Gareth Porter, investigative historian and journalist specializing in U.S. national security policy, discusses his article “US Rejected 2005 Iranian Offer Ensuring No Nuclear Weapons;” the Bush administration’s hardline stance against even a single Iranian centrifuge; how the MEK “laundered” Israeli intelligence on the Natanz facility, providing enough disinformation for years of anti-Iran propaganda; and Iran’s offer to have all its low-enriched uranium converted into fuel-rods, which cannot be used to make nuclear weapons.
Nick Turse, associate editor of TomDispatch.com, discusses his article “A Drone-Eat-Drone World;” the Pentagon’s eager anticipation of autonomous drones that decide when and where to rain death from above; why drones are rapidly proliferating even though they aren’t effective in fighting and winning wars; the 1-to-1 UAV flight time to maintenance ratio; and the ability of drones to evade rifle-wielding tribesmen – but not semi-modern air defenses (or Pakistani public opinion).
Eric Margolis, internationally syndicated columnist and author of American Raj, discusses Pakistan’s potential for dissolution; the Lebanonization of Syria; why Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is urging India to get more involved in Afghanistan; India’s big-spending on Afghanistan’s ethnic minorities; and what a foreign military “trainer” really is.
Robert Naiman, Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy, discusses his article “Yes, Virginia, We Can Do Something About the Drone Strikes;” the US government’s determination that military-age males killed by drones are always enemy combatants; targeting people for assassination that aren’t even on the “kill list” (as if the list itself wasn’t bad enough); opposition to Obama’s drone program from within his own administration and Congress; how regular people can (indirectly) change federal policy; and how drone strikes have become the best recruitment tool for anti-US militants since Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses his article “Why War is Marching on the Road to Damascus;” assigning blame for the Houla massacre and whether it will spark US intervention; why Syria looks like Lebanon before its disastrous 15-year civil war; Saudi Arabia’s continued fight against Iran’s 1979 revolution and the Shia revival; why NATO “safe haven” zones would exacerbate conflict in Syria and lead to wider war; Iraq’s export of suicide bombers; how crony capitalism undermines popular support for Middle East/North Africa governments; and why US politicians don’t care much for long-term sensible foreign policy.
Nikolas Kozloff, author of Hugo Chavez: Oil, Politics and the Challenge to the U.S., discusses his article “What’s Behind Obama’s New Military Base in Chile;” doubts about the base’s official purpose as peacekeeper training facility, considering the recent history of US interference in South America; the Chilean government’s fight (aided by the FBI) with the Mapuche Indians over control of natural resources; US worries about Brazil as a future near-peer competitor; why the School of the Americas (now WHINSEC) is still a popular destination for Chilean military officers; and the intricacies of US-Venezuelan relations.
Will Grigg, blogger and author of Liberty in Eclipse, discusses his article “What to Remember on Memorial Day;” Westward expansion and the 19th century genocide of American Indians; the different negotiating tactics of private and government-subsidized railroads; Dr. Seuss’s anti-Japanese propaganda during WWII; historical revisionism and the sometimes-counterproductive American Indian activism in the 1960s and 70s; and how the state demonizes its enemies to justify their extermination – from 19th century Plains Indians to 21st century Afghans.
Dr. Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, discusses his article “Bipartisan Assault on Middle East Peace;” the overwhelming passage of H.R. 4133, which commits the US to defend Israel as a “Jewish state;” the lunatics in Congress that make the Obama administration look downright rational in comparison; how the US raises the bar on Arab concessions to Israel in order to prevent a peace deal; and Congress’s contempt for the Arab Spring, since it has brought down friendly dictators and advanced freedom and liberty for the people.
Jason Leopold, lead investigative reporter of Truthout and author of News Junkie, discusses his exclusive article on Hesham Abu Zubaidah, brother of the infamous “high-value detainee” al-Qaeda member; the two years Hesham spent in jail for an immigration violation after 9/11 – during which he was constantly questioned about his long-estranged brother; our total reliance on government-sourced information on (terrorism suspect) Abu Zubaidah; the indispensable Andy Worthington; and how the FBI convinced Hesham to become a government informant and testify in court against his brother.
John Glaser, Assistant Editor at Antiwar.com, discusses the going-nowhere P5+1 Iran talks; the domestic political considerations that influence Obama’s foreign policy decisions; how US Iran Policy is Intended to Leave Open ‘Avenues for Regime Change;’” why the US and Israel won’t tolerate Iran’s nuclear breakout capability (even though nearly all nations with civilian nuclear programs have one); and the contradictory media reports on Syria’s Houla massacre.
Blogger Marcy Wheeler discusses the NY Times puff piece article on President Obama’s secret kill list; the government’s fuzzy math in calculating civilian casualties from drone strikes; assassinating the bakers who may or may not sell bread to the Taliban; journalists (a.k.a. “terrorist sympathizers”) who dare gather information on drone strike casualties; more evidence that counterterrorism advisor John Brennan is a liar; how the US helped create the AQAP threat in Yemen; why the Abdulmutallab “Underwear Bomber” story still doesn’t make sense; the US’s bad intelligence and untrustworthy partners in the Middle East; and how secretive drone strikes and Special Forces raids allow the president to wage war on the sly.
IPS News journalist Adam Morrow discusses his article “From Mubarak to Worse;” the final two candidates – a Muslim Brother and a former Mubarak official – in Egypt’s presidential run-off election; why Egyptians are more concerned with Islamic dress codes than Gaza policy or foreign meddling; the Muslim Brotherhood’s history of cooperation with the West; Egypt’s unfinished constitution; and why Egypt’s socialist/leftist groups haven’t had any electoral success.
Gareth Porter, investigative historian and journalist specializing in U.S. national security policy, discusses his article “US Hard Line in Failed Iran Talks Driven by Israel;” the deal-breaking US positions on sanctions relief and Iran’s Fordow enrichment facility; the US’s tried-and-true model for justifying military action, from Kosovo to Iraq, that works by sabotaging any diplomatic alternatives; the Obama administration’s seeming opposition to war with Iran; and how the neoconservatives won over all the ultra-rich philanthropists.
Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses the latest negotiations on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program at the just-concluded P5+1 Baghdad summit; why the US will never agree to lift sanctions on Iran, no matter the concessions; how the US negotiating position makes Obama look like an idiot; Richard Nixon’s observation that the same political price is paid for going half way as all the way – so you might as well go to China; why the Obama administration still won’t (consistently) acknowledge Iran’s rational leadership and sovereign (and NPT) right to enrich uranium; and how bad-faith negotiating by the US ruined the “reciprocity framework” established in the previous Istanbul talks.
Gareth Porter, investigative historian and journalist specializing in U.S. national security policy, discusses his article “Was Afghan Massacre Linked to IED Attack;” the confusing events and timeline during Sgt. Robert Bales’s alleged massacre; the Special Forces assassination raid that took place in the same village, on the same night, as the massacre; and how the US military uses collective punishment (a war crime) on civilians suspected of aiding the insurgency.