Filmmaker Laura Poitras and Prof. Roberto Rodriguez on apartheid in Arizona. Poitras is producer/director/cinematographer of the new documentary The Oath which adds new information to the case of Salim Hamdan (bin Laden's driver) who spent 5.5 years at Guantanamo and tried in a military tribunal; he is now free in Yemen. The film also profiles Abu Jandal, who recruited Hamdan into al Qaeda. It opens in early May in NY, watch for it this summer. Rodriguez wrote a commentary for Common Dreams which adds context to Arizona Gov. Brewer's signing of SB 1070, the draconian law that allows police to stop anyone they suspect of being an illegal resident. We talk about how McCain unleashed the Tea Party virus that is now threatening his re-election. Rodriguez supports boycotts, and political theater--like citizens going to police stations to ask to have their documents inspected. The second portion begins at 22:55
Journalists Russ Baker and Robert Dreyfuss. Baker is a veteran magazine journalist who has launched the nonprofit investigative news site, WhoWhatWhy and is the author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Yearsand has some fascinating insights into JFK's assassination, Nixon's downfall and Bush per et fils. We talk with Baker about the state of media and its role in our declining democracy. Dreyfuss is a contributing editor at The Nation, where he blogs the Dreyfuss Report. We talk about his article on Hamid Karzai in The Nation; Karzai is also the subject of a new Rolling Stone article by Dreyfuss. He offers a view of Karzai you won't find in the corporate media, and asks why the US is not supporting Karzai's efforts to forge a peace plan with the Taliban and other leaders. He comments on the recent "victory in Marjah" and the forthcoming assault on Kandahar, and suggests the US is looking to weaken the Taliban before agreeing to negotiations, despite Obama's call for a political solution. The Dreyfuss interview starts at about 21 minutes from the start.
Habeas Corpus Week. British journalist Andy Worthington returns to focus on 47 cases brought by Guantanamo prisoners using habeus corpus, over 70% resulting in court-ordered release of the inmate. With 183 detainees remaining, more than half of those from Yemen, Worthington details the case of al-Warafi, who was recently denied release; we also talk about the role of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel in the management of these issues and the departure of Counsel Greg Craig, as well as Obama's withdrawal of the nomination of Prof. Dawn Johnsen to Office of Legal Counsel--a victory for the Cheneys. Read Worthington's excellent work here.
Joshua Kors: Shameful treatment of wounded GI's; Gen. Robert Gard on Obama's nuclear weapons summit. Kors is a great journalist with a new cover story for The Nation that exposes outrageous treatment of wounded Iraq combat vets. This time, it's the case of Sgt. Chuck Luther, injured in a mortar blast, who was treated like a Gitmo prisoner when he sought treatment for the injuries, and pressured to accept a discharge that said his war injuries were caused a case of "personality disorder" that preceded his service. Gen. Gard is an elder warrior (Korea, Vietnam) who is Chair of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. He comments on the 47-nation conference about loose nukes held in Washington in mid-April, the new START treaty with Russia and its flaws, Bush's blunder on our nuclear deal with India, US failure to expose and understand the A.Q. Khan network, and related issues. The second segment starts about 28:30
Prof. David Coates coaches liberals; John Stauber protests San Francisco's giveaway of toxic sludge as "compost". Coates reported from the UK in podcast 119, and here he comments on Obama's failures to frame and carry the debate over health insurance. His new book is Answering Back: Liberal responses to Conservative Arguments. It's a lively conversation, as PBC points out you can win a rational debate only if the other side is rational, too. We also talk about the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation battle, and the call for progressives to fight back if Obama appoints a conservative. Check out Prof. Coates' blog here, and website here. Stauber is a member of the advisory board of Organic Consumers Association, and the author of Toxic Sludge is Good For You. A coalition of organic activists is challenging San Francisco's distribution of wastewater solids that include toxins like dioxin, PCB's and pesticide residue--as organic compost for urban gardens. The activists dumped a load of toxic dung on the steps of City Hall recently, and Stauber explains how they have come into conflict with organic food visionary Alice Waters. If you are offended by the word "shit", you should avoid this segment, which starts at about 31:45.
Mark Fiore, the talented political cartoonist whose animations are featured on this home page (just scroll down a bit if you haven't found it) won the Pulitzer Prize this week. Mark is the first web-based political cartoonist to win the Pulitzer. I've known Mark for more than 6 years, and I'm really pleased that he has gotten this major recognition. Congratulations, Mark!
Jason Leopold: BushCo knew most Gitmo prisoners were innocent; Prof. John Laprise: Pres. Ford OK'd wiretaps, break-ins. Leopold is Deputy Managing editor of Truthout.org, and details Lawrence Wilkerson's sworn declaration that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others knew that most Guantanamo inmates were innocent of any terrorism crimes, even as they repeatedly lied that all at Gitmo were the "worst of the worst". The lies continue, with Obama dropping the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to the Justice Dept. following Liz Cheney's smear of the "al Qaeda 8". Prof. Laprise of Northwestern has researched the history of computers in the White House, and reports that documents from the Ford administration (with younger Cheney and Rumsfeld in key posts) authorized break-ins and electronic surveillance, after the Nixon blunders but before the 1978 FISA law on wiretapping. Section 2 of the podcast starts at about 41:38
Stephen Kohn, attorney and executive director of National Whistleblowers Center talks about Senate bill 372, which purports to strengthen protections for whistleblowers. White House lawyer Norman Eisen was invited to debate the bill, but declined. This is the next installment in the Boiling Frogs interview series, co-hosted with FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. Edmonds and Kohn argue that the bill would weaken protection for FBI employees, and does not help national security whistleblowers (CIA, NSA, Defense). The bill is before Sen. Lieberman's Homeland Security Committee, and we encourage listeners to lobby their senators on this badly written legislation.
Stephen Zunes on Dems' denial of Armenian genocide; Dahr Jamail on Iraq. Zunes is Professor of Politics and Chair of Mid-Eastern Studies at University of San Francisco. He comments on a March 11 article he wrote at Huffington Post about the most recent House resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks in 1918-19, which was passed by the Foreign Relations Committee. Secretary of State Clinton, who supported such a measure as a senator and candidate, opposes it now, and worked to prevent it from a full House vote. Obama and Pelosi have also flipped from previous support, and Zunes recounts the history of excuses along with the latest--we need Turkish support for sanctions against Iran. Zunes also comments on the new START treaty and the upcoming summit in Washington. Jamail is an independent journalist who has been a frequent PBC contributor, and he comments on the newly-released video of US choppers who killed a dozen Iraqis, including two Reuters reporters, in July, 2007. Watch the video here. Jamail also talks about the recent elections in Iraq and the execution of 25 Sunnis, and about the progress of US troop withdrawals. Read his latest reports here.