The Monitor

News Analysis and Expert Interviews — Understand Your World

Show Details for the week of October 20th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on October 20, 2014


KPFT is in pledge drive! The Monitor needs your support. We have a goal of $1,000 for the hour and we can only get there with your help. Because of the time constraints during pledge drive we only have one guest planned but we are working on four guests for upcoming shows around a single theme with some very special thank you gifts as well so stay tuned for the details!!

In the meantime, please call during the show to pledge your support for this show and for the station. The number is of course 713-526-5738 and you can call any time before, during or after the show to donate to the station. Please call us and help us get to our goal!

On The Monitor this week:

Nick Schou on Gary Webb, his book Kill the Messenger and the new movie of the same name starring Jeremy Renner.

The Monitor has copies of the book available for your pledge of $100. Please call 713-526-5738 during the show and ask for Kill the Messenger by Nick Schou

More about this week’s guest and Premium:

Jeremy Renner and Nick Schou arrrive at the 'Kill The Messenger' New York Screening - After Party at Michael's on October 9, 2014 in New York City. October 8, 2014 - Source: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images North America

Jeremy Renner and Nick Schou arrive at the ‘Kill The Messenger’ New York Screening – After Party at Michael’s on October 9, 2014 in New York City. October 8, 2014 – Source: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images North America

Nick Schou is an award-winning investigative journalist whose articles have resulted in the release from prison of wrongly convicted individuals; and in the federal indictment, conviction, and imprisonment of a Huntington Beach, California mayor. He is the managing editor of OC Weekly, the alternative news publication for CA’s Orange County and Long Beach communities.

HarperCollins included one of his feature stories in Best American Crime Reporting 2008. Mr. Schou is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Epidemic Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (published by Nation Books, 2006); Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World (Thomas Dunne, 2009); and The Weed Runners (Chicago Review Press, 2013).

The Monitor has copies of the book available for your pledge of $100. Please call 713-526-5738 during the show and ask for Kill the Messenger by Nick Schou

Kill the Messenger tells the story of the tragic death of Gary Webb, the controversial newspaper reporter who committed suicide in December 2004. Webb is the former San Jose Mercury News reporter whose 1996 “Dark Alliance” series on the so-called CIA-crack cocaine connection created a firestorm of controversy and led to his resignation from the paper amid escalating attacks on his work by the mainstream media. Author and investigative journalist Nick Schou published numerous articles on the controversy and was the only reporter to significantly advance Webb’s stories.

Drawing on exhaustive research and highly personal interviews with Webb’s family, colleagues, supporters and critics, this book argues convincingly that Webb’s editors betrayed him, despite mounting evidence that his stories were correct. Kill the Messenger examines the “Dark Alliance” controversy, what it says about the current state of journalism in America, and how it led Webb to ultimately take his own life.

Webb’s widow, Sue Bell Stokes, remains an ardent defender of her ex-husband. By combining her story with a probing examination of the one of the most important media scandals in recent memory, this book provides a gripping view of one of the greatest tragedies in the annals of investigative journalism.

The Monitor has copies of the book available for your pledge of $100. Please call 713-526-5738 during the show and ask for Kill the Messenger by Nick Schou

This is Gary Webb talking about the CIA and the trafficking of cocaine:


The Monitor has copies of the book available for your pledge of $100. Please call 713-526-5738 during the show and ask for Kill the Messenger by Nick Schou

And this is the official trailer for the movie, Kill the Messenger

 

 

 

Posted in CIA, Cost of War, DOJ, Drug War, War Reporting | Leave a Comment »

Volunteer Opportunity in Houston

Posted by themonitor on October 19, 2014


On September 6th Charles Belk was a guest on The Monitor. He shared the story of his false arrest and is asking for volunteers in Houston to be part of AutoErase campaign. Take a look at this link and see if you are able to volunteer in Houston.

New Charles Belk Curb 16 x 9You can find Charles online here:

- Facebook: charlesbelk
- Twitter – @charlesbelk
 More Info:

- Petition - http://tinyurl.com/AutoErase

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of October 13th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on October 13, 2014


KPFT is in pledge drive! The Monitor needs your support. We have a goal of $1,000 for the hour and we can only get there with your help. Because of the time constraints during pledge drive we only have one guest planned but we are working on four guests for upcoming shows around a single theme with some very special thank you gifts as well so stay tuned for the details!!

In the meantime, please call during the show to pledge your support for this show and for the station. The number is of course 713-526-5738 and you can call any time before, during or after the show to donate to the station. Please call us and help us get to our goal!

On The Monitor this week

  • Ebola: Are We Being Told the Truth? An interview with Meryl Nass

Background:

CNN reports: “Thomas Eric Duncan, a man with Ebola who traveled to the United States from Liberia, died Wednesday morning at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, the hospital said.” Reuters reports at least 3,439 people have died in the current outbreak.

More about this week’s guest:

Meryl Nass writes at the Anthrax Vaccine blog. Her recent pieces include: “Drilling Down Into the Facts Regarding Airborne Spread of Ebola” and “U.S. Ebola: [United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head] Frieden Said Every Hospital Was Ready. He is Wrong.”

Meryl Nass is a physician in private practice who is known for uncovering the use of anthrax as a biological weapon in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), and for her outspoken criticism of the mandatory use of anthrax vaccine by the military. This use persists despite high rates of serious adverse reactions, and despite the fact that the vaccine was never proven effective nor licensed for the purpose for which it is being used (inhalation anthrax).  In fact, the vaccine is in Investigational New Drug (IND) status for inhalation anthrax.

Dr. Nass has been a leading opponent of military policies that continue to treat servicemembers as a ready pool of experimental subjects, in the absence of meaningful informed consent.

She has shown that many studies indicate anthrax vaccine is one cause of Gulf War Illnesses, and furthermore that recently vaccinated servicemembers have developed identical illnesses. She has provided testimony before two Institute of Medicine committees on Gulf War Illness exposures (Dec. 15, 1999), and safety and efficacy of the anthrax vaccine (Oct. 3, 2000). She provided written comments to the FDA and the House National Security Subcommittee (Shays’ Committee) on Executive Order 13139, which created a new policy regarding use of unlicensed therapeutics in human subjects.

Dr. Nass discussed experimental anthrax vaccine use in testimony to the House National Security Subcommittee on April 29, 1999, and discussed accelerated drug licensing and abbreviated testing of vaccines and drugs intended for responding to bioterrorism in testimony for the House Government Reform Committee hearing on Nov 14, 2001 (“Preparing a Medical Response to Bioterrorism”) http://www.anthraxvaccine.org/response.htm)

Among her publications addressing ethical violations in medical research:

“Who Is Protecting the Public Health? Can We Trust the Regulators?” By Meryl Nass, Z Magazine: http://www.zmag.org/ZMag/articles/april02nass.htm

“The Anthrax Vaccine Program, and an Analysis of the CDC’s Recommendations for Vaccine Use.” American Journal of Public Health. May 2002.

“The Model Emergency Health Powers Act Creates Its Own Emergency” April 8, 2002.http://www.redflagsweekly.com/nass/2002_april08.html

“The Extremely Difficult Task Of Tracking Vaccine-Related Side-Effects.” April 22, 2002. http://www.redflagsweekly.com/nass/2002_april22.html

Quote:“Thomas Eric Duncan died in spite receiving the highest level of intensive care, including dialysis and ventilation. The CDC and much of the media have been saying that you can only get Ebola through direct contact with body fluids — and at the same time they’ve been backing the use extraordinary measures to prevent transmission. The fact is, there’s no doubt that Ebola has a history of airborne droplet transmission and pundits are beginning to admit it. When only one to ten live viral particles are needed to cause an infection you are looking at airborne droplet and fomite transmission as viable routes of spread, and healthcare facilities being a locus of spread. See from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy: “Health workers need optimal respiratory protection for Ebola.” The USAMRIID [United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, based at Fort Detrick, Maryland] and Tulane University had a unit physically located near where the Ebola outbreak began. This unit’s job was to test blood for Lassa antibodies; they were also testing for Ebola as part of their work. So USAMRIID had a bird’s eye view into the Ebola epidemic from the start. Maybe WHO [World Health Organization] and CDC were too bureaucratically hamstrung to understand the implications of a big Ebola outbreak, but USAMRIID, our premier biodefense center, has no excuse that it did not understand what was happening. The military now says that they proved that Ebola had been in the area for at least eight years and a whopping 9 percent of samples tested positive for Ebola. Why wasn’t this noticed?”
Nass notes the Boston Globe is reporting: “BU biolab nears OK amid hopes for tackling Ebola, safety concerns.” But earlier this summer, she points out that there was reporting on widespread escapes at such labs. See: USA Today report in August: “Hundreds of bioterror lab mishaps cloaked in secrecy.” Nass states: “It would be a mistake to license another high containment lab in the middle of Boston when existing labs have a terrible track record of containing the very organisms they are charged with studying.”

Posted in Africa, Ebola, Economic Inequality, Education, Radio Shows, Vaccination | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of September 6th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on October 6, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

  • Islam in Retrospect: Recovering the Message – an interview with Maher Mahmassani
  • Wrongfully Arrested, handcuffed on a curb because he was a “tall, bald, black male,”…”fitting the description” – an interview with Charles Belk

More about this week’s guests:

12a2eefMaher Mahmassani has written two books and numerous articles in anthologies and law journals, in Arabic, English and French, on matters ranging from Islamic law to finance, investment and family law. He earned his doctorate in 1972 and taught law in Beirut at the Lebanese University Law School and the Arab University Law School. For over two decades, he was Chief Counsel for the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia at the International Finance Corporation. He also served as General Counsel of Middle East Airlines, The Arab Investment Company and Solidere, the private sector company in charge of rebuilding the downtown area of Beirut, which was totally destroyed in the 17-year civil war. He now resides in McLean, Virginia.

From the book description online:

“Islam, in many of its current guises, no longer resembles its original Message. In a world of intractable conflicts plagued by political Islam and Islamophobia and where other forms of fundamentalism within the major religious creeds are on the rise, as well this book serves as a reminder. It aims to recover and reaffirm Islam s underlying and guiding principles. Setting out to distinguish the divine from the human in order to elucidate the pristine nature of the divine Message, Mahmassani reasserts Islam s universal, secular, and progressive character.index

In Part One of this comprehensive and meticulously researched volume, the author places the Message of Islam within its historic, geographic, and cultural contexts. Focusing on the primacy of the Holy Qur’an among the sources of Islam, he examines the controversies which have surrounded the Prophetic Tradition Sunna and Hadith as a source of Islam, demonstrating the full scope of Islam s universality. In Part Two he goes on to clarify Islam s secular nature by reconsidering inherited beliefs about the relationship between Islam and the state, and Islam and Sharia a law, revealing Islam s inherent humanism. This leads, in Part Three, to reflections on the progressive nature of Islam, and on the importance of the role of the mind in understanding and taking full benefit of religion as an engine of progress. In particular, the author focuses on human rights, including issues of human dignity, freedom of faith, and gender equality.

Islam in Retrospect: Recovering the Message is a rich contribution to continuing efforts to reform perceptions of Islam. Scholars and students in the fields of Islamic studies, religion, and the humanities, teachers, policy makers, and general readers will find this carefully constructed sourcebook invaluable for its fresh outlook and approach to understanding Islam and Muslim Scriptures in the light of today s world. As Mahmassani affirms, Islam, as a divine message, has been and continuously remains perfect.”

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CBimage Charles Belk is a Producer for and President of I Will Make You A Star Productions, a Los Angeles based, social / digital marketing and production company. He has become the face of international media coverage surrounding his August 2014 wrongful arrest by a local law enforcement agency, where (his mug shots were taken) he was fingerprinted, not allowed a phone call, denied immediate access to his attorney, and held under a $100,000 bail for felony armed bank robbery.

Belk has been able to turn the time he spent handcuffed on a curb, into helping to be a voice for the voiceless – spearheading a petition to institute new local and statewide law enforcement process improvements and lobbying for legislative changes on both the state and federal levels. He has successfully enlisted commitments from 4 state legislators to begin the process of drafting legislation to introduce in their respective chambers; those 4 being Illinois, California, North Carolina and Ohio.

Belk did his undergraduate studies in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California, graduate studies in Business at Indiana University, and Executive Leadership at Harvard Business School.

New Charles Belk Curb 16 x 9You can find him online here:

- Facebook: charlesbelk
- Twitter – @charlesbelk
 More Info:

- Petition - http://tinyurl.com/AutoErase

Posted in Arab Spring, Education, God, Islam, News And Analysis, Police, Race | 1 Comment »

Show Details for the week of September 29th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on September 29, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

  • The Brink of Mass Extinction – an interview with Dahr Jamail
  • Khorasan Group: A Concocted Pretext for Bombing Syria? – an interview with Murtaza Hussain

 

More about this week’s guests:

 

DahrDahr Jamail Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

Murtaza Hussain just wrote, with Glenn Greenwald, “The Khorasan Group: Anatomy of a Fake Terror Threat to Justify Bombing Syria,” for The intercept, which states: “As the Obama administration prepared to bomb Syria without Congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the ‘homeland.’ A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval.

“The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded ‘The Khorasan Group.’ After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat — too radical even for Al Qaeda! — administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new terror group was created in media lore.

“The unveiling of this new group was performed in a September 13 article by Associated Press [written by Ken Dilanian]. who cited unnamed U.S. officials to warn of this new shadowy, worse-than-ISIS terror group. …

“CNN’s supremely stenographic Pentagon reporter, Barbara Starr, went on air as videos of shiny new American fighter jets and the Syria bombing were shown and explained that this was all necessary to stop a Khorasan attack very close to being carried out against the west …

“All of that laid the fear-producing groundwork for President Obama to claim self-defense when he announced the bombing campaign on September 23 with this boast: ‘Once again, it must be clear to anyone who would plot against America and try to do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people.’ But once it served its purpose of justifying the start of the bombing campaign in Syria, the Khorasan narrative simply evaporated as quickly as it materialized. …

“Literally within a matter of days, we went from ‘perhaps in its final stages of planning its attack’ (CNN) to ‘plotting as “aspirational”‘ and ‘there did not yet seem to be a concrete plan in the works’ (NYT). …

    “There are serious questions about whether the Khorasan Group even exists in any meaningful or identifiable manner. …”Another journalist for The Intercept, Ken Silverstein, wrote a piece on Ken Dilanian, who recently moved from theL.A. Times to AP: “The CIA’s Mop-Up Man L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publication.”

Posted in 2001: Repercussions, 9/11, Arab World, Armed Forces, CIA, Cost of War, Cyber Surveillance, Drones, Economic Inequality, Empire, Intelligence, Iran, Iraq, Israel, News And Analysis, Obama, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 11, Syria, The New Middle East, War Budget, War Reporting | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of September 22nd, 2014

Posted by themonitor on September 22, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

  • Behind Obama’s Immigration Policy – an interview with David Bacon
  • The case for a ban on fracking – an interview with Hugh MacMillan

More about this week’s guests:

David Bacon

David  Bacon is author of The Right to Stay Home and three other books on immigration. He is a labor and immigrant rights activist, and part of the Dignity Campaign. He is an Award-winning photojournalist and author and has spent twenty years as a labor organizer. For the last two decades he has been a reporter, documentary photographer, and longtime radio host. He appears often on KPFA Radio. His previous books included The Children of NAFTA, Communities Without Borders, and Illegal People. He has been an associate editor at Pacific News Service and has written for TruthOut, The Nation, The Progressive, The American Prospect and The San Francisco Chronicle. As an immigrant rights activist, Bacon helped organize the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights and the Labor Immigrant Organizers Network.

Quote:

“President Obama’s decision to delay lifting the threat of deportation from many people is a retreat that will result in more deportations, detentions and firings of people who need equality, legal status and human rights. In the name of protecting Democrats in the midterm election, his decision will instead hurt those families who have been some of his greatest supporters. It does nothing to move forward to solve the problems of migration. More people will come to the U.S. tomorrow, driven by poverty and repression, made worse by our pro-corporate trade agreements and foreign intervention. Beefing up enforcement simply criminalizes them, while the continuation of pro-business guest worker programs provides a blatant subsidy for corporations who want to keep wages down and unions weak. We need pro-immigrant and pro-worker immigration reform, not more delays, draconian enforcement and corporate labor schemes.”

You can follow him on twitter here

Hugh MacMillan

Hugh MacMillan is a senior researcher in the water program at Food & Water Watch. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, he served one year as a legislative fellow and science advisor in the U.S. Senate and five years as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University. He has a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Last week was the People’s Climate March in New York and Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter published an article titled “To Save the Climate, We Need a Ban on Fracking” saying “Fracking affects not only the millions living within a mile of fracking sites who experience health problems, polluted water, earthquakes, explosions and declined property values, but it also affects billions globally who are affected by climate change.” The article goes on to say that “Despite what the oil and gas industry claim, there have now been over 150 studies on fracking and its impacts that raise concerns about the risks and dangers of fracking and highlight how little we know about its long-term effects on health and our limited freshwater supplies. It’s time for President Obama and other decision makers to look at the facts. It’s a matter of our survival.”

He is also the main author of The Urgent Case for a Ban on Fracking which states in part that the environmental, public health and socioeconomic impacts that stem from fracking amount to unacceptable risk, and that the harms are certain.

Posted in Climate Change, Corporations, Department of Homeland Security, DOJ, Economic Inequality, Environmental Activism, EPA, Fracking, Gasland, Immigration, The Economy | Leave a Comment »

Orwellian Moment

Posted by themonitor on September 16, 2014


When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases — bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder — one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Show Details for the week of September 15th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on September 15, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

So much is being said and written about ISIS (ISIL/IS) but very little context of Iraq’s history is given. This week we spend the show looking at that history: A detailed look at Iraq from 1991 to the present with Abbas Kadhim.

Also, mentioned towards the start of the show is a story confirming the use of the Hannibal Directive – this was a topic of a recent interview with Richard Silverstein. Read the story here: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israeli-officer-admits-ordering-lethal-strike-own-soldier-during-gaza-massacre

More about this week’s guest:

Dr. Abbas Kadhim is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Gulf Affairs, specializing in Iraq, Iran and Shi’a Studies. He is also a Fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University (2005 – 2013). He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006.

His recent publications include: “Reclaiming Iraq: the 1920 Revolution and the Founding of the Modern State,” Austin: The University of Texas Press (2012); The Hawza under Siege: A Study in the Ba‘th Party Archive, Boston: Boston University Institute for Iraqi Studies (2013); Handbook of Governance in the Middle East and North Africa, London: Routledge (2013); “Efforts at Cross-Ethic Cooperation: the 1920 Revolution and Iraqi Sectarian Identities,” International Journal of Contemporary Iraq Studies, vol. 4, issue 3, 2010; “Forging a Third Way: Sistani’s Marja‘iyya between Quietism and Wilāyat al-Faqīh, in Iraq, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World, edited by Ali Paya and John Esposito, Routledge, July 2010; “Beyond the Oil Curse,” Iraq’s Wealthy State and Poor Society,” in Bob Looney (ed.), Handbook of Oil Politics, London: Routledge, 2012; and “Opting for the Lesser Evil: US Foreign Policy Toward Iraq, 1958-2008,” in Bob Looney (ed.) Handbook of US Middle East Relations, London: Routledge, 2009.

His book translations include Shi‘a Sects (Firaq al-Shi‘a): A Translation with an Introduction and Notes, London: Islamic College for Advanced Studies Press (2007); Wahhabism: A Critical Essay, by Hamid Algar (Arabic Translation), Köln, Germany: Dar al-Jamal (2006); and Runaway World: How Globalization is Reshaping our Lives, by Anthony Giddens (Arabic Translation), with Dr. Hassan Nadhem, Beirut: (2003).

He is currently engaged in a long-term project documenting the 1991 Uprising in Iraq, and a research project examining the Ba’ath Party Archives hosted by the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Posted in 2001: Repercussions, Arab Spring, Arab World, Armed Forces, CIA, Cost of War, Dictatorship, Economic Inequality, Elections, Empire, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Sept. 11, Syria, The New Middle East, UN Resolutions, War Reporting | 2 Comments »

Show Details for the week of September 8th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on September 8, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

  • NATO: Part of Solution — Or Problem? An interview with David Gibbs
  • Burger King Tax Dodge – How Inversions Hurt Economies. An interview with James Henry

More about this week’s guests:

David Gibbs is professor of history and government at the University of Arizona. He has written extensively on NATO and is the author of First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia

Quote:

“Foreign policy specialists have rightly condemned Russian intervention in the Ukraine, which has aggravated political divisions in that country. At the same time, we should recognize that the United States and NATO have also contributed to the destabilization. Russia’s actions are at least partly a response to policies adopted by the U.S. and NATO immediately following the Cold War.

“People often forget that post-Soviet Russia was at first highly cooperative with U.S. and Western policy, and they disbanded the Cold War era Warsaw Pact alliance. Russians assumed that in response the U.S. would gradually disband NATO, as a symmetrical action, or at the very least the U.S. would not expand NATO. Instead, the U.S. orchestrated NATO’s expansion, beginning in the late 1990s, incorporating several post-Soviet states. More recently, there has been open discussion of further expanding NATO, with possible membership for the Ukraine and Georgia. Russia views its interventions in the Ukraine as defensive actions, against NATO threats to its border security. NATO expansion must be viewed as a short-sighted action, one that was bound to provoke the Russians, and it laid the groundwork for the Ukraine’s civil war.”

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James Henry is former chief economist at the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. He is now senior fellow at the Columbia University Center for Sustainable International Investment and senior adviser with the Tax Justice Network, which earlier this year in their report “The Price of Offshore Revisited” estimated that total wealth in tax havens was between $21 trillion and 32 trillion dollars.Henry is featured in the film “We’re Not Broke,” which tells the story of U.S. corporations dodging billions of dollars in income tax and is available on Netflix.

Quote:

“You now have 100 major U.S. companies looking at ‘inversions’ like what Burger King is doing. This deal is a tax dodge by a Brazilian billionaire and other investors, it will hurt the U.S., Canada and such deals hurt virtually everyone else. These deals exposes domestic companies to competitors that are not paying substantial taxes. Contrary to some analysts, the Miami-based Burger King’ deal for Canada’s Hortons WOULD shift BK to Canada for tax purposes. BK is saying that that the deal would not ‘materially effect’ its effective U.S. tax rate of 27 percent, given that Canada’s ‘corp tax rate’ is ‘26.5 percent.'”Since Canada has a territorial corporate income tax it also does not benefit from this deal: the U.S. IRS will lose, but Canada is already not collecting any taxes on BK’s non-Canadian income. And it does lose yet another outstanding domestic company to rapacious global vultures.” See: “Tim’s + BK = $ for Canada right? …. Wrong! (in one table).”

Forbes writes: “The Burger King inversion deal is being driven by Jorge Paulo Lemann, Brazil’s richest man and co-founder of 3G Capital, the private equity firm that holds a majority stake in Burger King.” Says Henry: “I’ve met Lemann and he made his fortune in the Brazil privatization wave of the 1990s — it was like Russia’s disastrous privatizations, riddled with corruption. Brazil sold assets for $98 billion and gave $99 billion in tax benefits — they actually lost money on selling off assets. Now, Lemann goes around like some business genius, but he’s just a scam artist. It’s not business, it’s tax dodging. Brazil’s tax system, inspite of recent presumably progressive administrations, has a very regressive tax system — the top 10 percent of Brazilians pay lower share than the bottom 50 percent. Lemann probably doesn’t pay any taxes in Brazil.

“It’s been tech companies and pharmaceutical companies that have lead the charge on these schemes. Apple last year off shore revenue paid 1 percent in taxes — they funnel their profits through their Irish subsidiary and then through the Bahamas. GE’s effective tax was zero. Now it’s getting into retail. So these companies do business in the U.S., they benefit from the airports, hospitals, police, fire, education. The rest of us pay for the military. Some of them are even federal contractors — they don’t pay taxes but they make money directly from our national coffers.

“Some are even using this to push for a tax repatriation holiday or a gutting of the corporate income tax. Both of these would be a disaster. When there was a repatriation holiday in 2004, 90 percent of the benefit went to Pfizer and they then laid off workers. And gutting the corporate tax rate would not only be horrible for us in the U.S., it would be a disaster for poor countries. It’s a race to the bottom. In Africa, you have countries that have effective negative tax rates. Instead of collaborating on tax collection across countries — they’re competing to go lower and lower. And all this is being driven by the fact that the corporate lobby doesn’t discriminate. Both establishment parties have been on the take and that’s why you have so little leadership on this issue.”

Posted in Economic Inequality, NATO, Offshore Banking, Russia, Taxes, The Economy, The Fed, The Market, Ukraine | 1 Comment »

Show Details for the Week of September 1st, 2014

Posted by themonitor on September 1, 2014


On August 11th the area of Houston that is home to KPFT experienced a significant thunder storm. The resultant electrical activity knocked out the internet (and the station’s online audio stream). Because of this The Monitor went offline in the 18th minute of the show. If you were listening on the radio you probably still heard the whole show but if you were listening online you certainly missed most of the show. Other stations carrying the show were similarly deprived. With help from Egberto Willies, we were able to get a copy of the audio from that week’s show and are replaying it this week for those who missed it. Tune in to KPFT at 9:00pm Central time on Mondays to hear Egberto’s show – Politics Done Right.

On The Monitor this week:

  • The Abortion Rights Freedom Ride comes to Texas – an interview with Alexandria Petersburg
  • CIA Spies on Investigation of CIA Torture – an interview with Ray McGovern
  • Israeli Hannibal Directive: “A Breach of Democracy and Morality” – an interview with Richard Silverstein

More about this week’s guests:

Alexandria Petersburg is “a revolutionary, organizer for Stop Patriarchy in the Bay Area, and Abortion Rights Freedom Rider.”

Background:

In 2011, Texas had 46 clinics; by September 1st there are likely to be only six left. Nation-wide, hundreds of laws restricting abortion have been passed in recent years. Six states have only one abortion clinic left.

From the StopPatriarchy website:
In August (dates to be announced soon) the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride will caravan though Texas, stopping in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and then down to the Rio Grande Valley near the Mexican border. People from around the country and around Texas will politically confront and protest those behind the anti-abortion attacks and laws, rally support for those on the front lines providing abortions, fight to change the way people think about abortion  by raising the slogans: Abortion On Demand and Without Apology, and Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement — and wake people up nationwide to this emergency.

One of our main goals of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride is to change the terms of the fight around abortion. It has NEVER been about babies, it has always been about women’s enslavement or women’s liberation.

Ray McGovern is a former CIA analyst whose responsibilities included chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He just wrote the piece “Will Obama Fire CIA Director John Brennan?” available at his website: raymcgovern.com.

Background:

McClatchy reports: “An internal CIA investigation confirmed allegations that agency personnel improperly intruded into a protected database used by Senate Intelligence Committee staff to compile a scathing report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program, prompting bipartisan outrage and at least two calls for spy chief John Brennan to resign.”
Quote:
“It is inconceivable that the spying on the Senate committee happened without authorization by Director Brennan, so the question is why he did so.  Easy answer: it has been established that Brennan had, at the very least, guilty knowledge of the torture, so the stakes for him personally could not be higher.  He simply had to find out how damning the Senate report is about his own role.  Brennan’s nominal boss, National Intelligence Director James Clapper is still in place after confessing to giving the same committee on March 12, 2013 sworn testimony (about NSA collection programs) that was in Clapper’s words, “clearly erroneous.”  If President Obama does not fire Brennan, this will demonstrate that the President himself is afraid of our intelligence services – what blackmail material they may have on him and even whether they will target him, as they did John Kennedy.”
Ray’s Bio:
Ray McGovern leads the “Speaking Truth to Power” section of Tell the Word, an expression of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  A former co-director of the Servant Leadership School (1998-2004), he has been teaching there for 15 years.Ray came from his native New York to Washington in the early Sixties as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then served as a CIA analyst from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. Ray’s duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, which he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985.In January 2003, Ray helped create Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to expose the way intelligence was being falsified to “justify” war on Iraq. On the afternoon of the day (Feb. 5, 2003) Secretary of State Colin Powell misled the UN Security Council on Iraq, VIPS sent a blunt memorandum to President George W. Bush, in which VIPS gave Powell a C minus for content. They ended the memo with this:
“No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is irrefutable or undeniable [as Powell had claimed]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion beyond … the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

richard silversteinRichard Silverstein has been writing Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, since February, 2003.  It focuses on exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state at Tikun Olam. He has written on security and other issues for a number of outlets and blog

Quote: “According to my highly-placed Israeli source, during Operation Protective Edge, Hannibal was invoked twice, in the cases of Sgt. Guy Levy and Lt. Hadar Goldin. In both cases, they were killed after their unit was ambushed by Gaza militants. As they were being dragged away by Hamas fighters the remaining Israeli soldiers fired on them.  In the case of Goldin, the IDF wounded him and killed the militant who was taking him away. But other fighters retreated with Goldin through a tunnel to Rafah.

The IDF proceeded to inundate Rafah with heavy artillery fire and air strikes which destroyed all ambulances and vehicles approaching the nearest hospital (where presumably the Palestinian fighters might take Goldin to treat his wounds). In this fashion, 60 Palestinians were killed in indiscriminate fire designed to kill Goldin (and his captors). At first, the IDF said Goldin may have been captured. Later they said he appeared to have been killed by examination of ‘trace amounts of DNA’ found in the tunnel. Later still, the IDF announced they’d recovered his body. He was buried the next day and no one in the media except for me asked for an autopsy to be performed to determine how he died. The IDF did not want such an examination.

The history behind Hannibal is that it was written to address the political and social trauma created when Israeli soldiers were captured by the enemy. In order to gain their freedom, Israel had to negotiate with either Hezbollah or Hamas to gain the release of their personnel. In the case of Gilad Shalit, who was held in captivity for five years, Israel released 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. The extreme Israeli right-wing complained bitterly at the ‘price’ the country had to pay for Shalit’s return, saying the freeing of ‘terrorists’ with ‘blood on their hands’ was an unforgivable act. The current right-wing government would prefer not to be seen as ‘weak’ on terror, so it accedes to a police which essentially eliminates any chance there will be future Gilad Shalits.

The IDF military censor invoked an unprecedented demand on the New York Times when it demanded that the newspaper’s reporters pre-clear any reporting on the case of Lt. Goldin. The excuse they offered was that a distant familial relation between the dead soldier and Defense Minister Bogie Yaalon might provide a security weakness for Hamas to exploit. This was a smokescreen to conceal the censor’s need to suppress any discussion of Hannibal that might expose the real events involved in Goldin’s death.

There is an unspoken agreement among the Israeli government, Israeli citizens, and even the surviving family of victims, that IDF victims under Hannibal will be treated as war heroes in return for concealing the true circumstances of their death. Only a few days ago, Gili Cohen of Haaretz described Hannibal as an attempt to free Goldin from his captors. The Israeli media knows, but cannot say, that Hannibal is invoked to eliminate captured soldiers, not to free them. It is only invoked once it is impossible to free the captive, not before. This conspiracy of silence relieves Israeli citizens of having to think about the moral issues of killing one of their own soldiers in an attempt to relieve society of the burden of negotiating with the enemy over their return.  It is an unpardonable breach of democracy and morality.”

Background:

The Hannibal Directive is a secret procedure that is invoked when an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier is captured by enemy forces. The Directive is portrayed by the Israeli media and officials in one fashion but implemented on the ground quite differently. The official version is that Hannibal allows Israeli forces to take enhanced measures to prevent the capture of its soldiers, including endangering the lives of those engaged in the capture by firing at a getaway vehicle, etc.

In practice, Hannibal is a shoot to kill order designed either to prevent abduction or to kill the abductors and IDF soldier who’s been apprehended. It was implemented during Operation Cast Lead in 2009 when a soldier was captured in a home in Gaza. Israel media reported that the IDF shelled the building, killing both the soldiers and his captors. Apparently the Hannibal Directive was invoked twice in the recent conflict, in the cases of Sgt. Guy Levy and Lt. Hadar Goldin.

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