witnessing several atrocities commited by the US military. In an interview with the BBC, Key said: "The only people that were getting hurt was the innocent; that was innocent Iraqi people, as well as innocent soldiers."
Job Law Approved by France's Constitutional Council
In France, the Constitutional Council has approved a controversial job law that has drawn protests from millions of French citizens. The law makes it easier for employers to fire young workers. French President Jacques Chirac will have 24 hours to sign the measure into law or reject it under pressure from mass protests.
The above four items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Liang, Rachel, Joan and Bryan.Democracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for March 31, 2006

- Jill Carroll Describes Captivity in Televised Interview
- Carroll Criticized For Saying Captors Treated Her Well
- At Least 66 Killed in Iran Earthquake
- IAEA Head Warns Against Iran Sanctions
- Israel Strikes Gaza After West Bank Suicide Bombing
- Students Question Blair on Iraq During Indonesia Visit
- Pentagon Bars Soldiers From Wearing Outside Body Armor
- N.O. Levee Repair Costs Rise to $10 Billion
EXCLUSIVE...Noam Chomsky on Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy

The New York Times calls him "arguably the most important intellectual alive."
The Boston Globe calls him "America's most useful citizen."
He was recently voted the world's number one intellectual in a poll by Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines.
We're talking about Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the foremost critics of U.S. foreign policy. Professor Chomsky has just released a new book titled "Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy." [includes rush transcript - partial]
In Baghdad, the Associated Press reports, three women have been killed when a mortar round hit their home -- three dead and three more wounded. In Kirkuk, a bomb has exploded near a pipeline. If you're one of those people who let the junk mail and bills pile up, you'll enjoy knowing that Ali al-Sistani basically does the same with messages from Bully Boy. Another cleric, Ayatollah Mohammed al-Yacoubi, is calling for the dismissal of US ambassor to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad on the basis of "the sectarian conflict gripping the country."  And the shame of Abu Ghraib continue as news of 62 year-old male dying there continues to give lie to any false claims of "Hearts & Minds."  That's some of the news coming out of Iraq right now.  We have two highlight involving the region.
First up, Vince notes "U.S. deserter alleges atrocities" (Toronto Star):
Joshua Key, the first U.S. deserter with combat experience in Iraq to apply for refugee status in Canada, told the board he witnessed numerous atrocities committed by U.S. forces while serving for eight months as a combat engineer.
Key said he was never trained on the Geneva Conventions and was told in Iraq that the international law guiding humanitarian standards were "just guidelines."
"It's shoot first, ask questions later," Key told the board, which is evaluating his bid for asylum in Canada for him, his wife and four young children.
Key, 27, said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and frequently has nightmares over what he witnessed in Iraq.
Doug notes Laith Al-Saud's "Iraq is Not in Civil War (Yet)" (CounterPunch):
The inability to talk about Iraq in an appropriate context has been one of the greatest setbacks to the anti-war movement here in the United States of America, and to describe Iraq solely in terms of being in civil war contributes to this problem. Iraq is under occupation and the current rivalry between what are indeed Iraqi factions has to be interpreted within this context. The possibility of civil war in Iraq is not the result of mismanagement on the part of the Bush administration or some inherent hostility in Iraqi society; civil war, rather, is and has always been the favored alternative should the United States fail to dominate Iraq politically. The pirates of both the Right and Left side of the establishment agreed before hand that if they could not steer the ship they would sink it.
As early as 2002 prominent Americans made civil war part and parcel of the ideology leading up to war in 2003. As the Bush administration prepared for war, figures like the Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, both former members of the Clinton administration, helped establish "acceptable" possibilities for the war's outcome. Both Albright and Holbrooke belabored the point that Iraq is an "artificial" country, a product of British colonialism, and as soon as Saddam Hussein was toppled, the US would face the sectarianism and racism supposedly inherent in Iraq's composition (it must be noted that the assertion of Iraq's artificiality is simplistic). Implicit and at times explicit in Albright and Holbrooke's analysis is that when all was said and done Iraq should be broken up into three parts. After the British (and French) plan to divide the Muslim world into small dependent states after World War One was going to be adjusted by the US's plan to divide Iraq into even smaller and more dependent oil rich states, similar to the Gulf states, an irony apparently lost on all. Or was it?
As soon it was clear that the Bush administration was going to invade Iraq back in 2002, the voices of the mainstream Left were busy insuring that the option to break up Iraq was firmly embedded in American discourse rabout the war. The implication that Iraq is an artificial country established the possibility that it could be broken up if things were not to go as planned, i.e. if the country could not be dominated easily. The breaking up of Iraq is useful in several important ways: First, it is easier to dominate the oil of smaller weaker states than larger ones and, secondly, Iraq has always posed the greatest threat to Israel. The breaking up of Iraq would facilitate many of the long-term visions of Israel, not to mention the most important one, which is of course shared with the United States-the effort to definitively eradicate the residues of Arab nationalism and put to an end the emergence of Islamism.
Before we get into anything else, Sir! No! Sir!.  Zach thinks I'm thinking of next week (could be).  Here are known dates for film showings in April:
06 - Preview Screening, Oakland, CA, Grand Lake Theater. Click here for more details
07 - San Francisco, CA, Red Vic
07 - Oakland, CA, Grand Lake Theater
17 - Preview Screening New York, NY, IFC Center Click here for more details
19 - New York, NY, IFC Center
28 - Denver, CO, Starz Film Center
28 - Madison, WI, Orpheum Theater
Cindy, Rhonda and Leroy think I'm thinking about  KPFA's Sunday Salon with Larry Bensky this Sunday when Kevin Phillips will be Larry Bensky's guest for the first hour and Sir! No! Sir! will be among the topics of the second hour. It could be that as well. 
Second thing to address.  Amy Goodman is in Atlanta this evening.  Here are the next few dates of the Un-Embed The Media Tour (and more dates are available if you click on the link):
Amy Goodman in Atlanta, GA:
Fri, Mar 31
Time: 8 PM
Fundraiser for Damu Smith
Hillside Chapel and Truth Center
2450 Cascade Road SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Reception from 6-8 PM
Guest speakers include:
Rev. Joseph Lowery, Rev. C.T. Vivian, and Rev. Timothy McDonald
Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Tues, Apr 4
TIME: 12:15 PM
Women War and Peace (class)
Brooklyn College
The Event is Free and Open to the Public
For more information: Please Call Barbara Winslow at:
718-951-5476 or 212-844-9447
Brooklyn College
Student Union
Gold Room
Reception is at 12:15
Event starts at 1:30
Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Apr 6
Time: 7 PM
Amy Goodman Speaking at Center School
The Center School
270 West 70th St.
New York, NY 10023
For more information:
Amy Goodman in Baton Rouge, LA
Fri, Apr 7
Time: 7:30 PM
Media-ocracy How the American Media Compromises Democracy
D. Jensen Holliday Forum
Journalism Building
Louisiana State University
The D. Jensen Holliday Forum is located in the Journalism Building on the corner of North Stadium and Fieldhouse Drive.
Megan notes that the cover artwork for the latest issue of The Progressive is now available online. And from the "Hidden History," Megan notes that on March 31, 1927, Cesar Chavez was born. 
Megan wrote that she has no idea when Matthew Rothschild was born but that he does have some speaking engagements this month:
April 7, Urbana-Champaign, IL
Title: "Grounds for Impeachment"
Place: 319 Gregory Hall, Univ. of Illinois campus, 810 S. Wright St., Urbana
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Fundraiser to follow at 7:00 p.m. at the home of Robert McChesney and Inger Stole., 1103 S. Douglas, Urbana, on the west side of Carle Park between Iowa and Indiana., Suggested donation: $25 (more if you can, because we're literally and legally nonprofit!).
April 19, Waukesha, WI
Title: "The Iraq War: The Wages of Lawlessness"
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: The Commons Lounge, UW-Waukesha
April 22, La Crosse, WI
Title: "Earth Day in the Bush Age"
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: Univ. of Wis-La Crosse
May 5, Mill Valley, CA
Title: "Grounds for Impeachment"
Time: evening TBA
Place: 142 Throckmorton Theatre, downtown Mill Valley
(I always assume we're all on the same page.  Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive.)
Swiping from Mike in order to note everyone's latest:
First up, music & Kat lovers take note: "Kat's Korner: Etta James Takes It All The Way."
Kat also wrote "
Etta James and Bonnie Faulkner" and "The downward spiral of democracy under the Bully Boy." Elaine's "Peace comes from being able to contribute the best we have" is something you shouldn't have missed so be sure you don't. Rebecca's "iraq in crisis and chaos - the us continuing the occupation will destroy the country" is really strong (and also made me want to highlight as much as I could tonight). I love what C.I. has to say about Mr. We Can't Pull Out! in "Democracy Now: Chellie Pingree, Edmund L. Andrews; Ruth Conniff speaks what others can't." Wally's going to make you laugh (and may offend a few delicate souls but I thought it was hilarous) with "THIS JUST IN! SECRETARY OF STATE RICE TRIES NEW DIPLOMATIC STRATEGY." Cedric's "Afghanistan the forgotten 'liberation'" just went up tonight, hot off the presses and I was waiting for him and one more post so that I could highlight everyone. Betty's latest chapter "Thomas Friedman's Frostings and Facials" was the other thing I was waiting for. It, too, is hot off the presses so make sure you read it.
There were hopes of noting other things but time's running out.  We will note that you should check out BuzzFlash's Wings of Justice. And check out this BuzzFlash editorial on the war.
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