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Program Archives - 2011

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(26 Dec) 100103 Irene Khan - Poverty and Human Rights

The problem of the world's poor is at its core a human rights issue. The worldwide economic downturn is working its way through every level of the global economy. Many people in the industrialized West are experiencing its negative effects with loss of jobs, savings, and homes. But the recession's impact on people in the poorer parts of the world, who were already living with the acute insecurity of employment, food and shelter, is even greater. Amnesty International's latest annual report on the state of the world's human rights documents the devastating consequences of the crisis on the indigent and finds that the economic problems they face are human rights problems too. Political leaders reduce the economic crisis to financial questions that require bailouts and technocratic solutions and in the process ignore the human rights dimension.

Irene Khan of Bangladesh is Secretary General of Amnesty International. She worked for the United Nations for many years and is the recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize. She is the author of The Unheard Truth

(19 Dec) 110103 Fatima Bhutto - Pakistan: The Jackals Rule

Pakistan has received billions in U.S. aid. Where is that money? Much of it has gone missing. The jackals rule in Pakistan. A series of venal military and civilian leaders have devastated and looted the country. Historically, the U.S. has used Pakistan as a strategic asset. Its backing of fundamentalist dictator Zia ul-Haq had disastrous consequences. It was General Zia who greatly expanded Islamic law and religious schools. And he was a conduit for arming the mujahideen. Pakistan's current head of state is Asif Ali Zardari, who was married to Benazir Bhutto. Zardari was touring London and Paris and staying at $11,000 a night hotels while much of his country was under water during catastrophic floods. Zardari is deeply unpopular and his regime teeters between the ineffectual and the criminal.

Fatima Bhutto published her first book, Whispers of the Desert, a collection of poetry, when she was 15. An independent journalist, her articles appear in the New Statesman, the Guardian, and CounterPunch. She is the author of Songs of Blood and Sword.

(12 Dec) 110101 Amy Goodman - Breaking the Silence Barrier

The mainstream media isn't so mainstream any more. As mainstreet becomes an even more secret and closed environment where only a few privileged, mainly white, middle aged men, are allowed to tread, the corporate media has grown even more shrill in defending the indefensible. The mainstream might represent the mainstreet but it certainly no longer represents the interests of the majority. As more and more people realise that corporate bailouts, secret deals supposedly to 'strengthen the job market' and severe cut backs in social welfare programs do nothing to help them, a backlash is beginning. Most people are keen to learn ways to bridge the gaps in the media silences. The time has come, says Amy Goodman, to take over the airwaves and reclaim the most precious public space so we can breakdown the mainstreet and reclaim the mainstream.

Amy Goodman is the award winning founder and anchor of "Democracy Now!". She is a winner of the Right Livelihood Award, often described as the Alternative Nobel Prize. She is also one of the first recipients of the Park Center for Independent Media's Izzy Award, named for the great muckraking journalist I.F. Stone. The Independent of London called Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! "an inspiration"; PULSE named her one of the 20 Top Global Media Figures of 2009. She is the author of four New York Times bestsellers. Her latest book, Breaking the Sound Barrier, proves the power of independent journalism in the struggle for a better world. Amy Goodman spoke at the 10th international congress of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters in La Plata, Argentina in November 2010.

(05 Dec) 100204 Vandana Shiva - Shakti: Feminine Power for Change

When you hear the word Shakti you may think of the great fusion band of a few years back. But it has another meaning and dimension. In Sanskrit it means "female creative power." In Hindu cosmology Shakti is the divine force, manifesting to destroy demonic forces and restore balance. Humanity is facing unprecedented threats, a veritable perfect storm of dangers from climate change to water and food shortages. One-sixth of the world's population is hungry. A quarter of all grains now grown in the U.S. end up as biofuel for cars thus adversely affecting global food supplies. While the military-industrial complex attracts some attention, the industrial agri-foods complex gets virtually none. Corporate decisions, motivated by profits, drive not just the production of food but its distribution. In this equation, the poor are left out. Maybe we all need some Shakti.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. A physicist, scholar, political activist and feminist, she is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi . She's the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. Author of many books, her latest are Earth Democracy and Soil Not Oil.

(28 Nov) 110401 Noam Chomsky - Human Intelligence and the Environment

As a species we humans are unique because of our intelligence. At the same time we have the capacity to defer, deny and ignore unpleasant realities. To wit: the environmental crisis. The signs of climate change are clearly evident. Glaciers are melting at an astonishing rate. Floods, fires, drought, tornadoes and hurricanes are occurring with greater frequency and intensity. Rising sea levels are putting millions at risk. 2010 was the hottest year the earth has yet recorded. Conferences on mitigating global warming are held from Montreal to Copenhagen, to Cancun. But they have produced little more than hot air. The sense of urgency is just not there with the big industrial countries, responsible for most of the carbon emissions. They engage in compromises and non-binding deals leaving the basic systems and structures intact. Yet with all of the mounting evidence of the damage being done to the planet, we continue to dilly-dally. The clock is ticking.

Noam Chomsky, MIT professor, in addition to being a pioneer in linguistics, is internationally renowned for his scholarship and activism on media issues, human rights and social justice. The Guardian calls him, "One of the radical heroes of our age." He is a regular contributor to Z magazine. His books include Propaganda and the Public Mind and 9-11. He is in such demand as a speaker that he is literally booked years in advance. And wherever he goes he draws huge overflow audiences, as he did on this occasion at New York's Town Hall.

(21 Nov) 100404 Noam Chomsky - The Center Cannot Hold

About seven million households are facing possible foreclosure while Citigroup raked in almost $4.5 billion for the first quarter. Unemployment both short and long term are at levels not seen since the Great Depression. The U.S. has deep structural economic problems which cannot be masked over with upbeat reports on a so-called recovery. The line the center cannot hold is from William Butler Yeats' famous poem "The Second Coming." Yeats, who died in 1939, was Ireland's Nobel Prize-winner. He saw a world spinning out of control. "Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity".

Noam Chomsky, MIT professor, in addition to being a pioneer in linguistics, is internationally renowned for his scholarship and activism on media issues, human rights and social justice. The Guardian calls him, "One of the radical heroes of our age." He is a regular contributor to Z magazine. His books include Propaganda and the Public Mind and 9-11. He is in such demand as a speaker that he is literally booked years in advance. And wherever he goes he draws huge overflow audiences, as he did on this occasion at New York's Town Hall.

(14 Nov) 090201 Noam Chomsky - International Terrorism

Hypocrisy on the issue of terrorism is mind-boggling. Washington defines the discourse and the media echo the official line. When the U.S. or any of its clients engage in terrorism it is by definition not terrorism. However, terrorism carried out by individuals and small groups is terrorism. Maybe we should go to the classics to illustrate the point. In the "City of God," St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great. The Emperor angrily demanded of him, "How dare you molest the seas?" To which the pirate replied, "How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor." St. Augustine thought the pirate's answer was "elegant and excellent."

Noam Chomsky, MIT professor, in addition to being a pioneer in linguistics, is internationally renowned for his scholarship and activism on media issues, human rights and social justice. The Guardian calls him, "One of the radical heroes of our age." He is a regular contributor to Z magazine. His books include Propaganda and the Public Mind and 9-11. He is in such demand as a speaker that he is literally booked years in advance. And wherever he goes he draws huge overflow audiences, as he did on this occasion at New York's Town Hall.

(07 Nov) 030601 Noam Chomsky - US Grand Strategy: Global Rule by Force

The New Imperial World Order is officially under way. The National Security Strategy document lays it all out. Bush has told the world, It's our way or the highway. The US reserves the right to attack anyone at any time. Like the empires of old, the US clothes its aggressive intentions in the name of peace. America is innocent and a victim. But, "If war is forced upon us" as Bush said in his State of the Union speech, then America will fight. Despite high levels of pro-war propaganda, there is a rising tide of resistance to US hegemony. "Protests in the US and elsewhere are at levels that have no historical precedent," says Noam Chomsky.

Noam Chomsky, MIT professor, in addition to being a pioneer in linguistics, is internationally renowned for his scholarship and activism on media issues, human rights and social justice. The Guardian calls him, "One of the radical heroes of our age." He is a regular contributor to Z magazine. His books include Propaganda and the Public Mind and 9-11. He is in such demand as a speaker that he is literally booked years in advance. And wherever he goes he draws huge overflow audiences, as he did on this occasion at New York's Town Hall.

(31 Oct) 021002 Noam Chomsky - A Journalist from Mars Covers the War on Terrorism

America's war on terrorism may last 50 years, says Vice President Cheney, and may extend to 60 countries. A key element in any war is mobilising domestic support. The role of the media is to manufacture consent. According to CBS News anchor Dan Rather, the media are only too willing to go along. He says fear of being called unpatriotic cowers most journalists, including himself, into submission. A prevalent media convention is to focus on enemy crimes with laser-like intensity while never looking at our own. Terrorism just happens. There is no history or context. They, 'the evildoers' hate us. That's it. End of story. A journalist visiting from Mars, unconstrained and free from propaganda, might have a different take on the war on terrorism.

Noam Chomsky, MIT professor, in addition to being a pioneer in linguistics, is internationally renowned for his scholarship and activism on media issues, human rights and social justice. The Guardian calls him, "One of the radical heroes of our age." He is a regular contributor to Z magazine. His books include Propaganda and the Public Mind and 9-11. He is in such demand as a speaker that he is literally booked years in advance. And wherever he goes he draws huge overflow audiences, as he did on this occasion at New York's Town Hall.

(24 Oct) 980305 Noam Chomsky - Manufacturing Consent: Media and Propaganda

All national narratives are to some extent fantasies based on distortions and fabrications. The United States is no different. The early English colonists had a dream. John Winthrop spoke of a "city upon a hill." And it continues to the present. It was one of Reagan's signature lines. Today, as the economic crisis deepens many are realizing that the notion of their children being better off than they is over. Downsized and outsourced. Those good paying union jobs with pensions and benefits are gone forever. If you've worked hard all your life, tough luck buddy, you can just be tossed overboard. You can choose between being a cashier and flipping burgers. A lot of working people have figured out capital's loyalty is only to capital.

Robert Jensen is professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Citizens of the Empire, The Heart of Whiteness, and All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice.

(17 Oct) 970902 Noam Chomsky - Propaganda and Control of the Public Mind (Pt. 2)

(10 Oct) 970902 Noam Chomsky - Propaganda and Control of the Public Mind (Pt. 1)

Most people associate the term 'propaganda' with totalitarian dictatorships like Iraq or North Korea. Yet propaganda, in different shapes and forms, is an important element in democratic societies. The control and use of images and information can alter perceptions, frame debate and influence opinion. This special two-part program features Noam Chomsky in a seminar given at Harvard to trade union leaders from the US, Canada, Australia and Japan. February 7, 1997.

Noam Chomsky, internationally renowned MIT professor, has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for more than four decades. He is in such demand as a public speaker that he is often booked years in advance. And wherever he appears, he draws huge audiences. The Guardian calls him, "One of the radical heroes of our age." He is the author of Power and Terror, Middle East Illusion and Hegemony or Survival." He's done a series of interview books with David Barsamian including The Common Good and Propaganda and the Public Mind.

(03 Oct) 110801 Chris Hedges - Empire Abroad, Tyranny at Home

All imperial systems eventually collapse. Hubris and arrogance convince great powers the sun will never set on their dominions. Long wars kill and maim many people and deplete not just the treasury but also a nation's moral authority. The U.S. is no different from a long line of hegemons who thought they would last forever. The quest for global domination has domestic consequences. Surveillance, lawlessness, torture and violence overseas migrate home. The vast string of bases and the gargantuan military apparatus are accelerating U.S. decline. Infrastructure rots. Homes and jobs are lost. The economy sinks. No one makes the connections between the external and the internal. Liberals who were once in the forefront of defending the working class have virtually disappeared. They've turned their backs on the idea of economic justice and embrace the elixir of empire.

Chris Hedges is an award-winning journalist who has covered wars in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central America. He writes a weekly column for Truthdig.org and is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. He is the author of American Fascists, Empire of Illusion, Death of the Liberal Class, and The World As It Is.

(26 Sept) 110705 Robert Jensen - The Anguish in the American Dream

All national narratives are to some extent fantasies based on distortions and fabrications. The United States is no different. The early English colonists had a dream. John Winthrop spoke of a "city upon a hill." And it continues to the present. It was one of Reagan's signature lines. Today, as the economic crisis deepens many are realizing that the notion of their children being better off than they is over. Downsized and outsourced. Those good paying union jobs with pensions and benefits are gone forever. If you've worked hard all your life, tough luck buddy, you can just be tossed overboard. You can choose between being a cashier and flipping burgers. A lot of working people have figured out capital's loyalty is only to capital.

Robert Jensen is professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Citizens of the Empire, The Heart of Whiteness, and All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice.

(19 Sept) 110704 Arun Gupta - Economic Crisis and the Tea Party

You've played by the rules. Went to work every day. Paid your bills and taxes. When your country summoned you to fight in its wars you were proud to serve. You've worked hard all your life and now what do you get? Bupkis as they say in Yiddish. Goat droppings. Your job was outsourced overseas. Your house has been foreclosed. You're in debt. Meanwhile, the big banks are sitting pretty on tons of cash. The stock market and corporate profits are up. GE made billions in 2010 and didn't pay a dime in taxes. With this backdrop in walks the Tea Party. They got the answers. You know why you are getting shafted? It's the immigrants, gays, uppity women, minorities, liberals, unions, and public service workers.

Arun Gupta, journalist and activist, was founding editor of The Indypendent newspaper in New York. He's a regular contributor to Alternet and Z.

(12 Sept) 110703 Helen Caldicott - Hiroshima to Fukushima

The disaster at Fukushima has thrust the dangers of nuclear power back in people's consciousness. The idea of an industry renaaissance had been carefully orchestrated by corporations that stand to make tons of money. Politicians, ever mindful of who funds their campaigns, have gone along. It was hailed as a clean and safe solution to addressing climate change and energy issues. An irony of the still unfolding tragedy is that it occurred in Japan, the only country to be attacked by nuclear weapons. The fallout from the fallout has spread around the world. Germany is planning to phase out nuclear power. What would happen if a tornado or some other extreme weather phenomenon hits a reactor? The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it has found serious problems with some emergency equipment that would have made it unusable in an accident.

Helen Caldicott, an Australian-born pediatrician, is a world-renowned environmental activist. She was the founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She is the author of Missile Envy, If You Love This Planet, and Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer.

(05 Sept) 110702 Glenn Greenwald - Shredding the Constitution

The Constitution is often referred to in reverential, almost sacred terms. Its framers too are endowed with near holy qualities. Politicians vie with one another as they pay lip service to the country's founding document. But over the years from the Palmer Raids to political witch-hunts known as McCarthyism to COINTELPRO to the present, the Constitution has been violated by the government. Criminalization of dissent, a hallmark of totalitarian regimes, is increasing. The FBI raids the homes and offices of anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis. It has targeted Greenpeace and other environmental and peace and justice groups. Citizens are spied upon. E-mails are read. Phones are tapped. And everywhere cameras take pictures. In the name of security basic freedoms are being eroded as state policing agencies accrue more and more power.

Glenn Greenwald is a lawyer and the author of How Would a Patriot Act? and Great American Hypocrites. He is the recipient of the Izzy Award from the Park Center for Independent Media for his "pathbreaking journalistic courage and persistence in confronting conventional wisdom, official deception, and controversial issues." He also received an Online Journalism Award for Best Commentary for his coverage of U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning. Greenwald is a columnist and blogger at Salon.com and his articles appear in various newspapers and magazines.

(29 Aug) 110701 Brian Tokar - Climate Justice

Earth Days come and go. Wonderful speeches are made. Corporations, the biggest polluters, take out ads assuring the public they are green and are dedicated to preserving the environment. And then it's plunder and exploit business as usual. Planet Earth, the ship we are all passengers on is gradually going down. Moving deck chairs around is no solution. Given the urgency of the situation and the level of threat to humankind the lack of an urgent response is astonishing. The climate crisis is a justice issue, not an esoteric debate among scientists. Will the super rich survive inside a bubble-enclosed, fortified, gated community while the rest of humanity faces the consequences of climate change? No civilization has survived the destruction of its environment. Nor will ours.

Brian Tokar is director of the Institute for Social Ecology in Plainfield, Vermont. He lectures widely on a variety of environmental and political topics. He is the author of Toward Climate Justice, The Green Alternative, and Earth for Sale.

(22 Aug) 110604 Simon Johnson - Megabanks: To Big to Save

It was an unusual moment at the 2011 Oscars. Charles Ferguson, director of the award-winning documentary "Inside Job," told the audience, "Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that's wrong." There was some applause. Imagine if you or I drove away without paying for gas or stole a pizza. We'd be arrested. But if you commit a huge financial fraud you walk away with tons of money. The robber barons of the age are laughing as hapless citizens watch in dismay as they are taken to the cleaners. Are these the values U.S. politicians keep extolling and insist the world emulate? Why were these banks and their executives not punished? The lesson to be drawn? Crime pays.

Simon Johnson teaches at the Sloan School of Management at MIT. He is also a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Congressional Budget Office's Panel of Economic Advisers. He is a well known commentator and writer on financial affairs and co-author of 13 Bankers.

(15 Aug) 030402 Howard Zinn - Just and Unjust Wars

Howard Zinn, professor emeritus at Boston University, was perhaps America's premier radical historian. He was born in Brooklyn in 1922. His parents, poor immigrants, were constantly moving to stay, as he once told me," one step ahead of the landlord." After high school, he went to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. During World War II, he saw combat duty as an air force bombardier. After the war, he went to Columbia University on the GI Bill. He taught at Spelman, the all black women's college in Atlanta. He was an active figure in the civil rights movement and served on the board of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was fired by Spelman for his activism. He was among the first to oppose U.S. aggression in Indochina. His book Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal was an instant classic. A principled opponent of imperialism and militarism, he was an advocate of non-violent civil disobedience. He spoke and marched against the U.S. wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. His masterpiece, A People's History of the United States, continues to sell in huge numbers. Among his many books are A Power Governments Cannot Suppress and Original Zinn. Just before his death he completed his last great project, the documentary The People Speak. Always ready to lend a hand, he believed in and practiced solidarity. Witty, erudite, generous and loved by many the world over, Howard Zinn, friend and teacher, passed away on January 27, 2010. He would say, Don't mourn. Get active. The struggle for peace and justice continues.

(08 Aug) 110603 Vandana Shiva - War on the Earth

The predatory practices of corporations are increasingly turning our fragile garden into a junkyard. Citizens are told by their political masters and the corporados who pay them that there is no alternative. That's true if one's only concern is profits. That approach is fast turning our planet into a toxic waste dump. The landscape of environmental devastation extends from radiation leaks in Japan to drilling in the Alberta tar sands to hydofracking in Pennsylvania and New York to leveling mountains in West Virginia to more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. However in India, the site of some of the worst corporate abuses, there is tremendous popular resistance. Some of the poorest people anywhere are saying, Stop the plunder. No to the war on earth.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally-renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. She's a physicist, scholar, social activist and feminist. She is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi. She's the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize and the 2010 City of Sydney Peace Prize. She is the author of many books, including Water Wars, Earth Democracy, and Soil Not Oil.

(01 Aug) 1030403 Martin Luther King - Beyond Vietnam

Every year, almost like clockwork Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech gets airplay. The charismatic orator is frozen on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963. No doubt it was a great presentation, deeply moving and full of dazzling poetry and inspiring images. But it was not his most important speech, nor was it his most courageous one. That was to come on April 4, 1967 in Riverside Church in New York. There King demonstrated his political maturity and understanding of how the system works. He moved beyond a simple race analysis to include class and foreign policy issues. He forcefully denounced the war in Vietnam. He called the US "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world" and he deplored the "giant triplets of racism extreme materialism and militarism." Exactly one year later King was assassinated in Memphis.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Nobel Peace Prizewinner, is one of the 20th century's most enduring figures. He was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta. He was an early convert to civil disobedience and non-violence. He said, "Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics." He rose to national prominence in 1955 during the epic 382-day Montgomery bus boycott. He went on to spearhead a movement which effectively ended juridical apartheid in the US.

(25 Jul) 110602 Kathy Christison - Settlements: Obstacles to Peace

There are some 500,000 Israelis living in settlements on what is almost universally regarded as Palestinian land . The first houses went up in the late 1960s and have continued under both Labor and Likud governments. They are the "facts on the ground" Israeli leaders said they wanted to create. There are freezes, partial freezes, and temporary halts in construction. But the trend in more and more building continues. The stalled peace process goes off track. Road maps are redrawn. The Obama administration vetoes UN resolutions condemning Israeli policy. Benjamin Netanyahu once proclaimed, "Semantics don't matter." You can call a Palestinian state "fried chicken." Land for a Palestinian state has been cut into unconnected bits and pieces without much water. Many people say the settlements pose a serious obstacle to peace and a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kathy Christison worked for the CIA as a political analyst, dealing first with Vietnam and then with the Middle East. Since leaving the CIA, she writes and lectures. She is a regular contributor to CounterPunch. She is the author of The Wound of Dispossession, Perceptions of Palestine, and co-author of Palestine in Pieces.

(18 Jul) 070502 Araxie Barsamian and Robert Fisk - The Armenian Holocaust

In 1915, the Turkish government launched a premeditated organized campaign to eliminate the millennia-old Armenian people from their traditional homeland in what is now southeastern Turkey. The Turkish officials responsible for the genocide were never brought to account. This was not lost on Adolf Hitler. Just days before launching World War Two he told his generals, "Who today, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?" What makes the 20th century's first holocaust unique is that Turkey refuses to acknowledge it ever happen. And that denial is the final stage of genocide: closure and justice is denied to the victims and their descendents.

Araxie Barsamian, mother of AR's David, survived the Turkish genocide of the Armenians. Her parents, four brothers, and other members of her extended family were not so fortunate. In 1986, just a few months before her death, she spoke about her experiences to a history class at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Robert Fisk, based in Beirut, is the Middle East correspondent for The Independent. He is the author of Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon. He is winner of the Amnesty International UK Press Award and the Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom. His latest book is The Great Clash of Civilizations.

(11 Jul) 110601 Parvaiz Bukhari - Dateline: Kashmir

The 17th century Mughal Emperor Jahangir upon seeing the spectacular beauty of Kashmir said, "If there is paradise on earth, It is this, it is this, it is this." Today, Kashmir is reduced to a veritable hell on earth. It has the dubious distinction of being the most militarized zone in the world. A rebellion against Indian rule, which erupted in 1989, has taken 70,000 lives. More than 8,000 people have been disappeared. Human rights violations are rampant. Yet barely any of this is the topic of media scrutiny or of concern to Washington policymakers who see New Delhi as a so-called strategic partner. India has successfully sold the line that Kashmiri resistance to its hegemony is illegitimate and is composed of terrorists who are linked to neighboring Pakistan, al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Parvaiz Bukhari is an independent Kashmir-based journalist whose articles appear in major South Asian newspapers, journals and magazines.

(04 Jul) 050201 Manning Marable - By Any Means Necessary: Malcolm X

The singular voice of Malcolm X speaks today to more people than ever before. His autobiography continues to sell in great numbers. Millions have seen the Spike Lee movie. Malcolm endures as a powerful and inspirational figure. It's not hard to understand why. With his mesmerizing oratorical style and cadence it was Malcolm who redefined the discourse on race. He moved the discussion from notions of "prejudice" and "discrimination" to racism. It was Malcolm who articulated concepts like "community control" and "white power structure." It was Malcolm who made it clear that Blacks were the victims of a system of domination and exploitation that was not regional but national, not superficial but structural, not episodic but ongoing and intentional. His uncompromising critical analysis gave Malcolm his moral authority. He was assassinated on February 21, 1965, but as new generations discover him, his ideas live on.

Manning Marable, a renowned scholar, was professor of public affairs, political science, history and African American studies at Columbia University. His syndicated column Along the Color Line appeared in over 400 newspapers and journals worldwide. He's the author of many books including How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America, Living Black History, and his masterwork Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. Manning Marable died in New York on April 1, 2011.

(27 Jun) 110504 Arundhati Roy - Revolts and Rebellions

Beyond the hoopla of robust growth rates and hype about the world's largest democracy, India is beset by major revolts and rebellions over a vast area. Some, like the one in Kashmir, are for independence. Others, like the multiple uprisings in what the media call the "Red Corridor" are for the overthrow of the government. These various movements are in response to serious economic and social problems and the racism of Hindu nationalism. The seizure of land, water, and minerals by corporations chaperoned and sanctioned by the state has caused the poorest of the poor to say: No More. They are pushing back. Washington ignores India's internal realities. Instead it sees New Delhi as a hot destination for investment, a bazaar for arms sales, and as a strategic linchpin in its planned anti-China alliance.

Arundhati Roy is the celebrated author of "The God of Small Things" and winner of the prestigious Booker Prize. The New York Times calls her, "India's most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence." She is the recipient of the Lannan Award for Cultural Freedom. She's the author of many books including The Checkbook & the Cruise Missile, a collection of interviews David Barsamian did with her, and Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers.

(20 Jun) 110503 Nubar Hovsepian - Edward Said: Public Intellectual

From Rousseau to Gramsci to Bertrand Russell and Noam Chomsky intellectuals play vital roles in society. Resisting the lure of power intellectuals question the status quo and conventional thinking. Choices are made of course. Play ball with the establishment and you'll be applauded and honored. Stand in opposition and you risk ostracism and opprobrium. It's a lot easier for some intellectuals to collaborate and support empire by providing sophomoric rationales for imperial policies. Edward Said was not one of those. He felt strongly that intellectuals, because of their privileged position, had a special responsibility to speak out against injustice, challenge power, confront hegemonic thinking and provide alternatives.

Nubar Hovsepian, born in Egypt, attended the American University of Beirut. He received his PhD from The City University of New York. He is professor of political science and international relations at Chapman University. He is the author of The War on Lebanon and Palestinian State Formation.

(13 Jun) 110502 Ilan Pappe - Solutions: Israel/Palestine

The winds of change are sweeping across the Middle East. Decrepit and sclerotic regimes are crumbling. A constant however is the uneresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Will the broader political upheavals in the region help bring about a solution? Perhaps. But round after round of U.S.-led failed peace talks and a simultaneous huge increase in illegal Israeli settlements have left Palestinians desperate. Maybe Ariel Sharon's prediction of some years back has come true. He said, "We'll make a pastrami sandwich out of them. We'll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years' time, neither the United Nations nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart."

Ilan Pappe is professor of history at the University of Exeter. For many years he taught at the University of Haifa and was chair of the Touma Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies in Haifa. John Pilger calls him, "Israel's bravest, most principled, most incisive historian." He is the author of many books including The Modern Middle East, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, and Gaza in Crisis.

(06 Jun) 110501 Wendell Potter - Whistleblowing: Big Insurance

Whistleblowers perform valuable societal functions as they reveal information of crimes, corruption, and lying. Daniel Ellsberg was a noteworthy example of whistleblowing when, in 1971, he leaked the Pentagon Papers, Washington's top secret Vietnam war documents. John Stockwell and Phillip Agee were former CIA agents who went public and exposed some of that agency's illegal operations. Remember the film "The Insider" with Russell Crowe? It told the tale of Jeffrey Wigand. He was the Brown and Williamson corporate executive who blew the whistle on that tobacco company's deceptive practices in suppressing scientific evidence that cigarettes cause cancer. Today, whoever gave Wikileaks the massive trove of government documents faces harsh punishment. Powerful states and corporations want to keep the lid on what the public knows about what they are doing.

Wendell Potter is a whistleblower. he was a former CIGNA public relations executive and is now an outspoken critic of the health insurance industry. He is Senior Fellow on Health Care for the Center for Media and Democracy. He is the author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out On How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care And Deceiving Americans.

(30 May) 110405 Reese Erlich - Terrorism and the Media

The use of the word terrorism by politicians and the corporate media is highly refined and selective. September 11 is the event that defines the term. Acts of violence by designated enemies are without exception categorized as terrorism. The perpetrators are labeled as terrorists. But when the U.S. carries out air attacks, invasions, coups, sabotage and blockades those are explained away as necessary actions in response to heinous provocations. So the discussion, such as it is, is about the terrible things done to us not what we do to them. If there is any criticism at all it is about tactics or poor leadership or lack of resources. In all mainstream media reporting the U.S. is the victim of terrorism never its originator.

Reese Erlich is an award-winning independent journalist. His articles appear in major newspapers and he reports for the CBC, NPR, Radio Deutsche Welle, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He is the author of Target Iraq, The Iran Agenda, and Conversations with Terrorists.

(23 May) 110404 Chris Williams - Capitalism and the Environment

James Hansen, one of the leading scientific authorities on global warming, warns: "Planet Earth, creation, the world in which civilization developed, the world with climate patterns that we know and stable shorelines, is in imminent peril. The startling conclusion is that continued exploitation of all fossil fuels on Earth threatens not only the other millions of species on the planet but also the survival of humanity itself and the timetable is shorter than we thought." All ecosystems on the planet are now in decline. The economy and the earth are headed for a fateful collision if we don't change course. The roots of the environmental crisis lie in capitalism's relentless and rapacious expansion. Can a viable system evolve in time to preserve our precious home?

Chris Williams is a longtime environmental activist, professor of physics and chemistry at Pace University, and chair of the science department at Packer Collegiate Institute. He is the author of Ecology and Socialism.

(16 May) 110403 Amiri Baraka - Resistance and the Arts

From Allen Ginsberg to Kurt Vonnegut and from Bob Dylan to Michael Franti artists have been on the cutting edge. The arts play a pivotal role in society. The great historian Howard Zinn said: "Whenever I become discouraged I lift my spirits by remembering: The artists are on our side! I mean those poets and painters, singers and musicians, novelists and playwrights who speak to the world in a way that is impervious to assault because they wage the battle for justice in a sphere which is unreachable by the dullness of ordinary political discourse. The billionaire mandarins of our culture can show us the horrors of war on a movie screen and pretend they are making an important statement. But the artists go beyond that, to resistance."

Amiri Baraka rose to fame in the 1960s as LeRoi Jones. His 1964 off-Broadway play, "Dutchman" created a sensation. Later he became Amiri Baraka and was a central figure in the Black Arts movement. He is an award-winning playwright and poet and recipient of the American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the author of many books including Home and Digging.

(09 May) 100402 Robert Scheer - Roots of the Economic Collapse

Wall Street is making more money than ever. The four largest firms, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase, wracked up huge gains and paid out billions in bonuses. The CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, defended the bank's massive profits, saying Goldman is, "doing God's work." And on Main Street? By almost every economic measure most Americans have been steadily losing ground since the Reagan era. It's been bi-partisan policies for the most part that have given tax breaks and subsidies to the very wealthy while the bulk of the citizenry fends for itself. Inequality in the U.S. is the highest of any industrialised country. Poverty and hunger. Lost jobs, lost savings, lost homes. How did this all happen? It's easy to blame the greedsters. Might there be some problems with the system itself?

Robert Scheer is a veteran journalist and editor of Truthdig.com. He is the author of many books, including The Pornography of Power and The Great American Stickup.

(02 May) 100401 Noam Chomsky - Human Intelligence and the Environment

As a species we humans are unique because of our intelligence. At the same time we have the capacity to defer, deny and ignore unpleasant realities. To wit: the environmental crisis. The signs of climate change are clearly evident. Glaciers are melting at an astonishing rate. Floods, fires, drought, tornadoes and hurricanes are occurring with greater frequency and intensity. Rising sea levels are putting millions at risk. 2010 was the hottest year the earth has yet recorded. Conferences on mitigating global warming are held from Montreal to Copenhagen, to Cancun. But they have produced little more than hot air. The sense of urgency is just not there with the big industrial countries, responsible for most of the carbon emissions. They engage in compromises and non-binding deals leaving the basic systems and structures intact. Yet with all of the mounting evidence of the damage being done to the planet, we continue to dilly-dally. The clock is ticking.

Noam Chomsky is the internationally renowned Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. He is in huge demand as a speaker all over world. he New Statesman calls him, "The conscience of the American people." Howard Zinn described him as "the nation's most distinguished intellectual rebel." He's the author of scores of books including Failed States, What We Say Goes, and Hopes and Prospects.

(25 Apr) 110304 Bill Moyers - Organise: Honouring Howard Zinn

Joe Hill, born in Sweden, emigrated to the United States in 1902, where he became a migrant labourer. When he was a dockworker in California, Hill joined the Industrial Workers of the World, the IWW. He travelled widely, writing political songs, making speeches and organizing workers under the IWW banner. In 1915, while working in a mine in Utah, he was accused of murder in a dubious case that became an international cause celebre. Just prior to his execution, he wrote to Bill Haywood, an IWW leader, saying, " Don't waste any time in mourning. Organize." Joe Hill was a legend in his time and after, much like the great historian Howard Zinn who passed away in early 2010 at the age of 87. Zinn wrote about Joe Hill and the IWW in his masterwork, "A People's History of the United States."

Bill Moyers is a renowned journalist and commentator. He was senior correspondent for CBS News, and producer of many of public television's most heralded programs. He is the winner of the more than 30 Emmy Awards, and the author of several bestsellers including Moyers on America. A longtime fixture on PBS, he retired as anchor of Bill Moyers Journal in 2010.

(18 Apr) 110303 Pervez Hoodbhoy - The War Within Pakistan

The decades long bloodshed and destruction in Afghanistan now envelops Pakistan. From Lahore to Karachi to Peshawar the carnage increases. Home grown jihadi groups, with links to various intelligence agencies, set up to fight against India in Kashmir, have turned inward. After one such attack which killed more than 50 in northwest Pakistan, the Taliban claimed responsibility and declared, "Our war is to enforce sharia, Islamic law, and anyone who hinders our way or sides with America will meet the same fate." Washington carries out countless drone bombings and its special forces operate inside Pakistan. The regime in Islamabad is despised by most Pakistanis as being corrupt and not providing basic services.

Pervez Hoodbhoy is professor of physics at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad. He writes and lectures on South Asian issues. He appears on major news programs in Pakistan and around the world.

(11 Apr) 110302 Gwynne Dyer - Climate Wars

An increase in just two degrees Celsius in average global temperature could trigger conflicts over scarce food and water. Scientists are predicting we will see in this century an increase in heat waves, floods, droughts, and storms 10 times more powerful than Katrina. As the planet gets hotter, glaciers will melt and there will be less water for irrigation resulting in lower agricultural yields and less drinking water. The stress of thirst and hunger will be too much for populations to bear thus spurring climate refugee migrations on a scale never before seen. Wars will result. Some of the scenarios include the already arid Middle East and Africa, Russia and NATO going head-to-head over control of the ice-free Arctic and India and Pakistan fighting over water.

Gwynne Dyer is a journalist, columnist, broadcaster, and lecturer on international affairs. He has served in the Canadian, British, and American navies. His twice-weekly column is published by 175 newspapers in 45 countries. He is the author of The Mess They Made and Climate Wars.

(04 Apr) 110301 Stephen Bezruchka - Dying Younger Than We Should

Over and over U.S. citizens are told," We have the best health care system in the world." That would be great if it were true but the facts, baldly stated, don't support the claim. Not only is it far and away the most expensive system, the U.S. spends half the world's health bill, it fails to produce outstanding outcomes. For example, in one basic index, all of us in this country die younger than we should. A really healthy society does not have the radical disparities in wealth and income the U.S., one hesitates to use the word, "enjoys." One in seven Americans are officially in poverty, the highest levels in decades. Evidence demonstrates that people in more egalitarian societies have healthier and happier lives.

Stephen Bezruchka is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. He worked for many years as an emergency physician in Seattle. His particular areas of research are population health and societal hierarchy. He has spent over 10 years in Nepal working in various health programs, and teaching in remote regions. He is author of numerous articles and essays. He is a contributor to Sickness and Wealth, a book on the effects of global corporatization on health.

(28 Mar) 110204 Paul Cienfuegos - Corporations vs. People

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision gave corporations a green light to secretly funnel in as much money as they want to elect candidates. The justices in their supreme wisdom have once again privileged corporations over citizens. The results have been dramatic. Even with a weak economy a record amount of cash has flooded political campaigns. Although corporations are not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution or Bill of Rights a series of legal decisions have given them the rights of personhood and free speech. Focusing on limiting or even stopping corporate harms is an inadequate response to a fundamental problem. And that is corporations rule and not the people. Citizens are marginalized and are left with Coke and Pepsi choices.

Paul Cienfuegos is a community organizer and activist. He co-founded Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County in Northern California, an organization which works to dismantle corporate rule. He lectures and leads workshops on this topic.

(21 Mar) 110203 Matt Taibbi - Corruption: From Russia to Wall Street

It's easy to make jokes and feel virtuous when discussing post-Communist Russia. It's crony capitalism and insider trading at its worst. In comparison, are things much better in the United States? There is corruption, fraud, bribery and embezzlement. With a few exceptions, the scoundrels walk away with their bonuses and compensation packages while their victims face ruined lives and darkened futures. From burst bubbles, sub-prime mortgages, and foreclosures to Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, and AIG, the carnage of economic collapse litters the landscape. Wall Street banks cooked up schemes that helped decimate municipal budgets and cost countless jobs, and Wall Street lobbying led to a financial reform bill that won't prevent another meltdown.

Matt Taibbi is an award-winning columnist for Rolling Stone. He has also written for The Nation and The Moscow Times. In addition to journalism he played professional basketball in Mongolia, and was one of the first Americans to play professional baseball in Russia. He is the author of Griftopia.

(14 Mar) 110202 Alfred McCoy - United States of Surveillance

The telescreens in Orwell's "1984" monitoring Winston Smith are crude devices compared to 21st century technology but they make the point. Big Brother is watching your every move. Today, the weapons of surveillance in the hands of state agencies have grown enormously in scope and sophistication. Basic rights are in jeopardy. Invasions of privacy such as warrentless wiretapping, intercepting cell phone messages and reading email are increasing. When those electronic interventions don't work there are always the old reliable agent provocateurs, framing and planting of evidence. In fighting the so-called war on terror, surveillance is one of the biggest growth industries in the United States. There are always new threats. Turn the cameras on and your liberties off.

Alfred McCoy is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of the classic The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. For Closer than Brothers, his pioneering book on the impact of CIA torture on the Philippine military, he was awarded the Goodman Prize. He is also the author of A Question of Torture and Policing America's Empire.

(07 Mar) 110201 Chris Hedges - Death of the Liberal Class

The gradual corruption and demise of the liberal class has occurred without much comment. For decades it was a modest curb against the worst excesses of power. Once the pillars of this class, the Democratic Party, the unions, and the liberal church, collapsed, the poor, the working class, and even the middle class no longer had a defender, thus creating a vacuum that is increasingly filled by opportunists and charlatans. The electoral process, flooded with money, is heavily influenced by corporations. The Supreme Court votes for the powerful. Dismayed citizens, fed a media diet of bread and circuses, lose their jobs, savings, homes and dignity thus becoming easy prey for demagogues who scapegoat and blame others for the problems facing the country.

Chris Hedges is an award-winning journalist who has covered wars in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central America. He writes a weekly column for Truthdig.com and is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. He is the author of American Fascists, Empire of Illusion, and Death of the Liberal Class.

(28 Feb) 110104 Robert Fisk - Lies, Cliches and the Middle East

Words are a contested battlefield. Propagandists long ago figured out if you control the vocabulary you could dominate any debate or issue, conflict or war. On almost any given day you can read or hear variants of the following: Our enemies live in strongholds and emerge from nests or caves to carry out brazen ambushes. They have no respect for human life and are led by hardliners, warlords and terrorist commanders. Their culture is tribal. We and our coalition partners live in homes in nice neighborhoods. To defend freedom and spread democracy our F-16s, helicopter gunships and drones carry out missions. We are led by statesmen who respect human life and international law. Such is the lexical quicksand and nowhere is it more treacherous than in the Middle East.

Robert Fisk, based in Beirut, is the Middle East correspondent for The Independent. He is winner of the Amnesty International UK Press Award and the Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom. The Financial Times calls him "one of the outstanding reporters of his generation. As a war correspondent he is unrivalled." He is the author of Pity the Nation, The Great War for Civilization and The Age of the Warrior.

(21 Feb) 110103 Fatima Bhutto - Pakistan: The Jackals Rule

Pakistan has received billions in U.S. aid. Where is that money? Much of it has gone missing. The jackals rule in Pakistan. A series of venal military and civilian leaders have devastated and looted the country. Historically, the U.S. has used Pakistan as a strategic asset. Its backing of fundamentalist dictator Zia ul-Haq had disastrous consequences. It was General Zia who greatly expanded Islamic law and religious schools. And he was a conduit for arming the mujahideen. Pakistan's current head of state is Asif Ali Zardari, who was married to Benazir Bhutto. Zardari was touring London and Paris and staying at $11,000 a night hotels while much of his country was under water during catastrophic floods. Zardari is deeply unpopular and his regime teeters between the ineffectual and the criminal.

Fatima Bhutto published her first book, Whispers of the Desert, a collection of poetry, when she was 15. An independent journalist, her articles appear in the New Statesman, the Guardian, and CounterPunch. She is the author of Songs of Blood and Sword.

(14 Feb) 110102 Vandana Shiva Time to end the War Against the Earth

The global financial debacle has drowned out coverage of the rise in food prices. There are billion-dollar bailouts for banks while the poor go hungry. A billion people around the world face food insecurity. Advocates of corporate driven globalization are like the missionaries of old. Convinced of their righteousness, they are full of good intentions to save the world. Instead of bibles they are waving so-called free trade agreements. The gospel they preach is, Open your markets. Let us in. The planet is fast moving toward a choice-continue with rapacious predatory capitalism or develop a system of cooperation and collective action that protects the environment and prioritizes people before profits.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. A physicist, scholar, political activist and feminist, she is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi . She's the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. Author of many books, her latest are Earth Democracy and Soil Not Oil. She was the recipient of the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize awarded in November 2010. The Sydney peace Foundation Chairperson, Mary Kostakidis said, "Vandana Shiva's work highlights the fundamental connection between human rights and the protection of the environment. She offers solutions to some of the most critical problems posed by the effects of globalisation and climate change on the poorest and most populous nations".

(07 Feb) 110101 Amy Goodman Breaking the Silence Barrier

The mainstream media isn't so mainstream any more. As mainstreet becomes an even more secret and closed environment where only a few privileged, mainly white, middle aged men, are allowed to tread, the corporate media has grown even more shrill in defending the indefensible. The mainstream might represent the mainstreet but it certainly no longer represents the interests of the majority. As more and more people realise that corporate bailouts, secret deals supposedly to 'strengthen the job market' and severe cut backs in social welfare programs do nothing to help them, a backlash is beginning. Most people are keen to learn ways to bridge the gaps in the media silences. The time has come, says Amy Goodman, to take over the airwaves and reclaim the most precious public space so we can breakdown the mainstreet and reclaim the mainstream.

Amy Goodman is the award winning founder and anchor of "Democracy Now!". She is a winner of the Right Livelihood Award, often described as the Alternative Nobel Prize. She is also one of the first recipients of the Park Center for Independent Media's Izzy Award, named for the great muckraking journalist I.F. Stone. The Independent of London called Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! "an inspiration"; PULSE named her one of the 20 Top Global Media Figures of 2009. She is the author of four New York Times bestsellers. Her latest book, Breaking the Sound Barrier, proves the power of independent journalism in the struggle for a better world. Amy Goodman spoke at the 10th international congress of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters in La Plata, Argentina in November 2010.

(31 Jan) 100105 Amy Goodman - Bridging the Media Gaps

The political establishment determines the boundaries of conventional discourse. So typically mainstream media debates revolve around: How many troops are required for Afghanistan? Or should drone attacks on Pakistan be expanded? The embedded premises are never articulated and thus are never open to scrutiny, understanding, and challenge. The media mostly function as a kind of Hallelujah chorus praising the system of power and privilege but ever quick to highlight the sexual peccadilloes of individual politicians, celebrity sightings and divorces, steroids and sports, extreme weather and sensational crime usually missing children. The trees are closely examined and the forest is totally missed. An enormous abyss exists between media-drawn depictions and actual fact. An independent media free from corporate control can break through the spin and be the span that provides genuine information that links citizens to reality rather than fantasy.

Amy Goodman is the award-winning host of "Democracy Now" the daily syndicated radio and TV program. Howard Zinn says, "Amy Goodman has carried the great muckraking tradition of Upton Sinclair, George Seldes, and I.F. Stone into the electronic age, creating a powerful counter to the mainstream media." She's the author of The Exception to the Rulers and Breaking the Sound Barrier.

(24 Jan) 100304 Nomi Prins - Bailouts, Banks and Pyramids

Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist comments on the fiscal crisis: "The incentive structures in the financial sector encouraged excessive risk taking. So many of our banks became too big to fail. When you're too big to fail, life is a one-way bet. When you gamble and win, you walk off with the profits. When you gamble and lose, the taxpayer picks up the tab. That's what you've been experiencing. They lost, and we picked up the tab," Stiglitz says. Indeed. The banks were covered and the people were left exposed. And now there is talk about regulatory reform. Excuse the cynicism but it's likely to be a dog and pony show. Why? The foxes are designing the hen house. Wall Street wizards will quickly game the system. Maybe when elks learn to play piano real reform will be possible.

Nomi Prins is a former investment banker turned journalist. She worked at Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns. Her articles appear in major newspapers and magazines. She is the author of It Takes a Pillage.

(17 Jan) 100103 Irene Khan - Poverty and Human Rights

The problem of the world's poor is at its core a human rights issue. The worldwide economic downturn is working its way through every level of the global economy. Many people in the industrialized West are experiencing its negative effects with loss of jobs, savings, and homes. But the recession's impact on people in the poorer parts of the world, who were already living with the acute insecurity of employment, food and shelter, is even greater. Amnesty International's latest annual report on the state of the world's human rights documents the devastating consequences of the crisis on the indigent and finds that the economic problems they face are human rights problems too. Political leaders reduce the economic crisis to financial questions that require bailouts and technocratic solutions and in the process ignore the human rights dimension.

Irene Khan of Bangladesh is Secretary General of Amnesty International. She worked for the United Nations for many years and is the recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize. She is the author of The Unheard Truth.

(10 Jan) 100204 Vandana Shiva - Shakti: Feminine Power for Change

When you hear the word Shakti you may think of the great fusion band of a few years back. But it has another meaning and dimension. In Sanskrit it means "female creative power." In Hindu cosmology Shakti is the divine force, manifesting to destroy demonic forces and restore balance. Humanity is facing unprecedented threats, a veritable perfect storm of dangers from climate change to water and food shortages. One-sixth of the world's population is hungry. A quarter of all grains now grown in the U.S. end up as biofuel for cars thus adversely affecting global food supplies. While the military-industrial complex attracts some attention, the industrial agri-foods complex gets virtually none. Corporate decisions, motivated by profits, drive not just the production of food but its distribution. In this equation, the poor are left out. Maybe we all need some Shakti.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. A physicist, scholar, political activist and feminist, she is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi . She's the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. Author of many books, her latest are Earth Democracy and Soil Not Oil.

(03 Jan) 091004 Medea Benjamin - What Do Afghans Want?

Afghanistan is "a war of necessity," Obama tells us. One of the justifications for the invasion was to liberate Afghan women from Taliban oppression. As Arundhati Roy of India commented, "We are being asked to believe the U.S. marines are actually on a feminist mission." Beyond puppets in Kabul, we hear little from Afghans themselves. Instead, there is a media parade of U.S. military, government officials, and think tank experts who talk about tactics. The right of the United States to invade and occupy other countries is never brought up much less challenged. So the discussions focus on: How many troops do we need? What should we do in Helmand Province? Are air strikes counter productive? Does Gen. McChrystal have the right plans? In all of this Afghans barely count. What do they want and in particular what do Afghan women want?

Medea Benjamin is co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK. She frequently travels to and documents human rights violations in the Third World. She has lectured and written extensively on international issues and has been to Afghanistan a number of times.

(27 Dec) 100905 Alan Maass - The Case for Socialism

Socialism is a political philosophy with a singular approach to structuring the economy. In the U.S, little is actually known about it, because it has been reduced to something negative and undesirable. Some have called Obama a socialist. Should one laugh or weep at this characterization? The powers that be in the U.S. disseminate propaganda that distort socialism thus preventing citizens from knowing about a possible alternative to Robin Hood in reverse capitalism. One of socialism's most famous advocates was Albert Einstein who said, "I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate the grave evils (of capitalism), namely through the establishment of a socialist economy."

Alan Maass is the editor of Socialistworker.org, a daily website of news and opinion, and the Socialist Worker newspaper. He is the author of The Case for Socialism.

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