Remembrance of Malcolm X on His 84th Birthday – Michael Steven Smith
Author and independent journalist Jeremy Scahill delivers a rare report on the actions of the Immediate Reaction Force’s torture tactics with disturbing detail. While the Obama administration prevents the release of thousands of photos, Scahill describes the graphic imagery of the ongoing torture of prisoners in Guantanamo and in prisons abroad. Teams of men in padded gear enter the cell of a Guantanamo prisoner and are basically assigned body parts to restrain. Rarely heard about in the media, Scahill writes about the multiple accounts of severe beatings delivered by IRF teams that include sustained injuries such as broken noses, blindness and brain damage. In one incident a US soldier was IRF’d during a training exercise; he now suffers seizures up to 10 episodes a day.
- The US has a one party system and Obama is showing that very clearly.
- On January 22, Obama said that Guantanamo would be closed in a year.
- Obama is continuing the use of a notorious military police unit at Guantanamo, known as the Immediate Reaction Force.
- They come into a cell, five men deep, they douse the prisoner with chemicals, each thug sent in is assigned a different body part and their job is to subdue restless or combative prisoners.
- This is not about stopping a riot in prison, or keep a prisoner from stabbing a guard. What’s going on is if a prisoner has an extra styrofoam cup in their cell, they are IRF’d.
- They have smeared feces of another prisoner onto the face of a prisoner.
- In one case that CCR has taken, a prisoner was doused with chemicals, beaten and the IRF team members urinate on his head.
- Scott Horton says this force was authorized at the highest levels of the Bush Administration.
- When you don’t prosecute those who set the tone for this torture, you encourage it, not allow it, you encourage it to continue.
- The Democratic Party is a shill for powerful corporations. Harry Reid implied that Guantanamo prisoners should not be moved to the US because they would be a threat to US security.
- The real danger here is to the US Constitution and the reality is that the torture program was bipartisan.
- Nancy Pelosi’s participation in authorizing the torture program is not a partisan issue; it’s a law enforcement issue with grave implication to the United States and the world.
- Michael Ratner: Looking forward to a future without torture is guaranteed by prosecution, not impunity.
- I actually have people standing up and walking out on speeches, when I was criticizing Obama, a group of students at an American University walked out.
- Name the countries of the world where people walk around with the president’s face on their t-shirts.
- The facade is starting to crack. People are realizing now we are at a critical moment in history to reflect on the one party system that we have.
- Obama has sucked the air out of the social movements that were co-opted by the Democratic Party or willingly folded themselves into the Obama campaign mechanism.
Guest – Jeremy Scahill, an independent journalist who reports frequently for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now, has spent extensive time reporting from Iraq and Yugoslavia. He is currently a Puffin Writing fellow at The Nation Institute. Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. His writing and reporting is available at Rebel Reports.
Chris Hedges – Buying Brand Obama
We’ve been duped. The global celebrity status of President Obama has been molded into a brand writes Chris Hedges, former Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times. Obama’s campaign was a marketer’s dream and won the vote of top marketer in Advertising Age magazine. Chris Hedges’s article “Buying Brand Obama” takes a scathing look at how clever marketing diverts public attention away from critical issues such as the expansion of war, Obama’s rejection of single payer healthcare, his refusing to prosecute the Bush administration for war crimes and allowing Bush era surveillance and secrecy laws to remain intact.
- There’s a wild disconnect between what Obama does and what he says that can only be cleverly bridged with illusion. That’s what his PR people do. That 600 million dollars of campaign funding had to go somewhere.
- Listen to the professionals: Obama Wins Ad Age Marketer of the Year!
- He does one thing and he like any “brand” gets you to believe another.
- This started a while ago, if you remember Benetton ads, they used risque images and progressive politics to give themselves an edge. It is intended to make the passive consumer mistake a brand for an idea or experience.
- He (Obama) didn’t make many promises, it was sloganeering and the confusion of propaganda.
- It’s what Benjamin DeMott calls “junk politics,” in his book Junk Politics. Junk politics is not about demanding justice. It moralizes issues, it doesn’t clarify them. The result: Nothing Changes.
- Obama is a classic example of how re-branding allows for the disintegration of American democracy.
- Obama once again has followed the lead of the Bush Administration. It has spent, lent or guaranteed at this point 12 trillion dollars of tax payer dollars. Handed out to Wall St. and firms like AIG. It’s a bizarre effort to re-inflate a bubble through massive loans.
- This has forestalled catastrophe, but when that catastrophe comes, we’re going to be broke–that time will come at a profound crisis.
- The problem is not Obama, the problem is the American Left which forgot it’s place. Politics is a game of pressure and we don’t do that. Look at Moveon.org; it’s become an arm of the Obama campaign.
- I’m re-reading Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky–what happens to a bankrupt liberalism which took hold of Russia in the latter part of the 19th century, moral nihilism.
- Allowing Americans to remain in this self delusional belief that everything is going to go back to the way it was and we are always going to be powerful and rich . . . you’re essentially maintaining a population in a state of childishness. They never grow up because they never face reality.
- Book: Empire of Illusion – Post-literate society, unable to discern lies from truth.
Guest – Chris Hedges, author of many books specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and society. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He was also the Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times. Chris Hedges’ new book, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, will be out in July and can be preordered at your local bookstore.