Welcome to Left Out, reality-based independent radio on WRCT 88.3FM, and on the worldwide web at leftout.info. Left Out discusses the news from a perspective left out of the mainstream media. Left Out is co-hosted by Bob Harper and Danny Sleator. Today's program is produced by John Koutrouba. Listeners are invited to call the program at (412) 268-WRCT (9728), to send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to join the AOL chat room "Left Out" during the show.
Tonight at 9pm on channel 13 (WQED) watch Cheney's Law, a Frontline documentary about Dick Cheney. Abstrct:
For three decades Vice President Dick Cheney conducted a secretive, behind-closed-doors campaign to give the president virtually unlimited wartime power. Finally, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Justice Department and the White House made a number of controversial legal decisions. Orchestrated by Cheney and his lawyer David Addington, the department interpreted executive power in an expansive and extraordinary way, granting President George W. Bush the power to detain, interrogate, torture, wiretap and spy -- without congressional approval or judicial review.
There's another Frontline about Cheney The Dark Side Abstract:
After 9/11, Vice President Richard Cheney seized the initiative. He pushed to expand executive power, transform America's intelligence agencies and bring the war on terror to Iraq. But first he had to take on George Tenet's CIA for control over intelligence.
Both of these can be watched on-line at here.
Listen to the broadcast (requires MP3 player). (Streaming, Download, Podcast)
Daniel Ellsberg is a former defense analyst who leaked the pentagon papers. He gave a speech on September 20th at the American University entitled "A Coup Has Occurred" (transcribed here).
The speech describes how the trappings of a police state have been carefully and meticulously put into place in the years since 9/11. Two paragraphs:
Let me simplify this and not just to be rhetorical: A coup has occurred. I woke up the other day realizing, coming out of sleep, that a coup has occurred. It's s not just a question that a coup lies ahead with the next 9/11. That's s the next coup, that completes the first.
The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution, ... what the rest of the world looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest of the world -- in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights, individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.
We'll discuss a number of points Daniel raises in the speech --- what are the events that could trigger the "next coup"? What will the next president do to these tools? What's going to happen with Iran?
During the show, we enumerated a plethora of ways in which the groundwork for a dictatorship have been laid. Here are some of them:
- Suspension of Habeas Corpus
- Signing statements, which massively curtail congressional power
- Evesdropping legal and physical infrastructure installed
- Private military (e.g. Blackwater)
- "Legalization" of torture.
- Control of the national guard
Daniel also mentioned www.americanfreedomcampaign.org, which contains the following pledge:
SIGN THE AMERICAN FREEDOM PLEDGE
We are Americans, and in our America we do not torture, we do not imprison people without charge or legal remedy, we do not tap people's phones and emails without a court order, and above all we do not give any President unchecked power.
I pledge to fight to protect and defend the Constitution from assault by any President.
All of the Democratic presidential hopefuls have signed on. None of the Republicans have.
Daniel also mentioned a book: Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy by Charlie Savage of the Washingto Post.
Al Gore has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of his work on raising public awareness of global warming.
Robert Parry of Consortium News reports that this award is, predictably, being used against him.
The Real Iraq We Knew, By 12 former Army captains, Tuesday, October 16, 2007, in the Washington Post:
Today marks five years since the authorization of military force in Iraq, setting Operation Iraqi Freedom in motion. Five years on, the Iraq war is as undermanned and under-resourced as it was from the start. And, five years on, Iraq is in shambles. more
Only a US Withdrawal Will Stop Al Qaeda in Iraq By Raed Jarrar and Joshua Holland in the Global Policy Forum:
One of the last justifications for continuing the U.S. occupation of Iraq despite overwhelming opposition from Iraqis, Americans and the rest of humanity has come down to this: U.S. forces must remain in order to battle "al Qaeda in Iraq." Like so many of the arguments presented in the United States, the idea is not only intellectually bankrupt, it's also the 180-degree opposite of reality. The truth of the matter is that only the presence of U.S. forces allows the group called "al Qaeda in Iraq" (AQI) to survive and function, and setting a timetable for the occupation to end is the best way to beat them. You won't hear that perspective in Washington, but according to Iraqis with whom we spoke, it is the conventional wisdom in much of the country. more
Retired General Ricardo Sanchez is now repudiating the Bush administration policies that he carried out in Iraq, including the infamous mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq.
Had he resigned at the time, rather than implement a blatantly ill-conceived strategy, we might not be in the ever-deepening quagmire we are today. What ever happened to the Repugnican "politics of personal responsibility"?
Reacting to the Bush administration's stream of bullshit on the debacle in Iraq, a dozen former Army captains have written an article in the Washington Post called The Real Iraq We Knew.
As we all know, the real Iraq is a full catastrophe, as even Ricardo Sanchez admits, now that he's safely in retirement.
We have often commented on Left Out that the true purpose of the Iraq invasion was to impose a Warsaw Pact-like arrangement in which a puppet government (originally to be led by the fugitive Iraqi Ahmad Chalabi) would invite the U.S. to protect it from imminent invasion by its neighbors, much as the Soviet Union guarded Hungary from invasion by Austria during the cold war.
Jim Holt argues much the same his article "It's The Oil" in the London Review of Books.
Condoleeza Rice can see around corners and then some. In a statement that defies parody, she lectures Vladimir Putin, whose very soul Bush has seen and approved, on the principles of democratic government. nt unchecked power.