Articles and Interviews by John Robles From July 01, 2010 to December 29, 2011
On this page you will find interviews with, and articles by: The Occupy Movement, Michael John Smith, Giovanni Di Stefano, Captain John Cox, Polish Air Crash, NATO First Strike, Douglas Moss, Professor Thomas Johnson, Dr. Alon Ben Meir, J.M. Berger, Rick Rozoff, Professor Anita Dancs, Ivan Eland, Irene Steffas, John Robles, Michal Olszacki, Suzette Bronkhorst, Professor Marjorie Cohn, Omar Turbi, Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Professor Gary G. Sick, Professor Kevin Barrett, Bill Csapo, Nabil Rajab President Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Marisa Holmes, Sarah Page, Palestinian Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour, Deacon Youssef Hanna, Jordan LeDoux, Noah Rothman, Tim Summers, Artyom Raskin, Professor David Post, Kelly Meers, Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin, Sarah Page, Calvin Tucker, Noah Rothman
Michael John Smith
John Robles links up with Michael John Smith, who was convicted of being a soviet spy in England, on a recent arrest of 11 individuals in the USA on supposed spying charges.
John Robles links up with Michael John Smith, who was convicted of being a soviet spy in England, on a recent arrest of 11 individuals in the USA on supposed spying charges.
5 August 2010, 13:28
Giovanni Di Stefano
Giovanni Di Stefano
Moved to DiStefano Page
John Robles interview with the international lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano on the Yevgeny Chichvarkin extradition. John Robles : “Voice of Russia” world service. This is John Robles. I’m speaking with the international lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano on the Yevgeny Chichvarkin extradition.
Praise for Russian Professionalism in the Smolensk Crash Investigation
Interview with Captain John Cox, the chief executive officer of Safety Operating Systems in Washington DC and a world renowned aviation expert, on the Katyn air disaster draft report and the reaction by Polish authorities.
Blame for Polish Crash Lies in the Cockpit
Interview with Douglas Moss, President of AeroPacific Consulting in Torrance, Callifornia on Smolensk air disaster which led to the death of Polish President
US Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan
Prof. Thomas Johnson , the Director of the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies at the Naval Postgraduate Institute in Monterey, California, and the topic is the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan that was announced last week by President Obama.
Our today’s guest is Prof. Thomas Johnson, the Director of the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies at the Naval Postgraduate Institute in Monterey, California, and the topic is the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan that was announced last week by President Obama.
Middle East perspectives
Our guest is Dr. Alon Ben Meir , a Middle East Expert and Professor from the Center for Global Affairs at the New York University. We’re discussing the situation in the entire Middle East and particularly in Afghanistan.
Our guest is Dr. Alon Ben Meir, a Middle East Expert and Professor from the Center for Global Affairs at the New York University. We’re discussing the situation in the entire Middle East and particularly in Afghanistan.
Interview with J.M. Berger, the editor of INTELWIRE.COM and the author of the book Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam . My first question for you is regarding the new counter-terrorism strategy of the US. What does the new strategy entail for the Middle East and the US overall?Interview with J.M. Berger, the editor of INTELWIRE.COM and the author of the book Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam . My first question for you is regarding the new counter-terrorism strategy of the US. What does the new strategy entail for the Middle East and the US overall?
Interview with J.M. Berger, the editor of INTELWIRE.COM and the author of the book Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam.
My first question for you is regarding the new counter-terrorism strategy of the US. What does the new strategy entail for the Middle East and the US overall?
The new strategy is in some way more of the same. But in other way there are some interesting shifts. The new focus of our counter-terrorism strategy is now on the homeland as opposed to the war on more broad war on terrorism terminology that has been used before. And specifically it is targeting al-Qaeda, as it was said at the conference, at which it was announced that this is the war on al-Qaeda, it’s not a war on terrorism. That said, the strategy is unveiled as some very broad definitions of what is al-Qaeda, and its affiliates, and its adherents. So, there is a lot of latitude for the US government, and they are going to go after that under this policy.
What condition is al-Qaeda currently in?
Al-Qaeda is somewhat weakened at the moment, relatively for the last couple of years, since the death of bin Laden. Exactly how much is not clear, and it will not be clear for some time. For some time, obviously, since September 11, al-Qaeda is fractured into a number of organizations that have presence in countries that it did not have strong presence in previously, though there is no one-to-one comparison. The Core al-Qaeda, the actual al-Qaeda that carried out September 11 attack is certainly under a heavy pressure right now. But it’s definitely unraveling in a lot of places, including in Yemen, where the civil War is providing them a lot of room to operate and to increase their support.
There were reports that, for example, in Libya there were al-Qaeda affiliated mercenaries that were actually being supported by the US government and, I believe, NATO. Can you say anything about that?
There are elements within the Libyan opposition that have historical links to al-Qaeda. The question is what happening there now. The Libyan Islamic fighting group has largely been defunct prior to the revolution, and some of the people involved with that group, which is closely linked to al-Qaeda, now have a role in what’s going on. We are also hearing reports – and it’s very hard to verify these – that al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, in North Africa is taking advantage of the chaos to arm itself and siphon off weapons and supplies from the legitimate opposition in Libya itself.
What changes can we expect for example in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East overall with the new changes in strategy? Is there anything we are going to see in the near future because of that?
The new strategy does have a very wide definition of groups that are affiliated with al-Qaeda and that the state is reserving the right to strike against, and that probably had the most bearing on pact stand. There are a lot of Jihadist groups in Pakistan – some of which are very loosely connected to al-Qaeda – that could be considered part of al-Qaeda under this strategy. And it’s not clear in terms of where we are going to be headed in terms of dealing with these groups or taking action in Pakistan and in the border region along Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Are there going to be internal changes in the country?
Nothing visible. There is certainly an increase focused on homegrown extremism. We’ve had a lot of cases very recently, in which American citizens have taken up arms and are carrying out terrorist attacks with little links to al-Qaeda overseas. That’s the big concern right now, and there’s a big focus on that. However, so far, US law enforcement has been very effective against these guys. The FBI have been very aggressive in moving on them. They have very good relationships in the community and people come forward and report when they hear someone is planning violence. And basically, if you have four guys in the room talking about Jihad, one of them is an FBI informant.
I’ve read the term “the lone wolf terrorist” on the net – someone who is being indoctrinated or driven by somebody online, al-Qaeda or something. Is that a real threat for America?
It’s a concern. This hasn’t occurred so far, but, I tell you, there is a movement towards “lone wolf terrorist”, which something called individual Jihad or vigorous Jihad. Al-Qaeda has been pushing for some time. It’s been trying to get people step up and take action with no contact to al-Qaeda at all. This hasn’t been dramatically successful. This principle is based on something that happened in White Supremacy’s communities in this country some years back. It offered rigorous resistance in the 1980s and was a real failure.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I think this policy is pretty broad, and I think we need to start nailing down what the parameters of a war on terrorism are, because it’s not clear to me where we draw the line, how far we are willing not to go in fighting al-Qaeda.
I think it’s been brought from the very beginning that technically terrorism is a method – it’s not a group or an individual.
The difference now is that it’s officially very broad. The definition for al-Qaeda affiliates in this strategy is really extraordinarily broad. At the same time we are refocusing on homeland. We are also widening the arch of targeting people we consider to be terrorists. I’d like to see more precision in how we talk about this issue, and I don’t think the new strategy does that.
Why do you think it’s so broad? Could it be that they don’t know who they are fighting against?
You have to give some credit to the nature of terrorist network. Terrorist networks are by design shadowy and difficult to evaluate. So, I think they are ok with dealing the death mission abroad. But it’s really not just a government problem. The trick of working on a project about this right now is that there are really no two people talking about al-Qaeda necessarily mean the same thing when they say al-Qaeda. And I think that it’s something that we – the media, academics, journalists, scholars and government –need to come together and really agree on what we are talking about.
What would cause an American to go on a Jihad against America?
There are a lot of reasons. They are a very diverse group. There is no single profile for them, but the one thing that almost everybody who takes part in it shares – is the belief that Islam is under attack. People, doing the attack, change over the years. It was the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the Serbs in 1990s, and today it’s perceived to be the US. Rightly or wrongly, these guys believe that Islam and Muslims are under deliberate attack. And they are responding to that.
Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to the web site Global Research.ca. My first question regards Russia, and NATO, and the integrated ABM shield that Russia has been, for want of a better word, pushing for. Implementing a sectoral defence architecture is what Russia was looking for.
Professor Anita Dancs
I’m speaking with Prof. Anita Dancs , a Professor of Economics at Western New England University and contributed to the Costs of War study, recently released by Brown University. In your study you went into the costs of war.
I’m speaking with Prof. Anita Dancs, a Professor of Economics at Western New England University and contributed to the Costs of War study, recently released by Brown University.
In your study you went into the costs of war. Are there any economic benefits from the war that might offset, in the long run or in the short term, the outlays for the wars, such as reconstruction contracts, cheaper oil, etc?
Certainly, every time the government spends money, it contributes to what economists call aggregate demand and increases GDP. The problem with looking at that rather simple economic analysis is that there are opportunity costs of that money. All of the money being spent to wage war in Afghanistan, Iraq or whatever could have been spent on other types of economic activities, for example education or renewable energy to replace the oil, which we increasingly import. One of the contributors did a study showing that when you spend on these other types of economic activities, such as education or renewable energy, you actually can create more jobs than you can through military spending. So, in reality, economic benefit from waging war is what economists call a “broken window policy”. Yes, if you break the window it increases GDP, but really wouldn’t it be better to spend that money on other things that have more substantial long-run benefits to our economy?
$4 trillion. That’s a lot of money. Most of us can’t imagine that much. Can you give our listeners a bit of an idea of, if that was spent on creating jobs, hiring teachers or something, how much could $4 trillion buy to help the American public?
Certainly, if we just look at what was spent on military prosecution in Iraq and Afghanistan, we see that millions more jobs could have been created, if we had spent the money on something else, on education, on health care, on the smart grid, on mass transit, what have you. You can see those figures for yourself if you come to the website CostsOf War.org.
As an economist, have you seen any change in Obama’s policies as opposed to those of former president George Bush?
I don’t see a great change. But I think there is some prospect for a change. But, certainly, the Obama Administration began certain policies and reversed certain policies with respect to the war on terror. So, I think the future is still open-ended. I think we, as Americans, still have a chance to change our future and change our destiny as far as the so-called war on terror. But I have to say that the Obama Administration hasn’t changed the policies that much from the Bush Administration.
I’ve recently spoken with counterterrorism experts and some other experts. And they all said about the same thing – they don’t know why the US is in the Afghanistan, for example. Economically, do you see any reason why the US is in Afghanistan?
Well, no. Certainly, the economic benefit of the US waging the war in Afghanistan is really nothing, because, again, if we could spend these amounts of money in other ways that would be more beneficial to our economy. Certainly, from an economic perspective there is no gain to the war in Afghanistan.
No reconstruction contracts, or cheaper oil? Nothing like that?
The war in Afghanistan isn’t going to lead to cheaper oil. It’s not clear if any war is going to lead to cheaper oil. I think the long-run prospect is to reduce the oil dependency through changing our policy, not through waging war. And I think from a moral standpoint, not even from an economic standpoint, but both from an economic and moral standpoint, it’s ridiculous to think that we should wage war in order to secure cheaper oil. But certainly, the economics don’t really make sense. We could build up an infrastructure in the US that’s better for our economy, that reduces our dependency on oil. So, no, I don’t think there are real economic benefits to be had.
The reason of your study was to get the government to be a little bit more open on the actual costs being spent. Do you think many of the war on terror costs have been hidden under the blanket of security? And who is taking advantage of this – if anyone?
Yes, I think there’s been an amazing amount of propaganda around security, and the war of terror, if anything, has undermined our security and created more hostility towards the US around the world. It’s widely perceived by Muslims as a crusade. So, I think, clearly, it hasn’t added to American security. And at the same time it has undermined, I would argue, our economy.
Did you have any obstacles in doing your study? Did you run up into any brick walls of areas, where you couldn’t get information?
I think the biggest issue with doing a study like this is that it’ an ongoing project, a project that many more researchers need to work on. We’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg, as far as showing what these costs are and measuring them in quantitative ways. I think there’s just a lot more of work to be done to come up with quality estimates around what the real costs are, whether they are human costs, social costs, economic costs. I just think there’s more work to be done.
Again, who is profiting from these wars – if anyone?
I think one of the side effects of the war on terror has been to create a new industry. We’ve always had defence contractors. But I think we’ve created this whole new industry around war profiteering. And I think that’s a problem. I think they are politically powerful, they are going to be part of our economic infrastructure in the future and they are going to weigh in on policy in ways that are really detrimental to the average American. So, yes, there is this whole new set of businesses all set up around the war on terror. That’s really problematic, and we are going to have to take that on and deal with that.
Interview with Rick Rozoff , the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca Canada has announced that they will be conducting large-scale exercises in the Arctic. NATO also announced claims on the Arctic. What can you say about the militarization of the Arctic?
Dr. Alon Ben Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben Meir, a Middle East expert and a professor from the Centre for Global Affairs at New York University. I have some questions today regarding the situation in Egypt. Why have tensions escalated again? There is general dissatisfaction with the way things have been developing since Mubarak’s departure.
14 July 2011, 13:02
Dr. Alon Ben Meir
Dr. Alon Ben Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben Meir, a Middle East expert and a professor from the Centre for Global Affairs at New York University. There is no shortage of goods in Gaza, right? Absolutely not. And I want to emphasize that even Hamas will tell you that there are no shortages of medicine or food in Gaza.
20 July 2011, 17:45
Interview with Ivan Eland, the Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty. I’d like to ask you a few questions today regarding the transfer of power to the Afghani forces in Afghanistan. The Bamyan Province has been handed over to Afghan control.
Interview with Ivan Eland, the Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty.
I’d like to ask you a few questions today regarding the transfer of power to the Afghani forces in Afghanistan. The Bamyan Province has been handed over to Afghan control. Some of the experts are saying that they might as well have just handed the territory to the Taliban, since, in many experts’ opinion, the Afghan security forces are not ready to provide full security in the country. What’s your opinion on the readiness of the Afghan troops?
Of course, the Afghan forces after almost ten years of training still have a problem with corruption, education, lack of training, discipline and that sort of thing. So they are not very effective fighting force. And I think this is not their choice. I mean this is the best case scenario, so I am not surprised they are turning over the provinces. But I think it’s going to get worse as we go on.
Do you think the Taliban will take over, gain more power, as NATO and US forces withdraw from the country?
Definitely, I think the Afghan security forces are not ready to be on their own and that’s after almost ten years of training by the US, there are problems with corruption, discipline and education. And, of course, they have been infiltrated to some extent by the Taliban themselves. I think the key question is not whether the U.S. can clear provinces, even having problems such as Khandahar and the Helmand Province in the south – because, yes, the US has simply outgunned the Talban with the best military in the world – the problem is who we will turn it over to. And that is the problem, and it is going to be a problem until the US withdraws and even after the US withdraws it’s going to be a problem even worse. So, I think that the real problem in Afghanistan, is that after ten years we don’t have anybody to turn it over to.
Do you think that Obama’s plan to withdraw forces was premature?
You know, we had ten years or thereabouts and they are not winning it, and the military never said they could win it. They were just trying to change the battelfield equation, so that the Taliban would negotiate. Of course, that hasn’t worked. It didn’t work in Vietnam. And the problem is that the Taliban, like the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong, were fighting for their own country and in their own country. And so is the Taliban, therefore the time horizon that they have, they are willing to wait a lot longer to get rid of the United States. And of course, the Afghans could then go on fighting for decades, such as the Vietnamese were fighting for decades. So I think the strategy, if you are a guerilla is to just out-wait the opponent, and if you are not losing or winning, because eventually your opponent is going to go away, and I think announcing it is probably foolish. But, nevertheless, I think Obama’s policy of getting out is the right one, because I don’t think they’re going to win that if they announce it or not. it’s time to leave.
Commanders there, on the ground, are saying it’s too early, and any advances that were made are just going to, basically, go out of the window. Would you agree with that statement?
I think, well, I don’t think it’s too early, because military people will always tell you, “Oh, we’ve got to stay, because we have all this invested.” But of course if its perishable, as it is, because the Afghan security forces are not very good, despite, one: more Americans got killed, more Afghans get killed, and we reach the same result, which is what happened in Vietnam, and I think what you need to do is cut your losses and get out of there. And, you know, “They lose credibility arguments” and that sort of thing just as they did in Vietnam – but US credibility would have been higher if they had gotten out earlier in Vietnam than staying around. And I think the US, if they ride the sinking ship down, it’s going to experience the same thing that happened in Vietnam. So, I think we have to concentrate on what’s important – and that’s fighting terrorism, not doing nation building in Afghanistan.
I was going to ask you if you thought that, in your opinion: Has the US won in any way in Afghanistan? You keep mentioning Vietnam. I think that kind of answers that question. In your opinion, what advances have been made in Afghanistan, if any?
There have been advances, I think, in rural education and some infrastructure. But the problem is that it’s very perishable and I think that’s always been a problem, you can pour racks of money into a country but if it’s not sustainable after you leave. Then worse. It’s a waste of time, at best it’s a waste of time, worse you’ve created a lot of infrastructure to help the future Taliban government, which is probably not going to be that kind to the United States. I doubt that it’s going to come out very well for the US.
I ask most of the experts I speak with this question, if we are talking about Afghanistan, and nobody has been able to give me a definitive answer: Why is the US in Afghanistan?
That’s probably because there is not a big definitive answer to give. Originally of course they had wanted to overthrow the Taliban government, because they had harbored al-Qaeda. But of course, once doing that, you know, the United States probably should have left. And just said, “Listen, we don’t care who rules Afghanistan, but if anybody harbors al-Qaeda and attacks the US we’re going to be back with a vengeance.” But the US chose to try a new model, rebuild the Afghan nation, and build a democracy, which the country is culturally contrary to. And also they are trying to build a centralized government when in recent history Afghanistan is very decentralized. So, we undertook this nation-building program and we are not really fighting al-Qaeda, which is what we were supposed to be doing. Al-Qaeda is in Pakistan and we are doing drone attacks. But that has nothing to do with Afghanistan.
You mentioned Vietnam several times. Would you characterize Afghanistan as being the US’s second Vietnam?
Yes, it could certainly be, because, I think, the fact is we are moving that way, the Taliban is not negotiating, we also said we are going to pull out. And therefore, it’s down to; either the Taliban will have a voice in post-US government or the Taliban will take over. And I think that’s what people on the ground, like human rights workers etc, are expecting. Contrary to the optimistic and praising, I should say cautiously optimistic, things we are hearing from the military. The military has to be “cautiously optimistic” because, if they don’t, morale of the soldiers goes down and also I think the public opinion will sink even further in the US about this war – and it’s pretty low already. So, they have no choice but to keep up an optimistic view. But I think people on the ground, international observers and even American aid workers and human rights workers are sort of expecting the Taliban to increase its influence as the US withdraws.
21 July 2011, 17:57
Interview with with Irene Steffas, an attorney accredited under The Hague International Convention on incoming and outgoing adoptions. I’d like to ask you some questions about the recent agreement on adoptions signed between the United States and Russia. Why was the US federal government reluctant to sign the agreement at the beginning?
Interview with with Irene Steffas, an attorney accredited under The Hague International Convention on incoming and outgoing adoptions.
I’d like to ask you some questions about the recent agreement on adoptions signed between the United States and Russia. Why was the US federal government reluctant to sign the agreement at the beginning?
Initially, all efforts are being made to everyone to follow the procedure under the Hague convention. And the US has not been very flexible and not willing to enter into any memorandums, as we understand it, or bilateral agreements. However, in this instance we made an exception and the exception is really one of nomenclature, just a name, because if you look at the essence of the agreement, many of the safeguards that are built into the new agreement are the same safeguards we have under The Hague convention.
I heard, one of the parts of the agreement calls for no more independent adoptions.
Only agencies authorized by the Russian government will be allowed to participate in the adoption process. Where could the parents that want to adopt a Russian child find such a list of agencies?
They are on the website of www.adoption.state.gov.
Are these accredited by the Russian government or by the US government or both?
These are the ones that have been accredited by the US authorities and then you have to actually inquire and ask: are you authorized to work in Russia? And agencies are going to tell you the truth on this because they are not actually going to be able to move a case forward if they are not certified to work in Russia.
What is entailed by part of the agreement? What’s that more complete information that will be given to the adopting parents on the adoptee? What is entailed by more complete information?
There is more emphasis in knowing who the adoptive parents are and training that they are going to receive that was not there in the past and also in having more certain understanding about the child. We now have a more formal child study, which will be one at the orphanage where the child has resided. It will require medical, family, social history. You know, getting good medical background makes the match more secure. We don’t want a family to adopt a child, who is uncomfortable dealing with the prosthesis.
Who is going to be overseeing this process? Is that both sides that are going to be responsible for that or is it the responsibility of the Russian side?
Let me walk you through the process. The US government, through the Department of Homeland Security, is going to certify the adoptive family.
This is a new procedure? Is this something new?
This is a little bit more involved than what we had in the past. Then the Russian authorities will say: we want this child to go to this specific adoptive family in the US. So the matching is not going to be done by an orphanage, it is not going to be done by an individual. The actual matching is done by the Russian authorities, which is your Department of Education.
Russia will now be able to receive reports on the children, on their well-being. How often will these reports be given and how reliable will they be and who will be administering them?
Let me dissect your question. The person who is responsible for getting those reports back to Russia is a US accredited agency. What was happening in the past – and I’ve seen it with my own eyes – is that sometimes agencies had these reports but they never made it to the right place in Russia. So one of the things that this agreement has done is identify exactly where these reports are going with some sort of a receipt system, so that we know, this agency sent a report and it was in fact received. And there will be no ifs and buts about that. We will have evidence that the report was sent and received. The frequency of the reports and for how many years these reports go on – that is a determination made by Russia. We have different requirements for different countries and what I can tell you is that the US adoption agencies and the US government work very hard to make sure there is compliance with getting those reports and getting them to the correct authority.
Who is going to oversee all this? Because normally this was the domain of state governments, and now the federal government is involved. So who exactly will be administering reports, doing checks and so on?
Let’s say we have ABC agency. And ABC agency is accredited in the US and also certified to work in Russia. However, the family lives in a different state, let’s say in Hawaii. And this agency does not have a branch office in Hawaii. The ABC agency will supervise an agency in Hawaii for the family’s home study and will also supervise that agency to make sure that those post-placement reports are done. Post-placement reports are always going to be sent to the accredited agency and then the accredited agency, also certified in Russia, is going to make sure that they get to the right place.
In summery, is this a positive thing?
Absolutely. This is a very good thing. Our two governments worked very hard together to keep inter-country adoptions open and also to improve the system that’s in place.
22 July 2011, 15:04
Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca in Canada. I want to ask you some questions about the transfer of command in Afghanistan from General Petraeusto General Allen. Do you see any definitive change in the situation in the country in the near future?
27 July 2011, 16:47
The portrait that has come out about the Norwegian terrorist is that of a nationalistic hate-filled individual created in part and fed by xenophobia, Islamophobia and hate. He is a result of the war on terror and a testament to the fact that hate breeds hate and violence breeds more violence. The architects of 9-11 must be laughing.
The portrait that has come out about the Norwegian terrorist is that of a nationalistic hate-filled individual created in part and fed by xenophobia, Islamophobia and hate. He is a result of the war on terror and a testament to the fact that hate breeds hate and violence breeds more violence.
The architects of 9-11 must be laughing. They have changed the entire thinking of the world. Osama Bin Laden, whom the West created to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, wanted to destroy Western civilization and has succeeded for a certain part. Now the hate and fear of Islam has caused a deranged individual to strike at his own people out of fear that they might be allowing Islam to attack his culture.
Yes, the post 9-11 world has changed. The U.S. has changed the most, and violence has led to more violence, and hate to more hate, with Americans becoming so calloused that they danced in the streets and in front of the White House when the U.S. committed the extra-judicial execution of Osama Bin Laden. Yes he was a bad man, a monster to everyone who believes he was solely responsible for 9-11, another event whose origin was hate, hate of Islam and disrespect for those who are different. But he was a human, and should have been tried in a court and given due process, not because he deserved it, but because the world deserved it. The West had the chance to prove that it has not sunk to the depths of barbarism, that it is morally superior, but once again it chose to go down the all-too-used road of violence.
All of this has led to the obvious outcome, of which we are likely to see more of the same. A lone killer driven to commit the worst act of violence Norway has seen since World War II and one of the most, if not the single most, horrific act of mass murder in modern history, has the world struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of what he has done. Close to 100 dead and hundreds of peaceful lives shattered. Anders Brehing Breivik has given the world a shock and what some say, should be a wakeup call.
What are the roots of the seething evil hate that must permeate what passes for a mind in this individual?
In his own words the 32-year-old monster says the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, as he put it; "tipped the scales" for him. As a hater of Muslims he supported what the West saw as Serbia's crackdown on Albanian Muslims. A year later he said he realized that what he saw as the "Islamisation of Europe" could not be stopped without violence. He also believed Muslims were trying to destroy Western culture.
In his much talked about “manifesto” he writes in detail about the reasons for his hate of Muslims and Marxists. He wrote they are the reason Europe is multicultural. A strange philosophy since he killed ethnic Norwegians on his rampage of terror.
Further pointing to neo-Nazi ideology is another organization with whom Breivik had ties and about which he talked about on his internet postings, the far right English Defense League. According to media reports he also had ties with other anti-Islamic European hate groups. Further underlining his far right racist thinking are articles and comments he published on sympathetic Scandinavian websites, including Nordisk, a site used by neo-Nazis, far right radicals and Islamophobes.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a U.S. based organization that tracks hate groups of every kind worldwide, connections between U.S. and European neo-Nazi group are strong and growing stronger. U.S. based neo-Nazi groups are protected by the First Amendment which guarantees freedom of speech and they publish material and set up Internet sites aimed at Europeans which publish material that is illegal under European anti-racism laws. Many European groups also use American servers for hosting, to avoid prosecution in their native countries.
Lastly, pointing to Breivik’s connection to American neo-Nazi, racist, anti-government thinking is part of his manifesto, which was taken almost verbatim from the manifesto of another infamous American terrorist, the "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski.
So what has the world come to? Some say the US lost its innocence after the Oklahoma City bombing, some say the world lost its own after 9-11. What is clear is that the world has gone astray. What kind of a world are we passing on to future generations when powerful states bomb weaker states to destroy terrorists and at the same time unintentionally kill innocent people and even children as it happens in Afghanistan or Iraq? A world, in many parts of which torture, war crimes, aggressive wars, terror and fear are the rule of the day and where force and hate are very often the only way people communicate? Where has the world gone wrong?
Are we now all to live in fear that one of these hate-filled individuals is going to kill our children? How many will it be next time?
Friedrich Nietzsche said: “Be careful what you hate, lest you become that which you hate”. Is that what has happened?
This home grown terrorist, another Osama Bin Laden, who hated Muslims, did exactly what those he was afraid of might have done, in his mind. So twisted in his hate was he, that he never once stopped to think as he was meticulously planning to kill his own people, whether there was something wrong with his own thinking.
Will we now drag this pathetic nobody, Breivik, into the street and torture him? God knows many would do that and even more to this sick nothing, and they would not be wrong in doing so, except for one thing and I think Martin Luther King Jr. said it best, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
1 August 2011, 19:54
When we talk about al-Qaeda, we are talking about, excuse me, Islamic terrorists and high-light religion in this aspect. But when it comes to someone who is of the Christian faith that’s downplayed. I think it’s a sort of double standard that we focus on religion in the case of al-Qaeda but not in the case of somebody like Breivik in Norway. — Ivan Eland, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in the US.
Interview with Ivan Eland, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in the US.
Recently you wrote an article on double standards in the West towards terrorism cases. Can you fill our listeners in on exactly what you mean?
Think of the Norway case, the way western media was talking about it. First it was the New York Times – I think it’s the leader in the western media – that called him a Christian extremist. Then they started calling him an anti-immigrant or anti-Islamic extremist, dropping the ‘Christian’ part out of it. This was a change but most of the media have called him an anti-immigrant terrorist. And, of course, when we talk about al-Qaeda, we are talking about, excuse me, Islamic terrorists and high-lighten religion in one aspect. But when it comes to someone who is of the Christian faith that’s downplayed. I really think that we should downplay religion in both Islamic and Christian cases, because a vast majority of people from these religions are not radical and do not commit terrorist acts. But I think it’s a sort of double standard that we focus on religion in the case of al-Qaeda but not in the case of somebody like Breivik in Norway.
Why can’t the world community agree on a concrete definition of a terrorist and terrorism?
A lot of this has problems in the western community. Surprisingly, it would seem that a simple definition would be ‘killing civilians to instill fear in civilians to get them to change the policy of their government’. And that’s a very simple, straightforward-working definition that many in the west, in the academic circles, can’t adopt because the fire bombings of Japan and Germany and atomic bombings of Japan and Germany would then be called terror bombings. But, of course, they are not regarded as terrorist acts. Government actions, not only of the US, but many other governments over the centuries have committed much more crimes against innocent civilians than smaller groups. It’s not an excuse to smaller groups like al-Qaeda or other Islamic or non-Islamic terrorist groups but it’s certainly adds perspective. And I think one of the reasons why western governments can’t agree on a definition is that it might implicate their own government for having used terrorist acts before.
You liken Hiroshima and Nagasaki to terrorist acts?
I think they were terrorist acts. But the problem is that we don’t consider that governments do terrorist. We only consider what little groups do nowadays. And certainly little groups can commit big crimes on occasion but usually they don’t. We see hundreds of thousands of people killed in fire bombings, in atomic bombings during World War II. Other governments have done the same to other people. So, governments kill on a mass scale – and this, not to mention the US government, but there have been many other instances of government killing on a mass scale. And government can kill on a mass scale – they have more resources than little groups. But, of course, the origin of the terms “terrorism” comes from governmental terrorism, but it’s now only used to describe ragtag groups, which actually don’t kill that many people. I mean since 9/11 17 Americans have been killed in terrorism and 13 of those were killed in one incident, in the massacre by a Killeen psychiatrist. And they certainly mentioned the fact that he was Islamic at the time, whether it had anything to do with it or not. I guess it did, to some extent, because he was tracked to other groups. As we see in the Oslo case, it’s not confined to people of Islamic faith.
Back to the Oslo case, Breivik was driven by Islamophobia. What’s your take on 9/11, on the western media promoting this point of view?
I think they have and I think the mainstream media does it indirectly by focusing on terminology like, as I’ve mentioned, al-Qaeda as an Islamic group. But if somebody else does that in something like abortion clinics or in this massacre in Oslo, they tend to focus on medicine or anti-immigrant terrorism, not Christian terrorism. They don’t call it Christian terrorism. We have a double standard there and I think we focus on that despite that mainstream media does it indirectly. But, of course, some commentators put more blame when they say Islam is a violent religion. Islam is not more a violent religion than any other religion. There are some violent passages in the Quran and there are some violent passages in the Old Testimony as well as in the New Testimony. Think religion has evolved over the centuries – both mainstream Christianity and mainstream Islam are very benign religions as far as terrorism or extremism goes. I think there are a number of people around this guy thinking that he’s a Christian crusader going back to the crusade. And al-Qaeda, they are the reverse – they were crusading on the Muslim side. I think that the conflict between Christianity and Islam is probably a clash of civilizations. But I think it’s really been prompted because it is a clash of civilizations that we can get along, but the extremists tend to focus on that. Breivik’s manifesto seems to be mirroring some of the al-Qaeda message in reverse – a reverse crusading or whatever. So, I think extremists have more in common with each other than they do differences in religion.
Some of the tactics of right-wing groups and some of the right-wing media is trying to provoke reactions from Muslims and from the Islamic community. Do you agree with that?
Yes, I think it’s definitely true. I suppose that’s what the Soviet Union wanted, some sort of an enemy. So, they need Islam, they’ve converted Islam into a new threat. And, of course, the reason that al-Qaeda the US has very little to do with religion, the religious side of the problem, rather it is mainly a revenge or a protest against US occupation of Muslim lands. I have no doubt about that. And these phenomena have hit other countries that occupy Islamic land as well, like for instance Israel in Palestine. I think it’s really more of an anti-meddling or anti-occupation rather than a religious theme.
So, you say that for some people its profitable or they need an enemy, and if they can provoke a reaction then they have what they want?
Yes, and I think there is a lot of racism involved in it as well. They don’t like immigrants, particularly Islamic immigrants who come from North Africa. They have a darker skin color than a normal European, or at least a Western European. And so there has been a lot of racism. I think it’s associated with anti-immigration and right-wing parties in Europe play on that.
2 August 2011, 19:25
Dr. Alon Ben Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben-Meir, a Middle East Expert and Professor from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University. I want to ask you some questions regarding the situation in Norway, in particular about islamophobia and the rise of anti-Islamic sentiments in Europe. Can you give us your insights into that?
Interview with Michal Olszacki, a Polish Political Analyst with the University of Reading . You did your dissertation in politics after the Smolensk air crash which killed the Polish President and more than 95 of the top government officials at the time. What was going on in Poland right after that? And why did they decide to politicize this disaster?
Interview with Suzette Bronkhorst, Secretary General of the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH). As an expert, can you give our listeners a quick overview of the situation in Europe with hate groups? How many are there? What types are there? There are hundreds of hate groups all over Europe, on the internet, of course, also.
Interview with Suzette Bronkhorst, Secretary General of the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH).
As an expert, can you give our listeners a quick overview of the situation in Europe with hate groups? How many are there? What types are there?
There are hundreds of hate groups all over Europe, on the internet, of course, also. Some of them host their material outside of Europe to circumvent European legislation. But these groups are nothing new. They’ve been around forever and, actually, especially on the internet. A German hate group was the first one in 1986 to discover the internet with its tremendous possibilities.
Has the terrorist act in Norway put a focus on these hate groups?
The problem is that these hate groups have been doing it all the time. It’s just because of the terrorist attack that the attention gets back to them. But the worrisome developments in Europe are that if you go to a so-called regular web-forum and populous websites you’ll see that the response there is much more far-reaching than on, for instance, a site like Stormfront, which is like a racist hub for hate groups, mostly from the US. In comparison, the response there is mild.
You’ve mentioned several times that these sites have been hosted in the US. What are the rules in Europe regarding these hate groups and them having websites?
It differentiates from country to country – that’s one of the reasons why it’s difficult to work out a Europe-broad way of combating these groups. But, in general, a lot of European countries have hate-speech legislation. But everyone has that. Even the US has it. But there it gets restricted by the Freedom of Speech Amendment.
How do US hate groups assist or work with European hate groups?
The thing with the internet is that you have hate groups all over and they just look at each other’s sites and, therefore can learn things from each other. In Europe, you see, there are a lot of Eastern European hate groups, who are much more violent in general, teach violence to other groups, while the other groups are more technically advanced and give technical support to Eastern European groups. And it’s also, of course, that there can be one or two people and they can look like a real movement.
Are you saying that some of these groups are not as big as they appear to be?
Yes. Not only that but also they are virtual. They don’t actually sit together as a group.
Do these groups exist?
Of course, they exist. There is Blood and Honour group in several countries. And they also form groups in real life, like the English Defense League.
That’s interesting. I’d like to talk about the English Defense League and about any insights you have on the connections between them and the Norwegian Breivik.
The English Defense League started about 1.5 years ago. It was a hardcore group of football hooligans in England. Then they organized through Facebook and did all these anti-Islamic demonstrations. Then, you also have the Norwegian Defense League, which Breivik was a part of. The English Defense League actually hosts the Norwegian Defense League.
So, there is the Norwegian Defense League? I also heard there was an Irish Defense League.
Yes, that’s true. There is the Belgian Defense League. But still the English Defense League is the strongest. In the Netherlands, they came in support of the Dutch Defense League to demonstrate for freedom of speech for Geert Wilders and then it came out that the Dutch Defense League was actually two people.
Can you remind the listeners who that was?
Geert Wilders has a Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands and he is now the supporter of the minority governement in the Netherlands. He and his party helped the minority government to push things through. He’s a virulent anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim person. He talks about war against Islam, that the Quran is a fascist book compared with Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
He has obviously not read either book. But let me ask you a question about these Defense League groups. Would you characterize them as being anti-Islam or near-Nazi?
All of the above.
So they are against Islam, against Jews, against immigrants.
Against everything not nationalistic or English, whatever that is.
How do these groups interact with each other? How do they communicate? Does the internet help them a lot?
Of course, it helps a lot. The English Defense League is a perfect example of that. It was started by a small group of football hooligans, they got onto Facebook and now their membership grows and grows and grows. They have demonstrations all over England, often with a lot of violence involved. And the National Front Party, the fascist party, did too badly in England. And its former members went into it. They got support from the British National Party, which actually always participates in elections.
Captain John Cox
Interview with Captain John Cox, Chief Executive Officer of Safety Operating Systems in Washington D.C. and a world renowned aviation expert. My first question was regarding the Polish report.
16 August 2011, 13:18
Professor Marjorie Cohn
Interview with Marjorie Cohn, a professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School in San Diego and the editor of The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse . Can you give us a quick definition of what exactly constitutes an extrajudicial execution? It’s a targeted assassination.
Interview with Marjorie Cohn, a professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School in San Diego and the editor of The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse.
Can you give us a quick definition of what exactly constitutes an extrajudicial execution?
It’s a targeted assassination. Sometimes it’s called a political assassination, and it’s an unlawful and deliberate killing carried out by order of or with the acquiescence of a government, and it’s outside of any judicial framework. In other words, there is no court that is deciding that it is lawful or not.
Where would cases such as this be prosecuted or can they be prosecuted?
There are national laws. Assassinating is not allowed under international law, and that’s very clear. In a 1998 report, United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions said that extrajudicial executions can never be justified under any circumstances, not even in time of war. In the US, assassinations were considered to be unlawful, especially explicitly since President Gerald Ford issued an executive order banning assassinations. And every president since Gerald Ford has renewed that ban on assassinations until George W. Bush, who signed an executive order basically authorizing assassinations in the US. Even though Bill Clinton, when he was president, signed that ban on assassinations, he actually tried to kill Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan but narrowly missed him. And, of course, we know that Barack Obama did give the order to assassinate Osama bin Laden, and that order was carried out. Obama signed the order authorizing the assassination of Osama bin Laden.
Did the so-called war on terror release the US from the law in this regard?
No, not at all. The US is still bound by international law. Much of the international law is also incorporated in the US Constitution. Yet, under the so-called war on terror, there have been many illegal things that have been done by the US government – first, by the George W. Bush Administration and then by the Obama Administration. And I say the “so-called war on terror” because terrorism is a tactic, it is not an enemy. You don’t declare war on a tactic. And yet, under the guise of the so-called law on terror, many laws have been violated by both of these administrations.
I hate to do this, but, to compare the George Bush Administration and Obama’s presidency, how far away from Bush, do you think, Obama has gone? Or has he pretty much continued the same policies?
I think that, unfortunately, Obama has continued a lot of the illegal policies of the Bush Administration and, in some instances, has taken them even further. For example, even George W. Bush didn’t explicitly authorize indefinite detention – holding someone for ever with no charges. And yet Obama signed an order authorizing indefinite detention. Both administrations used what we call the “state’s secret privilege”, and the Obama Administration has continued to use it to try to prevent people who have been tortured from litigating their cases in court, from trying to get relief in court for the torture.
Are executions only ordered against foreign nationals?
Obama tried to carry out the assassination of a US citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, who has not been charged with any crime in the US, and there was an unmanned drone attack in Yemen, aimed at al-Awlaki, missed him but killed two people “believed to be al-Qaeda militants.” Here you have another thing that the Obama Administration has done, which goes far beyond what even Bush did, that is stepping up the use of these unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan, in Yemen, in Somalia. And there was a report that has just come out from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that states that 168 children have been killed in the seven years of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan. That accounts for 44% of the minimum figure of 385 civilians, who are reported to have been killed by these drone attacks. I have seen higher numbers as well. And this is something that continues. There are also illegal assassinations in sovereign countries that many times ended up killing civilians. And, even if they were to kill so-called al-Qaeda militants, this would also violate the law, just like the targeted assassination of Osama bin laden violated the law, because, unless you are in the middle of a pitched battle, where the laws of war apply, you have to arrest people and bring them to trial. Even the Nazi leaders were brought to trial, and, of course, they committed some of the most notorious crimes ever known to man. After the Holocaust, Winston Churchill wanted to just execute the Nazi leaders without trial, but the US government opposed the extrajudicial executions of Nazi officials, who had committed genocide against millions of people, and Justice Robert Jackson, a Supreme Court Justice who took a leave from the Supreme Court to service Chief Prosecutor at Nuremberg, told President Harry Truman “We could execute or otherwise punish the Nazi leaders without a hearing. But undiscriminating executions or punishments without definite findings of guilt, fairly arrived at, would not set easily on the American conscience or be remembered by children with pride.” But, eventually, I think these people will be brought to justice by other countries. Universal jurisdiction is a well-used, well-settled doctrine. In fact, the US has used it. So, I think, that eventually, these people will be brought to justice. But not likely in the US.
19 August 2011, 16:28
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben-Meir, Middle East expert and professor from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University. You’ve heard about the events in Israel. Do you think these terrorist acts were organized by Hamas and what’s the possible Egyptian connection here?
23 August 2011, 17:31
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben-Meir, a Middle East expert and a professor from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University. Please, update the listeners on the situation in Israel and the truce with Hamas. Will the truce hold, in your opinion?
Interview with Omar Turbi, a Libyan expert and an advisor to the National Transitional Council in Libya. My first question – and I’m sure this is a question everyone wants to know as the eyes of the world are right now on Libya – what exactly is going on in Libya at the present time?
Interview with Omar Turbi, a Libyan expert and an advisor to the National Transitional Council in Libya.
My first question – and I’m sure this is a question everyone wants to know as the eyes of the world are right now on Libya – what exactly is going on in Libya at the present time?
As you know, today marks about 187-189 days since the birth of the Libyan revolution and, six months in the making, Tripoli has fallen in the hands of freedom fighters, so-called ‘rebels’ by many people. In my opinion, that’s not the right designation.
Is this actually a revolution or is this some sort of western-backed insurgency?
Definitely not western-backed insurgency. It’s a mistake to call them ‘rebels’: ‘rebels’ is usually a designation for ‘rebellion’ – people that have rebelled and took up arms or have had arms and rebelled against the authority. The Libyan history and the Libyan revolution took a completely different beginning, emerged and unfolded in different ways.
You are an advisor to the National Transitional Council. What I’ve seen is that they are extremely disorganized right now. What do you see as their future now that it’s pretty clear Gaddafi is out? What do you see happening in Libya in the next six months, in the near future?
Let me make something clear. First of all, I’m an unofficial advisor to the Council. But I can be very objective and I can tell you the truth: it’s extremely difficult to manage the warfront, to manage foreign affairs, to have lack of resources and continue to do what they’ve done, and reach the point of success that has been reached. But I must tell you that the impression that you might have or some people around the world have about the Transitional National Council as being in disarray or disorganized is not the case. Most people don’t think of the details of what they deal with. They dealt with and managed bureaucratic requirements within the eastern part of the country, which represents more than a half of the country, not only the execution of the war or procuring weapons and supplies, and fuel. They had to deal with a large number of Libyan refugees that left Ajdabiya or were coming from the neighbouring towns because of the Gaddafi war machine.
What do you think is going to happen to Gaddafi if he falls into their hands?
There was a rumour just a few minutes ago that he is in some armored vehicle crossing the border. Nobody can confirm that but that might be the case.
He was crossing the border into where?
Possibly Algeria, in the western part of Libya.
Can I ask you one question about oil and oil production in Libya? A lot of people have said this was all someway for the West to get their hands on Libyan oil? What would you say to that?
If you want the truth, the world community has become smaller and smaller over the past nine years that I have frequented Libya. I’m originally from Libya, I grew up in Benghazi, I was absent from Libya for over 25 years, because I was outside as a human rights activist, fighting for Libyan people’s rights, when I was able to get in and work from the inside. The last nine years that I spent as a student and a scholar in Libya I resisted temptations to make money there. I was offered positions within the Libyan government – I declined them. But it was very, very exciting for me to spend time on the inside and learn everything that was going on. And to answer your question with respect to oil, the Libyan people and the Libyan government needed oil companies substantially more than oil companies needed to be in Libya. It’s a mistake and it’s really wrong to think that these oil companies, oil giants – and I don’t care if they are French, or American oil giants, or any of the oil companies around the world – are clamoring to get into Libya.
What’s your opinion about NATO bases being installed in Libya after this all is over? Will the Libyan people welcome them?
That’s not going to happen. It’s never been part of the agreement.
You say your interests are only in the liberation of the Libyan people?
My interest– and it’s something that’s known about me – I’ve spent a large portion of my life advocating human rights and democracy in Libya. I engaged the Libyan regime in 2000 against the wishes of many of my Libyan friends that were members of the opposition outside. I negotiated with the Libyan regime the release of 413 political prisoners. One of them – my own brother, Dr. Turbi, – was in Gaddafi’s jail for 18 years. When I met with Gaddafi – I met with numbers of the Libyan regime – my mission was to ask for allowing Libyans from outside into the country and work in their own country. In my opinion they worked very well.
You met Gaddafi personally?
What kind of a person was he? What was your impression?
Very tall. Most people didn’t’ know he was a smoker. And the most interesting part about meeting him was that I had a feeling I was talking to someone who was not from this age, not from this era. He seemed to me to be from the era of 800-900 years ago. I mean in the course of the meeting I had with him there was a focus on what it is that can be done for him: can you take my kids and introduce them to members of Congress in the United States?
There was a point where the relations between the West and Gaddafi softened for a while.
Sometimes governments like the US pursue engagement for what they classify as ‘national interest’. As long as a regime like the dictatorial regime of Gaddafi provided it with intelligence on terrorist activities. And if there were people like at Guantanamo – people that the US didn’t want to deal with – they sent them off to Egypt, and to Syria, and to Libya for an execution – they didn’t even want to deal with that. So, that was a period where the West felt a sense of coziness with the Libyan regime.
Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia
Interview with Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Texas in St. Antonio in the United States . My first question is regarding Libya: what do you see as the outcome of the situation in Libya? Where do you see Libya in the next month, two months, half a year?
Interview with Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Texas in St. Antonio in the United States.
My first question is regarding Libya: what do you see as the outcome of the situation in Libya? Where do you see Libya in the next month, two months, half a year?
In the next year, maybe two years, Libya will be so struggling with the post-Gaddafi system. We know that Gaddafi left a system, which has no institutions to depend on. They have to reconstruct everything from scratch and that’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be very, very difficult indeed, with issues like that of legitimacy of the Council, which has promised to hold elections in nine months, although I don’t think it’s going to happen in nine months. But there are going to be many problems ahead.
How do you see the situation in Libya? Some have said it was a US-backed insurgency, others said it was a true revolution. In your opinion, what was the real situation there?
The truth is that it was really a popular insurgency against the regime that has denied Libyans their freedom for many years. I assure you the US could do without the Libyan revolution and it was getting along splendidly with Gaddafi. But Libyans were not. And it was about time that they had done it.
Yes, that was a curious thing, because even a year ago it seemed like relations had normalized, the US, I think, removed Libya from the terrorist list. I thought everything was going well. And then all of this happened. What information do you have on the current situation?
Just this morning I talked to some people in Libya and they tried to claim that Gaddafi’s forces are still down, that there is still some fighting going on. His forces still hold up in the city ofSchertz and they think that Gaddafi might even be there too.
So you have no problems with the bombings, with the air strikes, with support for the insurgency in Libya. I mean that was not really part of the resolution. The resolution was to enforce a no-fly zone.
The resolution was on protection of civilians.
Backing up a little bit. At the beginning of the interview you said – I think everybody would agree with this – that the US had very good relations with Gaddafi until the insurgency. Why wasn’t the West interested in a regime change before that?
This is the same question I asked them. I don’t particularly have much faith and trust in Berlusconi. The only person perhaps who was a little bit more sincere about this whole issue is Sarkozy and, to some extent, even more perhaps Obama. But Obama’s hands are tied by Congress. Sarkozy is less tied by the Parliament in France. But the Europeans look for the interest, and Gaddafi was part of their interest. Now they saw the regime toppling and they were smart enough to jump on the wagon. Ultimately, you and I know – and de Gaulle said it very clearly – that there are no friends in international systems, there are only interests.
That’s kind of cynical. But what about the protection of civilians, the will of the Libyan people and all that? That’s not important when there is interest involved?
In this case you need to be Machiavellian. In this case, as long as it protects the lives of civilians, it doesn’t matter what you call it.
On Syria – in a repeat of the Libyan situation – and also on the subject of interests, what are the interests of the West in Syria?
Quite honestly, Russia and the Soviet Union in the past were a very good friend of Syria’s. They have in fact helped Syria a great deal, they helped Arabs a great deal. And I think the time for this type of regime is over. Ultimately, we know that Israel plays a very important role in all of this. They much prefer to have the 40-year peace that they had with Assad than to have a new regime that perhaps might emerge as an anti-Israeli regime. So, the regime might emerge as anti-Israeli. There is no doubt about that. And so the US is basically trying as much as it can to influence events within Syria itself to ensure that the new regime that emerges will not be anti-Israeli. I don’t know how successful they will be.
So you are saying that a very important part of the US foreign policy on Syria is the interests of Israel?
I’ve always said that when we look at foreign policy in the Middle East, the North Africa – Egypt, Libya, or Syria – it’s really not determined by the US. It has never been. It’s determined in Jerusalem, not in Washington. And I don’t think the regime change in Syria will be any different.
So all of the policies in the Middle East are dictated by Israel? Very interesting. My last question is regarding the resolution to the situation in Syria. Should there be more pressure put on Assad or should there be more pressure put on both sides to enter a substantial dialogue?
I think in this case Russia should in fact play a leading role and it should do it with the US, and they should all actually tell Assad it was about time he either got out or changed the system fundamentally to allow for greater participation. And that’s where you can assure at least that a democratic system might emerge in Syria, which would be beneficial not only for Syria, but also for the US and Russia as well.
So you are basically saying more pressure for dialogue and for the opposing sides to be able to participate in the process?
No, I mean more pressure for opening up the system, I’m talking about pressure to allow for a greater transparency, for a greater participation, to end oppression – all this Russia can do and play an important role in all this. It’s what the world is saying – disintegrate power, because a huge power is still a hegemon in its own right.
I know that. What I am saying is that not just a dialogue but a meaningful dialogue and changes that are actually going to happen. You think that’s more important than just putting pressure on Assad?
I think so, as long as he is amenable to that. Gaddafi was not. Gaddafi was not willing to do anything. You know, he thought he could just stay in power. Assad seems to be more amenable to dialogue and constructive changes.
31 August 2011, 18:23
Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca.
Professor Marjorie Cohn
Interview with Marjorie Cohn, a professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School in San Diego and the editor of The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse . I’d like to ask you a few questions about the situation in Libya. What are your views on the future of Gaddafi? What do you think will happen with him?
Interview with Marjorie Cohn, a professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School in San Diego and the editor of The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse.
I’d like to ask you a few questions about the situation in Libya. What are your views on the future of Gaddafi? What do you think will happen with him? And what is NATO’s role in the region legally? Do you think they’ve overstepped their mandate?
Yes, the Security Council Resolution 1973 does not authorize regime change. And yet everything that NATO and certainly the US have done is moving in that direction. In fact, some months ago, shortly after the invasion of Libya by NATO, President Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron – all wrote an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune that said that NATO force would fight in Libya until Gaddafi is gone, even though this resolution does not sanction regime change. And now the rebels are saying that allowing Gaddafi’s family to stay in Algeria is, what they call, an ’act of aggression’. So, they are clearly out to get Gaddafi and his family.
The rebels made a statement today that they want to capture Gaddafi, try him and execute him.
Yes, when you put somebody on trial you don’t pronounce the sentence until the trial is over. Their saying they want to try and execute him sounds like a kangaroo court to me. Gaddafi, if at all, should be tried by an international tribunal that is objective and is not going to engage in reprisals. Certainly, Gaddafi is not a great guy but there are massacres of civilians documented by NATO, in other words, NATO has conducted massacres, including one earlier this month in Majer, Libya, where family members, eye-witnesses and Libyan government officials said that NATO’s air strikes at Majer killed 85 people, including 33 children, 32 women and 20 men. Reporters and visitors saw 30 of the bodies at a local morgue, including a mother and two children. We don’t know how many civilians have been killed by the NATO bombs, even though the stated purpose of the NATO intervention was to protect civilians.
What can the international community or people in general do to see that justice is done?
I think that publicizing what is really happening is the most important thing – and that’s what you and I are doing right now. The Daily Beast publication in the US came out with a piece today by John Barry, saying that the US military is conducting a secret war in Libya and has helped NATO with everything from munitions to surveillance aircraft, that the US military has spent $1 billion and played a far larger role in Libya than it has acknowledged and that there is an emerging covert intervention strategy, deploying far more forces than the Obama Administration wants to advertize. I think it’s important to get at why the US and its NATO allies are so intent on getting rid of Gaddafi. Libya played an important role in financing the African Bank, which allowed African nations to avoid dealing with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Libya also financed an African Telecommunications System that saved African countries hundreds of millions of dollars, allowing them to bypass western-controlled networks. He also raised the standard of living. I’m not saying he is a great guy, but Libya is the largest oil producer in Africa, the twelfth largest in the world, and its oil resources are very important for NATO’s European allies. The manager of the rebel-controlled Arabian Gulf Oil Company, Libya’s largest oil producer, said: “We don’t have a problem with western countries. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil, because those last three countries are not involved in the NATO mission in Libya.” And a British official told The Economist that NATO’s involvement in Libya means that: "Now we own it." So, there is going to be a lot of instability because of this organization that NATO has recognized, the National Transitional Council, which evidently doesn’t necessarily support the rebels in Libya. I think you are going to see a lot of chaos with a lot of covert, behind-the-scenes choreographing of what’s going to happen in Libya. And, quite frankly, I’d be surprised if they do actually find Gaddafi, if not just to kill him the way they killed Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. If you look at the events leading up to the NATO invasion, they talked about relying on this responsibility to protect doctrine. It’s not enshrined in any international treaty, it’s not part of customary international law. But it says that the international community through the United Nations has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means in accordance with Chapters 6 and 8 of the UN Charter to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Chapter 6 of the UN Charter requires parties to seek a solution peacefully by negotiation. And yet they did not do that. Instead of pursuing an immediate ceasefire, immediate military action was taken. And the military force being used by NATO exceeds the bounds of “all necessary measures”, authorization and this resolution 1973. After the passage of the resolution Libya immediately offered to accept international monitors and Gaddafi offered to step down and leave Libya, but those offers were immediately rejected. And another thing that is very interesting is the double standard in the use of military force to protect civilians in Bahrain, where NATO force was being used to quell anti-government protest because that’s where the US Fifth Fleet is stationed. And The Asia Times reported that before the invasion of Libya the US made a deal with Saudi Arabia where the Saudis would invade Bahrain to help put down the anti-democracy protesters and Saudi Arabia would enlist the support of the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya. The Arab League support for a no-fly zone effectively neutralized opposition from China and Russia to Security Council Resolution 1973. But, as I said, NATO has gone far beyond a no-fly zone.
2 September 2011, 14:07
Professor Gary G. Sick
Tehran has recently announced they can enrich uranium to up to 20% and that their production exceeds the country’s demand. Iran’s atomic chief also stated Iran will no longer negotiate a nuclear fuel swap with some of the world powers.
Tehran has recently announced they can enrich uranium to up to 20% and that their production exceeds the country’s demand. Iran’s atomic chief also stated Iran will no longer negotiate a nuclear fuel swap with some of the world powers. Gary G. Sick, Senior Research Scholar and Adjunct Professor of International Affairs at Columbia University, who also served on the US National Security Council under presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan, believes that Iran wants to have the capacity to build nuclear weapon – that is they want to be able within a certain amount of time to actually produce nuclear weapon if they need too and Iran has already done a number of table-top experiments in this field that would permit them to do that. The West, in particular the US, has insisted that Iran return to a position of zero enrichment. However, the reality is that, after 10 years of enriching uranium and paying a very high political price for it, Iran is not prepared to go back to zero, which makes it a hopeless cause. Thus, Iran’s secrecy about their nuclear program on one side and the West’s insisting on zero enrichment on the other has postponed any chance of a realistic outcome.
5 September 2011, 16:51
Interview with Suzette Bronkhorst, General Manager of the Internet Center for Anti-Racism in Europe (I-CARE at www.icare.to ) Last time we talked we discussed the tactics used by neo-Nazi groups. One of them was provocation. Can you tell our listeners about the choice of the location for the demonstration by the English Defense League (EDL) in Britain?
Interview with Suzette Bronkhorst, General Manager of the Internet Center for Anti-Racism in Europe (I-CARE at www.icare.to )
Last time we talked we discussed the tactics used by neo-Nazi groups. One of them was provocation. Can you tell our listeners about the choice of the location for the demonstration by the English Defense League (EDL) in Britain?
They went to Tower Hamlets. There is a big mosque there. Actually, the Ministry for the Interior forbade marches for 30 days, so they organized what is called a “static” demonstration – they were standing still. It couldn’t be forbidden. But a thousand people turned up and 3,000 policemen at the other side, opposing demonstrations, that stood near the mosque to protect it. They were with 1,500 people. And a riot broke out between the police and EDL. The funny thing that happened in England is that Scotland Yard have been accused of underestimating the threat from EDL, because the head of the unit monitoring hate groups declared it’s not an extremist organization, because he looked at their website and said it was not extreme. But they did after all deem it necessary to invite 3,000 policemen to keep a group of a thousand people down. That’s strange. But Breivik shouldn’t work in favour of EDL.
I think after the Breivik tragedy they got a lot of press attention. They wouldn’t have got otherwise.
Yes, but if you get attention like being involved into a huge terrorist attack, that wouldn’t be in your favor, would it?
No, it wouldn’t. And I think maybe their activities had quieted down a little bit. So, I was surprised to hear that they were still holding big demonstration.
I’m sorry to say but this is a kind of vermin and they never quiet down.
Was there a special reason why they chose this day, in particular? Neo-Nazi groups love to play with numbers, dates and stuff.
No, not that I can see. They just want to keep their momentum of demonstrations going, I guess. In Britain, they have a lot of opposition from the state that tries to stop demonstrations because of public order, or to be precise disorder. Then, of course, they started to talk about freedom of speech.
Was there any connection between the last time we talked and now when there were huge riots in Great Britain? Was EDL involved in those extensively, with football fans etc?
As far as I can see, the rioting that went on was a strange mix of things because there were a lot of just ordinary looters. But it started, of course, at a black man getting shot by the police. So, there were a lot of things at the same time. And it’s not in particular EDL. What they did do is they started these neighborhood watch patrols.
The EDL did?
Yes, although they didn’t announce it like that. If you would see those neighborhood watch groups walking through the streets and what they were saying – they were definitely part of it.
They tried to pretend to be like Citizens Vigilante group or something?
Yes, to protect the streets.
Not so strange. It’s actually quite smart, if you can control the people that are in these Vigilante groups.
It’s just strange that this group would be allowed to do that.
Well, they are not allowed – they do it, so what are you going to do.
Do the events in London have any relationship to the events that happened a few hours ago in Dortmund, Germany?
No, the rioting in Dortmund has no connection to the demonstration in London. The problem was that Dortmund police tried to keep the opposing demonstration, the counter-demonstration and the neo-Nazi apart, and that didn’t work out.
How accurate do you think are reports that anti-Nazi demonstrators attacked the police?
The anti-Nazi? They didn’t. Actually, the neo-Nazi did. As it’s called in the media, the left-wing protesters. I don’t know why anti-racism or anti-fascism has to be left-wing.
They broke through the barriers?
That was separating the two groups. Then a scuffle broke out, in which a police officer was seriously injured, because they stood in between the two groups.
I was alarmed to see that the two events happened so closely together in two different European cities. Have you picked up anything on your radar about any further activities or protests like this in Europe in the near future?
No. EDL is planning more marching in Great Britain. But there is a lot of going on in Europe, which is very concerning, I think.
Could you give us some examples?
With the whole atmosphere of groups standing opposite each other, the extreme right wing that moves up in politics, the intolerance – it’s very extreme, very worrisome.
Oh, yes. And they are getting into political power now more and more in several countries.
Is there anything people can do to prevent it?
These groups and political parties just come out with what is wrong with the country but they never come with solutions. And therefore it’s like “it’s a war against Islam!” or “a war against the Roma,” war guns writing non-democratic measures.
But they have no intelligent solution to anything, right?
They have no solution. Period.
So, you don’t see anything happening in Europe in the near future. What about the upcoming anniversary of September 11 events in the US? Are neo-Nazi groups in Europe or anywhere that you know planning events for that date?
Yes, in the US, a lot. Probably, in Europe, you will have some activity, because it’s always a good opportunity to bash some more Muslims.
9 September 2011, 13:28
Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca. They tried to shut you down over the weekend. Can you tell us what happened? Yes, thank you for asking.
14 September 2011, 21:32
Professor Kevin Barrett
Interview with Dr. Kevin Barrett, Doctor in Arabic and Islamic Studies, and a Co-founder of the Muslim-Jewish Christian Alliance for Truth, he is also the owner of Truthjihad.com. Today I would like to ask you some questions on 9/11. My first question is - who benefited from the tragic events of September 11 2001?
15 September 2011, 18:02
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben-Meir, a Middle East expert and a professor from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University. Unfortunately, we have some more distressing matters to discuss. Can you fill us in on the situation between Turkey and Israel? In particular statements regarding supporting the Kurds by certain elements in Israel?
19 September 2011, 20:04
US Needs “Democracy and not Corporatocracy”
Bill Csapo One of Occupy Founders
Interview with Bill Csapo, an activist with OccupyWallstreet.org, one of the organizations responsible for organizing the protests, taking place in New York.
20 September 2011, 14:39
US Weapons Used Against Protesters in Bahrain
Nabil Rajab President Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Interview with Nabil Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and Deputy Secretary General for the International Federation of Human Rights.
22 September 2011, 17:04
"Palestine and Israel should choose quality of coexistence"
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben-Meir, a Middle East expert, talks about possible scenarios and impact of the Palestinian bid for statehood.
22 September 2011, 21:44
Occupy Wall Street
Protests Will Hit Wall Street Hard
Interview with Marisa Holmes, a member of the New York General Assembly and a participant in the occupation of Wall Street.
29 September 2011, 17:00
"We Want True Democracy" Say SF Protesters
Interview with Sarah Page, one of the organizers of the Occupy San Francisco movement.
Interview with Sarah Page, one of the organizers of the Occupy San Francisco movement.
3 October 2011, 10:29
Israel Wants Negotiation for the Sake of Negotiation
Palestinian Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour
Interview with Palestinian Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour from the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations.
10 October 2011, 13:10
Israeli Agression: A War That Makes No Sense
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben-Meir, a Middle East Expert and Professor from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.
Recently you wrote a piece called The Inevitability of Coexistence, in which you detailed some of the things that could or should take place for the Israelis and the Palestinians to understand each other better. What can Palestinians and Israelis do to foster better understanding between their peoples?
18 October 2011, 16:46
Occupy Wall Street
Wall Street Occupation Continues
Interview with Marisa Holmes, a member of the New York General Assembly and an organizer in the occupation of Wall Street.
19 October 2011, 15:58
Are US Accusations Against Iran Reasonable?
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Download audio file
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben-Meir, a Middle East expert and a professor from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.
19 October 2011, 16:02
NATO Planning First-Strike Again
Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca.
19 October 2011, 16:49
Justice Will Prevail
Deacon Youssef Hanna
Interview with Youssef Hanna, a Deacon with the Coptic Church of Florida.
Can you give our listeners a quick overview of the Coptic-Christian faith?
Well, the Coptic-Christian faith dates back to the first century.
And the Coptic-Orthodox Church was established in Alexandria by Saint Mark the Evangelist, precisely in 45 AD and it has been surviving until this date.
Now, for hundreds of years Coptic Christians have lived in Egypt rather peacefully, I believe. What can you tell us about the recent violence? There is a report, says it's been sanctioned by the Government. Have you heard anything about that?
I don't know about the report by the Government but all what I know is that our Church or the Coptic Church or Christianity in general - it's a church of persecution. So, we know all this is expected. And, as we know, it is expected, and even the Coptic year it is, I've been about the Coptic calendar, I'm sorry, it's the calendar of the barters.
When you say that the year we revive here in 1728, you see, is after martyrdom, you know. So, that's the Coptic calendar. So, martyrdom has been known since the beginning of Christianity. And about the above situation in Egypt, actually the Copts, basically everyone who lives in Egypt of any religion or any sect should be called Coptic because the word "Coptic" itself is a nationality. Coptic means Egyptian, you could call the Christian Coptic as well, the Muslim could also be called Coptic, but to differentiate here I have to say Christian or Muslim, that's the difference. But all of them are Coptic and they mingled they mixed, so many, many Copts or Muslims are of Coptic origin or many Christians are from Muslim origin. So, it had been going on for the past centuries and everything was fine and actually the Muslims with the Christians, they've been living in peace but sometimes you get those people who are fanatic or who is serving certain objective and would like to stir a kind of, you know, misunderstanding or a storm, you know, between parties. So what do they say? They come and they play on both sides, you know, just to let the Muslim conflict with the Christian, but all this God is watching over us all whether we are Muslim or whether we are Christian. And you will never allow, you know, evil to get its way. So, at the end the truth will be known and I hope and I believe that in appearing year everything would be settled in Egypt.
What connections or what is your Church doing or are you doing anything to support the Christians in Egypt?
Well, we do of course. We send a lot of monetary help whenever we can. I mean supporting with subs the Church as the Church, we do a lot, it's up like cheer supporting. This is individual effort. Are we paying our ties? So everyone is free to pay whoever you want, sometimes I can put my ties for the construction of new church or sometimes I can write my check and say this is for the poor in Egypt, so it's oft like an organized thing, you know. Everyone, every member of the congregation is free to direct his finances to whatever you want. So, more than that, I can assure you this is exactly what's happening and this is what I know. But of course the best help that you are doing is that you are praying for them and we are quite sure God will listen to our prayers and will restore the peace in Egypt and I'm saying peace between everyone, I'm sure and very optimistic because there're so many of the good, moderate Muslims who would like to live in peace. Actually they are backing the Christians and even we will stand, all the Christians will also stand by the Muslims if they have to face any kind of trouble. Between these people there are some fanatics, as I said earlier, and those people, they would like to create some conflicts and it's happening in all the world.
Can you say anything about the churches now, apparently two churches were destroyed. What can you tell us about the churches?
I haven't heard about this news. I only heard that there was a church in Southern Asia that was burnt or destroyed. It was done illegally.
And the only problem there is why would people themselves, they would do that with their own hands and why they would not let proper authorities to intervene, that's the whole issue.
Oh, there are a lot of issues here because I have, apparently, the reports of a scene, that the churches there were actually two and they had been there for a very long time and this was apparently...
Yeah, I heard that the church had been there for a long time, but I don't know exactly about the sanctions, I don't know about the Government's decision about that, because you asked me and I never heard of that.
What connections are between the Orthodox Church, for example of Russia, and the Coptic Church?
It's exactly the same, the same rights, the same rituals and whether it's Russian, Ukrainian, Armenian Orthodox, we call all of them "brothers of faith". And all the people of Egypt including the Muslims, the good people, the good Muslims they want to live in peace. And, let me tell you, many of them are there. And justice will prevail. No one will intervene except God in this kind of conflict.
22 October 2011, 11:42
Gaddafi Assassination: A Brutal Gratuitous Slaying
Gaddafi Assassination: A Brutal Gratuitous Slaying
23 October 2011, 10:32
Gaddafi: The End of the Era
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Interview with Alon Ben-Meir, US expert on the Middle East and the professor from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.
27 October 2011, 19:05
"Gaddafi was fighting till his last minute."
Interview with Omar Turbi, a Libyan expert and an advisor to the National Transitional Council of Libya.
What do you see as the future holding for Libya now that Gaddafi is gone? Do you see this as the end to an era or the beginning of a new era?
It’s a transition. Definitely, we’ve gone through many-many different transitions in the last 8-9 months. This particular one is very important because it closes a chapter on Gaddafi’s regime. And I may add that it didn’t end in a way that conveys to the world the level of civility as far as capturing and dealing with Gaddafi. I’m one of those people who really wanted to try him and give him a fair trial. And the Council in particular called for catching him alive and trying him. But the world doesn’t recognize that the Council can only do so much in making different councils around the country do what they want them to do, because there is no elected body yet. And the country is moving forward as best as it can. When you have lived over 40 years with a regime that was so brutal to people and deep in crime and corruption to an unbelievable level, you can help to say that when you live by the sword like Gaddafi had you die by the sword. In other words, right till the last second of his life, he was fighting. He has a gun on him, he had people around him that fought for him. He had many opportunities to escape the country or go to some places in Africa, but he chose to stay.
You don’t agree with the way he was killed?
Not at all. I don’t think a good number of people in Libya, at least civilized ones, in the NTC or in the interim government that didn’t like the way he was finally captured and killed.
So that was not ordered by the Council? The Council had nothing to do with it? It’s terrible to think that a fair and just democracy could be started with such an act of barbarism, in my opinion.
You know you are right. I think the world is looking at Libya and says: what are you guys doing? You are trying to take a dictator from brutal dictatorship and replace him with another one that imprisons people and kills people. But I mean you can for a moment excuse the accident that has taken place because you can consider them acts of war, because when you have two warring parties. Even under the Geneva Convention, you can detain people, you can treat them right. Nobody stops you from killing your enemy that holds a high level of animosity against you and wants to kill you. That’s where I’m getting at. But if you are civilized and you are trying people, I think, because we don’t live alone – you know, we have neighbors around us, we have the world community, we want the world to trust us and trust our judgment, trust our character – the thing that was out of character is to hold Gaddafi in the freezer for several days and let people look and look at him, because in the Arabic tradition you bury the body as quickly as possible. Those are mistakes and those are things that I do strongly believe were beyond the control of the NTC. They didn’t really announce that and didn’t talk about that simply because they were in a really precarious situation. They can’t tell the public: hey, you know, you shouldn’t have done that, because everybody is happy, because they finally got the man that was after them and killing them for the last several months.
Have you talked to the council recently?
Yes, I talk to them on a regular basis.
This has frightened many people – the statement that Sharia law will be implemented in the country and not only Sharia law but a very strict form of Sharia law. What can you say about that?
First of all, Libya is a Muslim country – Sunni, Maliki. So the religious aspect of Libya cannot be taken away from Libyan. But I think that Libyan people are very progressive. They are not isolated from the world around them. There is a constitution that has been largely adopted, except for a couple of articles in it, that dictates rule of law, that dictates judicial system, that dictates that elections must be implemented. Although Islam is a very important component of Libya and the Libyan people, most definitely Sharia law is not going to be applied in its strictest fashion.
You say it’s not going to be?
No, I can’t say yes or no, because it remains to be seen who are the members of the parliament, who is going to be the prime minister. All I can establish is – and that is very important – they usually apply their way of thinking in the process. I can’t say it’s not going to, but, from understanding the psyche of the Libyan society, I don’t believe that this will be the case. So, taking a word out of the context of Abdul-Jalilm would not be a good thing.
So what he said is not the council’s official stand?
No, definitely not the council’s, as not of many people. if this guy remains in power and remains someone who hands down decisions, then we are in big trouble.
Who are we talking again? What’s his first name?
You are saying he won’t be in power. So, those are his own, personal statements. That’s not the position of the council.
Let’s hope. We’ve had enough – I mean we’ve had a share of people handing down decisions without the consensus of the people, without due democratic process. God, we’ve had a lot of that in the Middle East.
That’s why I used the world “dictatorship.” Do you see a position for yourself in the new Libya? Would you like to return when things stabilize in the country?
I don’t know, to be honest with you, because when you’ve lived in the West, lived in the US for a long time, based on studies and statistics and experiences, these people say that people who have lived outside the country are not proper rulers. People who are inside should. I mean we will be allowed to stay around to help them out. If they ask me to take a role or provide a public service I’ll have to do that and I will do that. But you know, there is a definite misunderstanding with the definition of “public service” in the Middle East and North Africa, even in Libya, for sure. A public service is an opportunity to bring in your relatives, friends and everybody you know and an opportunity for you to make money. You are really hired to service people in the proper way, you can’t view a public service as an opportunity to make money. Right now there are just people who are clamoring to take the position within the new regime. But they may see that as being an opportunity to personally and financially grow.
I don’t think you would do that, would you?
Of course, not.
Gaddafi was Main Target of US Libyan Operation
Interview with J.M. Berger of INTELWIRE.com and the author of the book Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam.
The Libyan situation has changed drastically in the last few weeks. Where do you think the country is headed?
It’s very difficult to say right now. From a western perspective. We really don’t know a lot about the rebels. We don’t know what kind of plans they have for a political transition. This is all being decided now. We did have the announcement this week that the new government will be based on Sharia law and whether that means it is going to be a full-fledged Islamist government or something more in the model of Iraq, where the constitution is based on Sharia but there is still a strong democratic elements. So we are in a waiting mode to see what happens with this. Depending on if they are going to take a parliamentary route or not. But clearly it’s going to be more Islamist than it currently is.
How do you think it’s going to play out with the US in the region?
What we lack right now is a really clear political consensus in this country on what our position is regarding Islamist states and whether they are conducive to our national security and our foreign relations. We are seeing the emergence of a lot of different kinds of Islamist movements, which are more moderate than some of the Islamic governments we’ve seen in the past. But there is really no consensus in our political process about what kind of end states we’d like to see for these Arab spring countries, other than very idealistic, pie-in-the-sky dream of democracy everywhere. No one is really prepared to have that kind of conversation here and I think it’s going to be a while before anybody can really approach the subject this way in the country. One of the problems with our foreign policy is that we don’t have clear reasons why we intervene in one place and we don’t in another. The situation in Syria is certainly very bad for the people of Syria. I don’t want to hazard a guess as to whether Assad can survive this.
It seems to me and to a lot of people around the world that the whole operation was just to get and kill Gaddafi. What do you think about that?
I think that was clearly the goal of the operation. I mean Gaddafi’s presence in the country as a threat to his population was the stated reason for this. So, with Gaddafi gone and no visible loyalists stepping up to take his place, it is appropriate, within the context of the rationale that was given, that we are leaving.
What do you think about the way he was killed?
I think it was pretty unfortunate. I think a trial would have been better. It was pretty ugly thing. But that’s not something we could control and the leadership of the rebels couldn’t stop that either – there was a lot of pent-up emotion that came out. But it was certainly not in keeping with the international standards and really not an ideal resolution for this. A trial would have been better.
I don’t know if you can counteract or speak to the statements made by John McCain – I’m sure you’ve heard of them – threatening other world leaders.
John McCain is not in the position to make decisions about the foreign policy in this country, nor is he going to be.
I hope not either.
Sure not. He is not a player in the current presidential election, you know. He is expressing his view but he is not going to decide anything.
You don’t think he’ll end up in the White House next time?
He is not even running. It’s too late in the process for him to jump in.
The thing I found strange was: Obama comes out – he makes statements about victory, McCain comes out – he makes threats, and the White House says nothing. They didn’t say anything about it. So, basically, in the minds of many, they are supporting what he said. How could they claim the death of Gaddafi as their own victory if apparently it was carried out by independent rebels in the street?
I think it is important actually to the US that this not be seen as the US having taken out Gaddafi. We provided support to the population and they did the work. We just provided air cover. And even the United States relative to Europe, had a relatively lower role in this. So, I think it was important in the minds of the people crafting this policy that, whatever change happened in Libya, it would be owned and operated by the Libyan people.
It just seemed to be: we took him out, we’re going to take you out if you don’t follow our line. And that’s what it came across as with McCain and all his statements about victory and “We did it!” and everything else.
I don’t think that reflects the Obama administration’s view on foreign policy. Based on what the Republicans are saying, I don’t think that there is any thirst for that kind of foreign policy either. I think that America has certainly learnt from what’s happened in Iraq and what happened in Afghanistan and I don’t think we are looking to pick fights. But certainly the Obama administration has outlined what it has called its responsibility to protect the policy and it’s going to lead to more interventions. I think the idea is that it’s going to be more limited and they are going to be focussed on taking out specific bad actors.
Again, taking out actors. You don’t have a problem with that?
I wouldn’t say that I endorse that policy. I’m just saying what this policy looks like. But what I think is that I would like to see a public dialogue in this country that better defines how and where we use legal force in the world. I am open to different approaches to using our military strength. But I don’t think that we’ve seen a clear statement of principles that would guide how that strength is used. And I think that’s a real problem for us. And I think that’s not just a foreign policy problem. I think, generally speaking, US policy in the recent years has been very ad hoc. It’s just pretty much opportunistic taking action for the sake of taking action. I am not seeing a scheme of thoughts that goes behind this and allows us as Americans and the rest of the world to understand how the US is going to act in any given situation.
Like a bunch of builders, building a building, without an architect.
Right. Something like that. Since September 11 we’ve had a very reactionary set of policies and we’ve seen this within our country in terms of how we handled the banking crisis, for instance. And we’ve seen it in our foreign policy. What I think we would benefit from is for the president to come out and outline in very clear terms what we feel our scope of authority to act outside of the country is.
31 October 2011, 16:01
"The American system is broken"
Interview with Occupy Portland media liaison Jordan LeDoux.
3 November 2011, 18:53
Protests in Oakland: are they revolutionary?
Interview with Noah Rothman, a politics news editor at Ology.com.
"No one wants another war in the Middle East"
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben-Meir, a Middle East Expert and a Professor from the Center For Global Affairs at New York University.
10 November 2011, 17:22
Iraq 2003/Iran 2011: Parallel Can't Be Missed
Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca.
You’ve read the IAEA report on Iran. Can you give us your quick overview?
Capitalism Has Grown Parasitic
Interview with Tim Summers, the former National Campaigns Officer with the Green Party of England and Wales in the UK, and a former political cartoonist and a current political activist.
I’d like to ask you a few questions on the Occupy movement, which started in Madrid and has become a worldwide phenomenon. Do you think this will be a flash in the pan or are they here for a long run?
Well, I think that the system, the police, the governments are doing everything they can to resist. The Church of England is in crisis at St. Paul’s regarding the occupation of their forecourt there. The occupations will have to keep taking new forms, new venues, new sites for occupation, but the energy is mounting – it’s not diminishing. Last week, there was a big occupation of Oakland docks, the big docks of Oakland, California, by a mass movement calling itself “99%.” That relates to a statistic of wealth in America, and, they closed down the whole port of Oakland for a day. The strange thing is that all these movements have different names for themselves but the focus comes down to the same thing – the injustice in capitalist economics, which is structural, of course. It focuses a lot on the banks and the corporations, naturally, but, of course, as capitalism moves deeper and deeper into crisis, so its bare bones are revealed.
Would you say this is a lesson that might be learned by the Russian Federation as a new democracy? Do you think this is a warning of the dangers of capitalism?
Yes, absolutely. It’s an interesting sign of this period – that the old left, the old left-wing of the world is pretty well irrelevant to the anti-capitalist actions that are sweeping the world today.
Why do you say that, why do you say they are irrelevant?
Well, that they have so little to offer politically. The youth, the young people who are so motivated in a spirit of self-sacrifice, or self-liberation to take part in these things that have worked out a sort of ethos for themselves outside and perhaps even despite of the old left. The first wave of socialism that broke after The First World War has now atrophied into just crumbling sects of the old Labour Party, or Stalinist kind of formations, and it’s going nowhere, recklessly trying to keep up with the pace of developments.
What do you think about their organization? They seem lost to me, I don’t know.
Yes, I do agree with you. The protest movement isn’t anti-capitalist in the sense that they want to actually change the capitalist regime. They want to stop the bonus culture of the banks. They want banks to be restricted by governments, to be more modest in their self-payment and more cooperative in loans to the first-time house buyers, small businesses and so on. Capitalism in its evolution has become a system dominated by the banks. For example, they’ve just determined that the government of Italy and Greece should fall and be replaced by something else. That’s bankers’ power, it’s not any other form of power. It comes from a troika of the International Monetary Fund and other sort of big international banking groups. They’ll have to think of something better than capitalism if their wishes are going to be sustained in the longer term. Yes, all the comforts and expectations of the long capitalist boom that followed The Second World War are now coming to an end and all those, sort of, the way of life almost of people expecting to be employed having got a qualification are ending. The whole expectation of further and higher education that became a way of life is ending with tuition fees in Britain and other impediments internationally. A lot of the comforts of the rich countries in the post-war period are now grinding to a halt. That’s why so many people are getting angry and calling themselves “99%.
Who would you blame for this?
I would blame the structural nature of capitalism itself in its final phase, but late capitalism is a fading, rotten parasitic system that is addicted to oil and constant war. The anti-war movement is very strong in Britain and internationally I think, and yet war clouds hang over Iran every day. This need of capitalism to fight wars is to seize the depleted natural resources of the planet in a very desperate way. In Afghanistan, they need the rare earth metals and minerals that are to be found in that volcanic part. In Iraq, for example, it was a massive oil theft. The countdown now to war with Iran is also a planned massive oil theft because the world’s resources are depleting fast and the corporations only understand growth. Capitalism can’t take a position in its board rooms for zero growth, as any ecologist will spell out to you is necessary. It has to go on plundering the Earth’s resources for its profitability. It is an out-of-date system. It’s going into complete crisis and meltdown.
What’s going on with the Church of England, with the activists? They were at St. Paul’s Cathedral, apparently, and they were going to call the police or something.
It caused a terrific crisis in the Church of England because they had to start debating what they were there for. Are they there as property owners and revenue raisers? Or are they there as addressing the spiritual needs of the people? The Church of England itself has become a very Establishment organization. But the leading cleric, the Archbishop of Canterbury, took the moral high ground, I’m pleased to say, so the protesters haven’t been moved on yet.
Occupy Wall Street
US is Not a Democracy
Bill Csapo OWS organizer
Interview with Bill Csapo, an Activist and Organizer with OccupyWallStreet.org.
19 November 2011, 13:25
SOPA: The U.S. Censoring the Internet
A Senate committee passed an act recently called the Protect IP Act but then, just as quickly, a Senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden, put the bill on hold because as he said, it would “muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth.
21 November 2011, 16:11
What's Behind Katya Zatuliveter's Story?
Michael John Smith
Interview with Michael John Smith, a convicted Soviet spy in the UK, a blogger and an intelligence specialist.
I’d like to speak with you today about the Katya Zatuliveter case. In your opinion, do you think that Katya Zatuliveter is a Russian spy?
I don’t think so. But all we really know about this case is that she had some sort of private affair with her boss, Michael Hancock. He is a Liberal Democrat MP in the British House of Commons. Katya was his assistant and what started as a work relationship developed into some sort of a romantic relationship that often happens between a boss and his assistant. But no actual evidence has been produced that proves that Katya was a spy. And Mr. Tim Owen, her lawyer, has stated that MI5 doesn’t have any evidence that she has been involved in espionage.
Why would then MI5 target her?
Somehow they must have seen Katya as another Anna Chapman. I believe it is no coincidence that Katya was arrested in December 2010, shortly after the witch hunt over Anna Chapman. Mr. Hancock would also appear to be at possible risk partly because of his work with the all-party group on Russia, where apparently he has been rumoured as having opinions that were “too favourable” to Russia. Mr. Hancock was also on the Defense Select Committee, another parliamentary body and that dealt with government defense matters. And this is probably what really worried MI5. This spy case actually caused Mr. Hancock to resign from his post last month, in October.
So, these were just suspicions? There was nothing real?
You have got to remeber MI5 are a very paranoid organization, because they see spies wherever they see any Russians in the UK. And any Russian working for a member of Parliament will be seen as a possible spy.
Do you consider that MI5 acted unprofessionally in the Zatuliveter case?
I think they did. And I think this case does enormous damage to the reputation of MI5 and it shows them as being amateurs really, for their simplistic attitude to national security. Katya’s lawyer, Tim Owen, he has described MI5 as more like Inspector Clouseau than George Smiley, who was John le Carré’s spy. So, he is presenting MI5 as a sort of comic case. I think this recent case is just an indication of what is really going on behind the scenes. Both MI5 and MI6 use the media to spread false stories, disinformation and real lies: there is a long history of propaganda coming from the intelligence services. They also have their mouthpieces, their favourite spokesman, who can influence news in any way they want.
You mean someone, for example like, Oleg Gordievsky?
He plays no effective role apart from being a mouthpiece for the security services. As we are coming up to Christmas – and we know that Santa Claus has his little helpers, the elves, those vile ugly little critters – I believe MI5 and MI6 also have their little helpers as well. And Oleg Gordievsky plays a role as one of their loyal servants. And he comes out with very biased claims against Katya in the newspapers, clearly stating that she has always been a Russian spy from the time she was a student. Obviously, this is just a sort of propaganda that MI5 wants to get out there, into the media. Whenever Oleg Gordievsky appears in the media he always supports and praises the role of the British Intelligence Services. who are actually his bosses. Gordievsky’s explanation for the lack of evidence against Katya is that she was so good at what she was doing that she didn’t leave any sort of trace. Such an argument demonstrates to me that Gordievsky is an intellectually dishonest person, it is not any proof against Katya.
Is Gordievsky the only person who is used?
One of the main spokespersons is Prof. Christopher Andrew. He works at Cambridge University. He is another person who is often used by MI5 and MI6 to put stories into the public domain. In 2009, Andrew was entrusted by MI5 to publicize the authorized history of their organization. On my blog, I have referred to Prof. Andrew as the “Cambridge Parrot” simply because he is so adept at mimicking the words he is asked to say on behalf of our British Intelligence Services. Another book of Andrew’s is The Mitrokhin Archive, which was published back in 1999, with the aim of exposing alleged Soviet spies in Britain, including myself. This was just a propaganda operation and was meant to remind the public that the Cold War was justified and also a warning not to get too friendly with Russia.
Can you give the listeners another example?
A good example is one by Prof. Andrew’s identification of a woman known as Melita Norwood, a Soviet spy, the so-called “granny spy.” She was about 80-something at the time when she was exposed. What was strange about this case is the way in which it was exposed. A journalist named David Rose apparently he found out about Melita Norwood, managed to track her down and he did the very first interview with her at the time The Mitrokhin Archive was being published. The timing and the detective work, at the time, seemed incredible. How could he do this? In fact, it was too incredible. What actually happened was – it later became known – that during this period, Mr. Rose was actually working as an agent of MI5 and MI6. And he was given the task of leaking stories such as this through his job as a journalist. He was approached in 1992 by some MI6 officer. Apparently, his main qualification is that he unquestionably agreed to be recruited as an agent. And he also agreed not to talk about it to anybody or then he wouldn’t gain access to these, these sort of scoop stories.
So, how did we learn about it?
We learnt about it because he has actually stated this in the newspapers. In New Statesman Magazine in September of 2007, he wrote and admitted the fact that he had been an MI5 and MI6 agent.
Do you think that, also was a part of some operation?
I’m not sure. But let’s not beat about the bush with this. What we are dealing with here is disinformation and manipulation of the news, which is available to the public in newspapers and on TV. The media is used as a tool in this propaganda war and news stories can be molded to suit the aims of intelligence services in anyway they like. They want to win the hearts and minds of the general public. And, in the case of Katya, they attempt to boost the status of Britain and malign that of Russia.
IAEA resolution on Iran: questions remain
Interview with Alon Ben-Meir, one of the leading US experts on the Middle East and a professor from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University in the US.
23 November 2011, 15:53
Occupy UC Davis
U.S. A Pepper Spray Democracy
Interview with Artyom Raskin, a media contact and an activist with the Occupy UC Davis and the Occupy Davis movements in Davis, California. (His personal views)
23 November 2011, 16:08
U.S. SOPA will lead to Internet lawlessness
Professor David Post
Interview with Prof. David Post, Professor of Law at the Temple University School of Law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and one of the authors of an open letter to the US House of Representatives signed by over 100 noted US law professors protesting the SOPA Act.
28 November 2011, 18:23
Hypersonic Missile: To Target Russia
The first thing that is on everybody’s minds is President Medvedev’s statement regarding NATO. Why at this late date exactly, at this juncture?
29 November 2011, 18:36
Does the West Want Arms Race in Europe?
Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to GlobalResearch.ca.
About a month ago, NATO tested first-strike capabilities of using mobile radar in Turkey. Why would a defensive system need to test offensive capabilities? We have the cyber warfare center. You said it also can be used as an offensive tool by the US. We have hypersonic missile tests and the Prompt Global Strike system. I think these are pretty good reasons for the Russian Federation to be worried, to put it mildly, as to the intentions of the West. Why would the West want to start an arms race in Europe? Why would this be profitable? Why not include Russia as part of the sectoral approach system? It’s probably a rhetorical question but can you touch upon it?
2 December 2011, 12:36
Occupy LA: "We want our democracy back"
Marilyn an LA protester
Interview with Marilyn, activist with the Occupy LA movement in Los Angeles, California, USA.
8 December 2011, 17:00
"U.S not in a position to criticize Russian elections"
Interview with Rick Rozoff , the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca. Mr. Rozoff also worked "against the Chicago political machine" for approximately 25 years, from 1976-2000, including as: a ward-wide voter registration coordinator, the founder and leader of an independent ward organization, a congressional district coordinator for Mayor Harold Washington's 1987 reelection bid, a campaign manager in two state representative and one alderman election, and as a third party candidate for state office.
12 December 2011, 12:12
Occupy DC: "We will occupy DC until we are heard"
Interview with Kelly Meers, one of the protesters at Occupy DC in the United States.
12 December 2011, 14:13
From Sanctions to Negotiations: US Strategy
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben-Meir, a Middle East expert and a professor from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.
13 December 2011, 11:17
Climate and Economy: Two Crises
Tim Summers Green Party
Interview with Tim Summers, the former national campaigns officer with the Green Party of England and Wales in the UK, a former political cartoonist and a current political activist.
You said there is a very close tie between the ecological situation right now and the global economic crisis. How are those affecting each other?
Well we've recently had the Durban conference, unable to really make any world decision to save the planet from particularly carbon emissions but also other emissions. All the problems of climate change that are affecting huge changes now that are so demonstrable, I think the argument has been settled, and the melting of the polar ice caps, the floods that are being caused in some parts of the world, the general disturbance. I think it is time to draw a line and say clearly the efforts of humans have badly disturbed this planet, particularly now its climate. And that this is a problem of the profit motive continuing to log forests, the breathing lungs of the planet, continue to carry on with ecologically damaging forms of accumulation all over the world. One can say that capitalism can’t save the planet and that the Durban conference and previous attempts underline that.
Can you give us some information about the rising ocean levels?
I don’t have any figures, but certainly the lobbying of those small island communities faced with imminent flooding was a factor in the last day of the Durban conference, where some kind of schema was put forward for most of the world most of the time. The plight of so many low-lying countries now is simply a question of survival. The whole of Bangladesh is faced with going under water soon. It really is that dire. The Maldive Islands and other islands are actually going under water now as we speak, having to be evacuated. The problem is with us, though I haven’t got a clear time scale.
What did they come up with at the Durban conference? Was there anything concrete that they were able to resolve?
There was a general world agreement, but excepted by America, China and India, which is rather contradictory really to talk about a world decision with those three huge industrial powers absenting themselves from it, showing my point that capitalism is so addicted to fossil fuels, especially oil, that it just simply can’t face the priority of saving the planet because it simply must accumulate. Capitalism simply can’t operate on a no-growth or very low-growth basis. The UK’s GDP is likely to only grow at 1% - I hear tonight - in future. Capitalism can’t operate on that basis. That’s part of the reason why capitalism is going into deep crisis.
What is the Green Party doing in the UK currently?
We’ve been in the forefront of warning of climate change for the last 30 years. We continue to do that: to oppose wars, to campaign for low growth, or a no-growth economy, and that we want green jobs. We want a whole change in industry for a green economy. We want to start building our own wind turbines, instead of importing them from abroad. We want much greater targets adopted across the UK for carbon dioxide emissions and other dangerous emissions. We want a complete radical transformation of the whole economy.
What would you say to people who say that global climate change and rising sea levels is something that’s not real?
The Koch Brothers, the second largest industrial conglomerate in America, has been heavily funding climate change denial in America that has been very successful. The embarrassment of evidence disorders at East Anglia University discredited the climate change campaign movement, if you follow me, avidly used by the climate change deniers to argue that the whole business of climate change was simply another move for increasing taxation, was a con in other words, and so on. This climate change skepticism through its enormous funding is a major force in America. It’s a considerable force in Britain, particularly when at a time of growing economic hardship the climate and the global ecological questions tend to take a back seat. I didn’t mention, as regards the oceans, not only their rising levels, but also the poisoning of the oceans, its ecosystems, by the increasing acidity of the oceans. This again is a byproduct of carbon dioxide emissions. This is destroying the whole life of the oceans. All our fishing expectations now have to be cut short. Britain eats more fish from fish-farming than it does from catching them out in the oceans. These are the kind of changes that invisibly are going on, that are bringing the whole planet to a crisis similar to the financial crisis of the capitalist system.
Last time we talked about the Occupy movement. Can you give our listeners an update on what is going on?
Well there’s been an enormous smear campaign to allege that drug addicts and people defecate in local alleyways, have made the site a terrible abomination. This is nowhere true, it’s tightly organised, it's brilliantly organized to the very highest of standards. And this smear campaign, particularly in the Evening Standard, was answered fully. But there is a campaign by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, the City of London, with all its power, and the central government itself to force an eviction upon the protest Occupy movement at St. Paul’s, London, and that the police will service this eviction. So it’s coming to an end at that particular site, but it’s not coming to an end in London. Already the protesters are occupying other buildings in London and the struggle will take new forms in new locations. The struggle against capitalism, and to unmask its structural deficiencies, is only just beginning in London and across the world. Over 80 countries have now taken actions.
14 December 2011, 16:09
Russian Aid Needs Escort?
Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin
Interview with Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Konuzin.
Can you give our listeners a little bit of information about the situation on the ground in Serbia, please?
I’m standing at the administrative line between the Central Serbia and the Kosovo Province. We came here in the morning, at 9.30 a.m. and proceeded with passage from Central Serbia to Kosovo. Two trucks with humanitarian aid crossed the checkpoint, but then the procedure was disrupted and the whole convoy was blocked. We stayed for hours and only some 15 minutes ago I received a call from EULEX aide, explaining that it’s impossible for us to proceed. They insisted on escorting out convoy. I said we didn’t need any escort to go from Yarine to Kosovska Mitrovica. But he said it was impossible to go without escort or else we should go to Marbore. We didn’t go to Marbore and in this situation the whole convoy is unfortunately blocked. So, we are standing at Yarine.
The whole convoy is stopped right now?
Yes. Two trucks are on the Kosovo side and the rest of the convoy is on the side of Central Serbia.
Is this a serious problem? Do you think it will be worked out by morning?
I don’t know. I’m in communication with my authorities. We are examining the situation. We need some more time to make a definite decision.
Interview with Daniela Dragovic, a Serbian political activist.
Can you tell us a little bit about the aid? How many trucks of aid have arrived?
25 trucks have arrived. They are still on the border with Kosovo, as I know. We have out man down there, Mr. Konuzin, who is our national hero. All people in Serbia love Konuzin more than any of our politicians.
That’s nice to hear. Are they having any problems or is everything going normally out there?
No, there is nothing normal out there. I have to say we have self-destruction politicians here, in Serbia, and we are intentionally being isolated from the media. Nobody, no television, no newspapers are actually talking about Russian help. But the ordinary people in Serbia, they know, and we are very, very happy. They are on the streets, all along the way.
I saw some pictures and it looked like there were some trees on the road and stuff. Did somebody set up road blocks or was that just some trees that fell on the road? What happened with that? Do you know anything about that?
I don’t know. Maybe out men on the border do. Can I say something about our movement?
Sure. You can say anything you want. This is a free radio.
We are gathering young, honest people who don’t care about politics and just want to save Serbia from the worst situation in its history. Our leader is in fact in Russia and you can contact him for more information. The biggest part of Serbian people don’t trust our politicians and put all their faith in Russia and God. They are grateful for all Russian help. I’m very excited, I’m sorry.
Is the Russian Orthodox Church active with the Serbian Church?
No, I’m ashamed of telling this but our patriarch is so-called “uniate.” Our patriarch wants to cooperate with the Roman Church.
I thought there were some ties being built with the Orthodox Church as well.
I’m really sorry to tell this but we are in a very dire situation. Serbia is in a so-called silent occupation. All our political parties and their leaders actually don’t have any solution because they are in a no-exit position. We don’t have any hope and we must gather people to try to solve this situation. There are many people in our movement and we really have solutions to all Serbian problems.
What about the aid? I heard there are power units. You said there are problems with media. Are you able to use the internet there?
Yes, we are very active on Facebook. We try to get more information for people who are on Facebook, on Twitter etc. that’s all. You can’t read about it in a newspaper or watch about it on TV.
Why is that? Who is responsible for that?
Our government and all our politicians because they don’t want us to get close with Russia. We are on the road to Europe. And for our politicians there is actually no other way for Serbia. But it’s not so. Most of Serbian people at this time want to be closer to Russia. Most of us want to go to the Eurasian unit with Russia and other countries. This is it.
16 December 2011, 15:21
Russian Aid Convoy in Serbia Given Green Light
Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin
Interview with Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Konuzin . Mr. Konuzin says an agreement was reached yesterday at the EU-Russia Summit that cleared the situation around Russian humanitarian convoy for Kosovo's Serbian population that was stuck at the Kosovo border.
Interview with Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Konuzin. Mr. Konuzin says an agreement was reached yesterday at the EU-Russia Summit that cleared the situation around Russian humanitarian convoy for Kosovo's Serbian population that was stuck at the Kosovo border.
According to the ambassador, they have been working together with local authorities, the government of Serbia and EU representatives in Kosovo on a plan, which is not being implemented as follows: several trucks of EU mission are now going to the Yarine block post to join the convoy, while customs officers are processing the long-awaited Russian convoy.
16 December 2011, 15:24
Occupy SF: Occupiers shut down West Coast ports
Interview with Sarah Page , one of the organizers of the Occupy San Francisco movement, www.occupysf.com . Yesterday, Occupy Oakland kicked off the West Coast Port shutdown, which had been planned for weeks.
Transparency International Distorts Data in Favour of its Western Paymasters
Interview with Calvin Tucker , Co-Editor of the web magazine 21st Century Socialism .
I’d like to ask you a few questions today about Transparency International. How transparent in your opinion is Transparency International?
I would actually say this is an organization that should probably change its name. I think it’s worth recalling that the Transparency International’s mission statement is “to combat corruption.”Its main activity is publishing reports on countries and companies and ranking them in order of how corrupt or nontransparent they are. These reports are then taking up by the media and more or less uncritically reported because Transparency International (TI) claims to be an independent, non-partisan organization. But – this is the issue – they are funded by Western cooperates and Western governments, for example, the US, the UK, France, Norway, Canada, Australia, the European Commission and so on. Secondly, the source of funding is corporate. The reason why I say that TI’s funding is a problem is because in 2008 I discovered that they backed a completely unjustified attack on Venezuela and it seemed to be a very clear case of “he who pays the piper calls the tune”. What I think happened here is that Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA came under a two-pronged attack – firstly, from Transparency International itself in the form of a report, and, secondly and simultaneously, from one of Transparency International’s main corporate donors ExxonMobil. I should explain that Venezuela’s PDVSA is not just another oil company like Shell or BP. It’s a publicly owned company, whose profits are directly plowed into the social programs to poor and working class citizens. PDVSA is Venezuela’s main source of export earnings. So, to attack PDVSA isn’t just to attack a company – it’s to attack the engine room of Venezuelan economy and the Venezuelan state itself. The US has had Venezuela and its socialist President Hugo Chavez in their cross hairs since the failure of the US-backed military coup in 2002. ExxonMobil launched this legal action against PDVSA in the British high court in a bid to seize their assets. While all this was going on TI was compiling and producing this hugely damaging report on Venezuela’s PDVSA, claiming that PDVSA were refusing to release basic financial information. The inference here was that PDVSA was probably corrupt. But the report was wrong. It wasn’t just a little bit wrong or wrong in an area here or there. It was totally, utterly and completely false. Despite Transparency International’s claims, all the information – and I mean every single piece of information – that TI said PDVSA was refusing to disclose was freely available on PDVSA’s website and on their published financial statements. I was utterly perplexed and I assumed that that had been some kind of appalling administrative error. So I contacted Transparency International to ask them what went wrong and I was met with what I can only describe as “wall of silence.” In short, they behaved exactly like one of those shady government companies and institutions that they are supposed to be holding to account. But the story gets even worse because what we do know is that the Venezuelan office of Transparency International is staffed entirely by opponents of Venezuelan government and many of them, including the current executive director, were supporters of the military coup that briefly overthrew Hugo Chavez in 2002. I certainly don’t believe that the composition of Venezuela’s Transparency International office is unconnected with the false allegations that have been coming from Transparency International against Venezuela in years and years. So I’m drawn inexorably towards the conclusion that, when it matters, TI consciously pursues the agenda of their Western paymasters and acts little more than an instrument of Western foreign policy. I think they’re something of a confidence trick played on the world’s public and it’s about time the media started doing their job properly, investigating the organization that claims to be investigating nontransparent and improperly run organizations.
With regards to Russia, recently they moved Russia up only 11 points, to 143th position to 154th on the corruption scale worldwide, despite the fact that Russia has been fighting corruption very actively for years now. What do you think is their agenda for the Russian Federation?
I think it’s a shame, because Transparency International does do some good work on fighting corruption. Unfortunately, it’s tainted by their political bias. The problem with the corruption perfection index is contained in the second word of the sentence. It’s a “perception.” And the big flaw is that perception is not the same thing as fact. You are going to get different perceptions depending on who you ask. So it’s obviously open to manipulation, with governments not favored by the Western powers generally scoring poorly. And anybody who looks at the table can see that very clearly. The big problem is that the index seeks to blame only the government of the developing nations for corruption, reinforcing the IMF, World Bank and Western insistence on placing owner risk conditions on loans. Of course, these loans themselves lock third-world countries into a pattern of underdevelopments and poverty, which in turn encourages corruption in its authority. I’ll just give you one example. In 2007, Jamaica received a very poor ranking because a Dutch oil company had paid $30 million to one of Jamaica’s political parties. Jamaica was lambasted and they were put right at the bottom of the corruption perception index. But the oil company that paid the money and the Dutch government finished in the Top 10 of least corrupt countries. So, I think we can see here that there’s a very clear pattern of political bias at work, which favours Western countries and attacks both developing nations and its more direct economic and political competitors such as Russia.
21 December 2011, 14:18
Middle East tensions: Forecast for 2012
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben-Meir , a Middle East expert and a professor from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.
23 December 2011, 15:52
Arab World: Forecast for 2012
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
Interview with Dr. Alon Ben-Meir , a Middle East expert and a professor from the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.
26 December 2011, 16:12
The Troy Case: Voter Fraud Scandal in the US
Interview with Noah Rothman, a political news editor at Ology.com.
Why is Fox News reporting the scandal in Troy, New York, the way they are? Normally, Republican scandals are not covered as much as they’ve been covering this one.
This is actually a Democratic scandal, which probably accounts for why it has been so widely covered. In Troy, New York, four Democratic officials pled guilty. They were earlier indicted to trying to manipulate a Working Families Party primary in order to change that elections results in favour of the Democrats, which goes to a larger narrative that’s dominating the conversation in a lot of Republican-led states, where they are attempting to enact a sort of idea to reduce the incidents of actual election fraud, which was in this case rather blatant, and the officials that admitted to it. It’s a fairly large scandal, including the City Council President, the county elections commissioner, City Council members and 50 other people. This is a rather large scandal. And it goes to support the Republican narrative that there is voter ID fraud and there needs to be a significant reform. New York is a very special case. New York has laws on the books to allow officials to run on two-party lines. So, a Democrat can run under the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party, a Republican can run as a Republican and a Constitution candidate. All the votes go to that particular candidate. So, why would Democratic officials want to manipulate a Working Families Party primary? So that they could get their candidate on the ballot and he could benefit from that. In this kind of a situation, it’s really only good for a primary low-turnout election, where you can manipulate the rates with just a couple of votes. Actually, a similar scandal – not a voter ID fraud but a similar scandal – took down one of New York City Mayor’s Mike Bloomberg’s very close associates, who was indicted and convicted on embezzling money from the Independence Party, which is New York State’s third largest party. Mayor Bloomberg has actually donated several million dollars to it over the course of many years. So, New York is a special case in this situation. It’s a rampant problem especially when it comes to primary candidates and operatives manipulating these elections.
What about nationwide and Republican scandals that Fox News is not reporting?
Cable news bias is rather baked in the cake. I think voters for the most part are smart enough to understand that there is a coverage bias when it comes to Fox News and NBC, so you know what you are getting. Obviously, this scandal in particular supports the Republican agenda, which is probably going to be a bigger news story in 2012 than we are led to believe now. Actually, the Justice Department just struck down today voter ID laws in South Carolina. That made it very clear that they are supportive of the position that the voter ID law would disenfranchise minority voters. In order to have a voter ID and go to the poll, they say it’s an undue burden on those particular voters. And, in the event that you’d have to pay for a voter ID, that can amount to a poll tax, which is something that, according to Jim Crow Law, is a racial insensitive policy. If there’s a free ID however that gets a little more ambiguous. The Democratic argument is twofold. One is that there isn’t a significant amount of ID fraud enough to merit significant reforms. And when it is, the burden of having to have a voter ID disenfranchises the poor minority. But in the Troy case, which is actually quite interesting as one of the indictments is that the operative told the press after he pled guilty that what they were doing was specifically to target poor minority voters in order to fake their signatures on absentee ballots and then the operatives would work in the rest of the information. So, they had the signatures of registered voters in poor minority neighbourhoods because they tend not to speak up, because, they say, they are more intimidated and they don’t go to the press, they don’t go to the authorities if they vote at all. On both sides of the aisle, there is a little bit of disingenuousness here and it has all to do with the poor minority voting population, who are being disenfranchised, frankly, in two different ways. Whether one is more serious than the other will have to be decided, obviously, by voters next year.
How would you characterize the entire US elections system? Do you think that the US is in a position – in light of the fact that the US doesn’t allow, for example, international observers – to criticize other countries, for example the Russian Federation?
I couldn’t say. There are real internal political concerns. It plays politically to criticize for example the recent Russian elections. When it comes to these voter ID fraud cases, you can manipulate around the edges. For example, if you have a very close election, then, yes, systemic election fraud would be a significant issue and the worst case scenario that hasn’t happened yet is the discovery of fact that of that election fraud within the margin that could swing an election. That would be a very significant problem, because what would happen after the election is that it would essentially put elections to the courts. That hasn’t happened yet. To allow international observers in this country would be politically a very dangerous move for any politician to accept because it’s so deeply unpopular here, so that, if there were ever to be a platform, it would have to take place in a particularly liberal international city, for example. Just to have it anywhere else in the country would be politically damaging for anyone who’d embrace that.
What do you think about the George Bush’s election in 2000? Do you think there were actual cases of fraud going on there?
That goes back to the point of moving an election to the courts. There have been studies upon studies upon studies, and you can argue as to whether or not the court had stopped the recount that would have overturned the popular vote. The most studies were suggesting that that would not be the case. The elections would have turned out even if they had gone forward with the recounts data in other counties. However, the way it was decided in the Supreme Court where the Supreme Court had essentially have to stop the recounting has created that uncertainty that persists to this day. Only an election can bring about a fair outcome that can’t be argued. And when it goes to the courts – the issue never dies. That’s really why we want to stand election fraud as much as possible as soon as possible because, if it ever goes to the courts, it creates a much bigger problem. These things don’t come to light until well after the fact. And they are usually well underreported. There can be a broader, much more systemic election fraud that we just don’t know about.
29 December 2011, 20:18
Where Will America’s Imperial Hubris Lead To?
Can you give us the latest on NATO and your predictions for 2012, as far as the ABM system in Europe and NATO global expansion in general? I know it’s a big question.