Authors@Google: Amy Goodman


Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 05.05.2010

Transcript:
Katina: Thank you all for coming to this "Authors at Google" Talk. My name is Katina Johnson,
and I'm a Manager in Online Sales and Operations. I'm please to introduce our guest speaker
today, Amy Goodman. Goodman is an award winning journalist, investigative journalist and syndicated
columnist. Um...she’s an author and host of Democracy Now which airs on more than 800
public TV and radio stations worldwide. She's had four New York Times best sellers, three
of those were co-authored with her brother, uh, journalist David Goodman. And, in fact,
when Amy was here last, it was in April of 2008. She and her brother promoted their book,
"Standing Up To the Madness." That was also a time when the presidential, uh, campaign
was starting to heat up, and with all that's happened in politics in the last couple of
years since then, it seems as like there's even more madness to, to stand up to now.
Um, and that's exactly what her role has been during her career as a journalist. So today
she's going to talk about her most recent book, "Breaking the Sound Barrier". It's a
collection of wide-ranging articles that cover a lot of the hot button issues, uh, like the
wars and one that definitely front-of-mind in the news, immigration. Bill Moyers, who
wrote the introduction, describes it as a reality check. He goes on to say that you
can learn more of the truth about Washington and the world from one week of Amy Goodman's
"Democracy Now" than from a year of Sunday morning talk shows. So, we only have an hour
today. She's going to talk for about 45 minutes, uh, but I suspect that there's a lot that
we can learn from her right now. So please join me in welcoming Amy Goodman.
Amy Goodman: Well, it's great to be here and hello to everyone
in the satellite facilities. Um, well, I, why don't I start off by asking how many of
you have ever seen, or heard, or read "Democracy Now" online? Where do you watch it? Online?
Male audience member: Online?
Amy Goodman: Uh, radio?
Male audience member: KPFA?
Amy Goodman: KPFA? Television? KRSB, CBS, and Public Access
in Marin County, and depending on where you are. Uh, well, I originally come from Pacifica
Radio which was founded 61 years ago um... in the Bay Area, uh, in Berkeley, KPFA the
first station. And it was founded by a man named Lou Hill. He was a WWII conscientious
objector. Uh, When he came out the detention camps, he said that there has got to be a
media outlet that is run not by corporations that profit from war, but run by journalists
and artists, and that's how Pacifica was formed. Um, the first Pacifica station, KPFA '49 and
KCFK in Los Angeles '59, 1960 my station in New York, WBAI, WPFW in Washington 1977, KPFT
in Houston 1970. Those are the five Pacifica stations. That station in Houston is the only
one in the country who transmitter was blown up. Uh, in the first few months of operation
the Ku Klux Klan strapped dynamite to the base of the transmitter and blew it to smithereens.
And when they got back on their feet, they blew it up again. Now the silver lining was
it's not as if they had money for advertising or anything, so it certainly blew it into
the conscientiousness of the potential listening audience of the people of Houston. I don't
remember if it was the Grand Dragon or the Exalted Cyclops because I often confuse their
titles, but he said it was his proudest act. And I think that's because he understood how
dangerous Pacifica is, how dangerous independent media is because it allows people to speak
for themselves. And when you hear someone speaking from their own experience whether
a Palestinian child, an Israeli grandmother, an Afghan aunt, an uncle from Afghanistan.
You come to understand them a little better. You don't necessarily have to agree, but you
understand where they're coming from. We need a media in this country that builds bridges
between communities rather than advocates the bombing of bridges. The media can be a
great force for peace. But that's not how it's used in this country. I just came from
uh Stanford, speaking last night, to a conference today on the future of journalism. And for
all of the new wave interesting ways of distributing media and all the new possibilities and what
with newspapers folding, what does it mean, and where is journalism going, I think we
still have to get back to the very important basics of journalism, holding those in power
accountable, simple as that. Uh, my brother, David, and I wrote these three books: the
first is called the "Exception to the Rulers", and that's what media should be; that's the
motto of democracy now, The Exception to the Rulers. The second one is called "Static",
and the reason we call it that is because in this high tech digital age with high definition
television and digital radio still all we ever get is static. That veil of distortion,
lies, misrepresentations, and half truths that obscure reality when what we need is
the dictionary definition of static, criticism, opposition, unwanted interference. We need
a media that covers power, not covers for power. We need a media that is the fourth
estate, not for the state. And we need a media that covers the movement that creates static
and make history.
Um, and that's not the kind of media we have in this country. People talk a lot about how
the reason newspapers are being shuttered around the country is, well because of the
internet. There's other ways to get information. I think that's partly true. But I also think
newspapers buried themselves by not telling the truth, by icing out the voices of dissent
that really are what could have saved them and all of us. I mean, let's just look at
the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. And the reason I go back to this, it is so important.
A country can't make a more serious decision than going to war, than sending young men
and women and not-so-young men and women to kill or be killed. And so we should talk about
it all the time when we're doing it, and we are doing it big time. In Iraq we just passed
the seventh anniversary of the war. In Afghanistan, we're on nine years, longer than the U.S.
was involved in Vietnam. It's truly astounding. Um, about five weeks before the U.S. invaded
Iraq, uh, General Collin Powell, then Secretary of State, gave his push for war at the United
Nations. Um, the group FAIR, Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting, did this study of the
two weeks around that speech that was February 5th, 2003. They looked at the four major nightly
news casts, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, and uh, PBS
News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Four news casts, the agenda-setting news in this country. In
that two week period, there were 393 interviews done around war. Guess how many were with
anti-war leaders? Silence. [Audience guessing.] Underestimate 0.
(audience murmuring) But you're close.
(audience murmuring) Still an underestimate, 1.
(More audience murmuring) Uh, you overestimated, 5. So, 3. Three of
almost 400 were with anti-war leaders. That is no longer a mainstream media 'cause about
half the population was opposed to war then. But they brought out 3 of 400 voices? That's
an extreme media beating the drums for war. And I really do believe that those who were
opposed to war, those who were opposed to torture are not a fringe minority. Not even
a silent majority, but the "silenced" majority; silenced by the corporate media which is why
we have to take it back. It really does matter. I think the media are the most powerful institutions
on earth. More powerful than any bomb, more powerful than any missile, and the Pentagons
deploy the media, so we've got to get it back. I think the embedding process brought the
media to an all-time low. You know, the embedding process where reporters get embedded, and
the front lines of troops which Victoria Clark, who was spokesperson for the Pentagon, helped
craft the whole "embed" program, called it a spectacular success which, of course, why
it's a very serious failure. Um, the idea of the embedding process is you get this,
you know, immediate view, yes, but from only one perspective - from the trigger end of
the war. I'm not say reporters aren't brave who are embedded, but when you're sleeping
with the troops, eating with the troops, when your life is in their hands, you are going
to report a certain way. And you have a certain perspective. If you're going to have reporters
embedded in troops, you need reporters embedded in Afghan hospitals, in Iraqi communities,
in the peace movement around the world to understand the full effects of war. And the
problem isn't only the embedding process in troops, uh, covering troops; it's being embedded
in the establishment in Washington. You know how often you hear these softball questions
at the White House; we call it the access of evil. Right? Trading truth for access,
and it not worth it. It's a disservice.
We have to protect journalism, and we have to promote journalism. Reporters around the
world face very serious consequences for their work, especially Arab media workers and journalists
in Iraq and Afghanistan. I want to talk about Wikileaks in a minute.
Um, but I want to talk about something less serious, but it does have serious ramifications.
And that was the recent trip that I took with my colleagues just from here to Vancouver,
or attempted to take. It was Thanksgiving, and um, uh, I was on a book tour for "Breaking
the Sound Barrier". And since everyone was eating turkey here, we thought we'd talk turkey
in Canada. So we headed from Seattle to the border and then up to Vancouver. I was going
to be speaking from the Vancouver Public Library. Wherever we go, we hold fundraisers for the
community stations that run "Democracy Now", and there are three radio stations in Vancouver.
So we're crossing the border, it's Wednesday of Thanksgiving, and we hand them our passports,
and they pull us over. They flag us. And they tell us that we've got to go into this big
border facility. So we go in. It's pouring rain, and it's really close to the talk. So
I have to get out of there so that I can go up to the library. And, uh, you know, they
call me up, uh, to the counter. They say, uh, "Amy, we want your notes." I said, "My
notes for what?" They said, "Your notes for your talk tonight." Well, now, I don't really
speak from notes, so I went out to the car, and I got a copy of the book. And I came in,
and I gave it to them. And there were three guards. You know they were all armed. One
of them was entering everything I was saying into a computer. Another was handwriting down
everything I was saying, and the other started reading the book which I took as a good sign.
(laughter)
So they said, "What are you going to be talking about tonight?" And I was very taken aback,
and, but it sort of a no-man's land there. You don't know what your rights are, and I
really had to get there. So I said, "Well, I was going to start with the last column.
What I basically do is I, uh, read excerpts of columns", I said, "and I riff off them."
So I was going to start with the last column, um, which is about Tommy Douglas, title "Healthcare
Reform Needs an Action Hero". Tommy Douglas, who is considered the greatest Canadian. He
was the Premier of Saskatchewan in the early 60's. Well, when he was a kid he almost lost
his leg, and a doctor offered to, uh, help him for free. He was poor, and so when he
grew up and he became a politician, he thought, "The one thing I want to bring to Canada is
single-payer healthcare, is national healthcare system." It's what they call Medicare. And
so, as Premier of Sasketchewan he introduced it. And his major opponent was the American
Medical Association, right? Based here. Why? Because they were afraid the contagion would
spread south. And they led a, like three-week strike of Canadian doctors, but Tommy Douglas
won. And they adopted Medicare in Saskatchewan. Then he traversed Canada until it was adopted
everywhere. Extremely popular program in Canada. Um, I'm telling the guards this story, the
Canadian guards. This is the Canadian side of the border. I said, "I don't really get
it. I'm being detained here. Sara Palin just came here and trashed your system! She was
able to go all over Canada!" Anyway, so I said, "So, I wrote my column on it because..."
Well, this is how I started it. "Imagine the scene, America 2009. 18,000 people have died
in one year, an average of almost 50 a day. Who's taking them out, or, what's killing
them? To investigate, President Obama might be tempted to call on Jack Bauer, the fictional
rogue intelligence agent from the hit TV series, "24", who invariably employs torture and a
host of other illegal tactics to help the President fight terrorism. But terrorism isn't
the culprit here. It's lack of adequate healthcare. So maybe the President's solution isn't Jack
Bauer, but rather the actor who plays him". You know who the star of "24" is? Kiefer Sutherland.
Well his family has very deep connections to healthcare reform. His grandfather is Tommy
Douglas, the man who brought single-payer healthcare to Canada. Um, "Yes, Kiefer Sutherland
is the grandson of Tommy Douglas. Um, his mother is Shirley Douglas, his father is Donald
Sutherland. And Kiefer Sutherland, if he spoke out here, would have a tremendous impact.
You know, he speaks to a very right-wing audience. He, uh, "24" is like Rush Limbaugh's favorite
show. Glenn Beck loves it. Rush Limbaugh visited the set of 24. Um, "he should learn from the
real life actor who plays his hero, Jack. Limbaugh and his cohorts might find truth
not as satisfying as fiction". Now Kiefer Sutherland does speak out in Canada. He was
speaking at a big rally in Alberta. He said, "Private healthcare doesn't work. America's
trying to change their system. It's too expensive to get comprehensive medical care in the U.S.
Why on earth are we going to follow their system here?" Kiefer Sutherland said, "I consider
it a humanitarian issue. This is an issue about what is right and wrong, what is decent
and what is not". "Maybe Jack Bauer can save the day," I said to the Canadian border guards.
(laughter)
It's getting really late, and they said, "What else are you talking about?" "So I said, Well,
I thought I would talk about the global economic meltdown." "What else are you talking about?"
they said. I said, "Well, uh, I was going to talk about global warming." "What else
are you talking about?" I said, "Well, maybe this would be the trigger. I was going to
talk about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." "WHAT ELSE are you talking about?" I said,
"Well, I only have an hour. That pretty much does it.”
(laughter)
"And they said, "Are you denying you are talking about the Olympics?"
(laughter)
I said, "The Olympics?"
(laughter)
I mean anyone who knows me, I'm not really into watching organized sports, though I do
like to play sports. And I didn't even know what they were talking about. This is how
limited my world it. Um, I said, "Do you mean when President Obama to Copenhagen to try
to get the Olympics to Chicago?" And he said, "Yeah, and you didn't get them." I said, "I
know we didn't get them. I said, "You mean the "real Olympics?" He said, "I'm talking
about the Vancouver Olympics." I said, "Oh."
I mean it really wasn't on my radar at all. And I said, "No, well until now I wasn't planning
to talk about the Olympics." And because I was so incredulous, he clearly didn't believe
me. He told me to sit down, and they went through our car. Um, I was with two colleagues;
one of them is Chuck Scurich. He's handing Daily Digest if you want to sign up for our
daily headlines and news alerts. And folks, in other places, you can just go to our website
and sign up. But I was there with Chuck and Dennis Moynihan, who edited the columns. And,
uh, they went through everything. They went through our computers. They were on our computers
when I went out to check on them, going through all my notes. It was a very serious violation.
And when they came in, they brought me in a back room. They took four pictures of me
and my colleagues." They stapled what they called "control documents" into our passports.
I said, "I didn't think we needed visas to come into Canada." And they said, "These aren't
visas; they're control documents". And they said we had to leave within 48 hours. And
if you think I talk fast? You should see how fast I talked for the next 48 hours to get
everything in. And then we left. And when I would tell people they would say, "This
is Canada?" But we learned so much, uh, as a result. Yes, we made it to Vancouver. Thank
goodness for Canadians; they'd all gone out for beer. And they all came back and brought
their friends. So it was a packed audience. And it became the top story in Canada. You
know, American journalist detained at the border. And CBC and the Toronto Globe and
Mail and the Toronto Sun. I mean, everywhere I was going, I was being interviewed. But
when I watched their pieces, the piece right after the one covering me, for example, is
about the Vancouver City Council and how it had passed legislation that if you had a sign
in your house that said anything against the Olympics, your house could be raided. Oh,
athletes weren't allowed to speak out against corporations that sponsored the Olympics.
It was very serious! The issue of free speech was serious! And you know, two nights ago
I was speaking at University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and, um, (clears throat) that
afternoon, they, uh, the students invited people for a free lunch if they were willing
to give up free speech which is very cool. It was the journalists' organization there.
They said anyone who wants, who is willing to give up free speech and freedom of the
press, come on in and have lunch. And then they had protests outside, and you know they
sort of played this all out. But, you know, freedom of the press, freedom of speech is
extremely important. And it was violated there, especially as they went through our notes.
Then, um, we've got to take these things seriously. Like what happened at the Republican Convention
just two years ago. Uh, let's see. I was here two years ago. It was a couple months before
the Convention, and of course, "Democracy Now" was out in force, "Breaking With Convention",
"War, Peace and The Presidency, from the streets to the suites to the convention floor." We
went to Denver; then we flew on to Minneapolis, St. Paul to cover the Republican Convention
after the Democrats. It was the first day of the Convention, Labor Day. Um, for the
Republican Convention there was a major protest that morning of 10,000 people led by soldiers.
Amazing! Some in full military regalia who were saying no to war. You know, they take
great risk in doing this. There is a real untold story of thousands of soldiers who've
said no to war, by the way, who've refused to go. They are according to the Pentagon
numbers, but they don't like to talk about it. And then there are those who go to fight
in Iraq, who go to fight in Afghanistan, or go again, and again, and again, and again,
and then they refuse or they just come home to talk about it. And they were the ones who
were leading this protest of 10,000. And we were out covering it, of course. And my colleagues
went back to SPNN which is St. Paul Neighborhood Network, the public access station we were
broadcasting from, and I went off to the Convention floor to start to cover the Convention. I
was interviewing delegates from the hottest state, from Alaska. And, um, and then I got
a call on our cell phone from, um, from our senior producer, Mike Burke. He said, "Come
quickly to 7th and Jackson. Two of our producers, Nicole and Shariff, were arrested." He said,
"They were hurt. You've got to get over there." Uh, that's Nicole, uh, the producer, senior
producer, and Nicole Salazar, our multi-media producer. So I raced off the Convention floor,
and I had all the credentials on that allow me to interview presidents and vice presidents
delegates, and I was with our cameraman, Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films. We raced down the
street to St. Paul, got to 7th and Jackson, a big parking lot, and the riot police had
surrounded the area. They had it totally contained. I raced up to them. I was out of breath. I
went up quick. I said, "You can see I have just come from the Convention floor. I'd like
to speak to your commanding officer. Uh, you can see I am a credentialed reporter. We have
two reporters inside, also fully credentialed. We need to have them released immediately."
I mean it wasn't seconds before they ripped me through that line, twisted my arms back,
slapped handcuffs on me, pushed me up against the wall and onto the ground, and arrested
me. Charged me with a misdemeanor, interfering with a peace officer. Uh, if only there was
a peace officer in the vicinity. So I was on the ground, looking desperately for Nicole
and Shariff. I see Shariff across the parking lot, arms behind him back, his back, his arm
is bleeding. I demand to be brought to him. Finally they bring me to him, and I was...
they had really, um, set the handcuffs, made the handcuffs very tight. I was asking them
to loosen my handcuffs, so they tightened them. So we're standing together, Shariiff
and I. We both have our credentials on. And we're demanding to be released whereupon the
Secret Service came and ripped the credentials from around our necks. Um, then police, uh,
pulled me over to the police wagon. Um, and inside there was Nicole. So we're both in
the police wagon, and Nicole described quickly to me what had happened. Her face was bleeding,
she was handcuffed, and she had her press credential on. Um, she said they were at St.
Paul Neighborhood Network, digitizing tape, and, um, they heard a commotion outside. And
so they dec... they raced down with camera and microphone. Like if they hadn't, they
wouldn't have been their job. And they raced out. They saw protesters. They saw police.
She started filming, Shariff had the microphone, and then the riot police came at them. Um,
en masse, and they're shouting at Nicole and Shariff, "On your face, on your face." Nicole
is filming, she is holding her press pass up, she shouting back, "Press, Press." And
they take her down on her face. Her camera tumbles down. The first thing they do is they
pull the battery out of her camera. If you were wondering what is was they wanted to
stop happening. Um, she's on her face. They have their, her, their knee or boot in her
back, and they're dragging on her legs. So it's dragging her face in the dirt which is
how it got bloodied. And then Shariiff, very cool guy, he's telling the police to calm
down. They take him, throw him up against the wall, kick him twice in the chest, and
take him down. That's how they bloodied his arms. So they bring me to the police garage
where they've erected cages for the protesters. They bring Nicole and Shariff to jail. Um,
I faced, I was charged with a misdemeanor; they faced felony riot charges. Now, if it
weren't for You Tube, if it weren't for all, oh, all different means of media getting out,
I don't know when we would have gotten out. But within a few hours, I think the video
of our arrest went up on You Tube within a half an hour. And the response, apparently,
was just enormous. Uh, the old fashioned way, faxing, calling, emailing, people were tweeting
in, but there was huge demand for our release. In a few hours I was released and then Shariff
and Nicole. In fact, Shariff was in jail with, uh, in the same cell with the AP photographer
who wasn't released when Shariff was. That's the power of organizing through community
media. That's the power of making a demand. When I got out they took me to, um, I was
called back to the Convention Center 'cause the media wanted to interview me about what
had happened. You know more than 40 journalists were arrested that weekend, and this is completely
unacceptable. But, so, I'm brought to the Convention Center. I'm in the NBC Skybox,
and I was being interviewed. And when they turned the camera off, there's an NBC reporter
who's standing next to me. He'd been listening to what happened, and he said, "I don't get
it. Why wasn't I arrested?" I said, "Oh, were you out covering the protest?" He said, "No."
So I said, Well, I'm not being arrested in the Skybox either." (Audience quiet laughter.)
But, um, you know like Woody Allen says, 90% of life is just showing up? So ya gotta go
there. And, and it's not just because we're curious. It's because it's our job. You know,
yes, it's our job to get what's happening on the Convention floor, the orchestrated
message of the delegates. And there are differences between them and that's interesting. Um, it's
our job to get into the corporate suites, to see who's sponsoring what. I don't know
how many strawberries and hor d'oevres I reach for and have a door slammed in my face. You
know, trying to find out who's sponsoring the Republican Governors' Association in St.
Paul. Who's sponsoring the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee in Denver, and really following
the money. You know it's just a basic tenet of good journalism. And it's our job to go
into the streets. That's where the uninvited are guests are. The thousands of people who
have something else to say. Democracy is a messy thing, and it's our job to capture it
all. And we shouldn't have to get a record to put things on the record. It's that important.
Now, clearly in these cases, it's not that dangerous, and we're also American reporters.
And that makes a huge difference which brings me to what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan,
and the incredible bravery of the reporters, especially Iraqi reporters in Iraq. I mean,
what they face, um, Arab media workers in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tonight I'm going to be going to the University of California Davis, and I'll be interviewing
a prison guard on stage, a prison guard from Guantanamo. And then by video hookup we'll
be speaking with Omar Deghayes who was a prisoner at Guantanamo for many years. We'll be hooking
up with him in London, in Britain. But it makes me think of, for example, Samir Harrag.
Do you know who he was? He was the Al Jazeera reporter. He was picked up going over the
border from Pakistan to Afghanistan. He was held for more than six years at Guantanamo.
Never charged. He was interrogated repeatedly, well over a hundred times, repeatedly asked
about his bosses at Al Jazeera. Can you imagine being picked up, and you have to put yourselves
in their shoes, and well, being asked about your bosses? Um, for more than six years.
And then, he's released. Then he's released. Never charged. He's back at Al Jazeera.
But actually he's lucky. What about Tariq Ayoub? He also worked for Al Jazeera. He was
the 34 year old Jordanian reporter who had just come over the border from Jordan to work
for Al Jazeera in Baghdad. This was in 2003; this was a few weeks after the U.S. invaded.
The U.S. invaded March 19th, 2003. Three weeks later, April 8th, the day before the fall
of Baghdad. Uh, Tariq has just arrived, and he was setting the camera on the roof. You
know you put the cameras on the roofs to be able to film, but also it's very dangerous
so you try to come back down very quickly and just have the camera upstairs. Well, that
morning was horrendous. It started with Abu Dhabi TV. They were getting shelled by the
United States, and the broadcasters were on television in Baghdad and begging people to
come to their aid. That was Abu Dhabi. And then they started strafing Al Jazeera. Al
Jazeera had given their coordinates to the U.S. military repeatedly. Maybe that was their
problem. You know they were bombed in Afghanistan, and then in Iraq. But this time Tariq had
just gone upstairs to the roof; he'd just set the camera, and he was immediately killed.
Um, I've spoken to his wife since. Her name is Dima Tahboub. At the funeral she said,
"Hate breeds hate. The U.S. says they're fighting terror. Who's involved in terrorism now?"
And then the U.S. military set their sights on the Palestine Hotel. You remember the Palestine
Hotel where hundreds of unimbedded reporters were. Videographers, photographers, reporters,
cameramen. And there were two who were on the balcony of their rooms. One was Taras
Protsyuk. He was a Ukranian cameraman who was reporting for Reuters. And then there
was Jose Couso. Jose Couso worked for Telecinco. I think the Spanish crew in Baghdad was the
largest national crew from any country at the Palestine Hotel. They filmed their own
deaths. As U.S. military opened fire on the Hotel, they killed both cameramen. Um, His
brother, Javier, and his mother has been fighting for years now to get justice, to bring those
responsible to justice. These are the dangers that reporters face on the ground which brings
me to collateral murder in Iraq. I'm sure that some of you here at Google have watched
the videotape from Wikileaks. Uh, you know Dan Ellsberg, an American hero, the man who
worked for the Pentagon and the Rand Corporation 40 years ago, had Top Security Clearance and
decided... If you ever wonder, by the way, if protest matters, he would look outside
his Pentagon window and see sometimes massive protest, sometimes a few stragglers holding
signs against the Vietnam War, and it just started to get to him. And then heard about
and met young people who were going to jail saying they would not fight in the war. And
he thought, "What am I doing to bring this war to an end? And he realized right behind
him in his safe he had the 7,000 page Top Secret history of U.S. involvement in the
war in Vietnam that only a few people had that had been commissioned by the Secretary
of War, Robert McNamara. And he decided to open the safe and release the history. 7,000
pages he Xeroxed and secreted them, and secreted them out every single night until he had them
all. And he gave them to the New York Times. He wasn't sure the Times would ever publish
them. It took many months. He was nervous; he went underground with his wife, and he
gave one stack of these 7,000 pages to Howard Zinn, the great historian, to keep at his
house. I understand Howard was here. It is such a shame that a few months ago we lost
this great humanitarian, historian who wrote "People's History of the United States!" What
a remarkable gift he gave to all of us documenting the people's movements in this country. Um,
every week I do this column, and when Howard died...actually "Democracy Now" was broadcasting
that week from, uh, from Park City, Utah. We were at the Sundance Film Festival, and
I got this call from his co-editor of "Voices of People's History of the United States,"
Anthony Arnove. That was a Thursday afternoon. We were all set for our show on Friday, the
closing broadcast from Park City, and, um, he said, "Howard just died. He took a break;
he was in California. He went swimming, and, uh, and he had a heart attack.”
Well, I mean, Howard had an amazing life. He lived to be 87 years old.
(coughing)
If you haven't read his book, or you know it, and you mean to, but you haven't actually
read it, you really should. And you don't have to take it in all at once, but the idea...
Well, Howard said it very well. "The history, not through the eyes of presidents and generals,
but through the voices of ordinary people, of rebels, of dissidents, of women, of black
people, of Asian Americans, of immigrants, of socialists, and anarchists, and troublemakers
of all time". I've been to a number of memorial services for Howard Zinn now, and, um, uh,
Marian Wright Edelman, who founded the Children's Defense Fund, she was one of his students
at Spelman. Alice Walker, also, as she said he was her favorite teacher and also her funniest
teacher at Spelman. Um, Marian Wright Edelman described, uh, how daring Howard was with
the students, how he would model for them. Uh, you know they would wear, this is, uh,
uh, a historically black college of women, and in the day, they would wear white gloves
and hats. And he would take them on a field trip each year or each semester. And Marian
Wright Edelman was on them to go to the Georgia State Legislature, and to sit in the gallery
to watch the Legislators. And they would sit in the all-white section, all these African-American
women with their white gloves and their hats. And the Georgia Legislature would come to
a halt. You know, this defiance, this impudence, unacceptable. And they would then all stand
up and tip their hats, smiling broadly and walk out. Um, she said he taught her courage.
Well, Howard Zinn was thrown out of Spelman because, as Alice put it, "He loved us too
much. He was thrown out because he loved us." Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize Winning author
now. And he was pretty excited because he was going down to Spelman. It was 42 years
after he hadn't had his contract renewed. In other words, he was fired. 42 years later
they invited him to come back and give the commencement address, and they were giving
him an honorary degree. So, if you ever think times don't change, they do.
Well, I mention Howard because, uh, Daniel Ellsberg gave him a copy of the Pentagon Papers.
But the New York Times did publish the Pentagon Papers. And when Daniel Ellsberg speaks today,
he doesn't just rest on his laurels helping to avenge the Vietnam War by releasing these
documents. In fact I introduced him at, in, Portland, Oregon to the big event of 5,000
Unitarian Universalists. And, um, I said, "I want you to tell the story of how you actually
did this." It's an amazing story, by the way. And he said, "I don't want to talk about it.
I want to talk about now."
(gesturing)
He, "This is 40 years ago", he said. "You need to make sure that the Pentagon Papers
are released today. Not those, but the ones now. The ones that will end the war in Iraq
and Afghanistan." I mean he is always looking forward, and it's very important and very
significant.
And I think that's what Wikileaks is doing, providing a forum for people to anonymously
release documents. Um, and he was encouraged by the release of, the leak of the Eikenberry
Memos. You know who Eikenberry is? Karl Eikenberry is the General who is now the U.S. Ambassador
to Afghanistan. He wrote memos to Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, that got leaked.
Um, the Eikenberry Memos recommend policies opposite those of Generals David Petraeus
and Stanley McChrystal who advocated for the surge and a counter-insurgency campaign in
Afghanistan. Eikenberry wrote that President Hamid Karzai’s not an adequate strategic
partner, that sending additional forces will delay the day when Afghans will take over
and make it difficult if not impossible to bring our people home on a reasonable timetable.
But Petraeus and McChrystal prevailed. The military's just about to launch a major offensive
in Khandahar. Um, meanwhile, with shocking candor, General McChrystal said in a video
conference a few weeks ago, regarding the number of citi.., civilians killed by the
U.S. military. This is General McChrystal, not like a peace activist. He said, "We have
shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat."
U.S. troop fatalities, meanwhile, are occurring at the twice the rate of a year ago. (Clears
throat.) So he was encouraged by the person who released the Eikenberry Memos, but this
Wikileaks video is quite astounding, and you can go to democracynow.org and hear a series
of programs on this. Um, and you can go, of course, to wikileaks.org and collateralmurders.org.
Um, the U.S. military video that was released just a few weeks ago shows the indiscriminate
targeting and killing of civilians in Baghdad. Wikileaks, this, oh, media watchdog website,
obtained the video and made it available on the internet. The video was made July 12,
2007, by a U.S. military Apache helicopter gunship and includes audio of military radio
transmissions. Two Reuter’s employees, a photographer, and his driver were killed in
the attack along with at least eight other people, and two children were seriously injured.
The radio transmissions show not only the utter callousness of the soldiers, laughing
and swearing as they kill, but also the strict procedure they follow ensuring that all of
their attacks are clearly authorized by their chain of command. They don't just open fire;
they always ask for permission. The leaked video is a grim depiction of how routine the
killing of civilians has become, and it's a stark reminder of how necessary journalism
is and how dangerous its practice has become. The photographer, Namir Noor-Eldeen, was 22
years old. His driver was Saeed Chmagh. He was 40. Reuters demanded a full investigation.
Noor-Eldeen, despite his youth, had been described by colleagues of one of the pre-eminent war
photographers in Iraq. Chmagh was a family, was a father of four. The video shows a group
of men in an open square in Baghdad leading the two Reuters employees to a building nearby.
Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh are shown carrying cameras. A U.S. soldier in a helicopter says,
"Ok. We got a target 15 coming at you. It's a guy with a weapon." There's much back and
forth between two helicopters and ground troops and armored vehicles nearby.
"Have 5 to 6 individuals with AK-47s. Request permission to engage. Roger that. We have
no personnel east of our position, so you're free to engage. Over." The helicopter circles
around with the crosshairs squarely in the center of the eight men. Wikileaks and its
partner for the story, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, added subtitles to the
video as well as arrows indicating who the Reuters workers were. Sustained automatic
weapon fire erupts; most of the men are killed instantly. Noor-Eldeen runs away, and the
crosshairs follow him shooting non-stop until he falls dead. The radio transmission continues.
"All right. Ha, ha, ha. I hit him." And then, "Yeah, we got one guy crawling around down
there." That's Saeed Chmagh, the father of four. He is seriously wounded; he's dragging
himself away from the other bodies. A voice in the helicopter seeking a rationale to shoot
says, "Come on, Buddy. All you gotta do is pick up a weapon. If we see a weapon, we're
gonna engage." A van pulls up; it's a dad with his two children inside because they
see a wounded person, and they want to pick them up. The men who come out of the van are
clearly unarmed. They lift Chmagh up, ostensibly to carry him to medical care. The soldiers
on the Apache sought and received permission to engage the van. They open fire tearing
apart the front of the van, killing the men. The weapon used was a 30 millimeter machine
gun used to pierce armor with everyone in sight apparently dead. U.S. armored vehicles
move in. When a vehicle drives over Noor-Eldeen's corpse, an observer in the helicopter says,
laughing, "I think we just drove over a body." The troops discover two children in the van
who’d miraculously survived. One voice on the military radio requests permission to
evacuate them to a U.S. military hospital. Another voice commands them to hand the wounded
children to Iraqi police for delivery to a local clinic ensuring delayed and less adequate
treatment. The U.S. military inquiry into the killings cleared the soldiers of any wrongdoing.
And Reuters' freedom of information requests for the video were denied. Despite the Pentagon's
whitewash, the attack was brutal and might have involved a war crime since those removing
the wounded are protected by the Geneva Conventions. Wikileaks says that it obtained the video
from a number of military whistleblowers. Wikileaks.org founded in late 2006 as the
secure site for whistleblowers to safely release documents. It's come under attack from the
U.S. and other governments. I go on from there in that column, but this is so important.
Such an important development. We've got to show the pictures. We've got to show the images.
You know I begin breaking the sound barrier with a column from three years ago, right
around the time Colin Powell was giving that push for war at the U.N. And it's about the
image behind the microphone in front of the U.N. Security Council. See, for a quarter
of a century a tapestry of Pablo Picasso's Guernica has hung at the U.N. Um, one minute,
um, during the Franco years the Spanish city of Guernica was bombed, and Pablo Picasso
was so horrified in Paris, he just painted in a three week frenzy. And the resulting
painting, Guernica, has become the most famous anti-war symbol around the world because it
shows the pain and the agony of war etched in the faces of the people and the animals.
And he said he would never let his painting be shown in Spain under the fascist General
Franco. And so it traveled the world, and he was afraid it would get destroyed. So he
had three tapestries made by Parisian weavers. Perfect tapestry reproductions of Guernica,
and one of those hangs at the U.N. It has for a quarter of a century right behind the
microphone in front of the U.N. Security Council. And when the war was about to begin, and Colin
Powell and other U.S. and U.N. officials were make pro-war announcements, it wasn't lost
on them the irony of having this famous anti-war symbol be their backdrop. And so they shrouded
Guernica. They covered it with a blue curtain. It is our job to open up those curtains, to
show the images. I really do think that if for one week we saw the images of war above
the fold in every newspaper surviving in this country, the top of every newscast on television,
the top of every website, if we saw the images of babies dead on the ground, of women with
their legs blown off by cluster bombs from Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan, if we saw
the soldiers dead and dying for just one week. Americans are a compassionate people. They
would say, “No, war is not the answer to conflict in the 21st century. Democracy now!”
(applause)
(inaudible speaking) (Ms. Goodman checking phone and time.)
Katina Johnson: Ok. We have a few minutes for questions. Um,
my one request would be that if you do have a question, please come to the mic so that
we can make sure that it is recorded.
1st audience member (male): Thanks. Hi. Um so it seems that, uh, a while
back, Noam Chomsky wrote a fantastic book "Manufacturing Consent" which meticulously
laid out how mainstream media does just that. Manufactures a consent, uh, of the people.
Um, since then, it doesn’t seem that there has been any progress. In fact, possibly an
opposite trend as media continues to manufacture consent, uh, throughout major, uh, broadcasts
throughout the world almost. Uh, I’m just wondering if that’s reversible? If that
needs a grassroots organization to supersede that like Wikileaks, like the internet, like
You Tube, like other, um, democracy based systems. Um, or if there is any genuine hope
in, uh, a top down change, um, from these, you know, major (inaudible).
Amy Goodman: Oh, I think there is because these networks
that, uh, act as a conveyor belt for the lies of the government won’t survive. I mean
you know when, uh, President Bush, uh, you know, started intoning “WMD?” If he had
just had a megaphone on the steps of the white house, he might have convinced a few people.
But he had something more powerful. He had the media institutions of this country. And,
when it turned out to be not the case that there were weapons of mass destruction, that
exposed more than Bush. It exposed the media of this country. And I think that’s why
people turned away. They didn’t believe the newspapers, right? They saw the media
was manufacturing consent for war. I think it’s part of why democracy now, democracynow.org
has grown so much. You know our audience is bigger than CNN, is bigger than MSNBC, on
over 800 stations and online at democracynow.org, video and audio pod-casting, headlines in
Spanish. It’s because people were looking for other sources, other ways of getting information.
So I really do think that, um, they don’t have a choice any more. You know right before
the invasion, Phil Donahue was the top host on MSNBC. You might remember. You know Phil
(who had the Donahue show)? But then he came back; that was on NBC. Then he came back on
MSNBC, and he had a talk show every night at 8, and it was the highest rated show. Um,
we write about this, and I think “Exception to the Rulers”. This memo surfaced after…
(pause) he was fired on the eve of the invasion even though he was the most popular. Um, and
this memo surfaced where NBC said, uh, “As we move into war we’re not going to have
this anti-war face, um, uh, on our network as the other networks are waving the American
flag”. And, it is very serious the level of censorship and self-censorship in this
country.
It doesn't usually come down as a corporation comes into the newsroom and says, “You will
not do this story.” It's not as obvious as that. The most serious is the self censorship.
You know, you’re a young reporter. You come to a newspaper or to a network, and you know
stories get you marginalized, and you know what stories or things that you say that will,
you know, will have you rise in the ladder. And that's what has to be challenged, um,
is breaking this consensus that isn't the consensus of the American people, but the
consensus of this minority elite in the networks. I do have hope, um, as we break stories at
Democracy Now that are picked up by other networks. Um, I call it trickle-up journalism,
and I think that really is the hope.
Audience member: Great, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for
continuing what you are doing.
2nd audience member (male): Hey, Amy, I'm a huge fan of the show, I love
the show. It's such a service to democracy. I still don't really have a question in my
head. But I would just be really upset if I were here in front of you, and I didn't
ask a question, so...
(laughter) so uh, um.
Amy Goodman: Oh I know... I, I hear your question. How
can you help get word out? Is that your question?
(indistinct chatter) (laughter)
(applause)
Audience member: Sure.
Amy Goodman: Well, I think we have fliers in the back and
people can download them. And really the way we get word out, and thank you for asking
such an insightful question, (Laughter)
Um, is by telling people. Spreading the stories, signing up for the daily digest, spreading
them around, passing them out to your friends is really how that the, the show is grown
and in this area if you don't have democracy now on TV or radio, get it on your station.
We're putting the public back in public media.
Audience member: Yeah, I tell, uh, I do tell everybody, I tell
my Republican father about you and your show. I try to, I try to get him to, to listen and
when I've followed, you know, any like the Pat Tillman story that you had on which was
absolutely, absolutely brilliant. I subsequently saw the, uh, Pat Tillman documentary at sun,
uh, Sundance.
Amy Goodman: Amazing. Mmhmm.
Audience member: And I, I read the John Krakauer book and what
really struck me is, um, after I educated myself, basically, I had learned everything
from your, you know, twenty minute, forty minute segment on your show about that and
it was just factually just perfectly accurate and completely squared with those other two
accounts, so...
Amy Goodman: I mean your Republican father. We have many
Republican fathers who watch democracy now. It is, I, not only a bridge between communities,
but between generations cause it's not about a political ideology, it's about having people
speak for themselves and there is an authenticity in that, um, that affects everyone. It's news
with a heart, news with passion and, um, I hope you tell people about it.
Audience member: I will. Thanks.
Amy Goodman: Thanks.
3rd audience member (male): Hi, um.
Amy Goodman: Hi.
Audience member: I have question about you, uh, suggesting
that news we get should publish the real pictures of what is happening. So, when I first came
to this country I come from India. When the elections is like a big festival. Like people
going in cars and megaphones screaming at people.
Amy Goodman: In India.
Audience member: In India, yeah. And, there are fights. All
kinds of things happen, so, people know there is an election. That is when they see an election
here it’s so sanitized on television in a beautiful conference hall. People wearing
labels and all that. There is no excitement. There is no life in the elections. It is like
packaged stuff being delivered to people. So, the first thought that came to me was
this country can easily take them all. It's like on cable television, you put anything.
People just consume and change their mind. It's so I, I really like your idea of putting
out real pictures of war to influence people. But, I also feel that people get desensitized
after seeing so much of this happening, so.
Amy Goodman: I don't think people get desensitized, I think
you get desensitized when you don't see it. When you know somehow it's out there, but
if you're not seeing the images, well then it must not be that bad. You know I contrast
what we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, you know, President Bush immediately invoked an executive
order that said you can't, um, photograph, videotape, film the flag draped coffins of
the soldiers coming home. This went on for a long time, um, and then you contrast that
with what happened with Katrina, with the hurricane in New Orleans. Right afterwards,
I mean, Bush doesn't send in the National Guard, right? But they do try to invoke this
executive order that you can't show the bodies that are floating in the water. And the editor
of the Times Picayune said, “You've got to be kidding! That's the story!” And, you
think about the reaction to what happened in New Orleans because here you have Bush
not responding. And so you have all these reporters from the corporate networks going
down, and they're not being spun, right. There's no one there to embed with, and so you see
these images like I remember seeing this young woman reporter from CNN, and she's reporting.
And a man comes up, and he's holding his boy, and he's clearly in shock, and he said he
had just come out of the water. He said he was holding his wife's hand, and as her hand
slipped out of his, she said, “Take care of the children.” And he told the story,
and he turned around with his boy, and he walked off into the water. And the reporter
started to cry. And then you see the bodies floating by, and that's what reporting from
ground zero looks like, unimbedded, unfiltered reporting, and I think it shocked this nation.
That's the power of the image.
Audience member: Maybe for the first time that I've seen such
images for a long time; at some time you just switch off. People get used to it despite
fear, so. Thank you.
Amy Goodman: Well, thanks for your comment.
4th audience member (male): Hello, um.
Amy Goodman: Hi.
Audience member: Thank you, first of all. Um, my name is Uda
Roseling. I would like to ask a more sensitive question. Being Google and You Tube, etc.,
we obviously can play the role of the good guy and often, uh. What is your general advice
for Google to remain part of the good world, and not doing evil as Google is growing bigger,
and bigger, and bigger? In general, I would like to hear your opinions about that. In
specific, I would like to hear your comments about the previous speaker in this series
of authors, eh, Kissinger, who was invited to give a presentation here. Thank you.
(chatter)
Amy Goodman: Kissinger called Daniel Ellsberg the most
dangerous man in America and, uh, that's now the name of the Oscar-nominated film about,
uh, Dan Ellsberg. And I encourage everyone to watch it. I had an interesting encounter
with Henry Kissinger years ago. Eh, um, two nights ago when I was in Wisconsin I, uh,
um, when we did the Q and A after, a young man, graduate student, spoke and he was from
East Timor. Um, Kissinger had a great deal to do with the genocide in East Timor. He
was Secretary of State in 1975 under President Ford. And Kissinger and Ford, well, this is
after let’s say, uh, Kissinger and Nixon with the war in Vietnam, of course. I don't
know how many millions of Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians died. Fifty five thousand US troops.
Then Argentina, um, deeply involved with supporting the Junta there in Argentina. Tens of thousands
of dissidents died in Argentina with the U., with Kissinger in particular supporting, um,
the murderous generals in Timor. He went and met with the long-reigning dictator, Suharto,
in 1975, the day before Indonesia invaded Timor. With, he went with Ford. They met with
Suharto. They gave the go-ahead for the invasion. 90% of the weapons used were from the United
States. Ford and Kissinger flew off. They’re meeting the next day with, uh, another, uh,
leader, uh, Ferdinand Marcos, and as they flew out, the Indonesian soldiers landed by
air and by sea in Timor. And they closed the country to the outside world, and they commenced
the slaughter that lasted for a quarter of a century and killed off a third of the population.
Just to give you a little background, when I had a chance to meet Henry Kissinger, he
was, uh, flapping his book "Diplomacy" at an event in New York, and we had gone to see
him speak. And the first person to ask a question was a young Timorese man; his name is Constancio
Pinto. He's now the Timorese Ambassador to the United States, and Constancio talked about
the missing chapter in diplomacy. Um, he asked him about Henry Kissinger’s role in Timor.
And he said, “Why did you do this to my people?” And Kissinger’s face got bright
red. There was a Portuguese film crew there that was filming, and they said they just
saw his face transform. And he clearly needed to buy some time to figure out what to say
to this very peaceful earnest question of one of the survivors of Timor. And he said,
“First of all I want to thank you for not ripping up this place.” Um, the next person
to speak was Allan Nairn who is an investigative journalist of, uh, impeccable credentials,
incredibly brave reporter. Um, and he got up, and he asked him about the cables that
he sent back to the United States as people high up in the State Department were writing
cables to Kissinger and to Ford, but to Kissinger cause they were in the State Department. He
was Secretary of State, saying, “We are not going to be able to justify the Indonesian
invasion of Timor. We won't be able to continue to sell the weapons to Indonesia because they
are using them for offensive purposes. What are we going to do?”
When he got back to the United States he held a high level meeting of the State Department
officials, and he castigated them for leaving a paper trail. And he said, “We will not
kick our ally in the teeth.” He knew exactly what was happening, and they tell that now
because this is just not a story from more than 25 years ago. Um, you may know about
Timor and, uh, the Santa Cruz massacre in 1991. It was 17 years into the occupation.
I got a chance to go to Timor with Allan Nairn, and it was November 12th, 1991. The Indonesian
military occupied the whole island. The people were holding a procession for a young man
who had been killed two weeks before. There were thousands of Timorese. They were at the
cemetery; it was about 8 o’clock in the morning. We were interviewing people. This
was a land where there was no freedom of press, no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly,
and yet they marched to the cemetery putting up their hands in the “V” sign saying,
“Viva East Timor, viva independence!” And soldiers marched up on them, 10 to 12
abreast, holding their U.S. M-16s at the ready position. Alan and I thought maybe if we walked
to the front of the crowd they would not commit a massacre because, though we knew they committed
many, they had never done it in front of western journalists. We always hid our equipment,
but this time we put on headphones. I held up my microphone like a flag. I slung my radio
and my tape recorder over my shoulder. Alan put the camera above his head. We walked to
the front of the crowd. The soldiers marched up, they swept around the corner, they swept
passed us. And without warning, without hesitation, without provocation they opened fire on the
crowd gunning people down from right to left. The first to go down, a little boy behind
us putting his hands up in the V sign, exploded from the gun fire. The soldiers went after
us, a group of them; they brought me down, beating me. Alan got a photograph of them
opening fire on the crowd and then he threw himself on top of me to protect me from further
injury. And they took their US M16's like baseball bats and they slammed them against
his skull until they fractured it. So we were laying on the ground, he was covered in blood,
they were killing everyone around us, and a group of soldiers put the guns to our heads.
Our guns, US M16's. Umm, and they were shouting Polotic in Australia. Polotic, they were saying.
It was political to witness this, for us to witness this. But that's our jobs as journalists,
to go to where the silence is. And they were shouting Australia because they were demanding
to know if were from Australia. That's because seventeen years before when Indonesia invaded,
umm... there were five Australian based journalists covering the invasion. They lined them up
against a house, the Indonesian soldiers and they executed them all. The sixth, Roger East,
was reporting from a radio station in Dili, the capital of Timor, the day after the invasion.
They dragged him out of the radio station and as he shouted "I'm from Australia!" they
shot him into the harbor with thousands of Timorese and killed him. Umm...so the Australian
government hardly protested their killings. We believe because years later Australia and
Indonesia would sign the Timor Gap Treaty dividing up Timor's oil between Australia
and Indonesia. Oil is the source of so much pain in the world. So as we lay on the ground,
Alan covered in blood, the soldiers with their guns at our heads at the ready position, at
the ready position, umm...we shouted back "America!" They stripped us now of everything.
The only thing I had left was my passport, and I threw it at them as we shouted "America!”
I get kicked in the stomach. When I get my breath back, I'd say "America!” And at some
point they pulled the guns from our heads. We believe because we were from the same country
their weapons were from. They would have to pay a price for killing us that they would
never had to pay for killing the Timorese. They killed more than 270 Timorese on that
one day. And that was not one of the larger massacres. So, when Alan stood up to ask Kissinger
about why he had authorized this invasion, Kissinger was enraged. And he said, "It's
people like you that prevent diplomacy from taking place." Well, Kissinger’s kind of
diplomacy. And then I asked him about, um, sitting on the Board of Freeport McMoRan and
how Freeport McMoRan, the gold and copper mining company in, ah, in Indonesia, was lobbying
against any kind of cutting of aid to Indonesia because of its human rights abuses. So that's
then. Now let's come to today. Alan's in Indonesia. He's in a great deal of danger right now because
you know when Obama was supposed to go to Indonesia a few weeks ago? Uh, but because
of the healthcare debate he put off the trip until June. Um, it's going to be a big homecoming;
you know it's going to get a lot of attention. It's going to be a big personal story for
Obama because he grew up partly in Indonesia. He went to elementary school there 'cause
his Mom married an Indonesian student at the University of Hawaii. Suharto called all the
foreign students back, and so the family moved to Indonesia. There's all these statues to
Obama and everything, and they're very proud of President Obama. So that's the story that’s
going to be told. But what's going on behind the scenes is President Obama is attempting
to restore full military aid to the Indonesian military and to the Kopassus, the feared military
unit in Indonesia. Saying that that story, well, he doesn't disagree with it. It is the
old Indonesian military. Now this is about the new Indonesian military. But what Alan
has exposed in the last few months is that this same Indonesian military has been engaged
in a series of assassinations of political activists in Ache. And that it is going on
in this past year. There is a fierce battle going on between the White house and Congress
as Obama tries to restore the aid. It's a huge story in Indonesia. Alan's exposing this.
And as a result of him exposing it on Democracy Now and at his blog at Allannarin.com, A-L-L-A-N-N-A-R-I-N,
um, the Indonesian military says they're going to arrest him. Um, it's the zipper under the
news. Uh, when he went on a big TV station they cut him off after two minutes. And the
producer came on, actually very apologetic and said, "I am so sorry. I know we said we'd
have you on for half an hour but a new policy has come down." And Alan said, "What is the
policy?" "Shit, I don't know. But it means that you can't be on our station." And then
when the other major TV news channel, a few weeks ago tried to have him on, the head of
Kopassus said, "He will not be allowed on unless we're on." And so they said, "Ok, would
you come on as well?" And they said, "No." Um, but Alan says, "Arrest me," he says. He
wants to be arrested, he says, if he can try this in an open court and call, subpoena the
Generals and the U.S. officials involved in these assassinations. He said, "If what I'm
saying is what you say is slandering the Indonesian military, well, then you can put me in jail.
But let's try this in open court." And that’s the situation he's in today. And I hope everyone
continues to follow it. Um, I would have liked to raise that with Henry Kissinger. I think
it is a real injustice when you see Henry Kissinger on television, and he is treated
simply as an elder statesman without describing the policies that he presided over for so
many years. I think you could start by simply, when he's speaking…you know the lower third
on television? That's the I.D. that talks about the name and what they did. If it would
just flash the number people who died under his reign here, and also flash how much money
he makes, um, consulting with various countries. They often, and it's not only Kissinger. So
often when you're watching television when it comes to the Generals or quote "Elder Statesmen,"
tell us who it is they're working for now. It's not just advice they're giving from the
past, from their past expertise. They are making money, particularly David Barstow,
the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter exposes this, when you have retired
Generals on. They're working for military contractors, and you should know who they're
working for, uh, when they offer their advice. As for Google…
(pauses and crowd laughs)
Um, well, I hope you have major discussions here, around, and I am not that knowledgeable
about, um, as knowledgeable as you all are. But, for example, the issue of the libraries.
Um, this is of grave concern. Obviously I'm a book lover, um, and I am deeply concerned
about the privatization of knowledge in the world. I think that, um, Brewster Kahle, who
does Archive.org, you know a public, uh, Archive.org is where Democracy Now, you can see all of
our past shows right to the beginning. But the idea of keeping the knowledge, the information
open and accessible to the public, ah, the legacy of everyone. Of course, the fear is
as Google works out these secret deals with libraries around the country, and I guess
probably around the world, that what happens next? You know, what gets privatized, what
books won’t we have access too, what information will you all be making money off of, um, that
we all won't be able to access. And these are the serious concerns. It starts off just
by saying let's digitize it all, you know, because preserve it. But is that ultimately
what will happen? And right now the question, you know, that, the question, the issues raised
are, we have no intention to make it not accessible. But, you know times change, and maybe there
are intentions not to make it accessible to all. But we have to preserve the public commons.
You know, that is what will save us, and that is what I’m deeply concerned about when
this information goes private. Yes?
5th audience member (male): Hi, Amy. Thanks very much for coming. Uh,
I think a lot of us were very hopeful when the Obama administration came on board, and,
uh, since lost some hope with respect to decisions such as corporate bailouts, and Alaska oil
drilling, and escalation of the war in Afghanistan. What would you say to us who have lost hope
or are somewhat disillusioned by this administration? And then secondly, would you ever consider
running for office yourself? Please?
(laughter)
Amy Goodman: Um, on the issue of, like of oil drilling
is, of course, grave concern as we look at what's happening off the coast of Louisiana.
Could be the biggest oil spill in the history of this country right now that’s unfolding
as we speak. We broadcast from Stanford today, and I encourage you to go to our site DemocracyNow.org
cause we had a very interesting interview talking about what this could mean, but as
for hope, um, you know what happened on election day in 2008 was historic. There is no question
about that you know. The election of an African-American President in a land with a history, legacy
of slavery just...unbelievable! And what it meant for people all over the world. Last
week we broadcast from Cochabamba. From Bolivia, I didn't get a chance to talk about that,
but an amazing summit of 15,000 people, mainly indigenous, um, as an answer to what happened
in Copenhagen. You know the climate talks. And this was a people summit because it's
people in the south that are most gravely affected by this. Here you have this Andian
nation of 10 million. Their glaciers are melting, the cities, the largest urban areas will run
out of water through no fault of their own because of what we're doing in the north and
the, you know, most industrialized countries in the world. Um, and I interviewed President
Morales for the last broadcast last Friday, the Bolivian President. He had something interesting
to say. I asked him what he thought of President Obama
(coughs)
because after the Copenhagen Accord, um...which Ecuador and Bolivia did not sign onto because
they felt it wasn't binding and would not do enough. The U.S. cut millions of dollars
in aid to both countries. Uh, I think it was two and a half million to Ecuador. They cut
three million to Bolivia, and much of it was for climate change projects to punish them
for not supporting the Accord. And he was saying "This is what democracy looks like?
I’m sure you can say no, but then they're going to hurt you." And interestingly, on
Earth Day the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister spoke at the big rally in Cochabamba and he
said, "I will give the U.S. two and a half million dollars if they will sign onto the
Kyoto Accord." But Morales said, "What can I say; that your first African-American President
would discriminate against the first indigenous president of Bolivia?” 'Cause Morales is
the first indigenous President. But, in answer to the question of hope, a few weeks after
President Obama was elected, I was invited on CNN to, you know, responded to, it was
the day that President and Mrs. Obama went to the White House to meet with the Bush's.
You know he was selected but they weren't yet moving in. And so it was in the afternoon.
I was sitting in the CNN studios, and they were chattering about something, and then
the Obamas were walking into the White House, and they asked me about something else. I
said, “No, wait, wait. We have to take pause. I mean, look at what's happening right now.
Barack Hussein Obama, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama are walking into the White House in
which they will live. Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, her grandfather comes from South Carolina.
They are the descendants of slaves which means their children, Malia and Sascha, are the
descendants of slaves, and they will live in the White House. The most famous house
in the world that was built by slaves. Let's take pause.”
Now, what about all of the policies in the last year? Particularly, the surge in Afghanistan?
President Obama making Bush's war Obama's war? Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize as he
announces the surge? Talking about Dr. King, I think six times in that Nobel acceptance
speech. Dr. King, who on April 4th, 1967, a year to the day before he was assassinated,
gave that famous address at Riverside Church. Even those in his inner circle said, "Don't
do it. Don’t take on the war in Vietnam. You've gotten so much for Civil Rights and
Voting Rights. This is not your issue." And he said, he talked about the country he loved,
and he said, "My country is the greatest purveyor of violence on earth." Dr. King did. And,
you know, I think for a long time people have felt in this country that they have hit their
head against a brick wall. And that brick wall has now become a door. And the door is
open a crack. And the question is, will you kick it open, or will it be slammed shut?
And I don't think it's up to president Obama. I think that's up to all of you. I mean, he
was elected by millions of new voters, especially young voters, anti-war voters, amazing coalition
inspired by him. But, I mean, the good thing is this Community Organizer, the Community
Organizer and Chief now has become...
Well, the Community Organizer first, let me address that one. That’s an amazing thing.
So now parents all over the country are saying to their kids, “Maybe you can be a Community
Organizer too.” That's pretty amazing. But the Community Organizer and Chief has become
the Commander and Chief. And who is going to do the community organizing now? And that's
up to all of you. Maybe the answer is in something in Obama once said. I heard the story. I wasn't
there, but a year and a half before the election he was campaigning in New Jersey, and he was
at one of these fundraisers in the backyard of a house in Montclair, New Jersey. And people
were asking him questions. He was about to go, and this guy raises his hand and said,
"What about the Middle East?" And Obama related the story of, ah, A. Phillip Randolph, the
greatest Community Organizer of the twentieth century. You know, he organized the Brotherhood
of Sleeping Car Porters, the black porters on the Pullman trains. He organized the 1963
march on Washington. And Eleanor Roosevelt took A. Phillip Randolph to meet F.D.R. and
A. Phillip Randolph said to F.D.R., talked about the condition of black people in this
country and working people in this country. And F.D.R., this is the story Obama told,
F.D.R. turned to A. Phillip Randolph and said, "I don't disagree with anything that you’re
saying, but you've got to make me do it. Make me do it.” And that's what Obama said on
the issue of the Middle East. "Make me do it". And I really think that's what democracy
is all about. If you feel strongly about something, about the critical issues of the day, you
gotta make him do it.
Katina Johnson: All right. I just want to say thanks so much
for what you do. It's deeply needed, and thanks for coming today.
Amy Goodman: Thank you very much.