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Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

Show Details for the week of June 23rd, 2014

Posted by themonitor on June 23, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

  • Nomi Prins on her new book All the Presidents’ Bankers
  • Ross Caputi on ‘serving’ in the Military and the current situation in Iraq

More on this week’s guests:

Nomi Prins

Nomi Prins is a renowned journalist, author and speaker. Her most recent book, All the Presidents’ Bankers, a groundbreaking narrative about the relationships of presidents to key bankers over the past century will be out April 8, 2014. Her last book was a historical novel about the 1929 crash, Black Tuesday. Before that, she wrote the hard-hitting, acclaimed book, It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street (Wiley, September, 2009/October 2010). She is also the author of Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America (The New Press, October 2004) which predicted the current financial crisis, and was chosen as a Best Book of 2004 by The Economist, Barron’s and The Library Journal, and Jacked (Polipoint Press, Sept. 2006).

She has appeared on numerous TV programs: internationally for BBC, RtTV, and nationally for CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, CSPAN, Democracy Now, Fox and PBS. She has been featured on hundreds of radio shows globally including for CNNRadio, Marketplace, NPR, BBC, and Canadian Programming. She has featured in numerous documentaries shot by international production companies, alongside prominent thought-leaders, and Nobel Prize winners.

Her writing has been featured in The New York Times, Fortune, Newsday, Mother Jones, The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Truthdig, The Guardian UK, The Nation, Alternet, NY Daily News, LaVanguardia, and other publications.

Her engaging key-note speeches are thoughtfully tailored, and she has spoken at venues including the Purdue University/Sinai Forum, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Forum, Ohio State University Law School, Columbia University, Pepperdine Graudate School of Business, Environmental Grantmakers Association, NASS Spinal Surgeons Conference, and the Mexican Senate.

She is a member of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) Federal Reserve Reform Advisory Council, and listed as one of America’s TopWonks.

Nomi received her BS in Mathematics from SUNY Purchase, and MS in Statistics from New York University, where she completed all of the required coursework for a PhD in Statistics. Before becoming a journalist, Nomi worked on Wall Street as a managing director at Goldman Sachs, ran the international analytics group as a senior managing director at Bear Stearns in London, and worked as a strategist at Lehman Brothers and an analyst at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

She is currenty a Senior Fellow at the non-partisan public policy think-tank,  Demos and on the advisory board of exposefacts.org

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Ross Caputi

Ross Caputi is a former US marine, having served from 2003 to 2006. He took part in the second siege of Fallujah in November 2004. He became openly critical of the military and was discharged in 2006. Ross holds an MA in linguistics and is the founding director of the Justice for Fallujah Project. and is on the board of directors of ISLAH (Arabic for “repair” or “reform”). He is also the director of the documentary film Fear Not the Path of Truth: a veteran’s journey after Fallujah.

Recent writings:

I helped destroy Falluja in 2004. I won’t be complicit again

Unthinkable Thoughts in the Debate About ISIS in Iraq

Which states in part: “One year ago ISIS was concentrated in Syria, with almost no presence in Iraq. During this time, a nonviolent protest movement, which called itself the Iraqi Spring, was in full swing with widespread support in the Sunni provinces and significant support from the Shia provinces as well. This movement set up nonviolent protest camps in many cities throughout Iraq for nearly the entire year of 2013. They articulated a set of demands calling for an end to the marginalization of Sunnis within the new Iraqi democracy, reform of an anti-terrorism law that was being used label political dissent as terrorism, abolition of the death penalty, an end to corruption, and they positioned themselves against federalism and sectarianism too. Instead of making concessions to the protesters and defusing their rage, Prime Minister Maliki mocked their demands and chose to use military force to attack them on numerous occasions. Over the course of a year, the protesters were assaulted, murdered, and their leaders were assassinated, but they remained true to their adopted tactic of nonviolence. That is, until Prime Minister Maliki sent security forces to clear the protest camps in Fallujah and Ramadi in December of 2013. At that point the protestors lost hope in the tactic of nonviolence and turned to armed resistance instead. It is important to note that from the beginning it was the tribal militias who took the lead in the fight against the Iraqi government. ISIS arrived a day later to aid Fallujans in their fight, but also to piggy-back on the success of the tribal fighters in order to promote their own political goals. …While publicly criticizing the Maliki government’s sectarian policies, the U.S. has been aiding and facilitating” the Maliki government. Caputi added: “The impunity of the Maliki government is never questioned in the debate raging within the U.S. It is simply unimaginable within the limits of this debate that Maliki might be held accountable for the war crimes his regime has committed against his own people.”

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Arab Spring, Arab World, Armed Forces, Banks, Corporations, Cost of War, Drones, Economic Inequality, Economy, Empire, Iran, Iraq, Offshore Banking, Sub-Prime Loans, Taxes, The "War on Terror", The Economy, The Fed, The Market, Wall Street | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of June 16th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on June 16, 2014


Following up on last week’s show, this week The Monitor is all about whistleblowers and the need for them to be able to report violations. Both guests are connected to the newly launched ExposeFacts.org.
First up is William Binney and rounding out the hour is Matthew Hoh.

Newsweek just published “The Website That Wants the Next Snowden to Leak” about the newly launched ExposeFacts.org. The lengthy article includes discussion of the legality of exposing classified documents. At the news conference launching ExposeFacts.org, former NSA official William Binney, who is now on the advisory board of ExposeFacts.org, noted that classifying documents to cover up wrongdoing violates the Executive Order on classification. [video at 1:01:00]

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More about this week’s guests:

William Binney is a former high-level National Security Agency intelligence official who, after his 2001 retirement after 30 years, blew the whistle on NSA surveillance programs. His outspoken criticism of the NSA during the George W. Bush administration made him the subject of FBI investigations that included a raid on his home in 2007. Even before Edward Snowden’s NSA whistleblowing, Binney publicly revealed that NSA had access to telecommunications companies’ domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted some 15 to 20 trillion communications. The Snowden disclosures confirmed many of the surveillance dangers Binney — without the benefit of documents — had been warning about under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Binney has been singled out for praise by Snowden, who told the Wall Street Journal: “I have tremendous respect for Binney, who did everything he could according to the rules. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for highlighting how the Intelligence Community punishes reporting abuses within the system.”

Quote: “Not too many people are paying too much attention to this, but under Executive Order 13526, sec 1.7 — this is the executive order that governs classification for the U.S. government — you cannot use classification to cover up a crime, illegality, abuse of any form, or fraud, corruption, waste or embarrassment and a number of other things. And a lot of these things that Snowden exposed were in fact evidence of crimes against the constitution or other laws that existed, statutes in the country. So those things [documents] cannot legitimately be classified under that executive order.

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). Hoh discussed the launch of ExposeFacts.org when he appeared on Huffington Post Live yesterday, interviewed on “Free Speech Zone with @AlyonaMink.”

Quote: “I am very much honored and more than a bit humbled to be included in the launch of such a worthy and necessary effort, particularly one bearing the name of Daniel Ellsberg. After over eleven continuous years of service with the U.S. military and U.S. government, nearly six of those years overseas, including service in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as positions within the Secretary of the Navy’s Office as a White House Liaison, and as a consultant for the State Department’s Iraq Desk, I resigned from my position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of war in 2009. It took years of involvement with a mendacious war policy, evidence of which was apparent to me as early as 2003, before I found the courage to follow my conscience. It is not an easy or light decision for anyone to make, but we need members of our military, development, diplomatic, and intelligence community to speak out if we are ever to have a just and sound foreign policy. I trust ExposeFacts and its efforts will encourage others to follow their conscience and do what is right.”

 

More info:

The ExposeFacts organization is part of the nonprofit Institute for Public Accuracy, founded in 1997. See text of Executive Order 13526, sec 1.7:

Sec. 1.7.  Classification Prohibitions and Limitations.
(a)  In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to:
(1)  conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;

(2)  prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;

(3)  restrain competition; or

(4)  prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.

Posted in Afghanistan, Arab World, Armed Forces, Assassination, Bradley Manning, Bush, CIA, Cost of War, Cyber Surveillance, Department of Homeland Security, DOJ, Drones, FBI, FISA, Fourth Ammendment, Hypocrisy, Intelligence, NSA, PRISM, Radio Shows, The "War on Terror", The Constitution, Whistle Blowing | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of April 21st, 2014

Posted by themonitor on April 21, 2014


On the show this week:

  •  Abuja Bombing Sign of Escalating ‘War’ in Nigeria and U.S. Iran policy – an interview with James Jennings
  • Is Congress making it easier for the U.S. to go to war with Iran and are there peaceful alternatives to military force in Afghanistan? An interview with Jon Rainwater

More about this week’s guests:

Jim Jennings

James E. Jennings is Founder and President of Conscience International and Executive Director of US Academics for Peace, a unit of Conscience International.  He is a member both of the Board of Trustees and of the staff, with responsibilities for program and institutional development.  He began personally delivering humanitarian aid during the Siege of Beirut in 1982 and subsequently led medical teams to treat victims in active war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Gaza, among other places.  He also organized and led rapid medical/surgical responses to major earthquakes in Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Haiti, Indonesia, and Peru.   In Haiti, Conscience International has built 140 permanent seismic-resistant homes from earthquake rubble with the aid of nearly 100 volunteer teams.
Since founding Conscience International in 1991, Jim has demonstrated conscience in action by responding to emergency humanitarian needs in more than thirty countries.  Conscience International is now active on three continents, channeling volunteers and resources into places that are the among the world’s most needy, where conditions and access are the most challenging, and sometimes the most dangerous.  As a leader in urging that the “Clash of Civilizations” be replaced by a “Dialogue of Civilizations,” he has personally organized and led university-to-university conferences in Baghdad, Tehran, Damascus, and Khartoum, among other places, and has engaged in high-level political and religious dialogue.James organized a delegation of U.S. academics who visited Iran earlier this year for talks with political, academic and religious leaders.

Jon Rainwater, Executive Director, Peace Action West
Jon Rainwater is Executive Director of Peace Action West. For over 25 years, Jon has been active in campaigns on issues of peace, nuclear disarmament, social justice and environmental sustainability. An experienced policy advocate, he has worked on nuclear issues for Greenpeace, advocated for victims of domestic violence for the California Alliance Against Domestic Violence and served as director for the California League of Conservation Voters. Jon has also been involved in the electoral arena in dozens of campaigns for progressive candidates and ballot measures. Before joining Peace Action West, he worked in the environmental field helping to pass groundbreaking legislation on global warming emissions and environmental justice in California. Jon now leads Peace Action West’s efforts to promote a foreign policy based in strategic cooperation.

Mr. Rainwater on Peace Action West:

“We make sure Americans know how their representatives cast their votes on life and death issues. Ultimately, it’s an active and vocal public that will determine if the country makes the profound changes in US foreign policy that we need.”

Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Nigeria | Leave a 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

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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.

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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 »

From Egypt to Afghanistan : Free woman, free world

Posted by themonitor on January 28, 2014


Sherif Samir, writing from Egypt

In the past year, during the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, when the darkness of fanatical Muslims beset Egypt, and when it seemed that the spirit of resistance was fading, and people were giving up, I was observing women, wondering how the new situation was affecting their looks, their clothes, and their make-up, and I kept hope as long as women kept wearing tight pants, and lipstick, as long as I saw girls and boys walking together and laughing out loud “Fanatical groups will never own the heart of Egypt,” I thought to myself, “as long as women in tights are guarding the spirit of life.” And I was right.

You know that women are half of the human race, and they can change the future by raising a free new generation. Now you might be saying “Nonsense” – women in the west wear hot shorts but people there are still suffering under capitalism. Right, but remember, I’m Egyptian. The majority of women here are told to cover all their bodies all the time. Many are treated as though they are nothing but a piece of meat, and taught that they hold the honour of men between their legs. Religion sees women as a threat, dictatorship sees women as a threat, and parents see their daughters as a threat. Husbands see their wives as threat, and treat them as property with support from religion, law, and masculine society. They see in women a dangerous revolutionary potential. Sadly, almost 99%of Egyptian women face this oppression.

You see the point here? Women have got to realise how important and effective a free woman is. The reality now is, however, a sad one: many women ironically defend the misogynous values of masculine society. Even educated women still expect to be owned by men and to cultivate in their children the same beliefs that oppress women today. That’s how women are supposed to be in a devout Islamic country. So, I’m looking up to Egyptian women, wanting them to revolt, to change their destiny and thereby help change the world.

Dr Hakim, writing from Afghanistan

She stammers.

Once, her eyeliners darker than usual, she complained indignantly about a girl who had misquoted her,” Ei…ei…either she..she goes, or I go!”

She works hard, weighing out the synthetic wool which 60 Afghan ladies use to make winter duvets. Her movements are more determined than that of most men. She is as ready to agree as she is to disagree.

One afternoon in Afghanistan, where music was once banned, she attended a music program. Two professional Afghan singers were invited, a Hazara and a Pashtun, both male. There were about 20 girls and just as many boys in the medium-sized, L-shaped room, the singers at the corner, and the girls on rows of duvets placed on the short arm of the L.

Would anyone in the audience like to sing?”

Heads turned away. Eyes gazed down. Then…”Me!” she gestured. Her mouth wasn’t smiling. Her face was looking quite serious.

She took the microphone. A Pashtun music enthusiast, a drummer boy, sat down near her with the Afghan drum, the ‘dol’.

From outside, like a cloak, conservative public opinion seemed to weigh down on the roof, and to push against the windows : Patriarchs ask, “ A girl singing?”. The religious council delivers an edict stating that women are second to men. Over the airwaves, a conservative American militarist proclaims, as if in jest, that the most powerful army in the world is here to protect the rights of Afghan women like her, while more than 2500 women had committed suicide in a year.

She took the microphone, which was larger than her hand. Her eyelids were half-drawn, in momentary meditation, with a slight rhythm swaying in her neck.

she_took_the_microphone

She took the microphone…

The room paid attention. The audience hesitated. The ‘dol’ and the ‘dambura’ ( an Afghan two-stringed, banjo-like instrument ) were played by two men, as accompaniment.

With a scattering of tone-deaf notes, but with no stammers, she sang!

It appeared to me that the whole world broke out clapping.

 

 

 

sherif_samir

Sherif Samir is an Egyptian writer and an Arabic teacher. He was the 2012 winner of the International Contest of Microfiction, awarded by Museo de la Palabra in Spain


hakim

Hakim, ( Dr. Teck Young, Wee ) is a medical doctor from Singapore who has done humanitarian and social enterprise work in Afghanistan for the past 9 years, including being a mentor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers, an inter-ethnic group of young Afghans dedicated to building non-violent alternatives to war. He is the 2012 recipient of the International Pfeffer Peace Prize.

Posted in Afghanistan, Arab Spring, Egypt | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of November 18th, 2013

Posted by themonitor on November 18, 2013


On last week’s show we talked with Manuel Perez-Rocha about the causes of migration. One of the main reasons we discussed was Free Trade Agreements and their economic impacts. On the treaties that came up was the TPP. Well, on 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. So it is fitting that we follow up on this topic. Our interview will be with Lori Wallach of Public Citizen.

Also mentioned during the headlines last week was the CIA drone strike on Pakistan that derailed the peace conference between the Taliban and Pakistan. We referenced an article on the topic by our second guest, Gareth Porter.

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More about this week’s guests:

Link mentioned during the interview: http://www.exposethetpp.org

Lori Wallach  has been director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch since 1995. Wallach is an expert on the operations and outcomes of trade policies such as NAFTA, WTO, CAFTA and more. She is steeped in the domestic and international politics of current trade negotiations and disputes. Wallach works closely with Congress and civil society, scholars, and activists in the U.S and developing countries to foster the growing debate about implications of different models of globalization on jobs, off-shoring, wages, the environment, public health and food safety; equality and social justice and democratically accountable governance.

Quote from Wednesday of this week: “Even before today’s WikiLeaks posting of the TPP copyright and patent text and its threats to affordable medicine and Internet freedom, House Democrats and Republicans have announced opposition to fast track authority for TPP.” The group just posted “What’s New in the WikiLeaks Text” and other breaking content.

A group of 151 House Democrats just released a letter opposing fast track authority for TPP, noting that: “For sometime, members of Congress have urged your administration to engage in broader and deeper consultations with members of the full range of committees of Congress whose jurisdiction touches on the numerous issues being negotiated. [See PDF]. Similarly, yesterday, a group of House Republicans sent a letter to President Obama noting that the TPP is not simply about tariffs, but also “labor policy, food and agricultural standards, environmental concerns, patent and copyright use, and regulations impacting many service sector industries, among many others.”

Public Citizen also recently sent a letter to NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman following reports in the New York Times article “No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming NSA,” that the NSA doled out information to “customers” like the U.S. Trade Representative, as a result of its spying programs.

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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 Salon.com, the Nation, the American Prospect, Truthout and The Raw Story. His blogs have been published on Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Counterpunch and many other websites. Porter was Saigon bureau chief of Dispatch News Service International in 1971 and later reported on trips to Southeast Asia for The Guardian, Asian Wall Street Journal and Pacific News Service. He is 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.

We will be discussing his most recent articles:

 

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Armed Forces, Assassination, CIA, Cost of War, Drones, Economic Inequality, Economy, Free Trade Agreements, Obama, Pakistan, Taliban, TPP, War Reporting | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of October 14th, 2013

Posted by themonitor on October 14, 2013


KPFT is in Pledge Drive and The Monitor has three shows during the drive. Our goal this week is $1200.

Please help us get there by calling 713-526-5738 or going online at www.kpft.org during the show.

This week’s show takes a look at Big Brother Mining Your Data with our first guest, Pratap Chatterjee. During last week’s show we mentioned that war funding has not been impacted by the government shut down. Our second interview looks at the ongoing war in Afghanistan with our second guest Matthew Hoh.

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More about this week’s guests:

Pratap Chatterjee is executive director of CorpWatch and author of Halliburton’s Army: How A Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War (Nation Books, 2009) and Iraq, Inc. (Seven Stories Press, 2004). He has many years of experience working in radio, print and digital media, including hosting a weekly radio show on Berkeley station KPFA, working as global environment editor for InterPress Service and as a freelance writer for the Financial Times, the Guardian and the Independent of London. He has won five Project Censored awards as well as a Silver Reel from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters for his work in Afghanistan, and the best business story award from the National Newspaper Association (US), among others. He has also appeared as a commentator on numerous radio and television shows ranging from BBC World Service, CNN International, Democracy Now!, Fox and MSNBC. Pratap serves on the board of Amnesty International USA and Corporate Europe Observatory.

Article: “The Data Hackers Mining Your Information for Big Brother

Quote: “Big Bro is watching you. Inside your mobile phone and hidden behind your web browser are little known software products marketed by contractors to the government that can follow you around anywhere. No longer the wide-eyed fantasies of conspiracy theorists, these technologies are routinely installed in all of our data devices by companies that sell them to Washington for a profit.That’s not how they’re marketing them to us, of course. No, the message is much more seductive: Data, Silicon Valley is fond of saying, is the new oil. And the Valley’s message is clear enough: we can turn your digital information into fuel for pleasure and profits — if you just give us access to your location, your correspondence, your history, and the entertainment that you like.Ever played Farmville? Checked into Foursquare? Listened to music on Pandora? These new social apps come with an obvious price tag: the annoying advertisements that we believe to be the fee we have to pay for our pleasure. But there’s a second, more hidden price tag — the reams of data about ourselves that we give away. …But there is a second kind of data company of which most people are unaware: high-tech outfits that simply help themselves to our information in order to allow U.S. government agencies to dig into our past and present. Some of this is legal, since most of us have signed away the rights to our own information on digital forms that few ever bother to read, but much of it is, to put the matter politely, questionable. This second category is made up of professional surveillance companies. They generally work for or sell their products to the government — in other words, they are paid with our tax dollars — but we have no control over them. Harris Corporation provides technology to the FBI to track, via our mobile phones, where we go; Glimmerglass builds tools that the U.S. intelligence community can use to intercept our overseas calls; and companies like James Bimen Associates design software to hack into our computers. There is also a third category: data brokers like Arkansas-based Acxiom. These companies monitor our Google searches and sell the information to advertisers. They make it possible for Target to offer baby clothes to pregnant teenagers, but also can keep track of your reading habits and the questions you pose to Google on just about anything from pornography to terrorism, presumably to sell you Viagra and assault rifles.”

Matthew Hoh is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and is the former director of the Afghanistan Study Group. A former Marine and State Department official, Hoh resigned in protest from his post with the State Department in Afghanistan over U.S. strategic policy and goals in Afghanistan in 2009.

Quote: “It is fitting that as we pass the 12-year mark of the U.S. and Western invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the U.S. government is shut down, our economy, education system and infrastructure continues their persistent degradation, and the American people, for the first time ever, now believe their children will not be better off than they. The failure of the United States’ war in Afghanistan, a failure that has been obvious for quite some time, like our own domestic failings, is a testament to a broken American political order and a $1 trillion a year national security Leviathan. Of course, the Afghan people are no closer to becoming a country at peace than at any time since the 1970s and the United States must and should understand its responsibility and culpability in the continuing death, loss and chaos. Similarly, in Libya and Somalia, again violence and military force is proving not to be a solution to terrorism. We have to understand the root causes. And many times these root causes are local and regional issues we have a poor grasp of — and sometimes those root causes are grievances against U.S. policies. In Somalia, we keep losing sight of the fact that al-Shabab has not conducted operations anywhere that was not related to occupation of Somalia, this is true for their operations in Uganda and their recent attack in Kenya. So much of this is tied to the U.S. sponsored Ethiopian invasion of Somalia. In Libya, our support in the overthrow of Gaddafi’s government, to include the killing of the man that the U.S. State Department had defined as a reliable ally in the war on terror, has led to continued chaos and a vacuum in government. Two years later we find ourselves having to kidnap a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people. How can we describe our operations in Libya to have been successful or a model for future operations as is so often described by administration officials or pundits?”

Posted in Afghanistan, Armed Forces, CIA, Cyber Surveillance, Economy, Glorification of War, Hypocrisy, Mentioned on Air, NATO, NSA, Obama, Peace, PRISM, Radio Shows, Sept. 11, 2001: Repercussions, The "War on Terror", The Economy, War Budget | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of August 5th, 2013

Posted by themonitor on August 5, 2013


Just back in town this week so please forgive the shorter than usual show post…
On this week’s show we look at the costs and realities of Medicare for all through an interview with Gerald Friedman and we talk about Drones being a threat to U.S. National Security with Fred Branfman.
More about this week’s guests:
Gerald Friedman
Gerald Friedman is professor, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Quote: “Upgrading the nation’s Medicare program and expanding it to cover people of all ages would yield more than a half-trillion dollars in efficiency savings in its first year of operation, enough to pay for high-quality, comprehensive health benefits for all residents of the United States at a lower cost to most individuals, families and businesses.”
Fred Branfman
Fred Branfman is an American anti-war activist and author of a number of books about the Indochina War. Working as the Director of Project Air War in 1969 he wrote about the U.S. bombing in Indochina, which he claimed was directed at civilians. His writing has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Harper’s, and many other publications. He is the author of Voices From the Plain of Jars.
Quote: “U.S. leaders can only name 77 ‘senior al-Qaeda and Taliban officials’ that they have killed by their drone strikes, out of total kills of 3-5,000 civilians and low-level militants that they cannot even name. This amounts to a military pinprick, which must be weighed against the long-term strategic catastrophe of turning nuclear-armed Pakistan against the U.S. U.S. drone policy toward Pakistan has caused over 75 percent of the Pakistani people – over 130 million people — to regard the U.S. as their ‘enemy,’ strengthened the Pakistani Taliban, weakened the Pakistani government, and reduced effective action against al-Qaeda. Most significantly, former U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson reported in the WikiLeaks cables that anti-U.S. hatred has made it impossible for the Pakistani government to cooperate with the U.S. in keeping nuclear materials out of potential terrorist hands, and limiting nuclear proliferation. The main impetus for U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan has been the assertion that they are necessary to protect U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But Mr. Kerry himself recognized two years ago that this rationale makes no long-term strategic sense, since ‘main event’ Pakistan is so much more important than ‘sideshow’ Afghanistan. He will best serve America’s strategic interests, as well as the rule of law and common human decency, by agreeing to the Pakistani government’s demand that the U.S. halt its drone strikes there. America badly needs to make Pakistan an ally, not an enemy. Bringing desperately needed electricity to Pakistan, rather than drone and ground assassinations, would do far more to strengthen U.S. national security.”

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Arab Spring, Arab World, Armed Forces, Assassination, Cost of War, Drones, Health Care Reform, News And Analysis, Single Payer | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of July 22nd, 2013

Posted by themonitor on July 22, 2013


On this week’s show:

  • Chevron found guilty of dumping toxic materials in the Amazon, gets access to activists’ private internet data – an interview with Simon Billenness
  • America’s Deadliest Export – an interview with William Blum

More about our guests:

Simon Billenness

Simon Billenness is the President of CSR Strategy Group, Co-Chair of the Business and Human Rights Group with Amnesty International, USA and on the Committee on Socially Responsible Investment with Unitarian Universalist Association. He consults to non-profits, corporations, trade unions, and social investment firms on strategy addressing issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and socially responsible investment.

Topic: In ‘Chilling’ Ruling, Chevron Granted Access to Activists’ Private Internet Data – “Sweeping” subpoena violates rights of those who spoke out against oil giant’s devastating actions in Ecuador

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Following their guilty sentence for the dumping of 18.5bn gallons of toxic waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Chevron is amassing the personal information of the environmentalists and attorneys who fought against them in an effort to prove ‘conspiracy.’ (Photo: Rainforest Action Network/ cc/ Flickr)The US government is not the only entity who, with judicial approval, is amassing massive amounts of personal information against their so-called enemies.

A federal judge has ruled to allow Chevron, through a subpoena to Microsoft, to collect the IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by over 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys.

The oil giant is demanding the records in an attempt to cull together a lawsuit which alleges that the company was the victim of a conspiracy in the $18.2 billion judgment against it for dumping 18.5 billion gallons of oil waste in the Ecuadorean Amazon, causing untold damage to the rainforest.

The “sweeping” subpoena was one of three issued to Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

“Environmental advocates have the right to speak anonymously and travel without their every move and association being exposed to Chevron,” said Marcia Hofmann, Senior Staff Attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who—along with environmental rights group EarthRights International (ERI)—had filed a motion last fall to “quash” the subpoenas.

“These sweeping subpoenas create a chilling effect among those who have spoken out against the oil giant’s activities in Ecuador,” she added at the time.

According to ERI, the subpoena demands the personal information about each account holder as well as the IP addresses associated with every login to each account over a nine-year period. “This could allow Chevron to determine the countries, states, cities or even buildings where the account-holders were checking their email,” they write, “so as to ‘infer the movements of the users over the relevant period and might permit Chevron to makes inferences about some of the user’s professional and personal relationships.’”

In their statement about the ruling, ERI notes that the argument given by presiding US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan—who was previously accused of prejudice against the Ecuadorians and their lawyers—was as “breathtaking as the subpoena itself.” They continue:

According to Judge Kaplan, none of the account holders could benefit from First Amendment protections since the account holders had “not shown that they were U.S. citizens.”

Now, let’s break this down. The account-holders in this case were proceeding anonymously, which the First Amendment permits. Because of this, Judge Kaplan was provided with no information about the account holders’ residency or places of birth. It is somewhat amazing then, that Judge Kaplan assumed that the account holders were not US citizens. As far as I know, a judge has never before made this assumption when presented with a First Amendment claim. We have to ask then: on what basis did Judge Kaplan reach out and make this assumption?

More Links:

Chevron Aims at an Activist Shareholder

We got a copy of the subpoena Chevron sent a rebellious shareholder

—————————————————————————————
William Blum

William Blum

William Blum left the State Department in 1967, abandoning his aspiration of becoming a Foreign Service Officer, because of his opposition to what the United States was doing in Vietnam.

He then became one of the founders and editors of the Washington Free Press, the first “alternative” newspaper in the capital.

(Photo by Lois Raimondo, The Washington Post)

Mr. Blum has been a freelance journalist in the United States, Europe and South America.  His stay in Chile in 1972-3, writing about the Allende government’s “socialist experiment” and its tragic overthrow in a CIA-designed coup, instilled in him a personal involvement and an even more heightened interest in what his government was doing in various parts of the world.

In the mid-1970’s, he worked in London with former CIA officer Philip Agee and his associates on their project of exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds.

His book on U.S. foreign policy, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, first published in 1995 and updated since, has received international acclaim.  Noam Chomsky called it “far and away the best book on the topic.”

In 1999, he was one of the recipients of Project Censored’s awards for “exemplary journalism” for writing one of the top ten censored stories of 1998, an article on how, in the 1980s, the United States gave Iraq the material to develop a chemical and biological warfare capability.

Blum is also the author of America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About U.S. Foreign Policy and Everything Else (2013), Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (updated edition 2005), West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir (2002), and Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire (2004).  His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

During 2002-2003, Blum was a regular columnist for the magazine The Ecologist, which is published in London and distributed globally.

In January 2006, a tape from Osama bin Laden stated that “it would be useful” for Americans to read Rogue State, apparently to gain a better understanding of their enemy.

Website: williamblum.org

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Arab World, Armed Forces, Assassination, Chevron, CIA, Cost of War, Dictatorship, Economic Inequality, Empire, Hypocrisy, Oil, Oil Spill | 2 Comments »

Show Details for the week of July 8th, 2013

Posted by themonitor on July 8, 2013


On this week’s show:
  • How the Security-Industrial Complex is tracking your data and what that means for you – an interview with Richard Stallman
  • The president should fire James Clapper and Keith Alexander over domestic spying revealed by Edward Snowden – an interview with Ray McGovern

More about this week’s guests:

Richard Stallman
Richard Stallman was induced into the Internet Hall of Fame. He is founder of the Free Software Foundation and has pioneered the notion of copyleft.
Quote: “It is said that ‘knowledge is power.’ Internet corporations took this maxim to heart, and set out to know as much as possible about each of us. Then the U.S. and other governments began massively collecting personal information from these companies, and in other ways too. That’s how they hope to have power over us. Digital technology turns out to mean building a giant digital dossier about each person. This might be OK if we had a government we could trust implicitly to respect human rights, one that would never try to stretch its power. What we have, under Bush and Obama, is a security-industrial complex that systematically crosses legal limits, egged on by corporations that will make more money through putting together more extensive dossiers, and saying they are doing this to ‘keep us safe’ from real but minor threats. It used to be that the threat to people’s freedom from computers was that they used programs that the users don’t control — nonfree programs, that is. The free software movement aims to provide free/libre replacements for nonfree programs. Free software is software that respects the users’ freedom and community. A program that isn’t free gives its owner unjust power over its users. Often it is designed to spy on them, restrict them, or even abuse them. (See ‘Proprietary Surveillance,’ DefectiveByDesign.org and ‘Proprietary Sabotage.’) With free software, the users can fix the program so it doesn’t spy, restrict, or mistreat. But the threats have multiplied. For years I’ve called portable phones ‘Stalin’s dream’ because of their surveillance capabilities. (Their movements are tracked, and they can be converted remotely into listening devices that transmit your conversations all the time, even when you try to shut them off.) For years I’ve warned that it is a mistake to entrust personal data to web sites, or even identify yourself to them. For years I’ve paid cash rather than use my credit card. The U.S. is slowly converting driver’s licenses into national ID cards. Without showing ID, you can’t fly, or ride Amtrak, or stay in a hotel in New York City, or open a bank account, or fill a prescription for pain killers. The immigration bill now being considered may make it impossible to get a job without national ID. Meanwhile, as license-plate cameras spread around our cities, the U.S. is slowly assembling a system that will track all movements of all cars, as is done in the UK. ‘Smart meters’ will build a dossier of how much electricity you use each hour or each minute, which says whether you are home. And the Internet of Things threatens to recruit all the products in your home as digital informers. Once data is collected, it will be misused. Formal limits on accessing the data will do nothing to stop the state from collecting all sorts of data about anyone it is determined to crush, such as torture whistleblower John Kiriakou. If no one dares tell us what the state is doing, the state will get out of control. We need to stop the accumulation of digital dossiers about people in general. Such collection should be permitted only under a court order applying to a specific person.”
Stallman sent his statement in an email with the following at the top:
        [To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider
        [ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,
        [ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example.
Ray McGovern
Ray McGovern is a retired CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a Federal employee under seven U.S. presidents over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House for many of them. 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.  He also teaches at its Servant Leadership School. 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 an urgent memorandum to President George W. Bush, in which we gave Powell a C minus for content. We 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.”Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, after a five-year study by his committee, described the intelligence used to “justify” war on Iraq as “unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.”

As an act of conscience, on March 2, 2006 Ray returned the Intelligence Commendation Medallion given him at retirement for “especially meritorious service,” explaining, “I do not want to be associated, however remotely, with an agency engaged in torture.”  He returned it to Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R, Michigan), then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman.

Recent Op-Ed: Obama needs to take charge on NSA spying scandal

Visit Ray’s Website for more.

 

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Biometric, Bradley Manning, Bush, Cheney, CIA, Cyber Surveillance, Cyber Warfare, Democrat Corruption, Department of Homeland Security, Dictatorship, DOJ, Empire, FBI, FISA, Google, GOP Corruption, Hypocrisy, Intelligence, Mentioned on Air, News And Analysis, NSA, Obama, PRISM, Ray McGovern, Sept. 11, 2001: Repercussions, The "War on Terror", The Constitution, The Supreme Court, Whistle Blowing, WikiLeaks | Leave a Comment »

 
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