Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, as a response to sanctions that may eventually cut off Iran’s oil exports; why the US and Israel don’t really have a problem with Iranian nuclear weapons, just Iran’s refusal to submit to US regional hegemony; Israel’s “red line” on Iran’s uranium enrichment at Qom; why US foreign policy planners don’t learn from prior mistakes (because superpowers don’t have to); and why waging war with borrowed money is a sure sign of a declining empire.
Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses his article “Crackpot Anti-Islam Activists, ‘Serial Fabricators’ and the Tale of Iran and 9/11;” the US court judgement finding Iran liable for the 9/11 attacks in a civil lawsuit brought by victims’ families; the testimony of an Iranian defector, previously discredited as a “serial fabricator;” the alleged secret meeting between Iran’s leadership and OBL’s son, complete with miniaturized models of 9/11 targets and an ominously dangling toy missile; the anti-Islam groups peddling a grossly exaggerated, conspiratorial narrative in “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” style; and how Iran’s passport-stamping practices have become the basis of “material support” of al-Qaeda charges.
Jesse Trentadue, attorney and brother of Kenneth Trentadue (who was probably tortured and killed by FBI agents mistaking him for Richard Lee Guthrie – a.k.a. John Doe No. 2 – in the wake of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing), discusses Attorney General Eric Holder’s role (as Deputy AG during the Clinton administration) in quashing Senator Orrin Hatch’s planned hearing on Kenneth’s death; the foreknowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing by the FBI and DOJ; the FBI’s “Patriot Conspiracy” (PATCON) program, created to infiltrate right wing extremist groups and incite – rather than prevent – violent attacks; and PATCON’s involvement in Ruby Ridge, Waco and OKC.
Adam Kokesh discusses his Adam vs The Man YouTube channel; how foreign news (like Russia Today and Press TV) cut through US government propaganda, even if they are state-run news agencies; why online media broadcasting is the wave of the future; rehashing the “Ron Paul is a racist” allegations; how you can help Ron Paul win the Iowa caucuses by giving a speech; and why the GOP will quickly align against Paul after he wins a primary.
Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses the large bombings in Iraq after US withdrawal; Prime Minister Maliki’s attempt to arrest Vice President Tareq Hashemi as a “terrorist;” Iraq’s coalition government falling apart, as Maliki overreaches; the 700 US troops scheduled to remain behind as trainers; the military’s report justifying the fatal US air attack on Pakistani border posts; back-channel negotiations between the US and Pakistan’s civilian government to undermine the Pakistani military’s power; and indications NATO is staying in Afghanistan for the long haul.
Dr. Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, discusses the Arab Spring as the culmination of decades of peaceful rebellion against tyrannical governments; why nonviolent protests are more inclusive and tougher to eradicate; why the Libyan revolution was not in the Arab Spring mold (more like a foreign intervention/regime change); how violent revolutions tend to breed more violence and result in authoritarian governments; how the Bush administration helped bring down Middle East/North African client dictators (without meaning to); and the status of Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Morocco and Algeria.
Barbara Slavin, author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation, discusses her article “Mass Tragedy Feared as Closure of MEK Camp Looms;” how MEK leader Maryam Rajavi is using the camp residents as pawns while pressuring the State Department to remove the group’s terrorist status; the proposed 2003 prisoner swap (MEK for al-Qaeda) between the US and Iran that was scuttled by Doug Feith and Paul Wolfowitz; and how UN interviews with MEK members (to arrange relocation after Camp Ashraf’s closing) could reveal brainwashing and other unflattering cult-like behavior.
M.J. Rosenberg, journalist and Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Media Matters Action Network, discusses his article “The ‘Israel Firster’ Brouhaha” about the Politico article chiding Media Matters for supposedly trying to turn the Democratic Party establishment against Israel; AIPAC’s dossiers on journalists (including M.J.) unwilling to parrot Likud Party talking points; the political risk-reward calculation that makes almost the entire Congress rabidly pro-Israel; why even Tom Friedman understands Netanyahu’s fawning reception in Congress was “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby;” Israel’s demographic change from secular liberal Jews to religious right-wing Russian immigrants; and why those who really love Israel oppose war with Iran.
John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, discusses his article “Two Leaders, Two Deaths,” comparing the legacies of former Czech president Vaclav Havel and N. Korean “dear leader” Kim Jong Il; Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution and Havel’s mixed-bag presidency, where his aspiration of “moral government” fell short in implementation; Kim Jong Il’s ability to defy the US and maintain his hermit kingdom (paid for by Koreans who suffered a repressive police state and starved to death by the millions); and the chance for food-for-nukes negotiations between the US and N. Korea’s successor regime.
Ray McGovern, member of Veterans For Peace and former senior analyst at the CIA, discusses his personal reasons for supporting heroic whistleblower Bradley Manning; McGovern’s own experience with classified information during the Vietnam War (like Daniel Ellsberg, he regrets not exposing the government lies sooner and perhaps curtailing the war – saving countless lives in the process); why exceedingly few government employees that will sacrifice their careers to tell the truth, even with monumental consequences for maintaining the lie; the “Shooters walk free, whistleblower jailed” German television production on the WikiLeaks “Collateral Murder” video and Manning; and how WikiLeaks and Manning embarrassed the government and helped ignite the Arab Spring – but that doesn’t mean they have blood on their hands.
Blogger Marcy Wheeler discusses the conviction of US citizen Tarek Mehanna on material support of terrorism charges, in part for posting “jihadist” videos online; the SCOTUS ruling (Holder v. HLP) that defines “material support” so broadly a lawyer could be arrested for representing alleged terrorist organizations (except those favored by the government, like MEK); whether provisions in the NDAA authorize the indefinite detention of Americans or not; the legal precedents set by the Yaser Hamdi, Jose Padilla and Anwar Al-Awlaki cases; and the ways presidents can avoid judicial review altogether – should a court ever get reacquainted with the Constitution and stop deferring to Executive power.
Tom Engelhardt, creator of Tomdispatch.com and author of The United States of Fear, discusses why the US withdrawal from Iraq seemed a lot like defeat, despite the “success” story peddled by Obama; how the ambitious Bush administration, confident of a “cakewalk” victory, never got the “enduring bases” and tens of thousands of permanent occupation soldiers they wanted; a catalog of what the US took home, and what remains behind; Dick Cheney’s reasonable explanation (in 1994) why George H.W. Bush was wise not to go all the way to Baghdad in the Gulf War; how the State Department has become a junior version of the DoD, more interested in war-making than diplomacy; and the militarized transformation of the US, in response to an al-Qaeda terrorist organization that (in its best days) could pull off an attack every few years.
Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi discusses his article “NATO vs. Syria;” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the CIA working overtly and covertly to undermine the Assad regime; how the lack of reliable news from Syria makes it hard to tell if there really is a civil war or major uprising; the worse alternatives to secular Middle East dictators who at least tolerate religious minorities; the Syrian opposition’s receipt of “training” and weapons from Europe, Turkey and Libya; and how Obama wages war on the sly, using drones, covert operations and “rebel” proxy fighters on the ground.
Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses his article “How Maliki and Iran Outsmarted the US on Troop Withdrawal;” the Iran-brokered deal that protected Moqtada al-Sadr’s militia, granted Prime Minister Maliki much-needed political support, and united Iraq’s power structure against US occupation; how the US screwed up plans for an Iraqi client state (you support the minority faction with a tenuous hold on power, not the majority that doesn’t need propping up); why an occupying mercenary army in Iraq is unworkable, so long as legal immunity is off the table; and how the religious divide in the Middle East will keep Shia Iran and Iraq closely aligned against Sunni Saudi Arabia.
IPS News journalist Adam Morrow discusses his article “Muslim Brotherhood Looks Beyond Tahrir;” the Islamic political parties sweeping Egypt’s parliamentary elections; continuing protests from Egyptian liberals, frustrated at getting trounced in the polls; the meeting with US Ambassador Anne Patterson, Senator John Kerry and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party; and whether Egypt’s second-place – and very conservative – Islamic party will inspire more paranoid talk of a burgeoning Islamic caliphate, poised to conquer the world and convert your children.