June 22, 2010 — For insubordination, for disrespecting the Office of the President of the United States and for allowing derision of the White House among his staff, General Stanley McChrystal must resign. Sign our petition and we’ll deliver your signature to the White House and the Pentagon:
General McChrystal and his staff were caught being insubordinate and derisive of the President of the United States and our civilian leadership by Rolling Stone. His behavior again undermined the Office of the President of the United States, and another press-release apology isn’t good enough. He must resign.
Sept 15, 2009
On the eve of the Senate Finance Committee’s release of its much anticipated health care plan, Wendell Potter — the insurance industry whistle blower and former communications director of health insurance giant Cigna — called the Baucus framework “an absolute gift to the industry.” “And if that is what we see in the legislation, [America’s Health Insurance Plans chief] Karen Ignagni will surely get a huge bonus,” Potter said at a briefing for reporters.
h/t: Dr. Connie
The Ed Show – Wendell Potter discusses the Bogus Baucus Bill
originally posted April 11, 2008 8:17 AM
Updated: April 16, 2008 added another video
“Given new revelations that Condoleezza Rice chaired the meetings approving specific torture techniques, she can not continue as Secretary of State. Secretary of State Rice Must Resign”
ABC News: Bush advisers approved torture
Condi Must Go! (Commercial version)
April 16, 2008 (Less info)
We are airing a 30-second version of this film tonight.
How can we express the terrible shock we have felt from the proven fact that our government is using torture? How can we express what so many of us are thinking—that it is absolutely appalling to know that our representatives are implementing barbaric instruments of torture as policy? How do we express our moral outrage?
Perhaps more importantly, how do we begin to take steps towards ending this heinous crime?
1 hr 8 min 20 sec – May 28, 2006
MasterpieceConCen2 on Nov 2, 2012
Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties, is the third in a series of Public Interest Pictures films that follows Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election and Uncovered: The War on Iraq. True to their legacy, Unconstitutional provides the facts and stories that illuminate administration lies, wrongheaded policies, and the real victims of these actions–the American people.
Here, you’ll get the real story behind the USA PATRIOT Act and other administration policies and the gut wrenching stories behind those affected–from law-abiding store clerks to United States Olympians unable to travel. It’ll remind you of what America used to stand for and what it seems we’re falling for now. In short, this one-hour film will affirm why you’re angry and give you a tool to help others join your ranks.
By Ray McGovern
March 26, 2008
Frontline’s “Bush’s War” on PBS Monday and Tuesday evening was a nicely put-together rehash of the top players’ trickery that led to the attack on Iraq, together with the power-grabbing, back-stabbing and limitless incompetence of the occupation.
Except for an inside-the-beltway tidbit here and there – for example, about how the pitiable Secretary of State Colin Powell had to suffer so many indignities at the hands of other type-A hard chargers – Frontline added little to the discussion.
Notably missing was any allusion to the unconscionable role of the Fourth Estate as indiscriminate cheerleader for the home team, nor any mention that the invasion was a serious violation of international law. But those omissions, I suppose, should have come as no surprise.
Nor was it a surprise that any viewer hoping for insight into why Cheney and Bush were so eager to attack Iraq was left with very thin gruel.
It was more infotainment, bereft of substantive discussion of the whys and wherefores of what in my view is the most disastrous foreign policy move in our nation’s history.
Despite recent acknowledgments from the likes of Alan Greenspan, Gen. John Abizaid and others that oil and permanent (or, if you prefer, “enduring”) military bases were among the main objectives, Frontline avoided any real discussion of such delicate factors.
Someone not already aware of how our media has become a tool of the Bush administration might have been shocked at how Frontline could have missed one of President George W. Bush’s most telling “signing statements.”
Underneath the recent Defense Authorization Act, he wrote that he did not feel bound by the law’s specific prohibitions:
“(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq,” or
“(2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.”
So the Frontline show was largely pap.
At one point, however, the garrulous former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage did allude to one of the largest elephants in the living room – Israel’s far-right Likudniks – and their close alliance with the so-called neo-conservatives running our policy toward the Middle East.
But Armitage did so only tangentially, referring to the welcome (if totally unrealistic) promise by Ahmed Chalabi that, upon being put in power in Baghdad, he would recognize Israel.
Not surprisingly, the interviewer did not pick up on that comment; indeed, I’m surprised the remark avoided the cutting room floor.
Courage No Longer a Frontline Hallmark
Frontline has done no timely reportage that might be looked upon as disparaging the Bush administration – I mean, for example, the real aims behind the war, not simply the gross incompetence characterizing its conduct.
Like so many others, Frontline has been, let’s just say it, cowardly in real time — no doubt intimidated partly by attacks on its funding that were inspired by the White House.
And now? Well the retrospective criticism of incompetence comes as polling shows two-thirds of the country against the Iraq occupation (and the number is surely higher among PBS viewers).
So, Frontline is repositioning itself as a mild ex-post-facto critic of the war, but still unwilling to go very far out on a limb. Explaining the aims behind war crimes can, of course, be risky. It is as though an invisible Joseph Goebbels holds sway.
On Monday evening I found myself initially applauding Frontline’s matter-of-fact, who-shot-John chronology of how our country got lied into attacking and occupying Iraq. Then I got to thinking – have I not seen this picture before? Many times?
It took a Hollywood producer to recognize and act on the con games that sober observers could not miss as the war progressed: Where were the celebrated “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD)?
Robert Greenwald simply could not abide the president’s switch to “weapons of mass destruction programs,” which presumably might be easier to find than the much-ballyhooed WMD so heavily advertised before the attack on Iraq.
You remember – those remarkable WMD about which UN chief inspector Hans Blix quipped that the U.S. had 100 percent certainty of their existence in Iraq, but zero percent certainty as to where they were.
Robert Greenwald called me in May 2003. He had read a few of the memoranda published by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) exposing the various charades being acted out by the administration and wanted to know what we thought of the president’s new circumlocution on WMD.
I complimented him on smelling a rat and gave him names of my VIPS colleagues and other experienced folks who could fill him in on the details.
Wasting no time, he arrived here in Washington in June, armed simply with copious notes and a cameraman. Greenwald conducted the interviews, flew back to his eager young crew in Hollywood and, poof, the DVD “Uncovered: The War on Iraq” was released at the beginning of November 2003.
So Frontline is four and a half years behind a Hollywood producer with appropriate interest and skepticism. (Full disclosure: I appear in “Uncovered,” as do many of the interviewees appearing in Frontline’s “Bush’s War.”)
Actually, the interviewing by Frontline occurred just a few months later. I know because I was among those interviewed for that as well, as was my good friend and former colleague at the CIA, Mel Goodman.
I was struck that Mel looked four years younger on this week’s Frontline. It only then dawned on me that he was four years younger when interviewed.
Safety in Retrospectives
It also struck me that producing a Frontline-style retrospective going back several years is a much less risky genre to work with. Chalk it up to my perspective as an intelligence analyst, but ducking the incredibly important issues at stake over the next several months is, in my opinion, unconscionable. The troop “surge” in Iraq, for example.
Only toward the very end of the program does Frontline allow a bit of relevant candor on a point that has been self-evident since Cheney and Bush, against strong opposition from Generals Abizaid and Casey (and apparently even Rumsfeld), decided to double down by sending 30,000 more troops into Iraq.
A malleable new Secretary of Defense [Robert Gates] would deal with the recalcitrant generals and pick a Petreaus ex Machina of equal malleability and political astuteness to implement this stop-gap plan.
One of the last Frontline interviewees concedes that the purpose of the “surge” was to stave off definitive defeat in Iraq, so that Bush’s war could be handed off to his successor somewhat intact. (Even that seems doubtful at this point.)
“That decision [to order the ‘surge’] at a minimum guaranteed that his [Bush’s] presidency would not end with a defeat in history’s eyes, that by committing to the ‘surge’ he was certain to at least achieve a stalemate,” said journalist and author Steve Coll.
Okay, a small kudo to Frontline for including that bit of truth – however obvious.
Rather Not, Thank You
Intimidation of the media is what has happened all around, including with Frontline, which not so many years ago was able to do some gutsy reporting. Let me give you another example about which few are aware.
Do you remember when Dan Rather made his Apologia Pro Vita Sua, admitting that the American media, including him, was failing to reveal the truth about things like Iraq?
Speaking to the BBC on May 16, 2002, Rather compared the situation to the fear of “necklacing” in South Africa.
“It’s an obscene comparison,” Rather said, “but there was a time in South Africa when people would put flaming tires around peoples’ necks if they dissented. In some ways, the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck.”
Talking to another reporter, Dan told it straight about the careerism that keeps U.S. journalists in line: “It’s that fear that keeps [American] journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions and to continue to bore-in on the tough questions so often.”
The comparison to “necklacing” may be “obscene” but, sadly, it is not far off the mark.
So what happened to the newly outspoken Dan Rather with the newly found courage, when he ran afoul of Vice President Dick Cheney and the immense pressure he exerts on the corporate media?
We know about the lies and the cheerleading for attacking Iraq. But there is much more most of us do not know and remain unable to learn if Rather and other journalists keep acting the part of the lion in the Wizard of Oz, before he gets his courage.
For Dan Rather, the fear would simply not go away – even after leaving CBS for HDNet and promising that, on his new “Dan Rather Reports” show, viewers would see hard-hitting and courageous reporting that he said he couldn’t do at CBS.
Will it surprise you that Dan Rather cannot shake the necklace?
I refer specifically to a program for “Dan Rather Reports,” meticulously prepared by award-winning producer, Kristina Borjesson. The special included interviews with an impressive string of first-hand witnesses to neocon machinations prior to the U.S. attack on Iraq, and provides real insights into motivations – the kind of insights Frontline did not even attempt.
Nipped in the Bud
Last year Borjesson’s taping was finished and the editing had begun.
Borjesson’s requests to interview people working for the vice president had been denied. But, following standard journalistic practice (not to mention common courtesy), she sent an e-mail to John Hannah in Cheney’s office in order to give Hannah a chance to react to what others – including several of the same senior folks on Frontline last evening – had said about him for her forthcoming report.
At that point all hell broke loose. Borjesson was abruptly told by Rather’s executive producer that by sending the e-mail, Borjesson could have “brought down the whole (‘Dan Rather Reports’) operation.”
The show was killed and Borjesson sacked. For good measure, she was also accused of “coaching” interview subjects and taking their words out of context.
Since neither Rather nor his executive producer would provide proof to substantiate that allegation, Borjesson took the unprecedented step of sending her script and transcripts to all her interview subjects and asking them to confirm or deny that she had coached them or taken their words out of context.
Not one of them found her script inaccurate or said they were coached. She has the e-mails to prove this.
This sorry episode and Frontline’s careful avoidance of basic issues like the strategic aims of the Bush administration in invading and occupying Iraq are proof, if further proof were needed, that the White House, and especially Cheney’s swollen office, exert enormous pressure over what we are allowed to see and hear.
The fear they instill in the corporate press, and in what once was serious investigative reporting of programs like Frontline, translates into programs getting neutered or killed outright – and massive public ignorance.
Some consolation is to be found in the good news that, in this particular case, Kristina Borjesson is made of stronger stuff; she has not given up, and was greatly encouraged by how many of the very senior officials and former officials she had already interviewed consented to be re-interviewed (since the tapes belonged to the “Rather Not” folks).
Now who looks forward to being re-interviewed?
Borjesson’s original interviewees took into account her problems with the cowards and the censors – and her atypical, gutsy refusal to self-censor – and went the extra mile. A tribute to them as well, and their interest in getting the truth out.
Borjesson is now completing the program on her own. Look for an announcement in the coming months, if you’re interested in real sustenance rather than the pabulum served up, no doubt under duress, by Frontline.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington, DC. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer in the early sixties, then a CIA analyst for 27 years. He now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
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Posted previously on my old blog on February 20, 2006. ~ Lo
ik990 on Mar 27, 2008
The War on Iraq, filmmaker Robert Greenwald chronicles the Bush Administration’s determined quest to invade Iraq following the events of September 11, 2001. The film deconstructs the administration’s case for war through interviews with U.S intelligence and defense officials, foreign service experts, and U.N. weapons inspectors — including a former CIA director, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and even President Bush’s Secretary of the Army. Their analyses and conclusions are sobering, and often disturbing, regardless of one’s political affiliations.
Giving up is certainly not something we do here at Brave New Films. This time however, we had to throw in the towel. For weeks, our team repeatedly tried to reach Henry Kravis, the star of our War On Greed video series.From interns to producers even Director Robert Greenwald himself all tried their luck at calling Mr. Kravis to invite him to share his point of view and to give him an opportunity to speak for himself. We left messages with the switchboard operator, his assistant, and his voice mail became our acquaintance. His PR firm never responded, and obviously, neither did Mr. Kravis.We would like to add that aside from simply picking up the phone, we proposed Mr. Kravis the sweet deal of meeting with him at his own time, at the location of his choice, at his convenience. All he had to do was say the word and we would have followed. We offered to post the transcript of the would-be interview in its entirety on the web, so that his words would not be misinterpreted or lost in translation. Unfortunately, our perks didn’t interest Mr. Kravis, and we have yet to hear from him. Mr. Kravis: you can’t say we never tried. Added: February 25, 2008
What you may not know about Dr. Martin Luther King
Today we honor Dr. King’s birthday. We all know him because of his historic impact on civil rights, but many don’t realize that later in life he fought just as passionately for the rights of workers and against the entrenched institutions of injustice.
“Equality means dignity. And dignity demands a job and a paycheck that lasts through the week.”
The War on Greed is exactly this kind of fight. The livelihoods of families have been directly attacked by the actions of buyout billionaires like Henry Kravis putting Wall Street’s special interests ahead of his 800,000 employees… and pocketing $51,000 an hour in the process.
The first step must be taxing these buyout billionaires at a fair tax rate. It will not solve all the problems, but it is a strong and forceful beginning. With the presidential campaigns underway, it is the perfect time to force this issue into the campaigns the way we did with Wal-Mart and Iraq for Sale.
As our friend Rev. Yearwood, leader of the Hip Hop Caucus, has said: “We are facing a lunch counter moment for the 21st century.”
Please join us at our virtual lunch counter by signing the petition to presidential candidates demanding they pledge to close the loopholes and tax the tax dodgers. Buyout billionaires are a menace to our economy. People are hurting, badly, and we must take beginning steps to bring the issue of corporate greed and economic equality to the nation’s attention.
War on Greed: Rev. Yearwood on MLK’s dream
Robert Greenwald fights for the dream with Maria Bartiromo
There’s something about Maria… and Robert. Sparks fly as they close the bell on greed, greed, greed.
Another must-see video previously posted on my other blog. ~ Lo
Replaced video Feb. 11, 2015
Brave New Films on Feb 11, 2015
The story of what happens to everyday Americans when corporations go to war.
Acclaimed director Robert Greenwald (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed and Uncovered) takes you inside the lives of soldiers, truck drivers, widows and children who have been changed forever as a result of profiteering in the reconstruction of Iraq. Iraq for Sale uncovers the connections between private corporations making a killing in Iraq and the decision makers who allow them to do so.
Brave New Films are both funded and distributed completely outside corporate America. Over 3000 people donated to make Iraq for Sale, and it is up to you to distribute it. Give copies to co-workers and organize a screening in your neighborhood. Get involved.
http://warongreed.org Director Robert Greenwald discusses the new documentary series “War on Greed” on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” 12/6/07
Winner of the War on Greed contest
Two weeks ago, we released the “War on Greed Starring Henry Kravis’ Homes” and asked you to tell us what *you* would do with one of Kravis’ mansions for a day during the holidays.
We received thousands of responses, but Carolyn’s idea clearly stood out.
Listen to her story, and tell us what you’d do this holiday season at bravenewfilms.org.Added: December 25, 2007
November 12, 2007
War, Politics and Veterans
Keith gives his report on George Bush deciding not attend the services at Arlington Cemetary for Veterans Day but instead to stay in Texas. Richard Wolffe weighs in.
Some Way to Say Thanks
Keith gives his report on the Veterans from the IAVA who were not allowed to march in the Veterans Day parade this weekend. Paul Rieckhoff, author of Chasing Ghosts weighs in.
Working the Crowd
Keith talks about the recent Clinton campaign gaff with the planted question and puts it into perspective when compared to the way the current administration has managed the press and had planted reporters in the White House Press corps and during fake FEMA press conferences and whether this might be a common practice of political campaigns. Craig Crawford weighs in.
Fox Gone Wild
Keith talks to Robert Greenwald about how Fox News continually shows smutty videos on their “news” station while all the while faking feined outrage against it and all the while claiming to worry about “family values”.
And the winner is….Tom DeLay. Runners up Mike Huckabee and Rush Limbaugh.
Robert Greenwald talks about Blackwater USA on Hardball with Chris Matthews.
In case you missed it: