BTS 8/4/08: Privatization of Intelligence; Wal-Mart Attacks Workers; Russia

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As the election season starts getting down and dirty the consequences of the Bush disaster are ever more apparent. Chalmers Johnson joins us to talk about what privatization has done to our ability to get reliable intelligence. The CIA has become the President’s private army and Congress has stood by as more functions have been turned over to the private sector, increasing the CIA’s incompetence and unscrupulousness, heightening the risk of war by accident, presidential whim and surprise attack. Johnson says it is the worst of all possible worlds as information is no longer accurate but open to manipulation, pressure and penetration of every kind.

Greg Denier from Change to Win tells us about Wal-Mart’s latest assault on its workers, using mandatory meetings to intimidate and discourage them from voting for Obama. We’ll ask him whether this time Wal-Mart’s anti-unionism has crossed the line into illegality,

And finally we look at Russia – awash in cash from soaring oil and gas prices, yet its banks are in trouble because of the US mortgage debacle. Simon Pirani talks to us about Russian politics and the economy today as well as his new book The Russian Revolution in Retreat 1920-1924, a fascinating account of the relations between Soviet workers and the new communist elite. The story he tells helps us understand how the Russian Revolution, a mass uprising for justice and democracy ended in a single Party dictatorship.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, is the author of the best-selling American Empire Trilogy, including Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. A contributor to the Los Angeles Times, the London Review of Books, Harper’s Magazine, and The Nation among others, he appears in the 2005 prize-winning documentary film Why We Fight. He lives near San Diego.

2. Greg Denier is Communications Director for the Change to Win Coalition.

3. Simon Pirani is a journalist who writes about Russia and the former Soviet Union, He just finished a book on the workers and communists in the 1920s, and am now working on the post Soviet period.