The Power of Theater to End Militarism

March 20th, 2012

Antiwar playwrite Karen Malpede, whose play Another Life is the focus of a Festival of Conscience now running in Brooklyn, N.Y., explains the development of drama as katharsis for antiwar veterans in ancient Greece and the power that the theater has to oppose militarism today.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive.org or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

<iframe src=”http://www.archive.org/embed/TalkNationRadioThePowerOfTheaterToEndMilitarism” frameborder=”0″ height=”40″ width=”500″></iframe>

3-Hour Military Test Secretly Administered in Thousands of High Schools

March 20th, 2012

Pat Elder of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy (StudentPrivacy.org) explains how the U.S. military gets away with requiring students in thousands of U.S. high schools to take a 3-hour career inventory test with the results going straight to recruiters without students’ or parents’ knowledge.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive.org or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

<iframe src=”http://www.archive.org/embed/3-hourMilitaryTestSecretlyAdministeredInThousandsOfHighSchools” frameborder=”0″ height=”40″ width=”500″></iframe>

Students Hunger Strike for a Living Wage

March 7th, 2012

Hunter Link of the University of Virginia’s Living Wage Campaign explains why he and other students stopped eating and why workers at UVA can and should be paid a living wage.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive.org or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy on Bahrain, AIPAC, and Military Spending

February 29th, 2012

Robert Naiman, just returned from Bahrain, discusses the popular uprising there, the upcoming conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its push for war with Iran, and the prospects for reducing U.S. military spending.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson

Producer: David Swanson

Engineer: Christiane Brown

Download from Archive.org or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Author, Activist, War Veteran Paul Chappell on How We End War Forever

February 15th, 2012

Author, Activist, War Veteran Paul Chappell on How We End War Forever 

Paul Chappell discusses the investigations into the making of war and of peace found in his books “Will War Ever End,” “The End of War,” and the just published “Peaceful Revolution: How We Can Create the Future Needed for Humanity’s Survival.” Chappell also authored a chapter in “The Military Industrial Complex at 50.”

Total Run Time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson

Producer: David Swanson

Download from Archive.org, or AudioPort.org, or

Best MP3 for download or Air on all types of stations here.

DavidSwanson.org.

Temperatures Rise at Fukushima, Activists in Japan and US Fight Nuclear Energy Industry

February 9th, 2012

Talk Nation Radio for February 9, 2012
Temperatures Rise at Fukushima, Activists in Japan and US Fight Nuclear Energy Industry

Temperatures have been rising at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan and radioactive water has leaked internally as scientists struggle to understand what is happening at the core level below their camera capacity. Michael Mariotte, Executive Director Nuclear Information and Resource Service, NIRS.org, joins us for an update on the disaster in Japan. Nirs, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, offers continuous updates, news links, actions on nuclear power, and information about what’s going on internationally to challenge the nuclear industry on safety concerns. One of their ongoing campaigns is a petition to President Obama asking him to end taxpayer subsidies for new nuclear reactors.


TRT: 29:05
Produced by Dori Smith
Music by Fritz Heede
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport here or at Archive.org
(Download as an active MP3 link: http://ia600808.us.archive.org/27/items/MichaelMariotteOfNirsTemperaturesRiseAtFukushimaActivistsInJapan/2012-02-09-Michael-Mariotte-Fukushima-USA-No-Nukes.mp3)

Headlines for February 7th through February 9th, 2012:

-A former special adviser to Naoto Kan, the prime minister when the disaster began, has said Fukushima opened up a pandora’s box of problems and said the situation is far from resolved.

-Japan Times reported February 8th that earthworms collected from Kawauchi village near the Fukushima’s No. 1 nuclear plant, were found to have high cesium levels of an average of 20,000 becquerels per kilogram. Scientists warn that the cesium will now make its way up the food chain.

-And concerned citizens in Japan have collected five million signatures on a petition calling on the government to permanently shut down all nuclear power plants in the country.

Just hours after we recorded this interview, the Sado Island region of Japan was struck by a 5.0 earthquake that shut off water to the region and broke windows. No injuries have been reported. The quake points up some of the dangers of continuing to operate nuclear power plants in Japan.

In the last few days the news from Japan has been extreme in terms of the sides being drawn over nuclear power. The Japanese government has notified residents of their plan to allow nuclear reactors to keep operating for as long as 60 years. Under this proposal, according to NHK World, once a reactor turns 40, the operators may apply for a one time extension of up to 20 years. But see Green Action Japan here. Aileen Mioko Smith, executive director of Kyoto-based Green Action, warned that operating reactors for six decades runs a high risk of another Fukushima-like accident. Mioko Smith points out that today, even with 90 percent of the nation’s nuclear plants shut down, there is enough electricity.

Peace Activist Johanna Rivera Journey’s Deep into the Struggle: Her travels through in Egypt, Palestine, Israel, and Iraq

January 28th, 2012

Talk Nation Radio for January 28, 2012
Peace Activist Johanna Rivera Journey’s Deep into the Struggle:
Her travels in Egypt, Palestine, Israel, and Iraq

Human rights activist Johanna Rivera joins us to talk about her travels in the Middle East. She was in grad school at the University of Connecticut’s School of pharmacy when she decided to visit the Middle East and it was a life changing decision. Her popular Blog is “A Journey Deep into the Struggle” and she’s used it to document her travels through Egypt, Palestine, Israel, and Iraq plus her efforts to promote human and civil rights for women and children as well as protesters. She is currently doing public speaking in New England but plans to return to Iraq. A Puerto Rican born American, Johanna Rivera, took time away from her studies to join the Gaza Freedom March in Cairo in 2009 as protesters took to the streets with a then unknown local protest movement. In Cairo she sparked concern for those at home when police roughed her up during a peaceful protest.

Produced by Dori Smith
TRT: 29:00
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport here or at Archive.org

Johanna Rivera’s journey then took her to Palestine where she worked at the Tent of Nations in the West Bank, an international peace center run by a Palestinian family, and then spent time in Israel working with an organization that empowers Israeli women of Palestinian background through education, employment and counseling. Ultimately, Johanna Rivera found herself in Iraq where she spent time in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, both in the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq near the Iranian border. Her work there was with refugee children and their mothers.

On her blog, “A journey deep into the struggle” she describes her first impressions of the camp. “The children’s messy, untidy hair reminded me of their reality as refugees, but their smiles and beautiful eyes lifted me up. I started to ask their names, and they all took turns to tell me their names. One of them clung into my arm and kissed it, my heart wanted to melt but I smiled and kissed her head back. It was very hot and dusty, and we were trying to set up the stage for the puppet show. It was just a colored banner in Arabic and English welcoming everyone, but it was meant to serve as an interface between the public and the actors. We laid some blankets in the dusty ground for the audience to sit overlooking the mountains.”

Johanna Rivera’s blog has news worthy observations as well. She may document an attack on protesters one day, then on another she describes the changes she can observe to a community of Christians in Erbil who arrived in Kurdistan after their church was bombed in Baghdad. The blog also a platform for her to describe the many people she connects with as she spends time in the Middle East. There are many high quality photographs of them, and her personal revelations about how the land and its people were affecting her.

On March 14, 2011, Johanna Rivera puts a photo of protests in Sulaymania province on her blog, and translates one of the banners. It reads, GO OUT, the words and chants directed at President Massoud Barzani and the KDP party, Kurdistan Democratic Party. (Click here for a YouTube video we used audio from in this program.)

She writes: “There have been demonstrations in Sulaimanya-the second largest city in Kurdistan and cultural capital- since the past three weeks, when citizens of Kurdistan took to the streets to demand jobs and the end of corruption. About 8 people have died so far and more than 200 have been wounded in clashes between protesters and heavily armed militia forces linked to the two ruling parties of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The ruling (KDP) government did not condemn the killings of civilian perpetrated by its own militia, while Mr. President Massoud Barzani, was receiving the Atlantic Peace Award in Italy.”

Military Industrial Complex at 50: David Swanson on his new book coauthored with Ann Wright, Karen Kwiatkowski, Gareth Porter, and 26 other well known authors

January 19th, 2012

Talk Nation Radio for January 20, 2012
Military Industrial Complex at 50

David Swanson on his new book: Coauthored with Ann Wright, Karen Kwiatkowski, Gareth Porter, and 26 other well known authors. David Swanson is a peace activist and October 2011 organizer and author of, “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.”

We hear about the ever-growing limitations of U.S. Congress due to defense money being sent to members of the House and Senate, plus other ways that corporate power, and military industry affect our lives, and our representative government. Plus new energy in the OWS movement with dates for general strikes and/or protests. Can Americans take a lesson from Nigerians who went out on general strike to protest a large hike in fuel prices?

Produced by Dori Smith
TRT: 29:01
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport here and at Archive.org
OR Archive.org

We discuss the recent passage by the Charlottesville, Va., City Council of a “Resolution Opposing War on Iran”. And David Swanson’s latest book which is co-authored with the authors below: The Military Industrial Complex at 50, or “MIC50” as its being called.

With a host of well known writers, David Swanson offers new context and relevance to America’s defense corporations. He discusses the overall impact of the arms industry on US and international human and civil rights, US foreign and military policy, military operations in the MidEast and other countries, the impact on the economy of defense spending, and new momentum for an Iran strike.

He and others who wrote MIC50, wanted to deliver the kind of warning that former President Eisenhower offered when he told his audience in 1961: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.–We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” (Audio clip of this quote within this week’s program at 15 sec., from Archive.org library, full speech here. And the photo of the jets is from a page about Sweden ordering more jet aircraft and military equipment, for Afghanistan operations, mentions Israel and USA. 1/17, Daily Defense News.)

Learn more at mic50.org as well as Warisacrime, and davidswanson.org David Swanson also blogs at RootsAction.

The Military Industrial Complex at 50 is co-authored by David Swanson, Ellen Brown • Paul Chappell • Helena Cobban • Ben Davis • Jeff Fogel • Bunny Greenhouse • Bruce Gagnon • Clare Hanrahan • John Heuer • Steve Horn • Robert Jensen • Karen Kwiatkowski • Judith Le Blanc • Bruce Levine • Ray McGovern • Wally Myers • Robert Naiman • Gareth Porter • Chris Rodda • Allen Ruff • Mia Austin Scoggins • Tony Russell • Lisa Savage • Mary Beth Sullivan • Coleman Smith • Dave Shreve • Pat Elder • Jonathan Williams • and Ann Wright.

Journalist Dahr Jamail Reports from Baghdad on Political Chaos

January 7th, 2012

Talk Nation Radio for January 7, 2011
Journalist Dahr Jamail Reports from Baghdad on Political Chaos

-’The Americans are gone and now we are in total political turmoil, and that’s the reality in Iraq today’.
-’Clearly killings and bombings that are targeting the Shiite population. Just like what we’ve seen in the past these are attacks carried out to incite sectarian warfare’.

‘Iraqis are very afraid today of a return to 2006, 2007, that horrific sectarian bloodshed period where we saw tens of thousands of Iraqis killed, literally just open sectarian war’. Dahr Jamail, in Baghdad, 1-6-12

Dahr Jamail provides a detailed analysis of the new violence that has left hundreds of civilian Iraqis dead and wounded. We hear about fall out from what Nouri al-Maliki has done in charging his Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi with terrorism. Plus sectarian divisions and Fallujah birth defects soaring at 14% according a physician keeping records. And ‘Iraq A Country in shambles’ according to Dahr Jamail’s report to Al Jazeera, January 9, 2011, see here.

Upgraded audio version now available at Audioport and Archive.org

TRT: 29:13
Produced by Dori Smith, Storrs, CT
Music by Fritz Heede
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport here and at Archive.org (Free air quality MP3 download).

Investigative journalist Dahr Jamail joins us from Baghdad where new violence that has left at 100’s of civilian Shiite’s dead and wounded. Dahr Jamail is Bagdad correspondent for Al Jazeera and author of ‘Beyond the Green Zone, Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq’, and ‘The Will to Resist, Soldiers who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan’. He has been covering Iraq off and on since 2003 and has won many awards for his hard hitting reports that reveal the human cost of the U.S. war and occupation. You can find his work at Al Jazeera English and Inter Press Service, Truthout, (See first truthout.org and second truth-out.org) The Nation Magazine, The Sunday Herald in Scotland, the Guardian, Foreign Policy in Focus, Le Monde Diplomatique, and the Independent, as well as other publications or go to his web site, www.dahrjamail.net.

Transcript for Talk Nation Radio for January 7, 2012.
Journalist Dahr Jamail Reports from Baghdad on Political Chaos
Interviewed January 6, 2012 by Dori Smith

Investigative journalist Dahr Jamail joins us from Iraq to assess the political implications of new violence there that has left at 100’s of civilian Shiite’s dead and wounded. Dahr Jamail is Bagdad correspondent for Al Jazeera.

Intro: Award winning investigative journalist Dahr Jamail is author of ‘Beyond the Green Zone’, and ‘The Will to Resist’. He has been covering Iraq off and on 2003 and we reached him in Baghdad where he is Al Jazeera’s Correspondent there. You can find his work at Al Jazeera English and Inter Press Service, TruthOut, The Nation, The Sunday Herald in Scotland, the Guardian, Foreign Policy in Focus, Le Monde Diplomatique, and the Independent, as well as other publications or go to his web site, dahrjamail.net.

Dori Smith: Dahr Jamail welcome again to Talk Nation Radio.
Dahr Jamail: Thanks Dori its good to be with you.

DS: It seems you are clearly moving around in Baghdad and not staying inside the fortified Green Zone. Just talk about what you have been seeing and the implications of this sectarian violence and civil war that you’ve been talking about in your reports to Al Jazeera.

DJ: Well that really is the big story. I came I here on this trip on December 26th and we knew that things were going south in a very fast way because when the US ended their formal military presence, less than one day after they withdrew the last of the troops that aren’t going to be remaining at the embassy, less than 24 hours after that Vice President Nouri al-Maliki issued an arrest warrant for Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi, a Sunni under charges of terrorism. Maliki’s critics said this is basically a move to consolidate political power, you are trying to basically just collapse this very tenuous kind of fragile power sharing government that we’ve had said up, that the Americans have taken great pains to set up, and Maliki’s move against his vice president was also followed by his placing the Deputy Prime Minister, Saleh el-Mutlaq, also a Sunni, placing him on indefinite leave. So clearly this caused the Sunni block in the Parliament the Iraqiya block to boycott parliament, and that has basically frozen the government. So we have a situation where Maliki is head of a minority government that can’t do anything. There is no resolution happening to the political crisis. Meanwhile that leaves the door wide open for mayhem on the ground and that’s exactly what we’re seeing.

During the last week of December we had the first massive wave of suicide attacks and bombings across the country that killed over 70 people. And then yesterday we had an even bigger wave of IED’s, suicide attacks, and motorcycle bombs. All across the country, primarily Baghdad and south of Baghdad, targeting Shiite pilgrims, with 84 dead, and the total from yesterday I think it was 173 wounded. And then today we’ve had, not nearly as bloody, but we’ve have had a continuance of attacks. Two more IEDs, a barrage of mortars that fell across the city, one striking the Green Zone, a couple landing not far from our bureau here, two Shiite pilgrims killed and at least 17 wounded today. So the thing is these are clearly killings and bombings that are targeting the Shiite population just like what we have seen in the past, these are attacks that are carried out to try to incite sectarian warfare. One of Al Qaeda’s agenda’s in Iraq is to sew mayhem amongst the population and that is exactly what would happen. So Iraqis are very afraid today of a return to 2006, 2007, that horrific sectarian bloodshed period where we saw tens of thousands of Iraqis killed and literally just open sectarian war, and that’s what everyone is very concerned about now and does not want to happen. But they are of course extremely angry at the government because the government can’t and won’t get anything done to try to find resolution, find power sharing, create some kind of a unity government to prevent that from happening.

DS: And so the political leaders fighting, it seems as if the civilians there that you have been speaking to are clearly saying that we’re paying the price for this disagreement that is political. You could say I guess at this point we are looking at political civil war right?

DJ: Oh yeah. It’s open warfare in the political realm for sure. Maliki has pulled out all of the stops, he is going big, he is not pulling any punches, and he is openly moving to try to consolidate power. The Sunnis are basically in reactive mode trying to do damage control, figure out how they can try to turn this against Maliki. There is all kinds of political horse trading going on but at the end of the day Maliki is making a power move.

Today for example, he held the biggest military parade that Iraq has had since 2003 when Saddam had one just prior to the invasion to try to have a show of strength. Well Maliki had one today and interestingly enough it took place inside the Green Zone and the timing of the mortar attacks was timed to coincide with the parade. And so an AFP photographer who was in photographing the parade could hear the explosions echoing across the parade ground as Iraq’s military was being paraded in front of the Prime Minister. So the attack clearly meant to show, look you can have your little military parade but it still can’t keep you safe even inside the Green Zone, even with your entire military right there at your disposal we can still hit you. And that’s what this shows. So if the intent of having the parade was a show of force if anything it has backfired and showed people look, there is no security because you can’t even keep a military parade secure in front of the Prime Minister. So nevertheless Maliki is doing these things, he is kind of thumping his chest, showing who has control militarily to his political rivals, and really making no political concessions at least not at this point.

DJ: And now true is that Dahr that he has complete control over the military and any intelligence agencies there?

DJ: He definitely has control of the military. It’s a rag tag third rate military at best but he definitely has control over it and it is a big force. So at least as far as anything that goes on on the ground in Iraq, whether its putting down an insurgency here and there or a particular militia, he definitely has the power to do that, there is no question about that. He does have his own private security, he does have his own private intelligence services. He is forming his own private militia, you know he doesn’t call it a militia of course but that’s what it is. So there are things he is doing also on that front to consolidate power. But the government as a whole is in total gridlock. It’s not accomplishing anything right now. And as we have talked about before Dori so much hasn’t changed. I mean this is a government that can’t even get the garbage collected in the capital city and it goes downhill from there. Basic services are still basically crap.

The average home in Baghdad has maybe six hours of electricity per day. I don’t even know if that’s changed since the last time we talked so long ago. Shockingly enough, still about one out of every two Iraqis lacks access to safe, potable, clean drinking water. The medical system is so bad now that people don’t take their loved ones to the hospital unless its an absolute worst case emergency. They try to save up money and take them to a private hospital instead because the public ones have just gone completely downhill after all of the doctors fled and the infrastructure has just had no attendance. And of course all of this against the backdrop of unemployment where rates vary depending on who you get the statistics from and what month it is but unemployment rates vary from between 25% and 45%. So somewhere between great depression level in the U.S. and almost double that.

DS: And what about others that you mention in your reporting like the Sunni led Iraqiya or [hard line Shiite bloc cleric] Moqtada al-Sadr, who is still in this, as well as the rival political group Asab al-Haq? Do they have political strength or support within the Iraqi population?

DJ: Al-Sadr is in an interesting position because he is now put on his political hat again and is again positioning himself as like peace maker between all of the chaos keeping in mind that Sadr has always hated Maliki, because remember it was just a few years ago that Maliki declared open war on Sadr’s militia and with the help of the American’s put it down relatively easily. Sadr only came into the government basically because Iran told him to, to be friends with Maliki at least for now until they can get the Americans out and then take total control of the country which is basically what’s happening. So Sadr is a key player. I don’t think he has enough consensus backing overall in the government to be a big enough power player there but he does have enough of a power block and a big enough following on the street that he can throw his weight around and shift the situation to go in one direction or another. And that’s what we have to watch now. Once again he shows up at the key moment when things are super tenuous and starts throwing his weight around and he can definitely change the direction that things are going to go in politically here. You know Maliki of course and his Rule of Law party being the key power, primarily because they continue to be supported by the U.S. even after his arrest warrant against Tareq al-Hashimi, he’s had the green light from the U.S. on that interestingly enough. And he continues to be backed by Iran as well. Its very interesting.

One joke in Iraq is that you have the U.S. that Iran calls ‘the great Satan’ and then you have Iran that the U.S. calls the ‘axis of evil’. So the great Satan and the axis of evil get together and they guy they can decide on to agree for both of their best interests to lead Iraq is Nouri al-Maliki. So he is the child of ‘the great Satan’ and the ‘axis of evil’. And that’s pretty accurate if you look at the guy and you look at how he has been behaving and what he is doing even right now, the moniker fits.

So those are really some of the key players. Of course we have to keep in mind Iski, [the Islamic Council of Iraq] and [Ammar] Aziz al-Hakim, and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, are all key players of course, and then the splinter group, the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haaq (Asa’ib Ahl al-Haaq or AAH) that use to be part of the Mahdi army and then they split off and now they’ve shown up putting on their political hats and are trying to make themselves look legitimate even though they are of course despised by the Americans and of course now being welcomed by Maliki. A lot of people are now perceiving that as an attempt to split the Sadrists to weaken Sadr from throwing his weight around which of course Maliki sees as a threat so he has welcomed in Sadr’s enemy. Those are some of the key players and again, now you can talk about throwing the Kurds into the mix which are of course other key big players as well and again trying to find consensus among all of those groups especially in this backdrop as things stand on the ground today that’s what we are looking at.

DS: And Dahr let’s throw oil into the mix and those all-important contracts. Are there any corporate powers that could have influence as Nouri al-Maliki makes power-sharing decisions?

DJ: I actually have an article on this scheduled for Sunday January 8, 2011, which is basically an update on what is happening with Iraq’s oil. And it’s a bit of a mixed bag. (See 1-9-12 article here) It’s not as cut and dry as OK we had the invasion, all of these western oil companies came in and set up shop and now they are just going to make out like bandits even though the U.S. Military has left. I think that’s what they wanted but that is not how it is played out. Part of that is because of the security situation that there is just no way for these guys to do their work the way they want to do it with ongoing attacks, with the threat of kidnapping, with sabotage, coupled with popular resistance on the ground from the Basra oil union workers. Then there is the overall population of course that does not want to see the oil privatized, certainly not into western hands. So those factors have been big at play working against this oil grab of the west.

That said, Exxon Mobile, BP, and Shell, remain in Iraq, they all have big contracts, they all are operating as we speak. Those are just the main companies and there are others as well but certainly, Iraqi oil is being accessed by these oil companies and they are taking it and selling it abroad and Iraq remains I believe they are the sixth largest oil provider to the U.S. So that’s where some of it is going and the rest of it is still being sold around the world as it was, in the same locations it was, prior to the invasion. So the key is there has been a big push to get in, change Iraq’s laws so that western oil companies can access, legally by Iraq standards, Iraq’s oil. And they have been pushing for these different contracts, and we’ve talked about the production sharing agreements, and all of this has basically ripped off the host country. Well those haven’t come to pass because basically what happened is the oil companies went in flying their greed flag and the Iraqis just wouldn’t have any of it. So concessions have been made, renegotiated, more concessions made, and now we are at a situation where there have been some deals cut but they are definitely not the best deals that these companies are use to getting. But certainly we still have at least four to five of the major key oil companies that are operating in Iraq.

I also would caution anyone from thinking this is a permanent situation because you look for example right now at how volatile the situation is here politically and on the ground and do you think any company is going to come in and think they are going to be able to set up shop long term in a country like this? Who knows what its going to look like in a month from now. So I think anyone who thinks oh yeah those companies are just always going to be here, I mean they could be thrown out tomorrow for all we know, that’s how unstable this place is. We’ll just have to keep our eye on that.

DS: And what about security now that you have brought that up? Are you seeing a lot of contractors there now to protect oil company personnel and or embassy staff?

DJ: You know with private contractors from the west, you are not seeing them on the streets at all anymore. I’ve been out on the streets a whole lot. I’ve been out to Fallujah, I’ve been all around Baghdad, and I have not seen any westerners out at all, no contractors whatsoever, and they literally are just sitting inside that embassy and not coming out. They are there, basically just to be there to guard that. I haven’t gone down to check any of the oil infrastructure down to the south, possibly they might be used for something like that but I kind of doubt it. Right now from what I can see is they are sitting inside the fortified Green Zone inside the embassy specifically, which you have to go through still to this day, it’s the same as when I was in here three years ago, which was seven check points just to get through into the Green Zone and that’s assuming that you have proper ID and the passes you need and all of this. So they are sitting in there and they are not coming out and I think just collecting big fat paychecks and escorting people around there and escorting people to and from the airport. So them and the military, they are just trying to keep a very low profile at this point and stay off of the streets.

DS: And you also mention in this report to Al Jazeera recently that Hashami is now living in the Kurdish North? So how doe that affect this sectarian divide?

DJ: That is an interesting twist to the situation, right. So when Maliki issued this arrest warrant Hashami went to Kurdistan because he knew and I think rightly so that he would not get a fair trial under Maliki’s justice system because Maliki controls the courts and everyone here knows it. So Maliki made the order and the court issued the warrant, its out there, and so Hashami, either he is going to go through the kangaroo court and end up in one of Maliki’s dungeons or executed on charges of terrorism or assassination attempts and running death squads, are the charges, or he goes up to Kurdistan and now he is staying in Talibani’s house up in Kurdistan because the Kurdish region is basically a very semi autonomous region and that Baghdad doesn’t really have authority there, they can’t, and there is another big squabble brewing between Kirkuk and the oil fields there and do the Kurds get it or how much control Baghdad has over it, but that’s a whole, another story, probably a whole separate discussion. But Hashami staying up there in Talibani’s house is interesting because it puts the Kurds obviously in a position of playing mediator, the Kurds saying look we’re not going to hand this guy over, we want him to have a fair trial too, wherever that might be. So he is sitting up there. Of course the Maliki government has gone so far as to accuse Talibani at one point of being a terrorist or housing a terrorist and then of course all hell was raised politically about that by the Kurds and so Maliki’s group withdrew that statement to calm things down a bit. But that’s how the situation has been playing out. It’s really quite the mess.

There is supposed to be a meeting at some point at Talibani’s house here in Baghdad to bring all of the groups together to talk about the situation and try to find resolution. However, Maliki has already said, well yeah we agree to have this meeting but only on the condition that we don’t talk about Hashami. So what’s the point? So there is that obstacle coupled with numerous other obstacles like Sadr has already said, look, if the Ahl al-Haaq group shows up, our rival group shows up, we won’t show up. There is that issue. There is the issue of well Hashami can’t be there because he is up in Kurdistan, I mean there are numerous issues like this that if this meeting even takes place, when it takes place, its got many major obstacles to overcome before anything productive might come of it.

DS: And Dahr what about the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Could he play a role as he did during earlier years of the U.S. occupation when he tried to wage peace by bringing groups together to meet?

DJ: He has not, he has been a background figure. We haven’t been hearing his name at all in Baghdad and I think basically he hasn’t really had to do anything because for the most part if we still look at the overall situation the Shia have the majority in the government, a majority of the country now geographically and politically and population wise is now either directly or indirectly under the control of Iran and they have accomplished all of this without even having to fire a shot. I think its been done by making very smooth and politically savvy realpolitik moves behind the scenes often times. And they have been doing that from the very beginning and the thing that we have talked about in the past too Dori is that Iran was playing chess from the start and the U.S. at best was playing checkers.

So we have the U.S. come in, invade the country illegally, destroy its reputation, destroy the military, tank the economy, kill 4500 American troops, spend almost a trillion dollars just in overt hard costs, not even looking down the future at other costs. So many studies have been done are calling this a three trillion dollar war, etc. To go through all of that and then withdraw humiliated when you can’t get diplomatic immunity for your troops that remain in country, and leave without the oil companies having their total access to oil that they had wanted, and basically just taking what you can get because your empire is crumbling–meanwhile Iran has garnered so much control and hegemony over so much of Iraq at your expense–that’s basically what’s happened here and it’s been a pretty remarkable thing to witness. I mean if you go around Baghdad now it’s really amazing. The Shia flag, we’re coming up on Ashura, that’s Shiite holy time, and the Imam Hussein flags are flying everywhere. They’re at the airport, everywhere you go, every government building, on government vehicles, half of them driving around in the streets are flying flags. The statement is clear. The Shia are in control here.

DS: And the U.S. arriving in Baghdad with a de-baathification plan in hand, just talk about the consequences though to Iraq overall as you return after some time away from the country.

DJ: Well the most important statistic as we’ve talked about so many times Dori is how many Iraqis have paid for this disaster with their lives. I always stick with the baseline being the Lancet Report that came out in 2006 at 655,000 deaths. That’s now grossly out of date, even though it’s the only scientific study, it’s grossly out of date. So now we have the OMB study out of London, which pegs it at 1.1 million. And then we have Just Foreign Policy that tries to keep a running tab and they are up to I think 1.4 million deaths now, and that’s not even talking about wounded, that’s just people who have died directly or indirectly as a result of the occupation.

So those are the figures we need to talk about. Anything lower than the Lancet is not a viable figure and is statistically unsound, and we have to remember the only scientific study that’s been done, there have been two, and they have both been done by the Lancet. The 2004 study that came out that was 98,000, and then the 2006 study that pegs it at 655,000.

So that is what we are talking about as far as what it has cost the Iraqi people and that’s just mind boggling. I mean 1 million people out of a country of (illegible) one out of 27 people have been killed is what we are talking about. Secondary to that you know we’ve talked about people displaced from their homes, to this day we have at least a million people internally displaced from their homes, at least a million people remain externally displaced from their homes in Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, and then go down the laundry list of countries from those top three. And then the infrastructure destruction that I’ve talked about, lack of water, lack of electricity, lack of jobs, lack of security; it’s a hard story to report because I feel like I’m saying the same things to you now that I said in our very first interview back in 2003 Dori except I just keep adjusting the figures upward. And that’s what the story is in Iraq. It really is still that bad here. People are not making a living. It’s an extremely difficult existence.

Just to give you an idea, I was over in Sadr City two days before the bombings happened yesterday and I know that, I went right by that place where the motorcycle bombs happened where those day laborers gather to have some tea and then they get on the bus when they find some work. Then they go do their day’s work and they earn a little bit of pay to hopefully feed their family for one more day. And that’s how about half the people in that entire area live. And that’s half the population of Baghdad, between 3 and 3.5 million people. So those people were out there waiting to get one day’s work, and then they’re blown up, so what about those families? Think about this. And I was just over there talking with these people at the market, you know I talked to a woman selling fruit, she is the only person in her family with a job. They didn’t eat dinner last night, that’s how most people living here are trying to eek out an existence. It really truly is that bad. The Americans have gone and now we are in total political turmoil and that’s the reality on the ground in Iraq today.

DS: Well and we were talking about Fallujah, which I know you were there several times during sieges and if you use that too as a barometer of how people are doing, what is the story out of Fallujah today?

DJ: I published a piece a couple days ago about the overall situation in Fallujah about how we are looking at a place the consensus there is that there is between 70% and 80% unemployment. The city, big parts of it still look like it was just bombed. There is still basically no infrastructure, maybe one to four hours of electricity per day in the average house. Clean drinking water, forget about it, working functional sewage, forget about it, security forget about it, there are attacks daily in the city. And people are angry, they are glad the Americans are gone, but they are bitter and there has of course been very little compensation in the wake of the sieges. Most people didn’t get compensation for destroyed houses or livelihoods or anything like that. Keeping in mind 6,000 businesses were destroyed during the second siege alone, so think about that.

On top of that, I think one of the more horrifying situations and I had a story just published on this today is the absolutely catastrophic levels of birth defects and abnormalities in Fallujah newborns. I spoke with Dr Samira Alani, she is a pediatric specialist at the main hospital there, at Fallujah General Hospital, and she has been there since 1997. The Ministry of Health out of Baghdad won’t take up responsibility of cataloging these defects and this is a political statement in itself. This tells you who is running government and who cares about Fallujah and who doesn’t right? So Maliki hates Fallujah, so there you have it.

Dr. Alani has taken it upon herself to start logging the number of birth defect cases that she has come across. And she started doing this in October of 2009 and just her alone since 2009 she has logged 699 cases of birth defects. When she tallies that out she is looking at just over a 14% rate of people having babies, are having babies with birth defects. By comparison she was in Japan a couple of months ago and she met with Japanese doctors who have done long term studies of radiation and cancers and birth defects, in the wake of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And over there at the peak they had 1% to 2% rates of birth defects. In Fallujah it’s over 14%, between 14% and 15%.

So that gives you an idea of how much radiation, and how much toxic chemical poisoning there is in Fallujah. This is definitely one of the harder stories I’ve had to write in a long time. I saw many of these kids, many of these babies with my own eyes, most of the really horrific defects, they die within, either they are dead when they are born or they die within 20 to 30 minutes. So Dr. Alani showed me pictures and gave me a flash drive with way more than I wanted to look at but we were able to put a couple up on the web site of not the worst cases but bad enough so that people get an idea. We’re talking about abnormalities that are something out of a horror movie. People are now afraid to have babies in Fallujah. It’s a crisis situation. What do people do?

It was hard to go to Fallujah also because I’ve seen that town, I was in there long before the first siege ever took place, I’ve seen it go from being a functional, vibrant city, one with a lot of pride, known as the ‘City of Mosques’ to one that’s been largely destroyed. You go in there now and there is no economy and people don’t know what they are going to do, and look if people are going to stop having kids, how long does it take for the city to go away? Maybe that’s what we are in the process of witnessing happen, where there is going to be a massive demographic shift, longer term.

Ironically a different thing that’s happening at the same time is that because of the sectarian fears rising in Baghdad, once again, people who live in mixed Shia and Sunni neighborhoods, a lot of the Sunnis are leaving and they are going to places where they know its safe for Sunnis and one of those places is Fallujah. So Fallujah right now actually is full of people because so many people from Baghdad have gone up there and running for their lives they go up there and just work as day laborers because they feel like its safer for them to live in Fallujah than it is to live in Baghdad.

DS: Dahr Jamail thanks so much for joining us.

DJ: Thanks again Dori its always a pleasure to be with you.

Award winning investigative journalist Dahr Jamail is author of Beyond the Green Zone, and The Will to Resist. He has been covering Iraq off and on 2003 and we reached him in Baghdad where he is Al Jazeera’s Correspondent there. You can find his work at Al Jazeera English and Inter Press Service, Truth out, The Nation, The Sunday Herald in Scotland, the Guardian, Foreign Policy in Focus, Le Monde Diplomatique, and the Independent, as well as other publications or go to his web site, www.dahrjamail.net.

For Talk Nation Radio I’m Dori Smith, the program is produced in Storrs CT and syndicated with Pacifica Network. www.talknationradio.org is our web site, our music is by Fritz Heede.

News Links:

Wave of bombings leaves scores dead in Iraq By Dahr Jamail | Al Jazeera English | Published: January 5, 2012
At least 70 killed and more than 100 wounded in the latest attacks in mainly Shia areas across the country.

Fallujah babies: Under a new kind of siege By Dahr Jamail | Al Jazeera English | Published: January 6, 2012
Doctors and residents blame US weapons for catastrophic levels of birth defects in Fallujah’s newborns.

Ben Adler on RNC Conservatives, Media, and Primaries, The Nation Magazine election writer takes us through Iowa, New Hampshire, S. Carolina

January 5th, 2012

Talk Nation Radio for January 5, 2011
Ben Adler on RNC Conservatives, Media, and Primaries:
The Nation Magazine Election Writer takes us through Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Beyond.

Produced by Dori Smith, Storrs, CT
TRT: 29:00
Music by Fritz Heede
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport here or at Archive.org and Radio4all.net (currently down for our use but will be back in use by TNR soon.)

What did the media ask Republican Presidential candidates, what was left out? The Nation Magazine’s Ben Adler looks at Iowa, New Hampshire and S. Carolina with an eye toward what could be asked of the candidates, what they are really saying. Is Romney for the 1%? We look at Ben Adler’s story in The Nation Magazine, “Ten Questions for Mitt Romney” plus examine the new role of Rick Santorum as a Christian Conservative candidate, and consider Ron Paul’s results. What did we learn from Iowa? Where do we go from here?

Ben Adler reports on Republican and conservative politics and media for The Nation as a Contributing Writer. He previously covered national politics and policy as a staffer at Newsweek, Politico and the Center for American Progress. He also writes regularly about urban and environmental policy, and he was a 2008-2009 urban leaders fellow at Next American City. His freelance writing has appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Columbia Journalism Review, The Guardian, The New Republic, The Progressive, Reuters, Salon and The Washington Monthly and has been reprinted in several books.

Health Care and Jobs, Dr. Margaret Flowers, Steven F. Hipple, Bureau of Labor Statistics

December 29th, 2011

Talk Nation Radio for December 30, 2011
Breaking through media deceptions about the reality of the jobs and health care crisis
Health Care and Jobs, Dr. Margaret Flowers, Steven F. Hipple, Bureau of Labor Statistics

See below for audio and further information about this week’s show:

Update January 13, 2011: Talk Nation Radio sources clarified unemployment data for listeners, and the media is now correcting their reports. News sites covering global markets have retracted claims that jobs data has been steadily positive. News Corp’s “Market Watch” issued regular projections and sought to use the data to help build investor confidence. Despite grim reports of lower growth in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and of an ongoing banking crisis within the Eurozone that has sent markets reeling, their site has been providing regular upbeat reports that have at times presented the “improving U.S. jobs data” as if the numbers were a major catalyst for improving markets. That may or may not be true, but Market Watch has now corrected their data.

On January 13, 2012, they reported: “U.S. jobless claims rise 24,000 to 399,000.” The numbers were not as good as previously reported on their web site. However, they made no effort to take responsibility and presented the information as if the U.S. Dept. of Labor had made an error. Their story notes: “Jobless claims rose by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 399,000 in the week ended Jan 7, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 375,000 from 372,000.” In fact, the numbers are always being revised. No agency could disclose full unemployment numbers on a weekly basis since the applications take time to process. Some of the statistical information is provided after government surveys.

We have been trying to point out since early December that the media was being overly enthusiastic about the unemployment numbers in a time of pending layoffs at major companies as well as the U.S. Postal Service. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has been offering the full picture regularly, but that the data has been presented in an overly positive light. For example, on January 5, 2012, Market Watch posted the headline, “U.S. jobless claims fall 15,000 to 372,000,” and pointed to the data as suggesting “gradual improvement in weak labor market”.

A similar spin was provided to the jobs reports issued on Market Watch throughout December, 2012. Unfortunately for American workers, these and other reports in the business sector media failed to include the full picture. Layoffs that were initiated in early December, for example, were not yet included. They have now clearly been added in, and that should have been anticipated by editors and writers at Market Watch and other news outlets.

The government reporting agency is constantly correcting and updating the numbers. We appreciate the fact that Steven F. Hipple of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, spoke with us to clarify this fact and put things in perspective for our listeners.

Interestingly, on January 13, 2012, Market Watch reported an “August-data rewind” claiming that the American people had panicked unnecessarily over information that seemed to indicate a U.S. recession had begun. For Market Watch’s “First Take” page, Rex Nutting claimed that the “Philly Fed change[d] its tune” and had offered a better report. (Here we go again?) ———————————————–

December 30, 2011

There has been an inflating of the US success story on jobs at market news sites like Market Watch (Murdoch site, published in Israel) and CNN Money as well as Nightly Business Report, PBS. We go beyond the headlines about improvements to talk about the reality of what the numbers mean. Also, there has been little or no mention of the problem of corporations and Wall Street investing in health care as a core reason for inflated costs for both health care and health care insurance. Health Care For All activist Dr. Margaret Flowers talks about the crisis provoked by Wall Street speculation in health care stocks, and points out that by getting Wall Street out of health care it would be much easier to make it affordable.

TRT: 29:16 music fades
Produced by Dori Smith, Storrs, CT
Music of Fritz Heede, plus clips: NPR, David Rovics
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport here and at Radio4all.net and Archive.org

We hear from Dr. Margaret Flowers, a congressional fellow with Physicians for a National Health Program (here) and a pediatrician based in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Flowers has been provoking national debate on health care with her protests at Congressional meetings in Washington D.C. and at meetings where health care corporations were discussing ways to make more money on Wall Street. Dr. Flowers has pressed the issue through protests at these events, and has gotten her views across despite the lack of an invitation. She was arrested on several occasions. She also talks about the data in the October2011.org Occupied Super Committee report on health care.

First, we go over the past few months of news on the way new unemployment claims have been reported. In many cases news outlets used a slight decline in weekly claims to argue that unemployment rates were falling dramatically. The information appears to have helped volatile stock markets recover, but was it true? As we learn, much depends on who is counting, and what data gets included in the reports. It had been widely reported that the US unemployment rate fell to 8.6%, a drop from last year. But we were skeptical. So we turned to Steven F. Hipple of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for answers. We soon learned that the numbers were not inclusive enough. “When you add these marginally attached, again that was about 2.6 million people, when you add that into the unemployment figures we call it U5 the actual rate would be 10.2% and that is published each month.” Furthermore, large numbers of unemployed had not been included in the figures being used during November and December of 2011. (See U5 chart here. )

We also mention a report from CNN.com December 30, 2011 where a negative set of numbers on new unemployment claims is made to seem positive.. (See: “It’s impressive to finally see unemployment claims fall below 400,000,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist with PNC Financial Services, who said that if there were a magic number for unemployment claims, 400,000 would be it.”)

Related pages and articles:

Democracy Now, May 13, 2009, Margaret Flowers and “Baucus’s Raucous Caucus: Doctors, Nurses and Activists Arrested Again for Protesting Exclusion of Single-Payer Advocates at Senate Hearing on Healthcare” Democracy Now, “Advocates of single-payer universal healthcare — the system favored by most Americans — continue to protest their exclusion from discussions on healthcare reform. On Tuesday, five doctors, nurses and single-payer advocates were arrested at a Senate Finance Committee hearing, bringing the total number of arrests in less than a week to thirteen. We speak with two of those arrested: Single Payer Action founder Russell Mokhiber and Dr. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program.”

Quote: Margaret Flowers: “Our country has gone completely off track…. We have tried the traditional tools… We must stand together… the veterans are showing us the way.”

Photo at Flikr, Physicians take charge.

Jobs, Unemployment crisis, global factors:

America: U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, here. See Press Releases for weekly and survey of new unemployment claims information. Also this page for data.

UK Independent, International job loss, epidemic. See, Public sector job losses to hit 600,000 by 2016

Gregor MacLennan of Amazon Watch, Activists join Indigenous People of Peru in Challenging Big Oil Development Plan for Rainforest

December 22nd, 2011

Talk Nation Radio for December 23, 2011
Gregor MacLennan of Amazon Watch, Activists join Indigenous People of Peru in Challenging Big Oil Development Plan for Rainforest

Amazon Watch has issued a call to action to protect the Peruvian Rainforest in solidarity with the people who live there. We hear about what Talisman oil company has been doing lately in seeking to divide indigenous people and buy cooperation from a minority in the hopes that they will put pressure on the majority who oppose further oil development. PETITION here.


TRT: 29:00
Produced by Dori Smith, Storrs, CT
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport here or at Archive.org and radio4all.net

Gregor MacLennan spells out the significance of the ongoing fight to stop massive oil development in the Peruvian rainforest. He and Achuar leader, Peas Peas Ayui, President of the National Achuar Federation of Peru (FENAP), have just returned from Calgary, Canada where they met with Talisman CEO John Manzoni to demand that the company respect the Achuar people, withdraw from their territory and cease insistent attempts to convince communities to sign agreements. We hear about an ongoing petition campaign and call to action for all who are concerned about preserving the Amazon’s rainforests. The Achuar previously delivered the same message to Mr. Manzoni in 2008 and 2010, but despite the Achuar people’s steadfast opposition to oil drilling, Talisman Energy continues its relentless search for oil, resorting to dangerous industry practices: Divide and conquer. attends annual meeting of Talisman Oil in Canada. People of world uniting against deadly advance of big oil across globe.

Prior to the push by Talisman Oil, the Peruvian Amazon was under oil development pressure from Occidental Petroleum. See more on the crisis caused by Occidental here and here. “Until very recently, flagrant pollution has been the norm. Oxy’s legacy of harm continues to be felt: the company’s reckless operations illegally dumped approximately 9 billion barrels of “produced waters” – which contain highly toxic substances such as barium, lead and arsenic – throughout 30 years of operations (averaging 850,000 barrels dumped per day). ” — “Adults and local children have tested positive for dangerously high blood-lead levels, and local residents cite countless tales of unexplained diseases, tumors, skin ailments and miscarriages from oil exposure. Fish and local game are not fit for consumption and fraught with contamination, and the soil is also no longer fit to produce the agricultural crops on which the Achuar depend for subsistence.” more here.

See Related Video here: Father Diego Clavijo, a Salesian missionary priest with Father Luis Bola working in northern Peru near the Ecuador border, with the Achuar and Wampisa indigenous peoples. We work with the Wampisa of the River Morona in Datem del Marañon province.

Also, we mention some headline news from the week of December 10-24, 2011:
Shell Oil Messes Off Two Coasts, By Julia Whitty, Thu Dec. 22, 2011 11:20 AM PST here

Brazil police seek Chevron oil spill charges, Brazilian police are seeking charges against employees from US oil company Chevron and drilling firm Transocean for their alleged role in an oil spill off the coast of Rio last month.
Police said environmental crimes had been committed. December 22, 2011 here

New Leak found in Brazil, December 18, 2011 “A handout picture released in November by the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum shows supply boats cleaning an oil spill around a Chevron platform operating in the Frade oil field in the Atlantic Ocean 120 km offshore Campos, northern state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil slapped a $28 million fine on US energy giant Chevron Monday for an oil spill.” here See too, Chevron suit, freezing of assets, here from 12/15/11.

Shell oil spill off Nigeria likely worst in a decade, An oil spill from Royal Dutch Shell’s Bonga field near the coast of Nigeria is likely the worst to hit those waters in a decade, according to a government official. here

BP says Halliburton ‘destroyed evidence’, BP has accused Halliburton of destroying evidence that could be used to show that the US oil services company shares the blame for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. HERE

Brazil lawsuit against Chevron may scare investors, STAN LEHMAN, Associated Press, Updated 04:02 p.m., Friday, December 16, 2011, here

Photo from the Amazonwatch.org web site, drawing shows map of Achuar Region

UK Regulators Blind to Corruption in Banks, Ian Fraser

December 14th, 2011

Talk Nation Radio for December 14, 2011
UK Regulators Blind to Corruption in Banks: Journalist Ian Fraser on Financial Services Authority Failures

Bank corruption seems impossible to pin down on both sides of the pond, and there appears to be no improvements in sight as to any regulatory crack downs.

TRT: 29.00
Produced by Dori Smith in Storrs, Connecticut, USA
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport here or at Archive.org

Our guest is Ian Fraser, a UK based independent journalist who focuses on banks and the failure of the bank regulatory agency in the UK to tackle white-collar crime.

The Financial Services Authority, or FSA, has not been rooting out crime, he writes, but deals with corrupt bankers by banishing them from working in their chosen field. The punishment is often handed down in exchange for the FSA stopping their investigations.

In both the US and EU countries, there are discussions about austerity measures that will impact the 99% but neither Congress or EU leaders and bank regulators seem willing to take measures to stop corruption or put any of the burden for problems in markets on the world’s richest 1% who are constantly speculating in the markets as they rely more on money to make money, than industry. At the end of today’s interview we hear clips from NPR and CNBC as the top tier of 1 Percenters defend themselves against an onslaught of support for The Protester, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2011. (length 1.5946 sec.)

We discuss the failure of the FSA to address criminal activity at banks like the Royal Bank of Scotland and others. In both the US and UK there is continuing confusion as Congress and Parliament tries to absorb the details of what happened to the missing $1.2 billion dollars that took flight from the MF Global fund. Independent investors are sustaining serious losses as no one at these companies seems willing to cooperate in saying where the money went.

This week’s Special Insight: The Contrary View: A Talk Nation Montage of sounds of the 1% trying to Defend Themselves as the defenders of the 99% — “The Protester” — becomes the “Person of the Year” at Time Magazine. (see file 2 at Pacifica’s audioport for a 1:5946 min clip that may be used in your programming for a timely update on the global impacts of Occupy Wall Street et al.

Postscript: Will Royal Bank of Scotland’s Fred Goodwin face charges after all. More here by Ian Fraser.
Relevant Links: RBS: Inside the Bank that Ran out of Money, November 21st, 2011, A documentary Ian Fraser worked as senior researcher and lead consultant. Air Date for BBC2 nationally, December 5th. One-hour BBC film charting the rise and fall of the Royal Bank of Scotland, starting with its £21bn acquisition of NatWest in February 2000 and ending soon after its ignominious near-collapse and bailout by the British taxpayer in October 2008.
CLIPS: Income Gap Becomes Politicians’ Latest Battleground, NPR, November 4, 2011. CNBC Has Occupy Wall Street Had its Day? here.

Wall Street, Banks, EU and US Debt, an Interview with Ellen Brown

December 8th, 2011

Talk Nation Radio for December 8, 2011

Ellen Brown is author of the book Web of Debt, ‘Web of Debt, the Shocking Truth about our Money System and how we can Break Free’. She is chair and president of the educational non profit think tank, the publicbankinginstitute.org. Look for her online at webofdebt.com. We hear about options that states and counties have for starting their own US banks that could change the entire equation, reducing the power and influence of giant banks and helping solve the US debt crisis. We also talk about Occupy Wall Street groups taking on banks with organized efforts toward founding state and county banks, plus home foreclosure solutions involving use of eminent domain. (Ellen Brown’s book is available online here, you can read the intro. and or listen to it in audio.)

Produced by Dori Smith in Storrs, CT
Download at Pacifica here or free at Archive.org (and Radio4all.net when they are back up and running)
TRT: 29:00 Minutes, normalized to 90%, 128 MP3 air quality.

Ellen Brown joins us to talk about the world’s financial markets and the impact of problems with the world’s banks. 2011 has been an astonishing year for monitoring global markets. There have been 500 to 1000 point changes over less than a few weeks time and volatility has been consistent in Asia, North America, and Europe. During September through December we’ve seen news about the US and Eurozone debt crises push markets to some extremes. We look at the way banks and financial institutions have been the unexpected beneficiaries of the volatility in spite of weakness that prompted ratings agencies to downgrade them. When the Eurozone debt bail out fund was also downgraded, it would have seemed that markets could be expected to fall, however, they rose instead on the “hope” generated on news web sites about markets such as Market Watch, a primarily Murdoch owned, News Corp outlet published in Israel.

Ellen Brown’s story, ‘Pulling Back the Curtain on the Wall Street Money Machine’ was published in Huffington Post on Dec. 7, 2011, where she examines Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke’s response to reports of very low interest loans to banks that were undisclosed. Even as her report was coming out, the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve was allocating dollar loans to EU countries at extremely low interests of from a quarter of a percent to 1 percent or so. (See the ECB web site on the loans here.)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Mike Checked

November 26th, 2011

Relevant News and Information for November 2011

Governor Scott Walker was touting the benefits of public private endeavors also known as privatization when he was challenged by activists with a Mike Check.

Download at YouTube here

In the video protesters can be heard to chastise Walker for accepting funding from Koch.

Also Video Exposes Koch Brothers’ Role In Spate of GOP Voter Suppression Laws

– Guest blogged at Bradblog.com by Ernest A. Canning

Last September The BRAD BLOG, unlike the corporate-owned media, offered detailed coverage of a U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights hearing on the spate of GOP voter suppression laws (PART 1 and PART 2).

Now, Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films has produced a powerful video that exposes the Koch-funded assault on your democracy, along with a petition that you can sign demanding that the Eric Holder-led Department of Justice live up to its name…

VIDEO, FULL STORY here at Bradblog.com