The Monitor

News Analysis and Expert Interviews — Understand Your World

Show Details for the week of March 2nd, 2015

Posted by themonitor on March 2, 2015


On The Monitor this week:

  • They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind. How the U.S. trained Muslim terrorists at least as far back as 30 years ago and how this impacts us today – an interview with J. Michael Springmann

Normally our show is divided into two interview segments after the news headlines. This week however we spend the balance of the show with a single guest – J. Michael Springmann, a career official with both the Commerce and State departments. He was economic/commercial officer in Stuttgart (1977–1980), a commercial attaché in New Delhi (1980–1982), a visa officer in Jeddah (1987–1989), a political/economic officer in Stuttgart (1989–1991), and, finally, an economic analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1991). He recently published the book Visas for Al Qaedea: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World.

Quote: “During the 1980s, the CIA recruited and trained Muslim operatives to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Later, the CIA would move those operatives from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and then to Iraq, Libya, and Syria, traveling on illegal US visas. These US-backed and trained fighters would morph into an organization that is synonymous with jihadist terrorism: al-Qaeda.”

From the book description:

“Thousands of American soldiers and civil servants have lost their lives in the War on Terror. Innocent citizens of many nations, including Americans killed on 9/11, have also paid the ultimate price. While the US government claims to stand against terror, this same government refuses to acknowledge its role in creating what has become a deadly international quagmire. Visas for al-Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World sets the record straight by laying the blame on high-ranking US government officials.

During the 1980s, the CIA recruited and trained Muslim operatives to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Later, the CIA would move those operatives from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and then to Iraq, Libya, and Syria, traveling on illegal US visas. These US-backed and trained fighters would morph into an organization that is synonymous with jihadist terrorism: al-Qaeda.

J. Michael Springmann, a former US diplomat, names individuals and organizations that deny culpability. He analyzes the effects of a nebulous war on the US economy and infrastructure. After thirteen bloody years, Springmann exposes hypocrisy and deceit wrapped in a sullied flag of patriotism and honor.”

Reflections on the 911 Terrorist Attacks, Washington Examiner, September 10, 2011, Michael Springmann , former head of the Visa Bureau at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah , Saudi Arabia said that he was repeatedly ordered by high-level State Department officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. His complaints to higher authorities at several agencies went unanswered. In a CBC interview, he indicated that the CIA was indeed complicit in the attacks.

Posted in 2001: Repercussions, 9/11, Arab Spring, Arab World, Armed Forces, Assassination, CIA, Cost of War, Department of Homeland Security, Intelligence, Saudi Arabia, The "War on Terror" | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of February 23rd, 2015

Posted by themonitor on February 23, 2015


On The Monitor this week:

  • What does ISIS really want and how should people try to analyze the group’s extreme positions? We talk with Jennifer Loewenstein about two recent articles dealing with the topic.
  • Documents reveal that the U.S. government helped Israel acquire nuclear weapons. What are the political implications? We talk with Grant Smith who obtained the documents.

More about this week’s guests:
Jennifer Loewenstein is  Faculty associate in Middle East Studies and Associate Director of the Middle East Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Loewenstein has followed news of ISIS closely and joins us to comment on the media narrative surrounding the group. She has also recently written about the topic – Holding Ourselves Hostage to History: Burnt Offering

Quote: “Too few people, I fear, will understand that the monstrous activities of ISIS will continue, if not increase, as long as the former colonial and imperial powers of the West, Japan, and their Arab allies –all of them run by tyrants and dictators beholden to or in league with US state power and seeking “security” — persist in their attempts to shape and control the destiny of the Middle East.

It nevertheless seems likely that however long the infernal activities of ISIS continue, ISIS itself – like so many other extremist and fanatical organizations past and present – will eventually destroy itself from within. Public opinion worldwide, above all in the Middle East, is overwhelmingly opposed to the use of such depraved, barbaric tactics. Everywhere, especially where terror like this reigns day and night, people fear and abhor it. Ultimately, the core leaders of ISIS and groups similar to it, will fall upon their own swords and then be devoured, however savagely, by the populations most directly affected by their brutality.

We start the discussion with an assessment of the arguments in an article published by The Atlantic that has been very widely circulated: What ISIS Really Wants

 

Photo By Bill Hughes

Grant Smith, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep). It is a nonprofit organization that “studies US-Middle East policy formulation. Founded in 2002, the Institute became an independent private non-profit tax-exempt organization in 2003. IRmep’s Center for Policy & Law Enforcement examines how balanced and vigorous law enforcement can improve trade, economic development and America’s international standing. IRmep‘s Israel Lobby Archive documents and provides citizen access to initiatives of one of the most harmful forces driving policy formulation in the US political process.”

Courthouse News reports: “In the midst of controversy over the Israeli prime minister’s plans to address Congress next month, a researcher has won the release of a decades-old Defense Department report detailing the U.S. government’s extensive help to Israel in that nation’s development of a nuclear bomb. “I am struck by the degree of cooperation on specialized war making devices between Israel and the U.S.,’ said Roger Mattson, a former member of the Atomic Energy Commission technical staff. The 1987 report, ‘Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations,’ compares the key Israeli facilities developing nuclear weapons to Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, the principal U.S. laboratories that developed the bomb for the United States.The tightly held report notes that the Israelis are ‘developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level.’ The release comes after Grant Smith, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy filed a FOIA request last year and followed with a lawsuit in September seeking to compel release of the report. The government fought to delay release of the 386-page report in hearings before Judge Tanya Chutkan in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who expressed skepticism with the government’s reasons for refusing to provide a single unclassified document. The report’s release this week has substantial political ramifications.”

 

Posted in Arab World, Armed Forces, CIA, Cost of War, Cyber Surveillance, Cyber Warfare, Dictatorship, Elections, ISIS, Islam, Israel, Nuclear Weapons, Radio Shows, The New Middle East, UN Resolutions, War Reporting | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of February 16th, 2015

Posted by themonitor on February 16, 2015


On The Monitor this week:

  • Mathew Hoh on the futility and likely counterproductive results of U.S. military action against ISIS/ISIL
  • Bruce Fein on the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)

More about this week’s guests:

Matthew Hoh is the Former director of the Afghanistan Study Group, Hoh is a former Marine and State Department official. In 2009 he resigned from his post with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of U.S. strategic policy and goals in Afghanistan (Washington Post, front page, “U.S. Official Resigns Over Afghan War,” October 27, 2009).

 

Quote: I am in opposition to the US being involved militarily in the civil wars in Iraq and Syria, as I foresee the results being the same as previous US interventions: escalation of the wars, mass suffering of the Iraqi and Syrian people, and a waste of American lives and treasury. Despite the Administration’s claims, this authorization is not limited, it simply pushes the decision for the US to remain at war in Iraq and Syria to the next president; it allows for ground troops, just not “enduring” ground troops, an incredibly subjective description; and it offers no path to peace and reconciliation in Iraq and Syria, just the promise of Americans killing and dying in the middle of two civil wars. In its coda the authorization does repeal the 2002 authorization for President Bush to invade Iraq, which is the genesis of these wars and of the Islamic State, but rather than serving as a cautionary historical blunder to protect our leaders from repeating a tragedy, it simply is written as a preceding and out dated legal necessity.

 

Bruce Fein

Bruce Fein, who served as deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan and is author of Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy he was also general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission under President Reagan, is president of the law firm Bruce Fein & Associates Inc. at www.brucefeinlaw.com. He also is the author of “American Empire Before the Fall”

Recent article: Only Rand Paul can save us

Quote: Of all the Democratic or Republican presidential aspirants for 2016, only U.S. Sen. Rand Paul can save us from ruination born of perpetual, purposeless, unfunded global wars and limitless presidential power. Only the Kentucky senator grasps like President George Washington that entangling alliances are the fathers of danger and debt, not safety and security. Only he salutes President Thomas Jefferson’s foreign policy of “[P]eace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” Only Mr. Paul understands like James Madison, father of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, that war is the nurse of executive aggrandizement that cripples the Constitution’s checks and balances.

Posted in Arab World, Armed Forces, Bush, Cheney, Drones, Empire, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Obama, Syria, Taliban, The "War on Terror", Torture, Yemen | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of February 9th, 2015

Posted by themonitor on February 9, 2015


On The Monitor this week:

  • The Super Bowl has been played and while the outcome on the field has been discussed by a lot of people the economic impact has not. Our first interview is with Neil deMause. We will talk about The Super Bowl Windfall Myth.
  • Our second guest will be Chris Hedges. I’ve been meaning to get Chris on the show for a long time. He is one of the few people whose work I read on a consistent basis. He recently wrote an article about one of my favorite American historical figures – Malcolm X. That will be the starting point of our conversation.

More about this week’s guests:

Neil deMause runs the stadium news website Field of Schemes, and co-authored the book of the same name. He wrote the piece “It’s the Local Economy, Stupid!” for Sports on Earth.

His most recent piece is “The Super Bowl Windfall Myth” for FAIR, which states: “With Super Bowl Sunday approaching, expect plenty of media reports on the projected economic windfall for host city Glendale, Arizona. Last year, when the NFL announced that its big game would provide a $600 million boost to the New York/New Jersey economy, that figure promptly became a fixture in news coverage of the event (CNN, 1/24/14; Newsday, 1/22/14; FoxNews.com, 5/21/14). …

“Never mind that numerous economists have looked in vain for any evidence that Super Bowl host cities strike it rich. In one study, Holy Cross economist Victor Matheson (12/09) calculated that through 2001, the average increase in economic activity during each Super Bowl was about $30 million. Lake Forest College economist Robert Baade has found similar numbers, telling the Associated Press (1/27/14) that you could ‘move the decimal point one place to the left’ on the NFL’s claims and still have ‘a generous appraisal of what the Super Bowl generates.’

“And that’s economic activity, the total amount of money changing hands within city limits — not the amount that comes back to city coffers. When University of Maryland economist Dennis Coates (International Journal of Sport Finance, 2006) studied the 2004 Super Bowl, he found that added sales tax revenues in host Houston totaled about $5 million — well under the $30 million to $70 million that cities spend on increased police presence and other services for the game (USA Today, 1/25/15).

“Economists have provided similarly dismal results for other sporting events, with major sporting events failing to make a dent in everything from local sales tax receipts to per capita income. (One study of sports strikes and lockouts failed to find any measurable impact on local economies even when local teams shut down entirely.) The most likely explanation: Increased spending on sports is largely balanced by reduced spending on other entertainment options, and even new spending quickly leaks out of the local economy into the pockets of out-of-town sports leagues.”

 

Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, has written twelve books, including the New York Times best seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. Some of his other books include “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010), “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. In 2011, Nation Books published a collection of Hedges’ Truthdig columns called “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

Hedges previously spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. The Los Angeles Press Club honored Hedges’ original columns in Truthdig by naming the author the Online Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011. The LAPC also granted him the Best Online Column award in 2010 for his Truthdig essay “One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists”.
Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and The University of Toronto. He currently teaches prisoners at a maximum-security prison in New Jersey.

The interview on The Monitor this week starts with a discussion of Chris’s recent article Malcolm X Was Right About America

 

Posted in 2001: Repercussions, Cost of War, Drones, Economic Inequality, Economy, Empire, Radio Shows, Sports, War Reporting | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of February 2nd, 2015

Posted by themonitor on February 2, 2015


On The Monitor this week:

More about this week’s guests:

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. He recently wrote the article Rejecting the Obama-Cheney Alliance Against Torture Prosecutions

Quote: “Cheney and Obama are unlikely allies but they have regrettably linked arms here. In their joint discounting of government-sponsored brutality, Cheney’s torture tolerance and Obama’s torture tolerance-lite represent a formidable front against calls for criminal prosecutions and justice. With such unity, perhaps it is unsurprising that national polls throughout the past decade – from one administration to the next – have consistently shown that many Americans support the use of torture.”

 

Doug Gurian-Sherman is director of sustainable agriculture and senior scientist at the Center for Food Safety. He brought to light the relevant government documents. See the group’s recent statement: “New Genetically Engineered Tree To Avoid Federal Oversight Completely,” which notes: “A genetically engineered (GE) tree may already be planted in field tests, and eventually be commercialized, in the U.S. without having gone through any regulatory oversight or environmental risk assessment. On January 13th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) quietly posted its August reply to a letter from ArborGen, a biotechnology company that is developing GE forest trees for plantations, confirming that USDA will require no regulation of ArborGen’s GE loblolly pine.”This failure to regulate a GE tree is unprecedented. Other known GE forest trees in the U.S. are being grown in USDA-regulated field trials, and none has been approved for commercial planting. USDA regulation is important because it ensures that risk assessments are carried out to determine whether or not the GE tree will harm the environment before a decision on its commercialization. …

“’We are outraged at USDA’s complete abandonment of regulatory authority,’ said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety. ‘This GE tree has the potential to contaminate natural forests and impact whole ecosystems.  We are exploring legal options to stop the dissemination of ArborGen’s unregulated GE loblolly pine, and to see that it and future GE trees are subject to the serious regulation and transparent risk assessment the public deserves.'”

    Doug Gurian-Sherman also just wrote “The Next Phase of Genetic Engineering: A Flood of New Crops Evading Environmental Regulation,” in which he states the USDA “is deliberately thumbing its nose at the public by refusing to enact the regulations it has been authorized to use.”

Posted in 2001: Repercussions, 9/11, Armed Forces, Bees, Bush, Cheney, CIA, Cost of War, Democrat Corruption, Department of Homeland Security, DOJ, GE, Genetic Engineering, GOP Corruption, Obama, Sustainable Agriculture, The "War on Terror", The Constitution, Torture | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of January 26th, 2015

Posted by themonitor on January 26, 2015


This is the final 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 – Costas Panayotakis and we will be talking with him about the recent election results in Greece.

Costas Panayotakis is professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York and author of Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy.  He has written extensively on Greece and has appeared on dozens of TV and radio shows around the world

Quote:
“The result of the Greek election is a resounding rejection of the austerity policies that have had devastating economic and social consequences. Having received over 35 percent of the vote, Syriza, Greece’s leading party of the anti-austerity left, is poised to form a government in coalition with a smaller party of the anti-austerity right and to challenge the austerity policies imposed throughout the eurozone. In so doing, the Greek election could prove an important turning point, further fueling the rise of anti-austerity forces of the left in Spain, Ireland and beyond.”

See prior article “The Eurozone Fiasco” and Democracy Imperiled: The Greek Political Crisis by Costas Panayotakis.

During this pledge drive, You can still pick up a copy of Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America  for a pledge of $120 ($10 per month).

About the book:

Rory Fanning – 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. 

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.

Posted in Austerity, Democracy, Elections, Greece | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 78 other followers