The Rise of the Islamic State – an interview with Loretta Napoleoni
The Voice Of Convicted CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling – an interview with Judith Ehrlich
More about this week’s guests:
Loretta Napoleoni 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.
Napoleoni is a regular media commentator for CNN, Sky and the BBC. She is among the few economists who predicted the credit crunch and the recession, and advises several banks on strategies to counter the current ongoing crisis. She lectures regularly around the world on economics, terrorism and money laundering.
Napoleoni ’s books include Modern Jihad (Pluto Press, London, 2003); Terror Inc. (Penguin, London, 2004); Insurgent Iraq (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2005); Terror Incorporated (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2005); Rogue Economics (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2008); Terror and the Economy (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2010) and Maonomics: Why Chinese Communists Are Better Capitalists Than We Are (Seven Stories Press 2011) . Her latest book is the best seller Islamist Phoenix (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2014). “The IS doesn’t want to destroy. They want to build the 21st century version of the Calliphate and that is what makes them so dangerous”. Her books are translated into 18 languages including Chinese and Arabic. She lives in London and in the US with her husband and their four children.
From Loretta’s book The Islamist Phoenix
“For the first time since World War One, an armed organization is redesigning the map of the Middle East drawn by the French and the British. Waging a war of conquest, the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (al Sham), or ISIS, is erasing the borders that the Sykes-Picot Accord established in 1916. The region where the black and golden flag of IS flies already stretches from the Mediterranean shores of Syria well into the heart of Iraq, the Sunni tribal area. It is bigger than the United Kingdom or Texas and, since the end of June 2014, is known as the Islamic Caliphate. “Caliphate” is the name given to an Islamic state led by a supreme religious and political leader known as a caliph, or successor to the Prophet Muhammad – the most famous being the Ottoman Caliphate (or Empire), which began in 1453 and lasted until the dissolution of the Caliphate and expulsion of the last caliph, Abdulmecid, at the hands of Kemal Ataturk in 1924.
Many believe that the Islamic State, like al-Qaeda before it, wants to turn back the clock, and indeed in Western media Syrian and Iraqi refugees describe its rule in their countries as a sort of carbon copy of the Taliban regime. Posters forbid smoking and the use of cameras. Women are not allowed to travel without a male relative, must be covered up, and cannot wear trousers in public. The Islamic State seems also engaged in a sort of religious cleansing through proselytism: people must either join its creed, radical Salafism; flee; or face execution.
Paradoxically, to deem the IS essentially backward would be mistaken. Indeed, during the last few years the belief that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader and the new Caliph, is a clone of Mullah Omar may well have led Western intelligence to undervalue him and his organization’s strength. While the world of the Taliban was limited to Koranic schools and knowledge based upon the writings of the Prophet, globalization and modern technology have been the cradle of the Islamic State.
What distinguishes the Islamic State from all other armed groups that predate it, including those active during the Cold War, and what accounts for its enormous successes, is its modernity and pragmatism. So far its leadership has understood the limitations that contemporary powers face in a globalized and multipolar world – for example, the inability to reach an agreement for foreign intervention in Syria, as happened in Libya and Iraq. Against this backdrop the Islamic State’s leadership has successfully exploited the Syrian conflict, the most recent version of the traditional war by proxy, to its own advantage almost unobserved, drawing funds from a variety of people: Kuwaitis, Qataris, Saudis, who, seeking a regime change in Syria, have been willing to bankroll several armed groups. However, instead of fighting the sponsors’ war by proxy, the Islamic State has used their money to establish its own territorial strongholds in financially strategic regions, for example in the rich oilfields of Eastern Syria. No previous Middle Eastern armed organization has been able to promote itself as the region’s new ruler with the money of its rich Gulf sponsors.
This is a story with shocking elements. While most of us don’t quite understand what metadata is exactly, this case reminds us it’s time to get a grip on that. In fact Jeffrey Sterling was convicted in large part on the basis of metadata — not the content of his communication. That is, they don’t have to know what he said, just that he talked to or emailed the New York Times reporter who leaked news of Operation Merlin to which Jeffrey was assigned while a CIA case officer. And that metadata, the where, when and whom is not protected as the conversation might be.
The most shocking element of this story is that Jeffrey Sterling seems to be punished because he “pulled on Superman’s cape” first with a racial discrimination suit they were able to squash and then by reporting what he considered a dangerous CIA operation to the proper government channels for hearing such a concern.
I wanted to make a film that captured this couple’s deep commitment and belief in one another in the face of a decade of Kafkaesque uncertainty at the hands of the CIA. Ellsberg followed the same initial trajectory as Sterling, going to Congress with his concerns about the Vietnam War and being ignored by the oversight committees. CIA veteran Ray McGovern calls them “overlook committees.”
I was thrilled to collaborate with Norman Solomon and Expose Facts to reach an audience with this story that exposes deep problems in our justice system.
Following up on last week’s show, this week The Monitor is all about whistleblowers and the need for them to be able to report violations. Both guests are connected to the newly launched ExposeFacts.org.
First up is William Binney and rounding out the hour is Matthew Hoh.
Newsweek just published “The Website That Wants the Next Snowden to Leak” about the newly launched ExposeFacts.org. The lengthy article includes discussion of the legality of exposing classified documents. At the news conference launching ExposeFacts.org, former NSA official William Binney, who is now on the advisory board of ExposeFacts.org, noted that classifying documents to cover up wrongdoing violates the Executive Order on classification. [video at 1:01:00]
More about this week’s guests:
William Binney is a former high-level National Security Agency intelligence official who, after his 2001 retirement after 30 years, blew the whistle on NSA surveillance programs. His outspoken criticism of the NSA during the George W. Bush administration made him the subject of FBI investigations that included a raid on his home in 2007. Even before Edward Snowden’s NSA whistleblowing, Binney publicly revealed that NSA had access to telecommunications companies’ domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted some 15 to 20 trillion communications. The Snowden disclosures confirmed many of the surveillance dangers Binney — without the benefit of documents — had been warning about under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Binney has been singled out for praise by Snowden, who told the Wall Street Journal: “I have tremendous respect for Binney, who did everything he could according to the rules. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for highlighting how the Intelligence Community punishes reporting abuses within the system.”
Quote: “Not too many people are paying too much attention to this, but under Executive Order 13526, sec 1.7 — this is the executive order that governs classification for the U.S. government — you cannot use classification to cover up a crime, illegality, abuse of any form, or fraud, corruption, waste or embarrassment and a number of other things. And a lot of these things that Snowden exposed were in fact evidence of crimes against the constitution or other laws that existed, statutes in the country. So those things [documents] cannot legitimately be classified under that executive order.
Matthew Hoh is the Former director of the Afghanistan Study Group, Hoh is a former Marine and State Department official. In 2009 he resigned from his post with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of U.S. strategic policy and goals in Afghanistan (Washington Post, front page, “U.S. Official Resigns Over Afghan War,” October 27, 2009). Hoh discussed the launch of ExposeFacts.org when he appeared on Huffington Post Live yesterday, interviewed on “Free Speech Zone with @AlyonaMink.”
Quote: “I am very much honored and more than a bit humbled to be included in the launch of such a worthy and necessary effort, particularly one bearing the name of Daniel Ellsberg. After over eleven continuous years of service with the U.S. military and U.S. government, nearly six of those years overseas, including service in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as positions within the Secretary of the Navy’s Office as a White House Liaison, and as a consultant for the State Department’s Iraq Desk, I resigned from my position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of war in 2009. It took years of involvement with a mendacious war policy, evidence of which was apparent to me as early as 2003, before I found the courage to follow my conscience. It is not an easy or light decision for anyone to make, but we need members of our military, development, diplomatic, and intelligence community to speak out if we are ever to have a just and sound foreign policy. I trust ExposeFacts and its efforts will encourage others to follow their conscience and do what is right.”
Sec. 1.7. Classification Prohibitions and Limitations.
(a) In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to:
(1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;
(2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;
(3) restrain competition; or
(4) prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.
Democracy comes to Egypt and Syria…or does it? We discuss the Egyptian and Syrian election results with Ghada Talhami.
New Organization Launches with Invitation: “Whistleblowers Welcome”. We talk with Marsha Coleman-Adebayo about her own whistleblowing experience and why protections for whistleblowers are still needed.
More about this week’s guests:
Ghada Talhami is emeritus professor in the department of politics at Lake Forest College. Her books include The Mobilization of Muslim Women in Egypt. She said last week (prior to the election results in Egypt and Syria): “Western observers may see the abstaining of large sectors of the Egyptian public from the current elections as an indictment of army rule, but a closer look reveals greater issues at play. If, as has been drummed by human rights advocates, Western governments and Egypt’s religious right, al-Sisi’s credibility has been greatly damaged by his crackdown on political opponents and residual forces of the January 25 uprising, then the electoral dent inflicted on al-Sisi’s legend is perfectly understandable. But what is being underestimated here is the apparent apathy of the non-Islamic and non-revolutionary forces, for as in all revolutions, the struggle between the forces of freedom and the primal quest for security usually take center-stage. In Egypt’s case, the quest for security is being interpreted currently as concern over domestic security and stability. Concern for Egypt’s strategic security and the safety of its external borders, however, has always been at the core of the military’s psyche.”
She is the author of six books: Suakin and Massawa under Egyptian Rule (University Press of America, 1979), Palestine and the Egyptian National Identity (PRAEGER, 1992), The Islamic Mobilization of Women in Egypt (University Press of Florida, 1996), Syria and the Palestinians: The Clash of Nationalisms (University Press of Florida, 2001), and Palestinian Refugees: Pawns to Political Actors (Nova Science Publishers, 2003). Her latest book, Palestine and the Egyptian Press: From al-Ahram to al-Ahali, was released by Lexington Books in 2007. She is also the editor of an encyclopedia volume, Children in the Middle East and North Africa, published by Greenwood Press.
Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is author of No Fear: A Whistleblower’s Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA. As senior policy analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, she became a whistleblower when the EPA ignored her complaints about a U.S. company harming the environment and human health in its vanadium mining in South Africa. Denied promotion, she sued and won a jury verdict finding EPA guilty of discrimination. Coleman-Adebayo is a founder of the No FEAR Coalition and EPA Employees Against Racism. Under her leadership No FEAR organized a grassroots campaign that won passage of the “Notification of Federal Employees Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Act.” Coleman-Adebayo serves on the board of directors of the National Whistleblower Center and was inducted into the Project on Government Oversight’s Hall of Fame. She is an editor and columnist for the Black Agenda Report.
Announcing its intention to “shed light on concealed activities that are relevant to human rights, corporate malfeasance, the environment, civil liberties and war,” the ExposeFacts organization launched on Wednesday with a news conference in Washington and the debut of its website declaring “Whistleblowers Welcome.”
The ExposeFacts.orgsite will feature the “SecureDrop” whistleblower submission system, provided by the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “At a time when key provisions of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments are under assault,” ExposeFacts said in a statement, “we are standing up for a free press, privacy, transparency and due process as we seek to reveal official information — whether governmental or corporate — that the public has a right to know.”
Speakers at the Washington news conference included National Security Agency whistleblowers William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe as well as Environmental Protection Agency whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo.
The Monitor this week is divided into the usual two segments of interviews. In the first interview with have a National Security and Civil Liberties discussion with Marcy Wheeler and in the second we discuss What the Sino-Russian Gas Deal Says about American Foreign Policy’s Self-Damaging Trajectory with Flynt Leverett.
More about this week’s guests:
Marcy Wheeler is an American independent journalist specializing in national security and civil liberties. Wheeler publishes on her own site, Emptywheel. She makes occasional contributions to the commentary and analysis section of The Guardian, progressive news site Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, and Michigan Liberal. Between early December 2007 and July 2011 Wheeler published primarily on Jane Hamsher’s FireDogLake (FDL) and prior to that on The Next Hurrah.
During United States v. Libby, the trial of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, along with other regular press-accredited contributors to FireDogLake, Wheeler reported on the testimony live from the courtroom. In her accounts of the Libby trial, she describes her entries as “not a transcript”. Nevertheless, such bloggers’ eye-witness accounts served as sources of reliable information about the trial for their readers. During the trial, she appeared on camera in video reports posted online on PoliticsTV.com, along with other accredited Libby trial blogger-correspondents such as TalkLeft creator Jeralyn Merritt and FDL creator Jane Hamsher and FDL principal blogger Christy Hardin Smith.
Flynt Leverett is professor of international affairs at Penn State and co-author of Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran. He is part of the founding faculty for Penn State’s School of International Affairs, faculty affiliate at the Dickinson School of Law, and a visiting scholar at Peking University’s School of International Studies. With his wife and frequent co-author, Hillary Mann Leverett, he writes www.GoingToTehran.com, a prominent forum for realist analysis on Iran and the Middle East.
From 1992 to 2003, Prof. Leverett had a distinguished career in the U.S. Government. He served nine years as senior analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, focusing on the Middle East. On the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, he earned a Superior Honor Award for his contributions to forming an international coalition to fight terrorism after the 9/11 attacks and to diplomatic efforts with Libya that led to the normalization of U.S.-Libyan relations after years of estrangement. In 2002, he went to the White House to serve as the National Security Council’s senior director for Middle East affairs; he left government service in 2003 because of disagreements over Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror.
Prof. Leverett has written extensively on the international relations, politics, and political economy of the Middle East and on U.S. Middle East policy. His latest book, Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran (2013), is now in paperback, with a new Afterword. Before publication, Going to Tehran was excerpted in Harper’s and highlighted by Foreign Policy as a “Book to Read in 2013.” It was also the launch point for a Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs symposium on “The U.S.-Iranian Relationship and the Future of International Order.” While controversial for many U.S. policy elites, Going to Tehran has been lauded by leading public intellectuals like Andrew Bacevich, Noam Chomsky, and Glenn Greenwald.
The Monitor this week takes an in depth look at personal data security and events in Egypt.
What We Don’t Know About Spying on Citizens: Scarier Than What We Know – An interview with Bruce Schneier
American Eyewitness in Egypt – An interview with Darryl John Kennedy
More about this week’s guests:
Bruce Schneier Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist, called a “security guru” by The Economist. He is the author of 12 books — including Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust Society Needs to Survive — as well as hundreds of articles, essays, and academic papers. His influential newsletter “Crypto-Gram” and his blog “Schneier on Security” are read by over 250,000 people. He has testified before Congress, is a frequent guest on television and radio, has served on several government committees, and is regularly quoted in the press. Schneier is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, a program fellow at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Advisory Board Member of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the Security Futurologist for BT — formerly British Telecom.
Darryl John Kennedy an American film composer and multiinstrumentalist, who performs in concerts and recordings throughout the world. He plays professionally 16 instruments, and has produced 125 CDs for artists in musical styles, ranging from classical to Hip-Hop. Darryl has traveled to over 50 countries as an independent cultural ambassador, demonstrating how Americans can be effective leaders in public diplomacy. Darryl recently spoke at the United Nations with the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy about his successful experiences in Egypt. Before the revolution in Egypt, Darryl had been utilizing his approach in Cairo. He was the only American ever asked to compose the soundtrack for two Egyptian motion pictures. He also performed as guest artist in 16 concerts including one for 12,000 people. He produced five music CDs, was guest speaker at the American University of Cairo, and was the first American to co-star in an Arabic music video with an audience of 55 million. He did all of this without any record label promotion, Washington political or NGO support, and no local contacts when he first arrived in the country.
Quote: “It is said that ‘knowledge is power.’ Internet corporations took this maxim to heart, and set out to know as much as possible about each of us. Then the U.S. and other governments began massively collecting personal information from these companies, and in other ways too. That’s how they hope to have power over us. Digital technology turns out to mean building a giant digital dossier about each person. This might be OK if we had a government we could trust implicitly to respect human rights, one that would never try to stretch its power. What we have, under Bush and Obama, is a security-industrial complex that systematically crosses legal limits, egged on by corporations that will make more money through putting together more extensive dossiers, and saying they are doing this to ‘keep us safe’ from real but minor threats. It used to be that the threat to people’s freedom from computers was that they used programs that the users don’t control — nonfree programs, that is. The free software movement aims to provide free/libre replacements for nonfree programs. Free software is software that respects the users’ freedom and community. A program that isn’t free gives its owner unjust power over its users. Often it is designed to spy on them, restrict them, or even abuse them. (See ‘Proprietary Surveillance,’ DefectiveByDesign.org and ‘Proprietary Sabotage.’) With free software, the users can fix the program so it doesn’t spy, restrict, or mistreat. But the threats have multiplied. For years I’ve called portable phones ‘Stalin’s dream’ because of their surveillance capabilities. (Their movements are tracked, and they can be converted remotely into listening devices that transmit your conversations all the time, even when you try to shut them off.) For years I’ve warned that it is a mistake to entrust personal data to web sites, or even identify yourself to them. For years I’ve paid cash rather than use my credit card. The U.S. is slowly converting driver’s licenses into national ID cards. Without showing ID, you can’t fly, or ride Amtrak, or stay in a hotel in New York City, or open a bank account, or fill a prescription for pain killers. The immigration bill now being considered may make it impossible to get a job without national ID. Meanwhile, as license-plate cameras spread around our cities, the U.S. is slowly assembling a system that will track all movements of all cars, as is done in the UK. ‘Smart meters’ will build a dossier of how much electricity you use each hour or each minute, which says whether you are home. And the Internet of Things threatens to recruit all the products in your home as digital informers. Once data is collected, it will be misused. Formal limits on accessing the data will do nothing to stop the state from collecting all sorts of data about anyone it is determined to crush, such as torture whistleblower John Kiriakou. If no one dares tell us what the state is doing, the state will get out of control. We need to stop the accumulation of digital dossiers about people in general. Such collection should be permitted only under a court order applying to a specific person.”
Stallman sent his statement in an email with the following at the top:
[To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider
[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,
[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden’s example.
Ray McGovern 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. On the afternoon of the day (Feb. 5, 2003) Secretary of State Colin Powell misled the UN Security Council on Iraq, VIPS sent an urgent memorandum to President George W. Bush, in which we gave Powell a C minus for content. We ended the memo with this:“No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is irrefutable or undeniable [as Powell had claimed]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion beyond … the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, after a five-year study by his committee, described the intelligence used to “justify” war on Iraq as “unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.”
As an act of conscience, on March 2, 2006 Ray returned the Intelligence Commendation Medallion given him at retirement for “especially meritorious service,” explaining, “I do not want to be associated, however remotely, with an agency engaged in torture.” He returned it to Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R, Michigan), then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman.
This week’s show takes a closer look at secrecy and cover up of the attack on the ‘consulate’ at Benghazi and the upcoming legal defense of NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden. Our guests are Melvin Goodman and David K. Colapinto
More about this week’s guests:
Melvin Goodman is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University. He was division chief and senior analyst at the Office of Soviet Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency from 1976 to 1986. He was a senior analyst at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, State Department from 1974 to 1976. He was an intelligence adviser to the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks in Vienna and Washington. He is co-author of The Wars of Edvard Shevardnadze (2nd edition, 2001), The Phantom Defense, America’s Pursuit of the Star Wars Illusion (2001); Bush League Diplomacy; How the Neoconservatives are Putting the World at Risk (2004); Failure of Intelligence: the Decline and Fall of the CIA (2008). Goodman’s latest book, National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism.
David K. Colapinto is a nationally recognized whistleblower advocate with expertise in government fraud and qui tam cases and whistleblower retaliation cases. He has successfully represented many whistleblowers in state and federal courts and before numerous agencies. A key attorney in several cases of national interest, Mr. Colapinto represented the leading whistleblower in a major qui tam fraud action against the drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb, helping to recover more than $500 million for U.S. taxpayers and the government under the False Claims Act in 2007. He has also played a central role in securing whistleblower protection for FBI employees, such as the firm’s successful efforts on behalf of Fredric Whitehurst, the forensics expert who suffered recriminations after reporting poor lab practices at the bureau.