The Monitor

News Analysis and Expert Interviews — Understand Your World

Show Details for the week of April 14th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on April 14, 2014

On The Monitor this week:

  • As Russian President Putin consolidates Crimea’s position as part of Russia we take a look back at US-Soviet relations with President Reagan’s informal Cold War Russia advisor – an interview with Suzanne Massie
  • America STILL trying to overthrow the Cuban government – an interview with Kim Scipes


More about this week’s guests:

Suzanne Massie is an American author and played an important role in the relations between Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union in the final years of the Cold War.

Massie is the daughter of a Swiss diplomat. She was born in New York and graduated from Vassar College, but also studied at the Sorbonne and the Ecole des Sciences Politiques in Paris.

In 1975, Suzanne Massie and her then-husband Robert K. Massie chronicled their experiences as the parents of a hemophiliac child, Robert Kinloch Massie IV, and the significant differences between the American and French health-care systems in their jointly-written book, Journey. She subsequently married Seymour Papert.

Reagan first became interested in Massie when he read her book Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia. She eventually visited the White House where she became an informal, back door, messenger between the President and Mikhail Gorbachev and his administration. She also asked Reagan to learn the now famous Russian phrase “doveryai, no proveryai”, which means “Trust, but verify”. Her importance in contributing to Reagan’s understanding of the Russian people, assisting in reaching a peaceful end to the Cold War, was described in detail in a number of documentary films. She applied for the job of Soviet ambassador via a letter to Reagan but was rejected, as the post had already been filled.

A fellow of the Harvard Russian Research Center (now the Davis Center) from 1985-97, Massie has also served on the Board of the International League for Human Rights. In 1991 she was appointed as the only lay member of the Permanent Episcopal-Orthodox Coordinating Committee which has involved bi-annual discussions in Russia and the United States with hierarchs of the church, including Patriarch Aleksy II.

Massie currently resides in Maine, but travels regularly to Russia and is writing a book about her experiences and her interpretation of the years of dramatic change in American-Russian relations.


Kim Scipes is Associate professor of sociology at Purdue University North Central in Indiana, and author of AFL-CIO’s Secret War against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage?

Quote:”The AP’s report about the U.S. government using Twitter accounts to inspire political dissent is just another example of the on-going U.S. war against Cuba. The statement by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah is simply absurd; his denial of it not being covert defies belief for any one more developed than an amoeba. The AP’s documents clearly establish it was another covert U.S. attack on Cuba. As my research on developments in Venezuela have shown, the U.S. government has been found acting against governments with which it disagrees. Where it previously supported dictators in the countries U.S. leaders wished to control — Mobuto in Zaire, Somoza in Nicaragua, and Marcos in the Philippines, for example — since the mid-1980s, they have shifted their efforts to support civil society groups in countries they wish to control, trying to support groups who advance policies and actions with which the U.S. agrees, no matter how bad they are for the local population.  Thus, prior to the 2002 coup in Venezuela, the U.S. was supporting a peasant organization that opposes land reform; an educational organization that has suggested no education reform; and organizing seeking to incite a military rebellion; a civic association that was working to mobilize middle class neighborhoods to ‘defend themselves’ from the poor; a civil justice group that opposes grassroots community organization because they support the Chavez government, etc. Altogether, Venezuelan and American groups operating in Venezuela received $4,039,331 from U.S. government organizations between 1992-2001. Further, reporting on the National Endowment for Democracy alone — a U.S. government initiated and funded organization that claims to be ‘independent’ but is not — showed that the NED provided $1,338,331 to organizations and projects in Venezuela in 2012 alone: they provided $120,125 for projects for ‘accountability’; $470,870 for ‘civic education’; $96,400 for ‘democratic ideas and values’; $105,000 for ‘freedom of information’; $92,265 for ‘human rights’; $216,063 for ‘political processes’; $24,962 for ‘rule of law’; $45,000 for ‘strengthening political institutions’; and $153,646 for the Center for International Private Enterprise. In short, despite any rhetoric to the contrary, the U.S. continually engages in attacks on and operations within any country it deems acting against its interests, no matter how democratically supported and politically engaged that government is with its own population. The U.S. government prattles on endlessly about its love for democracy around the world, but we see again and again — under both Democratic and Republican administrations — that it continues to seek to undermine governments with which it disagrees and which it believes it can bully. Ironically, it continually seeks to undermine governments seeking to improve the lives of their people, while supporting repressive regimes such as those in Egypt, Honduras, Saudi Arabia and the Ukraine. This behavior is despicable — and so very hypocritical.”

Posted in Armed Forces, Assassination, CIA, Cuba, Hypocrisy, News And Analysis, Obama, Radio Shows, Reagan, Russia, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of April 7th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on April 7, 2014

On The Monitor this week:

The first interview was supposed to be with Suzanne Massie but there was in issue with the recording of the interview so that will be played on next week’s show. Instead we opened the phone lines and took listener calls.

Below are details of the second segment:

  • USA Today reports: “The Supreme Court took another step Wednesday toward giving wealthy donors more freedom to influence federal elections. The justices ruled 5-4, in a decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, that limits on the total amount of money donors can give to all candidates, committees and political parties are unconstitutional. The decision leaves in place the base limits on what can be given to each individual campaign.” Citizen United 2.0: The Supreme Court expands the definition of ‘money as speech’ – an interview with Robert Weissman



Robert Weissman is president of Public Citizen, which notes in a statement: “Today, in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits on the aggregate amounts people can donate to candidates, political parties and political committees. Demonstrations that Public Citizen helped organize are scheduled to take place throughout the country in response.” For more information, visit: and

Quote: “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission strikes a devastating blow at the very foundation of our democracy. This is truly a decision establishing plutocrat rights. The Supreme Court today holds that the purported right of a few hundred superrich individuals to spend outrageously large sums on campaign contributions outweighs the national interest in political equality and a government free of corruption. In practical terms, the decision means that one individual can write a single check for $5.9 million to be spent by candidates, political parties and political committees. Even after Citizens United, this case is absolutely stunning. It is sure to go down as one of the worst decisions in the history of American jurisprudence. Until today, nobody could contribute more than $123,000 total in each two-year election cycle to political candidates and parties. Citizens United allowed Big Business to spend literally as much as it wants – predominantly in undisclosed contributions filtered through the likes of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – distorting our elections. But Citizens United money can go only to outside groups. Now McCutcheon removes meaningful limits on the total amount an individual can directly contribute to candidates, political parties and political committees. … There are literally only a few hundred people who can and will take advantage of this horrendous ruling. But those are exactly the people our elected officials will now be answering to. That is not democracy. It is plutocracy. Today’s reckless Supreme Court ruling threatens so many of the things we love about our country. No matter what five Supreme Court justices say, the First Amendment was never intended to provide a giant megaphone for the wealthiest to use to shout down the rest of us. Our only hope of overturning this McCutcheon travesty — along with Citizens United — is if millions of Americans band together in saying ‘Enough!’ to plutocracy. We couldn’t face a starker choice: Accept rule by the few, based on wealth. Or join together to protect and reclaim our democracy – the notion that We, the People decide. Today, people across the nation will be responding with protests to this outrageous decision. We, the People insist that our government and our country remain of, by and for the people – all the people, not just those few who have amassed billions in wealth. A vibrant movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and reclaim our democracy has emerged since the 2010 issuance of that fateful decision. The demonstrations today – unprecedented as a same-day response to a Supreme Court decision – are just the latest manifestation of how that movement is now exploding across the country. We refuse to cede control of our country and our government to amoral multinationals and morally comprised plutocrats.”

Posted in Democracy, Elections, Obama, The Supreme Court | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of March 31st, 2014

Posted by themonitor on March 31, 2014

On The Monitor this week:

  • Music to build peace and dialogue – an interview with Shani Rigsbee
  • Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), what is the movement about and what is it trying to achieve? – an interview with Marjorie Cohn

I hope listeners are going to think and interact with the show on this topic. The questions I want to start out with in the context of this show:

Are these two efforts compatible? Can you be for peace and sanctions as well?

Send in your thoughts and comments to

More about this week’s guests:

Shani Ribsbee


Singer / Songwriter Shani Rigsbee and her music have been featured in highly acclaimed feature films such as the Academy Award Winning CRASH, and many other studio and independent films and television. Having an International fan base from her numerous albums and single releases, she has toured the globe extensively singing in multiple languages playing in some of the world’s most exclusive venues in both concerts and plays and has committed herself to many charitable organizations.

She is the Writer / Producer of “We Hear Your Voice”

Her website:

Watch “We Hear Your Voice” here:

Marjorie Cohn
Marjorie CohnMarjorie Cohn is a former president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she teaches criminal law and procedure, evidence, and international human rights law. She lectures throughout the world on human rights and US foreign policy. A news consultant for CBS News and a legal analyst for Court TV, she also provides legal and political commentary on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, Air America and Pacifica Radio. In addition, Professor Cohn is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice and Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent. Her latest book, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse, was published in January 2011 by NYU Press.
Her articles have appeared in numerous journals such as Fordham Law Review, Hastings Law Journal and Virginia Journal of International Law, as well as The National Law Journal, Christian Science Monitor and Chicago Tribune. Professor Cohn is a contributing editor to Jurist, MWC News and National Lawyers Guild Review, and her frequent columns appear on Huffington Post, Truthout, AlterNet, CommonDreams, Counterpunch, OpedNews, AtlanticFreePress, ZNet, and GlobalResearch, and are archived at
On the show this week we talk about her recent article on the BDS movement

Posted in Israel, Peace | 1 Comment »

Show Details for the week of March 24th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on March 24, 2014

On this week’s show:

  • Democracy and Overthrows in Venezuela and Ukraine – an interview with Howard Friel
  • Buyers Club Founder Condemns “Pharma’s Genocidal Greed” and Trade Deals – an interview with George Carter

More about this week’s guests:
Howard Friel is author of Chomsky and Dershowitz: On Endless War and the End of Civil Liberties (Olive Branch Press). He also wrote the The Lomborg Deception: Setting the Record Straight about Global Warming (Yale University Press, 2010), and is co-author with Richard Falk of Israel-Palestine on Record: How The New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East (Verso, 2007), and The Record of the Paper: How The New York Times Misreports U.S. Foreign Policy (Verso, 2004).

Recent Articles:

No Russian Ever Called Me a Terrorist

On Democracy and Orchestrated Overthrows in Venezuela and Ukraine

The Siege of Sevastopol Threatens War


“Dallas Buyers Club” won the Oscar for best actor (Matthew McConaughey) and best supporting actor (Jared Leto). We put this in context with the history of the real Buyers Clubs

George Carter is director of the New York Buyers Club, the last of the Buyers Clubs and a non-profit. Carter is also director of the Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research.

Quote: “There were incredible efforts by clubs in Boston, Houston, Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco to help people survive. There were two in New York, including the PWA Health Group and Direct Access Alternative Information Resources — where I worked. DAAIR used to bring not yet FDA approved drugs to help people survive opportunistic infection and used an array of interventions to fight HIV.

“When DAAIR closed, we started NYBC almost ten years ago. Our efforts today focus more on battling ongoing inflammation and antiretroviral side effects, evidenced based as much as possible. We’re also addressing issues like Hepatitis C and cancers now. I had joined ACT UP in 1989 and saw the whole array of efforts to bring in drugs, supplements, botanicals — what evolved was a more comprehensive approach to surviving and thriving. This has helped thousands in the U.S. and Europe — and to the extent we’ve been able to reach out to friends in Nepal, Zimbabwe and Thailand.

“Yet globally, treatment and care is denied millions who cannot access antiretroviral and opportunistic infection meds due to pharma’s greed that is to me nothing short of a form of economic genocide. In addition, Harvard research underscores that even a simple multivitamin can substantially slow the rate of disease progression. We are still in the fight.” Carter stresses the continuing high costs of some treatments and that large pharmaceutical companies work to ensure that trade deals — like the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership deal — ensure their interests at the expense of the well being of patients; for example restricting production of generics.

See Carter’s piece: “A Petition To Bring Suit Against Defendants, (including the Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association and members of the United States Government) on the Charge of Genocide Upon Individuals Living with HIV/AIDS, 2000.” [PDF]

Also “Fighting Back Against Pharmaceutical Company Greed” in Gay Men’s Health Crisis Treatment Issues, April 2002.

For more background see:

Bill Minutaglio: “The real legacy of the real Dallas Buyers Club is that it didn’t really have one.

Patrick Mulcahey: “Not Buying ‘Dallas Buyers Club’” in which he says that: “ACT UP doesn’t exist in ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ nor do NAPWA [National Association of People with AIDS], the PWA Health Group [People with AIDS], GMHC [Gay Men's Health Crisis], John James’ AIDS Treatment News, the Healing Alternatives Foundation. The film’s only gay characters are weak, docile, dithering, relegated to the background, standing in line for what [main character Ron] Woodroof is selling — and overselling.”

Posted in AIDS, Buyers Clubs, Chavez, Health Care Reform, Ukraine, Venezuela | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of March 10th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on March 10, 2014

On The Monitor this week:

  • What’s Next at Fukushima? Are U.S. Nuclear Plants at Risk? with Radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear, Kevin Kamps said: “The condition of the high-level radioactive waste storage pools at the Fukushima-Daiichi reactors remains perilous. Another big earthquake could prompt a sudden drain-down of the Unit 4 high-level radioactive waste storage pool. The Unit 3 pool may be in even worse shape. … Few lessons from Fukushima have been learned in the U.S. One of the most important should be that high density U.S. pools are emptied into hardened on-site storage as soon as possible, before the worst happens, whether due to natural disaster or terrorist attack.”
  • NSA Surveillance and Our “Almost Orwellian” State with Cindy Cohn - Legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which recently released the assessment “Obama Takes First Steps Toward Reforming NSA Surveillance, but Leaves Many Issues Unaddressed,” Cohn represented a broad range of groups, including the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and gun ownership advocates in “First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA.”

More about this week’s guests:

Kevin Kamps: Radioactive Waste Watchdog
Kevin Kamps specializes in high-level waste management and transportation; new and existing reactors; decommissioning; Congress watch; climate change; federal subsidies.Click on Kevin’s name to open full bio. And see Kevin Kamps’ 1992 Walk Across America for Mother Earth“Winter Count Poster” and key, documenting the cross country march that introduced him to anti-nuclear activism.

Cindy Cohn is the Legal Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as its General Counsel. She is responsible for overseeing the EFF’s overall legal strategy and supervising EFF’s fourteen staff attorneys. Ms. Cohn first became involved with the EFF in 1993, when the EFF asked her to serve as the outside lead attorney inBernstein v. Dept. of Justice, the successful First Amendment challenge to the U.S. export restrictions on cryptography. Outside the Courts, Ms. Cohn has testified before Congress, been featured in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere for her work on digital rights and has traveled onto the Internet withStephen Colbert.

Posted in CIA, Cyber Surveillance, FBI, FISA, Fukushima, Japan, Nuclear Power | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of March 3rd, 2014

Posted by themonitor on March 3, 2014

On The Monitor this week:

  • Repression and Politics in Egypt – An interview with Stephen Zunes
  • Why oil drilling in Ecuador is ‘ticking time bomb’ for planet – An interview with Antonia Juhasz

More about this week’s guests:

Stephen Zunes

Dr. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as coordinator of the program in Middle Eastern Studies. Recognized as one the country’s leading scholars of U.S. Middle East policy and of strategic nonviolent action, Professor Zunes serves as a senior policy analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies, an associate editor of Peace Review, a contributing editor of Tikkun, and co-chair of the academic advisory committee for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

He is the author of scores of articles for scholarly and general readership on Middle Eastern politics, U.S. foreign policy, international terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, strategic nonviolent action, and human rights. He is the principal editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell Publishers, 1999), the author of the highly-acclaimed Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003) and co-author (with Jacob Mundy) of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University Press, 2010.)

We talk about his three most recent articles on events in Egypt:

Antonia Juhasz

Antonia Juhasz, an energy and oil industry analyst, is the author of several books, including “Black Tide” and “The Tyranny of Oil.” Juhasz received a Levinson Family Foundation grant in 2013 to support ongoing work in investigative journalism in the oil and energy sectors. Juhasz was a 2012-2013 Investigative Journalism Fellow at the Investigative Reporting Program of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. She investigated the role of oil and natural gas in the Afghanistan war. Juhasz recently completed work for The Nation magazine with funding provided by The Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. Her work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Harper’s Magazine, and The Atlantic’s website.

Her recent article Why oil drilling in Ecuador is ‘ticking time bomb’ for planet states: “Experts believe that in order to avoid the worst of a future climate change catastrophe, most of the planet’s fossil fuels must be left in the ground. Ecuador’s ambitious Yasuni-ITT Initiative, launched in 2007, was hailed as a landmark plan to keep oil exploration out of one of the most biologically diverse places left on earth and to preserve the homes of indigenous tribes living there. But Ecuador abandoned the plan last year, and drilling could now begin any time. In November I traveled to the Yasuni National Park in northeastern Ecuador, marveling at its beauty and the richness of the lives of those who live there. But the once global struggle to secure the Yasuni-ITT Initiative has now largely fallen on the shoulders of a few indigenous tribal communities who have pledged to fight, some to the death, to keep oil companies out of their communities and their oil in the ground.

“Will the world back them up? It is a question with significance far beyond Yasuni National Park. The age of ‘easy oil,’ if it ever existed, is over. What is left is in places like the Yasuni, previously deemed too sensitive, valuable, or risky to drill. The cost to both the planet and local people of pursuing such oil grows in tandem with the difficulty of extracting it. The Yasuni presents a critical opportunity to demonstrate that a different path is possible, though fortunately it is not the only place where the effort to leave our ‘oil in the soil’ has taken root.

“Across the U.S. and world, communities are voting to ban oil and natural gas development. These efforts come from a growing realization that we are all now ultimately on the front lines of the battle over what is to be done with the world’s remaining fossil fuels.”

Posted in Arab Spring, Arab World, Climate Change, Cost of War, Democracy, Dictatorship, Ecuador, Egypt, Oil, Oil Spill | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of February 24th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on February 24, 2014

On the show this week:

More about this week’s guests:

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian who specialises in U.S. national security policy. He writes regularly for IPS and has also published investigative articles on, the Nation, the American Prospect, Truthout and The Raw Story. His blogs have been published on Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Counterpunch and many other websites. Porter was Saigon bureau chief of Dispatch News Service International in 1971 and later reported on trips to Southeast Asia for The Guardian, Asian Wall Street Journal and Pacific News Service. He is the author of four books on the Vietnam War and the political system of Vietnam. Historian Andrew Bacevich called his latest book, ‘Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War’, published by University of California Press in 2005, “without a doubt, the most important contribution to the history of U.S. national security policy to appear in the past decade.” He has taught Southeast Asian politics and international studies at American University, City College of New York and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. You can follow him on Twitter  and you can read his articles online here: Gareth Porter - Author – Inter Press Service

Mark Ames is the founding editor of the satirical Moscow biweekly “The eXile,” author of “Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine” and co-author of “The eXile: Sex, Drugs & Libel in the New Russia.” Mark was a regular contributor to The Nation and MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show. This week we will be talking to him about two recent articles:

Posted in Armed Forces, CIA, Cyber Warfare, Intelligence, Iran, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of February 17th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on February 17, 2014

On The Monitor this week:

  • The US media’s vilification of Russia, Putin and poor coverage of issues in the Ukraine. We talk with Stephen Cohen
  • Dirty Wars got a nod for an Academy Award. We reply an interview with film’s director Richard Rowley from July of last year.


More about this week’s guests:

Stephen F. Cohen

Stephen F. Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian studies and history at New York University and professor of politics emeritus at Princeton University.  He is a contributing editor to The Nation and a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose Show and other broadcast media.

His most recent book,  just out in expanded paperback edition from Columbia University Press, is Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives – From Stalinism to the New Cold War.

He just wrote the piece “Distorting Russia How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine” for The Nation, which states: “The most crucial media omission is Moscow’s reasonable conviction that the struggle for Ukraine is yet another chapter in the West’s ongoing, U.S.-led march toward post-Soviet Russia, which began in the 1990s with NATO’s eastward expansion and continued with U.S.-funded NGO political activities inside Russia, a U.S.-NATO military outpost in Georgia and missile-defense installations near Russia. Whether this longstanding Washington-Brussels policy is wise or reckless, it — not Putin’s December financial offer to save Ukraine’s collapsing economy — is deceitful. The EU’s ‘civilizational’ proposal, for example, includes ‘security policy’ provisions, almost never reported, that would apparently subordinate Ukraine to NATO. Any doubts about the Obama administration’s real intentions in Ukraine should have been dispelled by the recently revealed taped conversation between a top State Department official, Victoria Nuland, and the U.S. ambassador in Kiev. The media predictably focused on the source of the ‘leak’ and on Nuland’s verbal ‘gaffe’ — ‘Fuck the EU.’ But the essential revelation was that high-level U.S. officials were plotting to ‘midwife’ a new, anti-Russian Ukrainian government by ousting or neutralizing its democratically elected president — that is, a coup.”


Richard Rowley

Richard Rowley director, cinematographer, editor. Over the course of fifteen years, Richard Rowley, co-founder of Big Noise Films, has made multiple award-winning documentary features including Fourth World War and This Is What Democracy Looks Like. His shorts and news reports are also regularly featured on and commissioned by leading outlets including Al Jazeera, BBC, CBC, CNN International, Democracy Now!, and PBS. Rowley is a co-founder of the Independent Media Center. Rowley has been a Pulitzer Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow, a Jerome Foundation Fellow, and a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow.

Posted in 9/11, Armed Forces, Assassination, CIA, Cost of War, Russia, Sports, Ukraine, War Reporting | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of February 10th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on February 10, 2014

On the show this week:

  • The organized fight back against NSA surveillance starts in earnest. We talk with Michael Boldin is the executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center
  • Is the Keystone XL pipeline deal nearly here? What did the EPA know and when? We talk with David Turnbull, Campaigns Director of Oil Change International

More about this week’s guests:

Michael Boldin is the executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center. Michael has a full schedule working as senior editor of the Center’s website, writes a regular column, fields media interviews, and travels the country (when invited, of course) to speak to crowds about sticking to the Constitution – every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses.

While media and activists alike seemingly want to pigeonhole him into a political category, his viewpoints and positions defy the standard categories and political parties. As he often says in his speeches, “I’m no conservative, and I’m no liberal. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. And I’m not a green or a libertarian, or a socialist or an anarchist. I’m not even an independent. All I am is me. And all I want is to live free.” Michael lives in the belly of the beast in Los Angeles, California.

Quote: “It has been more than three decades since Sen. Frank Church warned that the NSA could enable ‘total tyranny.’ After so many years of hoping that the NSA would limit itself, people across the political spectrum are energized by the idea that there is another option. By introducing and passing 4th Amendment Protection Acts in states around the country, we have an opportunity to box the NSA in and defend the Tenth Amendment whether Congress wants to or not.”

Background: A wide array of groups are organizing “The Day We Fight Back” against NSA surveillance on Tuesday, Feb. 11. Revelations of NSA spying continue, as the Guardian reports, the German press is reporting the “NSA tapped German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s phone … after opposition to military action in Iraq in 2002.” Groups from the left and right are joining together in many states to “Turn It Off” – – urging local governments to cut off the electricity to NSA facilities.

The Los Angeles Times reports in the article “Arizona legislator pushes bill to combat NSA surveillance” that: “So far, 12 states — from California to Mississippi — have introduced similar bills to make it more difficult for the agency to do surveillance in the United States, according to the Tenth Amendment Center, which provides model legislation to resist NSA surveillance.”
The Examiner reported last month in “NSA scandal: Washington State considers cutting off electricity, water for NSA” that: “According to officials at the Tenth Amendment Center, Washington became first state with a physical NSA location to consider the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, which was written and proposed specifically to make life extremely difficult for the powerful and super-secret spy agency.

“In a bipartisan move, State Rep. David Taylor (R-Moxee) and State Rep. Luis Moscoso (D- Mountlake Terrace) introduced HB2272 based on model language drafted by the OffNow coalition, it would make it the policy of Washington “to refuse material support, participation, or assistance to any federal agency which claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which purports to authorize, the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant.”

David Turnbull is the Campaigns Director of Oil Change International, working on both domestic and international campaigns to end fossil fuel subsidies, and to slow the spread of dirty energy money and fossil fuel infrastructure from tar sands and fracking. Prior to his current position with Oil Change, David was Executive Director of Climate Action Network – International from 2008 to early 2012.

At CAN-International, he worked to coordinate the Network of 700 hundred NGOs in dozens of countries to develop and advocate for global solutions to the climate crisis. Earlier, David was Communications Director of the US Climate Action Network, where he coordinated joint communications efforts for US NGOs focused on climate change. Before joining CAN, David worked at the World Resources Institute as a Coordinator for a pair of international networks working to promote inclusive and accountable environmental governance. In a previous incarnation, David spent time on a mountaintop observing the “world’s worst weather” and conducting climate research at the Mount Washington Weather Observatory in New Hampshire. Follow him on Twitter:@david_turnbull

Oil Change International has put out a series of blog posts on the Keystone XL pipeline including “What did Big Oil know and when did they know it?” which states that “Gerard was apparently briefed by ‘sources within the administration‘ on the timing and content of the report. Before the environmental community. Before Congress. Before anyone else.” The group states that the oil industry has had this “corrupt process … rigged since the word go. Today, Oil Change International also posted a piece titled “KXL ‘Contractor Controversy’ About to ‘Get Heated,’” which states: “When the State Department’s long-awaited Final Environmental Impact Statement into the controversial Keystone XL pipeline was published last week,  the report argued that KXL would not significantly add to global warming. It therefore supposedly passed the test that Obama outlined in a speech last summer when he said he would only approve the pipeline if it did not ‘significantly exacerbate’ the problem of climate change.

However, as Oil Change International pointed out last week, the report conceded that the emissions could be ’1.3 to 27.4 MMTCO2e annually,’ which is equivalent to as many as 5.7 million new cars. And it does not take a climate scientist to tell you that 5.7 million new cars is clearly a significant increase in carbon emissions. But there is another deep flaw with the report that is yet to be resolved and could be KXL’s ultimate undoing. Its analysis was contracted out to ERM [Environmental Resources Management], a British contractor with links to the oil industry. When publishing its long list of documents last Friday, the State Department had to suffer the ignominy of also publishing a whole set concerning ERM’s apparent conflicts of interest.

As Bloomberg reported last Friday, the scrutiny about ERM ‘is about to get heated.’ The controversy kicked off in July last year, when environmental groups accused ERM of “lying” about its ties to TransCanada, the company building the pipeline.”

Posted in Climate Change, Cyber Surveillance, Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Activism, NSA, Oil, Oil Spill | 1 Comment »

Show Details for the week of February 3rd, 2014

Posted by themonitor on February 3, 2014

On this week’s show:

  • The A-Z of Nelson Mandela – an interview with Danny Schechter
  • Closing Arguments of Hancock Drone Resisters on trial Jan 3-31, 2014 for symbolically blocking all 3 gates at Hancock Air National Guard Base in DeWitt, NY by Drone Protestor Ed Kinane


Danny Schechter, is an American journalist and a documentary filmmaker who made six non-fiction films with Mandela and who was asked personally by the filmmakers of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom to make a three-hour television documentary about the making of the forthcoming film. Schechter has worked in South Africa since the 1960s, which has given him unprecedented access to insiders. Schechter wrote about the liberation struggle and produced a TV news magazine for three years in its most crucial years from l988-91. Having worked both in public television and for CNN and ABC News, Schechter has also been part of the anti-apartheid movement globally as an activist, earning him the confidence of many anti-apartheid leaders. Danny is a long-time activist in the anti-apartheid movement, has known Nelson Mandela for more than forty years and is in the unique position to comment on Mandela’s incredible legacy while not shying away from discussing the suffering that is still happening in South Africa.  A completely unique biography and thematic telling of the story of Nelson Mandela, Madiba A to Z: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela, draws on Danny’s relationship with Madiba, and he collaborated closely with the makers of the major motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Each chapter corresponds to a letter of the alphabet, and the letters cover major and minor, unexpected and fascinating themes in Mandela’s life and his impact on others. The book quotes liberally from Mandela himself, his ex-wives and other family members, global leaders, Mandela’s cellmates and guards on Robben Island, the team behind Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, former president F. W. de Klerk, members of the South African Police, and his comrades including his successor as president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki.   Madiba A to Z reveals sides of Nelson Mandela that are not often discussed and angles of the anti-apartheid movement that most choose to brush under the table in order to focus on the happy-ending version of the story. As Schechter reports in the book, according to Thabo Mbeki, “the fundamental problems of South Africa, poverty, inequality, have remained unchanged since 1994.” There are many rarely spoken of revelations in Madiba A to Z, a book about Mandela’s brilliance, his courage, his tremendous impact in saving his country and its people of all races, but one that also shows how far South Africa still has to go.


Ed Kinane is with Upstate Drone Action in Syracuse. He was on The Monitor  last month to discuss the case. This week we play audio of the closing statement he made in court on January 31st, just 3 days ago.

More about Ed: He has long been committed to nonviolence and social justice. Ed is a retired educator. He used to teach math and biology in a one-room Quaker school in rural Kenya and anthropology in a community college near Seattle. He is also a writer of letters to the editor, op-eds, articles and reviews. Off and on since the seventies he has been an editor of the Syracuse Peace Council’s Peace Newsletter.

During the late eighties and early nineties Ed worked with Peace Brigades International providing protective accompaniment to local activists in Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti and Sri Lanka threatened by death squads (some financed by U.S. military aid). Ed was chair of PBI’s Sri Lanka Project and a member of the PBI national coordinating committee.

During the mid- and late-nineties Ed worked closely with School of the Americas Watch, a grassroots organization seeking to expose and close the U.S. Army’s notorious anti-insurgency training school at Fort Benning, Georgia. For his protests against the SOA Ed has twice served time in federal prisons. Upon his release, he served on the SOA Watch national board.

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Arab World, Armed Forces, Assassination, Bahrain, Bases, CIA, Drones, Nelson Mandela, The "War on Terror", The Constitution, The New Middle East, War Reporting, Yemen | Leave a Comment »


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