War Reporting

Show Details for the week of June 20th, 2016

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On The Monitor this week is an extended interview with Barry Lando in which we discuss the terror attacks in Paris and Orlando in a broader context of history, international events, media coverage, and the relationship between government and media. This is the kind of exchange this show is known for – a freeform conversation about an important topic that moves beyond the media’s norm of decontextualized sound-bytes and ahistorical sensationalism.

More about this week’s guest:

79641e0e9451a1416658b671cef8769bBarry Lando was a producer for 60 Minutes for over 25 years, most of those producing stories for Mike Wallace. Lando produced the first interview with the Ayatollah Khomeini after the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, which aired 14 days after the hostages were captured. Another famous story he produced was on the 1990 Temple Mount riots. Wallace said of Lando and another producer, “if it wasn’t for [Marion Goldin] and Barry there would be no 60 Minutes.”

Lando pioneered the use of hidden cameras for investigative television reporting. He was awarded a George Polk award for Television Reporting in 1977. Lando and Wallace won a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award in 1990 for the segment “40,000 a Day.” Lando also won two Emmys at 60 Minutes.

In 2004, Lando collaborated with Michel Despratx to produce a documentary for Canal+ called “Saddam Hussein, the Trial the World Will Never See.” Lando’s 2007 book, Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, From Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush, covered 85 years of Western intervention in Iraq. Lando has written for The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the International Herald Tribune, and Le Monde. 

His most recent book is The Watchman’s File. You can read excerpts of that book here. During the interview, specific reference is made to Barry’s recent article TERRORISM: PARIS & ORLANDO-AN EXISTENTIAL CRISIS

You can follow Barry Lando on Twitter

Show Details for the week of May 30th, 2016

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Issa Touma on events in Syria and the media’s coverage of the conflict
  • Matthew Charles Cardinale on the SMART alternative to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
More about this week’s guests:

6849954Issa Touma, a photographer and curator based in Aleppo (Syria). His photographic work has been show in international collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. From his bio on lensculture.com: “Finding himself isolated from the international art community in his own country, Touma established the Black and White Gallery, the first photography gallery in the Middle East, in 1992. After its closure in 1996, Touma founded Le Pont, an independent art organization and gallery that promotes freedom of expression and stimulates the local art scene through international events. In 1997, he started the International Photography Festival Aleppo, which despite the horrors and uncertainties of the conflict, continues to take place every year.”

You can see examples of his pictures online at Le Pont He recently made documentary called 9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo which you can also see online

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Matthew Cardinale and Barbara Payne

Hammering for Peace, by Kathy Kelly

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Hammering for Peace
by Kathy Kelly

May 25, 2016

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Jessica Reznick arrested outside of Northrop Grumman Corporation in Nebraska. Photo via tumblr

Last winter, at the Voices home/office in Chicago, we welcomed two friends who were in town for a Mennonite church gathering focused on the symbol of beating swords into plowshares. Their project embraces a vision from the biblical “Book of Isaiah” which longs for the day when “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they study war anymore.”  Our friends quite literally enact this vision. They use saws to cut guns and rifles in half and then hammer on the broken weapons, turning them into useful tools for gardening and light construction.

Throughout the service, one of the men could be seen, on a screen, standing outside the Mennonite church hall, fashioning, with hammer and anvil, a rifle into a garden tool. Sparks flew with his hammer, but no-one was inflamed into anger. The fire our friends wanted to ignite was inside us. With what work can we replace war? If we are no longer training for war, what else could we be doing?” 

That winter night, at the Mennonite church, I couldn’t help but think of another activist who had swung a tool last December, in this case, a sledgehammer, because she was inspired to confront weapon makers and encourage alternatives to war. Jessica Reznicek, age 34, didn’t own the weapon system she wanted to transform.  But she felt responsible to help the general public own up to its complicity with weapon systems funded by U.S. taxpayers. She took a sledgehammer to the doors of a major weapon producing company, Northrop Grumman, outside Offut Air Force base. In a written statement explaining why she swung her tool at the plate glass, Jessica asks people to understand that Northrop Grumman’s weapon systems shatter and destroy the lives of people the world over.

As one of the manufacturers with the largest share of the global Unmanned Aerial Systems market, (18.9%), Northrop Grumman profits immensely from peddling complex weapon systems often designed to be eyes in the skies monitoring targets for assassination. This kind of surveillance and extrajudicial execution generates intense anger and backlashes in other lands. It also promotes proliferation of robotic weapons. But the U.S. military and acquiescent institutions encourage us to feel that we’ve been made safer by complex weapons of destruction, and we should instead be frightened of a young woman wielding a sledgehammer to break a plate glass window.

 

On May 24, Jessica Reznicek went go to a trial in Nebraska, expected to last two days, for her action. She has chosen to go “pro se,” – to defend herself. Courts in the U.S. seldom allow the necessity defense. If the judge in Jessica’s case does so, Jessica could try to defend herself saying she acted to prevent a greater harm.  She could establish that the U.S. government consistently provides Northrop Grumman with lavish funding, devoting immense resources of materials and scientific ingenuity to the study of war, all desperately needed elsewhere. Northrop Grumman steadily experiments in perfecting the high-tech advantage of an empire bent on endlessly dominating the world through endless war.

I wish that the testimony of my friends who literally beat guns into garden tools   could be part of the courtroom proceeding.  They urge us to make guns and other weapons unnecessary, using raw tools of compassion and service to heal the conflicts in which weapons are used. I wish my young Afghan friends here in Kabul, who live under constant surveillance of Unmanned Aerial Systems, could testify about their desire to refine tools of peace making and constructive service.

They could assure the court that it’s far more worthwhile to develop raw tools for producing needed goods and services than to develop weapon systems of mass destruction.

Jessica’s action makes me wonder if the “norm” in our society is the opposite of the biblical plowshares exhortation.  Our major institutions study the ways of war comprehensively and our “top crop” in the U.S. has become weapons.     Jessica encourages, one might even say provokes, discussion of the role militarism plays in our world.

I hope the words of a legendary barrister in Ireland, Mr. Nix, who defended “The Pitstop Plowshares,” can be recalled as Jessica’s trial nears conclusion. Shortly before the U.S. led coalition began bombing Iraq in 2003, five activists invoked the swords to plowhsares saying from the Book of Isaiah and hammered on a U.S. warplane parked on the tarmac of Shannon airport.  Ireland is a neutral country, and they believed that the U.S. Navy warplanes making “pitstops” en route to a war zone violated that neutrality. They undertook the action shortly after attending a retreat during which the Sisters of St. Brigid, in Kildare, Ireland had asked me to speak about Iraqis who suffered under 13 years of U.S. led UN economic sanctions.   Before returning to Baghdad, I gave  them enlarged, laminated photos of  Iraqi children who were among the half million who died, according to the U.N., as a direct result of economic sanctions along with photos of children killed  by an earlier U.S. aerial attack on the city of Basra. They used these photos to set up a memorial shrine next to the warplane they had damaged. Mr. Nix, preparing for trial, asked that I come to Dublin as a witness to help establish the defendants’ motivations. I will never forget  his closing statement in which he delivered a fiery indictment of war makers and described the hideous punishment wars inflict on innocent people, especially children. He ended his remarks by addressing  everyone assembled in Dublin’s Four Courts, saying:  “The question isn’t ‘Did these five have a lawful excuse to do what they did?’ The question is ‘What’s your excuse not to do more? What will rise ye?!’ The Irish jury acquitted the defendants on all charges.

No matter what the outcome of Jessica’s trial, Mr. Nix’s question, “What will rise ye?” abides. How can we, each of us, help lift the hammer of justice, cultivating a world at peace.

Kathy Kelly (Kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence.  (www.vcnv.org)She is writing from Kabul where she is a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers. (ourjourneytosmile.com)

Show Details for the week of May 23rd, 2016

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KPFT is in Pledge Drive and this is your final chance to support The Monitor. The show has a goal of $650 for the hour. Please call 713.526.5738 during the show to pledge your support. You can also donate securely online at https://pledge.kpft.org/ Just select The Monitor from the list of shows and enter your details. Thank you!

This week we feature an interview with Mark Karlin during which we will discuss some of his recent articles and the importance of independent media.

More about this week’s guest:

markkarlin-0Mark Karlin is the editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout. He served as editor and publisher of BuzzFlash for 10 years before joining Truthout in 2010. BuzzFlash has won four Project Censored Awards. Karlin writes a commentary five days a week for BuzzFlash, as well as articles (ranging from the failed “war on drugs” to reviews relating to political art) for Truthout. He also interviews authors and filmmakers whose works are featured in Truthout’s Progressive Picks of the Week. Before linking with Truthout, Karlin conducted interviews with cultural figures, political progressives and innovative advocates on a weekly basis for 10 years. He authored many columns about the lies propagated to launch the Iraq War.

Some of his recent articles:

Thomas Frank: Bill Clinton’s Five Major Achievements Were Longstanding GOP Objectives

Co-Chair of 9/11 Task Force Wants Secret Saudi Involvement Document Released

Terrorism Is Profitable for US Weapons Manufacturers

Donald Trump Claims He Didn’t Know His Former Butler for Many Years and Current Pal Is a Rabid Racist, Misogynist and Islamophobic in the Most Vulgar Way

Thank you gifts!

You can still get a copy of Peter Van Buren’s We Meant Well: How I 51avkcm9n5l-_sx327_bo1204203200_Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People by pledging $60 or more to support KPFT and The Monitor.

 

We also still have copies of Nation on the Take by Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman as a NationOnTheTakehirezthank you gift for your donation of $90 or more. This book exposes legalized corruption and links it to kitchen-table issues. We spoke to Wendell on the April 25th show so take a list to that for a preview of the book

Show Details for the week of May 16th, 2016

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KPFT is now in Pledge Drive! The Monitor needs your support to stay on the air. The show has a goal of $650 for the hour. Please call 713.526.5738 during the show to pledge your support. You can also donate securely online at https://pledge.kpft.org/ Just select The Monitor from the list of shows and enter your details. Thank you!

This week we are featuring an interview with Peter Van Buren, author of We Meant Well: How I 51avkcm9n5l-_sx327_bo1204203200_Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. This is “the first book recounting our misguided efforts to rebuild Iraq—a shocking and rollicking true-life cross between Catch-22, Dispatches and The Ugly American.” You can pick up a copy by pledging $60 or more to support KPFT and The Monitor. You can read a full chapter excerpt here

With conventions by both U.S. political parties coming up, we will also be discussing Peter’s recent article “Secret Service Handcuffs The First Amendment

More about this week’s guest:
Peter Van Buren, a 24-year veteran of the State Department, spent a year in Iraq. Following his book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, the Department of State began proceedings against him. Through the efforts of the Government Accountability Project and the ACLU, Van Buren instead retired from the State Department on his own terms.

Peter’s commentary has been featured in The New York Times, Reuters, Salon, NPR, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, The Nation, TomDispatch, Antiwar.com, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Japan Times, Asia Times, The Guardian (UK), Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others. He has appeared on the BBC World Service, NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, CurrentTV, HuffPo Live, RT, ITV, Britain’s Channel 4 Viewpoint, Dutch Television, CCTV, Voice of America, and more. His second book, Ghosts of Tom Joad, A Story of the #99Percent (2014) is fiction about the social and economic changes in America between WWII and the decline of the blue collar middle class in the 1980’s. You can read some of his recent work on The Nation website.

PLEASE NOTE! We still have copies of Nation on the Take by Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman as a NationOnTheTakehirezthank you gift for your donation of $90 or more. This book exposes legalized corruption and links it to kitchen-table issues. We spoke to Wendell on the April 25th show so take a list to that for a preview of the book

Show Details for the week of May 9th, 2016

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KPFT is now in Pledge Drive! The Monitor needs your support to stay on the air. The show NationOnTheTakehirezhas a goal of $650 for the hour. Please call 713.526.5738 during the show to pledge your support. You can also donate securely online at https://pledge.kpft.org/ Just select The Monitor from the list of shows and enter your details. Thank you!

We are featuring Nation on the Take by Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman as a thank you gift for your donation of $90 or more. This book exposes legalized corruption and links it to kitchen-table issues. We spoke to Wendell on the April 25th show so take a list to that for a preview of the book

This week’s show features an interview with Issa Touma, a photographer and curator based in Aleppo (Syria). His photographic work has been show in international collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

6849954From his bio on lensculture.com: “Finding himself isolated from the international art community in his own country, Touma established the Black and White Gallery, the first photography gallery in the Middle East, in 1992. After its closure in 1996, Touma founded Le Pont, an independent art organization and gallery that promotes freedom of expression and stimulates the local art scene through international events. In 1997, he started the International Photography Festival Aleppo, which despite the horrors and uncertainties of the conflict, continues to take place every year.”

Examples of his work:

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You can see more examples of his pictures online at Le Pont He recently made documentary called 9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo which you can also see online

Show Details for the week of May 2nd, 2016

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Can a Single Injection Save Soldiers Suffering from PTSD? An interview with Matt Farwell
  • Educational effort to save whales, oceans, and people. An interview with Maris Sidenstecker II

More about this week’s guests:

MattBFarwell

Matt Farwell was a soldier in the United States Army from 2005 to 2010. After infantry and airborne training at Fort Benning, Ga., he was assigned to the Tenth Mountain Division’s Second Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment and deployed to Afghanistan for 16 months. Before enlisting, he studied government and history at the University of Virginia as an Echols Scholar and graduated from the United World College of the American West as a Davis Scholar. He recently wrote in Playboy of a revolutionary treatment for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The treatment is an anesthetic injection into nerves located in the side of the neck which, in lay terms, resets the veteran’s survival instinct, reducing the brain and body chemicals that lead to many of the emotional, mental and behavioral issues, including suicidality, that veterans endure upon returning home from war. The doctor performing this procedure reports a 70-80% success rate in the nearly 300 patients he has treated. What this treatment is helping to demonstrate, and as many of us with PTSD have seemed to understand for quite some time now, is that there is a biological, chemical or neurological element to PTSD that is resistant to standard psychological or psychiatric treatment.You can read a selection of Matt’s work in Vanity Fair, Maxim, The New York Times, Rolling Stone (w/ Michael Hastings) “America’s Last Prisoner of War”, Rolling Stone (w/ Michael Hastings) “The Spy Who Cracked up in the Cold”, PBS Media Shift. You can follow Matt on twitter here:@mattbfarwell

 

marisstwteemsmMaris Sidenstecker II is co-founder of Save The Whales, founded in 1977. She designed a T-shirt at the age of 14 to save the whales after reading how they were slaughtered and has carried the passion of protecting marine life throughout her life. She developed and implemented hands-on interactive classroom programs for school children and has educated over 280,000 students about protecting the fragile oceans and the life within it. As a student, she assisted with field research on orca pods in Washington State and British Columbia. Maris is also an accomplished artist and followed up her original T-shirt with other designs. B.A. double major in Marine Biology/Zoology from Humboldt State University, California. Awards: Educator of the Year award in 2007 from The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG), 2009 Member of The Year by Madison Who’s Who. The Save The Whales campaign is global in scope and dedicated to conservation. Based in Seaside CA, Save The Whales marine biologists’ travel throughout Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties to educate students to help protect the oceans. Each year they educate 6,000-7,000 students with hands-on, science based programs about whales, otters, sea turtles, and endangered species.  Saving 10,000 marine animals from death from US Navy Ship Shock tests in 1994 was a ground breaking victory for Save The Whales. They reach an international audience through their website, E-newsletters and Facebook site. Since 1977, Save The Whales has educated over 305,000 school children with hands-on educational programs.