Thursday, February 16, 2012

  • Jeremy Scahill: U.S. Has Ignited Islamist Uprising in Impoverished, Divided Yemen

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    Has U.S. counterterrorism policy in Yemen strengthened the very threat it sought to eliminate? We speak with journalist Jeremy Scahill, who reports in a new cover story for The Nation magazine that U.S. drone strikes, civilian drone casualties and deepening poverty in Yemen have all contributed to the rise of an Islamist uprising. "The arrogance of the U.S. was always thinking that whatever U.S. official was sent to Yemen was smarter than Ali Abdullah Saleh," Scahill says. "[Saleh] was a master chess player, and he milked counterterrorism as his cash cow... [U.S.-supplied] forces have almost never been used to actually battle anyone determined to be terrorists. They’ve existed primarily for the defense of the Saleh regime." [includes rush transcript]

  • Iran Tensions Rise with Diplomat Bombings, Scientist Killings, Nuke Claims and Media Warmongering

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    Tensions between Israel and Iran have intensified with bomb blasts targeting Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia and Iranian accusations of Israeli responsibility for the assassinations of Iranian scientists. Iran, meanwhile, is claiming significant new advances in its nuclear program, citing new uranium enrichment centrifuges and domestically made reactor fuel. "If you listen to the media, you would see Iran as this sort of irrational aggressor, this country that is just kind of lashing out arbitrarily at other nations, and specifically at Israel and the United States, for no reason," says Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger for Salon.com. "What’s so amazing about that is it completely ignores the context of what the United States and Israel have been doing to Iran." We’re also joined by Reza Marashi of the National Iranian American Council. "What makes this [conflict] so dangerous and increasingly likely is there’s little to no communication going on between the parties," Marashi says. "And when you don’t communicate, that increases the likelihood for misperceptions and miscalculations." [includes rush transcript]

  • Deadly Fire at Overcrowded Prison Adds to Worsening Toll in Post-Coup Honduras

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    More than 350 inmates were killed this week when a fire swept through an overcrowded prison in Honduras. It was the world’s deadliest prison fire in a century. Most of the prisoners who died had never been charged, let alone convicted. Honduras is plagued with judicial corruption, rampant drug trafficking, and the highest murder rate in the world, which critics say has worsened since the 2009 coup that overthrew Manuel Zelaya. We’re joined by Dana Frank, professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Honduras correspondent for The Nation magazine. "This was not a natural disaster," Frank says. "There were two previous prison fires like this in 2003 and 2004... There have been reports saying that this should have been cleaned up long ago." [includes rush transcript]