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:
- The Real Rationale for the 2nd Amendment that Right-Wingers are Totally Ignorant About with Robert Parry
- Understanding Middle East Power Struggles – Moving Beyond the Notion of Sunni-Shi’i Conflict with Najam Haider
More about this week’s guests:
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. He is the founding editor of Consortium News (founded in 1995) as the Internet’s first investigative magazine. He saw it as a way to combine modern technology and old-fashioned journalism to counter the increasing triviality of the mainstream U.S. news media. Robert’s best known stories about Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare (CIA manual provided to the Nicaraguan contras) and the CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US scandal in 1985 continue to be very important and you should read them NOW if you have not already done so. He was awarded the George Polk Award for National Reporting in 1984. He has written six books:
- Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, The Press & Project Truth (1992)
- Trick or Treason: The October Surprise Mystery (1993)
- The October Surprise X-Files: The Hidden Origins of the Reagan-Bush Era (1996)
- Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq (2004)
- Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush (2007)
- America’s Stolen Narrative: From Washington and Madison to Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes to Obama (2012)
Najam Haider, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion, completed his PhD at Princeton University (2007), M.Phil. at Oxford University (2000), and BA at Dartmouth College (1997). His courses bridge the gap between the classical and modern Muslim worlds with a particular emphasis on the impact of colonization on Islamic political and religious discourse. Prof. Haider’s research interests include early Islamic history, the methodology and development of Islamic law, and Shi‘ism. His first book entitled The Origins of the Shi‘a was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011 and focused on the role of ritual and sacred space in the formation of Shī‘ī identity. His second book (Shī‘ī Islam – Cambridge 2014) offered a comprehensive overview of three branches of Shī‘ī Islam – Zaydī, Twelver, and Ismā‘īlī – through a framework of theology and memory. His current project focuses on the link between early Islamic historical writing and Late Antique and Classical Rhetoric.
- Shī‘ī Islam: An Introduction (Cambridge 2014)
- Law and Religion in Classical Islamic Thought, eds. Michael Cook, Najam Haider, Intisar Rabb, Asma Sayeed (Palgrave: 2013).
- “The Geography of the Isnād: Possibilities for the Reconstruction of Local Ritual Practice in the 2nd/8th Century,” Der Islam 90 (2013):306-346.
- “A Kufan Jurist in Yemen: Contextualizing Muhammad b. Sulayman al-Kufī’s Kitāb al-Mutakhab,” Arabica 59 (2012): 200-17
- The Origins of the Shi‘a: Identity, Ritual, and Sacred Space in 8th century Kufa (Cambridge 2011)
On The Monitor this week:
- The Saudi attack on Yemen is using Billions of dollars worth of US-supplied weapons. Is the US-Saudi relationship contributing to instability in the region? We talk with William Hartung
- The White House Military proposes a ban on the federal provision of some types of military-style equipment to local police departments and a restriction on the availability of others. How does this impact the problem of police-community relations? We talk with Justin Hansford
More about this week’s guests:
William Hartung is a senior advisor to the Security Assistance Monitor and the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. He just wrote the piece “It’s Not Diplomacy, It’s an Arms Fair,” about the White House “summit” with leaders from Arabian Peninsula monarchies which states: “In its first five years in office, the Obama administration entered into formal agreements to transfer over $64 billion in arms and defense services to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, with about three-quarters of that total going to Saudi Arabia. And new offers worth nearly $15 billion have been made to Riyadh in 2014 and 2015. Items on offer to GCC states have included fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, radar planes, refueling aircraft, air-to-air missiles, armored vehicles, artillery, small arms and ammunition, cluster bombs, and missile defense systems.”
Hartung is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (Nation Books, 2011) and the co-editor, with Miriam Pemberton, of Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Press, 2008). His previous books include And Weapons for All (HarperCollins, 1995), a critique of U.S. arms sales policies from the Nixon through Clinton administrations. From July 2007 through March 2011, Mr. Hartung was the director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. Prior to that, he served as the director of the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute. He also worked as a speechwriter and policy analyst for New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams. Bill Hartung’s articles on security issues have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and the World Policy Journal. He has been a featured expert on national security issues on CBS 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News, the Lehrer Newshour, CNN, Fox News, and scores of local, regional, and international radio outlets. He blogs for the Huffington Post and TPM Café.
Recent news coverage: A representative of Doctors Without Boarders has a piece in the Washington Post on Thursday: “The Saudi-led blockade is devastating Yemen.” Earlier this week, AP reported: “Iran’s navy said Tuesday it will protect an aid ship traveling to Yemen.”
Justin Hansford is an Assistant Professor at the University of St. Louis School of Law. Professor Hansford’s research incorporates legal history, legal ethics, critical race theory, human rights, and the Global Justice Movement in a broader attempt to interrogate injustice in society. He has a B.A. from Howard University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a founder of The Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives. He joined the law faculty after clerking for Judge Damon Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and he has received a prestigious Fulbright Scholar award to study the legal career of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
Living just 10 minutes from Ferguson, Hansford has been at the forefront of legal organizing and advocacy in the aftermath of the murder of Mike Brown. He co-authored the Ferguson to Geneva human rights shadow report, accessible at http://fergusontogeneva.org/(link is external), and accompanied the Ferguson Protesters and Mike Brown’s family to Geneva, Switzerland to testify at the United Nations. He has served as a policy advisor for proposed post-Ferguson reforms at the local, state, and federal level, testifying before the Ferguson Commission, the Missouri Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission, and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
As a result of his work in Ferguson, Hansford has been featured in the USA Today, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Ebony, and the Globe and Mail, and he has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, National Public Radio other national and local news outlets. He has been honored by the National Bar Association as one of the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40, selected as an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar by the Aspen Institute, and recently was named by Revolt TV as one of the 25 New Leaders of Social Justice.
Here is Hansford’s testimony before the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Background: The New York Times reports: “President Obama on Monday will ban the federal provision of some types of military-style equipment to local police departments and sharply restrict the availability of others, administration officials said.”
Guest Quote: “This seems like a step in the right direction. But remember, neither Mike Brown, Freddie Gray, nor Eric Garner were killed with grenade launders or tanks. Racial targeting and anti-black police violence can survive demilitarization. At the base, the danger is that this is a way to ‘deracialize’ the debate, and make it about anything other than race. But even so, militarization plays a role in the eagerness police have to use force in black communities, and the use of militarized tactics in SWAT raids of the type that killed Ayanna Jones in Detroit. It limits police officers’ ability to relate to people as individuals, or to find ways to resolve conflicts without resorting to force. Currently, many American police see minority communities not as citizens but as enemies and targets. Militarization makes it worse.”
On The Monitor this week:
- Hillary Clinton makes her candidacy for President official. How much space is there on the American left to criticize her track record or to express concern about her foreign policy positions? We talk with with Stephen Zunes
- Saudi aggression in Yemen – what is the US role in this conflict and what is really going on there? We talk with Sheila Carapico
More about this week’s guests:
Dr. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as coordinator of the program in Middle Eastern Studies. Recognized as one the country’s leading scholars of U.S. Middle East policy and of strategic nonviolent action, Professor Zunes serves as a senior policy analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies, an associate editor of Peace Review, a contributing editor of Tikkun, and co-chair of the academic advisory committee for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.
He is the author of scores of articles for scholarly and general readership on Middle Eastern politics, U.S. foreign policy, international terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, strategic nonviolent action, and human rights. He is the principal editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell Publishers, 1999), the author of the highly-acclaimed Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003) and co-author (with Jacob Mundy) of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University Press, 2010.)
Stephen writes about Middle East-related topics frequently. Even though we are discussing Yemen with our second guest, Stephen’s recent articles are well worth a read: How U.S. policy contributed to Yemen’s chaos and Powerful nonviolent resistance to armed conflict in Yemen
He has also been discussing Hillary in his writings for several years. Here is an article from 2007 – Hillary Clinton on International Law: When it comes to human rights around the world, Hillary Clinton is little more than Bush Lite.
Sheila Carapico is a professor of political science and international studies at the University of Richmond in Virginia. She is the author of Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia and Political Aid and Arab Activism: Democracy Promotion, Justice, and Representation
She recently wrote the piece “A Call to Resist Saudi (and U.S.) Aggression in Yemen,” which states: “Saudi Arabia is an oppressive, reactionary regime historically resistant to progressive movements in Yemen and elsewhere. It is also a linchpin in the U.S.-NATO military industrial complex and the endless war on terror. This war risks regional escalation and conflagration. Already, autocratic leaders of Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco and Pakistan (whose citizens are skeptical) seem to have agreed to join the fight, with Egypt reportedly preparing to send 40,000 ground troops. Arab League leaders meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, last weekend ordered the Houthis to surrender and pledged to create a joint Arab military force. The pretext of the ‘legitimacy’ of the Gulf Cooperation Council-anointed administration is a figment of hegemonic imagination. Public opinion inside Yemen is kaleidoscopic and mercurial, but few accept this excuse for intervention.
The Sunni versus Shi’a sectarian narrative misrepresents Yemenis’ multiple proclivities for partisan, regional and class-based leadership. If anything, the escalating war pits the billionaire royal elites of the Gulf against the downtrodden of the Peninsula. Bombardments are both terrifying and deadly. Attacks on al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced persons in Hajjah governorate, a dairy factory near Hodeida and other locations have left dozens of non-combatants dead, according to human rights groups. The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, says ‘the country seems to be on the verge of total collapse.'”
On The Monitor this week:
- Mathew Hoh on the futility and likely counterproductive results of U.S. military action against ISIS/ISIL
- Bruce Fein on the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)
More about this week’s guests:
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).
Quote: I am in opposition to the US being involved militarily in the civil wars in Iraq and Syria, as I foresee the results being the same as previous US interventions: escalation of the wars, mass suffering of the Iraqi and Syrian people, and a waste of American lives and treasury. Despite the Administration’s claims, this authorization is not limited, it simply pushes the decision for the US to remain at war in Iraq and Syria to the next president; it allows for ground troops, just not “enduring” ground troops, an incredibly subjective description; and it offers no path to peace and reconciliation in Iraq and Syria, just the promise of Americans killing and dying in the middle of two civil wars. In its coda the authorization does repeal the 2002 authorization for President Bush to invade Iraq, which is the genesis of these wars and of the Islamic State, but rather than serving as a cautionary historical blunder to protect our leaders from repeating a tragedy, it simply is written as a preceding and out dated legal necessity.
On this week’s show:
- The A-Z of Nelson Mandela – an interview with Danny Schechter
- Closing Arguments of Hancock Drone Resisters on trial Jan 3-31, 2014 for symbolically blocking all 3 gates at Hancock Air National Guard Base in DeWitt, NY by Drone Protestor Ed Kinane
Danny Schechter, is an American journalist and a documentary filmmaker who made six non-fiction films with Mandela and who was asked personally by the filmmakers of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom to make a three-hour television documentary about the making of the forthcoming film. Schechter has worked in South Africa since the 1960s, which has given him unprecedented access to insiders. Schechter wrote about the liberation struggle and produced a TV news magazine for three years in its most crucial years from l988-91. Having worked both in public television and for CNN and ABC News, Schechter has also been part of the anti-apartheid movement globally as an activist, earning him the confidence of many anti-apartheid leaders. Danny is a long-time activist in the anti-apartheid movement, has known Nelson Mandela for more than forty years and is in the unique position to comment on Mandela’s incredible legacy while not shying away from discussing the suffering that is still happening in South Africa. A completely unique biography and thematic telling of the story of Nelson Mandela, Madiba A to Z: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela, draws on Danny’s relationship with Madiba, and he collaborated closely with the makers of the major motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Each chapter corresponds to a letter of the alphabet, and the letters cover major and minor, unexpected and fascinating themes in Mandela’s life and his impact on others. The book quotes liberally from Mandela himself, his ex-wives and other family members, global leaders, Mandela’s cellmates and guards on Robben Island, the team behind Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, former president F. W. de Klerk, members of the South African Police, and his comrades including his successor as president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki. Madiba A to Z reveals sides of Nelson Mandela that are not often discussed and angles of the anti-apartheid movement that most choose to brush under the table in order to focus on the happy-ending version of the story. As Schechter reports in the book, according to Thabo Mbeki, “the fundamental problems of South Africa, poverty, inequality, have remained unchanged since 1994.” There are many rarely spoken of revelations in Madiba A to Z, a book about Mandela’s brilliance, his courage, his tremendous impact in saving his country and its people of all races, but one that also shows how far South Africa still has to go.
Ed Kinane is with Upstate Drone Action in Syracuse. He was on The Monitor last month to discuss the case. This week we play audio of the closing statement he made in court on January 31st, just 3 days ago.
More about Ed: He has long been committed to nonviolence and social justice. Ed is a retired educator. He used to teach math and biology in a one-room Quaker school in rural Kenya and anthropology in a community college near Seattle. He is also a writer of letters to the editor, op-eds, articles and reviews. Off and on since the seventies he has been an editor of the Syracuse Peace Council’s Peace Newsletter.
During the late eighties and early nineties Ed worked with Peace Brigades International providing protective accompaniment to local activists in Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti and Sri Lanka threatened by death squads (some financed by U.S. military aid). Ed was chair of PBI’s Sri Lanka Project and a member of the PBI national coordinating committee.
During the mid- and late-nineties Ed worked closely with School of the Americas Watch, a grassroots organization seeking to expose and close the U.S. Army’s notorious anti-insurgency training school at Fort Benning, Georgia. For his protests against the SOA Ed has twice served time in federal prisons. Upon his release, he served on the SOA Watch national board.
The White House assassinates American citizens and Americans occupy Wall Street.
Our guests this week are Pardiss Kebriaei and Nomi Prins
Pardiss Kebriaei joined the Center Constitutional Rights in July 2007. Since then, her work has focused on representing men detained at Guantánamo Bay in their habeas corpus challenges, before international human rights tribunals, in diplomatic advocacy with foreign governments to secure resettlement for men who cannot return home, and in post-release reintegration efforts. Her clients have included men from Yemen, Syria, Algeria, and Afghanistan. Her work includes seeking accountability for torture and arbitrary detention at Guantánamo, including representing the families of two men who died at the prison in June 2006 in their action against Donald Rumsfeld and other federal officials in Al-Zahrani v. Rumsfeld. Separate from Guantánamo, she is also counsel in Al-Aulaqi v. Obama, which concerns targeted killings by the executive in zones outside of armed conflict. Pardiss came to CCR after five years at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she specialized in international litigation. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Northwestern University, where she earned a degree in cello performance.
Quote: “In dismissing our complaint, the district court noted that there were nonetheless ‘disturbing questions’ raised by the authority being asserted by the United States. There certainly are disturbing questions that need to be asked again, and answered by the U.S. government about the circumstances of the killing and the legal standard that governed it.”
Further information on CCR’s challenge to targeted killings is online at: http://ccrjustice.org/targetedkillings
Nomi Prins is a journalist and Senior Fellow at Demos. a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization working with advocates and policymakers around the country in pursuit of four overarching goals: a more equitable economy with widely shared prosperity and opportunity; a vibrant and inclusive democracy with high levels of voting and civic engagement; an empowered public sector that works for the common good; and responsible U.S. engagement in an interdependent world.
She is the author of It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street (Wiley, September, 2009) and Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America (The New Press, October 2004), a devastating exposé into corporate corruption, political collusion and Wall Street deception. Jacked: How “Conservatives” are Picking your Pocket (whether you voted for them or not) (Polipoint Press, Sept. 2006) catalogs her travels around the USA; talking to people about their economic lives: card by card–issue by issue. Before becoming a journalist, Nomi worked on Wall Street as a managing director at Goldman Sachs, and running the international analytics group at Bear Stearns in London. She has an historical novel, Black Tuesday, coming out on 10/18.
“Unbridled bank speculation, fraudulent inflation of home and security values, corruption, government subsidization, and lack of accountability tanked the economy and inflated the wealth gap leaving the citizenry of the world financially devastated in its wake. Never before have the governments of the world united so cohesively to back Wall Street practices and bets. “Business as usual on Wall Street is not an option. Business as usual on Wall Street has decimated our country and planet. Banks must be brought to account. The wealth gap cannot continue to grow so Wall Street can keep sucking the financial blood from individuals as governments enable the extraction: “No more federal stimulation for banks at the expense of citizens. “No more bank lobbyists buying the politicians we voted for. “No more government subsidies to make big banks bigger. “No more dumping their risk and losses on the global population while banks accumulate profits. “No more zero percent money from the Fed to banks that don’t help borrowers restructure mortgages to avoid foreclosure. “No more secret loans to banks when they face ’emergencies’ while individuals get hosed and go bankrupt. “No more mega-banks — break them up a la Glass-Steagall. Let failed ones burn in the financial ashes of their own risk. “No more kid-gloves on prosecutions and BS little fines — prosecute banks and bank leaders to the fullest extent of the law for securities fraud and grand larceny. “No more job cuts because banks won’t lend to small businesses. “No more banks parking $1.6 trillion of excess reserves at the Fed doing nothing productive for the economy. “No more business as usual on Wall Street.”