Amy and David Goodman: "Democracy Now!" | Talks at Google



hello everybody my name is Katina Johnson and I work in consumer operations that go under happy today to introduce two acclaimed and award-winning writers many of you know Amy Goodman from the TV and radio show Democracy Now it airs in more than 700 radio and TV stations around the world and she's even broadcasting while they're in book tour they started on the tour a couple weeks ago and will be running through June so I'm happy that they've stopped at Google to tell us about their new book AB David Goodman is an independent journalist he has seven books including faultlines journeys into the new South Africa he's also a contributor to Mother Jones and many other newspapers in regards to standing up to the madness when we were having lunch one of the folks that we were having lunch with was talking about the impact that this book has had on people and seeing that on book tour and I would like to say for me in terms of the impact I'm really really happy that they wrote something like this because I think it's it's kind of overwhelming when you look at what's going on in the world today and in our country and it's nice to have examples of everyday people who've been able to challenge that and stand up for our rights so with that I'd like to introduce David good well it's great to be here at Google it's and I couldn't resist saying since I'm here in the in the mothership that you know about those images of my house on Google Earth I have mowed the lawn since you guys took those pictures and I I really need an update actually I live in northern Vermont which is a part of the world where there are not very good pictures at all so if we still remain in the very fuzzy zone of of that but we are Amy and I are just at the beginning of about of 40 cities I think we go to tour for standing up to the madness which is our third book together the first was the exception to the rulers came out in 2004 static came out in 2006 standing up the madness came out three days ago and I thought I'd start by just sharing a little anecdote when I started here on Saturday I flew out to Seattle and being an extremely cheap person I never want to take a cab see taxi and pay the full fare so I ran to the curb and ran up to a guy who was just getting into a cab and I said do you want to share the taxi into Seattle so he turns to me and says in a British accent oh sure you know let's go so naturally I asked what he was doing he says well I'm a defense contractor from the UK so no what were you doing here he says well I was just at a conference and in Ottawa and so he makes surveillance equipment and I said the obvious question how's business and he said never been better and I said well what were they talking about at the conference he says oh you know the increase in terrorist threats and the Terrorism that's on the rise all around the world and the things we need to do to stop it and and I looked at him and I said you believe that and he looked at me he broke into a big smile he says pure rubbish he said what I think is going I said what do you think is going on he said well what I think is going on is there they're just using that stuff to as a cover to through everything else that they want and anyway then we got chatting he I had not yet talked about some of the work that I do as a journalist so he was very amused and at the end he was extremely generous and said of splitting the fair paid the whole fair and turned to me and said don't ever say that a defense contractor didn't do anything for you so there is my full disclosure I've been completely bribed by the guy with the taxi fare but as Katina said we've taken a slightly different approach in this book the previous two books have really been looking at the crackdowns the repression the invasions of privacy 'z the suspensions of civil liberty that have become a hallmark of the of the so-called war on terror but in the course of our travels on our previous books and Static we did a 100 city tour well one of the things you get out of this besides losing a ridiculous amount of sleep is you hear a lot of stories on the road and everywhere we would go from the cities to the rural areas we do these you know we sign books at the end and that's an opportunity for us it often can take a long time you'll release the air for an hour or more and people come up to us and tell us what's going on in their communities and one of the things we have been struck by repeatedly is how the most unlikely people have been standing up to defend democracy in their communities they are not the professional activists one might think really quite the opposite and so we want to now Amy chronicles many of these you know people like this on Democracy Now every day but we felt that it really was their actions that are worthy and it's your actions their actions because these are very much regular folks we're worthy of celebrating and honoring and primarily because this is what we feel is the real force behind our political our politics now so we begin our book when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the American flag this prophetic warning variously attributed to author Sinclair Lewis a Louisiana Governor Huey Long could have been written about post 9/11 America using fear electoral fraud and the smokescreen of terrorist attacks the Bush administration has given us a lesson in how quickly a nation can be hijacked and core tenets of democracy trampled who would have imagined that one sacred principles of Liberty the right to a fair and timely trial the checks and balances that keep our political leaders from becoming dictators the freedom from arbitrary detention the International prohibitions against torture and wars of aggression could be thrown on the scrap heap so quickly President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have asserted the president's right to wield virtually unchecked power they've used the tragedy of 9/11 to implement a radical political agenda attempting to ram through a right-wing wish list from gutting Social Security to delivering tax cuts to the rich to discarding basic civil liberties our government now routinely invades the privacy of its own citizens then pulls the cloak of national security over its operations to hide its deceptions and blunders from public view the economy has been trashed inequality is now at levels not seen since the Great Depression and at least five million more Americans live in poverty than did at the start of the Bush presidency many eminent historians and economists are concluding that George W Bush has earned the distinction of being the worst president ever where is the outrage the US corporate media and the Democrats complained politely and then resumed their deferential posture to enable the next disaster the media so helpful in launching the Iraq war by acting as a conveyor belt for Bush administration lies has shifted targets and now passes along White House propaganda about Iran the damage to our society that has resulted from the actions and inactions of our political leaders runs deep some of the damage can be quantified thousands of American soldiers killed in a war of choice in Iraq tens of thousands wounded and maimed and untold numbers of servicemen and women discarded by their own government and condemned to a lifetime struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder more than a million Iraqis killed in a pointless and hopeless war in occupation and a great American city destroyed first by Hurricane Katrina then ravaged by racism and official neglect thousands of immigrants rounded up in midnight raids and deported and the list goes on and on okay that's the bummer part as the nation's leaders have abdicated leadership it has fallen to unlikely heroes to step forward and pick up the Fallen torch of democracy we have traveled the country to profile some of the movers and movements who are defending the core values of America well and let me skip right to one of my favorite ones in the book the those great fierce and terrifying guardians of our democracy librarians in the course of our travels we were alerted to know we knew that libraries have become Believe It or Not a front line in the war on terror this place this great sanctuary of ideas of dissent of free thinking has of course been a great threat to a government that is intent on clamping down on those things but it was in Connecticut where we found these four librarians who have been fighting very hard when the FBI came knocking at their door what had happened was these librarians the FBI was interested in one email sent from a library computer from subvert a library in the suburbs of Hartford Connecticut well the library networks are there twenty-seven libraries are linked up in a collaborative there and so in order to find that out the FBI demanded records patron records of all 27 libraries for the day in question they show up at the door of the was actually it's called it's a computer collaborative that runs it but it's run by librarians demanding the files and the librarian who answers them very nervously and fidgeting says I think that's unconstitutional I'm not going to give you that and these two burly cops go away and so here's where we pick it up few Americans understand how draconian the Patriot Act is unless it reaches out and touches them when the four connecticut librarians received a national security letter they were shocked to learn that it stripped away civil rights that they thought were inviolable and NSL as it's called National Security Letter can be issued by a judge doesn't have to be involved it's essentially an FBI agent a corner cop can decide this and they can ask for everything and where is the court order librarian Peter chase asked fellow librarian george christian there is none replied christian they said they didn't need one because they had an NSL the librarians were being ordered to turn over records on their patrons simply because an FBI agent told them to Alice Knapp president of the Connecticut Library Association said all of us is law-abiding citizens understand that when there's a subpoena and there's judicial oversight of the process in the course of an investigation library records may be subpoenaed but what is of the utmost concern to people is the lack of oversight in the Patriot Act and that it can be used for a fishing expedition Peter Chase was one of the librarians you spoke to explain for us this is a very important principle a court order protects you because you have a neutral third party the court and you must convince them that a crime has been committed people come to us and say very confidential things to our reference librarians they have medical issues personal matters what people are borrowing at a public library is nobody's business for librarians safeguarding the privacy of their patrons is a sacred trust so for Connecticut's mild-mannered librarians there was no hesitation about how they would respond to this attack on the privacy of their patrons they would fight like hell just to paint a little bigger picture when Amy and I went to visit these librarians they were every bit the stereotype you have of librarians this mild-mannered very neatly dressed man it was after re at his tie on and his badge that said you know library director and his pocket protector and impossibly courteous and polite and very pained when we asked to break the rules by bringing our cup of coffee into his library but whisking us downstairs because he didn't want to offend these are the people who have been on the front lines here so what followed and it's worth reading the story because I mean it took our breath away to hear them describe what happened they get this National Security Letter they are it's like being exposed to radioactivity upon reading the letter that has been addressed to you you are immediately gagged you can speak to no one you can tell no one about it the wording of the law is so sweeping they didn't even know if they could tell a lawyer about it and one has to believe that all of this kind of gray area is by design so these four people this is the Executive Board of this little Association of computers you know users now has been exposed to this radioactivity and the full weight of the national security state comes down on them so they can tell no one speak to no one and yet they decide to fight and to commit their little organization million dollar a year like you know come library consortium and to take on the US government know their little non profit lawyer shows up and they showed them this and she recoils and says this is way over my head and in fact there's almost nobody in the country who's qualified to handle this so it ends up the national office of the ACLU takes it in New York and thus begins this Odyssey they file suit against the Attorney General and it's not a they're not going for a technical win they are going to throw out they take on the whole Patriot so with the first hearing America's for leading terrorists are considered so dangerous to America they are the plaintiffs in this case let's remember they are not even allowed in the federal courthouse in Bridgeport Connecticut they are locked in a storage room in a courthouse in Hartford two hours away to watch on closed-circuit TV and they see two things there they see that the man arguing the case against them is US Attorney Kevin O'Connor the US attorney for Connecticut this is a man who Peter chase one of the four librarians the fellow who I described with his pocket protector and everything had debated on a number of occasions because Peter is the intellectual freedom chair of the Connecticut Library Association they have debated around the state in which the US Attorney promises people that of course the government is not spying on libraries what do you think we're up to and Peter Chase has gone around saying very earnestly and compellingly and articulately well in fact this do they have the ability to do this we hear they're doing this and the the all the preparations have been made for them to do this so this man who is has essentially gagged his most powerful critic in the state of Connecticut they see something else in that courtroom word has gone out these four librarians are dubbed John Doe Connecticut they have lost their voice and their identity in this process but word has gone out that librarians are under fire in Connecticut and then a case is happening and so they in addition to seeing Kevin O'Connor the attorney they see a library in Bridgeport a courtroom in Bridgeport packed with librarians from all around Connecticut and New York they fight this court case they win the first round and the government immediately Appeals they're fighting to strike down this gag order why because right at that moment US Congress was debating whether reauthorized the Patriot Act the real reason the they had to be gagged was that the victims have had no voice in the discussions about these various terrorism laws and whatnot they their appeal they goes to federal court in Manhattan they are under the ACLU attorneys explained to them I mean this gag order is deadly serious they kept their identity cannot be revealed although ironically it's through government blunders that it is immediately revealed they forget to redact all instances of their names in the court filing so in fact their names do go out so you have this obscure of the absurd going on where people some people know their names anyway they are under orders to show up in in federal court in Manhattan they are to enter separately there to look like lawyers dressed like lawyers they are not to look at one another they are not to look at their own attorneys no one can find out your identity there will be another person in the room who they are not to know the identity of it is their co-plaintiff he is the we think it's a he a guy who's the head of a small internet service provider in New York who has also been asked for records of his patrons he has refused he is John Doe New York so John Doe New York and John Doe Connecticut are in the same room they don't know who each other are but once again they see in this courtroom it is packed with librarians now from all over the East Coast that day during the hearing librarians the American Library Association has staged a demonstration on the steps of the Capitol we're librarians with gags that say NSL in their mouths are marching around so this the the resistance has taken shape it has mobilized these unlikely people in the end they fight and fight and fight we detail the bizarre things that go on as their name is almost you know is leaked this the kids are finding out all these crazy things the Patriot Act is finally reauthorized in the spring of 2006 six weeks later the government suddenly has a change of heart and decides that they really don't care about these librarians and so they drop the case mission accomplished what was the mission to keep the only people in America who could speak to what is really going how the Patriot Act is really being used from speaking to Congress because they said explicitly in their court filings we want to speak to Congress that is what had to be stopped so these kinds of stories and what it did to these librarians and how it struck this chord among librarians all over the place I just think are really the kind of thing that gives us I mean these people have now their lives have been changed forever to see their government go after them and they consider themselves the guardians of democracy well another story we tell is the story of climates of scientists government scientists who have been censored and gagged in our chapter some don't like it hot we write as the 2004 presidential election approached something strange began happening at NASA the normally steady flow of news releases about glaciers climate change pollution and other earth sciences slowed to a trickle in October 2004 a news conference to present new information about ozone and air pollution from a new NASA satellite was ordered postponed until after the presidential election by Glenn Mahone then the assistant administrator for public affairs at NASA White House appointees instructed NASA's public affairs officers to shift the focus from earth science to President Bush's stated desire to return a man to the moon and eventually to Mars political appointees at NASA had figured out a novel way to resolve the discrepancy between Bush administration rhetoric and scientific reality they would just erase our planet NASA scientist we'll william pastored said all of a sudden earth science just disappeared earth kind of got relegated just being one of the nine or ten planets it was ludicrous NASA's historic mission since its establishment in 1958 has been quote the expansion of human knowledge of the earth and a phenomenon in the atmosphere and space which is why global warming falls squarely within the agency's purview from 2002 to 2006 Nash's NASA's mission statement read quote to understand and protect our home planet to explore the universe and search for life to inspire the next generation of explorers as only NASA can in early February 2006 unbeknownst to most of the agency's 19,000 employees the mission statement was quietly changed the phrase to understand and protect our home planet disappeared instead the mission became quote to pioneer the future in space exploration scientific discovery and Aeronautics research Star Trek was in Planet Earth was toast earth had to be erased for a reason the science about Earth namely the alarming and incontrovertible evidence of global warming conflicted with the fantasy being spun by President Bush and his oil industry backers that climate change wasn't really happening President Bush declared in July 2001 quote my administration's climate change policy will be science-based he must have meant science fiction because from the moment the Bush administration took power in 2001 officials set out to undermine distort and suppress science that didn't serve their political ideology and financial backers Vice President Dick Cheney made it clear who was setting the environmental agenda when he huddled behind closed doors with his former colleagues in the oil industry in early 2001 and virtually allowed them to write a new national energy policy to their liking the result the 2005 energy bill which gave 16 billion dollars in subsidies to the oil gas and coal industries recommended opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and natural gas drilling deregulated the electricity market subsidized building new new we are power plants and dumb down fuel economy standards for SUVs and light trucks State Department documents from 2001 to 2004 revealed that the Bush administration thanked Exxon executives for their quote active involvement in determining climate change policy Exxon officials who called for more study and less regulation insisted that the costs of joining the Kyoto Protocol quote would be unjustifiably drastic and premature which is exactly the same line used by the Bush administration the message from the White House was clear it was politics and money above all else if science conflicted with politics or threatened corporate profits the science must change well we go on to Chronicle what became quite a dramatic battle between America's top climate scientists Jim Hansen and the people the bush administration which was trying to lock him down muzzle him and they gave him his own little political minder a 23 year old kid who had lied on his resume and said he'd graduated from Texas A&M when he hadn't but most importantly he had worked in the bush cheney war room as they called it in the 2004 election this was to be the handler for our top climate scientist to make sure he didn't say anything that the government didn't approve so this battle played itself out in a climactic hearing in Congress and it's quite a drama in its own right that we document but taking it to what it led to the rebellious scientists have been emboldened by a worldwide movement against global warming activists are stepping up their efforts as the environmental crisis deepens Arctic ice receded further in the summer of 2007 that at any time in history and the UN emergency relief coordinator warned in October 2007 that the world has seen a record number of floods droughts and storms caused by climate change already this year in April 2007 author and activist bill mckibben spearheaded a remarkable national convergence called step it up day he began the effort with a half dozen students at Middlebury College in Vermont in the fall of 2006 we had no money and no organization so we figured we'd be doing well if we could organize a hundred of these things by April 14th and that would have been about a hundred more global warming rallies than there had been well what happened shocked a bill and the students they had over 1,400 rallies take place last April they followed it up this November where they had even more rallies and many politicians now felt it necessary to participate and the pressure has been put on Exxon by something called the expose Exxon campaign they have become the piggy bank of the global warming denial movement and so pressure has been put on to where some of these groups are now being defunded and have lost millions of dollars as Al Gore said in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize the future is knocking at our door right now the next generation will ask us one of two questions either they will ask what were you thinking why didn't you act or they'll ask instead how did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve we have everything we need to get started say perhaps political will but political will is a renewable resource so let us renew it and say together we have a purpose we are many for this purpose we will rise and we will act that spirit of resistance that Gore invoked for the Climate Change movement it was also invoked by a group called the white rose which was a group of students and a philosophy professor in Nazi Germany who issued who saw what was going around on around them reacted to the muzzling and co-optation of their major media by the government and began issuing pamphlets that they Mimmi graphed and passed around all over Germany under Hitler they were eventually hans and sophie scholl or brother and sister they were the first ones caught they were tried by People's Court and beheaded beheaded on the same day as their verdict but their words ring on and what they said in one of their last leaflets was we shall not be silent we are your guilty conscience and we feel that the spirit of the white rose is very much alive and well it's documented in many of these stories and that in fact we will come out of this time period with the politics that is more democratic has and really reflects some of the grassroots power in this country that I think has done more than anything and more than any politicians to save our democracy and with that I give you my sister who every morning is on with Democracy Now chronicling many of these grassroots heroes how many of you have ever heard watched listen to democracy now and do you do it online how many do you listen to KPFA in the area free speech TV channel nine four one five of Dish Network link TV nine four window video podcast at our audio podcast at Democracy Now have you ever read the transcripts online well Democracy Now is the largest public media collaboration in this country we began in 1996 is the only daily election show and public broadcasting on a couple dozen community radio stations and pacifica stations right around September 11th we also moved to television of public access TV station in New York Manhattan neighborhood network and then the show just took off another public access station asked to aired it we would FedEx out the video because we have no way of transmitting it and then a radio station that town would say can we air it as well and before we knew it hundreds of stations were airing Democracy Now now over 700 two to three news stations a week are picking up Democracy Now increasingly on NPR and PBS stations our headlines are also available in Spanish at our website democracynow.org and transcript and audio form for any radio station to take is over a hundred ADR in the United States Canada Latin America Spain and around the world but we all started at Pacifica Radio and today is the 59th anniversary of Pacifica it was back in World War 2 1949 when a war resistor named Lugh Hill came out of the detention camps and said there has 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 born not run by corporations as george gerbner former dean at the Annenberg School of the University of Pennsylvania founder of the cultural environment movements not run by corporations that have nothing to tell and everything to sell that are raising our children today and so Pacifica was born the first station KPFA in Berkeley 1949 ten years later 1959 KPFK in Los Angeles 1960 my station in New York WBAI radio WPF W in Washington went on the air in 1977 KPFT the fifth fourth Pacifica station went on the air in 1970 those are the five stations KPFT and Houston is the only radio station in the country whose transmitter was blown up that's right in its first few months of operation in 1970 here is the small community station in Houston the Ku Klux Klan's straps dynamite to the base of the transmitter and blows it to smithereens I don't know if it was its intention certainly KPFT did not have the money for advertising but it blew it into the consciousness of the people of Houston and when they got back on their feet and started transmitting again the Klan blew it up again but KPFT is strong and healthy I'll be going there this Tuesday as we continue our standing up to the madness tour I don't know if it was the Grand Dragon or the exalted Cyclops I often confuse their titles but he said that blowing up Pacifica was his proudest act and I think it is because he understood how dangerous Pacifica is dangerous simply because it allows people to speak for themselves and when you hear someone speaking from their own experience whether it is a Palestinian child or an Israeli grandmother whether it is an event as well an aunt or an Iraqi uncle you think that sounds like my baby that sounds like my mother my aunt there is nothing more powerful and that is our job in the media to provide a forum for people to tell their stories and when they can't to tell their store until they can tell their own in the 1950s the great scholar actor singer activists athlete Paul Robson whitelisted from almost every public space in this country except a few black churches knew he could be heard over the airwaves of Pacifica Radio or there was Fannie Lou Hamer the great civil rights leader we have the largest collection of her recordings in the Pacifica Radio archive tens of thousands of recordings in Los Angeles of the grassroots movement of the second half of the 20th century right through to now Rosa Parks right after she sat down on that bus December 1st 1955 yes an interview with her and in fact in our book standing up to the madness yes we tell the stories of people in all walks of life and professions who stand up not planning to but because of something extraordinary that happens in their lives to them or to someone in their community as David described the librarians of Connecticut being hands at a National Security Letter NSL can't even talk about is over a hundred thousand people have in this country can't even mention that they've been handed Esser they could wind up in jail and there are so many other stories this past summer in San Francisco democracy now came to town to chronicle the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association it was very interesting it's the largest Association of psychologists in the world and it is embroiled in an internal debate that has global implications should psychologists be involved in coercive interrogations in these military sessions that take place or CIA sessions at Guantanamo at up a grave at ghagra Bagram or some CIA black site we don't know where it is somewhere in the world it's an amazing story of a small group of dissidents dissident psychologists within the APA saying to their leadership saying there should be a moratorium or a ban on psychologist participation that they are supposed to be healers not breaking down personalities not misusing the knowledge they have of how personalities are shaped and function but they are there to heal it is a story that has been going on for a few years now and it has culminated in this epic battle there is a large contingent of military psychologists within the Psychological Association unlike the American Medical Association American Psychiatric Association that do ban their members for participating the APA never has and so this summer it rose to a higher crescendo as a amendment a proposal was put forward for a moratorium it was beaten down but interestingly in this last few months the leading dissident psychoanalyst named dr. Stephen Reisner New York psychoanalyst has decided to run for the presidency of the American Psychological Association first he has to get enough nominating votes and in the last few weeks that election that voting took place and he got the highest number of nominating votes over a thousand votes in the Association he is one of the top five vote getters the real election will take place in October and they will find out who will be the new head of the American Psychological Association at just about the same time we are voting for President of the United States we can only hope that this issue of torture is central to both elections but going back in time as we look at the students who perform an anti-war play or attempt to on their stage in Wilton High School and Connecticut and are told by their principal they can't do it there but simply by that act of censorship it story gets out of this group of young actors and actresses seniors and juniors and freshmen and sophomores in high school and the New York Public Theater and the culture project invite them to perform their play on the New York stage a play that simply consists of the voices of soldiers who've returned from Iraq and our active duty writing letters home they piece their play together from those letters these acts of resistance make up a greater resistance movement in this country we Chronicle these as well as the soldiers who have said no to war who have refused like lieutenant Aaron Wattana the first officer to say no to deployment because he feels the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal but we also Chronicle turning points in history David mentioned the white rose collective that issued pamphlets through Germany just students and their professor a sister and brother named Hans and Sophie Scholl simply to get information out so the Germans would never be able to say we didn't know well there are others like Rosa Parks and I think it's a lust rative of how the media works today Rosa Parks died last year we all know her story the media has told that story and we learned it in the history books of the woman who on December 1st 1955 sits down in the bus in Montgomery Alabama and in so doing and so refusing to stand up for a white male passenger to sit down she stood up not only for african-americans but for all of us because if one person is diminished we are all diminished and the story is told well of her launching a movement her friend and activists Joanne Robinson that night mimeograph 35,000 pages to send out to people to launch the Montgomery bus boycott to end segregation in Montgomery a year later their victory would be complete with a US Supreme Court ruling five days later Rosa Parks goes to court on December 5th 1955 the Montgomery Improvement Association has their mass meeting and the elect young new minister in town to be their spokesperson his name is dr. Martin Luther King jr. and in a sense you could say Rosa Parks helped to launch dr. Martin Luther King yes activists come out of movements and they inspire movements Rosa Parks story is not told correctly in the media when she died the media said that she was simply a tired seamstress she was not a troublemaker they said but that's where they got it wrong Rosa Parks was a first class troublemaker she had dedicated her life to ending segregation in the south to fighting racism the media denigrates activism when in fact what could be more noble than dedicating your life to making the world a better place that's exactly what Rosa Parks did as Secretary of the n-double a-c-p and Montgomery worked under Edie Nixon came out of radical labor politics and together where they were challenging those laws it wasn't even the first time or as a parks had sat down but it was the magic moment when things came together and that is a key point especially in this absolutely key year and that is laying the foundation you never know when that magic moment will occur but you can determine which direction that change will take when you help to form a foundation a path for a new way so that's Rosa Parks and to show how brave she was just a few months earlier in the summer of 1955 a Chicago mother named Mamie till sent her son Emmett Till to money Mississippi for the summer to be with family and that is now a famous name in US history he was sent down to money Mississippi with his family and he was not even clear today exactly what happened they said he wolf whistled at a white woman but he ended up in the bottom of the Tallahatchie River the case not even adequately investigated for half a century looked like two white brothers Klansmen who acta mutilated tortured him when his body was sent up to Chicago for the funeral for the wake Mamie till Mobley did something extraordinary she said she wanted his casket opened for the funeral her son whose head was distended 10 times at size who she wanted the world to see the ravages of racism the brutality of bigotry thousands streamed by his casket and saw and then Jet magazine and other black publications published those photos and they were seared into the consciousness and history of this country Mamie till Mobley had something very important to teach the press of today show the pictures show the images that is what we have been missing when you look at the US media's role in this war it is shameful the embedding process has brought the media to an all-time low you know reporters embedded in the front lines of troops what about reporters embedded in Iraqi hospitals and communities in the peace movement around the world to understand the effects of this war fairness and accuracy in reporting a media watch group in New York did a study of the two weeks around February 5th 2003 right before the invasion when then Secretary of State Colin Powell gave his push for war at the United Nations in that two-week period there were four major nightly newscasts that they counted and they counted the number of interviews that were done around war 393 interview is done by CBS Evening News NBC Nightly News ABC World News Tonight and the PBS news hour with Jim Lehrer 393 interviews done around war only three were with anti-war leaders three of almost 400 that is unacceptable that is no longer mainstream media it doesn't reflect the way people felt in this country because those who are opposed to war do not represent a fringe minority not even a silent majority but the silenced majority silenced by the corporate media and we have to take it back the media are the most powerful institutions on earth more powerful than any bomb more powerful than any missile and the Pentagon's deployed the media yes we have to take it back we have to challenge the corporate media because they are using our property public property it's not private property when you have weapons manufacturers like General Electric owning a network like NBC it doesn't mean that they can do anything they want with that property they are simply leasing the airwaves and they have responsibility to bring out the full spectrum of opinion or their licenses should be challenged and it has happened before and we have to build up independent media in this country and it is growing in leaps and bounds there is a media democracy movement that is now flourishing people who are recognizing that with the media being so powerful it is key we make our own media we open up the floodgates we break the sound barrier so that the voices of people at the Ground Zero is around the world can be heard at the target end to understand the true effects of war we begin our book with New Orleans we begin our book with Hurricane Katrina yes it's a story of horror but also hope because grassroots activists are trying to rebuild that drowned City how could it be that we lose an American city in the 21st century and yet in those waning days of August when President Bush was on one of the longest vacations and presidential history in his State in Crawford we won't call it a ranch because it isn't you have Hurricane Katrina hitting he was warned in advance make no mistake about it this was not a surprise he was warned by videoconference on his vacation did he set off immediately to go to Washington or venir in New Orleans or be and command-and-control no he flew off to California and had a photo op with a country music star whose signature song was wish you were here could have been the theme song of the people of New Orleans I've just come from New Orleans yes more than two years later we began the book tour in the Lower Ninth Ward devastated to this day more than two years later but there was a remarkable event at the Superdome that was led by Eve Ensler and her v-day events around the world fighting violence against women and girls and they brought together more than a thousand women from the New Orleans diaspora can you imagine we are talking about a diaspora from an American city if they haven't come home and in the last New Orleans city council election for the first time in twenty years a majority white city council was elected because the demographics of this cultural mecca have so drastically changed with the poorest not being able to return their homes devastated not having the resources to come back and yet people are fighting back now when the hurricane struck something very significant happened a side effect of President Bush and his administration not responding not sending the troops and to help in this time of natural disaster was that well the corporate media did the right thing they simply went to New Orleans and there were no troops to embed with and we saw something remarkable we saw something very raw we saw unembarrassed unspun reporting bodies floating by one of the first demands of the bush administration was you will not show the bodies to which the editor of the times-picayune said you've got to be kidding I remember seeing a young CNN reporter a man walks up out of the water holding his boy's hand he said his wife's hand had just slipped out of his and she told him take care of the children he turned around after talking to this reporter and walked off into the water with his boy in shock and this young a CNN reporter starts to cry that's reporting from the victim's perspective and a galvanized this country we will never forget those images could you imagine if for just one week we saw those images in Iraq we saw the babies dead on the ground we saw the women with their legs blown off by cluster bombs from Iraq to Lebanon 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 but where are the images and with the hundreds of channels we have in this country and means of getting information it's almost reassuring to people if you don't see the images then maybe somehow it's not that bad we have been in Iraq longer than the US was involved in world war two the casualty figures are astonishing more than 4,000 US soldiers have died tens of thousands have been critically wounded medevacked out of iraq more than a million have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and the estimates are now that perhaps a third of them are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder coming back home I encourage you to read Joe Stiglitz and Linda Vilnius the Harvard economist and Nobel laureate economist book the three trillion dollar war three trillion dollars that is the costs of war today and the costs of taking care of these soldiers the lucky ones who have come home now the stories are out there they are simply not being reported democracy now went down to Silver Spring Maryland a few weeks ago to the National Labor College to the most remarkable gathering of active duty soldiers and veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who'd come to tell their own stories talk about atrocities they themselves had committed in Iraq you couldn't get a story closer to the heart of what is happening in this country at democracy now we thought we're gonna have to get there early we have to set up everything in advance cuz all the media is going to be there you know these young men and women have the videotape they've got the photographs they tell the first thick hand accounts of what was happening this rarely happens in this country but we had nothing to worry about when it came to having space to report and talking to the soldiers and vets who were there that's right there was almost no corporate media in the room The Washington Post did a story that appeared in the Metro section of their paper where were the other papers where were the networks and the stories were frightening his stories told by the young men and women themselves or their parents like the lucy's who lost their son Jeffery he went to Iraq he made it back and for the next year they watched his personality disintegrate until he was wearing full camo his full military uniform to go out and buy beer in the street and as they begged the Veterans Administration to take their boy in the grandfather taking his grandson right to the step of the VA hospital they realized they were losing their son on one evening Jeffrey asked his father this young man of 23 or 24 years old asked his father if he could curl up in his lap his father rocked him silently for 45 minutes the next day his dad came home from work called for Jeffry he didn't respond he saw the door open to the basement walked down and there was a son hanging from the pipes it was the last time he cradled his son Jeffery these were the stories that have should have been broadcast all over this country because this is the real cost of war and yet we have a media that unfortunately has been such a disservice to a Democratic Society broadcasting the voices of people who have experienced the pain and it is so critical right now David and I wrote an earlier book called static and the reason we called it that because in this high-tech digital age with high-definition television and digital radio all we get is evermore static that veil of distortion and lies and misrepresentations and half-truths that obscure reality when what we need is the media to give us 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 movements that create static and make history and you all can be a part of that we have to challenge the corporate media and we have to build our own media and that media extends all over the globe especially through the internet which is why it is so important to preserve net neutrality from here we will go to Stanford in two days there will be an FCC hearing on net neutrality we have to ensure that everyone gets involved in that global conversation we have to protect our airwaves we have to fight against the clear channeling of America when corporations can take over more than a thousand radio stations sponsor pro-war rallies and kickoff broadcasters as one in south Carolina who is broadcaster of the year worked for a Clear Channel station dared to voice an anti-war point of view and was forced off the air and sued the airwaves must be protected for all of us I see the media as a huge kitchen table that stretches across the globe that we all sit around and debate and discuss the most important issues of the day war and peace life and death and anything less than that is a disservice to the servicemen and women of this country is a disservice to a Democratic Society democracy now we actually have the room for until 2:30 so if people had won if people want to ask a couple questions just willing to entertain that yes oh sorry and please use the mic are you broadcast to the Armed Forces at all in Iraq can they hear you um through the internet since we video and audio both podcast and stream but not on Armed Forces radio but of course soldier is coming home and I've spoken with many of them can listen all over the country and democracynow.org by the way if you go to our website you can see our four days of coverage of winter soldier just see the raw testimony of these young men and women and those that spoke for them when those young men and women didn't make it that's a bit of a fan question I guess the the guitar music that opens democracy now what is that piece of music incognito if the group is called incognito okay any other questions it seems like we have it's a it's obviously a constant battle to try to make these these large-scale changes before they just become so institutionalized that people don't even notice they're there anymore but do you see any I mean you know there's these cases being fought against particularly the Patriot Act do you see particular strides being made especially after we saw just a slap in the face of it being passed and sunset being taken away just recently like I want to know you know what your thoughts are in the next few years in regards to that specific bill and you know what are the real high impact changes that we can strive to make um well I think that President Bush has managed to unite people across the political spectrum against him and I think the USA PATRIOT Act is one example of that there are slight changes in it but people are getting fed up as one after another people are targeted you mean you have whole population since 9/11 Arab Americans Muslims people of South Asian descent we've just heard and we hope it is the case tomorrow in Iraq ap Pulitzer prize-winning photographer will be released from the prison for more than two years held by the US and then the USS Iraqi surrogates his name is Bilal Hussain unfortunately Arab journalists have been particularly hard-hit in Iraq there's another one that people should pay attention to his name is Samuel Hodge he is an Al Jazeera cameraman and he has been held at Guantanamo for more than five years doesn't know the charges against him and we know the problems with Guantanamo and the lack of charges yet the hundreds of men who have cycled through and have been held there but one case after another is being thrown out I wanted to just read a little segment from the book that has to do with well a man not far from here last night we were in Portland Oregon his name is Brandon Mayfield he learned what happens when you're falsely accused he's a lawyer in Portland and a convert to Islam he was mistakenly linked by the FBI in May 2004 to a fingerprint found near the Madrid terrorist bombing two months earlier that killed 191 people despite the insistence of Spanish authorities that Mayfield's fingerprints did not match what they had but the FBI using the expanded surveillance powers of the USA PATRIOT Act had all the evidence that needed to convince itself of Mayfield's guilt phone calls that he made to Islamic charities incriminating evidence that agents took when they broke into Mayfield's home without his knowledge this included a Quran and Spanish documents which turned out to be a son Spanish homework Mayfield who's been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration its war on terror spent two howling weeks behind bars shackled chained placed in a five by eight foot maximum security cell allowed out for one hour a day with an hours of Mayfield's arrests headlines blared as crime and linked him to one of spain's worst terrorist crimes he told us on Democracy Now the suspicion leading up to the arrest the arrest itself from the time I spent in jail in shackles and chains was the hardest time that myself my family ever had to endure Mayfield was ultimately exonerated he received a rare public apology from the FBI he declared I believe I was singled out and discriminated against because I was Muslim Mayfield took his fight for justice further he sued the federal government for false arrest and challenging the legality of key parts of the USA PATRIOT Act that permitted secret searches and wiretapping in 2006 accorded him two million dollars in damages for the false arrest and in September 2007 in a major blow to the Bush administration an Oregon judge struck down two pillars of the Patriot Act that the FBI used to conduct warrantless searches a Mayfield the US District Judge in the case and Aiken wrote for over two hundred years this nation has adhered to the rule of law with unparalleled success a shift to a nation based on extra constitutional authority is prohibited as well as ill-advised stalked vilified burglarized terrorized locked down isolated and exonerated this is the real face of racial and religious profiling in the United States unlike Brandon Mayfield many victims are not fortunate to be free all right once we add something I think you were also asking about what can people do you know what small steps can people take actually the last chapter of our book is called we are the heroes we have been waiting for where we are the people we've been waiting for and it we try there to distill some of the things that we feel these very ordinary folks have done and and what were key elements of their success we would ask them when we would talk to them because I think the whole point of so there is a practical component of this as well as just reading it I hope you really do get a sense of you know just people like you you know when we were telling that story about the National Security Letters and and I could see on some people's expressions the shock of what this thing that I was describing well the bigger shock is that last year the Justice Department revealed that at least a hundred and fifty thousand of these things have been issued just in a three year period so there could be right in this audience somebody who is received in an SL but they can't tell you about it in fact do the math 150,000 there may well be people you know in your community who have received these things so the stories we're describing are people getting parts of these things struck down but you know our whole point here was just to say these aren't all stories of Rosa Parks's and Nelson Mandela's it's just people like us and someone knocked at the door and basically the issue came to them and they had to respond so i do hope people take that away and as hard as some of these messages are we ultimately feel this is a very hopeful book and that you get out of this what just regular folks in regular towns have done and what a huge impact it made often just beginning as those librarians you know with their knees knocking did just when they said no we're not gonna give you what you want hi it's good to see you in person I've been a listener to to Democracy Now back in the 90s in New York City and listening to that as part of what inspired me to become a human rights worker for about five years before I moved to move back to the private sector and came here to work at Google I've had an interesting time I moved down to the Washington DC and sort of got to see a little bit of how Washington works from something of the inside and its really had a lot of pretty profound influence on how I think about the world how I see things in addition to what I used to get from listening to Democracy Now its ferreting that um recently there's been you know I've been involved with some high profile stuff where there's been controversy on the part of Google and you know it's interesting going into the media and reading what people have to say about Google and the the way that they attribute a certain kind of thinking that I know does not exist and I sometimes feel like like it you know listening to my agency now can sometimes come to some of those conclusions like before David you were talking about these librarians who are being who who were being you know gagged and your assumption was that the trial the whole trial and the gagging was specifically in order to act as a screen for the repast d'azyr of the Patriot Act and just having seen different events from different angles I mean do you really know that for a fact you I mean it's I mean by all means you should come to editorial conclusions I have no objections but that's that's what both the ACLU and the librarians said so that it wasn't our theory it became as you read the details of the story it became very clear that the main you know what happened early on here in this case was they were saying you couldn't know who these people are because it's a national security secret within the first month their name was published five times in the New York Times because of government blunders so the name was out there the only thing left the the whole national security fig leaf got blown away right at the start so then there was only a free speech issue left now clearly these librarians and the FBI knew this very well had no knowledge of anything it was some technical item they were after tracing a name so they had no personal knowledge they were not defending an individual they were defending a principle that patron privacy is paramount and should not be infringed in a public space like this so it was their conclusion we quote them talking about that it was the ACL u–'s argument in the cases frankly it's the only thing that common sense the only conclusion common sense could lead you to but if you you know if you haven't if there's something else you can I'm curious is there some other reason that you could conjure for why it was lifted within weeks of the Patriot Act being passed no I don't know I don't know I haven't followed the entire case and I haven't heard the this point of view of the of the government you know the attorneys who were involved mm-hmm I just know that like like sometimes the public perception can be very different from from what actually decisions are made internally and you're also attributing I think you know most fathering lis today to the government a level of confidence that may may actually not be there I think the important point here is the effect that it had in its squelch debate and it prevented the people who could talk specifically to for example the Attorney General John Ashcroft alleging that librarians were not being served with his NS ELLs they couldn't respond they couldn't testify before Congress and say in fact that is not the case so whether whatever the government's intentions were I think we can't absolutely no you're correct but the effect of them was to undermine democracy I want to say thank you very much to David and Amy thank you oh I just remember another effect that you can have is community media your community radio stations and television stations Democracy Now itself we are nonprofits and we survive on the listeners and viewers contributions so think about it especially because you get yours matched

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