I am unable to be in the studio this week. Rather than play an older show I am playing the last part of a documentary series made in 2004. The series “The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear” is a BBC television series by Adam Curtis. It mainly consists of archive footage, with Curtis narrating. The series was originally broadcast in the United Kingdom in 2004. It has subsequently been aired in multiple countries and shown at various film festivals, including the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.
The film compares the rise of the neoconservative movement in the United States and the radical Islamist movement, drawing comparisons between their origins, and remarking on similarities between the two groups. More controversially, it argues that radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organisation, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is a myth, or noble lie, perpetuated by leaders of many countries—and particularly neoconservatives in the U.S.—in a renewed attempt to unite and inspire their people after the ultimate failure of utopian ideas. Part 3, played on the show this week is called “The Shadows in the Cave”. Short synopsis:
The neoconservatives use the September 11 attacks, with al-Fadl’s description of al-Qaeda, to launch the War on Terror. The final part addresses the actual rise of al-Qaeda. Curtis argues that, after their failed revolutions, bin Laden and Zawahiri had little or no popular support, let alone a serious complex organisation of terrorists, and were dependent on independent operatives to carry out their new call for jihad. However, the film argues that in order to prosecute bin Laden in absentia for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, U.S. prosecutors had to prove that he is the head of a criminal organisation responsible for the bombings. They find a former associate of bin Laden, Jamal al-Fadl, and pay him to testify that bin Laden is the head of a massive terrorist organisation called “al-Qaeda”. With the September 11 attacks, neoconservatives in the new Republican administration of George W. Bush use this invented concept of an organisation to justify another crusade against a new enemy, culminating in the launch of the War on Terror. After the American invasion of Afghanistan fails to uproot the alleged terrorist organisation, the Bush administration focuses inwards, searching unsuccessfully for terrorist sleeper cells in America. In 2003, they extend the War on Terror to a war on general perceived evils with the invasion of Iraq. The ideas and tactics also spread to the United Kingdom, where Tony Blair uses the threat of terrorism to give him a new moral authority. The repercussions of the neoconservative strategy are also explored, with an investigation of indefinitely-detained terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, many allegedly taken on the word of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance without actual investigation on the part of the United States military, and other forms of “preemption” against non-existent and unlikely threats made simply on the grounds that the parties involved had the potential to become a threat. Curtis specifically attempts to allay fears of a dirty bomb attack, and concludes by reassuring viewers that politicians will eventually have to concede that some threats are exaggerated and others have no foundation in reality. He says, “In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power.”
With recounts looming in several states, what do we know about voter turnout on election day? How do we explain discrepancies between exit polls and vote counts? We discuss the topic with Greg Palast
Enabled by Presidents Bush and Obama, what could Donald Trump do with executive powers? We discuss the topic with Peter Van Buren
More about this week’s guests:
Greg Palast has been called the “most important investigative reporter of our time – up there with Woodward and Bernstein” (The Guardian). Palast has broken front-page stories for BBC Television Newsnight, The Guardian, Nation Magazine and now Rolling Stone Magazine.
He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, Armed Madhouse , The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.
His books have been translated into two dozen languages.
Palast is known for complex undercover investigations, spanning five continents, from the Arctic to the Amazon, from Caracas to California, using the skills he learned over two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud.
Peter’s commentary has been featured in The New York Times, Reuters, Salon, NPR, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, The Nation, TomDispatch, Antiwar.com, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Japan Times, Asia Times, The Guardian (UK), Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others. He has appeared on the BBC World Service, NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, CurrentTV, HuffPo Live, RT, ITV, Britain’s Channel 4 Viewpoint, Dutch Television, CCTV, Voice of America, and more. His second book, Ghosts of Tom Joad, A Story of the #99Percent (2014) is fiction about the social and economic changes in America between WWII and the decline of the blue collar middle class in the 1980’s. You can read some of his recent work on The Nation website. He just wrote the piece “What Trump Could Do With Executive Power” for The American Conservative. He is available for a limited number of interviews, with some time slots open Monday afternoon and Wednesday.
He writes: “The dangers many are now predicting under the Trump administration did not start on November 8. The near-unrestrained executive power claimed by the Obama administration, and issues left unresolved from the Bush administration, will be handed to the president-elect. Here’s what that means. Torture: Obama did not prosecute or discipline anyone for torturing people on behalf of the people of the United States. He did not hold any truth commissions, and ensured almost all of the significant government documents on the torture program remain classified. He did not prosecute the Central Intelligence Agency official who willfully destroyed video tapes of the torture scenes. The president has not specifically outlawed secret prisons and renditions, just suspended their use. …
Assassinations: Obama legalized, formalized, and normalized drone assassinations on a global scale, including the killing of American citizens without due process in direct violation of the Fifth Amendment, on the president’s order alone. The only real restraint he imposed was self-restraint. But when you leave a door open, you never know who will walk in. …
Guantanamo: Obama never closed the extra-legal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as he promised. He could have, simply by depopulating it regardless of what Congress might have said. …
Espionage Act: Obama prosecuted more federal whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all previous United States presidents combined. He sent to jail people who exposed torture and people who allegedly leaked information to journalists showing American complicity in dangerous acts abroad. He had Chelsea Manning prosecuted for exposing war crimes in Iraq. He used the Espionage Act to destroy the lives of others who under any definition except his own would be considered political heroes. …
Freedom of Information Act: The Obama administration set a record (77 percent) for redacting government files or denying access to them in fiscal year 2014 under the Freedom of Information Act. …
National Security Agency: Obama never realistically reigned in the National Security Agency after the Bush-era Patriot Act allowed them to turn surveillance tools on the homeland. The president, following his predecessor, kept this spying largely secret until whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed it.”
KPFT is in Pledge Drive and this is your final chance to support The Monitor. The show has a goal of $650 for the hour. Please call 713.526.5738 during the show to pledge your support. You can also donate securely online at https://pledge.kpft.org/ Just select The Monitor from the list of shows and enter your details. Thank you!
This week we feature an interview with Mark Karlin during which we will discuss some of his recent articles and the importance of independent media.
More about this week’s guest:
Mark Karlin is the editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout. He served as editor and publisher of BuzzFlash for 10 years before joining Truthout in 2010. BuzzFlash has won four Project Censored Awards. Karlin writes a commentary five days a week for BuzzFlash, as well as articles (ranging from the failed “war on drugs” to reviews relating to political art) for Truthout. He also interviews authors and filmmakers whose works are featured in Truthout’s Progressive Picks of the Week. Before linking with Truthout, Karlin conducted interviews with cultural figures, political progressives and innovative advocates on a weekly basis for 10 years. He authored many columns about the lies propagated to launch the Iraq War.
KPFT is now in Pledge Drive! The Monitor needs your support to stay on the air. The show has a goal of $650 for the hour. Please call 713.526.5738 during the show to pledge your support. You can also donate securely online at https://pledge.kpft.org/ Just select The Monitor from the list of shows and enter your details. Thank you!
Peter’s commentary has been featured in The New York Times, Reuters, Salon, NPR, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, The Nation, TomDispatch, Antiwar.com, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Japan Times, Asia Times, The Guardian (UK), Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others. He has appeared on the BBC World Service, NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, CurrentTV, HuffPo Live, RT, ITV, Britain’s Channel 4 Viewpoint, Dutch Television, CCTV, Voice of America, and more. His second book, Ghosts of Tom Joad, A Story of the #99Percent (2014) is fiction about the social and economic changes in America between WWII and the decline of the blue collar middle class in the 1980’s. You can read some of his recent work on The Nation website.
We discuss the topic of torture for the whole hour with two guests to try to answer some of the most important questions, including: Has the U.S. ended the use of torture? Does torture produce “actionable intelligence”? What was the real purpose of the torture policy? Is there a need for an investigation of Guantanamo? Our guests are Jeffrey Kaye and Mark Fallon.
More about this week’s guests:
Jeffrey Kaye is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco and an independent journalist investigating human rights issues. He has worked professionally with torture victims and asylum applicants. Active in the anti-torture movement since 2006, he has his own blog, Invictus, and writes regularly for Firedoglake’s The Dissenter. He has published previously at Truthout, Alternet, and The Public Record. Follow him on Twitter.
Quote: “While the politicians play political football with the lives of prisoners at Guantanamo, the abuses and crimes that took place there — indeed may still be taking place — go unremarked and unexamined. For instance, former prisoners claim they were forcefully drugged at the facility. We need an independent investigation of all that has really taken place at DoD detention sites in the ‘war on terror,’ from Guantanamo to Bagram, from Diego Garcia to the Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina.”
Mark Fallon served for more than 30 years in the federal law enforcement and counterintelligence community. He served as Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Special Agent, and as Assistant Director for Training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center within the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Fallon has been involved in many prominent cases, including the prosecution of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and as serving as Commander of the USS Cole Task Force. He is the Director of ClubFed, LLC and specializes in providing strategic consulting services to clients in the public and private sector on developing knowledge and enhancing performance in alignment with mission objectives. Mark is the author of the upcoming book We Tortured Some Folks – Terrorizing The American Way.
Mark has been involved in some of the most significant terrorism investigations and operations in recent history, including the prosecution of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (known as “the Blind Sheik”) and the attack on the USS Cole (DDG-67).
Following the attacks of 9/11, Mark was appointed the Deputy Commander and Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Defense (DOD) Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF), responsible for the investigation of terrorists possible trials before Military Commission and assessing the potential risks associated with the release or transfer of detained terrorist suspects. He led forward deployed elements in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. You can watch a video of a talk by Mark Fallon on YouTube and you can follow him on Twitter.
KPFT is in Pledge Drive this week. The Monitor has a goal of $1,000 for this week and this is our only pledge drive show so please call 713-525-5738 during the show and donate to keep the station solvent and help The Monitor reach the goal. You can also pledge online at www.kpft.org
Here are some excerpts: “The APA got into this mess by holding tightly to a deeply flawed assumption: that psychology should embrace every opportunity to expand its sphere of influence…For 10 years, the APA quashed any attempt to question its faux task force, loosened ethics, too-close ties to the military, or its motivation to have psychologists play a central role in “enhancing” interrogations…Our profession has yet to address profound ethical challenges posed by national security operations and research where the intent is to cause injury, or where the targets of intervention have not consented, or where actions are beyond the reach of oversight by outside ethics panels…After the 9/11 attacks, the APA could have used its knowledge, reputation, and influence to promote alternatives to the tragic choices our government made. Instead it lost its way to war entrepreneurs, careerists, and yea-sayers.”
Imad Khadduri has an MSc in Physics from the University of Michigan (United States) and a PhD in Nuclear Reactor Technology from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). Khadduri worked with the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission from 1968 until 1998. He was able to leave Iraq in late 1998 with his family. He now teaches and works as a network administrator in Toronto, Canada. He has been interviewed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, CBC, FOX, ABC, MSNBC, BBC, CTV, the Toronto Star, Reuters, Democracy Now, Dubai Business TV Channel, al-Jazeera satellite channel and various other news agencies in regards to his knowledge of the Iraqi nuclear program. Khadduri is author of the books Iraq’s Nuclear Mirage: Memoirs and Delusions and Unrevealed Milestones in the Iraqi National Nuclear Program 1981-1991. He now runs the “Free Iraq” blog.
Prior to the invasion of Iraq, Khadduri argued that, contrary to what the Bush administration was claiming, the Iraqi nuclear weapons program had been dismantled since the 1991 attack on Iraq. In a November 21, 2002 article, a few months before the occupation, “Iraq’s nuclear non-capability,” he wrote: “Bush and Blair are pulling their public by the nose, covering their hollow patriotic egging on with once again shoddy intelligence. But the two parading emperors have no clothes.”
Max Fisher claimed in Vox recently that if “Iran tried to block inspectors…that would blow up the deal. … This was something that so infuriated the world when Iraq’s Saddam Hussein tried it in 1998 that it ended with his country getting bombed shortly thereafter.” Khadduri’s response: “This doesn’t reflect what actually happened. The U.S. used inspectors as a method of espionage, not for legitimate arms inspections purposes. Scott Ritter notes in a recent article titled ‘We ain’t found shit‘ why the Iranians shouldn’t accept ‘no notice’ inspections of its nuclear sites. The ‘no notice’ inspection on Iraq didn’t help with the disarmament process, but they were a gold mine for illegitimate espionage. The Iranians learned from our mistakes and they were much better negotiators.” The New York Times earlier this year published a piece by John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN from 2005 to 2006 and now with the American Enterprise Institute. In the piece, ‘To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran,’ he claims: “The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq.” It’s a claim that’s long been made by war hawks, for example, Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic has claimed: “In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting — forever, as it turned out — Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions.” Again Khadduri responds: “This is nonsense. I worked on the pre-1981 nuclear program and I was certain it would not be used for military purposes. But after the 1981 bombing, we were so angry that we were ready to work on a military program. The Israeli attack didn’t end the nuclear weapons program, it began it.” Khadduri added: “The Iranian nuclear program is peaceful. Their nuclear program started in the 1950s under the U.S. government’s Atoms for Peace project, which sent Iraq, Iran and other counties nuclear plans. In the case of Iraq, it was a gift from the U.S. for joining the Baghdad Pact. After the revolution in Iraq ended the monarchy, the U.S. built for Iran the plant they were going to build for us. …The Iranian nuclear program really took off in the 1970s after the U.S. convinced the Shah that he could be a regional power only if he embraced the atom. But the U.S. was trying to gouge the Shah, so he had the Germans build his reactors. A main component of the Iranian program is a research reactor used for medical purposes — even Iranian Americans frequently go back to Tehran for chemo because it’s provided for free. …When Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, he stopped work on Iranian nuclear facilities. He had already come to the position that having nuclear weapons was religiously prohibited and the financial costs were enormous. But he eventually allowed it to be restarted for peaceful purposes since the costs of cancelling the contracts were high. During the war with Iran, Iraq attacked the Iranian nuclear facilities more than 12 times, but they were minor attacks. But after the Iranians bombed Iraqi oil refineries, Saddam ordered the destruction of two Iranian reactors in 1987, killing 14 people including one German and the Germans withdrew. Since then, the Iranians have been struggling to have a serious nuclear program for civilian purposes, and the U.S. has continuously put up road blocks. The recent deal compromises Iran’s notion of nuclear sovereignty, but gets the Iranians what they really wanted.”
This is the final week of the Pledge Drive for KPFT. The Monitor has a goal of $800. Please help us reach that goal by calling in your pledge of support at 713-526-5738 or by pledging online at kpft.org.
Our guest this week on The Monitor is J. Michael Springmann. You can get a copy of his book Visas for Al Qaedea: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World by calling in your pledge of $100 at 713-526-5738 or by pledging online at kpft.org.
Topic: They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind. How the U.S. trained Muslim terrorists at least as far back as 30 years ago and how this impacts us today – an interview with J. Michael Springmann.
About our guest:
J. Michael Springmann, a career official with both the Commerce and State departments. He was economic/commercial officer in Stuttgart (1977–1980), a commercial attaché in New Delhi (1980–1982), a visa officer in Jeddah (1987–1989), a political/economic officer in Stuttgart (1989–1991), and, finally, an economic analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1991). He recently published the book Visas for Al Qaedea: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World.
Quote: “During the 1980s, the CIA recruited and trained Muslim operatives to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Later, the CIA would move those operatives from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and then to Iraq, Libya, and Syria, traveling on illegal US visas. These US-backed and trained fighters would morph into an organization that is synonymous with jihadist terrorism: al-Qaeda.”
From the book description:
“Thousands of American soldiers and civil servants have lost their lives in the War on Terror. Innocent citizens of many nations, including Americans killed on 9/11, have also paid the ultimate price. While the US government claims to stand against terror, this same government refuses to acknowledge its role in creating what has become a deadly international quagmire. Visas for al-Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World sets the record straight by laying the blame on high-ranking US government officials.
During the 1980s, the CIA recruited and trained Muslim operatives to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Later, the CIA would move those operatives from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and then to Iraq, Libya, and Syria, traveling on illegal US visas. These US-backed and trained fighters would morph into an organization that is synonymous with jihadist terrorism: al-Qaeda.
J. Michael Springmann, a former US diplomat, names individuals and organizations that deny culpability. He analyzes the effects of a nebulous war on the US economy and infrastructure. After thirteen bloody years, Springmann exposes hypocrisy and deceit wrapped in a sullied flag of patriotism and honor.”
Reflections on the 911 Terrorist Attacks, Washington Examiner, September 10, 2011, Michael Springmann , former head of the Visa Bureau at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah , Saudi Arabia said that he was repeatedly ordered by high-level State Department officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. His complaints to higher authorities at several agencies went unanswered. In a CBC interview, he indicated that the CIA was indeed complicit in the attacks.
You can also get any of the books we have already offered this drive. These are:
The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror by John Kiriakou available to you for a pledge of $120. Kiriakou was is a former CIA analyst and case officer, former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former counterterrorism consultant for ABC News, blogger for Huffington Post, and author. He was the first U.S. government official to confirm in December 2007 that waterboarding was used to interrogate Al Qaeda prisoners, which he described as torture. The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror details his years with the CIA and the beginning of his legal problems when John told ABC News in an interview in December 2007 that the CIA was torturing prisoners, that that torture was official U.S. government policy, and that the policy was approved by the President. John was driven to ruin by the Justice Department because of these revelations.
For a pledge of $50 you can get The Islamist Phoenix by Loretta Napoleoni. She is the bestselling author of Maonomics,Rogue Economics, Terror Incorporated and Insurgent Iraq. She is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organizations on counter-terrorism and money laundering. As Chairman of the countering terrorism financing group for the Club de Madrid, Napoleoni brought heads of state from around the world together to create a new strategy for combating the financing of terror networks.Here is an excerpt
For a pledge of $60 you can get Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit. She is Writer, historian, and activist. She is the author of sixteen books about environment, landscape, community, art, politics, hope, and memory. You can read some of her writing about the topic here
For a pledge of$85 you can get The Battle for Justice in Palestine by Ali Abunimah. He is the author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli Palestinian Impasse, and co-founder and director of the widely acclaimed publication The Electronic Intifada. Based in the United States, he has written hundreds of articles and been an active part of the movement for justice in Palestine for 20 years. He is the recipient of a 2013 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship. Any of these books will enrich you understanding of the topics they each handle. All three authors are going to be on The Monitor in the upcoming weeks.