Program Notes for Left Out (March 16, 2004)

Welcome to Left Out on WRCT 88.3FM. Left Out is a public affairs program dedicated to presenting news and views from a perspective left out of the mainstream news. Today's program is co-hosted by Robert Harper and by Guy Blelloch, who is sitting in for Danny Sleator. Today's program is produced by Jay Thurber. Listeners are welcome to call us at 412 621-WRCT (9728) or 412 268-WRCT (9728), or to send email to


Listen to the broadcast (requires MP3 player).


Coup d'Etat in Haiti

Jean-Bertrand Aristide's departed from Haiti with the "assistance" of the U.S. government. Reference: Aristide Details Last Moments in Haiti.

Yesterday Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to the Caribbean, specifically to Jamaica, accompanied by Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California. The Haitian "government" recalled its ambassador to Jamaica in protest, and the U.S. government expressed its regret over Aristide's decision. But why shouldn't he return? References: Furious at Jamaica Welcoming Aristide, Haiti Freezes Diplomatic Ties , Defying Washington: Haiti's Aristide Arrives in Jamaica

Haiti News Coverage

The mainstream news coverage of the coup in Haiti has been amazing. The event is not put in context at all. There are these "rebels". But who are they? Why are they doing this? Who is funding and equiping them?'s Haiti Q&A provides an overview.

A source that is actually covering the Haiti story with some depth is Democracy Now (which you can listen to right here on WRCT at 8am each weekday).

Haiti is a democracy and Aristide was democratically elected. His term ends in 2 years. If he was doing a bad job or was unopular the proper response is to vote him out! Yet the US said Aristide should step down! The hypocrisy of this is astounding, given the US's constant pronouncements about "bringing democracy to the middle east".

The US's public behavior makes it clear that it wanted this coup to be successful. There is no doubt that the US could have stopped the coup with very little effort. And this is what it should have done. It's very ikely that the US was in fact supporting the "rebels".

One reason for the US hatred of Aristide is his friendly relations with Castro. This is documented in this article U.S. 'Playing Games' With Haiti, Say Policy Critics

Slightly related to all this. The "Doctrine of change of course", which was explained by Noam Chomsky in this op-ed piece appearing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in December:

The content of the doctrine is, "Yes, in the past we did some wrong things because of innocence or inadvertence. But now that's all over, so let's not waste any more time on this boring, stale stuff."
The US propped up Saddam in the 80s but that's ancient history. Now we're doing the "right" thing and getting rid of him.

But right this minute the US is doing the wrong thing with Haiti. Eventually, the US mainstream media will get around to explain this. But by then 2004 will be the "bad old days, not like now". And the pattern continues.

Regime Change in Spain

Jose Maria Aznar's government was deposed this weekend in the aftermath of the horrific coordinated terrorist attacks on commuter trains in Madrid. The attacks seem likely to have been perpetrated by al-Qaeda, in retaliation for Spain's eager participation in the invasion of Iraq, against the wishes of millions of its citizens. Aznar's government attempted to blame the attacks on ETA, the violent Basque separatist organization, but was unable to maintain this fiction before the election on Sunday. To their credit the Spanish public demonstrated its ability to simultaneously condemn the attacks and hold its government responsible for them. Would that the U.S. public were able to achieve even so rudimentary a separation of concerns as that! Reference: Three Days in Spain.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist government has condemned the Bush and Blair governments for their prosecution of the war in Iraq, saying that "You cannot organize a war with lies." He also said "It divided more than it united, there were no reasons for it. Time has shown that the arguments for it lacked credibility and the occupation has been managed badly." Hear, hear! References: Spain's PM Ups Pressure on Blair: 'You Can't Organize a War With Lies'.

An interesting analysis of the Spanish political situation appeared in Information Clearinghouse .

The Times of London reports that the US and UK intelligence services, which were said to be able to see around corners and then some in the run-up to the Iraq war, had no idea of an impending attack in Spain.

Total Information Awareness

John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness program, later renamed the Terrorism Information Awareness program, was stopped last year as a result of privacy concerns. However, in a little-known maneuver, Congress transferred at least two projects from DARPA to ARDA, a research unit of U.S. intelligence. In doing so previously sponsored research on privacy, notably that carried out by Teresa Lunt of PARC and Prof Latanya Sweeney of Carnegie Mellon, was terminated. The TIA program under any name would smell as bad, the worse without the benefit of privacy protections. Reference: Government Continues Assault on American Freedoms.

Medicare Propaganda

The Bush administration has prepared fake "news" reports plugging the wonders of the new Medicare system, at taxpayer expense, in the guise of "information" about the new rules. Among them these wondrous new benefits not touted in these reports: the pharmaceutical companies get to name their own price for prescription drugs financed by Medicare. This is known as "fiscal responsibility" by the Repubican Guard. References: U.S. Videos, for TV News, Come Under Scrutiny, U.S. Government Faked Bush News Reports.

Media Wars

Major media outlets are controlled by conservative political forces. Finally, some are beginning to fight back. Howard Stern is sponsoring a Radio Jihad against George Bush, in retaliation for Clear Channel's cancelling his program. Clear Channel is a well-known sponsor of George W. Bush, Inc.

Progress Media's Air America Radio begins broadcasting at the end of March! The new liberal talk radio network features Al Franken's program, The O'Franken Factor, weekdays at noon, opposite Rush Limbaugh.

The Pentagon and Climate Change

Scientists are now believe that one consequence of "global warming" could be to shut down the gulf stream which keeps Europe and N. America warm. Such events have happened in the past very quickly. The time frame is on the order of years. The effect would be catastrophic, rendering vast heavily populated and agricultural areas unusable.

Pentagon planners Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall have written a report predicting the geopolitical effects of such an event. The consequences are dire. Here are some links to this story:

This story has gotten almost no play in the US mainstream media. We're aware of only one article in Fortune magazine about it.


Left Out Home Page
Robert Harper
Last modified: Tue Mar 16 17:08:33 EST 2004