BTS 5/23/2005 - Massacre In Uzbekistan; Media Reform; From Bagram to Abu Ghraib

On Tonight’s BTS we look at the massacre last week in Andijon, Uzbekistan – where troops crushed a local uprising and reports on casualties vary widely -- and try to figure out the contentious aspects of what happened. The Karimov regime blames the events on Islamic terrorists, but President Karimov in turn is blamed for repressive Soviet style leadership including censorship and not allowing an independent UN investigation. John C.K. Daly, expert in the region, promises to shed light on what happened.

Later in the hour we talk to Emily Bazelon about the torture and deaths of detainees at the notorious Bagram detention center in Afghanistan. As she indicates in her Mother Jones article, The US Army has been investigating the evidence, but rather than disciplining those involved, the Pentagon sent them to Iraq.

We also talk to Robert McChesney tonight, about the sorely needed Media Reform movement, the recent conference in Saint Louis, and the landscape of resistance and reform in the 21st Century – and the struggle for an independent media in a democratic society.

Read More for info on today's guests.

Uzbekistan:

John C.K. Daly is an International Correspondent for UPI, a Contributing Editor to Vanity Fair and writes for the Christian Science Monitor, the Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, Jane’s Defense Publications and the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief, Terrorism Monitor, Eurasia Daily Monitor, and Spotlight on Terror. He speaks Turkik languages, and is an Adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute, in Washington DC.

In October 2001 Daly obtained a world exclusive for UPI by publishing the FBI’s terrorist watch list, compiled after the 9-11 attacks. In February 2004 Daly broke in UPI the story of the numbers and nationalities of detainees being held by the U.S. military in Camp Delta, Guantanamo, Cuba.

John was in Uzbekistan in December during their elections, when they changed the structure of their Parliament, from unicameral to bicameral. John helps us understand the turmoil and repression in Uzbekistan.

Media Reform:

Activists from across the country converged in St. Louis May 13-15 to mobilize to fix our broken media system.

Robert McChesney is Research Professor in the Institute of Communications Research at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Founder and President of Free Press, a non-profit organization working to craft policies for a more democratic media system. He has written more than eight books on media policy, including The Future of Media: Resistance and Reform in the 21st Century, The Problem of the Media:US Communication Politics in the 21st Century ,(2004), the classic Rich Media, Poor Democracy (1999) and has been a co- Editor of Monthly Review.

Torture from Bagram to Abu Ghraib:

For nearly three years, U.S. military authorities have been investigating evidence of torture at American prisons in Afghanistan. But instead of disciplining those involved, the Pentagon sent them to Iraq. Last week The New York Times published its two-part series (by Tim Golden) on torture and the two detainees tortured to death at the notorious Bagram detention center in Afghanistan. The account was based on the Army’s own criminal investigation, which has still not been made public.

Today’s (May 23, 2005) OpEd piece by Bob Herbert calls for Rumsfeld’s resignation, while the (NYTimes) editorial itself challenges Bush's honesty on his so called accountability and transparency in the handling of Abu Ghraib abuses. President Bush said the other day that the world should see his administration's handling of the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison as a model of transparency and accountability. He said those responsible were being systematically punished, regardless of rank. It made for a nice Oval Office photo-op on a Friday morning.

Unfortunately, none of it is true.

Emily Bazelon is a senior editor at Slate and a Soros Justice Media Fellow. She traveled to Jordan to report on the treatment of prisoners captured in Afghanistan. Her article, From Bagram to Abu Ghraib, appears in the March-April issue of Mother Jones. Emily is also a contributing editor of Legal Affairs. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The New Republic, Legal Affairs, and other publications. She has worked as a freelance journalist in Israel and as a reporter in California's Bay Area. She graduated from Yale Law School and worked as a law clerk for Judge Kermit Lipez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.