BTS 7/7/08: Obama Campaign; Abu Ghraib Lawsuits; Torture and the APA

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We begin tonight’s show with John Nichols, who writes that Barack Obama may well be the most eloquent presidential candidate the Democrats have run since William Jennings Bryan. But what is fascinating is the extent to which Obama's candidacy is inspiring his supporters in the labor movement to hit their rhetorical strides with an anti-racist message that fits the historical moment. So while progressives are alarmed at Obama's lurch to the center in the campaign, will his base of supporters elect him and hold his feet to the fire?

The Supreme Court has decided in favor of habeas corpus rights for Guantanamo prisoners, a huge defeat for the Bush administration. The Center for Constitutional Rights has been in the forefront exposing the administration’s attacks on the constitution, habeas corpus, use of torture, and just filed four new Abu Ghraib Torture Lawsuits targeting military contractors who have committed multiple violations of U.S. law, including torture, war crimes, and civil conspiracy. According to the lawsuits, the individual contractor defendants allegedly “tortured, and conspired with others to torture.” CCR attorney Katherine Gallagher joins us to discuss these cases.

And just as the torture scandals deepen with the news that our torturers borrowed a page from the methods used by Stalinist China and Korea in a 1957 handbook -- methods used to elicit false confessions, while our commander in chief and the torture promoters insist we need to torture to get vital intelligence – Richard Lichtman tells us the American Psychological Association is complicit, overwhelmingly defeating a measure that would have denied the right of its members to participate in interrogations of prisoners in US detention centers. The APA, says Lichtman, has failed to denounce torture and to condemn the war, and have fallen short of the ethical principles of their own organization.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. He is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. Nichols is the author of the upcoming book The Genius of Impeachment (The New Press), as well as a critically-acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (The New Press) and a best-selling biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (The New Press), which has recently been published in French and Arabic. He edited Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books.) With Robert W. McChesney, Nichols has co-authored It's the Media, Stupid! (Seven Stories), Our Media, Not Theirs (Seven Stories) and Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy (The New Press). McChesney and Nichols are the co-founders of Free Press, the nation's media-reform network, which organized the 2003 and 2005 National Conferences on Media Reform.

2. Katherine Gallagher is a Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), where she focuses on holding individuals, including US and foreign government officials, and corporations, including private military contractors, accountable for serious human rights violations. Prior to joining CCR, she worked at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia from 2001-2006. She has also worked as a legal advisor for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Kosovo, with the United Nations International Independent Investigating Commission in Beirut, Lebanon, and with the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown. During the negotiations to establish the International Criminal Court, she worked as a member of the Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice in the International Criminal Court, to ensure that gender-based violence and discrimination are adequately addressed. Katherine received a joint M.A. in Journalism and Middle East Studies from New York University in 1995 and a J.D. from the City University of New York in 2000.

3. Richard Lichtman is a professor at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, author of books on critical theory, (The Production of Desire), psychoanalysis and Marxist theory, and Dying in America. He is a founder of the journal Socialist Revolution. He is the Director of a new graduate degree program in critical theory at the Professional School of Psychology in Sacramento.