Prof. Beau Grosscup on US air raids in Afghanistan; Robert Cruickshank on California politics. Grosscup is Professor of International Relations at Chico State and author of Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment. We talk about the repeated incidents of Afghan civilians killed by US air attacks, which Grosscup considers "terrorism" and the way that term is re-defined to apply only to our enemies. He also talks about domestic terrorism at Oklahoma City, Ft. Hood and the recent Stack attack on the IRS office in Austin. Cruickshank is policy director at the Courage Campaign and one of many excellent contributors to the progressive politics blog about California, Calitics. We talk about eBay billionaire Meg Whitman's massive spending to buy the governorship--using Sarah Palin campaign tactics; about Jerry Brown's slow start on his race; about failed HP CEO Carly Fiorina's race to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer and Fiorina's gutter-level attacks on her GOP opponent Tom Campbell; and about initiative battles over corporate influence, esp. the utility P G & E's efforts to pass an undemocratic initiative to maintain its monopoly and block community power programs permitted by current law.
As Brad Friedman reports at Bradblog.com and in Podcast #102, The New York Times is refusing to correct its false reporting about the smear of ACORN by Breitbart and O'Keefe, using a heavily edited entrapment video. A senior editor of The Times even cited O'Keefe's comments on Fox News as proof that he dressed as a pimp when he and Hannah Giles played their games at ACORN offices. Both Giles and Andy Breitbart, the ringleader, admitted at CPAC that Giles and O'Keefe were dressed much more conservatively. The pimp'n'ho images were used to stampede Congress into stripping ACORN funding and severely damaging the organization. Send your comments to public editor Clark Hoyt: [email@example.com] and demand that they correct these reports!
Brad Friedman updates the ACORN smear, Prof. Marjorie Cohn comments on whitewash of torture memo authors. Friedman, of Bradblog.com, serves up admissions from GOP provocateurs Andy Breitbart and Hannah Giles that Giles and her "undercover journalist" pal James O'Keefe were not, in fact, dressed as whore and pimp when they framed ACORN workers on video. The video was used by Fox and even the New York Times to attack ACORN, and led to shameful action by Congress to strip ACORN funding. So far, the Times has refused to correct its false reporting. Send your email comments to Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt: firstname.lastname@example.org Prof. Cohn teaches at Thomas Jefferson law school in San Diego and is immediate past president of National Lawyers Guild. She deplores the OPR report and the spin of the mainstream media that Yoo and Bybee have been exonerated, and describes how they violated professional standards and twisted their opinions to give BushCo license to torture. Join the effort to discipline Yoo and Bybee here. Cohn is co-author of the new book, Rules of Disengagement, which gives the history of conscientious objectors and legal tips to those who reject service in the current wars.
Dr. Julien Mercille on Afghanistan. This is another in the Boiling Frogs interview series, co-hosted with Sibel Edmonds. Dr. Julien Mercille discusses the trail of Afghanistan's drug money, the false impression given by the latest UN report on the effects of Afghanistanâ€™s drug production, and the role of other nations and institutions including western banks. He talks about the predominant view of the US and NATO held by the majority in Afghanistan today, his interview with Malalai Joya, Afghanistan's youngest Member of Parliament, who is well known for openly challenging the US, NATO, warlords and the Taliban, the current state of progressive movements in Afghanistan, and more. Mercille is a lecturer in US foreign policy at University College Dublin, where he moved after obtaining his PhD from UCLA. He teaches on US history and foreign policy and has published academic articles on Iran, Iraq and the Cold War, and is now researching the â€œWar on Drugsâ€ and Afghanistan. He has also written for various websites and magazines on those topics and others.
Rape in the US military, clean elections for California. Col. Ann Wright, with 29 years of service in the Army and Army Reserve, offers a chilling account of sexual assault and sexual harrassment in the military--where 30% of women report being raped and 80% subject to harassment. PBC notes that the homophobic opposition to repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell does not even acknowledge the problems caused by out of control heterosexuals in the military. Here is the link to Col. Wright's recent article that we reference; and here is the link to Penny Coleman's article. California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) makes the case for campaign finance reform, and Trent Lange of the fair elections coalition defines the terms of Prop 15 on the June ballot, which would set up a pilot program of publicly funded elections.
Prof. Juan Cole on Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Kevin Kamps on Obama's nuclear gamble. Prof. Cole teaches history at U of Michigan, and writes the Informed Comment blog, a great resource on America's wars. We talk about the draw down of US troops in Iraq and Cole is optimistic about full withdrawal by the end of 2010. He describes the jockeying in Iraq over the March 7 elections and the influence of Iran and Ahmed Chalabi on the process. He details the capture of Mullah Baradar--the military leader of the "old" Taliban--by Pakistani and US operatives, and offers candid comments about the new US attack on Marjah. Kamps is an expert on nuclear waste at the think tank founded by Dr. Helen Caldicott, Beyond Nuclear and he is sharply critical of Obama's decision to provide loan guarantees for Southern Co.'s plans to build two new nukes in Georgia so taxpayers take the risk and the utility takes the profits. In addition to the financial risk, Kamps talks about the fallacy that nukes are safe for people and the environment and the false promise that a blue ribbon panel can resolve the nuclear waste issues.
In my preceding post, I was complaining that we had not heard any news of troops coming home from Iraq. On February 16, the Pentagon announced that troop levels have declined to 98,000 and that about 50,000 more will withdraw by August of this year. The remainder are supposed to be out of Iraq by the end of next year. While I'm pleased at this progress, and more than willing to eat my words, I strongly doubt that all of our troops will leave
Iraq in the next 5 years. We've built a number of major bases there, and I expect there will be a residual force of at least 10,000 for a long time. I still feel that we are too passive in the face of Obama's militarism.
Coleen Rowley, 24-yr-FBI agent, on recent terror plots and the 9/11 Commission. This is another edition of the Boiling Frogs interview series, co-hosted with Sibel Edmonds. Rowley shares with us her views on the latest spectacle surrounding the Christmas Day foiled terrorist attempt, and how it reflects on policies that were implemented after 9/11. She provides us with insight into the pretend investigations carried out by the 9/11 Commission, and how they conducted many of their interviews of FBI witnesses and experts inside the FBI HQ and offices. Ms. Rowley talks about the absence of real investigations and accountability in almost any government related wrongdoing, our shameful treatment of inmates at Guantanamo, the alarming desensitization of our people bolstered by the culprit mainstream media, and much more. Rowley, an FBI special agent for almost 24 years, was legal counsel to the FBI Field Office in Minneapolis from 1990 to 2003. She came to national attention in June 2002, when she testified before Congress about serious lapses before 9/11 that helped account for the failure to prevent the attacks. She now writes and speaks on ethical decision-making and on balancing civil liberties with the need for effective investigation.
Alabama sleaze, hardball in hydroponics. Alabama blogger Roger Shuler returns with a report from the Deep South. He comments on Sen. Shelby's abusive hold on Obama appointments and Sen. Session's homophobic opposition to lifting Don't Ask Don't Tell. While Shelby has blocked appointments, Obama has left partisan Republicans in critical US Attorney jobs, including Leura Canary in Alabama. One of her deputies, who coached the key witness in the Siegelman case, is on his way to Gitmo as a defense attorney in kangaroo court er, military commissions for some prisoners. Shuler also updates the Siegelman appeals and reports that debt collectors played a key role in Sen. Brown's recent Massachusetts election. Big Mike Straumietis, CEO of Advanced Nutrients, charges that hydroponic equipment producers are colluding against him and threatening retailers because he openly supports medical marijuana cultivation. His new magazine is Rosebud.