Thank you everyone who helped us beat our goal last week! Just two more shows remain in this KPFT Pledge Drive and it is only with your help that we can beat the goal again this week.
The week’s show has a goal of $805 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!
KPFT has all the usual thank you gifts available at various pledge levels but this week’s show highlights a very special premium exclusive to The Monitor: Signed copies of Doing Time Like A Spy, a brand new book by John Kiriakou. A signed copy of this book is yours for a donation of $120. The book is not available until May but you will get your own signed copy in the mail as soon as copies are available for distribution.
More about this week’s guest:
John Kiriakou became an anti-torture whistleblower and activist when he told ABC News 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.
Immediately after John’s interview, the Justice Department initiated a years-long investigation, determined to find something–anything–to charge him with. This was his payback for blowing the whistle on the torture program.
John eventually was charged with three counts of espionage, one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and one count of making a false statement as a result of the 2007 ABC News interview. Finally, in order to avoid the risk of spending 45 years in prison, John accepted a plea to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. All other charges were dropped. Even though he had no criminal intent, and there was no harm to the national security, accepting the plea resulted in a sentence of 30 months in prison.
From 1990 until March 2004, first as an analyst, and later as a counterterrorism operations officer, John Kiriakou served in the Central Intelligence Agency. He became chief of counterterrorist operations in Pakistan following the September 11 attacks acting as a senior operations officer. His tour culminated in the March 2002 with the capture of Abu Zubaydah, al-Qa’ida’s third-ranking official.
When he returned from Pakistan, John was named Executive Assistant to the CIA’s Deputy Director for Operations. In that capacity, John was the principal Iraq briefer for the Director of Central Intelligence.
John then became senior investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after a brief time in the private sector, where he focused on international terrorism, piracy, and counternarcotics. Additionally, John served as senior intelligence advisor to the Committee’s chairman, Senator John Kerry.
Following his service on the Hill, John became an intelligence and counterterrorism consultant and author.
About the book:
Doing Time Like A Spy is Kiriakou’s memoir of his twenty-three months in prison. Using twenty life skills he learned in CIA operational training, he was able to keep himself safe and at the top of the prison social heap. Including his award-winning blog series “Letters from Loretto,” Doing Time Like a Spy is at once a searing journal of daily prison life and an alternately funny and heartbreaking commentary on the federal prison system.
Please support The Monitor during this drive and do so by showing your support for John Kiriakou at the same time. Get your signed copy of Doing Time Like A Spy by calling 713.526.5738 during the show and pledging $120 for your copy.
On The Monitor this week:
- James Carden on the continued U.S.-arming of terrorists in Syria amidst DC’s ongoing Political Theater
- Andrew Cockburn on reviving the art of threat inflation and aiding and abetting the Saudi slaughter in Yemen
More about this week’s guests:
James Carden is a Washington, DC–based journalist focusing on US foreign policy. He is also the executive editor of the American Committee for East-West Accord, and a contributing writer at The Nation. He has served as an Advisor to the US-Russia Presidential Commission at the US State Department. He has contributed articles on US-Russia policy to The American Conservative, The National Interest, The Moscow Times. He graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. His most recent articles include:Why Does the US Continue to Arm Terrorists in Syria? and Round Up the Usual Suspects, It’s Time for a Show Hearing. You can read his articles for The Nation here.
Born in London and raised in County Cork, Andrew Cockburn moved to the U.S. in 1979. He is a journalist, an author and a filmmaker. He is also the Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine. His books include: Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship and The Threat: Inside the Soviet Military Machine. His most recent book is Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins. His latest articles include The New Red Scare Reviving the art of threat inflation; and Acceptable Losses Aiding and abetting the Saudi slaughter in Yemen. You can read his latest articles for Harper’s here.
On The Monitor this week:
- Did the former president “wiretap” the current president? We discuss the allegations with Larry Johnson
- Is the new “Muslim Ban” harsher than the old Muslim Ban? We discuss the topic with Arun Gupta
More about this week’s guests:
Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm with expertise combating terrorism and investigating money laundering. Mr. Johnson works with US military commands in scripting terrorism exercises, briefs on terrorist trends, and conducts undercover investigations on product counterfeiting, smuggling and money laundering. Mr. Johnson, who worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism, is a recognized expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management. Mr. Johnson has analyzed terrorist incidents for a variety of media including the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, ABC’s Nightline, NBC’s Today Show, the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, and the BBC. Mr. Johnson has authored several articles for publications, including Security Management Magazine, the New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. He has lectured on terrorism and aviation security around the world, including the Center for Research and Strategic Studies at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, France. He represented the U.S. Government at the July 1996 OSCE Terrorism Conference in Vienna, Austria.
Arun Gupta is an independent reporter. He has written for dozens of publications including The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Nation, the Raw Story, and Jacobin. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Bacon as a Weapon of Mass Destruction: A Junk-Food-Loving Chef’s Inquiry into Taste (The New Press). His latest article is “Meet the New Muslim Ban, Harsher Than the Old Muslim Ban,” which states: “The new order appears to be narrower in scope, at least initially. It claims to exclude ‘categories of aliens that have prompted judicial concerns.’ Green-card holders, dual citizens, and Syrian refugees are exempt from the blanket ban. Iraq is no longer on the list of affected countries, and the order allows for exceptions from the other targeted countries and for refugees on a ‘case-by-case’ basis. Nonetheless, on March 7, the state of Hawaii filed suit in federal court on behalf of the state and Ismail Elshikh, PhD, the Imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii. The state claims Trump’s order harms Elshikh by preventing his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting her family in Hawaii. The state asserts the Trump Administration is acting ‘arbitrarily and capriciously’ in its choice of countries on the banned list. The revised order affords the Trump Administration wide latitude in broadening the scope of the order later on, with language that will allow the profiling of entire countries so as to exclude their citizens. It states that the U.S. government will conduct ‘a worldwide review’ to determine what ‘additional information will be needed from each foreign country’ to assess the application of any person from one of the specified countries seeking admission to the United States so as to ensure they are ‘not a security or public-safety threat.’ The order adds that ‘At any point … the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, may submit to the President the names of any additional countries recommended for similar treatment.’ And, ‘The Secretary of Homeland Security may conclude that certain information is needed from particular countries even if it is not needed from every country.’ Put together, this language could enable wildly differing criteria for nationals from one country to the next, as well as countries coming on and off the list at the whim of the White House.”
On The Monitor this week:
- A round up of US national security news with Jonathan Landay
- William Black on the Trump administration’s dismantling of the Obama administration’s already insufficient post-2008 financial regulations
More about this week’s guests:
- Donald Trump nominates Betsy DeVos to be his Secretary of Education. We discuss the topic with Diane Ravitch.
- News or Propaganda? What is happening to the news and what is the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act” about? We discuss the topic with Rick Sterling.
Diane Ravitch is an historian of education and Research Professor of Education at New York University. She was born in Houston, Texas, attended the Houston public schools from kindergarten through high school, and graduated from Wellesley College in 1960. She received her Ph.D. in the history of American education in 1975. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Ravitch is author of many books, including Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools and The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. She served as Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to the Secretary of Education from 1991-1993 under the George H. W. Bush administration. She now blogs at dianeravitch.net
Quote: “Betsy DeVos should not be approved by the Senate committee or confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Secretary of Education. She has no experience or qualifications for the job. She is a lobbyist for alternatives to public schools. Eighty-five percent of the students in the U.S. attend public schools. Her only plan is to weaken and destroy them by diverting public money to charter schools and vouchers for religious schools. DeVos is a billionaire who has never worked in a public school, never attended a public school, never sent her own children to public school. She has lived in a billionaire bubble of privilege. She has no understanding of the needs of our nation’s public schools, and she is in fact actively hostile to them. This is unacceptable. She is unacceptable. Our public schools are one of the cornerstones of our democracy. We have never had a Secretary of Education who was opposed to public schools. We should never have one.”
Rick Sterling is a retired electronics / aerospace engineer turned independent investigative journalist. He just wrote the piece “The War Against Alternative Information” for ConsortiumNews.com — which states: “The U.S. establishment is not content simply to have domination over the media narratives on critical foreign policy issues, such as Syria, Ukraine and Russia. It wants total domination. Thus we now have the ‘Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act’ that President Obama signed into law on Dec. 23 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017, setting aside $160 million to combat any ‘propaganda’ that challenges Official Washington’s version of reality. The new law mandates the U.S. Secretary of State to collaborate with the Secretary of Defense, Director of National Intelligence and other federal agencies to create a Global Engagement Center ‘to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.’ The law directs the Center to be formed in 180 days and to share expertise among agencies and to ‘coordinate with allied nations.’The new law is remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least because it merges a new McCarthyism about purported dissemination of Russian ‘propaganda’ on the Internet with a new Orwellianism by creating a kind of Ministry of Truth — or Global Engagement Center — to protect the American people from ‘foreign propaganda and disinformation.’ As part of the effort to detect and defeat these unwanted narratives, the law authorizes the Center to: ‘Facilitate the use of a wide range of technologies and techniques by sharing expertise among Federal departments and agencies, seeking expertise from external sources, and implementing best practices.’ (This section is an apparent reference to proposals that Google, Facebook and other technology companies find ways to block or brand certain Internet sites as purveyors of ‘Russian propaganda’ or ‘fake news.’) Justifying this new bureaucracy, the bill’s sponsors argued that the existing agencies for ‘strategic communications’ and ‘public diplomacy’ were not enough, that the information threat required ‘a whole-of-government approach leveraging all elements of national power.’ The law also is rife with irony since the U.S. government and related agencies are among the world’s biggest purveyors of propaganda and disinformation…”
On The Monitor this week:
- Did Russia hack the U.S. election? We discuss the evidence presented to support this claim with Ray McGovern
- What was the Obama administration’s Syria policy? How has it contributed to the current crisis? We discuss the choices made by the outgoing president’s administration with Gareth Porter
More about this week’s guests:
Ray McGovern (@RayMcgovern) is a retired CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a Federal employee under seven U.S. presidents over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House for many of them. Ray McGovern leads the “Speaking Truth to Power” section of Tell the Word, an expression of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He also teaches at its Servant Leadership School. In January 2003, Ray helped create Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to expose the way intelligence was being falsified to “justify” war on Iraq.
Ray is of the signers of the recently released memo “U.S. Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims” published by Consortium News. “NSA is able to identify both the sender and recipient when hacking is involved. Thanks largely to the material released by Edward Snowden, we can provide a full picture of NSA’s extensive domestic data-collection network including Upstream programs like Fairview, Stormbrew and Blarney. … As for the comments to the media as to what the CIA believes, the reality is that CIA is almost totally dependent on NSA for ground truth in the communications arena. In sum, given what we know of NSA’s existing capabilities, it beggars belief that NSA would be unable to identify anyone — Russian or not — attempting to interfere in a U.S. election by hacking.”
Gareth Porter (@GarethPorter) is an independent investigative journalist and historian writing on US national security policy. His latest book, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, was published in February 2014. Gareth has also published investigative articles on Salon.com, the Nation, the American Prospect, Truthout and The Raw Story. His blogs have been published on Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Counterpunch and many other websites. Porter was Saigon bureau chief of Dispatch News Service International in 1971 and later reported on trips to Southeast Asia for The Guardian, Asian Wall Street Journal and Pacific News Service. He is also the author of four books on the Vietnam War and the political system of Vietnam. Historian Andrew Bacevich called his latest book, ‘Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War’, published by University of California Press in 2005, “without a doubt, the most important contribution to the history of U.S. national security policy to appear in the past decade.” He has taught Southeast Asian politics and international studies at American University, City College of New York and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
This week’s show is a little different. It is a mix of audio clips edited together featuring: part of “Hypernormlization” by Adam Curtis, the voice of Carl Sagan, JFK’s “Peace” speech, a clip from “Mississippi Burning” and Charley Chaplin’s speech in “The Dictator“. I hope you enjoy the journey.