The Monitor

News Analysis and Expert Interviews — Understand Your World

Show Details for the week of January 19th, 2015

Posted by themonitor on January 19, 2015


This is the first week of KPFT’s pledge drive. The Monitor has a goal of $1,250. Please call the station during the show and pledge your support for The Monitor. The number is 713.526.5738 (713.JAM.KPFT). You can also pledge online at www.kpft.org

We have one guest this week – Rory Fanninga TomDispatch regular, walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008-2009, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion. Fanning became a conscientious objector after his second tour. He is the author of Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America  You can get a copy of his book – Worth Fighting For- for a pledge of $120 ($10 per month).

About the book:

Pat Tillman’s death by friendly fire was covered up just days before his comrade Rory Fanning—who served in the same unit as Tillman—left the Army Rangers as a conscientious objector. Disquieted by his tours in Afghanistan, Fanning sets out to honor Tillman’s legacy by crossing the United States on foot.

Told with page-turning style, humor, and warmth, Worth Fighting For explores the emotional and social consequences of rejecting the mission of one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. It is only through the generous, and colorful people Fanning meets and the history he discovers that he learns to live again.

 

Rory Fanning walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008–2009, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion. He is a housing activist living in Chicago, Illinois and the author of the forthcoming book, Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America (Haymarket, 2014). Rory has a recent article out titled Letter to a Young Army Ranger (From an Old One) Why the War on Terror Shouldn’t Be Your Battle.
In part, Rory writes:

Dear Aspiring Ranger,

You’ve probably just graduated from high school and you’ve undoubtedly already signed an Option 40 contract guaranteeing you a shot at the Ranger indoctrination program (R.I.P.).  If you make it through R.I.P. you’ll surely be sent off to fight in the Global War on Terror.  You’ll be part of what I often heard called “the tip of the spear.”

The war you’re heading into has been going on for a remarkably long time. Imagine this: you were five years old when I was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2002. Now I’m graying a bit, losing a little up top, and I have a family.  Believe me, it goes faster than you expect.

Once you get to a certain age, you can’t help thinking about the decisions you made (or that, in a sense, were made for you) when you were younger. I do that and someday you will, too.  Reflecting on my own years in the 75th Ranger regiment, at a moment when the war you’ll find yourself immersed in was just beginning, I’ve tried to jot down a few of the things they don’t tell you at the recruiting office or in the pro-military Hollywood movies that may have influenced your decision to join. Maybe my experience will give you a perspective you haven’t considered.

I imagine you’re entering the military for the same reason just about everyone volunteers: it felt like your only option. Maybe it was money, or a judge, or a need for a rite of passage, or the end of athletic stardom. Maybe you still believe that the U.S. is fighting for freedom and democracy around the world and in existential danger from “the terrorists.” Maybe it seems like the only reasonable thing to do: defend our country against terrorism.

The media has been a powerful propaganda tool when it comes to promoting that image, despite the fact that, as a civilian, you were more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist.  I trust you don’t want regrets when you’re older and that you commendably want to do something meaningful with your life. I’m sure you hope to be the best at something.  That’s why you signed up to be a Ranger.

Recent Articles:

Rory Fanning, Why Do We Keep Thanking the Troops?

Friendly? All Deaths Are Shameful in a War That Shouldn’t Be

 

Get your copy of Rory Fanning’s Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America  with your pledge of $120 ($10 per month). The number to call is 713.526.5738 (713.JAM.KPFT). You can also pledge online at www.kpft.org

Posted in 2001: Repercussions, 9/11, Afghanistan, Arab World, Armed Forces, Cost of War | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of January 12th, 2015

Posted by themonitor on January 12, 2015


On The Monitor this week

More about this week’s guests:

Kevin Gosztola writes regularly for Firedoglake.com He is a documentary filmmaker currently completing a Film/Video degree at Columbia College in Chicago. Kevin recently wrote the piece Grand Juror Sues St. Louis County Prosecutor Over Lifetime Gag Order in Officer Darren Wilson’s Case. The article says, in part, that:

“A person who served on the grand jury that did not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown has sued St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch and argues a lifetime gag order violates his or her First Amendment rights.

The lawsuit being brought by the American Civil Liberties Union chapter in Missouri alleges that specific laws are being used to “permanently and totally” prohibit “Grand Juror Doe” from “engaging in any expressive activity related to evidence, witnesses, and counsel before the grand jury.” This is wrong because McCulloch made a public claim that the proceedings would be transparent…

Gagging grand jurors prevents them from engaging in political speech about what appears to have been a secret trial, which ultimately exonerated Wilson. Criminalizing their opinions about the case not only undermines the First Amendment but also furthers a coverup of any corruption that occurred during the course of proceedings.”

Web:

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/kgosztola

Janine Wedel is an anthropologist and University Professor at George Mason University, is the author of Unaccountable: How Elite Power Brokers Corrupt our Finances, Freedom, and Security. The book is excerpted in Salon online here.

You can also read an article featuring her work here. She recently wrote the article Forget the McDonnells: We’re ignoring bigger, more pernicious corruption right under our noses which states, in part, that:

“Last week, former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell was sentenced to two years in federal prison for accepting lavish vacations, sweetheart loans, and an engraved Rolex from an executive of a dietary supplement maker. His wife will be sentenced next month.

The pair seems like the poster children of corruption. But their bad behavior pales in comparison with the activities of those who practice what I call the “new corruption.” These players — some of them big names, some of them virtual unknowns — violate our health, pocketbooks, our trust. Their actions compromise our health, pocketbooks, or security and can lead to deep and lasting inequalities.

And their behavior is typically legal, making it next to impossible to hold them to account.

Web:

http://www.janinewedel.info

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/janinewedel

Posted in Corporations, Democrat Corruption, GOP Corruption, Hypocrisy, Lobbying, Police, Race | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of January 5th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on January 5, 2015


On The Monitor this week

  • The Mysterious Case of Prisoner 212 – an interview with Cora Currier
  • The Reporting on the Re-Released DOJ IG Report Missed FBI’s Misuse of Terrorism Tools – an interview with Marcy Wheeler

 

More About this week’s guests:

Cora Currier is a journalist with The Intercept. She focuses on national security, foreign affairs, and human rights. As a reporting fellow at ProPublica, she covered national security and finance. Her work has been published in Stars and Stripes, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, Al Jazeera America, and many other outlets. Before joining ProPublica, she was on the editorial staff of The New Yorker and a lead researcher on several books of history and politics. She lives in New York.

From a Recent Article:

“Researchers and reporters had long counted the total number of prisoners who cycled through Guantanamo at 779, but the Senate intelligence committee’s report on CIA torture revealed that there was one more previously unknown detainee. Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, also known as prisoner 212, was held at a secret black site at Guantanamo Bay, according to the report, bringing the total number of detainees to 780.

That al-Libi was held by the CIA is long established.  After all, al-Libi’s name is notorious as the source of bad information used by the Bush administration to tie Saddam Hussein to Al-Qaeda to support the US invasion of Iraq — information he provided while being tortured in Egyptian custody, and later recanted…According to the Intercept’s research, there are still 50 former CIA prisoners named by Senate investigators whose fates are unknown, and who have not, to our knowledge, spoken to the media or human rights groups. ”

Recent Articles:

The Mysterious Case of Prisoner 212

Gitmo Lawyer: “The Torture Pervades Everything”

CIA Watchdog to Step Down

 

Marcy Wheeler grew up bi-coastally, starting with every town in New York with an IBM. Then she moved to Poway, California, home of several participants in the Duke Cunningham scandal. Since then, she has lived in Western Massachusetts, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Ann Arbor, and — currently — Western Michigan.

She got a BA from Amherst College, where she spent much of her time on the rugby pitch. A PhD program in Comparative Literature brought her to Michigan; she got the PhD but decided academics was not her thing. Her research, though, was on a cool journalistic form called the “feuilleton” — a kind of conversational essay that was important to the expansion of modern newspapers in much of the rest of the world. It was pretty good preparation to become a blogger, if a PhD can ever be considered training for blogging.

After leaving academics, Marcy consulted for the auto industry, much of it in Asia. But her contract moved to Asia, along with most of Michigan’s jobs, so she did what anyone else would do. Write a book, and keep blogging. (Oh, and I hear Amazon still has the book for sale.)

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Recent Articles:

Hacking in the IOB Reports

What the Reporting on the Re-Released DOJ IG Report on Section 215 Missed about FBI’s Misuse of Terrorism Tools

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Armed Forces, CIA, Cost of War, Cyber Surveillance, Department of Homeland Security, DOJ, FBI, Hypocrisy, Intelligence, Iraq, Media, News And Analysis, NSA, Obama, Sept. 11, 2001: Repercussions, The "War on Terror", The Constitution, Torture, War Reporting | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of December 29th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on December 29, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

  • In the wake of recent coverage of the multiple shooting deaths of mostly black males by mostly white police officers, we discuss Race Relations and Policing with Tim Wise
  • The media coverage of North Korea as a threat has missed that the country may be responding to being threatened. We discuss the recent coverage of North Korea framed by the release of the movie The Interview with Christine Hong

More about this week’s guests:

Tim Wise

Tim Wise is the author of six books, including his highly-acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, as well as Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority, and Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity. His next book, Culture of Cruelty: How America’s Elite Demonize the Poor, Valorize the Rich and Jeopardize the Future, will be released in early 2015. He has contributed chapters or essays to over 25 additional books and his writings are taught in colleges and universities across the nation. His essays have appeared on Alternet, Salon, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, The Root, Black Commentator, BK Nation and Z Magazine among others.

Tim Wise, whom scholar and philosopher Cornel West calls, “A vanilla brother in the tradition of (abolitionist) John Brown,” is among the nation’s most prominent antiracist essayists and educators. He has spent the past 20 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1000 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally, in Canada and Bermuda, and has trained corporate, government, law enforcement and medical industry professionals on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions.

Wise has been featured in several documentaries, including “White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in America” (from the Media Education Foundation), which has been called “A phenomenal educational tool in the struggle against racism,” and “One of the best films made on the unfinished quest for racial justice,” by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva of Duke University, and Robert Jensen of the University of Texas, respectively. He also appeared alongside legendary scholar and activist, Angela Davis, in the 2011 documentary, “Vocabulary of Change.” In this public dialogue between the two activists, Davis and Wise discussed the connections between issues of race, class, gender, sexuality and militarism, as well as inter-generational movement building and the prospects for social change.

 

Christine Hong

Christine Hong is an assistant professor of literature at UC Santa Cruz and an executive board member of the Korea Policy Institute (http://kpolicy.org/). She is co-editor with Hazel Smith of the Critical Asian Studies double issue on “Reframing North Korean Human Rights” (45:4 (2013) and 46:1 (2014). Hong recently co-wrote “Stranger than Fiction: The Interview and U.S. Regime-Change Policy Toward North Korea

Quote:Representations of North Korea as a buffoon, a menace, or both on the American big screen are at least as old and arguably as tired as the George W. Bush-era phrase, “the axis of evil.” Along with the figure of the Muslim “terrorist,” hackneyed Hollywood constructions of the “ronery” or diabolical Dr. Evil-like North Korean leader bent on world domination, the sinister race-bending North Korean spy, the robotic North Korean commando, and other post-Cold War Red/Yellow Peril bogeymen have functioned as go-to enemies for the commercial film industry’s geopolitical and racist fantasies. Explaining why the North Korean leader was the default choice for the villain in his 2014 regime-change comedy, The Interview, Seth Rogen has stated, “It’s not that controversial to label [North Korea] as bad. It’s as bad as it could be.” Indeed, one-dimensional caricatures of North Korea flourish in the Western media in no small part because “[w]acky dictators sell.” Yet when it comes to Hollywood’s North Korean regime-change narratives, the line between fact and fiction, not to mention the distinction between freedom of expression and government propaganda, is revealingly thin. Whether in Hollywood or Washington, the only permissible narrative for North Korea is what Donald Macintyre, former Seoul bureau chief for Time magazine, has called “the demonization script.” Not only have the dream machines of the entertainment industry long played an instrumental role within American theaters of war, but also, U.S. officials and political commentators often marshal the language of entertainment—for example, the description of U.S.-South Korea combined military exercises as “war games” and the Obama administration’s references to the Pentagon’s “playbook” with regard to North Korea—when describing U.S. military maneuvers on and around the Korean peninsula…Claiming to have done conducted “a lot” of research on North Korea, Seth Rogen has insisted that The Interview holds up a mirror to North Korea’s reality: “We didn’t make up anything. It’s all real.” His conclusion about North Korea after conducting exhaustive research? “It was f–king weird.” Yet, even as the curtains go up in movie theaters across the United States for The Interview, the centrality of the North Korean demon to Obama’s pivot policy within Asia and the Pacific, itself a historic theater of U.S. war, may prove to be far stranger than fiction.

Posted in Cost of War, Dictatorship, Equal Rights, North Korea, Race | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of December 22nd, 2014

Posted by themonitor on December 22, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

  • The U.S. and Cuba are to hold talk on normalizing relations. How did this happen and what does it mean? We talk with Reese Erlich
  • How the CIA Covered Up Its Lie on Torture and bin Laden – an interview with Gareth Porter

More about this week’s guests:

AP reports: “The United States and Cuba will start talks on normalizing full diplomatic relations, marking the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island in decades, American officials said Wednesday.”

Reese Erlich is an award winning foreign correspondent. His books include “Dateline Havana: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Future of Cuba.”

Reese Erlich’s history in journalism goes back over 40 years. He worked as a staff writer and research editor for Ramparts, an investigative reporting magazine published in San Francisco. Today he works as a full-time print and broadcast, freelance reporter. He reports regularly for National Public Radio, CBC, ABC (Australia), Radio Deutsche Welle and Market Place Radio. His articles appear in the SF Chronicle and GlobalPost. His television documentaries have aired on PBS stations nationwide.

Erlich’s book, Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You, co-authored with Norman Solomon, became a best seller in 2003. The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of US Policy and the Middle East Crisis was published in 2007. Dateline Havana: The Real Story of US Policy and the Future of Cuba was published in 2009. Conversations with Terrorists: Middle East Leaders on Politics, Violence and Empire, was published in 2010. Erlich shared a Peabody Award in 2006 as a segment producer for Crossing East, a radio documentary on the history of Asians in the US. In 2012, the Society of Professional Journalists (Nor Cal) awarded Erlich a prize for best “radio explanatory journalism” for his documentary “Inside the Syrian Revolution.” In 2004 Erlich’s radio special “Children of War: Fighting, Dying, Surviving,” won a Clarion Award presented by the Alliance for Women in Communication and second and third place from the National Headlines Awards. His article about the U.S. use of depleted uranium ammunition was voted the eighth most censored story in America for 2003 by Project Censored at Sonoma State University. In 2002 his radio documentary, “The Russia Project,” hosted by Walter Cronkite, won the depth reporting prize for broadcast journalism awarded by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Website: reeeseerlich.com  Twitter: @ReeseErlich

Gareth Porter (@GarethPorter) is an independent investigative journalist and historian who specializes in U.S. national security policy. He is the author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, published by Just World Books in February 2014. He writes regularly for IPS and has also published investigative articles on Salon.com, the Nation, the American Prospect, Truthout and The Raw Story. His blogs have been published on Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Counterpunch and many other websites.

Porter was Saigon bureau chief of Dispatch News Service International in 1971 and later reported on trips to Southeast Asia for The Guardian, Asian Wall Street Journal and Pacific News Service. He is also the author of four books on the Vietnam War and the political system of Vietnam. Historian Andrew Bacevich called his latest book, ‘Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War’, published by University of California Press in 2005, “without a doubt, the most important contribution to the history of U.S. national security policy to appear in the past decade.” He has taught Southeast Asian politics and international studies at American University, City College of New York and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Recent Articles: How the CIA Covered Up Its Lie on Torture and bin Laden and “Coercive Diplomacy” and the Failure of the Nuclear Negotiations

Posted in CIA, Cost of War, Cuba, Cyber Surveillance, Torture | 1 Comment »

Show Details for the week of December 15th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on December 15, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

  • The Putin Mystique – an interview with Anna Arutunyan
  • The Complicity of Psychologists in CIA Torture – an interview with Roy Eidelson and Trudy Bond

 

More about this week’s guests:

Anna Arutunyan is author of The Media in Russia (McGraw-Hill, 2009) and co-author (with Vladimir Shlapentokh) of Freedom, Repression and Private Property in Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in The Nation, The Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Foreign Policy in Focus, and The Moscow News, where until recently she was an editor and senior correspondent. A bilingual Russian-American, she was born in the Soviet Union in 1980 but grew up and was educated in the United States. In 2002 she returned to Moscow to write about Russia, where she lives with her husband and daughter. You can read some of her recent work here and some of her older work here. You can also follow her on Twitter: @scrawnya

From the Olive Branch Press release about her book: Vladimir V. Putin has confounded world leaders and defied their assumptions as they have tried to figure him out, only to misjudge him time and again. The Putin Mystique takes the reader on a journey through the Russia of the man named by Forbes magazine in 2013 as the most powerful man in the world. It is a neo-feudal world where iPads, WTO membership, and Brioni business suits conceal a power structure straight out of the Middle Ages, where the Sovereign is perceived as both divine and demonic, where a man’s riches are determined by his proximity to the Kremlin, and where large swathes of the populace live in precarious complacency interrupted by bouts of revolt. Where does that kind of power come from? The answer lies not in the leader, but in the people: from the impoverished factory worker who appeals directly to Putin for aid, to the businessmen, security officers, and officials in Putin’s dysfunctional and corrupt government who look to their leader for instruction and protection.

In her journalistic career, Anna Arutunyan has traveled throughout Russia to report on modern Russian politics. She has interviewed oligarchs and policemen, bishops and politicians, rock stars and writers, factory workers and peasants, and other ordinary Russians. Her book is a vivid and revealing exploration of the way in which myth, power, and even religion interact to produce the love-hate relationship between the Russian people and Vladimir Putin.

 

Roy Eidelson is a clinical psychologist and the president of Eidelson Consulting, where he studies, writes about, and consults on the role of psychological issues in political, organizational, and group conflict settings. He is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, associate director of the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at Bryn Mawr College, and a member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology.

Trudy Bond is a counseling psychologist in independent practice in Toledo, Ohio. She is a member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and on the steering committee of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. She earned her doctorate in counseling psychology from Oklahoma State University at age 26 and moved to Toledo, Ohio where she became licensed to practice psychology in 1980.  As an independent psychologist, Dr. Bond has filed complaints with state licensing boards and the APA regarding individual psychologists implicated in the torture and abuse of detainees at Guantanamo.

Together they wrote the article “The Complicity of Psychologists in CIA Torture.

Quote:

“Two names appear dozens of times in the committee’s summary: Grayson Swigert and Hammond Dunbar. These are the pseudonyms that were given to James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. It has been known for several years that these two contract psychologists played central roles in designing and implementing the CIA’s torture program. Now we also know how lucrative that work was for Mitchell and Jessen: their company was paid over $80 million by the CIA. …Responding to the new Senate report, the American Psychological Association (APA) was quick to issue a press release distancing itself from Mitchell and Jessen. The statement emphasized that the two psychologists are not APA members – although Mitchell was a member until 2006 — and that they are therefore ‘outside the reach of the association’s ethics adjudication process.’ But there is much more to this story. After years of stonewalling and denials, last month the APA Board appointed an investigator to examine allegations that the APA colluded with the CIA and Pentagon in supporting the Bush Administration’s abusive ‘war on terror’ detention and interrogation practices.

The latest evidence of that collusion comes from the publication earlier this fall of James Risen’s Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War. With access to hundreds of previously undisclosed emails involving senior APA staff, the Pulitzer-prize winning reporter concludes that the APA ‘worked assiduously to protect the psychologists…involved in the torture program.’ The book also provides several new details pointing to the likelihood that Mitchell and Jessen were not so far removed from the APA after all.

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, APA member and CIA head of behavioral research Kirk Hubbard first introduced Mitchell and Jessen to the CIA as ‘potential assets.’ A few months later, in mid-2002, Hubbard arranged for former APA president Martin Seligman to present a lecture on his theories of ‘learned helplessness’ to a group that included Mitchell and Jessen at the Navy SERE School in San Diego. And in 2003 Hubbard worked closely with APA senior staff in developing an invitation-only workshop – co-sponsored by the APA and the CIA – on the science of deception and other interrogation-related topics. Mitchell and Jessen were both participants (having returned from overseas where they were involved in the waterboarding of detainees Abu Zabaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed). …”

 

Posted in CIA, Cost of War, Intelligence, Radio Shows, Russia, The "War on Terror" | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of December 8th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on December 8, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

  • When the Police Kill the Populace – police misconduct, violence and race – an interview with Matthew Fogg
  • The Dumbing Down of National Security Policy – secretaries of defense resignations and appointments – an interview with Melvin Goodman

More about this week’s guests:

Matthew Fogg is a retired Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal and has recently returned to D.C. from Ferguson. He won the largest ever ($4 million) employee Title VII discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice. His book, Bigots with Badges (the same as a 1997 New York Post front page headline depicting his story) is forthcoming. He recently appeared on the panel “Police Body Cameras and Recording Misconduct” at the Cato Institute. See video on C-Span.org. He has been participating in protests in D.C. organized by the Hands Up CoalitionDC. Protests are continuing in front of the Department of Justice.

Quoted in a recent article: A former US Chief Deputy Marshal stated that the new US government idea about equipping officers with body cameras would not change the racist actions of police: “Body cams or not, the problem you have to deal with is that the system is so systemically racially biased in its nature. America saw Eric Garner get choked to death on televised video just like we saw Rodney King get viciously beaten on video in our living rooms and still all the police misconduct was later justified. As a highly decorated veteran law officer, I knew the system culture would back me up, to include police, prosecutors and judges if my suspects were black but, if they were white, I was more concerned with that same system, challenging my decisions and seeking out wrongdoing on my behalf.” Fogg said.

Melvin Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and adjunct professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. His 42-year government career includes tours with the U.S. Army, the CIA, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. His most recent books are The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism.

In his recent piece “The Dumbing Down of National Security Policy” following the resignation of Chuck Hagel, Goodman wrote: “The forced resignation of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel points to two major problems in the national security policies of the Obama administration that have not been corrected in the past six years.  The obvious problem is the failure to name a powerful secretary of defense who will not let senior general officers get out in front of White House policy.  The more serious problem is the failure of President Barack Obama to name powerful individuals in the field of national security who understand the need for strategic thinking.  With the exception of Secretary of State John Kerry, President Obama’s appointments throughout the foreign policy bureaucracy have been mediocre at best…The inability of three secretaries of defense [under President Obama] to ride herd on senior general officers at an important juncture in national security policy points to the need for a seasoned expert who can reexamine use of force issues, gain control over weapons acquisition policy, and take a hard look at defense spending. The mainstream media is already speculating that former deputy defense chiefs, such as Ashton Carter or Michele Flournoy, are leading candidates to replace Hagel but neither one is strong enough for such a difficult assignment.”


Posted in Armed Forces, Economic Inequality, Intelligence, Obama, Police, Race, Radio Shows, The Constitution | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of December 1st, 2014

Posted by themonitor on December 1, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

  • The Secret Lists that Swiped the Senate – an interview with Greg Palast
  • The Keystone XL Pipeline and the Race for What’s Left – an interview with Michael Klare

More about this week’s guests:

Greg Palast has been called the “most important investigative reporter of our time – up there with Woodward and Bernstein” (The Guardian).  Palast has broken front-page stories for BBC Television Newsnight, The Guardian, Nation Magazine, Rolling Stone and Harper’s Magazine.

Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, Armed Madhouse , The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.

His books have been translated into two dozen languages.

His brand new film of his documentary reports for BBC Newsnight and Democracy Now! is called Vultures and Vote Rustlers.

Palast is known for complex undercover investigations, spanning five continents, from the Arctic to the Amazon, from Caracas to California, using the skills he learned over two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud.

From GregPalast.com:

Statistics guru Nate Silver simply can’t understand why every single legitimate poll indicated that Democrats should have gotten 4% more votes in the midterm elections than appeared in the final count.

The answer, Nate, is “Crosscheck.”

No question, Republicans trounced Democrats in the Midterm elections.  But, if not for the boost of this voter-roll purge system used in 23 Republican-controlled states, the GOP could not have taken the US Senate.

It took the Palast investigations team six months to get our hands on the raw files, fighting against every official trick to keep them hidden.

Michael Klare is a writer, teacher, and public speaker who studies issues of war and peace, resource competition, and international affairs. As the Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies, based at Hampshire College, he teaches courses on resource politics, contemporary conflict, and world affairs. Klare has written fourteen books and hundreds of essays on these and related topics; a strong believer in the need for public debate and discussion, he also appears regularly in the media and in public to express his views on critical issues. His most recent book is The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources

From Mother Jones: A controversial bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline failed in the US Senate Tuesday (11/18) evening. It received 59 “aye” votes, just shy of the 60 needed to send the bill to President Obama’s desk. The fight isn’t over yet; Republicans have said they plan to prioritize approving the pipeline once they take control of the Senate next year.

Recent articles:

Tomgram: Michael Klare, The New Congress and Planetary Disaster – Posted by Michael Klare at 8:00AM, November 18, 2014.

Tomgram: Michael Klare, Washington Wields the Oil Weapon – Posted by Michael Klare at 8:03AM, October 09, 2014.

Posted in Climate Change, DOJ, Elections, Greg Palast, Oil, Oil Spill, Radio Shows | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of November 24th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on November 24, 2014


This week on The Monitor

  • Violence and Resistance in Palestine – An African-American Perspective with Ajamu Baraka
  • Educating a new generation of news consumers – An interview with Alan Miller

More about this week’s guests:

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. He is a contributor to “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence” (Counterpunch Books, 2014).

Baraka is an internationally recognized leader of the emerging human rights movement in the U.S. and has been at the forefront of efforts to apply the international human rights framework to social justice advocacy in the U.S. for more than 25 years. As such, he has provided human rights trainings for grassroots activists across the country, briefings on human rights to the U.S. Congress, and appeared before and provided statements to various United Nations agencies, including the UN Human Rights Commission (precursor to the current UN Human Rights Council).

As a co-convener with Jaribu Hill of the Mississippi Worker Center for Human Rights, Baraka played an instrumental role in developing the series of bi-annual Southern Human Rights Organizers’ conferences (SHROC) that began in 1996. These gatherings represented some of the first post-Cold War human rights training opportunities for grassroots activists in the country.

Baraka played an important role in bringing a human rights perspective to the preparatory meetings for the World Conference on Racism (WCAR) that took place in Geneva and in Santiago, Chile as part of the Latin American Preparatory process, as well as the actual conference that he attended as a delegate in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

You can read his most recent article here.

Website:

www.AjamuBaraka.com

Alan C. Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is the president and CEO of the News Literacy Project – http://thenewsliteracyproject.org

He was a reporter with the Los Angeles Times for 21 years before leaving the paper in March 2008 to establish the project. He spent nearly 19 years in the paper’s Washington bureau, the last 14 as a charter member of its high-profile investigative team. His work prompted investigations by the Justice Department, Congress and inspector generals in federal agencies and led to congressional hearings, reforms and criminal convictions.

He received more than a dozen national reporting honors, including the George Polk Award, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Medal for breaking the 1996 Democratic National Committee campaign finance scandal. His series on the Marine Corps Harrier attack jet won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.

Before joining the Times, Alan worked at The Record of Hackensack, N.J., as a state and county political reporter and at The Times Union of Albany, N.Y. as a political and state investigative reporter.

He was a fellow with the Peter Jennings Project at the National Constitution Center in March 2008 and the Japan Society in 1998 and a student participant at the East‐West Center Communication Institute from 1976 to 1978.

Posted in Arab World, Education, Gaza, Israel, News And Analysis, Palestine | Leave a Comment »

Obama Extends War in Afghanistan – Guest Post by Kathy Kelly

Posted by themonitor on November 22, 2014


Obama Extends War in Afghanistan
by Kathy Kelly

November 23, 2014

News agencies reported Saturday morning that weeks ago President Obama signed an order, kept secret until now, to authorize continuation of the Afghan war for at least another year. The order authorizes U.S. airstrikes “to support Afghan military operations in the country” and U.S. ground troops to continue normal operations, which is to say, to “occasionally accompany Afghan troops” on operations against the Taliban.

The administration, in its leak to the New York Times, affirmed that there had been “heated debate” between Pentagon advisers and others in Obama’s cabinet chiefly concerned not to lose soldiers in combat.  Oil strategy isn’t mentioned as having been debated and neither is further encirclement of China, but the most notable absence in the reporting was any mention of cabinet members’ concern for Afghan civilians affected by air strikes and ground troop operations, in a country already afflicted by nightmares of poverty and social breakdown.

Here are just three events, excerpted from an August 2014 Amnesty International report, which President Obama and his advisers should have considered (and allowed into a public debate) before once more expanding the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan:
1)      In September, 2012 a group of women from an impoverished village in mountainous Laghman province were collecting firewood when a U.S. plane dropped at least two bombs on them, killing seven and injuring seven others, four of them seriously. One villager, Mullah Bashir, told Amnesty, “…I started searching for my daughter. Finally I found her. Her face was covered with blood and her body was shattered.”
2)      A U.S. Special Operations Forces unit was responsible for extrajudicial killing, torture and enforced disappearances during the period of December, 2012 to February, 2013. Included among those tortured was 51 year old Qandi Agha, “a petty employee of the Ministry of Culture,” who described in detail the various torture techniques he suffered.  He was told that he would be tortured using “14 different types of torture”. These included: Beatings with cables, electric shock, prolonged, painful stress positions, repeated head first dunking in a barrel of water, and burial in a hole full of cold water for entire nights. He said that both US Special Forces and Afghans participated in the torture and often smoked hashish while doing so.
3)      On March 26, 2013 the village of Sajawand was attacked by joint Afghan—ISAF (International Special Assistance Forces). Between 20-30 people were killed including children. After the attack, a cousin of one of the villagers visited the scene and stated, ”The first thing I saw as I entered the compound was a little child of maybe three years old whose chest was torn apart; you could see inside her body. The house was turned into a pile of mud and poles and there was nothing left. When we were taking out the bodies we didn’t see any Taliban among the dead, and we didn’t know why they were hit or killed.”

NYT coverage of the leaked debate mentions Obama’s promise, made earlier this year and now broken, to withdraw troops.  The article doesn’t make any other mention of U.S. public opposition to a continuation of the war.

Attempts to remake Afghanistan by military force have resulted in warlordism, ever more widespread and desperate poverty, and bereavement for hundreds of thousands whose loved ones are among the tens of thousands of casualties. Area hospitals report seeing fewer IED injuries and many more bullet wounds from pitched battles between rival armed militias whose allegiances, Taliban, government, or other, are hard to determine.  With 40% of U.S. weapon supplies to Afghan security forces now unaccounted for, many of the weapons employed on all sides may have been supplied by the U.S.

Meanwhile the implications for U.S. democracy aren’t reassuring.  Was this decision really made weeks ago but only announced now that congressional elections are safely over? Was a Friday night cabinet leak, buried between official Administration announcements on immigration and Iran sanctions, really the President’s solution to the unpopularity of  a decision affecting the lives of so many?  With concern for the wishes of U.S. citizens given so little weight, it is doubtful that much thought was given to the terrible costs of these military interventions for ordinary people trying to live, raise families and survive in Afghanistan.

But for those whose “heated debates” focus solely on what is best for U.S. national interests, here are a few suggestions:

1)      The U.S. should end its current provocative drive toward military alliances and encirclement of Russia and China with missiles.  It should accept pluralism of economic and political power in the contemporary world.  Present U.S. policies are provoking a return to Cold War with Russia and possibly beginning one with China.  This is a lose/lose proposition for all countries involved.

2)      By a resetting of policy focused on cooperation with Russia, China and other influential countries within the framework of the United Nations, the United States could foster international mediation.

3)      The U.S. should offer generous medical and economic aid and technical expertise wherever it may be helpful in other countries and thus build a reservoir of international goodwill and positive influence.

That’s something that nobody would have to keep secret.

Posted in Afghanistan, Armed Forces, Cost of War, Drones, Obama | Leave a Comment »

 
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