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Show Details for the week of May 11th, 2015

Posted by themonitor on May 11, 2015


This is the final week of the Pledge Drive for KPFT. The Monitor has a goal of $800. Please help us reach that goal by calling in your pledge of support at 713-526-5738 or by pledging online at kpft.org.

Our guest this week on The Monitor  is J. Michael Springmann. You can get a copy of his book Visas for Al Qaedea: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World by calling in your pledge of $100 at 713-526-5738 or by pledging online at kpft.org.

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

About our guest:

J. Michael Springmann, a career official with both the Commerce and State departments. He was economic/commercial officer in Stuttgart (1977–1980), a commercial attaché in New Delhi (1980–1982), a visa officer in Jeddah (1987–1989), a political/economic officer in Stuttgart (1989–1991), and, finally, an economic analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1991). He recently published the book Visas for Al Qaedea: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World.

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

From the book description:

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

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

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

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

You can also get any of the books we have already offered this drive. These are:

The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror by John Kiriakou available to you for a pledge of $120. Kiriakou was is a former CIA analyst and case officer, former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former counterterrorism consultant for ABC News, blogger for Huffington Post, and author. He was the first U.S. government official to confirm in December 2007 that waterboarding was used to interrogate Al Qaeda prisoners, which he described as torture. The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror details his years with the CIA and the beginning of his legal problems when John told ABC News in an interview in December 2007 that the CIA was torturing prisoners, that that torture was official U.S. government policy, and that the policy was approved by the President.  John was driven to ruin by the Justice Department because of these revelations.

For a pledge of $50 you can get The Islamist Phoenix by Loretta Napoleoni. She is the bestselling author of Maonomics, Rogue EconomicsTerror Incorporated and Insurgent Iraq. She is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organizations on counter-terrorism and money laundering. As Chairman of the countering terrorism financing group for the Club de Madrid, Napoleoni brought heads of state from around the world together to create a new strategy for combating the financing of terror networks.Here is an excerpt

For a pledge of $60 you can get Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit. She is Writer, historian, and activist. She is the author of sixteen books about environment, landscape, community, art, politics, hope, and memory. You can read some of her writing about the topic here

For a pledge of $85 you can get The Battle for Justice in Palestine by Ali Abunimah. He is the author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli Palestinian Impasse, and co-founder and director of the widely acclaimed publication The Electronic Intifada. Based in the United States, he has written hundreds of articles and been an active part of the movement for justice in Palestine for 20 years. He is the recipient of a 2013 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship. Any of these books will enrich you understanding of the topics they each handle. All three authors are going to be on The Monitor in the upcoming weeks.

Posted in 2001: Repercussions, 9/11, Afghanistan, Arab World, Armed Forces, Bush, Cheney, CIA, Cost of War, Democrat Corruption, Department of Homeland Security | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of May 4th, 2015

Posted by themonitor on May 4, 2015


This is week two of the Pledge Drive for KPFT. The Monitor has a goal of $800 per show for three weeks in a row. Please help us reach that goal by calling in your pledge of support at 713-526-5738 or by pledging online at kpft.org.

Our guest this week is John Kiriakou. He was is a former CIA analyst and case officer, former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former counterterrorism consultant for ABC News, blogger for Huffington Post, and author. He was the first U.S. government official to confirm in December 2007 that waterboarding was used to interrogate Al Qaeda prisoners, which he described as torture. On October 22, 2012, Kiriakou pleaded guilty to disclosing classified information about a fellow CIA officer that connected the covert operative to a specific operation. He was the first person to pass classified information to a reporter, although the reporter did not publish the name of the operative. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison on January 25, 2013, and served his term from February 28, 2013 until 3 February 2015 at the low-security Federal correctional facility in Loretto, Pennsylvania.

We have John’s book The Reluctant Spy:  My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror, available to you for a pledge of $120. This is John Kiriakou’s first book, co-authored with Michael Ruby. Please show your support by calling 713-526-5738 or donating at http://www.kpft.org

The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror

The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror details his years with the CIA and the beginning of his legal problems when John told ABC News in an interview in December 2007 that the CIA was torturing prisoners, that that torture was official U.S. government policy, and that the policy was approved by the President.  John was driven to ruin by the Justice Department because of these revelations.

The national debate on waterboarding and other forms of torture got a second wind early in Obama’s presidency, and John clearly feels proud to have played a small part in that debate. In a larger sense, this is not an American conversation that has ended. If we have learned anything since 9/11, we have learned anew that a tension exists between protecting our national security and ensuring the human rights guaranteed according to the will of our Founding Fathers when they authored the U.S. Constitution.

Our challenge, in a world of unprecedented threats, is to strike a balance between the polarities—to find that place where the national security and human rights can live reasonably, if not comfortably, side by side. It won’t be easy. But then, it never was.

The Reluctant Spy is a fascinating book, which will give you chills when you realize that what John Kiriakou experienced at the hands of the Justice Department could happen to anyone.  The book rose to #5 on the Washington Post political bestsellers list in March 2010.

We have three other book options for you to pick from at different pledge level:

For a pledge of $50 you can get The Islamist Phoenix by Loretta Napoleoni. She is the bestselling author of Maonomics, Rogue EconomicsTerror Incorporated and Insurgent Iraq. She is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organizations on counter-terrorism and money laundering. As Chairman of the countering terrorism financing group for the Club de Madrid, Napoleoni brought heads of state from around the world together to create a new strategy for combating the financing of terror networks.Here is an excerpt

For a pledge of $60 you can get Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit. She is Writer, historian, and activist. She is the author of sixteen books about environment, landscape, community, art, politics, hope, and memory. You can read some of her writing about the topic here

For a pledge of $85 you can get The Battle for Justice in Palestine by Ali Abunimah. He is the author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli Palestinian Impasse, and co-founder and director of the widely acclaimed publication The Electronic Intifada. Based in the United States, he has written hundreds of articles and been an active part of the movement for justice in Palestine for 20 years. He is the recipient of a 2013 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship. Any of these books will enrich you understanding of the topics they each handle. All three authors are going to be on The Monitor in the upcoming weeks.

Posted in 2001: Repercussions, 9/11, Afghanistan, Armed Forces, Bush, Cheney, CIA, Waterboarding, Whistleblowing | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of January 19th, 2015

Posted by themonitor on January 19, 2015


This is the first week of KPFT’s pledge drive. The Monitor has a goal of $1,250. Please call the station during the show and pledge your support for The Monitor. The number is 713.526.5738 (713.JAM.KPFT). You can also pledge online at www.kpft.org

We have one guest this week – Rory Fanninga TomDispatch regular, walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008-2009, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion. Fanning became a conscientious objector after his second tour. He is the author of Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America  You can get a copy of his book – Worth Fighting For- for a pledge of $120 ($10 per month).

About the book:

Pat Tillman’s death by friendly fire was covered up just days before his comrade Rory Fanning—who served in the same unit as Tillman—left the Army Rangers as a conscientious objector. Disquieted by his tours in Afghanistan, Fanning sets out to honor Tillman’s legacy by crossing the United States on foot.

Told with page-turning style, humor, and warmth, Worth Fighting For explores the emotional and social consequences of rejecting the mission of one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. It is only through the generous, and colorful people Fanning meets and the history he discovers that he learns to live again.

 

Rory Fanning walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008–2009, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion. He is a housing activist living in Chicago, Illinois and the author of the forthcoming book, Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America (Haymarket, 2014). Rory has a recent article out titled Letter to a Young Army Ranger (From an Old One) Why the War on Terror Shouldn’t Be Your Battle.
In part, Rory writes:

Dear Aspiring Ranger,

You’ve probably just graduated from high school and you’ve undoubtedly already signed an Option 40 contract guaranteeing you a shot at the Ranger indoctrination program (R.I.P.).  If you make it through R.I.P. you’ll surely be sent off to fight in the Global War on Terror.  You’ll be part of what I often heard called “the tip of the spear.”

The war you’re heading into has been going on for a remarkably long time. Imagine this: you were five years old when I was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2002. Now I’m graying a bit, losing a little up top, and I have a family.  Believe me, it goes faster than you expect.

Once you get to a certain age, you can’t help thinking about the decisions you made (or that, in a sense, were made for you) when you were younger. I do that and someday you will, too.  Reflecting on my own years in the 75th Ranger regiment, at a moment when the war you’ll find yourself immersed in was just beginning, I’ve tried to jot down a few of the things they don’t tell you at the recruiting office or in the pro-military Hollywood movies that may have influenced your decision to join. Maybe my experience will give you a perspective you haven’t considered.

I imagine you’re entering the military for the same reason just about everyone volunteers: it felt like your only option. Maybe it was money, or a judge, or a need for a rite of passage, or the end of athletic stardom. Maybe you still believe that the U.S. is fighting for freedom and democracy around the world and in existential danger from “the terrorists.” Maybe it seems like the only reasonable thing to do: defend our country against terrorism.

The media has been a powerful propaganda tool when it comes to promoting that image, despite the fact that, as a civilian, you were more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist.  I trust you don’t want regrets when you’re older and that you commendably want to do something meaningful with your life. I’m sure you hope to be the best at something.  That’s why you signed up to be a Ranger.

Recent Articles:

Rory Fanning, Why Do We Keep Thanking the Troops?

Friendly? All Deaths Are Shameful in a War That Shouldn’t Be

 

Get your copy of Rory Fanning’s Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America  with your pledge of $120 ($10 per month). The number to call is 713.526.5738 (713.JAM.KPFT). You can also pledge online at www.kpft.org

Posted in 2001: Repercussions, 9/11, Afghanistan, Arab World, Armed Forces, Cost of War | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of January 5th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on January 5, 2015


On The Monitor this week

  • The Mysterious Case of Prisoner 212 – an interview with Cora Currier
  • The Reporting on the Re-Released DOJ IG Report Missed FBI’s Misuse of Terrorism Tools – an interview with Marcy Wheeler

 

More About this week’s guests:

Cora Currier is a journalist with The Intercept. She focuses on national security, foreign affairs, and human rights. As a reporting fellow at ProPublica, she covered national security and finance. Her work has been published in Stars and Stripes, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, Al Jazeera America, and many other outlets. Before joining ProPublica, she was on the editorial staff of The New Yorker and a lead researcher on several books of history and politics. She lives in New York.

From a Recent Article:

“Researchers and reporters had long counted the total number of prisoners who cycled through Guantanamo at 779, but the Senate intelligence committee’s report on CIA torture revealed that there was one more previously unknown detainee. Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, also known as prisoner 212, was held at a secret black site at Guantanamo Bay, according to the report, bringing the total number of detainees to 780.

That al-Libi was held by the CIA is long established.  After all, al-Libi’s name is notorious as the source of bad information used by the Bush administration to tie Saddam Hussein to Al-Qaeda to support the US invasion of Iraq — information he provided while being tortured in Egyptian custody, and later recanted…According to the Intercept’s research, there are still 50 former CIA prisoners named by Senate investigators whose fates are unknown, and who have not, to our knowledge, spoken to the media or human rights groups. ”

Recent Articles:

The Mysterious Case of Prisoner 212

Gitmo Lawyer: “The Torture Pervades Everything”

CIA Watchdog to Step Down

 

Marcy Wheeler grew up bi-coastally, starting with every town in New York with an IBM. Then she moved to Poway, California, home of several participants in the Duke Cunningham scandal. Since then, she has lived in Western Massachusetts, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Ann Arbor, and — currently — Western Michigan.

She got a BA from Amherst College, where she spent much of her time on the rugby pitch. A PhD program in Comparative Literature brought her to Michigan; she got the PhD but decided academics was not her thing. Her research, though, was on a cool journalistic form called the “feuilleton” — a kind of conversational essay that was important to the expansion of modern newspapers in much of the rest of the world. It was pretty good preparation to become a blogger, if a PhD can ever be considered training for blogging.

After leaving academics, Marcy consulted for the auto industry, much of it in Asia. But her contract moved to Asia, along with most of Michigan’s jobs, so she did what anyone else would do. Write a book, and keep blogging. (Oh, and I hear Amazon still has the book for sale.)

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Recent Articles:

Hacking in the IOB Reports

What the Reporting on the Re-Released DOJ IG Report on Section 215 Missed about FBI’s Misuse of Terrorism Tools

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Armed Forces, CIA, Cost of War, Cyber Surveillance, Department of Homeland Security, DOJ, FBI, Hypocrisy, Intelligence, Iraq, Media, News And Analysis, NSA, Obama, Sept. 11, 2001: Repercussions, The "War on Terror", The Constitution, Torture, War Reporting | Leave a Comment »

Obama Extends War in Afghanistan – Guest Post by Kathy Kelly

Posted by themonitor on November 22, 2014


Obama Extends War in Afghanistan
by Kathy Kelly

November 23, 2014

News agencies reported Saturday morning that weeks ago President Obama signed an order, kept secret until now, to authorize continuation of the Afghan war for at least another year. The order authorizes U.S. airstrikes “to support Afghan military operations in the country” and U.S. ground troops to continue normal operations, which is to say, to “occasionally accompany Afghan troops” on operations against the Taliban.

The administration, in its leak to the New York Times, affirmed that there had been “heated debate” between Pentagon advisers and others in Obama’s cabinet chiefly concerned not to lose soldiers in combat.  Oil strategy isn’t mentioned as having been debated and neither is further encirclement of China, but the most notable absence in the reporting was any mention of cabinet members’ concern for Afghan civilians affected by air strikes and ground troop operations, in a country already afflicted by nightmares of poverty and social breakdown.

Here are just three events, excerpted from an August 2014 Amnesty International report, which President Obama and his advisers should have considered (and allowed into a public debate) before once more expanding the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan:
1)      In September, 2012 a group of women from an impoverished village in mountainous Laghman province were collecting firewood when a U.S. plane dropped at least two bombs on them, killing seven and injuring seven others, four of them seriously. One villager, Mullah Bashir, told Amnesty, “…I started searching for my daughter. Finally I found her. Her face was covered with blood and her body was shattered.”
2)      A U.S. Special Operations Forces unit was responsible for extrajudicial killing, torture and enforced disappearances during the period of December, 2012 to February, 2013. Included among those tortured was 51 year old Qandi Agha, “a petty employee of the Ministry of Culture,” who described in detail the various torture techniques he suffered.  He was told that he would be tortured using “14 different types of torture”. These included: Beatings with cables, electric shock, prolonged, painful stress positions, repeated head first dunking in a barrel of water, and burial in a hole full of cold water for entire nights. He said that both US Special Forces and Afghans participated in the torture and often smoked hashish while doing so.
3)      On March 26, 2013 the village of Sajawand was attacked by joint Afghan—ISAF (International Special Assistance Forces). Between 20-30 people were killed including children. After the attack, a cousin of one of the villagers visited the scene and stated, ”The first thing I saw as I entered the compound was a little child of maybe three years old whose chest was torn apart; you could see inside her body. The house was turned into a pile of mud and poles and there was nothing left. When we were taking out the bodies we didn’t see any Taliban among the dead, and we didn’t know why they were hit or killed.”

NYT coverage of the leaked debate mentions Obama’s promise, made earlier this year and now broken, to withdraw troops.  The article doesn’t make any other mention of U.S. public opposition to a continuation of the war.

Attempts to remake Afghanistan by military force have resulted in warlordism, ever more widespread and desperate poverty, and bereavement for hundreds of thousands whose loved ones are among the tens of thousands of casualties. Area hospitals report seeing fewer IED injuries and many more bullet wounds from pitched battles between rival armed militias whose allegiances, Taliban, government, or other, are hard to determine.  With 40% of U.S. weapon supplies to Afghan security forces now unaccounted for, many of the weapons employed on all sides may have been supplied by the U.S.

Meanwhile the implications for U.S. democracy aren’t reassuring.  Was this decision really made weeks ago but only announced now that congressional elections are safely over? Was a Friday night cabinet leak, buried between official Administration announcements on immigration and Iran sanctions, really the President’s solution to the unpopularity of  a decision affecting the lives of so many?  With concern for the wishes of U.S. citizens given so little weight, it is doubtful that much thought was given to the terrible costs of these military interventions for ordinary people trying to live, raise families and survive in Afghanistan.

But for those whose “heated debates” focus solely on what is best for U.S. national interests, here are a few suggestions:

1)      The U.S. should end its current provocative drive toward military alliances and encirclement of Russia and China with missiles.  It should accept pluralism of economic and political power in the contemporary world.  Present U.S. policies are provoking a return to Cold War with Russia and possibly beginning one with China.  This is a lose/lose proposition for all countries involved.

2)      By a resetting of policy focused on cooperation with Russia, China and other influential countries within the framework of the United Nations, the United States could foster international mediation.

3)      The U.S. should offer generous medical and economic aid and technical expertise wherever it may be helpful in other countries and thus build a reservoir of international goodwill and positive influence.

That’s something that nobody would have to keep secret.

Posted in Afghanistan, Armed Forces, Cost of War, Drones, Obama | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of November 10th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on November 10, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

  • Despite the Democrats shalacking in the midterms the Minimum Wage is Four for Four…in “Red States.” We talk to Peter Davis about the issue.
  • As Veteran’s Day approaches, why do we keep thanking the troops? We discuss the topic with Rory Fanning.

More about this week’s guests:

Peter Davis  is a campaign activist for Time for a Raise campaign, a project of Ralph Nader’s Center for the Study of Responsive Law. He and Ralph Nader just co-wrote a letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi which states: “Buried underneath the coverage of the Democrats’ second midterm ‘shalackin’ in a row is a stark public sentiment that provides a path forward for your caucuses during the upcoming lame duck session. Despite the Republican wave, a minimum wage raise passed in every state in which it was on the ballot. These were not coastal blue states: the four 2014 minimum wage ballot initiatives ­­– for Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota — ­­passed in Republican-dominated states which all elected Republican senators alongside the initiative. If your caucuses were to uniformly and exuberantly push for a minimum wage raise in the upcoming Congressional work session, it would transition the national media narrative away from Republican momentum in the never-­ending horse race and towards whether the new Congressional leadership will be responsive to the public sentiment and needs of American workers.” See the full letter.

In August, Nader wrote the piece “Democrats Are Doomed (Unless They Make the Minimum Wage the #1 November Election Issue).”

Nader’s latest book is Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. Earlier this year, Nader’s office hosted a conference on left-right alliance. See video of the conference here.

Rory Fanning walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008–2009, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion. He is a housing activist living in Chicago, Illinois and the author of the forthcoming book, Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America (Haymarket, 2014).

 

Quote:

“Last week, in a quiet indie bookstore on the north side of Chicago, I saw the latest issue of Rolling Stone resting on a chrome-colored plastic table a few feet from a barista brewing a vanilla latte. A cold October rain fell outside. A friend of mine grabbed the issue and began flipping through it. Knowing that I was a veteran, he said, ‘Hey, did you see this?’ pointing to a news story that seemed more like an ad. It read in part:  “This Veterans Day, Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Rihanna, Dave Grohl, and Metallica will be among numerous artists who will head to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on November 11th for ‘The Concert For Valor,’ an all-star event that will pay tribute to armed services.

Concert For Valor? That sounds like something the North Korean government would organize,’ I said as I typed Concertforvalor.com into my MacBook Pro looking for more information… As I read, my heart sank, my shoulders slumped. Special guests at the Concert for Valor were to include: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg. The mission of the concert, according to a  press release, was to ‘raise awareness’ of veterans issues and ‘provide a national stage for ensuring that veterans and their families know that their fellow Americans’ gratitude is genuine. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Michael Mullen were to serve in an advisory capacity, and Starbucks, HBO, and JP Morgan Chase were to pay for it all. ‘We are honored to play a small role to help raise awareness and support for our service men and women,’ said HBO chairman Richard Plepler. Will the ‘Concert for Valor’ mention the trillions of dollars rung up terrorizing Muslim countries for oil , the ratcheting up of the police and surveillance state in this country since 9/11, the hundreds of thousands of lives lost thanks to the wars of George W. Bush and Barack Obama? Is anyone going to dedicate a song to Chelsea Manning , or John Kiriakou , or Edward Snowden — two of them languishing in prison and one in exile — for their service to the American people? Will the Concert for Valor raise anyone’s awareness when it comes to the fact that, to this day, veterans lack proper medical attention, particularly for mental health issues, or that there is a veteran suicide every 80 minutes in this country? Let’s hope they find time in between drum solos, but myself, I’m not counting on it.”

Recent Articles:

Rory Fanning, Why Do We Keep Thanking the Troops?

Friendly? All Deaths Are Shameful in a War That Shouldn’t Be

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Armed Forces, Cost of War, Democracy, Economic Inequality, Elections, Iraq, Jobs, Minimum Wage, Radio Shows, The Economy, The Supreme Court, Wall Street | Leave a Comment »

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

—————————————————————————————————

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 | 1 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 »

 
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