Trevor Aaronson, a contributing writer at The Intercept and executive director of the nonprofit Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, discusses the classified FBI documents obtained by The Intercept showing that the FBI has expanded its role far beyond federal law enforcement after 9/11, and that it is now a domestic and foreign intelligence agency with “extraordinary secret powers.”
Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, discusses his guide to Trump’s executive order limiting migration for people from a list of countries supposedly at risk of exporting terrorists to the US; the overly-broad definition of “terrorism-related crimes” used by Jeff Sessions and others to justify the visa ban; and how ill-defined executive orders like this create capricious and arbitrary government.
Patrick Cockburn, author of ISIS: Battling the Menace, discusses why Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ will lead to more terrorist attacks instead of preventing them; and why Al-Qaeda’s greatest success wasn’t bringing down the twin towers on 9/11, but provoking George W. Bush into invading Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gareth Porter, an independent journalist and historian, discusses the coalition of pro-intervention US think tanks trying to sell the Trump administration on a more muscular anti-Assad policy in Syria – a policy that has been repackaged from the previous version designed last summer for their preferred choice for president, Hillary Clinton.
Joseph Stromberg, an independent historian and writer, discusses how the Smoot-Hawley Tariff and worldwide protectionism ground the US economy to a halt in the 1930s; the enduring “accordion effect” of increasing government power and decline of civil liberties during wartime; how the distribution of defense contractor jobs among key congressional districts makes cuts in military spending politically impossible; and why government rationing is more a show of force than an attempt to fix economic problems.
Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), discusses the “gap” in the Russian hack case; why it makes much more sense that a Democratic insider, fed up with the sidelining of Bernie Sanders, gave the DNC emails to WikiLeaks; why Obama protected the CIA and John Brennan from the Senate Intelligence committee’s investigation on torture; and how Donald Trump could fulfill his professed goal of quickly knocking out ISIS.
Doug Bandow, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, discusses why US sanctions against Sudan, put in place not long after President Omar Hassan al-Bashir took power in a 1989 coup, have failed to produce any positive results, serving only to economically cripple the Sudanese people and alienate them from Americans. Yet the sanctions endure, even though their original purpose – punishing the al-Bashir regime for sponsoring terrorism – is no longer valid.
Kelley B. Vlahos, a Washington, DC-based freelance reporter, discusses the unusual number of recently-retired generals in Donald Trump’s administration and whether security and foreign policy will be negatively effected as a result; and how Trump’s shift to the right on Israel has alarmed moderate Jewish groups like J Street who worry about an end to a two-state solution.
Carlos Miller, founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, discusses his 2007 arrest for photographing cops while working as a journalist, and why it prompted him to start the website; and how camera phones, social media, and brave activists have made the public much more aware of rampant cop violence – even though they are still mostly unaccountable for their crimes and violations of our rights.
Stanley L Cohen, a lawyer and human rights activist, discusses the UN’s most recent toothless resolution chastising Israel’s occupation of the West Bank; why Israel’s treatment of Palestinians since 1948 amounts to genocide, as defined in international law; how secular and religious Israelis differ in their devotion to the state; and how love (sex and intermarriage) can ultimately overcome segregation in a bi-national state.
Chase Madar, author of The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story of the Suspect Behind the Largest Security Breach in U.S. History, discusses President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s unprecedented 35-year prison sentence for leaking government documents; whether Donald Trump could undue the commutation if he wanted to; Obama’s otherwise terrible record on government whistleblowers; and Manning’s personal motivation for giving WikiLeaks and the world an incredible treasure trove of documents showing the government at its worst, including the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and the State Department diplomatic cables.
Ramzy Baroud, the editor of PalestineChronicle.com and author of My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story, discusses why a two-state solution is not – and has never been – a viable solution to the Israel-Palestine problem; and why it’s imperative to focus on the one remaining alternative – a democratic state for all its people based on equality and justice for all, regardless of ethnicity or religion.
Yemeni Journalist Nasser Arrabyee discusses the human suffering caused by Saudi’s war on Yemen: 60-70 thousand dead Yemenis; 3 million displaced from their homes; and 20 million facing starvation.
Norbert Haering, an economic journalist and author, discusses how India’s sudden abolition of large-denominated bills, amounting to 80% of all cash in circulation, has created great hardship in a country where half the population doesn’t have a bank account and earns a living in the cash-based informal economy. Haering names the US-based NGOs, banks, and credit card companies that stand to profit handsomely from the forced transition to electronic payments.