Amy Goodman speaks on Static -- by Seán Kinane

09/20/06


Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! spoke last night at the Tampa Theatre promoting the new book, Static, which she co-wrote with her brother David Goodman, who also lectured. WMNF’s Sean Kinane reports.

Much of the book Static is about how the corporate media does the bidding of the government. To illustrate this point, Amy Goodman identified a time when things did not work like that, in the immediate aftermath of the New Orleans flooding after the breach of the levees in 2005. Because much of the National Guard were deployed in Iraq, the corporate media had no troops to embed with, and according to Amy Goodman, finally reported from the victims’ point of view rather than from the standpoint of the powerful. She feels that things might change if the media covered the U.S. military occupation of Iraq in the same way.

“Could you imagine if for one week, we saw that same kind of reporting in Iraq? Babies dead on the ground, women with their legs blown off from cluster bombs, soldiers dead and dying. For one week. Americans are a compassionate people. They would say no, war is not the answer to conflict in the 21st century. [applause] Where are the voices of peace in the corporate media?�

Her brother, investigative journalist David Goodman, insists that the corporate media were in part responsible for the rush to war before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

“The corporate media was not duped. The corporate media in this country has been an essential part of the propaganda machine that was cranked up after 9/11 by this government.�

One story that has only recently been covered in depth by major media in the United States is that of Canadian Maher Arar, who was kidnapped by the United States government and transferred to Syria, where he was brutally tortured. This week Arar was found completely innocent. David Goodman read a passage from Static pointing out that around the time Arar was released from the Syrian torture chambers in 2003, President Bush gave a speech condemning the misery caused by torturers in Syria.

“Thanks to the United States, Arar knew this misery first hand. He had been kidnapped and tortured at the behest of the most powerful nation in the world. And he was not alone. The United States is an Outlaw Nation. The laws that used to govern the behavior of American leaders evolved from basic codes of conduct for civilized nations. In the year 1215 the Magna Charta asserted that no one, not even a king, was above the rule of law. And it established the concept of habeas corpus, a prisoner’s right to challenge his or her detention in a public court of law.�

Because of the shortage of new recruits to the military, one method of increasing recruitment is to allow so-called “Moral Character Waivers� allowing people who previously were considered not fit to serve in the military a chance to fight in Iraq. Amy Goodman mentioned an unintended consequence of this new policy.

“Does the name Steven Green ring a bell? The army private who came out of jail to go to Iraq, got one of those “Moral Character Waivers,� was sent to Mahmudiyah. There with other soldiers, he went into the home of Abeer, a 14-year old girl, a young teen. She had already expressed fear to her mother, saying the soldiers at the checkpoint seem to be after her. The soldiers, Steven Green, and others herded her mother, father, and 5-year-old sister into a room and executed them, and then came out into the main room and they raped and murdered Abeer and then burned her body to cover up the crime.�

WMNF asked people in attendance to give their opinions about the Amy Goodman lecture.

[ACT Interviews 51 sec]

For WMNF News, I’m Seán Kinane

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