Posted by themonitor on May 13, 2013
This week marks the midpoint of KPFT‘s pledge drive. The Monitor has a goal of $800 per show each of the 3 weeks of pledge drive. We fell a little short last week so please consider making a donation by phone at 713-526-5738 or online at www.kpft.org to help us meet this week’s goal, make up for last week’s shortfall or give us a head start on next week’s goal .
This week’s show focuses on the topic of Iran, nuclear weapons and Syria. Is the conflict in Syria the backdoor to a war with Iran? Our sole guest this week is Flynt Leverett.
If you donate $100 during the show you can get a copy of Going to Tehran. You can still pledge $150 during the show for the Palast Combo Pack: Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal and Election in 9 Easy Steps and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic or you have either book for $100 each.
More about this week’s guest:
Flynt Leverett is a professor at Pennsylvania State University’s School of International Affairs and is a Visiting Scholar at Peking University’s School of International Studies.
Dr. Leverett has spoken about U.S.-Iranian relations at foreign ministries and strategic research centers in Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. He has been a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University.
Dr. Leverett holds a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University and is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
You can read his full bio here.
About Going to Tehran:
An eye-opening argument for a new approach to Iran, from two of America’s most informed and influential Middle East experts
Less than a decade after Washington endorsed a fraudulent case for invading Iraq, similarly misinformed and politically motivated claims are pushing America toward war with Iran. Today the stakes are even higher: such a war could break the back of America’s strained superpower status. Challenging the daily clamor of U.S. saber rattling, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett argue that America should renounce thirty years of failed strategy and engage with Iran—just as Nixon revolutionized U.S. foreign policy by going to Beijing and realigning relations with China.
Former analysts in both the Bush and Clinton administrations, the Leveretts offer a uniquely informed account of Iran as it actually is today, not as many have caricatured it or wished it to be. They show that Iran’s political order is not on the verge of collapse, that most Iranians still support the Islamic Republic, and that Iran’s regional influence makes it critical to progress in the Middle East. Drawing on years of research and access to high-level officials, Going to Tehran explains how Iran sees the world and why its approach to foreign policy is hardly the irrational behavior of a rogue nation.
A bold call for new thinking, the Leveretts’ indispensable work makes it clear that America must “go to Tehran” if it is to avert strategic catastrophe.
Posted in Iran, Nuclear Power, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Syria | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themonitor on May 6, 2013
This week marks the start of KPFT‘s pledge drive. The Monitor has a goal of $800 per show for the next 3 weeks. Please consider making a donation by phone at 713-526-5738 or online at www.kpft.org
Our sole guest this week is Greg Palast. We will be talking to him about how the FBI Spiked Chechen Jihadi Investigation and the Billionaire Bankster Penny Pritzker who broke in Obama’s Cabinet.
If you donate $150 during the show you can have the Palast Combo Pack: Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal and Election in 9 Easy Steps and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic or you have either book for $100 each.
More about Greg:
“The best investigative journalism in America.”- Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Greg Palast is the author of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, Vultures’ Picnic and the New York Times bestsellers, Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
Palast turned his skills to journalism after two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud. Palast directed the U.S. government’s largest racketeering case in history–winning a $4.3 billion jury award. He also conducted the investigation of fraud charges in the Exxon Valdez grounding.
Following the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Palast set off on a five-continent undercover investigation of BP and the oil industry for British television’s top current affairs program, Dispatches
Greg Palast’s Reel Click here to watch. Download Greg Palast’s Bio here.
“There are lots of things only the intelligence community knows and that no one else ought to know.”
Please consider making a donation by phone at 713-526-5738 or online at www.kpft.org
Posted in 9/11, Boston Marathon, Cost of War, Department of Homeland Security, Dictatorship, Greg Palast, The "War on Terror", The New Middle East, Vulture Funds | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themonitor on April 29, 2013
On this weeks show we continue our look at the so-called ‘War on Terror’ with a look at the call for expansion of biometric surveillance in the wake of the Boston Marathon attack:
- The Risks of Expanding Biometric Cybersurveillance – an interview with Margaret Hu
- Listener calls
More about this week’s guests:
Margaret Hu is an assistant professor at Duke Law School and author of the forthcoming article “Biometric ID Cybersurveillance” in the Indiana Law Journal. She said today: “Some members of Congress have argued that Comprehensive Immigration Reform should be delayed in light of the Boston bombing. Others will likely call for more surveillance measures through the proposed immigration reform legislation. Quote:
”More surveillance risks this problem: turning all U.S. citizens and all lawful immigrants into potential terrorist suspects. In fact, the bipartisan Senate comprehensive immigration reform proposal that was released last week already showed signs of multiple surveillance cancers, even before the bombing. The bill includes the significant expansion of various cybersurveillance and data surveillance (dataveillance) measures. For example, it significantly increases the use of drones for border security. It also increases biometric dataveillance and the likelihood that a universal biometric database would be needed to carry out new programs created by the bill. A universal digital photo database of all citizens and non-citizens, for example, could be used by the drone program (DHS and local law enforcement) for nearly invisible tracking. Specifically, Section 3102 gives $1 billion to the Social Security Administration to develop a ‘fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear-resistant, and identity theft-resistant’ Social Security Card. Previous debates on immigration reform have explained that a ‘high-tech’ Social Security Card will resemble a credit card and will include biometric data (e.g., digital photo, maybe fingerprint and iris scans, and at least one member of Congress suggested DNA). Section 3103 states: ‘Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary [of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security] shall submit a report to Congress on the feasibility, advantages, and disadvantages of including, in addition to a photograph, other biometric information on each employment authorization document issued by the Department.’ In short, the bill incorporates multiple provisions that include a dramatic expansion of both biometric data collection protocols and biometric database screening protocols. To protect the foundational principles of a democratic society, we need less surveillance not more. Mass biometric data collection and suspicionless cybersurveillance measures that treat all Americans and immigrants like potential terrorist suspects won’t make us safer.”
Posted in Biometric, Cyber Surveillance, Immigration | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themonitor on April 22, 2013
We spend the hour on this week’s show looking at some of the wider issues stemming from the bombing of the Boston Marathon.
- Our first guest is Baher Azmy, the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. We will talk with him about the issue of Miranda Rights and the fact that the suspect was not read those rights.
- Our second guest is Beau Grosscup, Professor of Political Sciences at California State University. We will talk with him about terrorism – the use and misuse of the term, and what the long term consequences of violent responses to terrorism are.
More about this week’s guests:
Baher Azmy is the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and an esteemed lawyer, professor and scholar, who has actively pursued constitutional and human rights litigation challenging policies emerging from the so-called “war on terror,” including policies related to indefinite executive detention, extraordinary rendition, and torture. Baher represented Murat Kurnaz, a German resident of Turkish descent imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay by the U.S. military as a so-called “enemy combatant,” until his release in August 2006. He visited Guantánamo numerous times and participated extensively in varied briefing that has occurred in the courts, including in the Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush and in the consolidated Guantánamo habeas cases. Full Bio.
The Center for Constitutional Rights released a statement about the bombing of the Boston Marathon over the weekend: “Our thoughts go out to the friends and families of victims of these horrific bombings. While it is difficult to turn to points of law in times of tragedy, those are, in fact, the times we most need to cling to the values, laws and rights that make us who we are as a nation. The Miranda warnings were put in place because police officers were beating and torturing ‘confessions’ out of people who hadn’t even been formally accused of a crime. We cannot afford to repeat our mistakes. If officials require suspects to incriminate themselves, they are making fair trials and due process merely an option and not a requirement. To venture down that road again will make law enforcement accountable to no one. Like Obama’s expanded killing program and his perpetuation of indefinite detention without trial at Guantanamo, this is yet another erosion of the Constitution to lay directly at the President’s feet. Obama’s Justice Department unilaterally expanded the ‘public safety exception’ to Miranda in 2010 beyond anything the Supreme Court ever authorized. Each time the administration uses this exception, it stretches wider and longer. However horrific the crime, continuing to erode constitutional rights invites continued abuse by law enforcement, and walks us down a dangerous path that becomes nearly impossible to reverse.”
For background, see: “What rights should Dzhokhar Tsarnaev get and why does it matter?“
Beau Grosscup is a Professor of Political Sciences at California State University, Chico. The University, commonly called “Chico State.” Grosscup has taught at Chico State since 1988. His teaching and research interests are in the field of international relations. He holds a PhD from the University of Massachusetts. He is also author of several books on terrorism including “Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment.”
Quote: “Initially, President Obama called the Boston bombing a ‘tragedy,’ a label for which he was roundly criticized by the political right. A day later he declared it ‘an act of terrorism.’ This may seem a matter of semantics, but there are real power politics at work. Consider the following facts in the Boston bombing. (1.) The FBI says it doesn’t know who was responsible or how many were involved. (2.) The FBI defines ‘terrorism’ as ‘the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives,’ but then adds the operational criteria that for an act to be called terrorism a conspiracy of two or more must be established. In the past, this definitional requirement has allowed the FBI to say that domestic violence directed at the family planning community, black churches, LGBT community, environmentalists is not terrorism because they cannot find a conspiracy of two or more people. Yet, to the FBI, the Unabomber, a lone individual, was a terrorist. In short, the Boston bombing is only the latest example of the consistent inconsistent application of the terrorism label for political purposes. Terrorism is such a politically emotive concept that politicians around the world use it or not when they consider it politically convenient to do so. In the current contrived ideological context in which ‘we don’t do terrorism, others (they) do,’ President Obama is among them.”
On Chechnya Grosscup recalls “the Bush/Putin political deal in the wake of 9/11 in which, in exchange for Russian support of the U.S. ‘War on Terror,’ the U.S. would ignore Putin’s state terrorism that was ravaging Chechnya, specifically its capital city Grosny. The international financial system’s (IMF, World Bank, BIS [Bank for International Settlements]) push for privatized economies in the former Soviet Republics, backed by U.S. and European capital has wreaked economic and social havoc on the vast majority of Central Asian people while enriching the politically connected few.”
Posted in Assassination, Bush, CIA, Cost of War, Democrat Corruption, Department of Homeland Security, Empire, FBI, Glorification of War, GOP Corruption, Hypocrisy, Islam, Mentioned on Air, News And Analysis, Obama, Sept. 11, 2001: Repercussions, The "War on Terror" | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themonitor on April 15, 2013
On this week’s show:
- Drones in your backyard – an interview with Michael Figura
- Obama administration intervenes to give $71.5 billion to overpaid, for-profit Medicare Advantage plans – an interview with Dr. David Himmelstein
More about this week’s guests:
Michael Figura, legal fellow of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, which just released two model ordinances to assist local communities in the battle against domestic surveillance drones across the US.
Michael Figura is a recent graduate of City University of New York School of Law (CUNY). During law school, Michael was an Ella Baker Fellow at the Center For Constitutional Rights, and interned with the CUNY CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility) Clinic, the Guantanamo and Bagram Defense Clinic, and the Office of the Appellate Defender of New York. At CUNY, Michael was an Executive Articles Editor of the New York City Law Review and was awarded several fellowships, including the Haywood Burns Fellowship for Civil and Human Rights and Charles H. Revson Law Student Public Interest Summer Fellowship. Prior to law school, Michael graduated from Wesleyan University and worked at the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board. Michael’s legal fellowship with BORDC is made possible through a generous grant from the Muslim Legal Fund of America.
The Associated Press reported yesterday: “At the start of what could be a new era in police surveillance, an Illinois legislator is proposing a limit on how law enforcement agencies can use drones highly sophisticated, unmanned aircraft that authorities are eyeing for aerial surveillance.”
David U. Himmelstein, MD, FACP – internal medicine, New York/Boston
Dr. David Himmelstein is professor in the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College and visiting professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research interests include health care finance and policy, health services research, health care inequality, and social justice.
He has served as chief of the division of social and community medicine at Cambridge Hospital, where he has been a practicing internist for many years.
Dr. Himmelstein received his medical degree from Columbia University and completed internal medicine training at Highland Hospital/University of California San Francisco and a fellowship in general internal medicine at Harvard.
Dr. Himmelstein is a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, co-edits PNHP’s newsletter and is a principal author of PNHP articles published in the JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine in conjunction with Dr. Steffie Woolhandler. Among his more notably studies in recent years is one that shows 45,000 deaths annually are associated with lack of health insurance and another that shows 62 percent of personal bankruptcies are linked to medical bills or illness, and that 78 percent of those so bankrupted had insurance coverage when they first became sick. A partial list of these and other studies appears here.
Posted in Democrat Corruption, Drones, Health Care Reform, Hypocrisy | 1 Comment »
Posted by themonitor on April 8, 2013
This week’s show looks at the Atlanta test cheating scandal and the world of Offshore Banking.
(CNN) Report – “The former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools was among the educators who surrendered to authorities Tuesday after being indicted by a grand jury in a cheating scandal that rocked the district and drew national attention.” The Monitor talk about tests, cheating and Educational Corruption with Bob Schaeffer.
This week The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a detailed report based on a 15 month investigation of Offshore Banking. Dozens of journalists sifted through millions of leaked records and thousands of names to produce ICIJ’s investigation into offshore secrecy. The Monitor looks Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze with Nicky Hager.
More About this week’s guests:
Bob Schaeffer is the Public Education Director of FairTest, fair and open testing. He has been tracking cheating scandals around the nation for the past several years and has collected a huge database of information about specific cases.
Quote: “Atlanta is the ‘tip of an iceberg’ in a sea of standardized test score manipulation that has swept the U.S. in response to politically mandated misuses of standardized exams. ”A new FairTest survey reports that cheating incidents been confirmed in 37 states and the District of Columbia in just the past four academic years. In addition, it lists more than 50 ways adults in public schools artificially boost test scores. The solution to the school test score manipulation problem is not simply stepped up enforcement. Instead, testing misuses must end because they cheat the public out of accurate data about public school quality at the same time they cheat many students out of a high-quality education.”
Nicky Hager is an independent investigative reporter and writer, and is currently working with ICIJ on an upcoming investigation.
He has specialized in investigating military and intelligence agencies and the political activities of public relations companies and corporations. Hager has focused on issues of secrecy and democratic accountability and has written ground-breaking articles on New Zealand’s special forces, intelligence agencies and surveillance laws.
His book Secret Power (1996) revealed and described the Western intelligence system known as Echelon. Based on interviews with intelligence officers and fieldwork in several countries, the book led to a year-long European Parliament investigation into Echelon. You can download the book for free from his website.
His book Secrets and Lies, The Anatomy of an Anti-Environmental PR Campaign (1999) was based on hundreds of leaked internal PR papers and documented the techniques used by PR companies to manufacture political influence and undermine their clients’ opponents.
His book Seeds of Distrust, the Story of a GE Cover-Up (2002) uncovered the activities of multinational companies putting pressure on New Zealand over genetic engineering; and the 2006 book The Hollow Men, a study in the politics of deception was a detailed expose of three years of politics within the New Zealand’s conservative party, the National Party. The book revealed the activities of the unseen actors in politics—political advisers, media spin doctors, contract strategists and pollsters and industry lobbyists—and led to the resignation of the party leader on the day the book was released.
His latest book, Other People’s Wars (2011), describes ten years of New Zealand and its allies in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Based on thousands of leaked New Zealand military and intelligence reports, and interviews with special forces officers and officials, it reveals important information about the wars that had never before been published.
Posted in Education, Offshore Banking, Taxes, Wealth and Income distribution | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themonitor on April 1, 2013
This week’s show:
During the past week, more than 30,000 Americans have signed a petition urging a Nobel Peace Prize for U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, the whistleblower who was arrested nearly three years ago on charges that he provided an enormous quantity of classified documents to WikiLeaks. The petition, addressed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee and posted online, already includes several thousand comments from signers who explain why they want a Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to Manning. Joining us to talk about this is Jeff Cohen.
As the pressure continues towards possible armed conflict with Iran, we talk with Flynt Leverett about his new book, written with Hillary Mann Leverett, called Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
More about this week’s guests:
Jeff Cohen is Co-founder of the online group RootsAction.org, which launched the petition for a Nobel Peace Prize for Manning on March 25.
Quote: “If we begin from the original intentions for the Nobel Peace Prize, then an obvious top candidate is Bradley Manning, a young soldier and whistleblower who risked life in prison to inform Americans and the world about U.S. execution of, and preparation for, seemingly endless war. It’s not mere rhetoric to suggest that Private Manning has been — in the words of Alfred Nobel’s will — ‘the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies . . .’”
Jeff Cohen is founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, where he is an associate professor of journalism. He is a former political pundit on national TV and the author of “Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media.”
Flynt Leverett is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. and a professor at the Pennsylvania State University School of International Affairs. From March 2002 to March 2003, he served as the senior director for Middle East affairs on the National Security Council. Prior to serving on the NSC, he was a counterterrorism expert on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, and before that he served as a CIA senior analyst for eight years. Since leaving government service, Leverett served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy before becoming the director of the Geopolitics of Energy Initiative in the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. He has published opinion pieces in many high-profile venues, including The New York Times, POLITICO, and CNN, and contributes frequently to Foreign Policy. He has been interviewed about Iran and its geopolitics on leading public affairs programs around the world, includingCharlie Rose, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Empire and Riz Khan (Al Jazeera English), Viewpoint(Abu Dhabi Television), Spotlight (Russia Today) and Washington Journal (C-Span), as well as in leading publications such as Der Spiegel and Le Monde. Along with Hillary Mann Leverett, he was featured in the PBS Frontline documentary, “Showdown With Iran”, and profiled in Esquiremagazine.
You can read a detailed review of the book here
Posted in Arab Spring, Armed Forces, Bradley Manning, CIA, Elections, Empire, Iran, Iraq | 2 Comments »
Posted by themonitor on March 18, 2013
In keeping with The Monitor‘s ongoing look at the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, our first guest on this week’s show is Sam Husseini. We talk to him about some of the myths that still form part of the public consciousness of the war and those responsible.
Our second guest is Christine Hong. She talked with Mark Bebawi yesterday about the Korean Peninsula and the ongoing tensions between North Korea and the US.
More about our guests:
Sam Husseini is the Communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy
Quote: “It’s common to simply blame Bush and Cheney for the Iraq war, but it’s not accurate. Many voted for or otherwise backed the Iraq war — including Obama’s entire foreign policy team from Kerry to Hagel; from Clinton to Rice to Biden. Even among those who voted against the war, many facilitated it, like Pelosi, who claimed during the buildup to the Iraq invasion that ‘there was no question Iraq had chemical and biological agents.’ None of these individuals have ever seriously come clean about their conduct during this critical period (and I’ve questioned most of them) — so there’s never been a moment of reckoning for the greatest foreign policy disaster of this generation. The elevation of Democrats who did not seriously question the war likely facilitated Bush and Cheney never being held accountable for their conduct. “Persistent myths include that after the invasion, we learned that Bush deceived about Iraqi WMDs. In fact, it was clear before the war that the Bush administration was engaged, as an Institute for Public Accuracy news release headline put it the day before the bombing campaign started, in a ‘Pattern of Deceit.’ Some of these falsifications were brazen, like claiming the UN weapons inspectors were dissatisfied with Iraqi compliance, when they were saying Iraq was making progress and they wanted more time to complete their job. Bush’s deceptions were helped along by the fact that the Clinton administration had also deceitfully hyped Iraqi WMDs, maintained sanctions and a belligerent stance for nearly a decade — a pattern that the Obama administration seems to be repeating in many respects now with Iran and North Korea. Tragically, the peace movement, which took center stage with quasi-global protests on Feb. 15, 2003, went on to marginalize itself by focusing on Bush rather than building a serious global movement for peace and justice.” See FAIR’s 2007 report “Iraq: A Critical Timeline,” which documents much of the media drumbeat for war, as well as notable exceptions.
Christine Hong is an assistant professor of transnational Asian American, Korean diaspora, and critical Pacific Rim studies at University of California Santa Cruz. She is a steering committee member of the Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea, a coordinating council member of the National Campaign to End the Korean War, and a member of the executive board of the Korea Policy Institute., Hong recently co-wrote “Lurching Towards War: A Post-Mortem on Strategic Patience“
Quote: “The military exercises that the U.S. and South Korea just launched are not defensive exercises. As of last year, in the wake of Kim Jong Il’s death, they escalated in size, duration, and content, enacting regime change scenarios toward North Korea. The North Korean government continually refers to these war games as being extremely provocative. ”The Obama administration’s ‘strategic patience’ policy toward North Korea boils down to non-engagement at the same time that it implemented its forward-deployed ‘Asia pivot’ policy, which has the U.S. concentrating its military resources in East Asia. The goal is to contain China. In retrospect, Bush made more diplomatic overtures to North Korea than Obama. ”People in the U.S. need to understand that the 1953 armistice agreement called for talks to begin three months after its signing regarding the peaceful settlement of the Korean War and withdrawal of all foreign troops. Chinese troops left soon after. U.S. troops remain six decades later, and the Korean War has never ended. ”In Korean culture, 60 years represents one life cycle. We’ve had a full life cycle of war so Korean activists are dubbing 2013 “Year one of peace.”
Posted in 9/11, Arab World, Bush, Cheney, China, Democracy, Democrat Corruption, GOP Corruption, Iraq, North Korea, Obama | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themonitor on March 11, 2013
This week is one week from our 10th anniversary. The Monitor started unofficially on KPFT the day of the invasion of Iraq (3/19/2003). To help us mark this date we are joined by two of the original crew that helped get the show started – Shannon Young and Pokey Anderson.
This month also marks the anniversary of the The My Lai Massacre and we are joined by Nick Turse to talk about his recent book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam
More about this week’s guests:
Shannon Young is a freelance radio journalist based in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her stories can be heard on Free Speech Radio News, PRI’s “The World”, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She was based at KPFT from 2002-03. She tweets at @SYoungReports.
Pokey Anderson has broadcast or published numerous reports on voting machine issues over the years. She co-produced The Monitor for several years. She has done research with a number of authors, contributing to a Nation cover story on elections by Ronnie Dugger, and providing extensive research for a book on Enron’s collapse by Mimi Swartz with Sherron Watkins.
Nick Turse is a historian, essayist, investigative journalist, the associate editor of TomDispatch.com, and currently a fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »