Saturday, April 01, 2006

Ruth's Public Radio Report

Ruth: I want to begin this report by noting that Elaine covered WBAI's Home Fries this week, that Mike twice utilized CounterSpin in his commentaries, and that Rebecca and Kat will be covering a Pacifia Radio program each week, Flashpoints and Guns and Butter respectively.

This week on CounterSpin, the guests were Peter Freyne and Andrea Batista Schlesinger. Ms. Batista Schlesinger addressed the issue of the media portrayals of the immigration legislation as opposed to the reality. I found Ms. Batista Schlesinger's comments to the point and easy to grasp. With regard to Mr. Freyne, I was more confused after the interview than before it.

He was speaking of Christopher Graff who headed Vermont's division of the Associated Press until his recent firing. Why was he fired? Mr. Freyne spoke of the fact that Bill O'Reilly had long criticized him on Fox "News." Mr. Freyne also noted that Mr. Graff put a column by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy on the wires. What the column was about was never stated. Was the issue the content of Senator Leahy's column? If Mr. Freyne addressed that, I missed it. In my area, WBAI's signal cut in and out throughout the week which may have something to do with winter packing up its bags and preparing to turn over the lease to spring.

As always CounterSpin opened with a look a recent news. While I am attempting to keep this report brief compared to last week's, there were two items that stood out during the look back at recent news.

Peter Hart: Here we go again. Supporters of the Iraq war are falling back on the theory that the war's not actually going as badly as it seems. No, the real problem is the news media's relentless negativity. This round seemed to kick off with right wing talker Laura Ingrahm's appearance on NBC's Today Show where she laid out her case by, among other things, calling for Today host Matt Lauer to go to Iraq . . . something's he'd already done. This wasn't Ingrahm's first dubious pronouncement on the subject. On Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor on February 14th, she claimed that journalists could tell the good news if they wanted citing ABC's Bob Woodruff's decision to go out with Iraqi security forces as an example. Woodruff, of course, was nearly killed in the process. This kind of criticism is hardly worth responding to seriously. But that didn't stop ABC's Good Morning America from devoting segments on March 22nd and 23rd to addressing the concerns of their viewers who think they are somehow hiding the good news.
Often these critics suggest that the media should spend more time covering the reconstruction
projects which would show the positive side of the war but there are some other factors worth considering. For starters, the former press attache in Baghdad told American Journalism Review that US military forces stopped taking reporters out on such trips for fear of making reconstruction projects targets for insurgents. And even more importantly, consider a recent USA Today report which recalled some unpleasant facts about the state of reconstruction in Iraq. Electricity production is lower than before the war, only about a third of the scheduled water projects were completed, and just 77,000 jobs were created far below the 1.5 million predicted. Those figures all come from the US government. If anything more media coverage of reconstruction in Iraq might make things sound even worse. But critics like Laura Ingrahm could blame the media for that too.


Steve Rendall: A few weeks ago on CounterSpin, we talked about yet another explosive memo from the run up to the Iraq war. First reported in the February 3rd edition of the London Guardian, the memo of a July 2003 meeting between George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair showed the White House was set to invade Iraq no matter what the status of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. This memo in some respects was similar to other leaked documents including one known as the Downing Street Memo. But there's one big difference, this memo was covered on the front page of the New York Times on March 27th and with the Time's seal of approval it was picked up around the media where some outlets promptly blew this story. On CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell said that QUOTE: "This memo seems to indicate once again that going into the war the British and the Americans had bad intelligence." CLOSED QUOTE. CBS reporter Lara Logan agreed but talked only about the revelation that Bush didn't think there would be ethnic or religious conflict in Iraq. That's an important point but surely not the most damning information. On NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams explained that the story was from the 'now it can be told' file. Though why it could only be told a month after it was first told wasn't clear. Equally unclear was reporter Andrea Mitchell's comment that White House QUOTE "Said that the president's public and private comments were fully consistent." CLOSED QUOTE. As Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher pointed out, the statements by Bush and Blair after their meeting directly contradict the memo. So someone's not telling the truth. You'd like to think there's some appetite in the press to figure out who's lying.

Now I would like to shift focus and note Extra! I believe most readers know that Extra! and CounterSpin are both produced by FAIR. Extra! is a bi-monthly magazine and C.I. mentioned that the new issue was on the racks. I rushed out to purchase my copy and, thinking others might need a reminder, I would like to focus on a few features from the latest edition. Janine Jackson has a wonderful review of how the media covers the economy and jobs entitled "Good News! The Rich Get Richer" on pages six and seven. Here are the opening paragraphs:

The Bush administration made a concerted effort to trumpet a "booming" U.S. economy in early December, widely understood as an attempt to reverse what polls indicate to be the public's largely negative views on the matter.
There are, of course, obvious reasons the majority of Americans dissent from the White House's rosy presentations of the economy: Most American households are not, in fact, seeing their economic fortunes improve. GDP is up, but virtually all the growth has gone into corporate profits and the incomes of the highest economic brackets. Wages and incomes for average workers, adjusted for inflation, are down in recent years; the median income for non-elderly households is down 4.8 percent since 2000 (Economic Policy Institute, 8/31/05). The poverty rate is rising, as is the number of people in debt.

Just as CounterSpin critically examines the news on radio, Extra! does so in print. This issue also features a CounterSpin interview: "Our Media Refuse to Name This Reality." I remember this interview and believe it lasted the entire program. Jonathan Kozol was the guest, author of The Shame of the Nation.

In his editors note this issue, Jim Naureckas addresses the issue of what happens when a journalist, Charles Hanley of the Associated Press, offers coverage that veers from the official line handed down by the administration. Mr. Hanley was one of the journalists disproving former Secretary of State Colin Powell's United Nations speech in real time but his reporting was largely ignored by other outlets and reporters. Mr. Naureckas concludes:

Most people in media stick to these predetermined plots because the immediate rewards go to those who tell the stories that powers that be want to hear. In the long run, though, history will remember those who continued to practice journalism.

This issue "highlights some of those who did first-rate work in the run-up to the war." There is also time to highlight the recently deceased George Gerbner in an article by Robin Anderson who notes Mr. Gerbner's many contributions to media criticism. Julie Hollar, Janine Jackson and Hilary Goldstein contribute "Fear & Favor 2005" which examines outside influences on news coverage, including advertisers and, in a sidebar by Ms. Jackson, video press releases which are passed off as news reports. Phil Gibbons' "Capote vs. Capote" examines the way many journalists utilized the film Capote to comment on the late Truman Capote but often seemed confused that the film was not a documentary. Frances Cerra Whittelsey contributes a book review of Kristina Borjesson's Feet to the Fire: The Media After 9/11. Steve Rendall offers a report on four who got it right in real time. The four include Scott Ritter, Warren Strobel, Jonathan Landay (both of Knight Ridder) and Charles J. Hanley who was noted by Mr. Naureckas. Though Mr. Ritter was a media favorite prior to the invasion, I am not aware of his reporting and did wonder if a better choice to note the broadcast media might have been Phil Donahue who lost his MSNBC show due to fears that he would continue to question?

There is much to read in this issue and I'm leaving out one article because it is the one C.I. brought up on the phone to me so I am pretty sure it will wind up in Sunday's "And the war goes on" entry. If you are curious, you can pick up a copy of Extra! right now. If you enjoy CounterSpin or if you are unable to listen but curious about it, look for a copy of Extra!

I wanted to note Pacifia Radio's coverage of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the illegal, warrantless spying of Americans authorized by the Bully Boy. Larry Bensky anchored and did an impressive job even when the feed was momentarily lost.

A great deal of the inner workings of the FISA court were discussed and I thought that might be worth noting. FISA initially was composed of seven judges but, after 9/11, the number was upped to eleven. The judges serve seven year terms after which they are not eligible to immediately serve another term. The notion of the FISA court as a rubber-stamp court were not dispelled when one FISA justice explained the court's role as being "there to help them" meaning the executive branch. The courts, unless old age has led me to forget the judiciary's role, exist not to serve a branch but to serve a people.

Mr. Bensky noted that the judges were sworn in, that all witnesses who had testified before the Judiciary Committee had been sworn in with one exception: Alberto Gonzales.

My intent was not to write at length, the way I had last week. Already I feel that goal is a lost cause. Braeden asked that I mention that each Wednesday on KPFA's The Morning Show David Bacon delivers an indepth look at labor. Zach asked me to note that Philip Maldari is on vacation, and "missed," Zach writes, which has left hosting duties Monday through Friday to Andrea Lewis who has done "an incredible job." I would have noted Zach's comments even if I had not agreed, but I will back him up on this because Ms. Lewis has done an incredible job. This past week, she focused on, among other topics, the recent elections in Israel, the legislative attacks on immigrants, and on Friday some modern composers. Best of all may have been her interview with Dan Perkins, aka Tom Tomorrow, which aired Thursday. This interview alternated between humor and serious moments and really demonstrated Ms. Lewis' gifts as an interviewer. Among the topics were the current state of the country/world, censorship and how This Modern World's characters came about. On another guest, Kristen e-mailed to ask when Jane Fonda directed a film? A guest this week mentioned that. I checked with C.I. and the guest apparently meant to say that Ms. Fonda produced a film on Native Americans. C.I. states that Lakota Woman was directed by Dan Petrie ("who directed The Dollmaker, among other films") and that Jane Fonda and Lois Bonfiglio produced it for Fonda Films.

Monday on WBAI, Law and Disorder offered a look at the case of Muhammad Salah, American citizen, who was picked up by the Israeli military in the early nineties and tortured. Mr. Salah was imprisoned for five years. In 1993, he was forced to sign a confession. The confession was written in Hebrew, a language he did not speak or read, as Dalia Hashad pointed out. He was interrogated for eighty-five days and the techniques used including hoods and sleep deprivation in a process Michael Ratner noted was "a version of rendention, isn't it?"

The question was directed to the guest from The People's Law Office Michael Deutsch who is representing Mr. Salah. Mr. Deutsch detailed the case, which begins again this month, and how it was a closed proceeding that has kept both the press and the public out. At some point, a heavily redacted court transcript will be presented to the public but in the meantime, a heavily readacted hearing is taking place because there are moments of the hearings that even the defendant and Mr. Deutsch are shut out of as the prosecution and Israeli intelligence offer statements and testimony that the defense is not allowed to hear with the excuse offered that it must be kept from them because it has to do with Israeli national security. Which in no way indicates that a fair trial is taking place, especially when the Israeli Supreme Court ruled against these type of interrogations in 1999.

Another issue was also raisedd.

Michael Smith: This person has already been tried and convicted --
Dalia Hashad: In Israel.
Michael Smith: and now they want to do it to him again. It's like doublejeopardyy.

Ms. Hashad pointed out that it was very "common for Palestinian men to be arrested and interrogated in the occupied territories" and the question was asked of what people could do? Mr. Deutsch suggested writing the U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to "demand that he drop the charges" as well as showing up for the hearings if they are in Chicago.

The next segment, as Heidi Boghosian explained, focused on the case of Haitians held by the U.S. government at Guantanamo Bay. Brant Goldstein, author of Storming The Court and a Yale law student participating in the case when it began in the eighties, was the guest. The background for those not familiar with this topic is that Aristide was overthrown, the first time, and that a number of Haitians attempted to seek refuge outside of Haiti. The United States allowed some into the country for safe haven and denied entry to others. However, the US Coast Guard had taken them to Guantanamo Bay and a couple of hundred were kept there in what was the first U.S. detention camp for H.I.V. positive people. They were kept there and refused entry as well as, for some time, access to theirattorneyss. It may sound very similar to what is going on today.
When Arkansas governor Bill Clinton was running for president in 1992, he made comments indicating he would release the Haitians held there. Then he was elected and, as Mr. Goldstein pointed out, "went back on his word and left the people to languish there."

The attorneys added President Clinton to the law suit "and the case ended up before a Bush appointee" who "issued an order the due process clause applies to Guantanamo because it is under our control." A number of you may wonder why that case then does not apply to Guantanamo today?

The current administration claims that it does not apply. They rest that claim on the fact that the decision was vacated. The Clinton Justice Department was not happy with the judge's finding and, as part of the deal they offered the defense to prevent the case from going to the Supreme Court, they agreed to release the Haitians provided the defense would agree to vacate the decision. The attorneyss were attempting to provide relief to their clients so they agreed to the condition. Had circumstances been different the legal judgement could be utilized today.

As Ms. Boghosian noted, "This is a remarkable story of what law students can accomplish." The book follows the case and it has been optioned by Warner Brothers for a film. Which led Michael Smith to wonder who would play Michael Ratner in the film? Mr. Ratner was a participant in the case. I would suggest Gene Hackman because he is one of the few actors that strikes me as able to convey the intensity and passion Mr. Ratner speaks with. If Mr. Hackman is not available, I would suggest Robert Redford who speaks nothing like Mr. Ratner, Mr. Ratner's voice has a growl to it, but has a long history of political awareness.

Sherwin Siy, with EPIC, an internet privacy organization and not the recording label, was the next guest. He discussed the issue of Google's refusal to turn over their search engine data to the National Security Agency as the Bully Boy has requested and as Yahoo has already done.
Efforts are still being made by the government to force Google to turn over the records.
It was noted that if the administration is successful, searches for protest events and other items could be next on the list of the government's spying on American. Ms. Boghosian noted that the government could even request all information on who was searching the term "impeachment."

The fourth guest was the author of Men Who Stare At Goats which explores how the government developed torture techniques that are currently in use. Jon Ronson was the author and this was the second in the program's four-part series on "Music to be Tortured By."

Thursday on WBAI's First Voices, Indigenous Voices, Tiokasin Ghosthorse and Mattie Harper provided an update to their story, a few weeks back, on Cecilia Fire Thunder, Chief of the Oglala Sioux, efforts to create a women's health clinic on Native American land which the South Dakota government has no control over. As was pointed out, the nearest clinic was four hundred miles away. I am confused as to why Planned Parenthood is not attempting to aid in the creation of this clinic. If the issue is money, as statements elsewhere indicate, I am sure that they could lead a pledge drive and, due to abortion and other reproductive rights being so under attack in this country, gather enough contributions for several clinics. Also addressed was the government's current attacks on the buffaloes which does not appear to be, as the government claims, a result of health concerns since they are not testing the animals, merely locking them away. Think of it as the buffaloes get another lesson in American justice. What appears to be going on is that powerful farming interests want control of public lands and the government is aiding them at the expense of the buffalo and our own rights to public spaces.

Yes, I said I would only discuss two more programs; however, this program and Mr. Nighthorse and Ms. Harper are worthy of the attention. However, since I have gone over, by many hours, the deadline I gave myself, I will end by reminding everyone that this coming Thursday the latest The Christmas Coup Players airs on WBAI, while this Sunday (Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time, 11:00 a.m. Central, and noon Eastern time) on KPFA:

In our first hour...
A wholesome group of Christians serving God through policy, or a dangerously shortsighted, ideologically extreme administration selling empire wrapped in the Bible? Former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips joins us to discuss his new book, "American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century."
In our second hour...

The story of Vietnam War resistance WITHIN the military is largely untold. David Zeiger has made the first film to tell about it; "Sir! No, Sir!" is now screening around the country, including a run this coming week in the Bay Area. Zeiger joins us, along with two Vietnam veterans/resisters profiled in his film.
Listen to past shows, get contact and reference info for guests, see announcements of upcoming programs, and more at:

RadioNation with Laura Flanders: Damon Hewitt, Sandra Gordon, Kevin Phillips,Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Ann Louise Bardach, Robert Fitch

Kat here. Running late because I was trying to find out some more information on RadioNation With Laura Flanders "Saturdays & Sundays, 7-10pm ET on Air America Radio."

Laura's taking a more than earned break this week and the guest host is Ned Sublette:

A co-founder of Qbadisc, Ned is an artist in his own right and created the cowboy rumba style, a fusion of rumba and country & western. He is a University of New Mexico graduate and a 2003-2004 fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, as well as a 2004-2005 Tulane Rockefeller Humanities Fellow in New Orleans. He has led a number of music and culture seminars for Americans in Cuba and is the producer of the 18 part Cuba Connection series on PRI's Afropop Worldwide as well as the co-creator of the current APWW "Hip Deep" series.

Texas members should make a point to listen especially because Sublette was born in Texas.

Here's the weekend schedule:

We begin Air America Radio's third broadcast year and mark April Fools Day, starting with fallout from the Senate hearing on Sen. Russell Feingold’s presidential censure resolution. Then, front line reports from New Orleans. Legal Defense Fund attorney DAMON HEWITT on Saturday's civil rights march and rally at the Crescent City Connection Bridge and the voting rights struggle in the city. SANDRA GORDON on efforts to save NOLA's St. Augustine Church, the oldest African-American Catholic church in the U.S. Finally, KEVIN PHILLIPS, author of American Theocracy: The Perils and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century on the radical clerics on these shores.

The birth and death of political movements -- and takes on the immigration debate. Author and political analyst EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON on why clamping down on illegal immigrants won't end discrimination against African-Americans. Then, as Africa captures its most wanted war criminal, why W. keeps sheltering the West's worst terrorist, with ANN LOUISE BARDACH, one of the nation's best-known journalists on the Cuba-Miami-Washington nexus, and attorney JOSE PERTIERRA, who is representing the Venezuelan government in its case to extradite Luis Posada Carriles. Finally, what’s happened to the American labor movement, with ROBERT FITCH, author of Solidarity for Sale: How Corruption Destroyed the Labor Movement and Undermined America's Promise.
It’s all coming up this weekend on RadioNation, on Air America Radio… guest-hosted by NED SUBLETTE!

Also remember that "As always, a one-hour version of last weekend's program is available at" where you can catch what you may have missed.

NYT: Edward Wong tells you that questions about Carroll were raised by a video (as opposed to, say, the press?)

The video had raised questions about whether Ms. Carroll was suffering from Stockholm syndrome, in which hostages become sympathetic to their captors, or had made the statements either out of fear or as a practical matter, to facilitate her release.

Get ready for another attempt to smear Carroll. The above is from Edward Wong's "Freed Reporter in Recovery in U.S. Zone in Baghdad" in this morning's New York Times. Let's be clear here, the video didn't raise questions. A video can't raise questions. It's a video. It's not interactive. The press raised questions. Coming under some deserved criticism for their portrayals, they now want to pin the blame on a video. That's how the press works. When applause fills the auditorium, "We did it." When boos and hisses are the greeting, we learn that a video raises questions.

Elaine's got a wonderful piece on the way Carroll's been portrayed in the media: "The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation." Note that, as Elaine points out, they don't do that with the male hostages or male journalists. It's only the women that they question and smear. And yesterday's article by Dexter Filkins and Kirk Semple was a smear. It was also a sexist smear. A woman says something you don't agree with and she must be suffering from a "syndrome." Had she not been held hostage, would Dexy and Semple have proffered that Carroll must have been getting her period? Would PMS have gone down as the cause?

Semple receives an end credit but not Dexy. That surprised me at first and then I realized that Filkins couldn't work on the eve of what is, no doubt, for him a religious holiday -- today is, after all, April Fool's Day.

The Associated Press has an article, Matt Moore's "Freed U.S. Journalist Lands in Germany." And, unlike the Times, they just move on. They don't try to justify or minimize their actions. (The AP also popularized the diagnose-medical-conditions-via-press-reports.) Maybe the Times should have done likewise? Martha noted the AP article. She also notes that along with Democracy Now!'s "EXCLUSIVE...Noam Chomsky on Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy" (which is the first half of a two part interview with Chomsky), the Washington Post has "Chat With Chomsky" which is a transcript of an online session:

Washington, D.C.: Do you believe that Latin America can be successful in developing alternatives to Washington Consensus neoliberal policy and do you believe that Globalization is a real thing as often portrayed by writers like Thomas Friedman?
Noam Chomsky: The term "globalization," like most terms of public discourse, has two meanings: its literal meaning, and a technical sense used for doctrinal purposes. In its literal sense, "globalization" means international integration. Its strongest proponents since its origins have been the workers movements and the left (which is why unions are called "internationals"), and the strongest proponents today are those who meet annually in the World Social Forum and its many regional offshoots. In the technical sense defined by the powerful, they are described as "anti-globalization," which means that they favor globalization directed to the needs and concerns of people, not investors,financial institutions and other sectors of power, with the interests of people incidental. That's "globalization" in the technical doctrinal sense. Latin America is now exploring new and often promising paths in rejecting the doctrinal notions of "globalization," and also in the remarkable growth of popular movements and authentic participation in the political systems. How successful this will be is more a matter for action than for speculation.

Billie notes David D. Kirkpatrick's "Call to Censure Bush Is Answered by a Mostly Empty Echo" and she focuses in on John Cornyn (who is one of the senators from her state):

"This hearing, I think, is beyond the pale," said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas.
Mr. Cornyn argued that the censure proposal could send a "perverse and false message" of presidential weakness to terrorists around the world and thus "make the jobs of our soldiers and diplomats harder and place them at greater risk."

Billie writes that "If open debate on any issue can 'hurt' the Bully Boy, perhaps Cornyn should make a motion for Congress to shut its doors, go home and stay home until Januaray of 2009?"
Stand up wanna be John Cornyn continues to spout his Cornyisms and, heads up, if John Dean wasn't joking, Corny will get play in Dean's upcoming book.

What did Dean say at the hearings? You won't find it in Kirkpatrick's reporting. He's taking, apparently, a humorous look at the proceedings. Not necessarily a bad way to tackle anything Corny participates in but for those wanting something a bit more substanative can check out (Martha's recommendation) Charles Babington's "Senators Debate Move to Censure Bush
Democrats Bring In Nixon Nemesis, but GOP Defends Chief Executive's Powers
" (Washington Post) which also includes many more laugh lines such as this:

"I can only hope that this constitutionally suspect and, I believe, inflammatory attempt to punish the president for leading this war on terror will not weaken his ability to do so," he said.

Here's your clue, it echoes Corny's statement but is better constructed. Corny and Santorum are boy-toys for who? That's right Miss Priss Instant Cuckoo. But it was a chance for all the wacky right to flaunt their loose grasp of the facts and their estrangement from reality. (I believe the estrangement has led many Republicans to file for divorce.) Here's a section featuring a Republican, the one Rebecca has noted acts as though he's "the heroine to a tennessee williams play that he never had time to write: the mint julup exploded on my best dress!":

The harshest exchange involved Dean and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who rejected the comparison of Bush's surveillance operations to Watergate. Nixon tried to cover up the burglary of Democratic Party offices "for national security reasons," Dean said, because he feared it would lead to evidence of an earlier White House-sponsored burglary related to Vietnam War protester Daniel Ellsberg.
"Give me a break," Graham interjected. "He covered it up to save his hide."

For those interested in the debate (or "debate"), please note that Laura Flanders will be addressing it on today's RadioNation with Laura Flanders. And Eddie notes that BuzzFlash has a news analysis of the debate (or "debate") as well.

Martha notes this from Jonathan Finer's "U.S. Troop Fatalities Hit A Low; Iraqi Deaths Soar" (Washington Post):

But recent weeks have also been among the most lethal of the war for Iraqi civilians, police officers and soldiers, who were killed and wounded at a rate of about 75 a day, a rate three times as high as at the start of 2004. The U.S. military's count of Iraqi civilian casualties is likely far lower than the actual total, because many attacks go unreported.

A visitor's e-mail asks why "no one blogged yesterday!" I don't "blog." The Common Ills is a resource/review. There are many great bloggers (including within this community) but this is a resource/review. (Were it a blog, we'd be focusing on water resources, among other issues. And heads up, next year on or around World Water Day, I inted to make at least one entry about that topic. It's something I thought I'd be able to write about when this site started and an issue that's really important to me. But what goes up here are topics members want addressed and highlights they note. It's not a blog. Unless you consider it a community blog.)

We did have entries up yesterday here. Wally posted "THIS JUST IN! CONDI SLAMS BULLY!" at his site yesterday. Rebecca, Mike and Elaine (and Trina as well but she usually only posts on Saturday) all attended the same play last night and didn't post anything at their usual times. However, Elaine did post early this morning (noted above) as did Mike with "Good morning. We're going to dive right in with D..." (that's the first line from Mike's post which means he was very tired when he posted around 2:54 this morning). Rebecca often skips Fridays and grabs Saturday and I'll assume that's likely today. The e-mail doesn't note Cedric's "Afghanistan the forgotten 'liberation'" ; Betty's "Thomas Friedman's Frostings and Facials" or Kat's "The downward spiral of democracy under the Bully Boy" all of which went up Thursday night. I do know that Ruth's almost done writing her Ruth's Public Radio report so that will be up in the hour (Dallas and I will hunt down tags and links). She's focusing on fewer shows this entry because she's noting a magazine. Two shows that will be focused on by others are Flashpoints which Rebecca's adopting as her public radio program to note and Guns and Butter which Kat is adopting as the one for her site. (Flanders show, which airs on some public radio, community and college radio stations, will continue to be a weekly focus at The Third Estate Sunday Review.)

As Rebecca noted:

now this week, elaine's written about home fries, kat's written about guns and butter and i've written about flashpoints. don't ask ruth to cover those in her report because they've been covered. there are hours and hours and hours of programming each week, each day, and there's only so much 1 person can even try to cover. if it ever looks like i'm going a week without covering flashpoints, drop me an e-mail to remind me. there was a feature with some 1 (i think his name was kyle) that i really enjoyed but i'm learning the regulars' names still so, until i do learn their names, i'll probably just focus on the guests.

It's about helping out Ruth and it's also about utilizing independent media and not just following what the big broadcast and cable networks yammer on about. You saw Mike noting CounterSpin twice this week and that's part of the same thing. The mainstream media failed to seriously question the claims (false ones) put foward by the administration in the lead up to the illegal war. We can, and should, critique them and hold them accountable but, in this community, we should also do our part to get the word out on independent and alternative media.

Which brings us to our last highlight. If you counted on the mainstream media to provide you with your news, you probably didn't register Cindy Sheehan until Camp Casey. If you counted on alternative media (such as Democracy Now!), you were already familiar with Sheehan. Brady notes her "Casey Austin Sheehan: May 29, 1979 - April 04, 2004" (Common Dreams):

As far as we can piece things together, March 31st, two years ago is the day that the First Cavalry arrived in Sadr City, a slum in Baghdad, formerly named "Saddam City," Iraq. I say "as far as we can piece together" because we have heard many different stories, but this date seems to be the one that we have heard most often.
Casey began a letter to us, his family, on April 1, 2004, telling us that he finally had an address where we could send letters and packages, and most of all, calling cards. The one and only time he called home from Kuwait, it had cost him 400 minutes just to connect the call and he didn't have much time to talk. That was the last we heard from him. He called about 12:30 one morning and said it was "hot" he was on his way to mass, and they should be convoying to Iraq at the end of that week. In his letter he mentioned that he had talked to me that morning, but I probably wouldn't remember it, because he had awakened me. Little did he know, I will never forget that call and I pray fervently that I never forget the sound of his voice.
In his letter he also expressed regret that he wouldn't be home for his baby sister, Janey's, high school graduation that June. Little did he know that he would be home. He also told us that the First Cav was expecting a pretty "smooth year" because the unit that they were replacing had only 2 casualties for the entire year before. Maybe he knew, maybe he didn't know that the day he arrived in Baghdad, four mercenary soldiers from Blackwater Security Company were hanging off of a bridge in Falluja and the proverbial doo-doo was about to hit the fan in Iraq and less than 5 days later he would draw his last breath in an alley thousands of miles away from home, shot dead by a rebel who didn't welcome him with "flowers and chocolates." I wonder what his last thought was as he lay dying for George and the other Chickenhawks.
I would beg Casey not to go to Iraq before he left because we both knew it was wrong. He would say: "I wish I didn't have to, Mom, but the sooner I get there the sooner I will be home." Little did Casey know that not even 4 weeks after the First Cavalry left Ft. Hood, that he would be coming home in a cardboard box in the freight area of a United Airlines 747.

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Soldado estadounidense declara en audiencia de asilo en Canada

Maria: Buenas noches. De parte de "Democracy Now!" doce cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Periodista secuestrada, Jill Carroll, liberada en Irak
Luego de estar cautiva durante casi tres meses, la periodista estadounidense secuestrada, Jill Carroll, fue liberada. Carroll es una periodista independiente que trabaja para el periódico "Christian Science Monitor" en Irak. Fue secuestrada en enero frente a las oficinas de un destacado político sunita en Bagdad. En una breve entrevista televisiva en Bagdad, Carroll dijo que se encuentra en buenas condiciones y que los secuestradores la trataron bien. Los secuestradores la liberaron dejándola en una calle cercana a las oficinas del Partido Islámico iraquí. Carroll entró a las oficinas y los empleados llamaron a los funcionarios estadounidenses. A pesar de que los secuestradores amenazaron dos veces con matarla en grabaciones, Carroll dijo que nunca la golpearon o amenazaron con hacerlo. Carroll dijo que la mantuvieron encerrada en una habitación con una ventana y una ducha, pero que no sabía donde estaba. Y agregó: "Simplemente estoy feliz de estar libre. Quiero estar con mi familia". El miércoles, la hermana de Jill Carroll, Katie Carroll, había leído una declaración en la televisión árabe suplicando que su hermana fuera liberada sana y salva. Hacía dos meses que no se tenía noticias de los secuestradores de Carroll. Los secuestradores habían exigido que liberaran a todas las mujeres detenidas en las prisiones iraquíes. Se calcula que cinco de cada nueve prisioneras fueron liberadas en enero.

Soldado estadounidense declara en audiencia de asilo en Canadá
Y en Canadá, el caso de asilo de un soldado estadounidense que huyó para evitar luchar en Irak, está siendo considerado por un tribunal de inmigración. Josh Key, que sirvió en Irak durante ocho meses, dijo que decidió desertar del servicio militar tras presenciar varias atrocidades cometidas por las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses. En una entrevista con la BBC, Key dijo: "A las únicas personas que estábamos dañando era a las inocentes; eran personas iraquíes inocentes y soldados inocentes".

Iraquí acusa a Estados Unidos de masacre en mezquita chiita
Funcionarios iraquíes acusan a las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses de masacrar a por lo menos 16 devotos chiitas durante el asalto a una mezquita chiíta el sábado por la noche. El periódico "Guardian" informa que los asesinatos han provocado la mayor ruptura hasta el momento entre Estados Unidos y los chiitas iraquíes. Los líderes chiitas suspendieron las conversaciones acerca de la formación de un nuevo gobierno iraquí. El ministro del interior iraquí calificó el ataque de Estados Unidos de injustificado y horrible. La alianza gobernante dirigida por los chiitas está exhortando a Estados Unidos a que le devuelva a los iraquíes el control absoluto de la seguridad. El gobernador provincial de Bagdad suspendió toda la cooperación con las fuerzas estadounidenses. El jeque Abdul Arman Al-Shwaili dijo: “Los ocupantes deben rendir cuentas de este crimen despreciable. Fue cometido por los ocupantes contra devotos desarmados y exhortamos al gobierno iraquí que adopte una postura honesta y positiva con respecto a este ataque despiadado contra el Islam y los devotos”. A pesar de la gran protesta política, las Fuerzas Armadas defendieron el asalto del lunes. Un funcionario lo describió como una operación “muy exitosa” contra un escondite insurgente. Estados Unidos negó que sus soldados hayan matado a iraquíes y dijo que la masacre fue planeada.

Ex jueces de FISA exhortan al Congreso a rechazar argumento de vigilancia
En Washington, cinco ex jueces del tribunal de Vigilancia de Inteligencia en el Extranjero (FISA, por sus siglas en inglés) exhortaron al Congreso a rechazar el argumento del gobierno de Bush de que tiene autoridad inherente para realizar espionaje sin ordenes judiciales. Los jueces expresaron en la audiencia del Comité Judicial del Senado el martes, su apoyo a una medida propuesta por el Senador Republicano Arlen Specter, para otorgarle al tribunal la participación formal en la supervisión de la vigilancia del gobierno.

Nueva York admite que filmó regularmente manifestaciones políticas
La ciudad de Nueva York reveló que oficiales de la policía encubiertos han filmando regularmente manifestaciones políticas durante los últimos dos años. La ciudad sostiene que la vigilancia era legal en virtud de las facultades de la policía que fueron ampliadas en 2003 para detener ataques terroristas. En una audiencia de un tribunal esta semana, un abogado de la ciudad dijo que era necesario filmar porque las manifestaciones podrían convertirse en blanco de ataques terroristas. Pero Jethro Eisenstein, un abogado de derechos civiles, cuestionó las filmaciones y dijo que la política era "orweliana", y acusó a la ciudad de adoptar "una postura intimidante sobre la amenaza del terrorismo para impedir el pensamiento crítico".

Figura independentista puertorriqueña arrestada en San Juan
Y una destacada figura del movimiento independentista de Puerto Rico fue arrestada en San Juan. El martes, agentes del FBI arrestaron a Antonio Camacho Negron por presuntamente violar los términos de su libertado condicional. El arresto se produjo sólo meses después de que el líder independentista, Filiberto Ojeda-Rios, fue asesinado en un allanamiento federal.

40.000 estudiantes se retiran de clase para protestar en Los Ángeles
La votación del Comité Judicial del Senado se produjo dos días después de que más de 1 millón de personas protestaran en Los Ángeles contra el proyecto de ley contra los inmigrantes de la Cámara de Representantes. El lunes, continuaron las protestas en todo el país. En Los Ángeles, 40.000 estudiantes se retiraron de clase. También se informó de este tipo de manifestaciones estudiantiles en Dallas y Phoenix. En Detroit, miles de manifestantes marcharon por la ciudad. Y en Washington, cientos de líderes religiosos y activistas llevaron a cabo sus propias protestas. Muchos se pusieron esposas para protestar contra una propuesta en el Proyecto de ley 4437 de la Cámara de Representantes que convertiría en delito que los grupos religiosos y de caridad ayuden a los trabajadores indocumentados.

Huelga nacional en Francia mientras más de 1 millón de personas protestan
En Francia, estudiantes y sindicatos llevaron a cabo una huelga masiva en todo el país que cerró las escuelas, negocios, paralizó los servicios públicos y provocó que más de 1 millón de manifestantes salieran a las calles. La huelga fue convocada en respuesta a una ley del gobierno que facilita que los empleadores despidan a los trabajadores jóvenes. En Francia, se efectuaron más de 800 arrestos. En París, la policía arrojó gas lacrimógeno al final de una manifestación luego que algunos oficiales fueron golpeados con proyectiles.

Trabajadores británicos protestan contra medida de jubilación del gobierno
En Gran Bretaña, más de 1,5 millones de funcionarios gubernamentales llevaron a cabo el martes una huelga en todo el país para protestar contra una medida del gobierno que dificulta que los trabajadores se jubilen a una edad temprana. Once sindicatos participaron en la huelga, una de las más grandes de Gran Bretaña en los últimos 80 años.

Universidad de Miami acepta exigencias de trabajadores tras protesta estudiantil
Y esta actualización es sobre una noticia que hemos estado cubriendo. Los estudiantes de la Universidad de Miami llevaron a cabo una sentada el martes para apoyar a los conserjes que están en huelga. La sentada terminó hoy temprano luego que funcionarios de la Universidad de Miami emitieron una declaración que aseguraba el derecho de sus trabajadores a formar parte de los sindicatos sin ser intimidados. Los conserjes que trabajan para la empresa contratista de la Universidad UNICO, dicen que la empresa ha intentado impedir que se unan al Sindicato Internacional de Empleados de Servicio.

Miles de personas conmemoran el 30 aniversario del golpe de estado en Argentina
En Argentina, miles de personas se congregaron este fin de semana para condenar el aniversario número 30 del golpe de estado apoyado por Estados Unidos, que provocó la muerte y desaparición de decenas de miles de personas.

Documentos: Kissinger ordenó apoyo estadounidense para junta militar argentina
Mientras tanto, documentos desclasificados recientemente revelan que el Secretario de Estado Henry Kissinger, ordenó apoyo inmediato de Estados Unidos para la junta militar poco después de que esta tomó el poder en Argentina, hace 30 años. Según las actas de una reunión, Kissinger dijo: "Quiero alentarlos. No quiero dar la impresión de que Estados Unidos los está hostigando". Kissinger dijo esto a pesar de que su principal delegado en América Latina predecía que Argentina afrontaría "bastante represión [y] probablemente mucha sangre" bajo el nuevo régimen. Además, los cablesgramas del Departamento de Estado indican que los funcionarios estadounidenses conocían de antemano los planes de dar el golpe de estado. Más de una semana antes del golpe, el comandante de la Armada argentina le pidió a la embajada de Estados Unidos que le recomendara empresas de relaciones públicas en Estados Unidos que trabajaran para la futura junta militar.

Maria: Good evening. Now in English, here are twelve news stories from Democracy Now! Peace.

Kidnapped Reporter Jill Carroll Freed in Iraq
After nearly three months in captivity, kidnapped U.S. reporter Jill Carroll has been released. Carroll is a freelance reporter working for the Christian Science Monitor in Iraq. She was seized in January outside the offices of a prominent Sunni politician in Baghdad. In a brief television interview in Baghdad, Carroll said she is in good condition and had been treated well by her captors. Her captors freed her by leaving her in a street near the offices of the Iraqi Islamic Party. She walked inside, and people there called US officials. Although her captors threatened twice in videotapes to kill her, Carroll said they never hit her or threatened to do so. Carroll said she was kept in a room with a window and a shower, but she did not know where she was. She went on to say: "I'm just happy to be free. I want to be with my family." On Wednesday, Jill Carroll's sister, Katie Carroll, had read a statement on Arab television pleading for her sister's safe release. There had been no word from Carroll's captors in nearly two months. They had demanded the release of all women detainees in Iraqi prisons. Five out of an estimated nine women prisoners were released in January.

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."

Iraqi Accuses U.S. of Massacre At Shiite Mosque
Iraqi officials are accusing the U.S. military of massacring at least 16 Shiite worshippers during a raid on a Shiite mosque Sunday night. The Guardian newspaper reports the killings have opened the biggest rift yet between the United States and Iraqi Shiites. Shiite leaders have suspended talks over forming a new Iraqi government. Iraq's Interior Minister called the U.S. raid unjustified and horrible. The leading Shiite governing alliance is urging the U.S. to return full control of security to Iraqis. The Baghdad provincial governor has suspended all cooperation with U.S. forces. "The occupiers should be bought to account for this despicable crime,” said Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Shwaili. “It is committed by the occupiers against unarmed worshippers and we urge the Iraqi government to take an honest and positive stand towards this vicious attack against Islam and the worshippers Despite the political outcry, the U.S. military defended the raid on Monday. One official described it as a "hugely successful" operation against an insurgent hideout. The U.S. has denied its troops killed any Iraqis and said the massacre was staged.

Ex-FISA Judges Urge Congress to Reject Surveillance Argument
In Washington, five former FISA court judges have urged Congress to reject the Bush administration’s argument it holds the inherent authority to conduct warrantless eavesdropping. Appearing before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, the judges voiced support for a measure proposed by Repubican Senator Arlen Specter to grant the court a formal role in overseeing government surveillance.

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."

Puerto Rican Independence Figure Arrested in San Juan
And a major figure in the Puerto Rican independence movement has been arrested in San Juan. On Tuesday, FBI agents arrested Antonio Camacho Negron for allegedly violating the terms of his parole. The arrest comes just months after independence leader Filiberto Ojeda-Rios was killed in a federal raid.

40,000 Students Stage Walk-Out in LA to Protest
The Senate Judiciary committee vote came two days after upwards of one million people protested in Los Angeles against the anti-immigrant House bill. On Monday protests continued across the country. In Los Angeles, as many as 40,000 students walked out of classes. Student walk outs were also reported in Dallas and Phoenix. In Detroit, thousands of protesters marched through the city. And in Washington hundreds of religious leaders and activists held their own protest. Many wore handcuffs to protest a proposal in House Bill 4437 that would make it a crime for religious and charitable groups to aid undocumented workers.

France Hit With Nationwide Strike As Over 1 Million Demonstrate
In France, students and unions staged a massive country-wide strike that shut down schools, businesses and public services and brought more than a million demonstrators into the streets. The strike was called in response to a government law that makes it easier for employers to fire young workers. More than 800 arrests were made around France. In Paris, police fired tear gas at the end of a rally after some officers were hit with projectiles.

British Workers Demonstrate Against Government Pension Measure
In Britain, up to 1.5 million government workers went on strike across the country Tuesday over a government measure that would make it more difficult to retire at an earlier age. Eleven unions took part in the strike -- one of the biggest Britain has seen in 80 years.

U. of Miami Agrees to Worker Demands After Student Sit-Ins
And this update on a story we've been following -- students at the University of Miami held a sit-in Tuesday in support of striking janitor workers. The sit-in ended earlier today after University of Miami officials released a statement affirming the right of its workers to join unions free of intimidation. Janitors working for the university contractor UNICO say the company has tried to prevent them from joining the Service Employees' International Union.

Thousands Mark 30th Anniversary of Coup in Argentina
In Argentina, thousands gathered this weekend to condemn the 30th anniversary of the U.S.-backed coup that resulted in the deaths and disappearances of tens of thousands. "The Mothers are here with you, the people, and we will continue to be with you in this fight until we know what happened to each and every one of our children," said Marta Vazquez of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. "What was their final destiny? Who gave the order? Who executed it? Because it's the least we could demand to know."

Papers: Kissinger Ordered U.S. Support for Argentine Military Junta
Meanwhile newly declassified documents reveal that then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger ordered immediate U.S. support for the military junta shortly after it seized power in Argentina 30 years ago. According to the minutes of one meeting, Kissinger said "I do want to encourage them. I don't want to give the sense that they're harassed by the United States." Kissinger said this even though his own top deputy in Latin America was predicting Argentina would face "a fair amount of repression [and] probably a good deal of blood" under the new regime. In addition State Department cables show that U.S. officials had prior knowledge of coup plotting. More than a week before the coup, the commander of the Argentine Navy requested the U.S. embassy recommend public relations firms inside the United States which would work for the future military junta.

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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Other Items (Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now! today)

Ms. Carroll, who grew up in Michigan and graduated from the University of Massachusetts, was part of a small corps of intrepid young freelance reporters in Baghdad. She had learned more Arabic than many and had cultivated a keen interest in Iraqi society.
[. . .]
Dr. Alan Manevitz, a psychiatrist and trauma expert at New York Presbyterian Hospital, said it would not be surprising if she suffered from a degree of Stockholm syndrome, a condition in which hostages become sympathetic to their captors. The name comes from a bank robbery in Sweden in 1973 in which hostages were held in a vault for six days.
"It's a form of brainwashing in a deprived state where victims emotionally bond with the captors in order to survive," Dr. Manevitz said. He stressed that he did not know Ms. Carroll and could speak about the syndrome only in general terms. "People can feel helpless and hopeless, and any small act of kindness — not killing her, giving her food, letting her have a shower -- can lead to bonding with the captor." The captor, he said, becomes both tormentor and savior.

The above is from Dexter Filkins and Kirk Semple's "Reporter Freed in Iraq, 3 Months After Abduction" in this morning's New York Times. Dexy and Simple Semple. Well Dexy's not reading press releases live from the Green Zone for a change, end note notes that he is in "Kansas City, Mo." Maybe these cut and paste jobs are easy to do from there? Yes, Carroll did learn Arabic. A skill that would have come in handy for Filkins last Saturday when he was being fed information from a non-neutral organization.

Now Martha notes Ellen Knickmeyer's "'Like Falling Off a Cliff For 3 Months': Uncertainty of Captivity Ends for Reporter in Iraq" (Washington Post). Read her story and Dexy's and see what stands out. (Hint, we excerpted the problem with Dexy's above.)

Is Jill Carroll the new Patti Hearst? Dexy seems to think she is. Probably questions her sanity just because she didn't spit and polish for all the military officials he did. But let's talk reality here, the Times' so-called expert is a shame to his profession. He doesn't need to offer conjecture at this point. He's never met with Carroll. He has nothing to base a potential analysis on. He, in fact, has far less information than anything Bill Frist had when Frist was diagnosing by TV. It's embarrassing. (The Associated Press did the same thing yesterday, that doesn't lessen the Times' shame. Elaine pointed it out in a phone call last night and I'd hoped to note the AP in the indymedia entry but didn't have time.) Dr. Alan can save the insta-analysis for a call-in show. But he can drop the "doctor" before his name if he's truly attempting to diagnose someone he's never spoken to, never personally observed and knows nothing about. If his quote's been carefully arranged by Dexy (no surprise if it has been), then it's Dexy shame alone. If not, Dr. Alan has a bit of explaining to do.

You don't tell anyone emerging from an experience what their experience was. You let them, especially in Dr. Alan's profession, process it. Insta-analysis, if practiced by Dr. Alan, is embarrassing. The the Times suggests that it has occurred is humiliating for the paper. Regardless, the dime store psyche doesn't belong in the article, it's an insult to Carroll and the paper should be ashamed. Congratulations to the Washington Post for avoiding falling into cliches and, in fact, potential medical malpractice.

KeShawn was the first to note Margaret Kimberley's "Liberal Love for Right Wing Cory Booker" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):

Wal-Mart heir John Walton used his Walton Family Foundation to channel $500,000 per year into the Newark pro-voucher movement. Booker is a board member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). That organization got off the ground in 1999 with $900,000 from the Walton Family Foundation and $2 million from the right wing Bradley Foundation. Who knew that liberals would support a Walton/Bradley supplicant? Booker knows they won't, so he tones down his connections to the right wing who put his name on the map.
Booker knows that liberal blogs like Huffington Post cater to very few conservatives and wouldn't let him write a single paragraph if he boasted of being in the thrall of Walton, Bradley, Noonan and Kristol. He has learned to tone down his connections to the right wing backing that put him on the map.
His supporters have done the same thing. If Booker had to pay for the positive media attention he has received it would have cost him millions in campaign dollars. As if he hadn't gotten enough of a free ride, a pro-Booker documentary about the 2002 campaign, "Street Fight," was nominated for an Academy Award. Thank goodness mating penguins generated more media buzz and deprived Booker of more free advertising.

Casual visitors who were confused last week, please note that Margaret Kimberley wrote the above.

Rod passes on today's scheduled topic for Democracy Now!:

* EXCLUSIVE: An hour with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist and political analyst. When the New York Times called him "arguably the most important intellectual alive" Chomsky responded, "What did I say wrong?" His new book is "Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy"

Amy Goodman in Atlanta this evening. We'll go over the information for that and other appearances later today.

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[C.I. note: "Their" corrected (to "there") and "in" added to the sentence I left it out of.]