Category: Interviews

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Antiwar Radio: Philip Giraldi

This interview is excerpted from the KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles broadcast of January 28th. The original is available here.

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi discusses the beginning of the end of Hosni Mubarak’s rule in Egypt; the uncertain political roles of Mohamed El Baradei and the Muslim Brotherhood; mixed messages from the US government (which must balance lip service for “democracy” with an Israel-centric foreign policy); how the large, disaffected youth populations in many Arab countries energize revolutionary movements; Obama’s fanciful SOTU speech that wildly diverged from reality; the CIA-Egypt partnership in “extraordinary renditions” that dates back to the 1980s, at least; and how commodity price increases have the potential to foment popular unrest in Western countries.

Antiwar Radio: Jason Ditz

This interview is excerpted from the KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles broadcast of January 21st. The original is available here.

Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses the ongoing developments in the Tunisia revolution; the nervous Middle East/N. African dictators of US client states who fear they could be toppled next; the State Department group-think revealed in the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables; the low-enriched uranium swap proposal that will leave Iran up to its eyeballs in medical isotopes; Bradley Manning’s mistreatment in the Quantico marine brig and the MLK day protests on his behalf; large scale bombings in Iraq that may indicate a revitalized Sunni insurgency; and the goings-on in Lebanon, where a successful coalition would allow Hezbollah to form a government.

Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton

The Other Scott Horton (no relation), international human rights lawyer, professor and contributing editor at Harper’s magazine, discusses the one year anniversary of Obama’s broken promise to close Guantanamo; the politicization of terrorism prosecutions, normally the purview of professional prosecutors and not Congress; authorization in the Army Field Manual Appendix M for subjecting prisoners to long-term sensory deprivation; recent court rulings that grant high government officials immunity from prosecution, even for torture, much to the relief of Donald Rumsfeld; how the Gulet Mohamed case casts doubt on the end of “torture by proxy” under Obama; and why the AUMF catchall justification is applicable in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region but not in Yemen or Somalia.

Antiwar Radio: Pardiss Kebriaei

Pardiss Kebriaei, staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, discusses the revived Military Commissions and Obama’s broken promise about closing Guantanamo; the broken system of checks and balances in government, in favor of the Executive; the dismissal of the lawsuit challenging Anwar al-Awlaki’s targeted assassination, giving Obama the power to kill US citizens without review, oversight or challenge; the scores of “worst of the worst” Guantanamo prisoners who turned out to be innocent; and how the US government picks and chooses which laws of war are applicable, and which aren’t (remarkably, the conclusions favor US government positions).

Antiwar Radio: Michael Boldin

Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center, discusses Thomas Jefferson’s suggested response to government run amok: nullification; why a compromise agreement on raising the US debt ceiling will mean the current Republican resurgence has already fizzled out; the persistence of state medical marijuana laws despite federal government outrage and unfavorable SCOTUS rulings; why those trying to effect change within government should stick to the local and state levels; the misuse of national guard troops for foreign occupations; and provocative new state gun laws meant to skirt federal regulations and instigate a Supreme Court showdown.

Antiwar Radio: Muhammad Sahimi

Muhammad Sahimi, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Southern California, discusses the power struggle between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Khamenei in Iran; how Ahmadinejad’s appointment of a well-regarded moderate foreign minister could help achieve a compromise with the US on a low-enriched uranium swap deal and Iran’s nuclear enrichment program in general, as well as easing the sanctions that are crippling Iran’s economy; Hillary Clinton’s less-hawkish rhetoric on Iran’s civilian nuclear program; a tally of damage done to Iran’s centrifuges from the Stuxnet computer virus and the potential for a Chernobyl-scale event at the Bushehr reactor; and a brief reminder that industrial sabotage is generally considered a crime (but don’t hold your breath on anyone in the supposed joint US/Israel operation going to jail).

Antiwar Radio: Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss, investigative journalist and author of the blog MondoWeiss, discusses the mounting pressure on the US to refrain from vetoing a UN resolution critical of Israel’s illegal settlements (even J Street is on board); the glaring omission of George Mitchell from Obama’s new Mideast task force, which is full of establishment hacks and pro-Israel pundits; the continuing pretense that equal concessions must be made in a two-state solution, ignoring the reality of occupation and the vastly unequal parties involved; evidence that the US has lost all credibility as an “honest broker” as a rash of countries independently recognize the Palestinian state; how Noam Chomsky underestimates (or understates) the influence of the Israel lobby; and why a one-state solution is the only reasonable settlement, even though the subject remains verboten in polite society.

Antiwar Radio: Nick Baumann

Nick Baumann, assistant editor at Mother Jones, discusses the favorable court proceedings on behalf of Gulet Mohamed, a teenage US citizen detained and mistreated in Kuwait for a month, that may have him headed home soon; the clear Constitutional and legal precedents that prevents the government from banishing a US citizen (in Mohamed’s case, by placing him on the no-fly list, knowing Kuwaiti law demands deportation by a direct flight); FBI interrogators who won’t take “no” for an answer, and who lie about not being bound by US law while in other countries; the proxy detentions of Muslim American citizens, similar to the extraordinary renditions during the Bush administration; and Anwar al-Awlaki’s sentence in absentia in Yemen on a strange incitement to murder charge unrelated to terrorism.

Antiwar Radio: Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell, author of the Media Fix blog for TheNation.com, discusses why all those people claiming WikiLeaks never released anything noteworthy, need to actually read the cables, or at least follow Greg on Twitter or at TheNation.com, where he has 53 consecutive days of noteworthy WikiLeaks updates; how the mainstream media’s disinterest in WikiLeaks is compensated for by region-specific media outlets reporting on significant local events (the revelations of Tunisia’s government corruption, for example); and the “cherry-picking” style of journalism, for good or evil.

Antiwar Radio: Gareth Porter

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses Ike Eisenhower’s extraordinary (but too little too late) farewell address; how the overblown Soviet threat and missile gap hoax scared Americans enough to boost the bottom line of defense contractors; how the unlimited supply of government money corrupts otherwise solid businesses that are forced to compete with insiders and cheats; how the perquisites of government/military employment, though relatively harmless in isolation, drive the entire “permanent war state;” revelations that the British mission in Afghanistan was simply to “give the Army something to do;” and the three choices for fighting back against state militarism: abolish government, protest for change, or expatriate.

Antiwar Radio: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses Ehud Barak’s decision to abandon the sinking ship that is Israel’s Labor party; the departure of IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi, one of the few Israeli government officials to oppose an Iran offensive; why the West may be completely wrong about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; and the prosecution of former CIA officer Jeffrey Alexander Sterling for telling James Risen that the CIA gave Iran nuclear blueprints.

Antiwar Radio: Will Grigg

Will Grigg, blogger and author of Liberty in Eclipse, discusses how little has changed since 1967 when MLK referred to the US government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today;” the incongruence of the US government’s taken-for-granted massive and arbitrary use of violence abroad and the official uproar over the relatively few casualties in the Tucson shootings; conflating “anti-government” speech (aka First Amendment protected dissent) with incitement to violence; and Rep. Peter King’s past support of the IRA and his planned Congressional inquiry witch-hunt for the “Muslim threat” in America.

Antiwar Radio: John V. Walsh

John V. Walsh, frequent contributor to Counterpunch.org, discusses the Left’s outrage about Sarah Palin’s virtual cross hairs (in the wake of the Tucson shootings) and near-silence about the real cross hairs of helicopter gunships and Predator drones killing civilians overseas; the American reverence of government officials, especially in death, and the popular belief in the righteousness of state-sanctioned murder; the spectacle of Obama being cheered like a rock star while delivering his eulogy in Tucson; and the collection of antiwar writing from across the political spectrum in the book ComeHomeAmerica.

Antiwar Radio: Patrick Cockburn

This interview is from the KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles broadcast on January 14th. The original program is here.

Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses how Muqtada al-Sadr’s return to Iraq has changed the political landscape and made a full US withdrawal by year’s end more likely; how otherwise-nationalist Iraqis use foreign allies as leverage against domestic sectarian/religious rivals; why the Pentagon seems to have drunk its own surge narrative Kool-Aid (in expecting the Iraq occupation to continue indefinitely); why the April Glaspie memo can’t be construed as a green light for invasion, because nobody expected Saddam Hussein to do it; how George H.W. Bush’s failure to support the 1991 Shiite uprising showed a US preference for an enduring, but weakened, Hussein led government, and an understanding that a Shia win would benefit Iran; how plain “stupidity” explains George W. Bush’s policy shift to depose Hussein and occupy the country; and how Iraq’s crippling problems are reflected by the millions of refugees who still refuse to return home.

Antiwar Radio: Anand Gopal

Independent journalist Anand Gopal discusses why counterinsurgency strategy works better in theory than in practice; the short term PR victories in Afghanistan that create long term problems; the only two policy choices deemed worthy of popular consideration: continue the Afghan War forever, or scale down to night raids while moving into Pakistan; how the “denying al-Qaeda sanctuary” justification for US military deployments ignores the real reasons the 9/11 attacks succeeded; why the Taliban’s Iranian-sourced weapons are more likely from black market deals than the Iranian government; and how the India-Pakistan rivalry ensures a continued stalemate in Afghanistan.

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