Category: Interviews

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Antiwar Radio: Ivan Eland

Ivan Eland, author of The Empire Has No Clothes, Antiwar.com columnist and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute explains America’s policy toward Pakistan and how it has that country on the path to be taken over by religious types, the lack of a hunt for bin Laden and Zawahiri, the failures and fraud of American empire, why Ron Paul is right about the roots of anti-American terrorism, and hopes for a realignment among the Old Right and New Left in opposition to our country’s state of perpetual war.

Antiwar Radio: Ray McGovern

For the third time this week, a retired CIA officer has told Antiwar Radio that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is the driving force in al Qaeda’s recruitment and motivation for attacking America on September 11th.

Ray McGovern, a 27 year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, when asked Friday afternoon what he thought of the exchange between Congressman Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani said (at 23:45 out of 43:23)

MP3 here.

“I’m really edified by Ron Paul stepping up and stating what he believes to be the case.

“If you believe that they hate us for our democracy or for our freedoms, well I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d really like to sell you at a cut rate.

“They hate us for our policies and that’s what Ron Paul was saying. …

“Giuliani … really showed his true colors there as a demagogue.”

Earlier this week Michael Scheuer, the former chief of the CIA’s bin Laden unit and Philip Giraldi, another former CIA counter-terrorism officer, made much the same statements to Antiwar Radio.

McGovern then made the common analogy of terrorists and mosquitos and why the policy should be to “drain the swamp.” But rather than advising more invasions in the name of swamp draining as the Bush administration has maintained is their policy, McGovern says if you want to remove the circumstances which create terrorism, by “find[ing] out where these terrorists are breeding.”

“[There is a] swamp of grievances dating back decades: Three generations of people living in the equivalent of concentration camps in the West Bank and Gaza, dictatorial regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other places.

“If you look at those grievances and instead of trying to shoot those terrorists as they leave that swamp, you drain that swamp by addressing those grievances and giving these people some reason to hope for a better future. …

“People will come back and say, ‘Now Ray, for God’s sake, Osama bin Laden doesn’t give a darn about the Palestinians.’ Well, that doesn’t matter whether he does or he doesn’t. He knows the kind of resonance that kind of appeal has.”

McGovern then quoted the 9/11 Commission Report regarding the motivation of Kahlid Sheik Mohammad, the ringleader of the September 11th attacks:

“Kahlid Sheik Mohammad was motivated not by any antipathy resulting from his stay in the United States [where he had attended college years before], but by his profound hatred for U.S. policy toward Israel – favoring Israel one-sidedly.”

McGovern then summarized a footnote in the back of the 9/11 Commission Report as saying:

“These are practically the exact words of what Ramzi Yousef – Kahlid Sheik Mohammad’s nephew – used in bragging about his pride in being condemned to 140 years in a federal penitentiary for trying to knock down one of the Twin Towers back in 1993.”

That is indeed what Yousef said.

Also discussed: How the 9/11 Commission whitewashed the role of U.S. Israel policy in their report, How the Dick Cheney-neoconservative cabal lied us into war in Iraq and Tenet’s failure to stop them, the history of the “crazies in the basement,” Bush Jr.’s relationship with Cheney in light of Steve Clemons’ scoop about Dick Cheney’s efforts to force a war with Iran in an end run around the President, Brent Scowcroft’s statement that Ariel Sharon had Bush wrapped around his little finger and why he made it, Cheney’s twisted motivations for the exercise of his power, the interest which put Cheney firmly in the camp of the Israel Lobby over most of the rest of the establishment and why he hasn’t completely given up on the Democrats.

Antiwar Radio: Philip Giraldi

Fmr. CIA Officer: Giuliani ‘Not Serious,’ ‘Ignorant’ About Terrorism

A former CIA officer said Wednesday that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is “not serious” about terrorism and “ignorant” about the Middle East.

Former CIA counter-terrorism officer Philip Giraldi, in an interview with Antiwar Radio on Wednesday, said Giuliani “indicated that he was not only not serious about [al Qaeda terrorism], but seem[s] to be ignorant of both the 9/11 [Commission] report and political realities in the Middle East.”

MP3 here. (50:14)

This answer came in response to a question about the controversy caused by Congressman Ron Paul at the second Republican Presidential debate.

Dr. Paul said that the the attacks on the United States on September 11th were “blowback” from the American government’s interventionist foreign policy. Giuliani, insisting that they hate us for our “freedom,” demanded Paul retract his statement – which Paul refused to do.

When asked for a comment about the controversy, Giraldi said,

“I think anybody who knows anything about what’s been going on for the last 10 years would realize that cause and effect are operating here – that, essentially, al Qaeda has an agenda which very specifically says what its grievances are. And its grievances are basically that ‘we’re over there.’

“So all Ron Paul was basically saying was that – even as the 9/11 commission report indicated – there were consequences for our presence in the Middle East and if we seriously want to address the terrorism problem we have to be serious about that issue.

“Giuliani indicated that he was not only not serious about that issue, but seemed to be ignorant of both the 9/11 [Commission] report and political realities in the Middle East.”

(Giraldi also disdained both Giuliani and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s embrace of torture and the Guantanamo prison and explained how it only helps al Qaeda, particularly in their propaganda efforts.)

When asked how Osama bin Laden is able to attract followers in the Islamic World, Giraldi explained,

“Well, he taps into reservoirs of resentment in the Muslim world, there’s no question about it. He’s a charismatic leader and he has been successful. He was a key figure in driving the Russians out of Afghanistan. He has certainly bloodied the nose of the United States more than once, so he has a certain appeal. This is not to say that he’s a good man or that he’s a man we would want to copy in any way, but the fact is that the slights and resentments many Muslims see in their relationship with the West are a resource for Osama bin Laden, and that we have reinforced that with things that he can exploit – like invading Iraq.

“As has been made very clear, Osama bin Laden had no connection with Saddam Hussein and to the contrary, they were kind of sworn enemies, and when the United States went into Iraq, Osama bin Laden saw this as an opportunity and he immediately created an al Qaeda organization inside Iraq. There had been no al Qaeda organization inside Iraq prior to that and this was a huge opportunity for him. And as the war has gotten worse and we’ve had incidents like Abu Ghraib, we’ve had repeated civilian casualties – that Lancet report from the British that says as many as 650,000 Iraqis have been killed as a result of the war – things like that just add fuel to the fire. And basically the main beneficiary of all this is not the United States. It may not even be Israel. It’s probably al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.”

When asked specifically what had caused Osama bin Laden, who fought in the U.S.-backed jihad against the Russians in the 1980s, to become an enemy of the United States, Giraldi replied,

“In the wake of the Afghan war, the United States – actually during the first Gulf War – established a major military presence in Saudi Arabia itself. And that was, I believe, the trigger for Osama to become a front-line opponent of the United States. He has repeatedly said in his writings and speeches that the United States’ presence in the ‘holy lands’ of Saudi Arabia were a major element in his political philosophy.”

Giraldi also commented on the Bush administration refrain – literally pitched again by the President as the interview was being recorded – that “if we don’t fight them over there, we’ll have to fight them here,” saying that such an assertion is “totally ridiculous.”

“The premise that if we’re not fighting them over there, we’ll be fighting them over here is totally ridiculous. We’re fighting them over there because we’re over there, and because we’re over there, we have a problem here. And if you eliminate that nexus, if you take us out of our being in their faces, then the reality is that they are not going to be over here because they basically don’t have that agenda.”

When pressed on the question of whether bin Laden would want to send al Qaeda guys to “follow us home” from the Middle East should we withdraw, if only to try to keep us there for al Qaeda’s benefit (such as providing them with increased numbers of recruits and targets for them to train on), Giraldi replied,

“I don’t see that. I think he has a constituency and he has an agenda and he’s very focused on both. His agenda is not to pursue the United States to the United States after we leave the Middle East. … If we were to basically get out of Iraq and get out of the region – in the intrusive way that we’re there right now – that would take a lot of the fuel out of Osama bin Laden’s fire. I don’t see that there’s any agenda to follow us to the United States to destroy our way of life or whatever the explanation would be.”

When asked about the administration’s assertions that al Qaeda will take over Iraq’s al Anbar province if the U.S. military leaves, Giraldi said,

“No. I think the reality is that if the United States leaves it will be a very bad thing for al Qaeda because the Sunnis don’t particularly want them around and would get rid of them.”

He then said that the only reason al Qaeda is tolerated by Iraqi Sunnis is to help fight the American occupation and that,

“There have already been reports that the Sunnis are already kind of tired of them because when they stage a major provocation or attack, it’s the local Sunni population that has to take the grief when the U.S. Army descends. … It’s a marriage of convenience with al Qaeda insofar as it’s a marriage at all. So I think it would be fallacious to assume – In fact, let me [say it] stronger than that: I think it would be ridiculous to assume that al Qaeda could establish some kind of serious presence in Iraq similar to what it did in Afghanistan because the dynamic is completely different.”

When asked how dangerous of a threat to the U.S. al Qaeda really represents, Giraldi said they remain a serious problem and explained the lack of terrorist attacks in the U.S. since September 11th as the result, not of the valiant efforts of the FBI, but of the moderate temper of American Muslims. Regarding the list of terrorism prosecution in the United States since September 11th, Giraldi says,

“[E]very arrest of so-called “radical Islamists” in the United States have been kind of jokes in that, in many cases, these people are not capable of carrying out any acts. In a number of cases, like the most recent one in New Jersey, there was an FBI informant in the middle of the group, and it seems to me, from what I’ve read about it, that the FBI informant may well have been the motivator for these people planning what they were planning.”

Comparing America to Britain, Giraldi said he suspects the main reason there haven’t been more attacks here since 9/11 is that,

“We don’t have that fifth column in the United States of people who are really actively out to betray their country. …

“American Muslims just are not wired that way, and I don’t think that many American Muslims would support the kind of radical action that you see in Great Britain, for example among its own Muslim community – or in France. I think this is a question of – this is a different kind of country, with a different kind of Muslim immigrant that came here. And the expectation and the way these people do things are somewhat different.”

And that’s just the first part of the interview.

Click here to open or download the MP3 and hear all this plus Philip Giraldi on the intelligent way to fight al Qaeda (low-key: cops, intelligence and only rarely military force), the the ongoing covert war against Iran by the CIA and the military, the possibility of overt war – including the use of nuclear weapons, the likely consequences of such folly – including the possible loss of our army in Iraq and destruction of our economy, Admiral Fallon’s reluctance to participate and America and Lebanon’s backing of the Fatah al-Islam terrorist group in Southern Lebanon and how it has already blown back in their face…

“The nuclear option is still on the table in two ways…”

Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton

International human rights attorney and author of the blog No Comment at Harpers.org, The Other Scott Horton (no relation), discusses the revolution within the form of American government that has occurred in the last six years in the name of the all powerful “Unitary Executive”: Kidnapping, torture, massive domestic wiretapping, the replacement of U.S. attorneys who don’t do a good enough job prosecuting Democrats, and why Goerge Washington’s system was better.

Antiwar Radio: Michael Scheuer

Michael Scheuer, the former head analyst at the CIA’s bin Laden unit, has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Republican Presidential debate held Tuesday May 15, when Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) stated that American foreign policy was a “contributing factor” in the 9/11 attacks.

“They attack us because we’ve been over there; we’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years.” Paul said. He was then denounced by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who said it was “absurd” and that he’d “never” heard such a thing before demanding a retraction.

In an interview with Antiwar.com’s Antiwar Radio on May 18, Scheuer, who was the head analyst at the CIA’s bin Laden unit, Alec Station, and authored the books Through Our Enemies Eyes and Imperial Hubris, said “I thought Mr. Paul captured it the other night exactly correctly. This war is dangerous to America because it’s based, not on gender equality, as Mr. Giuliani suggested, or any other kind of freedom, but simply because of what we do in the Islamic World – because ‘we’re over there,’ basically, as Mr. Paul said in the debate.”

Scheuer also agreed with Dr. Paul’s statement in the debate that the war in Iraq was a diversion from capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and that bin Laden was “delighted” that the U.S. is occupying Iraq as it has become a training ground and recruiting tool for new jihadists joining the movement.

Antiwar Radio: Chalmers Johnson

Chalmers Johnson, author of Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic discusses America’s dissent down the path of militarism, secrecy, empire, authoritarianism and destruction, the role of the military industrial complex and the mass media and hope for a mass movement to restore the constitution.

Antiwar Radio: Gareth Porter

Historian and journalist Gareth Porter explains why the “permanent government” – the State Department, the CIA and the military – have decided that there is not going to be a bombing of Iran. The latest is that the new head of Centcom, Admiral Fallon, has refused to allow a third carrier battle group to overlap the two already there as Dick Cheney wanted. Also where Iran fits in the neocon plan for world domination, bogus accusations against them in terms of their nuclear program and “EFPs” in Iraq, covert support for terrorists in Iran, and the time they offered everything including recognition of Israel.

Antiwar Radio: Justin Raimondo

Antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo discusses Dr. Ron Paul’s performance in the second GOP presidential debate May 15th, what it reveals about the corruption of the Republican Party and the American people, Homeland Security, the totalitarian impulse of Rudolph Giuliani, and the vile Washington Post‘s ulterior motive in trashing the antiwar candidates.

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