May
29
2009

John Feffer on North Korea, Han Shan on Shell & Ken Saro-Wiwa

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: When the media talks foreign affairs, there's generally an assumption that countries have identifiable interests and rationally pursue them as best they can. All that's thrown out the window when it comes to North Korea. That country's apparent decision to conduct an underground nuclear test and test-fire several missiles has re-engaged the media discussion about the nuclear-armed dictatorship. But what do we still not understand about that country's behavior? And is all of this really a "test" for Barack Obama? John Feffer of the Institute for Policy Studies will join us to discuss that. […]

May
22
2009

Mike Lillis on climate bill, Joy-Ann Reid on Cheney & torture

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Climate change legislation is making its way through Congress, but weirdly, that might not be good news. Some environmentalists are saying that in this case, no law might be better than this bill--that started out as a call to reduce carbon emissions but seems to be turning into something else. We'll talk with Mike Lillis, who covers Congress for the Washington Independent. Also on the show: Did top Bush officials instruct interrogators to torture detainees, not for national security reasons, but to obtain statements to justify the Iraq War? The answer seems to be […]

May
01
2009

When the White House Says Hush

Treating the ‘state secrets privilege’ as classified information

When Barack Obama’s Justice Department announced that it was taking the exact same position as the George W. Bush administration on the state secrets privilege (New York Times, 2/10/09), many civil liberties experts were alarmed. Many avid news consumers, on the other hand, were asking themselves: What’s the state secrets privilege? Even on the rare occasions when corporate media mention this legal gambit, they don’t always get it right. A USA Today op-ed (7/5/06) described it like this: “The military and state secret privilege requires a court to dismiss a lawsuit just because the president says it involves important secrets.” […]

Apr
24
2009

Glenn Greenwald on torture, Rose Aguilar on tent cities

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: While it’s pretty clear that Bush-era torture occurred, and that U.S. and international treaties oblige the U.S. to investigate, the hot media discussion centers not on when investigations will begin, but on whether President Barack Obama—not the Justice Department—thinks they should go forward. We’ll talk to Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com about the torture story. Also on CounterSpin today: Media are flocking to so-called tent cities to try and put a human face on the recession and housing crisis. That sounds laudable, but are the media getting the story wrong? We'll talk to journalist Rose […]

Mar
13
2009

Melissa Harris-Lacewell on earmarks, Alex de Waal on Bashir indictment

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The evils of earmarks. Barack Obama signed a spending bill "stuffed with earmarks," the media tell us--despite the fact that he campaigned pledging to reform that practice. The assumption is that Congressional earmarks are bad; but are they? We'll ask Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University. Also this week: The International Criminal Court's indictment on March 4th of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was cheered by the media and by some progressive Darfur groups. But not everyone thought the indictment was wise or well-timed. We'll talk to Harvard […]

Jan
30
2009

Dean Baker on stimulus package, Michael Ratner on torture 'loopholes'

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: After several weeks of media debate, the House passed a nearly 900 billion dollar economic stimulus package. White House efforts to reach out to Republicans resulted in exactly zero GOP voters, leaving some in the media to wonder if Obama was failing to deliver on his promises of bipartisanship. But what about the stimulus debate was entirely off-the-mark? We'll talk to economist Dean Baker. Also on CounterSpin today: President Obama's executive order said to ban torture, hasn't settled the issue for many commentators. Some on the right and in the corporate media seem to […]

Jan
16
2009

Phyllis Bennis on Gaza & the law, Charles Kaiser on Bush-era torture

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Listeners have likely seen some horrific and affecting images from Gaza, where the death toll has exceeded an estimated 1,000 overwhelmingly Palestinian people as, as the New York Times had it, "the Israeli military operation continued apace." We'll hear from author and journalist Phyllis Bennis about part of the story that should be central but in the U.S. press is often ignored or gotten wrong, namely international law. Also on the show: Should we be taking a hard look at Bush era crimes like torture? No, say many journalists. Look forward, not back. Indeed […]

Dec
19
2008

Michael Ratner on detainee abuse report, Alfie Kohn on education nominee

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: When the Senate Armed Services Committee issued a report finding former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other high officials responsible for abusive treatment of detainees in Guantánamo, Iraq and Afghanistan--with few exceptions, the media played the story down, preferring, for instance, righteous anger over embroiled Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. We'll discuss the Senate report with the Center for Constitutional Rights' Michael Ratner, whose book, The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld, was published in September. Also on CounterSpin today, Obama's pick for education secretary drew more attention than you might have expected--in large part because the […]