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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Decade After Iraq WMD Speech at UN, Ex-Powell Aide Lawrence Wilkerson Debates Author Norman Solomon

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    Ten years ago this week, a defining moment occurred in the Bush administration’s push to invade Iraq. On Feb. 5, 2003, then-Secretary of State General Colin Powell addressed the United Nations Security Council. His message was clear: Iraq possessed extremely dangerous weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein was systematically trying to deceive U.N. inspectors by hiding prohibited weapons. A decade later, we host a debate between Powell’s former aide, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson — who prepared the U.N. speech, only to later renounce it — and media critic Norman Solomon, author of "War Made Easy." "I don’t believe the hype about that presentation having been the ultimate presentation ... that led us to war with Iraq," Wilkerson says of Powell’s speech. "George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and others had decided to go to war with Iraq long before Colin Powell gave that presentation. ... It added to the momentum of the war. ... Frankly, we were all wrong. Was the intelligence politicized in addition to being wrong at its roots? Absolutely." In response, Solomon says, "We were not all wrong. As a matter of fact, many experts and activists and researchers, from the get-go, in 2002, were saying that the administration case for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was full of holes. ... So, now to say, 'Well, it wasn't just us at the administration; other people believed it,’ people believed it because they were propagandized by the administration, with massive assistance from the mass media." [includes rush transcript]

  • Lawmakers Threaten Funding of Brooklyn College for Hosting Event on BDS Campaign Against Israel

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    New York politicians are threatening to cut funding to Brooklyn College if the school hosts a forum Thursday night about the Palestinian-led campaign to boycott and divest from Israel. The Brooklyn College Political Science Department is among the event’s co-sponsors. In response, a group of New York City councilmembers has raised the possibility of Brooklyn College losing taxpayer support. The councilmembers’ threat is just one of several efforts by local lawmakers, from Congress on down, to pressure Brooklyn College to remove its sponsorship or even cancel the event. As the school vows to proceed with the event, we’re joined by one of its featured speakers, author and activist Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the BDS movement and author of "Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights." On BDS, Barghouti says, "It follows in the steps of the civil rights movement in this country and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. ... It’s just when we talk about Palestinian rights that some people are trying to criminalize and make it completely unacceptable speech to address Palestinian rights under international law." We’re also joined by Glenn Greenwald, columnist for The Guardian and author of "With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful." [includes rush transcript]

  • Bill McKibben: Ahead of Keystone XL Rally, Fossil Fuel Divestment Expands Across U.S. Campuses

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    Sterling College in Vermont announced on Tuesday it will soon become the third college in the United States to divest its endowment from 200 fossil fuel companies identified by the environmental group 350.org. Unity College in Maine and Hampshire College in Massachusetts were the first two schools to divest. Divestment campaigns are ongoing on more than 200 other campuses. "I think it’s no surprise, really, that young people are starting to say, ’We’ve got to spend another 60, 70 years on this planet. We better do something fast,’" says Bill McKibben of 350.org. "And that something means standing up to the fossil fuel industry that’s been in the way of rational change for a quarter-century now." McKibben is helping organize a Presidents’ Day rally against the Keystone XL pipeline later this month, one he predicts will be the "biggest climate rally probably ever" in the United States. [includes rush transcript]