Show Details for the week of September 14th, 2015

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On The Monitor this week:

  • James Paul on Regime Change Refugees
  • Heather Gray on Iran and Post WWII History: The Atlantic Charter and Iranian Independence Thwarted

More about this week’s guests:

James Paul is the author of Syria Unmasked, Paul was executive director of Global Policy Forum, a think tank that monitors the UN, for nearly 20 years. He was also a longtime editor of the Oxford Companion to Politics of the World and executive director of the Middle East Research and Information Project.

Quote: “The huge flow of refugees into Europe has created a political crisis in the European Union, especially in Germany, where neo-nazi thugs battle police almost daily and fire-bombings of refugee housing have alarmed the political establishment. There is also the wider crisis in the EU over which countries will take in refuges and how many. The public has been horrified by refugee drownings in the Mediterranean, deaths in trucks and railway tunnels, thousands of children and families, caught in the open, facing border fences and violence from security forces. Religious leaders call for tolerance, while EU politicians wring their hands and wonder how they can solve the issue with new rules and more money…

The term ‘regime change refugees’ helps focus on where the primary responsibility lies. It changes an empty conversation in the direction of reality. Official discourse in Europe and the United States frames the civil wars and economic turmoil in terms of fanaticism, corruption, dictatorship, economic failures and other causes for which Western governments and publics believe they have no responsibility. The Western leaders and media stay silent about the military intervention and regime change, interventions that have torn the refugees’ homelands apart and resulted in civil war, state collapse and extremely violent conditions lasting for long periods.

The aggressive nationalist beast in the heart of the political class of Europe and the United States is ready to engage in more military adventures. These leaders are not ready to learn the lesson, or to beware the ‘blowback’ from future interventions. This is why we need to look closely at the ‘regime change’ angle, to beware upcoming proposals for more intervention, and to increase public resistance to further war. It is clear enough that the crisis of migration and war has been ‘Made in Europe’ and ‘Made in USA.’”

Background: The New York Times reports: “President Obama, under increasing pressure to demonstrate that the United States is joining European nations in the effort to resettle Syrian refugees, has told his administration to take in at least 10,000 displaced Syrians over the next year.”

The Canadian paper the Globe and Mail reports: “Western concerns over the flood of refugees from Syria is obscuring the real problem in that country, says a former senior United Nations official — the conflict itself that has killed a quarter of a million people and forced half the country’s population to flee their homes.

“‘Let me tell you,’ said Mokhtar Lamani, the UN and Arab League representative in Damascus from 2012 to 2014, ‘if the war continues, another eight million displaced people will also flee Syria and head for the West.’”

Heather GrayHeather Gray is the producer of “Just Peace” on WRFG-Atlanta 89.3 FM covering local, regional, national and international news. She has been involved in agriculture advocacy and communications for 25 years in the United States and internationally. Heather has published several articles on CounterPunch. She lives in Atlanta and has also lived in Canada, Australia, Singapore, briefly in the Philippines and has traveled in southern Africa.

She recently wrote an article titled Iran and Post WWII History: The Atlantic Charter and Iranian Independence Thwarted.

In part, this reads: “The dialogue with the Iranians is a positive move on the part of the Obama administration and particularly that the U.S. Senate presented the White House with a victory on this agreement. This is encouraging, though it is still being negotiated in the House of Representatives at the time of this writing. However, relatively little history of the U.S. and its historic relationship with Iran is being shared. This is unfortunate as the consequences overall of U.S. disruptive policies have been profound on the Iranian people and the Middle East since the end of WWII.

To understand some of this we need to look again at the Atlantic Charter issued by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in August 1941.
The Atlantic Charter was formulated by Roosevelt and Churchill when they came together in Newfoundland 1941. It was largely based on Roosevelt’s State of the Union address to Congress in January 1941 in which he said “….we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms” (1) freedom of speech and expression; (2) freedom of every person to worship God in their own way; (3) freedom from want; and (4) freedom from fear.

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