articles tagged "Jan Miyasaki"

Justin Elliott: Think Tankers and the U.S. Military in Kabul

Wednesday, 5 December 2012 | buzz
ProPublica

On Wednesday, Dec 5, our host Jan Miyasaki speaks with Justin Elliott, an investigative reporter at ProPublica, to speak about his piece Meet the Think Tankers: Advising the U.S. Military in Kabul. Justin began his piece amidst the media frenzy regarding former CIA Director General Petraeus’ extra-marital affair, and was struck by the reference in the Washington Post’s story regarding Petraeus’ time running the war in Afghanistan between summer 2010 – 2011. Justin explains that he brought over experts from conservative think tanks to Kabul to provide military advice, and had given them positions there to have strong influence over the way the war was led. This created some controversy back in the U.S. Many think tankers were brought to Afghanistan and Iraq for short periods of time, supported by the military, and flown around the countries. Justin explains that bringing the think tank experts served two purposes for the military: “one, for the military to get advice from these think tank experts, and the other, for the military to influence these experts who are playing prominent roles in policy making in the US.” Justin explains that this is a relatively recent phenomenon.   Justin speaks about the think tankers themselves, “it seems to be people from the mainstream think tanks, and those loosely affiliated with those parties”. Among the think tank mentioned are the conservative American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institute (which has a Democratic party leaning), and Center for New American Security (also a Democratic party leaning). The experts brought in to Iraq were not from one party alone, Justin says, “It was clearly not a partisan thing. It shows that in some of these military matters, there’s less of partisan split in Washington and among foreign policy making community than there are with a lot of other issues.”   Read more of Justin’s work here, including articles on Campaign Finance, Drones, and more.   Listen to the interview here: more »

Mary Hladke: Military Families Speak Out

Wednesday, 5 December 2012 | buzz
JobsNotWars

On Wednesday December 5, host Jan Miyasaki speaks with Mary Hladke, the National Coordinator of Military Families Speak Out. Military Families Speak Out is a coalition of 56 families that have joined forces to fight austerity measures and are demanding cuts to Pentagon spending. Mary speaks about their campaign, Jobs Not Wars, “On election day, Americans rejected austerity. They want to reduce the deficit at the expense of working people, middle class, poor, and elderly. We believe if we end the war, and make substantial cuts to Pentagon spending, we can reduce the deficit, and create good paying jobs, and have the money to care for our people, community, and environment.”   Mary explains the two unique points of their campaign: “We are a broad coalition of organizations, which is unusual. Another thing is we are asking for an end to the war now, and big cuts to pentagon spending. Pentagon budget has all the money, why is nobody talking about that?” Mary speaks about the fraud, waste, and abuse of money with the large Pentagon budget. “37 cents/1 dollar of taxes paid this year goes to funding current and past wars.” Since this is a coalition of military families, Mary distinguishes between the troops, whom she supports, and the war itself, “You can support the troops and not support the war.”   There is a Jobs Not Wars petition that can be signed on at jobs-not-wars.org View the full list of organizations that are involved with the campaign. Visit Jobs Not Wars on Facebook and Twitter. Visit Military Families Speak Out here.   Listen to the interview here: more »

Leah Bolger: Veterans for Peace

Wednesday, 5 December 2012 | buzz
VFP logo

On Wednesday December 5, Jan Miyasaki speaks with Leah Bolger, President of the National Board of Veteran’s for Peace, about the new round of sanctions against Iran. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the sanctions against Iran last week. “This is collective punishment, and its really hurting the people of Iran, who have done nothing to warrant this reaction from us. It’s really sad that we didn’t learn anything from the damage we caused Iraq when we placed sanctions against them.” Veteran’s for Peace has issued a statement denouncing this.   Leah says “we believe the combination of foreign policy of Israel and United States together are causing a whole lot of problems in the area.” She explains that the U.S. should not have withdrawn from the Helsinki talks, which Israel has also withdrawn from. “Israel has hundreds of armed war heads ready to be launched at Iran, or anywhere in the region.” Though Israel has not signed the treaty, Leah explains, “Iran signed on to it the day it was created, and they have no nuclear weapons.”   Leah speaks about the impact of the sanctions against the people of Iran, how they are facing drastic inflation and a lack of access to basic food items. “They are trying to push regime change via punishing the people…we have no right as a government to inflict collective punishment against a people who have done nothing wrong.” Veterans for Peace has started a petition to President Obama and Congress to support a nuclear Free Zone in the Middle East. From the Veterans for Peace statement, “VFP once against stresses its position that the only rational and lasting solution to the current nuclear crisis in the region is the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East.”   Sign the petition and read the full Veterans For Peace statement against sanctions in Iran.     Listen to the interview here:   more »

Reverend Michael Livingston

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 | buzz
Michael Livingston

On Tuesday November 28, Jan Miyasaki speaks with Reverend Michael Livingston, director of Public Policy at the Interfaith Worker Justice based in DC. He was previously the Director of the Poverty Initiative of the National Council of Churches and as the Executive Director of the International Council of Community Churches. Jan speaks with him about a piece that he has written “Wal-Mart’s Black Friday: Who Saves, Who Pays, and Who Prays.”   He speaks about the Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), an organization that brings together the labor and religion communities,”We educate people of faith about issues that affect workers in their congregations, and to advocate for public policies that don’t hurt workers, but that actually help them.” The link between labor and faith, he says, is strong, and explains the link from a religious and faith-based perspective, highlighting community ties. He speaks about the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of South Central Wisconsin which organized a Black Friday action. Michael explains that the fact the coalition is interfaith-based demonstrates that these issues do not pertain to one community, but rather that they are relevant across the nation among every community.   Michael talks about the protests at Wal-Mart, “Enormous amounts of money are being made on one side, by the owners and executives and investors of Wal-Mart, at the expense of the workers who make that wealth possible… If Wal-Mart were to raise the minimum wage of workers to $12/hour, so that they would be making about $25,000 a year, it would only cost the customer another $12 a year, to make these types of changes.”   Visit the Interfaith Worker Justice website here.   Listen to the entire interview here: more »

Cora Currier

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 | buzz
Cora Currier, of ProPublica

On Wednesday, November 28, our host Jan Miyasaki speaks with Cora Currier, an investigative reporter at ProPublica, about her latest piece: “Why the U.S. Won’t Allow a Dying Iranian Sociologist to Join His Family.” Iranian sociologist Dr. Rahmatollah Sedigh Sarvestani, who is suffering from terminal cancer, wishes to join his family in the U.S., but is unable to because his visa request was denied. The rejection was due to “activity relating to espionage or sabotage,” a claim to which the family is shocked. It was only in the 1970s that the doctor was involved in pro-Iranian demonstrations; since then, he has actually voiced his protest against the government. It is uncertain as to why Dr. Sarvestani’s visa has been denied at this point, since he has been allowed into the U.S. since the 1970s.   Cora has been conducting research, examining Dr. Sarvestani’s activities since the 1990s. She explains, “In the 70′s he was political, and participated in pro-Khomeni/anti-Shah demonstrations. The group that he belonged to, the Muslim Students Association Persian Speaking Group, was a group that was watched closely by FBI officials and likely still is. So that’s one area that could be a red flag on his record. In the more recent years in Iran, he has turned very critical of the administration of the Iranian movement… he kept a blog that was openly critical. In Iran he was almost found too pro-Western.” Cora explains that she is searching for the red flags that could have prompted the visa rejection, but the actual reason is still a mystery.   She says, “From my perspective as a journalist, this is a story that still has a lot of unanswered questions, but what seems clear about it is that there is a systemic issue here, in which we don’t know on what grounds somebody is being denied entry.”   Read Cora Currier’s article at ProPublica here.   Listen to the entire interview here: more »

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