Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses the comical chronic legal problems of successive Pakistani prime ministers; the evolution of Boko Haram from a “loopy sect” to a US-designated international terrorist group; and the blowback from Nigeria’s military massacre of Boko Haram members (who quickly swapped their bows and arrows for machine guns).
Ivan Eland, Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute and regular contributor to Antiwar.com, discusses his new book No War For Oil: U.S. Dependency and the Middle East; why it isn’t necessary to secure oil supplies with military force; how US meddling in the Middle East increases oil prices and destabilizes regional governments; why national energy independence is a foolish pursuit; his article “Smoke and Mirrors in Energy Policy;” and how sanctions on Iranian oil exports help China and India get a discount on their energy needs.
Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information, discusses his article “The Jet That Ate the Pentagon;” the large portion of procurement money earmarked for the F-35; why single-purpose planes are better and cheaper than multipurpose ones; and the price/performance penalty inherent in stealth aircraft.
Eva Galperin, International Freedom of Expression Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, discusses her article about pro-Syrian-government hackers using malicious computer software against Syrian activists; the online information battle between loyalists and anti-government groups, in the absence of on-the-ground media; why Skype isn’t any safer to use than social media like Facebook; protecting yourself online by encrypting communications and staying informed about threats; and how rudimentary hacking tools can be just as effective as the very sophisticated and expensive Stuxnet and Flame viruses.
Will Grigg, blogger and author of Liberty in Eclipse, discusses his article “Judicially Authorized Rape: The Newest Weapon in the Prohibitionist Arsenal;” the stories of three victims of forced catheterizing by the police; more evidence that cops are habitual liars and shouldn’t be trusted; two cops who were promoted instead of getting prison time for sexually assaulting Stephan Cook; the “qualified immunity” legal exemption for costume-wearing state employees who break the law; and how the US is like a prison environment writ large, where civilians are convicts and cops are prison guards.
John Glaser, Assistant Editor at Antiwar.com, discusses the moral and practical problems of US support for Syria’s opposition; how foreign meddling prolongs civil conflicts and reduces incentive to negotiate; why the German media’s contrary version of the Houla massacre is no more (or less) believable than the official story blaming the government; the war hawks in Congress who want Syrian regime change to weaken Iran, not for any humanitarian reason; and why policy makers aren’t thinking of intervention’s consequences, namely blowback.
IPS News journalist Adam Morrow discusses Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi’s narrow victory in Egypt’s presidential runoff election; how Egypt’s military and supreme constitutional court are subverting civilian government and democratic reforms; the danger of false flag bombings designed to sow unrest and discredit the Islamists; and why Egypt’s military is better suited for domestic repression than national defense.
Regular Antiwar.com columnist Kelley B. Vlahos discusses her article “The CIA and Polio in Pakistan;” how Dr. Shakil Afridi set up a fake immunization campaign to help the CIA in their effort to pinpoint Osama bin Laden’s location in Abbottabad; how the immunization ruse further undermined public confidence in vaccinations in one of the last countries with Polio cases; and the reality of life in an iron lung.
Richard Silverstein, writer of the Tikun Olam blog, discusses his article “Flame: Israel’s New Contribution to Middle East Cyberwar;” the IDF’s “Unit 8200? cyberwarfare department; the differences between industrial-sabotage virus Stuxnet and the sophisticated espionage worm Flame; how state-created computer viruses can get out of control and wreak havoc on their creators; President Obama’s antisocial foreign policy of anonymous drone strikes and cyber attacks; and the US’s rejection of Russia’s proposed international ban on cyberwar (Max Boot hates the idea, so maybe the Russians were on to something).
John Glaser, Assistant Editor at Antiwar.com, discusses his article “Under Obama’s Reign, Habeas Corpus Rights Wrenched Away;” how the DC Circuit court has undermined Boumediene v. Bush and effectively taken away all legal recourse for the 169 remaining Guantanamo prisoners; how President Obama bypasses the courts entirely by killing suspected terrorists (and/or dark-skinned civilians) with drone strikes; the enemy-combatant status of all drone victims, unless proven otherwise posthumously (some consolation); the double standard that gets ACLU drone lawsuits dismissed over “state secrets” but allows Obama to leak information and campaign as a warrior-president; and why it seems like the US is trying really hard to provoke another 9/11.
Eric Margolis, internationally syndicated columnist and author of American Raj, discusses his article “Egypt Headed for an Explosion;” the vote-rigging funny business that enabled a Mubarak retread to get in the presidential runoff election; why Egypt won’t remain a US client state, 2 billion a year in military aid notwithstanding; how the US Navy came to be both tremendously expensive and strategically useless; the USAF’s critical role in US foreign policy; and the Pentagon’s promotion of China as the next big threat to justify their enormous budget.
Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses his debate with the “Prince of Darkness” (Richard Perle) on BBC Radio; the Obama administration’s refusal to apologize for the deadly November attack on a Pakistani military outpost – even though critical supply lines to Afghanistan remain closed as a consequence; the technological barrier preventing other countries from using drones the way the US does; and how the dearth of journalists in Syria allows the Western media to spin the narrative any way they choose.
Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses the possibility of another Israeli ground invasion of Gaza, like Operation Cast Lead in 2009; the unequal exchange of fire between rocket-toting Gazans and Israel’s formidable, US-supplied military; dropping the pretense of Yemeni government cooperation and foreknowledge of US drone strikes in Yemen; struggling to understand why the US is so intent on killing people in rural, agricultural tribal regions (Yemen, AfPak), whose inhabitants don’t even know where America is, much less pose a threat to the “homeland;” and the ongoing struggle in Libya between those seeking regional autonomy and others who want a centralized state.
Sheldon Richman, senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation, discusses his article “No to AIPAC, No to Israel, and No to War;” President Obama’s disappointing speech at the AIPAC conference, where he refused to take “options off the table” in dealing with Iran; why Iran’s modest military capability poses no real threat to Israel or the US; refuting the “mad mullah” image of Iran’s leadership – which is in fact composed of rational actors who aren’t eager to see their 2500 year old culture destroyed; the difference between Israel (the country) and Jews (as individuals); and why we needn’t fear Iranian President Ahmadinejad – who wields no real power, especially over the military – even though he often makes inflammatory remarks.
Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses the very low militant-killing success rate of drone strikes in the Afghanistan/Pakistan tribal border region; the US’s agreement to hand over Afghan prisoners in 2014 and refusal to end night raids; the Egyptian Freedom and Justice Party’s attempt to oust their military-imposed government; and the Western NGO workers freed from Egyptian custody.