I admire Pacifica Network’s Democracy Now, hosted by Amy Goodman, for focusing this entire week on the legacy of Ronald Reagan (titled”Remembering the Dead”). The program’s guests have revealed a different story from what the mainstream papers and TV have aired in their “revision of history.”
Remember Central America in the 1980’s: Guatamala and Honduran death squads, the Iran Contra scandal and opposition to the Sandanista government in Nicaragua? The U.S. was censured in the World Court for its activities in Nicaragua; (the U.S. ignored the ruling, and refused to make amends). The same criminals and liars who were prosecuted during the Iran Contra scandal are back in the G.W. Bush administration, like Elliott Abrams and John Negroponte, (famed for covering up and excusing the murder and torture of many Catholic priests, nuns and activists in Honduras). The death toll in all of Central American during the California cowboy’s presidential years was huge.The Texas cowboy president will have a similar legacy.
You can see/hear this week’s worth of shows in the archives at www.democracy now.org. If any of you have an NPR or local community TV station, ask them to carry this Pacifica Network daily program. I can’t recommend it enough. I have been listening literally non stop since the summer of 2001
Some notes after today’s “breakfast with Amy.”
I was so busy surviving psychologically and financially in the 1980’s that I didn’t really get the whole story of the invasion of Granada by U.S. Marines under Reagan. Using the excuse that the elected government of Maurice Bishop was left-leaning and training Cuban communist terrorists to attack other countries in the region, the small island nation was attacked following a military coup that killed prime minister Bishop. Of course, many Granada civilians were killed.
Democracy Now also examined the Reagan administration in the Middle East, specifically during the Iran-Iraq war, one of the bloodiest conflicts in modern times in which more than a million people were killed. Chemical weapons were used and two of the most ancient societies on earth were devastated. Iranian human rights lawyer and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi and journalist Alan Friedman spoke about how the Reagan administration armed Iran and normalized relations with Iraq, selling weapons to both sides of the conflict.
During Reagan’s 8 years in power, the CIA secretly sent billions of dollars of military aid to the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in a US-supported jihad against the Soviet Union. Democracy Now looked at America’s role in Afghanistan that led to the rise of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda with Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.
And finally, closer to home and to my heart, the program looked at the Reagan administration’s blatant refusal to deal with the issue of AIDS while thousands of Americans were dying from the disease. An interview with Andy Humm of Gay USA who confronted Reagan in 1987 when he first addressed the issue near the end of his second term. We still see today that while lip service is given by G.W. Bush, anxious to be seen as a “compassionate conservative.” the money does not follow. In fact, AIDS service groups across the U.S. have been harassed and had resources drained by unnecessary federal audits in addition to budget cuts.
Is that enough of a rant? It’s just because the Ronald Reagan worship is making me a little sick. Next installment, I promise poetry.