Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, discusses her recent visit to Gaza at the end of Israel’s incursion, the systematic damage done to civilian infrastructure, the mounting evidence that the Israelis used white phosphorus and committed war crimes, the large volume of images and reporting broadcast by Al-Jazeera in Gaza compared to the Western media’s near-blackout of coverage and the hopeful possibility that new U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell can broker a peace deal.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, founder of the Minaret of Freedom Institute, discusses how the Israel/Palestine issue seen from a libertarian perspective defines the central conflict in terms of individual property rights, the difficulty in determining the motivation behind Israel’s recent – seemingly fruitless – military endeavors, the precipitous decline in non-Jewish land ownership in Israel from 1948 to the present day and the looming prospect of a democratic Jewish Israel with an Arab majority population.
Andy Worthington, author of the January 24th article “For Detainees, Obama Off to Good Start”, discusses Barack Obama’s initial executive orders regarding the closure of Gitmo and secret CIA prisons, the lengthy year-long review process for detainee trials, how the Bush administration’s torture policy ruined any opportunity to prosecute the few legitimate terrorism cases, the propaganda potential in the Pentagon’s loaded phrase “returned to the battlefield” and the relatively low recidivism rate of detainees released from Guantanamo compared to ordinary American civilian prisons.
Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses the Bush/Olmert plan to force Hamas to take all power in Gaza in order to try to provide an excuse for undoing the election results of 2006, how Hamas followed by and Israel broke the cease-fire of June, 2008, backlash against Bush’s capitulation to every Israeli demand, implications of Obama’s appointment of Jim Jones for National Security Advisor, the military’s push to rename all the combat forces in Iraq and stay forever and the danger of keeping Robert Gates at the DoD.
The Other Scott Horton, international human rights lawyer and contributing editor at Harper’s magazine, discusses the possibility of war crimes trials for the Bush administration, Sen. Cornyn’s attempted obstruction of Attorney General nominee Eric Holder on the basis of the threat of prosecution for former administration members, the appointment of Horton’s former colleagues from the Balkinization blog to the Office of Legal Council and other high level Justice Department positions, the possibility of prosecutions by foreign courts under “universal jurisdiction,” the newly-stated willingness of House Speaker Pelosi to pursue investigations into the torture programs, the future of the Guantanamo detainees and ghost prisoners, and the inadmissibility of statements obtained through torture.
Joshua Frank, contributor to Antiwar.com, Counterpunch and DissidentVoice, and co-editor (with Jeffery St. Clair) of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, discusses the continuing need for a political realignment against empire, the dangers associated with Obama’s stated intentions of saving it while many former antiwar voices are diluted by love for the new emperor.