Jonathan S. Landay, national security and intelligence correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, discusses how Afghan peace talks primarily exist as fictional inventions of the Pentagon, the US divide-and-conquer strategy employed against insurgent groups that is supposed to marginalize hardliners, India’s concern that another Mumbai attack would create overwhelming political pressure for military action against Pakistan, how a US withdrawal would turn Afghanistan into “Somalia on steroids” and destabilize much of Central Asia, how the continued US presence and Afghan government corruption fuel the insurgency and make occupation unsustainable, an analysis of ethnic and political factions that shows the Taliban is not a natural political successor and the odd spectacle of Russian and US agents jointly participating in a drug raid on Afghan heroin producers.
James Gordon Meek, investigative reporter for the New York Daily News, discusses the FBI sting of accused D.C. bomb plotter Farooque Ahmed, well-paid informants who have an incentive to recruit patsies with fantastical terrorism plots and the re-emerging “lone wolf” decentralized form of terrorism that has been endorsed by Al Qaeda.
Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses Pentagon criticisms of WikiLeaks’ Iraq War logs for simultaneously endangering the troops and having so little new information as to be non-newsworthy, exposing the military’s assertion that “we don’t do body counts” as a total lie, differing U.S. reactions to the nearly identical torture practices of Saddam Hussein’s regime and post-occupation Shi’ite allies and why the New York Times – despite a 10 week advance preview of the WikiLeaks documents – decided to lead with thin evidence of Iranian support for Iraqi militias.
Jeremy R. Hammond, founder and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, discusses newly disclosed documents that shed light on pre-9/11 negotiations between the Taliban and U.S. about handing over Osama bin Laden, the “warning fatigue” that lead to U.S. officials ignoring Taliban tip offs of an impending Al Qaeda attack, the competition between Unocal and Argentina’s Bridas for an Afghanistan pipeline contract, the disputed authenticity of video evidence of bin Laden claiming responsibility for 9/11, how Dick Cheney and his Office of Legal Council lackeys formulated the U.S. policy of declaring war on terrorism instead of pursuing police actions against criminals and why the 9/11 Commission Report is an interesting mix of incompetence and subterfuge.
Cindy Corrie, President of the Rachel Corrie Foundation, discusses the civil lawsuit against the State of Israel and its Ministry of Defense for the unlawful killing of her daughter Rachel in 2003, the strange operating practices of Israel’s court system – including privacy screens for some witnesses and a casual disregard for perjury, the contradictory testimony of the bulldozer driver who caused Rachel’s death, assurances from U.S. officials in the State Department and Vice President’s Office that they really do care about justice for Rachel and flotilla-activist Furkan Dogan, the dismissal of Corrie et al. v. Caterpillar on the grounds that the lawsuit interfered with Executive Branch policymaking and how a strong and immediate U.S. response to Rachel’s killing could have made Israel think twice about starting the Gaza War and flotilla raid.
Thomas Harrington, Associate professor of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, discusses the history and ongoing changes of South American politics, waning US regional influence evidenced by the almost complete disappearance of puppet dictators, ethnic-European dominance of the social hierarchy, economic recovery in Argentina following the rejection of IMF dictates and how – despite high profile failures – there can be mutually beneficial free trade agreements.
Eric Margolis, foreign correspondent and author of War at the Top of the World and American Raj, discusses Yemen’s unique geography and history, increased US interest in Yemen following the discovery of oil there, how numerous government-opposition groups with disparate agendas get lumped together as Al Qaeda, why Saudi Arabia feels threatened by Yemen’s large population and militant groups and why the expanded US search for Al Qaeda in West Africa could eventually lead to the Central Asian “Stans” and points beyond.
Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine, discusses the Pentagon’s Northern Command that has assigned an Army combat team to secure the U.S. in apparent contravention of Posse Comitatus, the ease by which the Executive Branch could circumvent Constitutional restrictions on declaring martial law, Halliburton-built U.S. prison camps useful for rounding up “enemy combatants” and American citizens alike and how another 9-11 (or even a failed bank bailout) could spell the end of Constitutional government.
Robert Parry, founder and editor of ConsortiumNews.com, discusses the other factors besides the “surge” that led to decreased violence in post-2007 Iraq, why it’s still important to fight the conventional surge narrative that elevated Gen. Petraeus’s career and influenced strategy in Afghanistan and how the rigid neoconservative ideology of Bush administration policymakers significantly delayed a truce with the Sunni Awakening groups.
Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses the 3-way Shi’ite alliance of Moqtada al-Sadr, Nouri al-Maliki and Iran that formed in general opposition to U.S. occupation and attacks on Sadr’s Mahdi Army in particular, indications that Maliki had foreknowledge of the successful 2007 plot to kidnap U.S. soldiers in Karbala, the give-and-take exchange of political favors between Sadr and Maliki, the Bush administration’s attempt to exterminate the Mahdi Army – which they saw as an Iranian proxy, doubts about the SOFA 2011 withdrawal deadline and the possible future change in Iraq’s primary sectarian conflict from Shi’ite v. Sunni to Kurd v. Arab.
Roger Charles, a freelance journalist and investigator, discusses the two dozen Oklahoma City bombing witnesses who saw a John Doe #2 and contradict the Timothy McVeigh lone-wolf theory, the possibility John Doe #1 is not McVeigh and why the tangled web of government lies and coverups could prevent the truth about OKC from ever emerging.
Robert Murphy, author of the blog Free Advice and ConsultingByRPM.com, as well as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism, discusses the bearish economic indicators that contradict the official "recovering" story, why relatively stable consumer prices could be the calm before an inflationary storm, how government regulation often benefits big business through regulatory capture and increased barriers to competitors and how the Republicans give the free market a bad name when they don't practice what they preach.
The Other Scott Horton (no relation), international human rights lawyer, professor and contributing editor at Harper’s magazine, discusses the maintenance of order and civility in Kyrgyzstan despite a rather chaotic election result, the already infamous Frago 242 order (revealed by WikiLeaks) issued from high up the chain of command that demanded U.S. soldiers ignore the torture and human rights violations perpetrated by their Iraqi allies, Donald Rumsfeld’s (purposeful?) ignorance of the obligation of soldiers to prevent inhumane treatment, a helpful aid to New York Times writers who must use euphemisms to tiptoe around the word “torture,” the preference of U.S. media outlets for Julian Assange hit pieces rather than his organization’s actual leaked documents, the Republican Party’s dominant historical role in originating and advancing anti-torture laws and why the Department of Justice will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into prosecuting crimes committed by the Bush and Obama administrations.
Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, discusses Omar Khadr‘s plight from when he was a 15 year old battlefield prisoner in Afghanistan to a 24 year old defendant in a Guantanamo courtroom, how Khadr’s guilty plea deal covers up the gaping legal holes in the Military Commissions that a trial would have exposed and how the U.S. ignored international standards of conduct regarding child soldiers.
Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses Richard Holbrooke’s admission that military victory in Afghanistan is impossible, the unhelpful and over-broad application of the “Taliban” label to a a myriad of groups opposing occupation, why the “clear and hold” strategy is apparently too boring to pursue for long, schizophrenic U.S. policy in Somalia and why WikiLeaks’ biggest leak ever could use a university graduate program to help sort through the nearly 400,000 documents.