Glenn Greenwald

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_08_24_greenwald_donate.mp3]

Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com blogger and former constitutional lawyer, discusses the NYC anti-mosque/anti-Islam rally sponsored by neocon crazy Frank Gaffney (scroll down to update III), how the public’s fear of an Islamic bogeyman must be constantly stoked to justify a U.S. foreign policy of war and aggression, how Israel benefits from increasing anti-Islam bigotry in the U.S. and the most suppressed truth in American political discourse: that U.S. policy and behavior generate grievances that inspire acts of terrorism – including 9/11.

MP3 here. (23:21)

Glenn Greenwald was a constitutional lawyer in New York City, first at the Manhattan firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and then at the litigation firm he founded, Greenwald, Christoph. Greenwald litigated numerous high-profile and significant constitutional cases in federal and state courts around the country, including multiple First Amendment challenges. He has a J.D. from New York University School of Law (1994) and a B.A. from George Washington University (1990). In October of 2005, Greenwald started a political and legal blog, Unclaimed Territory, which quickly became one of the most popular and highest-trafficked in the blogosphere.

Upon disclosure by the New York Times in December 2005 of President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program, Greenwald became one of the leading and most cited experts on that controversy. In early 2006, he broke a story on his blog regarding the NSA scandal that served as the basis for front-page articles in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, all of which credited his blog for the story. Several months later, Sen. Russ Feingold read from one of Greenwald’s posts during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Feingold’s resolution to censure the president for violating FISA. In 2008, Sen. Chris Dodd read from Greenwald’s Salon blog during floor debate over FISA. Greenwald’s blog was also cited as one of the sources for the comprehensive report issued by Rep. John Conyers titled “The Constitution in Crisis.” In 2006, he won the Koufax Award for best new blog.

Greenwald is the author of A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok and Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics.

Grant F. Smith

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_08_23_smith_donate.mp3]

Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C., discusses the boon of documents released in a Senate investigation of Israel’s covert lobbying and PR campaigns, threats to the continued freedom to practice (out of favor) religions in America, how neocons use their unchallenged talking points in mainstream media to push for war with Iran, The Atlantic magazine’s history of shilling for Israel and how AIPAC wields power by withholding campaign contributions to wayward congressmen.

MP3 here. (34:46)

Grant F. Smith is the author of Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy, America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government and Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal. He is a frequent contributor to Radio France Internationale and Voice of America’s Foro Interamericano. Smith has also appeared on BBC News, CNN, and C-SPAN. He is currently director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C.

Juan Cole

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_08_24_cole_donate.mp3]

Juan Cole, Professor of History and author of Engaging the Muslim World, discusses Rafic Hariri’s rise to power and prominence in Lebanon before his 2005 assassination, initial suspicions cast on Syria due to its efforts in maintaining political dominance in Lebanon, how Hezbollah filled the political vacuum created by Syria’s withdrawal – much to the chagrin of Israel and the Bush administration and why the current investigation’s focus on Hezbollah could destabilize the fragile Lebanese government.

MP3 here. (17:03)

Juan Cole is the author of Engaging the Muslim World. He is a Professor of History at the University of Michigan and writes the “Informed Comment” blog at Juancole.com.

Trita Parsi

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_08_23_parsi_donate.mp3]

Trita Parsi, author of the Salon.com article “A campaign for war with Iran begins,” discusses Israel’s preference for Iran’s Ahmedinejad instead of a moderate president, how Israel’s “qualitative edge” over the sum total of Gulf states is slipping away, doubts about the practical utility of the U.S.-Israel special relationship and why a U.S. reconciliation with Iran would mean the end of sanctions and expanded Iranian regional influence at Israel’s expense.

MP3 here. (10:17)

Dr. Trita Parsi is the author of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States, recipient of the Council on Foreign Relation’s 2008 Arthur Ross Silver Medallion and the 2010 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.

He wrote his Doctoral thesis on Israeli-Iranian relations under Professor Francis Fukuyama (and Drs. Zbigniew Brzezinski, R. K. Ramazani, Jakub Grygiel, Charles Doran) at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies while heading the largest Iranian-American organization in the US, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).

Eli Clifton

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_08_19_clifton_donate.mp3]

Eli Clifton, writer on U.S. foreign policy at the Washington bureau of IPS News, discusses LobeLog’s Daily Talking Points on Iran-U.S. relations, the designed-to-fail nature of sanctions meant to justify military action, why Israel isn’t threatened or worried about Iran’s nuclear program and why there’s no law preventing Iran (as a sovereign nation) from withdrawing from the NPT and building nuclear weapons.

MP3 here. (19:20)

Eli Clifton writes on U.S. foreign policy as well as trade and finance at the Washington bureau of IPS. His articles have also appeared on Right Web and in the South China Morning Post. Eli has a B.A. in Political Science from Bates College and an MSc in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics.

Gareth Porter

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_08_18_porter_donate.mp3]

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses John Bolton’s “8 day” countdown to a possible Israeli strike on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor, clarifications on the previous day’s interview, more fanciful claims from warmongers that Iranians will be grateful for a regime-changing bombing campaign and whether the Obama administration has the nerve to “just say no” to Israel.

MP3 here. (20:56)

Gareth Porter is an independent historian and journalist. He is the author of Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam. His articles appear on Counterpunch, Huffington Post, Inter Press Service News Agency and Antiwar.com

Gareth Porter

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_08_16_porter_donate.mp3]

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses the overlooked messages that undermine the premise of Jeffrey Goldberg’s Iran fear-mongering article, the recent history of Israel pretending Iran is an “existential threat” as revealed in Trita Parsi’s Treacherous Alliance and Israel’s (real) intense fear of friendly relations between the U.S. and Iran.

MP3 here. (20:57)

Gareth Porter is an independent historian and journalist. He is the author of Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam. His articles appear on Counterpunch, Huffington Post, Inter Press Service News Agency and Antiwar.com

Philip Giraldi

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_08_12_giraldi_donate.mp3]

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi discusses the State Department’s unintentionally hilarious report on global terrorism, the government’s steadfast refusal to see the underlying grievances that motivate terrorist actions, how Congressional Resolution 1553 defers Iran war-making decisions to Israel and how countries designated “state sponsors of terrorism” are placed on the State Department’s “ignore” list.

MP3 here. (20:46) Transcript below.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a contributing editor to The American Conservative and executive director of the Council for the National Interest. He writes regularly for Antiwar.com.

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Transcript – Scott Horton Interviews Philip Giraldi, August 12, 2010

Scott Horton: All right, y’all, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio. I’m Scott Horton, and our first guest on the show today is Antiwar.com’s Phil Giraldi. He’s a former CIA and DIA officer. He’s part of the American Conservative Defense Alliance. He’s a contributing editor at The American Conservative magazine – that’s AmConMag.com. And he’s now over there at the Council for the National Interest. Welcome back to the show, Phil. How’s it going?

Philip Giraldi: Thanks, Scott. Doing fine.

Horton: Good. All right, so new article today at Antiwar.com. I think if people just go to Antiwar.com/Giraldi it’ll forward on. It’s actually original.antiwar.com/giraldi, and the article is “Hillary’s Enemies List.” Go ahead…

Giraldi: Well, I mean, you know, as the article states, we Americans are always addicted to making lists and doing numerical analysis of stuff. I mean you see it in all the reporting that comes out of the Pentagon on what’s happening in Iraq and what’s happening in Afghanistan – it’s all in numerics. And to me, one of the most invidious lists of all is the list that the State Department puts out every year. It’s a report on world terrorism. And the most, I think, reprehensible part of the report is the section on state sponsors of terrorism, because the state sponsor list is completely influenced by politics and really has very little to do with terrorism.

Horton: Yeah, I have to admit – you know, no offense or anything, but your articles usually aren’t that funny. They’re very informative and very to the point; they’re always about the very same topics I’m interested in, but it’s not usual that I’m laughing out loud, holding my gut, reading a Giraldi article. This is an exception, however. This is absolutely ridiculous. It wasn’t you cracking wise, it was just the facts as you were reporting them that I just though were absolutely absurd. I mean, I think as you say in here, basically this report could have been written in Tel Aviv. It’s not even written from an American point of view, it doesn’t even seem like.

Giraldi: Yeah, the analysis of terrorist groups and their activities over the last year, I mean, it’s just straight, you know – no analysis really of questioning why these things happen or whether these groups have aspects other than what they see as the terrorist side. I’m speaking particularly, of course, of Hezbollah and Hamas. But the Iranians, too, are lumped into the same thing, and the fact is that none of these groups actually target Americans.

Horton: All right, now, so, a little bit of background, especially for people who maybe are new to the show or haven’t heard of you before. The fact that you write for The American Conservative means that you’re a conservative, I think, American Conservative Defense Alliance and all that, and with a name like Giraldi you’ve got to be at least a little bit Catholic, and so I don’t think that you’re some kind of pinko hippie who’s just afraid of a fight – and I’m pretty sure also a Vietnam War veteran, right? I’m also pretty sure that you don’t walk around carrying a brief for radical Islamic terrorist cretins. And after all, Phil, Hamas and Hezbollah, no matter who their enemies are – they have used suicide attacks before and stuff. I mean that’s terrorism, man, right?

Giraldi: Well, you know, there’s terrorism, and there’s terrorism. I mean, the fact is that we tend to see terrorism in monochromatic terms, you know, black and white. The fact is that many of these groups that we consider terrorists start out as national resistance movements to an occupation or, like in South Africa, to a repressive state structure. You know, there are numerous examples I can cite obviously of terrorist groups that originally were actually defending the local people. And then they get cacheted as terrorists by the people that they’re opposing.

And in the case of the United States, the United States has pretty much taken over willy nilly lists of terrorists or lists of terrorist groups that are actually groups that have never ever targeted Americans in any way and never would. And so it makes you question what is the utility of this kind of compendium.

Horton: Well, and also speaking of that, I know that part of your experience in the CIA was in Turkey, so you’re also very familiar with the Middle East and the politics of that region, and so, you know, I don’t think you’re arguing that you want to see a Middle East run by Hamas and Hezbollah; you’re just trying to, well, I guess take it from the monochromatic description of the way things are in the world to add a little bit more color to that wheel and explain kind of the subtlety of the situation a little bit better, huh?

Giraldi: Well, it’s largely, you know, a question of our own self-interest. I mean, if we go around and we start labeling numerous groups that are political parties in the countries they’re in as terrorists, that means we can’t talk to them. And it also means that when we look at countries and call them state sponsors of terrorism, we can’t talk to them either. And all kinds of legal and sanction issues kick in automatically once you’re on that list. So it’s self-destructive.

It’s not that I’m saying that these groups are nice people – I’m not saying that at all. But the fact is that it limits what the United States can do to establish some kind of realistic way of dealing with these people, because you have to deal with them. I mean, Hezbollah is, I believe, the biggest party in Lebanon – political party. And Hamas is certainly the biggest political party in Gaza. So if you’re dealing with the political problems in both those areas, there’s no way you can avoid talking to them. And yet we set up this legal-quasilegal structure that ties our hands and guarantees virtually that we’ll never be able to talk to them.

Horton: Well, and you know it seems like of course the narrative is, it’s all about Iran, and as per the usual Israeli narrative, never mind the fact, it’s not even true maybe that Gaza and the West Bank have been occupied for two generations in a row or something. I mean, basically, to read this thing, the people of the West Bank and Gaza won’t stop invading Israel or something like that, and so therefore, kind of as you’re saying, there’s no national resistance kind of characterization even possible about these groups. They’re simply aggressors and – oh, in fact fronts for the Iranian regime. That’s the only reason that they’re after poor Israel over there. And therefore us, I guess.

Giraldi: Yeah, well the one thing that amazed me was, you know, I read this whole damn report, and it’s something that could put you to sleep, that’s for sure, but the thing is, I became curious about it, because it had these long descriptions of what Hezbollah was doing and Hamas is doing, and then I went and I checked the section on Israel and saw exactly how many people were killed by terrorists in Israel last year, and the number was I think four. And none of them had been killed by Hezbollah or Hamas. So here you’re identifying these groups as terrorist threats and so on and so forth. If they are terrorist threats, they’re pretty ineffective.

Horton: Well, and is it even right, really, that – I mean, clearly Hamas has ties with Iran, but I mean how separate are their interests from each other? And of course there’s the Sunni-Shia split when it comes to Hamas and Palestine, but maybe that’s not all that important.

Giraldi: Well, I think yeah, your point is right. I mean, you know, Iran is a friend of Hamas because they have a common interest in that Israel and the United States are opposing both of them. And the same thing with Hezbollah. Hezbollah has more profound connections with Iran, no doubt about it.

But the fact is that nevertheless everybody is acting out always their self-interest, and precisely what I’m saying is that, you know, you basically look – if you’re really engaged in serious diplomacy, you look at the national interest or the interests of these people, and you work those in your favor, because there will be things that they’re interested in that we’re also interested in, like, you know, there might be issues of regional stability that they’re quite interested in just as we are.

So, you know, the problem is, what you decide to categorize, put labels, put people on lists, you’re basically hurting yourself. You’re limiting your ability to do things.

Horton: Now, if you were the National Security Adviser of America, and say you wanted to bring hope and change to American foreign policy, is it completely unreasonable – I mean, I know I’m a very libertarian kind of guy with a point of view that doesn’t represent much of the population or whatever here, but is it a crazy idea to think that you could just go over there and say, “All right, look, Iranians, we’re just going to make friends. Forget all that stuff, here’s a security guarantee, stay within your safeguards agreement, sanctions are lifted, let’s work things out, we’ll have an agreement, we’ll sit down at a table, work out things in Palestine, etc.,” like that, or are they just intransigent crazy ayatollahs over there, Phil? Real quick, and then we’ll go out to this break.

Giraldi: Well I think the short answer of course is that they will have interests in common with you, and the Iranians have in the past made it clear that they want security guarantees from the United States, so we have a big bargaining pot.

Horton: Right on. All right, everybody hang tight. We’ll be right back with Phil Giraldi after this break.

[break]

Horton: All right, y’all, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio. I’m Scott Horton, and I’m talking with Phil Giraldi. He writes for Antiwar.com and The American Conservative magazine and Campaign for Liberty and American Conservative Defense Alliance, and now he’s over at the Council for the National Interest, and now – oh, and a former CIA and DIA officer as well.

Now, Phil, I think that, you know, all your talk about the way to win the terror war is to ramp it down, and the way to deal with Iran is to try to shake hands, and the way to deal with Hamas and Hezbollah is to try to sit at a table – I think you’re just naïve and you won’t face up to the real truth of the danger of radical Islam.

Giraldi: Well, that claim has been made vis-a-vis me, but I think actually that we have had now 10 years nearly of facing up to the threat of radical Islam and we’re far worse off and far less secure right now than we were 10 years ago. I mean, the fact is that we have adopted the wrong strategy. It’s very clear, and I firmly believe from my own experience, in the CIA in particular, that there are ways to work issues and there are ways to work around issues, and things like that, and we haven’t tried that approach as much as we should. And I firmly believe that to be the case.

Horton: Well now, so what about Islam itself? Because I mean that really is the narrative, especially of the neocons – is that radical Islam is the basis of our conflict. And I think what that really means, if we follow the chain of dominos or whatever, it means that our civilization is in the fight of its life against a billion people in the world – at least, you know, the 10%, as Harvey Kushner put it to me in a debate once, from Family [Security] Matters for America over there, a neocon outfit. He said, “10% of Muslims in the world are so radical, they’re at war with us, that, you know, we’re going to have to kill them all.”

Giraldi: Yeah, I’ve heard that line from a few people. In fact I heard 15%, which would be a few more. But, you know, I mean, the point is that the people who’ve come out with those lines do not ask the other question, which is, “How do these people become radicalized in the first place?” They became radicalized in the first place because of actions undertaken by the United States and frequently Israel. It’s not like we were nonplayers in this process.

So my suggestion would be that we take the initiative that President Obama made when he went and spoke in Cairo shortly after he became President, and extend that, and really let it become a concept of our government that we are basically friends to everyone. This is what George Washington advised; it’s what Thomas Jefferson, Madison – friends with everyone and not getting involved in other people’s quarrels and trying to be, you know, a force for moderation in the world. We haven’t been that.

Horton: Yeah. The shining city on a hill as a light of liberty rather than a laser designator for a JDAM, huh?

Giraldi: That might be a good idea, yeah.

Horton: All right, well, so I’m looking at this article on Reuters, and you know I guess no one in the whole world could have predicted this, no? It says, Karroubi, he’s I guess one of the leaders of the opposition over there in Iran, says that the new sanctions are strengthening the government and weakening the Green movement.

Giraldi: Well, you know, that was predicted by many people, that obviously you create a siege mentality in any environment and the people are going to rally around the government. So I’m not really surprised at that. And I think that –

Horton: Do you think that’s what the sanctions are for? Is it still the case, like it was when John Bolton and them were running the place, that the moderates are the enemies, really? The more we can make it look like the CIA is behind all the dissent, the more marginalized they’ll be, and then the easier it is to come up with an excuse for war against those crazing hardliners instead?

Giraldi: Well I think that what we’re seeing is we’re seeing lots of people with lots of different agendas. I mean, obviously the military-industrial complex has a definite agenda in terms of a war economy continuing and a state of tension continuing in the world. And the Israel lobby has its own agenda. And then there are other hardliners in Congress that have their agenda. And this all kind of coalesces into a situation in which we’re just doing things for the sake of doing things, and you know it just – it really doesn’t make any sense.

I know you’ve probably already discussed on your show this congressional resolution 1553 in which our Congress will give Israel a green light for attacking Iran. I mean, what possible good can a resolution like that do for the United States and for the United States’ interests?

Horton: It’s just amazing. I mean, I guess they haven’t passed that yet, but they’re really saying, “We’ll leave it up to the government of a foreign state to get us into a war or not.” I mean, we complain that Congress doesn’t declare war any more; they give that power to the President. Now they give it to the Prime Minister of Israel?

Giraldi: That’s essentially what the resolution would do. It would give him the right to make a major strategic decision that would have a huge impact on our country.

Horton: Yeah. You know, Pat Buchanan compared it to Neville Chamberlain’s war guarantee to Poland, which Lord Gray and all of them immediately said, “What? You did what? You gave the Polish colonels the right to decide what for us?” Too late.

Giraldi: Exactly. And when it’s too late, it’s too late.

Horton: Amazing. Well, all right, so let’s move on here to the possibility that, as you put it before, the Israelis might just get us into a war real soon, if not – you know, see I always, I guess my gut tells me that they want to be able to wait a year and say, “See, the sanctions didn’t work because the Iranians are crazy.” But I guess your thing is “Netanyahu’s crazy,” and why wait, from his point of view, huh?

Giraldi: Yeah, well that’s it. I mean he basically could be voted out of office in a year. And he definitely has an agenda.

And you have to look at it this way. You have to see what the down side is for the Israelis – I mean in political terms, because that’s how they’re looking at this. And if they were to attack Iran, Iran in all probability would retaliate in such a way that the United States would get involved, whether it wanted to be or not. And if that’s the intention of the Israelis, that’s mission accomplished.

And then people have been arguing, “Oh yes, but that means that the United States and Israeli would break off relations, the United States would be so angry about this occurrence.” I don’t see that. Congress is repeatedly passing motions like 1553 that indicate that anything Israel does is fine. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have said that Israel can do whatever it wants in terms of its own security.

And, you know, it’s clearly not the message that’s being sent, and you know the mainstream media would jump right on the bandwagon together with Israel, almost immediately, and would in fact make it look s if the Israelis were the victims of the Iranian attack, even though it’s vice versa.

Horton: Yeah. Well, now – eh, there’s so many different directions to go from there. I guess the most important thing I think for people to understand, if I have this right, is that the Iranians have Sunburn missiles and – I always forget the names of both of them at the same time, I always get one or the other, but these are supersonic sea-skimming missiles that could very conceivably sink American aircraft carriers.

Giraldi: Yeah, that’s true. I mean, these are, I think derived, from the Chinese Silkworm missiles that –

Horton: Right. That’s the word I was looking for.

Giraldi: – are cruise missiles that they sold to the Iranians, and the Iranians kind of juiced them up a bit. But yeah, I mean, you know, this is serious stuff. If you’ve got a couple hundred of those lying around, and they’re hidden in various places where you’re not easily going to find them or take them out – all right, they don’t have to sink an aircraft carrier, they could sink a supertanker, and you block the Straits of Hormuz and that’s it. Gas prices go up to $15 a gallon and the American people will wonder, “Hey, what happened?”

Horton: Well, now, five years ago, in fact almost exactly five years ago, you wrote an article in The American Conservative magazine about how Dick Cheney had a plan, if there was any more terrorist attacks in America, to just go ahead and use it as an opportunity to strike Iran, and that he’d ordered the military to go ahead and include nuclear weapons in their plans, and then there was some word that that had been taken back and then maybe put back in, but I think you said – well I don’t know, three years ago now or something? – that the new version of the plan was, “Well, we’ll keep nukes in our back pocket for conventional strikes and then if they dare to resist, we’ll, I guess, have to use nuclear weapons.” Right? Because no one can even – no one in the Pentagon contemplates putting ground forces in an actual invasion and march to Tehran. So it comes down to, if the war starts and they decide to really fight back, then we’re talking hydrogen bombs. I mean, is it really as simple as that?

Giraldi: Well, I think that it’s the ultimate deterrent, really. I mean, if the Iranians are fighting back in a serious way, the United States might send them a message saying, you know, “Keep it up and we’re going to nuke you.” It seems to me, it is the ultimate deterrent for the United States in this kind of situation. And it would be stupid of people to say that that wouldn’t be contemplated.

Horton: Yeah, but I mean when the generals sit around, even when, you know, Paul Wolfowitz and his kooks at the University of Chicago, Wolfstetter and these guys, sit around and talk about, you know, nuclear weapons posture and whatever – they don’t ever talk about, “Well first you start a conventional war and then you tell them, ‘You better sit there and take it or we’ll nuke you.'” No one could really conceive of a country just sitting there and taking it, even with a threat like that, if we’re talking about we’re already in a conventional war against them, right?

Giraldi: Well, when I was at the University of Chicago, we used to sit around and talk about women and getting drunk. But, anyway, that was a different subject.

Horton: Ah, yeah, well, we’re out of time now.

Giraldi: All right.

Horton: But anyway I’m glad you didn’t take [Albert] Wohlstetter’s class. You’d be no good to us at all.

Giraldi: [laughs] All right, thank you.

Horton: Everybody, that’s Phil Giraldi. Antiwar.com/Giraldi. We’ll be back.

David Bromwich

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_08_11_bromwich_donate.mp3]

David Bromwich, professor of literature at Yale University, discusses the American style of sleepwalking from one war to another, The Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg‘s effective role as public relations frontman for Israel, the ill-defined and loosely applied terms “existential threat” and “breakout capability,” Hillary Clinton’s inadvertent admission of how tenuous are U.S. claims on Iran’s nuclear threat, the fallacy of a limited war with Iran, how the simultaneous counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategies in Afghanistan work in opposition to each other and why a full scale U.S. war with Iran (since a ground invasion is unthinkable) would involve nuclear weapons.

MP3 here. (28:54)

David Bromwich teaches literature at Yale. He has written on politics and culture for Huffington Post, The New Republic, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, and other magazines. He is editor of Edmund Burke’s selected writings On Empire, Liberty, and Reform and co-editor of the Yale University Press edition of On Liberty.

Michael Flynn

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_26_flynn.mp3]

Michael Flynn, project director of IPS Right Web, discusses his website’s devotion to profiling individuals who promote militarist U.S. foreign and defense policies, William Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel advocacy group, the unrelenting push for war with Iran and the close family relationships between the (relatively few) neocon true believers.

MP3 here. (18:36)

Michael Flynn is project director of IPS Right Web and a writer based in Geneva, Switzerland. He is the founder and lead researcher of the Geneva-based Global Detention Project, a former associate editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a past fellow of the International Reporting Project (formerly the Pew International Journalism Program), and the recipient of multiple grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

His articles have been published by the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Inter Press Service, Asia Times, and Mexico’s Reforma, among other media outlets. He holds a bachelor’s in philosophy from DePaul University and a master’s in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Paul Rogers

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_23_rogers.mp3]

Paul Rogers, Global Security Consultant to Oxford Research Group, discusses Israel’s military upgrades that make a solo attack on Iran possible, why military action would prompt Iran to withdraw from the NPT and develop nuclear weapons in earnest, Israel’s strategic alliances with Azerbaijan and the Iraqi Kurds, the little-known permanent U.S. military operational presence in Israel, why the U.S. military (and not Israel) is most at risk to an Iranian counterattack and the lingering hard feelings Iranians have for their “Axis of Evil” inclusion.

MP3 here. (29:01)

Paul Rogers is Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, and Global Security Consultant to Oxford Research Group. Professor Rogers has worked in the field of international security, arms control and political violence for over 30 years. He lectures at universities and defence colleges in several countries and has written or edited 26 books, including Global Security and the War on Terror: Elite Power and the Illusion of Control (Routledge, 2008) and Why We’re Losing the War on Terror (Polity, 2008).

He writes monthly briefings analysing the international security situation for the Oxford Research Group website and since October 2001 has written a series of ORG Briefing Papers on international security and the ‘war on terror’, including Endless War: The Global War on Terror and the New Bush Administration (March 2005) and Iran: Consequences of a War (February 2006). Paul is also a regular commentator on global security issues in both the national and international media, and is openDemocracy’s International Security Editor.

Stephen M. Walt

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_20_walt.mp3]

Stephen M. Walt, professor of international affairs at Harvard University and co-author of the article and the book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy with professor John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, discusses once-and-present Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stubbornness in implementing the Oslo Accords, the newly released 2001 video which shows him bragging at his success, how the policies of the Likud Party and the American Israel Lobby are counter-productive for the long-term interests of the Israeli state, the one-state, two-state debate, the status of Muslim and Christian Arab-Israeli citizens within the borders of Israel proper, the seemingly endless and intractable conflict with Iran over their nuclear program and what the U.S. should be doing to resolve the conflict, the neoconservatives’ responsibility for the disaster in Iraq and how it strengthened Iran’s position in the region, the power of the Israel Lobby in Washington DC and prospects for change.

MP3 here. (41:49) Transcript below.

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he served as academic dean from 2002-2006. He previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as master of the social science collegiate division and deputy dean of social sciences.

He has been a resident associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, and he has also been a consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

Professor Walt is the author of Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (W. W. Norton, 2005), and, with coauthor J.J. Mearsheimer, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007).

He presently serves as faculty chair of the international security program at the Belfer Center for Science and international affairs and as co-chair of the editorial board of the journal International Security. He is also a member of the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies, and co-editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press. He was elected as a fellow in the American academy of arts and sciences in May 2005.

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Transcript — Scott Horton Interviews Stephen M. Walt, July 20, 2010

Scott Horton: All right everybody, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio. I’m Scott Horton. Appreciate y’all tuning in today. Our next guest on the show is Stephen M. Walt. He is a professor of international affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, previously taught at Princeton and the University of Chicago, was a resident associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. He’s the author of the book, Taming American Power: The Global Response to US Primacy, 2005, and co-author with John J. Mearsheimer of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, both the essay and the book all about it. Welcome to the show, how are you doing, Stephen?

Walt: I’m doing just fine. Nice to be here.

Horton: Well thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate it. So, I guess let’s start with the video of Netanyahu that was released over the weekend. I’m sure you saw it and read the transcript and so forth, right?

Walt: I haven’t seen the video, but I have read about the remarks that were disseminated in it.

Horton: I wonder if you can kind of paint a portrait of what exactly the Oslo Accord was and at what stage they were — I guess what happened was Netanyahu became Prime Minister in ’96 and just set about a course to undo it, right?

Walt: The Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, and it was an agreement between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel, and essentially done independently, although the United States came in at the last minute. And the Palestinians recognized Israel’s right to exist, and the Israelis recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. And it set out a timetable that was supposed to lead to the creation of an independent Palestinian community. The Oslo Accords — worth noting — do not ever talk about a Palestinian state, although many people believe that’s where it was headed. In any case, those negotiations proceeded through the 1990s, but there were several events — mistakes on both sides, on the Israeli and Palestinian sides — that delayed the process. Of course the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin being an important setback, a tragic fact there. And then finally when Bibi Netanyahu was elected in ’96, he had never been a supporter of the Oslo Accords, and basically dug-in his heels as much as possible to try and prevent that from happening.

Horton: And then, well, I guess I want to finish off the video here before we get into the nuts and bolts of the process here, but basically he’s ridiculing the American people for their support for whatever it is he does. He mocks us.

Walt: Well, the video that’s come out is a conversation, I believe, in Israel, with a community there and basically explaining how he’s not going to allow a two-state solution to occur. But the part that is most incendiary is a series of statements where he basically says, “You don’t have to worry about American pressure. You know, that’s something we can deal with.” And I think the key point to understand is twofold. First of all, Netanyahu is basically right; it has been decades since the United States has been willing to put any kind of meaningful or long-lasting pressure on Israel, particularly over the occupation. And secondly, that this policy is not good for the United States, but has also been quite harmful to Israel as well, because many Israelis now realize that the occupation has been a disaster for them. Not allowing the creation of a Palestinian state is threatening Israel’s long-term future, so the fact that we’re unable to act like an honest broker is in fact not good for either country, and of course not good for the Palestinians either.

Horton: Well, and this is a point you often make on your blog, which I guess I should have pointed out here, it’s at ForeignPolicy.com. You do point out often that the so-called pro-Israel policy — for example, [that promoted by] the neoconservative movement and the pro-Israel lobby in the United States — is the worst policy for Israel and has been for quite some time. Can you elaborate on that a little bit more?

Walt: Well, the main problem is that the attempt to create a Greater Israel, essentially to colonize the West Bank, has led to a situation now where Israel controls a very large number, you know, 4 to 5 million Palestinians. And over the long term, of course, this threatens Israel’s future as a Jewish state. If you either have one course or the other — either the Palestinians ultimately get a state of their own on the West Bank and in Gaza, or you’ll have a situation where virtually at least half and maybe a majority of the people under Israel’s control will not be Jewish and will, at the same time, not have any political rights, not have the right to vote. About 20 percent of Israel’s current population is Arab — that’s Israel prior to, within the ‘67 boundaries — and they do have the right to vote, although they don’t exercise much political power at all. But a world in which Israel controls the West Bank in perpetuity is a world in which ultimately they have to either become a multi-ethnic, truly liberal democracy where everybody has the right to vote — in which case it would no longer be a predominantly Jewish state — or they have to continue to deny the Palestinians any political rights, in which case they become an apartheid state. And unfortunately, this sort of unconditional US support and uncritical US support has allowed that situation to continue, thereby threatening Israel’s long-term future.

Horton: Well, I believe you linked to another blogger last week and an article that he wrote saying, “It’s already too late, get over it. There’s already too many so-called settlements, I guess colonies, in the West Bank, and the army would fall apart before it was able to even get them out of there. And the Bantustans have already been created, the walls have been built, and it’s basically a done deal — there never will be a two-state solution. Eventually it will be not just de facto, but an outright single state, and the Jewish character of the state will be destroyed.

Walt: Yeah, I don’t think anybody actually knows at what point this becomes irreversible. As you say, there are certainly many people — including a few Israelis, some Palestinians, some Americans, Europeans — who think that the moment has already been passed, that we’ve sort of gone past the point of no return, and that the future over the next ten to twenty to thirty years will be a struggle for political rights within Israel itself, that the two-state solution is really no longer possible. I don’t believe that yet, but I do think we are very rapidly approaching that point of no return. And the question people ought to be thinking about is, “What does an American president do at that point?”

Right now, President Obama, or President Bush before him, could talk about how they were in favor of a two-state solution, and they say this over and over again. But at some point, if we continue in the current course, that won’t be possible. It’ll sound silly if you say you’re in favor of a two-state solution because everyone will know it’s totally unreachable. And the question then becomes, “What is American policy?” Are we going to support an apartheid state in which nearly half the population is denied political rights? Or are we going to support “one person, one vote” which is very consistent with America’s political traditions, the idea that everyone should be considered an equal citizen, regardless of their background, regardless of their religion? If you don’t want an American president to face that very awkward choice, then you ought to be pushing very hard for a two-state solution, if it is in fact still possible.

Horton: Well now, can you tell us a little bit about the rights of Israeli Arabs? You know, Arabs who are Muslims or Christians but are citizens of Israel and how their treatment differs from Jewish Israelis?

Walt: Well first of all, the state is explicitly founded as a Jewish state. In fact, though, it is considered by Israelis to be the state of the Jewish people, so in a sense you’ve already declared the Arab population to be second-class citizens. It would be as though the United States said, “We are a Protestant state” or “We are a Christian nation,” and anybody who wasn’t would have to walk around knowing that they somehow didn’t quite fit in. Israeli Arabs who have the right to vote — and they do, they have the right to form political parties — but for example– and they are about 20% of the population. I believe in the entire history of Israel, there has been one member of an Israeli cabinet who was Arab. Despite the fact that they’re 20% of the population, they don’t really have much political representation — they certainly don’t have 20% of the seats in the Knesset. Moreover, there are all sorts of structural inequalities in Israeli society.

Horton: All right, I’m sorry. We’re going to have to hold the rest of that answer on the structural inequalities for when we get back from the break. Everyone, it’s Stephen Walt, Walt.ForeignPolicy.com. We’ll be right back after this.

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Horton: Alright y’all welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio. I’m Scott Horton, I’m talking with Stephen M. Walt. He writes at ForeignPolicy.com — that’s Walt.ForeignPolicy.com. He’s the co-author, of course, of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, and when we were so rudely interrupted by the commercials there, you were about to begin discussing the structural differences in how non-Jewish Israeli citizens are treated inside the state of Israel — I’m not talking about Gaza and the West Bank now, but in the rest of Israel there.

Walt: Right, and as I said, Israeli Arab citizens have the right to vote and participate in politics, but, as is often the case with minorities in other societies, they are treated essentially as second-class citizens. They are not allowed to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, with a couple of exceptions. And because service in the military is compulsory for most Israeli citizens and is a route to advancement — it’s a way in which you move up in Israeli society — that cuts off one obvious route to rising. The school systems are not equal for the Arab citizens and the Israeli citizens. The amount of money devoted to Arab villages, Arab communities, bus service, things like that, is unequal as well. There have been actually several Israeli commissions looking at this, have been quite critical of the performance of the Israeli state in dealing with its own Arab minority. Now, that’s still much, much better than the treatment that Palestinian Arabs get in the West Bank and in Gaza, obviously, where they have essentially no political rights whatsoever and certainly no voice over the policies of the government that is occupying those territories and controlling their lives.

Horton: Well, I wonder whether the truth here gets all just mixed up by our point of view. In a sense, Israel expanded beyond those borders in 1967. The West Bank and Gaza are part of Israel. It already is a one-state solution there, it’s just that the people in Gaza and the West Bank don’t have any rights, that’s all.

Walt: Well, and there are a number of people, including many Israelis, who argue essentially that point, that a one-state system of control exists in de facto. I think, again, that there is still a difference in the status between occupied territories and Israel proper (pre-1967 borders). And if there’s going to be any hope of a peaceful settlement, reconciliation any time soon, it will still be along the lines of a two-state solution. The only question is whether or not the two sides can be brought to that, and that brings us to the role of the United States, which is probably the only country with sufficient potential leverage to actually bring something like that about before it’s too late.

Horton: Well now, tell me this. What is — can you give us your nutshell history of the last year and a half of the Obama administration here? Because I’ve got to admit I’m thrown for kind of a loop. I mean if he was smart, he would have just done what George Bush and Bill Clinton did which is wait until the end of his presidency and then, you know, give it his attempt to half-measure something. But he came out on this big roll, with this big Cairo speech and said, “No, I’m determined. We’re going to get this done and we want a freeze on the rate of the growth of the colonies in the West Bank and all this.” And now it seems that he has completely and totally backed down.

Walt: Yeah, I think that’s a fair characterization of it. I believe President Obama understood two things when he became President. I think that he understood that the perpetuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a huge problem for the United States. It undermined our image throughout the Arab and Islamic world, was ultimately not good for Israel’s long-term future as well, and that trying to bring that to a close was the right thing to do. I think he genuinely believed that, and of course he was right. And so, somewhat encouraging, the first six months, that he appointed a respected mediator in George Mitchell. He said a number of the right things, culminating in the Cairo speech. And you got the impression that he really meant it.

I think, in retrospect, it now appears that he and the people advising him were very naive. And they were naive in the following sense: they, I think, believed that if they took a very firm line at the very beginning, the Israeli government, and in particular Prime Minister Netanyahu, would not want to do anything to annoy a very popular US President and that he would therefore go along. And they never asked themselves the question, “What are we going to do if Netanyahu digs his heels in and says ‘No.'” I don’t think they even considered that option. And when that’s exactly what Netanyahu did, they suddenly realized they had a fight on their hands, and that was not a fight they were willing to face, particularly when they only had 60 votes in the Senate — they were trying to get health-care through. I think they began to realize that they could not buck the domestic political support, and in particular the power of various groups in the Israel lobby, and at that point it’s been one retreat after another, which is again not good for us, but I would argue not good for Israel either.

Horton: Well it seems like, from the very beginning, that he was willing to concede to them Iran policy: “Look just let me get some progress going on in the West Bank and Gaza, and I’ll go ahead and threaten Iran in whichever form is preferable to Likud.”

Walt: Well, again I think that oversimplifies it a little bit. I believe that when they came in, they wanted to open up to Iran. There were a number of gestures made in the first two months of the administration designed to indicate a greater willingness to negotiate with Iran, certainly —

Horton: That’s funny, I’d forgotten all about that.

Walt: Right, he sent this broadcast message. And remember that the Bush administration policy had been not to talk to Iran at all, have no contact whatsoever. And the Obama people, to their credit, they were willing to talk to them: “We’d like to see if we can work this out.” And I think they were hoping that the Iranian elections that happened last summer would go a different way, that they’d get a more flexible Iranian government, and of course they got the worst of all possible outcomes: a somewhat fraudulent election, domestic disturbances in Iran which had made the government even more rigid. So that was, I think, a bad break.

The problem is that ever since then they’ve reverted back to what you might call a sort of Bush-Light policy, which is attempting to basically ratchet up threats to Iran and repeatedly tell Iran, “Look, you give us what we want, which is the complete cessation of your nuclear program, and then we’ll talk about what you might want.”  And that’s essentially been the US position ever since last summer, and I think unfortunately we’ve tried that for the past ten years, and we know it’s not going to work. So we’re now back in a position where people are beginning to talk about using military force again, even though many people recognize that’s not going to solve the problem and probably will make things a lot worse. So, in a sense, it’s mostly been a — ever since that first few months — a remarkably unimaginative, one might even call a brain-dead, policy, where we’re just repeating policies that have failed in the past.

Horton: Well you know, we’ve been covering the Iran nuclear issue on this show for years and years now, and I one time asked Gareth Porter, “Look, if everybody in the world, including everybody in Mossad and in Netanyahu’s office, knows that there’s not really any kind of nuclear weapons program in Iran, then why [are they] so paranoid about what’s going on at Natanz?” And Gareth said he thought that a big part of it was Aliyah, and people are leaving Israel, and they’re not coming to it, and the idea is not that Iran would strike first with atomic weapons at Israel and then get completely extinct at the hands of Israeli retaliation — it’s that people would be afraid to move there, and this population problem in Palestine that we’ve been referring to — from their point of view — would become that much worse. And so that’s really what all this is about, or a big part of it.

Walt: If that’s true or not, and it may be true, and I know there are some Israelis who think along those lines, the point is that that’s a completely self-fulfilling problem — the more you talk about it the more scared you might make people and the worse the problem becomes.

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Horton: All right, y’all, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio. I’m Scott Horton and I’m talking with Stephen M. Walt. You can find his blog at Walt.ForeignPolicy.com. Of course he’s the author of the famous book The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.  Now Stephen when we went out to break, I had asked you about the motivation or the reason for such Israeli paranoia about Iran’s nuclear program, and Gareth’s idea that it has to do with the willingness of the Diaspora to move to Israel.

Walt: I think the thing to point out is there are lots of different reasons why Israelis would not like Iran to have nuclear weapons capability. Some of it may be concern that people won’t want to come to Israel or may leave because they may be scared. Certainly there has got to be some residual fear that they might use a weapon. I think that is very unlikely, but certainly we would feel the same way if a country near us was developing a nuclear weapon. And also, of course, raising that issue is a way of distracting everyone from other things like the occupation as well. I don’t think there is anything nefarious about an Israeli government preferring that Iran not get a nuclear capability. The question is: “What do you do in order to try and discourage them from doing that, and how serious a threat is it really?”

My argument would be that the United States would obviously like it if Iran never got nuclear weapons. We don’t know, by the way, if they are actively trying to do so now or not. We know they are trying to control the full fuel cycle, but whether they turn that into a weapons program is another question. The real issue is whether or not you are willing to go to war to prevent that from happening, and there, I think, it would be an enormous mistake. And what we ought to be trying is a much more creative set of diplomatic approaches to persuade Iran that it is in Iran’s best interests not to ever take it’s nuclear capacity and actually weaponize it. And what that ultimately gets linked to is a larger effort at creating some kind of nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, which would then bring the Israeli nuclear arsenal into play in those negotiations as, I think, another issue as well. The main problem is that our policy towards Iran in the last ten years or so has been very unimaginative, and it’s not surprising that we haven’t gotten anywhere.

Horton: Well, it was the goal of the hawks, was it not, in the Bush administration at least, to try to marginalize the moderates, to try to get Iran to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and break their Safeguards Agreement in the way that the North Koreans did? That’s what John Bolton said. It’s on YouTube.

Walt: I’m not surprised to hear that Ambassador Bolton might have said something like that. I think that early in the Bush administration, certainly about the time that we were going into Iraq, there was a pretty ambitious idea that we were really going to transform the entire region. And first we’d knock off Saddam Hussein, and then we’d turn on Iran or Syria and either threaten them into doing what we wanted or actually engage in more regime change as well. And that particular dream, I think, died in the sands of Iraq.

But it is quite clear that some of the same groups and the same people who dreamed up the idea of going into Iraq in the first place, way back in the late 1990s, are now the loudest voices calling for a very hard line, including the possible use of military force against Iran. I think if you pay attention over the next six months or so, you’re going to see a very similar kind of campaign being waged to try and persuade people that diplomacy is never going to work, that Iran simply has to be toppled and that the United States has to be willing to use military force to either destroy their nuclear facilities or possibly do more. Now, they don’t have George Bush in the White House. They don’t have Dick Cheney in the Vice President’s office. And that’s going to make it, I think, a harder sell. But there are people in the Obama administration who’ve been sympathetic to that kind of argument in the past. And it remains to be seen how President Obama and the rest of his government will respond as this campaign begins to ratchet itself up.

Horton: Well, you know, you base what you say on all these facts that you refer to and stuff about, well, you know, “they’re mastering the fuel cycle, but it remains to be seen whether they’re trying to make nuclear weapons or not,” that kind of thing, and yet that’s not really how the discussion about this issue goes on in the media. Even when the NIE came out in 2007 and it kind of stopped the war party in their tracks, at least for TV purposes, it only lasted two or three months, and we were right back to the Iranians are making nuclear weapons again.

Walt: Right. Well there’s an enormous amount of disinformation that goes on there and none of us know for 100% certainty what Iran is doing. The question you want to ask yourself is, first of all, what’s the most promising strategy for persuading Iran not to go down the nuclear weapons road? Not to ever test them, develop them, build a big arsenal, etc. And there may be ways to do that, none of which we really have explored, I think, very carefully. But the main point I’d make there is if you’re trying to persuade someone not to get nuclear weapons, continually threatening them, including threatening them with regime change, is not the way to do it. The only way to persuade them to not go down the nuclear road is if they feel reasonably secure, feel like the United States isn’t going to come after them.

The second thing, of course, is, if they were to go down that road, you have to ask yourself, is a preventive war the best way to deal with that or is reliance on deterrence, the same way we relied upon it against the Soviet Union and others in the past, recognizing, among other things, that Israel itself has several hundred nuclear weapons and an Iranian leader could never order an attack on Israel or any other close US ally without endangering his entire country and his own life? I don’t think deterrence is an ideal strategy, but I think it’s a better strategy than preventive war.

Horton: All right, well, I know I’m on the fringe on this, but what about just giving them a security guarantee and making friends? Like when Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton in the 1990s, and he committed the treason of going overseas to criticize his own government and said, “Bill Clinton and these unreasonable sanctions, this has got to end; I’m trying to do business here.” What if we were just friends with the Iranians? “No hard feelings.”

Walt: Well I think that should be our long-term objective. I think if we’re realistic about it, given the history of US-Iranian relations and all of the bad blood and misunderstanding going back now decades, it’s naïve to think you can turn that around in a month or six months or even a year. What we ought to be doing, though, is looking for opportunities to do that and certainly not doing anything that will make that harder to do down the road. There are actually many issues, including counterterrorism, including al-Qaeda, including stabilizing Afghanistan, where the United States and Iran have very similar interests. And, again, I don’t think anyone should be naïve about how easy it will be to unwind that spiral of hostility and suspicion, but I do think it’s possible, and the problem is we’re not being very creative in finding ways to do that. We’re actually making things worse progressively.

Horton: Well it seems like the case could be made that, look, the Iranians have been our best allies in fighting the Iraq war since 2003. That’s a pretty good plus in their book, isn’t it? Or have we been helping them fight it?

Walt: I think that again that oversimplifies it a little bit. Iran has probably done some things that undermine our effort in Iraq and has done some things to help as well. They have not exploited it as much as they might have. They certainly were very helpful to the United States back in 2001, 2002, after 9/11, both condemning the attack but also giving us active help when we went into Afghanistan after the Taliban and after al-Qaeda. And there were actually, I think, several opportunities there where we might have built upon those gestures of friendship. I might add that this is before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current president, was even elected. And I think a good case can be made that he might never have been elected had we responded differently back in that early period.

Now it’s going to be even tougher to unwind things, but the way to do that is not by continuing to threaten them with regime change, being only willing to talk with them in the most sort of narrow way, and ultimately I think it would depend on, as you were suggesting, providing some sort of assurances to Iran that we’re no longer trying to overthrow their government, we’re not actively engaged in, you know, efforts to sabotage things inside Iran, and that we’re eager to sort of move past the bad relations of the past and build something more constructive. That’s going to require some movement on their part, too.

Horton: Right. Okay now, hold on just one second. Is it okay if I push it and try to keep you one more segment here, Stephen?

Walt: Okay, one more.

Horton: Okay, excellent. Everybody, it’s Stephen M. Walt. That’s Walt.ForeignPolicy.com, and down at your local bookstore; it’s The Israel Lobby.

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Horton: All right, y’all, we’re wrapping up Antiwar Radio for the day. I’m Scott Horton. Check out LRN.fm and Antiwar.com/radio and also Walt.ForeignPolicy.com, that’s the blog of our guest, Stephen M. Walt. He’s a professor of international affairs at Harvard. He’s the coauthor of the book and the essay, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy with John J. Mearshimer. And now we’re talking about Iran, and these hard breaks are pretty inconvenient sometimes, but you were saying that, well, I guess first of all it was oversimplification for me to say that the Iranians have been our best allies in Iraq this whole time. But then again it’s not that much of an oversimplification, considering that our war has been to install the Da’wa Party and the Supreme Islamic Council and Moqtada al-Sadr in power — at least we’ve been fighting for them if they haven’t been fighting for us there, huh?

Walt: Well, again, I think actually what it shows is what a boneheaded decision it was to go into Iraq in the first place. Certainly the goal of the United States was not to install a series of leaders who were very sympathetic to Iran. I mean, our policy up until then had been to be very hostile to both Iraq and Iran, and certainly, when George Bush ordered the troops in, he was not doing that because he thought he was going to do Tehran a big favor. I think one of the ways in which we see what a mistake that war was is the fact that we ended up improving the strategic position of the other main adversary we had in the region, and that was again because the people who dreamed that up didn’t understand the regional politics very well, were very cavalier in how easy it would be to knock off Saddam and put in place a pro-American government, and that’s, of course, you know, not what happened. But I don’t think one could argue that we did it in order to help the Iranians.

Horton: Oh no, I just meant, you know, in effect.

Walt: Well in effect, yes. But again it wasn’t our goal.

Horton: I mean Bush at some point said, “Look, I prefer Abdul Aziz al-Hakim to Moqtada al-Sadr,” because that was his choice. You know? And Abdul Aziz al-Hakim had been in exile in Iran for 30 years.

Walt: Right. And again, it’s because we ended up in a situation where we didn’t have any good choices and have been forced to try and make the best of it ever since. I think the larger point, though, is that the United States is going to have to find ways to start dealing with Iran as it is and try and hope that the democratic impulses that do exist — and I think are actually quite powerful within Iran — ultimately do come to the fore.

There’s actually quite an interesting book recently published by Stephen Kinzer, who’s an award-winning journalist formerly with the New York Times, arguing that over the longer term — not, again, in the next six months or so, but over the longer term — the United States should be trying to build very constructive and positive relations with both Iran and also with Turkey because these are countries in the Muslim world that do have strong democratic traditions, have been pursuing democracy now for a century or so, unlike some other countries in that part of the world, and therefore we have to start thinking much more creatively about how to get past all of the differences between ourselves and Iran and move in a much more constructive direction going forward. And again, if I faulted the Obama administration on this one, as I said before, it’s primarily because after some initial gestures they have fallen back on a set of approaches towards Iran that have never worked in the past and are unlikely to work in the future.

Horton: Now, when you talk about Iraq and all of this, the neoconservative movement, it all comes back to the Israel lobby. I don’t know if you’d agree with this, but Andrew Cockburn said that he defined the neoconservative movement not so much as former leftists and Democrats who became right-wingers so much as, “This is where the Israel lobby crosses with the military industrial complex.” And basically Lockheed and Northrop Grumman and all those companies needed to hire some intellectuals to come up with excuses for selling their weapons and so they made this kind of mob marriage with the neocons back in the ’70s, and so we have this immense power behind this neoconservative movement. It seems like a lot of the positions that you’re taking and explaining in a very reasonable fashion here on this show today are mostly not even really part of the discussion in DC, at least as far as I can tell. It seems like Bill Kristol gets to decide the terms of every debate.

Walt: I don’t want to overstate Mr. Kristol’s power, but he’s obviously a very influential figure. And the most disturbing thing about the sort of role of neoconservatives is the complete lack of accountability. You would think that the architects of the Iraq War — and neoconservatives really were; they were the first people to talk repeatedly about the need to go to war in Iraq, and this began in the mid to late 1990s. These were the guys who dreamed up this whole idea. And you would think that, given the results of Iraq — a costly, protracted, disastrous war for the United States — you would think that no one would be taking them very seriously at all. But in fact — because there is in fact very little accountability in the sort of inside-the-beltway establishment, they are continuing to be on talk shows and have their journals of opinion and op-ed columns and, you know, forming new organizations, having founded old committees and projects and groups to try and advocate for war with Iraq — we now see the same people, same tactics, being used to try and push the United States into a war with Iran. As I said, you know, a half hour or so ago, they don’t have quite as sympathetic an environment, and certainly the 9/11 attacks certainly helped the cause, although they had to do an awful lot of distortion to exploit that, but nonetheless they’re trying to do the same things now, and it’s really remarkable, given the track record that they’ve had so far.

Horton: Well, a major part of this is brought to kind of the forefront with the new Emergency Committee for Israel. One of the prime members of it with Bill Kristol is Gary Bauer from the right-wing side, the religious right, I guess, the Jerry Falwell-Pat Robertson-John Hagee style of right-wing Protestantism. And I wonder if you could give us any kind of ballpark estimate as to how many millions of people count as that part of the Israel lobby?

Walt: I actually think it’s a much smaller number than people believe. You often hear the number, you know, sort of, 40 million people in the Evangelical movement, but the vast majority of them do not place the same priority on a sort of hard line pro-Israel position. Some of them do, and they have some political weight. They certainly help within the Republican Party, for example. I think in terms of our policy vis-à-vis Israel, still groups like AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents, and some others have more clout on Capitol Hill, have more influence in Washington. Think tanks like the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, American Enterprise Institute, now the Saban Center at Brookings, I think have more influence within Washington circles than the sort of Gary Bauer Christian Zionist groups.

But they’re not trivial, and they certainly do broaden the base of groups that want the United States to back Israel no matter what it does and in particular want the United States to oppose any kind of two-state solution. In the case of Christian Zionists, it’s based on their interpretation of Old Testament prophecy. And I’ve never thought the Old Testament was a particularly good guide to American foreign policy, whatever its merits as a religious document might be.

Horton: Well, now, in your book, Professor Mearshimer and yourself — and again, it’s The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy — in here you make it very clear that it’s perfectly legitimate for people to be lobbyists and for Americans to be lobbyists in favor of other countries that they like and what have you, and that sounds fair enough to me, as long as we have a democracy and all that. But it seems like, as you guys — really it’s the subject of your book: the balance of power is pretty out of whack when this tiny little country really has just an absolutely inordinate amount of influence over our government — and on issues where it seems pretty apparent, like when we’re talking about Iran here, that this isn’t in the interest of anybody in America, never mind Israel.

Walt: I think that that’s right. I mean, certainly, as you just said, it’s completely legitimate for Americans to have strong attachments to other countries, whatever that country might be, whether it’s Poland or Israel or Pakistan or India or Greece, whatever. We’re a melting pot society and lots of people have ties in lots of different places and they can manifest those ties and attachments in our political system. It is, however, a bad thing if the influence becomes so great that you really can’t even have a discussion about it, if it almost becomes reflexive and if politicians and others are scared or intimidated from voicing any questions or raising any doubts about it. But secondly, it’s also just not good for either the United States or for these other countries.

We’re now in a position where you can’t even have an honest discussion about it. If President Obama says anything critical about Prime Minister Netanyahu, he immediately gets a storm of criticism and lots of phone calls, things like that. And it’s not good if the United States cannot tell its friends, its allies, when they are making mistakes. You know, we all make mistakes, and you want your friends to be able to help you correct them when you do, and we’re now in a situation where even when Israel is doing something that’s not good for us but also not good for itself, American politicians can’t even say that, because, again, these groups and the lobby wield such power within our political system.

Horton: Well, and as anybody who saw when first the article and then the book came out, you suffered the brunt of this criticism and every kind of accusation about your character that could be made — you know, congratulations to you for bearing through that and standing by your positions there. So, is there any progress being made? I mean it seems like, geez, well, like you said before, it seems like the neocons really overplayed their hand with Iraq, that would have discredited them. Are we ever going to get to the point where it’s not “anti-Semitic,” quote unquote, to say, “Hey, America’s interests are different than Israel’s and we ought to take care of ourselves. They can take care of themselves fine, especially with all the weapons we already bought them.”

Walt: Well, I think there’s some good news here. There is, I think, a more open discussion on this subject than there was back when we wrote our original article. I think that we helped kicked that door a little bit open. I think the advent of the internet has made a big difference in sort of opening up the discussion. And I do think the accusation that anyone who is critical of Israeli policy, things that they’re doing, or thinks the United States should have a more normal relationship with Israel rather than this very odd special relationship we have — the accusation that those people are always just reflexively anti-Semitic no longer has quite the same power that it did, and that’s a good thing.

Anti-Semitism itself is a very bad thing, and it ought to be condemned, but not honest discussion, not honest criticism of policy. I think that that accusation is losing some of its power to intimidate. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the influence of these groups is still pretty profound; politicians are still very scared of them. President Obama, I think, understood that he couldn’t take it on and not get into real trouble in fundraising and in other ways as well, and that means that American policy hasn’t shifted yet. So we’re getting a more open discussion but we’ve still got a ways to go before we have a policy that would be better for the country and for our friend.

Horton: All right, everybody. That is Stephen M. Walt, professor of international affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He writes the blog at Walt.ForeignPolicy.com, and of course is the coauthor of the article and the book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, with John J. Mearshimer. Thank you so much for your time on the show today. I really appreciate it.

Walt: My pleasure.

Joe Meadors

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_19_meadors.mp3]

Joe Meadors, former US Navy signalman and survivor of both the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty and on the Gaza Peace Flotilla, describes the details of the Liberty assault, why they believe it was intentional, the recall of the USS Saratoga‘s fighters twice that day from assisting the Liberty on orders from Lyndon Johnson, the massive cover-up, why the Israelis were unable to sink the ship despite their best efforts, different theories on the Israeli’s motivations, his motive for participating in the Gaza Peace Flotilla, the violent, though not deadly, raid on the ship he was on, the mistreatment of the kidnapped while in Israeli custody, the murder of American Farouk Dogan and the American politicians’ silence.

MP3 here. (18:48) Transcript below.

Joe Meadors resides in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is a survivor of the June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty and for decades has been in the forefront of the effort to persuade the U.S. government to conduct an investigation of the attack.

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Transcript – Scott Horton interviews Joe Meadors July 19, 2010

Scott Horton: All right, everybody, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio, I’m Scott Horton, and our next guest on the show is Joe Meadors. He’s a retired U.S. Navy signalman and a survivor of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty and the Gaza flotilla. Welcome to the show, Joe. How are you?

Joe Meadors: I’m really great. Thanks a lot.

Horton: Well I really appreciate you joining us on the show today.

Meadors: Oh, no problem. Just one clarification – I’m retired, but I didn’t retire from the military.

Horton: Oh, you were kicked out, or sank, or what happened?

Meadors: No, I served my hitch and I got out.

Horton: Oh, I got it, I see, and then you had a whole regular life as a regular person.

Meadors: Yeah, I was a regular person after that.

Horton: I see. Okay. Well I can see why you would want to get out of the military after what happened to you. But why don’t you tell the good people what happened to you? Many people never heard of the USS Liberty. Lord knows it happened long before I was born.

Meadors: Oh, thanks for reminding me.

Horton: (laughs) Well, I tell you what, I got more gray hairs on my chin now than I’d like to brag about. A couple on the side of my head too.

Meadors: Well so do I. Well the USS Liberty was in fact a spy ship. What we did was we went around, normally up and down the west coast of Africa, just monitoring all sorts of radio traffic and sending all that information back to the U.S. to send to the NSA. We were ordered to the Eastern Mediterranean as a result of the conflict in the Middle East at the time, and we arrived on station on June 8 at 9 o’clock in the morning. It was the fourth day of the Six Day War.

Right after we had arrived on station, we were circled in total about 13 times by Israeli aircraft that we listened to, and we could hear them radioing back to their headquarters with a proper identification of the ship.

About 2 o’clock in the afternoon we detected two high-speed jet aircraft flying up our starboard side. They started to circle – what we thought would be another circling of the ship – so we just ran up to the signal bridge, and I was one of the signalmen so that was my work station. When we got up there we saw the aircraft directly ahead of us, and they peeled off immediately to the left and began strafing the ship.

They continued strafing. We had men in all the gun mounts. We had four 50-caliber machine guns with men inside of them. They put rockets inside each gun tub, at least one, and rockets inside each of the many antenna mounts that we had.

Those initial strafings continued for about 10 or 15 minutes, then the slower Mystre aircraft came in with cannons, rockets, napalm and machine guns, and they dropped at least one napalm canister on our ship, and it struck the bridge. Those were followed by three torpedo boats who had two torpedoes each, and they dropped five torpedoes in the water. One of them struck our starboard side, killing 25 people below decks.

Then came the helicopter-borne assault troops that I saw. They tried to land but they couldn’t land because of the antennas that were blowing around in the breeze. The helicopters couldn’t get low enough.

And then that was followed up by a helicopter that came out bearing onboard the U.S. military naval attachŽ, and he dropped a message on the fo’c’sle, and he simply asked, “Do you have any casualties?” And he couldn’t see all the blood and the guts on the fo’c’sle, I guess.

But the thing that makes us most angry about the attack itself is just a few minutes after the attack started, our antennas were all knocked out, but one of our electronics technicians found an antenna that he had put out of commission because it wasn’t working. He got that antenna back up and working within a few minutes of the beginning of the attack. We got a message off to the Sixth Fleet steaming 450 miles away in convoy with the USS America and USS Saratoga, two aircraft carriers.

The USS Saratoga turned into the wind and immediately launched its ready strike force, and before those aircraft reached the horizon, they were recalled on orders from the White House, and about an hour later they launched again, and again those aircraft were recalled on orders from the White House.

And all the while we were continuing under attack, calling for help, and the radiomen on those Sixth Fleet ships were listening to us, knowing that the aircraft that had been launched to come to our assistance had been recalled on orders from the White House.

And that in a nutshell is basically what happened.

They had a Court of Inquiry. They took four days of testimony, and according to the participants in the court they were ordered to come to the conclusion that the attack was not deliberate.

Horton: Right, now, okay. So there’s a bunch to go over there, including the cover-up at the end there. And I think, actually that’s the first thing I ever heard about the Liberty was flipping through the channels and I saw some admiral or something say, “Hey, the President told me to lie, and when you have my job, you do what the President says. It’s not a question of being truthful or not, it’s a question of obeying orders. And we were ordered to pretend that the whole thing was an accident.” That’s the first I ever heard of it. So, cover-up blown.

But now, okay, so everybody we’re talking with Joe Meadors. He was a signalman on the USS Liberty, attacked in 1967 by the Israelis.

So I’m curious, because you talk about they attacked you with napalm, and I guess I don’t know all that much about it, but I thought my understanding was that that’s not so much made for explosive power but for spreading jellied gasoline all over people and burning them to death. Is that right?

Meadors: That is correct.

Horton: I mean, that’s not how you destroy – if you’re trying to sink a ship, I don’t understand – I mean on one hand, there’s the whole, “They were trying to kill y’all” aspect, which I’m interested in, but there’s also the question of, why weren’t they dropping bombs from above? It seems like if any air force against a ship like the Liberty, as you said, armed with 50-calibers that were taken out almost immediately and so forth, how come they were unable to sink it, right? Where’s the big bombs?

Meadors: Exactly. Well, if you look at the tactics they used, they used unmarked aircraft, jammed our radios on both U.S. Navy tactical and international maritime distress frequencies, destroyed our defenses and our communications capabilities, then brought in three torpedo boats, dropped five of the six torpedoes available. Luckily four of them missed.

And then the torpedo boats – one part I failed to mention, as the torpedo boats circled the ship, and they deliberately machine gunned the life rafts we had dropped over the side in anticipation of abandoning ship, then brought in the heli-borne assault troops, the theory that I’m – you know, I’ve been trying to deny it all these years, but that only points to me that they were trying to sink the ship and kill all the survivors. The purpose for the napalm was to drive the crew below decks to keep them off the top decks so they would sink with the ship and drown with the ship.

Horton: I see. So it’s a tactical thing, basically, the napalm.

Meadors: Exactly.

Horton: But now, so you’re saying that, “Oh, they were certainly trying to sink it, but four out of their six torpedoes missed”? But then, what? They were out of torpedoes? I mean, I thought this thing went on all afternoon.

Meadors: The theory that we have – of course, the U.S. government has never conducted an investigation, and the Israelis have issued a report but we’re trying to get a copy of the evidence that they used to support that report, and of course that report said the Israelis didn’t do anything wrong – but the U.S. government has never conducted an investigation, so we really don’t know exactly what their motives were.

Horton: Right. Now, well there are some theories, and I guess, you know, it’s okay for you to speculate, you’re the victim of it, and they refused to, as you just said, have any kind of process for justice, so, you know – I hear some say that, “Well, what they wanted to do was sink the ship and then blame it on the Egyptians and get America into the ’67 war full-scale on their side.”

I’ve also heard speculation that there was a massacre of Egyptian prisoners of war on the Sinai Peninsula and they were trying to block out knowledge of that.

Do you have a favorite of these theories or one you lean toward, or – ?

Meadors: Well, I’ve been leaning toward two, actually. The one I just described. Plus there was one that suggested the Israelis wanted to invade the Golan Heights but all their troops were massed on the Sinai Peninsula, and we were close enough, in order to move their troops, such a mass movement, they would have to have a lot of radio traffic, and we could detect increases in radio traffic. We couldn’t hear the actual words that were being spoken because we were too far away, but we could detect the increase in the radio traffic, so they probably wanted to have the invasion of the Golan Heights accomplished before the U.S. government found out about it.

But then again, the U.S. embassy was right there, and they could probably listen to that as well, so I don’t know how much credence that theory would support.

Horton: All right, everybody, we’re talking with Joe Meadors. He survived an Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.

* * * * *

Horton: All right, y’all, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio. I’m Scott Horton. I’m talking with Joe Meadors. He survived the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty and the raid on the Gaza peace flotilla. Now, I want to wrap up here real quick, Joe, on the Liberty with some quotes from, it’s USSLiberty.org, it’ll forward you on to the page we’re looking at here anyway.

And there are quotes here from Lyndon Johnson; from Dean Rusk, then Secretary of State; Clark M. Clifford, then presidential adviser and chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; George Ball, Under Secretary of State; intelligence officials; members of Congress; Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, Captain Ward Boston, Cmdr. Ernest Castle and Cmdr. William McGonagle, all of the U.S. Navy; Richard Helms, the Director of the CIA – all of them say that this was not an accident, they knew what they were doing, they were trying to sink your ship.

Meadors: That is correct. And all we’re trying to do is get the attack investigated. It’s the only attack on a U.S. Navy ship in the history of the U.S. that’s never been investigated by the U.S. government.

Horton: Well, and it really is just amazing. It’s a story almost as amazing as the story itself, the fact that most Americans have never even heard of it, never will.

Meadors: And I think that’s by design. They’re kind of hoping we’ll just shrivel up and blow away, but we’re not going to. We were ordered – after the attack, we were ordered not to talk about the attack, and I understand that order is still in effect, so they could throw us in jail, but I’m kind of hoping they’ll just give it a try.

Horton: Yeah, it’d be fun to watch your trial anyway, you know, although hopefully you’d, you know, come out the other end a free man. But it’d be nice to see the discovery process, really, I guess is what I’m getting at.

Meadors: That’s true.

Horton: Now it says in your bio that you, because you climbed up to the top of the ship, up at the bridge, during the whole attack, that you had the bird’s-eye view and watched them deliberately strafing the life rafts with your own eyes, Joe Meadors. Is that correct?

Meadors: No, no. I didn’t witness that myself, but Lloyd Painter, one of the officers on the ship, did witness that with his own eyes, and he testified to that effect during the Court of Inquiry. It should have been on the record, or it was on the record, but if you get a copy of the Court of Inquiry report today, his testimony did not appear. It just totally – it’s not blacked out, like a redacted space, that normally would be from a U.S. government document. The quote never appears at all in the record.

Horton: All right, now, before we move on to the Gaza flotilla, is there anything left about the USS Liberty that I should ask here, that you want to make sure and point out before we change the subject here?

Meadors: Well, any listeners who want to help us, just go to the USSLibertyVeterans.org, and there’s a few places you can go to get the suggested letters or get in contact with us to find out what we would like you to do, so if you’re as outraged as we are at the U.S. government’s willingness to allow war crimes to be committed by and against the United States, please drop by our website and give us a shout out.

Horton: Right, and again that’s USSLibertyVeterans.org.

Meadors: That is correct.

Horton: All right, thanks very much for that. All right, so now, I guess this is part of what motivated you to go and help to join the peace efforts to break the Gaza blockade?

Meadors: That’s right. The Liberty survivor, you become by default a student of what’s happening in the Middle East, and you learn to sort out the wheat from the chaff and know what questions to ask and what questions aren’t going to be answered, so when I was given the opportunity of being a member of the flotilla, I jumped at the chance, even given my history.

Horton: I guess you knew you were sort of taking a risk that you might not make it out alive this time or that you might end up being a survivor of another attack by the Israeli military?

Meadors: Well, I knew that they couldn’t kill me the first time, so I thought maybe God was on my side.

Horton: Well, yeah, everybody in the Middle East thinks God is on their side. I think that might be part of the problem. But anyway, at least you were unarmed. You were going to deliver tricycles and wheelchairs and food and medicine to civilians.

Meadors: That’s exactly right. And all of the ships were inspected by inspectors before we left, so the claim that they were afraid that we were carrying arms and ammunition to the radical elements in Gaza is just a smokescreen.

Horton: Well, now, I guess you were lucky enough that the raid on your ship did not turn into a bloodbath like the raid on the Mavi Marmara, right?

Meadors: That is correct. However, the Israelis tried to give the impression that everything was just peace and love when they came on board, and it wasn’t. They used their concussion grenades. They used their batons, kicked people, tied people up, and all that stuff. So it wasn’t flowers and honey when they arrived either.

Horton: And you know I think that is a pretty underreported part of this story, is exactly how the raids went down on the other ships. You weren’t on the same ship as former ambassador Ann Wright, right?

Meadors: No, she was on the, I believe the Challenger 1, and I was on the Svendoni with former ambassador Ed Peck and three other Americans.

Horton: You know, I talked with Kenneth O’Keefe, and he was on the Mavi Marmara. He said that once in custody that he was beaten, and of course when he was released there were pictures of him with his head all bloody. Were you guys mistreated in Israeli custody at all after they finished kidnapping you off of the high seas?

Meadors: I wasn’t, but one of our – the leader of the American group, Paul Larudee, he was very severely beaten by the Israelis when he was in prison. He said that he had his joints moving in directions that he didn’t know they would move before. But he was very severely beaten.

Horton: Amazing. And of course one American citizen was included with the nine who were murdered by the IDF, Farouk Dogan, I believe is how you say his name. [Apologies. The man’s name was Furkan Dogan – ed.] But in American media, “Well, he wasn’t really an American citizen, and after all, what kind of funny name is that, and his skin was a little bit darker than yours and mine, I suppose. And so who cares about him?”

Meadors: He was described repeatedly as a Turkish-American. In fact he wasn’t. He was an American citizen. He wasn’t a Turkish citizen. And he was, I guess, accidentally killed with four bullets in the brain.

Horton: Amazing. Well, I guess, you know, it’s really no big deal compared to what happened to the Liberty, right? If Lyndon Johnson can order everybody to just be silent about the Liberty, then obviously it’s not a big deal for Barack Obama to just remain silent about what everybody knows happened to you guys.

Meadors: Well, and I don’t think he really cares. And my congressman doesn’t either. Ann Wright and I just completed a 10-day tour of Texas talking, in six different cities, and one was down here in Corpus Christi, where I live. I invited my congressman to send somebody to the presentation just to listen to a first-person account of what has happened, and it’s about a 10-minute drive from his office, but he wouldn’t send anybody.

But if you write him a letter about the Liberty or the Freedom Flotilla, he’ll have his boilerplate response that totally ignores the issues. And he had an opportunity to get first-person accounts and he refused to.

He has a history of ignoring the USS Liberty; he was invited to a dedication of a memorial plaque on the USS Lexington Museum down here, and he refused to send anybody there either.

Horton: All right, everybody, that’s Joe Meadors. The website is USSLibertyVeterans.org. Thanks very much for your time on the show today. I really appreciate it.

Meadors: Thanks.

Eric Margolis

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_19_margolis.mp3]

Eric Margolis, foreign correspondent and author of War at the Top of the World and American Raj, discusses the just released 2001 video of Benjamin Netanyahu mocking the stupidity of the 80% of Americans who support Israel and the ease with which Tel Aviv can dictate to Washington D.C., Netanyahu’s history of thwarting peace deals made by his predecessors and the neoconning of the Canadian media at the expense of our guest.

MP3 here. (16:11)

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles appear in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times and Dawn. He is a regular columnist with the Quebecor Media Company and a contributor to The Huffington Post. He appears as an expert on foreign affairs on CNN, BBC, France 2, France 24, Fox News, CTV and CBC.

As a war correspondent Margolis has covered conflicts in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Sinai, Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Pakistan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He was among the first journalists to ever interview Libya’s Muammar Khadaffi and was among the first to be allowed access to KGB headquarters in Moscow. A veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq.

Margolis is the author of War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet and American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World.

Gareth Porter

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_16_porter.mp3]

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses the creation of the Emergency Committee for Israel, UN Security Council resolutions demanding Iran cease all uranium enrichment, global support for Iran’s position and the Israel Lobby’s pressure to have the National Intelligence Council re-write the National Intelligence Estimate of November 2007 which held that Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program and had not decided to pursue one.

MP3 here. (12:47)

Gareth Porter is an independent historian and journalist. He is the author of Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam. His articles appear on Counterpunch, Huffington Post, Inter Press Service News Agency and Antiwar.com

Flynt Leverett

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_14_leverett.mp3]

Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses how Israel is getting all its ducks in a row for a 2011-2012 attack on Iran, the lack of evidence that Iran ever had a nuclear weapons program (even prior to 2003), the unsettling prospect that the US will go to war with Iran over uranium enrichment and why the delayed release of the new Iran NIE means there is some disagreement among the intelligence agencies.

MP3 here. (18:57) Transcript below.

Flynt Leverett directs the Iran Project at the New America Foundation, where he is also a Senior Research Fellow. Additionally, he teaches at Pennsylvania State University’s School of International Affairs.

Dr. Leverett is a leading authority on the Middle East and Persian Gulf, U.S. foreign policy, and global energy affairs. From 1992 to 2003, he had a distinguished career in the U.S. government, serving as Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and as a CIA Senior Analyst. He left the George W. Bush Administration and government service in 2003 because of disagreements about Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror.

Dr. Leverett’s 2006 monograph, Dealing With Tehran: Assessing U.S. Diplomatic Options Toward Iran, presented the seminal argument for a U.S.-Iranian “grand bargain”, an idea that he has developed in multiple articles and Op Eds in The New York Times, The National Interest, POLITICO, Salon, Washington Monthly, and the New America Foundation’s “Big Ideas for a New America” series.

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Transcript – Scott Horton interviews Flynt Leverett July 14, 2010

Scott Horton: All right, y’all, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio, I’m Scott Horton, and our first guest on the show today is Flynt Leverett. He directs the Iran Project at the New American Foundation, where he’s also a senior research fellow, and he teaches at Pennsylvania State University School of International Affairs. He’s a leading authority on the Middle East and the Persian Gulf and global energy affairs. From 1992 to 2003 he worked for the U.S. government serving as Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, on the Secretary of State’s policy planning staff, and as a senior CIA analyst. He left the Bush administration in 2003 because of disagreements about Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror. I think particularly Iran policy was an issue there. Welcome to the show, Flynt, how are you?

Flynt Leverett: Hi, thanks for having me.

Horton: Well thanks very much for joining us. Okay, now, I talked with Gareth Porter last week, and I asked him, “Gareth, I’m hearing all these rumors about ships headed toward Iran and all this pressure and Israel trying to work out deals with the Saudis to use their air space or maybe make some bases out in the desert, these things, and yet they just passed the new sanctions. So it seems like if there’s going to be a conflict, a military conflict with Iran, it would have to be after, you know, I don’t know, a year or so of saying, ‘Well, I guess the sanctions didn’t work. We tried everything and now there’s no choice left but war.'” And Gareth said, “Yeah, that’s right. You know, we have time. It’s not that the danger is over. But don’t panic.” And then, almost as though Bill Kristol listens to my show, which I’m sure he doesn’t –

Leverett: I’m sure he does.

Horton: Oh, yeah, right. The next day or something, they came out, a couple days later they came out and said, “We’re creating the ‘Emergency Committee for Israel.'” The emergency apparently being Iran. What’s going on here?

Leverett: Well, I think I would largely agree with Gareth in terms of the timing of development. I think the deployment of the additional carrier battle group and other assets to the Gulf, I suspect that really is more a matter of rotational arrangements and logistical scheduling. I don’t think it portends, you know, an imminent decision on the part of the United States to use force against Iran. I also think the story about the Israelis reaching agreement with the Saudis to use their air space, overfly Saudi air space, to get the targets in Iran – you know, I suspect there is a certain amount of disinformation or what some call “informational operations” going on there.

Horton: It was in the London Times.

Leverett: Which is actually a pretty frequent venue for that kind of thing.

Horton: Yeah.

Leverett: But I think that there is something afoot. My own view is that the Israelis are in all probability not gearing up to strike Iran in the near term, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, and in fact the Israelis are constrained to some degree because their own unilateral options for attacking targets in Iran from a military standpoint are relatively limited. The amount of damage that they could do in Iran is just pretty circumscribed. And I tend to think that the Israelis are playing a much longer game here. And I think you’re right, we now have these new sanctions in place that we’re going to need to go through six months, twelve months or so living with these sanctions until everyone is willing to acknowledge that they’re not having the desired effect. And I think the Israelis are playing a game, looking at a year down the road, 18 months, maybe two years down the road, when after more and more people come on board and say sanctions aren’t working, the Iranians are continuing to develop their fuel cycle capabilities, etc. – at that point, probably around the time that President Obama is gearing up for his own reelection campaign in a serious way, the Israelis can come back and say, “Okay, now we need to do something more coercive around the Iranian problem.” I think they’re sort of softening us up for, you know, say, 18 months from now.

Horton: Well now, what did you make of Obama’s statement to the Israeli press that, I guess apparently he had just come out of one meeting or another with Netanyahu, and then told the Israeli press, when asked, that, “Oh, I don’t think there’ll be any surprises. I think that, you know, if we, if there is ever going to be a war with Iran, Netanyahu and I will arrange it together,” basically.

Leverett: I think that is, in a way, what Obama was saying in that statement. I don’t think Obama would have said it if he didn’t feel like he had some kind of understanding with Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel is not going to take unilateral action in the near term and that Israel is not going to surprise the United States on something this important and that he’s at least going to get to have another conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu before Israel would go down that road. I can’t imagine he would stake out that sort of position in public unless he felt he really did have that kind of understanding with Netanyahu, and I think this is part of the long game that Netanyahu and the Israelis are playing. They’re saying, in essence, “Yeah, we’ll let you see what these sanctions do. You can have time to see how these sanctions play out.” But Netanyahu has also put down markers in public that he doesn’t think the sanctions are going to work, and he’s also put down markers that, as the way he put it, “The only thing that has ever caused the Iranians to stop their nuclear program has been the perceived threat of U.S. military action,” not Israeli military action, but U.S. military action. And he’s shifting the onus, you know, if and when sanctions fail, and he thinks they probably will fail, the only thing that can really stop the Iranians is the threat of U.S. military action. And I think he’s putting all these pieces in place.

Horton: Well, which brings us back to the Emergency Committee for Israel. Is this a piece that Netanyahu is putting in place by way of Bill Kristol?

Leverett: I don’t think I would go so far as to say that Mr. Kristol and his associates are working at the direct behest of Prime Minister Netanyahu, but I’m sure that Prime Minister Netanyahu doesn’t mind the emergence of this group and I think it is going to be – there is going to be a campaign from the pro-Israel community in the United States. You know, they were very, very focused on getting the sanctions in place and AIPAC’s stated position has been, “We’re focused on getting new sanctions. We’re not urging military action for now.” And they’ve always put in that language, “for now.” But I think the next step is going to be to start hyping the threat, supposedly, that Iran poses to Israel, to start using every channel available and create new channels to drum that message home to the American public that, “Iran is bad, Iran is dangerous, Iran needs to be stopped, and in the end it’s really only the United States that can stop it.” I think you’re going to see an escalation in the delivery of that message through multiple channels from the pro-Israel community here in the United States over the next one to two years.

Horton: Okay, now, everyone who listens to this show already understands that in order for Iran to make nuclear weapons, they would have to basically grant John Bolton’s wish and withdraw from the nonproliferation treaty, kick the inspectors out of the country, and announce to the world, “We’re making nuclear bombs now.” And there is no nuclear weapons threat from Iran until at least – you know, the clock doesn’t even start ticking until the day that that happens, and so far they haven’t fallen into that trap. So, what I want to ask you, on that issue, is a little bit more of an inside baseball question, and that is that the National Intelligence Estimate from 2007 said that the Iranians halted all nuclear weapons work in 2003. And now when I talked to Gareth Porter, he says that he actually has a source who’s read the entire classified version of that NIE and that all of that assertion that there ever was a nuclear weapons program of any description is based on the forged Israeli document posing as an Iranian laptop that says that they had a bench level experiment for laser enrichment of uranium tetraflouride and a few other things that Gareth, in his words, has completely debunked as a forgery. And I guess that bumper music means we have to go out to break and you’ll have a couple of minutes to think about your answer, but I want to know whether there’s any credible evidence they ever had a nuclear weapons program before 2003 even.

Leverett: Okay.

Horton: We’ll be right back, y’all.

Horton: All right, y’all, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio, Scott Horton. I’m talking with Flynt Leverett, former CIA analyst and National Security Council Middle East staffer expert. He and his wife keep the blog Race for Iran, at raceforiran.com. Basically we’ve been talking about the substance of the article, “Who Will Be Blamed for a U.S. Attack on Iran?” so far in the show. But before we went out to break, I was asking you, sir, whether there was any actual evidence, as opposed to forged documents created by the Mossad, that say that the Iranians ever had a nuclear program before 2003, like is sort of implied or indicated in the National Intelligence Estimate of 2007?

Leverett: Well, to the best of my knowledge, no, there is not. I say that because, you know, I haven’t been working in a classified environment for a number of years now and I certainly wouldn’t claim to know everything that the U.S. intelligence community might have.

Horton: But it’s fair to say that you would have heard, right?

Leverett: Look, my very strong impression is that we know that the Iranians have been working on, you know, a dedicated fuel cycle program focused on uranium enrichment for a long time. Could they have at some point, you know, looked into other kinds of technical or engineering problems that you would need to solve if you were actually at some point going to build a nuclear weapon? Yeah, that’s possible, but I’ve never seen what I would consider clear and convincing evidence of it. And that, you know – we have been through this once before, with regard to Iraq, where we relied on foreign intelligence services, where we didn’t have access to the primary sources, we relied on, you know, defector information. I have a sneaking suspicion that this new NIE, when it comes out, may make use of a lot of information from both defectors and from foreign intelligence services, and I think there is a real risk that we may be going down the same road that we went down with regard to intelligence, anyway, before the war in Iraq.

And from a political standpoint, if we do go to war with Iran, we are basically going to be going to war with them because they’re enriching uranium. Not because they have, as you know you posited earlier, withdrawn from the NPT and are building nuclear weapons. Not because they attacked someone. We’re going to go to war with them, if that’s the way things go, because they’re enriching uranium, and Israel is uncomfortable with that. And I think that’s a really disturbing scenario. I think it’s going to be quite bad for U.S. interests in the region if it plays out. And while there were some critics who tried to argue that we basically went to war in Iraq for the benefit of Israel, as someone who was in government in the run-up to the war with Iraq, I have to say that was not my perception, that was not my experience. But if we go to war with Iran because Iran is enriching uranium, we will basically be doing that because of Israeli discomfort over it and because the pro-Israel community here has really pushed hard to get us to take a confrontational stance toward Iran because it’s enriching uranium. And I think that’s going to be quite bad for U.S. interests if things play out that way.

Horton: Well, even with the war with Iraq, that was kind of a confluence of interests, right? I mean, Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s aide (Powell was the first Secretary of State in the first Bush Jr. administration), he was on the show last week and said that Douglas Feith and David Wurmser both were simply acting as at least de facto agents of Israel in everything they did to get us into the war in Iraq.

Leverett: I think there were a lot of the neoconservatives who clearly were in the vanguard of pushing us to go to war in Iraq. I just think, from my own experience in January of 2002, just as I was getting ready to move from the State Department over to the White House – I was a U.S. representative at this annual conference in Herzliya, basically the annual gathering of Israel’s national security community, and there was clearly a lot of interest at that conference in sort of where the U.S. was going to go next in terms of the war on terror, and the message that I got from Israeli participants in that conference was, if the United States chose to go war in Iraq, that the thing was, Israel wasn’t going to say, “No, don’t do that,” but as far as Israel was concerned, you know, it was a much higher priority to go after Iran. In some respects, going after Iraq was the wrong country, as far as Israel was concerned. I think they would have preferred to see us really giving priority to going after Iran. That’s obviously not how things worked out.

Horton: Well, and there’s a difference too between the policies that the neoconservatives in America put first and even Ariel Sharon’s policies.

Leverett: Yes. And I think that distinction matters. And I think that the neoconservatives certainly bear, you know, a lion’s share of the blame for the debacle in Iraq, but I think that the role of Israel and of the pro-Israel community in the United States in pushing that war was not as great as some would make it out to be. But in this case, if we go to war with Iran – as I said, go to war with them, attack them, because they’re enriching uranium – we’re basically going to be doing that because of an Israeli agenda.

Horton: Okay, now, it looks like I’m not going to have a chance to ask you about the peace offer of 2003, because more important and more timely is this new NIE that you mentioned. Mark Hosenball of Newsweek says that it’s the Israeli Mossad and the German intelligence agency, I forget what it’s called –

Leverett: Yeah, the BND.

Horton: The BND, right. That they are the ones insisting that, “No, there is a nuclear weapons program in Iran,” and Hosenball said that yeah, they’re I guess in the middle of rewriting it right now. Do you know, have you heard in the wind or anything – I heard you when you said you don’t have access to classified information anymore, but do you know of any evidence that says that there’s any kind of parallel secret nuclear effort in Iran of any description, or are we simply just talking about Natanz and all their 3.6 enriched uranium laying right there?

Leverett: You know, I think Western intelligence services have been searching for years for that parallel program and there are many people who are convinced that it must exist, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has actually come up with hard evidence of a parallel program.

Horton: Is there any pushback in the CIA or the other intelligence agencies that participate in the National Intelligence Council trying to resist doing this? Because after all, even though the neocons did their part over at the Pentagon really in coming up with the talking points, the CIA took all the blame for Iraq – are they going to, you know, go ahead and roll over with the political pressure here, you think?

Leverett: I’ve heard that there is some pushback within the community, and it is striking that I think the appearance of this NIE is quite overdue at this point. It’s well past its due date, and that would seem to confirm to me the idea that there may be some disagreement.

Horton: All right. Great. Well, thanks very much for your time. Everybody, Flynt Leverett, raceforiran.com.

Leverett: Thank you very much.

Cynthia McKinney

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_07_mckinney.mp3]

Former congresswoman and peace activist Cynthia McKinney discusses her participation in a 2008 attempt to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip to deliver humanitarian aid there, the Israeli navy’s ramming of their boat, the accurate coverage provided by a CNN anchor on scene and the power the Israeli Lobby has over the congress of the United States.

MP3 here. (20:28)

Cynthia McKinney is a former US Congresswoman and a member of the Green Party since 2007.  She served six terms as a member of the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat. In 2008, the Green Party nominated McKinney for President of the United States.

———————

Transcript – Scott Horton interviews Cynthia McKinney July 7, 2010

Scott Horton: All right, y’all, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio. I’m Scott Horton. And it turns out we are going to talk with Cynthia McKinney on the show today, right now in fact. Hi Cynthia, welcome to the show.

Cynthia McKinney: Well, thank you so much for having me.

Horton: Well, I’m very happy to have you here. Everybody, you know her. Cynthia McKinney is a former politician, was a congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, and is a world-famous peace activist, of course. And I was wondering if you could tell us, you know, this whole flotilla incident recently with the Israeli raid on the Turkish boats full of aid trying to break the Gaza blockade, has kind of brought this up and gotten a lot more people paying attention. I was hoping we could kind of go back over the story of your involvement with a previous attempt to break the blockade of the Gaza strip, and hopefully people will remember at least the headlines, the Israeli patrol boats – I guess they didn’t kill anybody, but they rammed y’all’s ship on the open sea, is that right?

McKinney: You’re absolutely right. The Israelis have been leading up to committing this kind of murder of human rights activists who were trying to take humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, and quite frankly it started in December of 2008 when Israel launched Operation Cast Lead – that was their military assault on the 1½ million people of Gaza using U.S.-supplied F-16s, depleted uranium, helicopter gunships, you name it, they were willing to use it, whether it was legal or illegal according to international law. And we had three tons of medical supplies. We had doctors who were prepared to perform surgery on those who were in need. And the Israelis, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, while we were in international water, rammed our boat trying to kill us. And the only thing that saved us was that it was a very old boat, and instead of being made of fiberglass it was made of wood, and it was that very solid wood construction that saved our lives. And then the government of Lebanon agreed to rescue us, and we limped into the Lebanon port accompanied by their navy, and we were received by the people as if we were heroes, when we were really nothing more than humanitarian activists. And then, undeterred, as I said on CNN, undeterred, we attempted to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza once again. And this is all being done, coordinated, through the Free Gaza movement. So we put ourselves on a boat again, and this time there were 21 of us. We were on the boat and –

Horton: If it’s okay, I’d like to stop you there and ask you about the first trip here. I mean, this is a – I kind of want to ask you to paint a picture of the scene. What kind of boat were you attacked by, how big was it, how hard did they ram your boat, how certain are you that they really were trying to sink your boat and kill y’all?

McKinney: Well, for those who are listening and they want to know more about the story, it is still available on CNN.com. I checked it just probably a few weeks ago to make sure that the story was still up there, and at that time it was still there. And it was still there as reported by, I say, this journalist, this is a true journalist, Karl Penhaul, his name, P-e-n-h-a-u-l. He has broken several stories for CNN after the story about the ramming of our boat. He happened to be on the boat. Now, I would presume that CNN thought that they could embed a pro-Israeli journalist on the boat who would report the Israeli disinformation as the operation came underway, to thwart our entry into the Gaza port. But Karl Penhaul refused to do so. He refused to lie. And he told the truth. And therefore the world knew the truth because CNN placed this journalist there, and this journalist proved to have integrity.

Horton: I’m actually looking at a picture of the boat right now. I believe, perhaps, if my Googling was effective here, the article you’re referring to is “Gaza relief boat damaged in encounter with Israeli vessel,” is that it?

McKinney: It might be that, because they called it –

Horton: There’s quite a few here, actually, it looks like. But there’s a picture here of the boat in ruins.

McKinney: The boat was totalled! It couldn’t be used anymore! In fact, the boat was so damaged, it could not even be repaired. So, you know, and Israel put out all kinds of lies during the incident, and you know they said things like they didn’t know who we were. Well, that’s not true because we did press conferences before we left. We did press availabilities at the boat as we were leaving. The Israeli military – as is the standard operating procedure of the Free Gaza movement, they informed the Israeli government of not only the course that the boat was going to take, but they also informed the Israeli government of the cargo and the passengers. So Israel was fully aware of everyone.

And then when we were under attack, the Israelis announced to us, “Go back to Larnaca.” At the same time they’re saying to us they didn’t know who we were, they’re saying to the public they didn’t know who we were, they knew that we had come from Larnaca, Cyprus, which is where our boat, you know, the Free Gaza headquarters is located and that’s where our boat had come from. So it was just lie after lie. And then the last lie they put out was that it was my fault. That was a statement– and it’s there on the CNN website as well, a statement that was issued from the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia. Of course they’re savvy enough to know that I’m from Georgia. And so they put out their disinformation from the Georgia office, from the Georgia wing of their entire propaganda operation. But I have to say that Karl Penhaul was just absolutely masterful. Here he is, the boat’s taking on water, and it’s just a yacht, it’s a pleasure boat, you know, and first of all he’s reporting that we had been surrounded by Israeli warships, and of course the –

Horton: Yes, it says here that they had been shining the spotlight on you for half an hour before, so it’s not like some accident where they bumped into you or something.

McKinney: Exactly! But, you know, but then they turned the spotlight off when they rammed us, of course. And so anyway, I don’t know how to swim, so I mean you know it was quite a thing for me to spend Christmas with my family and then just say, “Bye y’all, I’m going to Gaza.”

Horton: Well, and the silence of the American government at the time, this attack, attempted murder, it sounds like to me, of a former American congressperson is about the same silence that involved the killing of an American citizen in the latest flotilla raid. It doesn’t seem to matter as long as it’s Israel doing the murder or attempted murder.

McKinney: Well, now, you know, that’s very interesting. Because of course this was right after the 2008 election and just before Barack Obama had been sworn in, so Barack Obama, I asked publicly for a comment, and he said, “There’s only one president at a time.” So that meant that nobody said anything.

Horton: Yeah. And he didn’t say anything this last time either. All right, we’ll be right back with Cynthia McKinney after the break, y’all. Hang tight.

Horton: All right, y’all, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio on the Liberty Radio Network. I’m talking with Cynthia McKinney, peace activist. We won’t hold it against you that you’re a former politician, ma’am.

McKinney: [laughs] Well, let’s see, I’ll say I wasn’t a politician, but I was a public servant.

Horton: Ah, there you go! I haven’t heard that term in a long time. Okay.

McKinney: I know. The idea is –the concept is alien to most of those people who purport to represent us.

Horton: Afraid so. All right, well, and speaking of which, we were going out to the break there, when the bumper music started, talking about the silence of Barack Obama. “Only one president at a time” he said, about the Israeli military’s attempt to kill you on the high seas in 2008 there, and then of course he was silent throughout Operation Cast Lead, which ended right before he took the oath, just as he was silent and his state department was silent when they killed an American citizen on the assault on the Mavi Marmara a few weeks back. Isn’t that their job, to protect American citizens from attack by foreign governments?

McKinney: Of course not, because now President Obama wants to kill American citizens.

Horton: Yeah, himself. He’s got dozens and dozens of people on the list. That may include you, I hope not. May include me.

McKinney: [laughs] Well I very well could be on the list. I mean, anyone who stands up and speaks out and who reveres the idea of what America can be and who believes that the American people deserve to reap the peace dividend that we were promised after the Berlin Wall fell, and we didn’t get that. We never got a peace dividend because there was always some war that needed to be financed, and the Congress just goes right along. So what I have begun to think about is the idea that average, ordinary peace people need to run for office. We need to support them. I just heard the ad that was played that there is now a civil disobedience fund so that people can get bailed out of jail, and, I mean, you know, we are going to have to activate in order to take our country back. Our country has been hijacked, and right now, now just imagine if you’ve got 19 men with box cutters and they can overtake 200 or so people on an airplane – which I don’t believe, because if I had been on the airplane, there would have been some serious business going on.

Horton: Yeah well, even that day, when it got to the fourth plane and they had enough time to talk to people on the ground who said, “Hey listen, you’re on a guided missile right now, you’re not landing in Cuba, pal,” they rushed the cockpit, and that’s what any group of passengers on any American plane would do now, certainly.

McKinney: Absolutely. So, we are going to have to activate those people of conscience to step outside of where they have been comfortable. Because right now our country is not comfortable. The global community that is willing to accept U.S. leadership in a peace initiative is not comfortable. Mother Earth, with what BP has just insulted Mother Earth, and not only BP, but this is something that is happening all over our planet, and a blind eye has been turned to these massive insults to the environment. We are going to have to step outside of our comfort zone in order to change things.

Horton: Yeah, well, and, speaking of which, you definitely practice what you preach here. And, I want to get back to focusing on your activism in the Middle East, because I did interrupt you actually and take you off the path when you were talking about you were rescued at sea by the Lebanese government, I guess, and then you went back. And, you know, I’d be happy to talk about all the rest of the stuff another time too.

McKinney: Yes, so, undeterred, the Free Gaza movement was able to raise enough money to, you know – and these little boats that they have, they’re no competition to these great big huge U.S.-supplied, technologically advanced warships that the Israelis have. And when those commandos – and then the second, it was a little ferry, and this little ferry, you know, we’re going, it’s going to take us 30 hours to get there, to show you how slowly the boat went. And this little ferry is headed, and we’ve got our medical supplies, and this time we also had school supplies because we had been told that the children needed school supplies. And I went around and I solicited, and I had received donations of Crayola crayons and coloring books and paintbrushes and that sort of thing for the kids.

And so we’re there, there’s 21 of us, and all of a sudden again – well, we passed the place where the Dignity, which was the first boat, had been rammed. We passed that place and at that moment we all kind of, you know, held hands, because the captain was the same, the captain of the Spirit of Humanity was the same captain, he was wonderful, and the first mate was the same crazy Irish guy who is totally committed, and so we played a song and we, you know, just sort of respected that space in the Mediterranean. Then we went on and proceeded to Gaza, and out of nowhere the Israelis have some kind of machine I’ve never seen before that makes waves, and they were trying to tip us over. This little ferry didn’t tip over, thank goodness, and so then they went to Plan B. Plan B was they jammed the GPS and shut it off. It was off for several hours. And during that time they had hoped that we would veer off course and then they would have an excuse, if we wandered into Israeli territorial water, that they would have an excuse to pick us up. But that did not happen because our captain – who was not an activist, he was hired by the Free Gaza movement because he is an expert captain, not because he was an activist. And the captain navigated the seas the old-fashioned way, using the stars. And we, by the time the GPS came back on, we were just a little bit off course, not really enough to even say anything about. And so Plan B didn’t work. There was nothing left for the Israelis to do other than surround us and then commandeer our boat and kidnap us. And that’s what they did. And they brazenly did it.

Horton: Now, I’m sorry. I’m sorry to stop you here, but we only have a couple of minutes and I got to squeeze in this last question about American politics. You were a member of the House of Representatives, and I was hoping you could help me and the audience understand why it is that Congress and the rest of the national government are so afraid to really contradict the Israeli government. What is – I mean, it’s not like they’re all Republicans who are having sex with little kids and stuff, some of them obviously, but they can’t be all blackmailed. What are they so afraid of?

McKinney: Well, anyone who’s familiar with the testimony of Sibel Edmonds can understand the kind of blackmail that goes on on Capitol Hill. Sibel told the truth and that’s why she, her message has been suppressed. With that having been said, though, just look at the fact that we have a war party and it consists of both Democrats and Republicans. Both Democrats and Republicans go to the same people to raise money, and the same people are giving to Democratic candidates, they give to Republican candidates, they give to the Democratic Party, they give to the Republican Party, and so both political parties are bought. That’s why you get the silence. Because both political parties are bought and therefore anyone who dares to speak out, as I happen to have done, would get targeted. And then of course on the Hill they call it being “McKinneyed.” They’ve got a verb for it. And no one wants to suffer the humiliation that I have suffered at the hands of the pro-Israel lobby.

Horton: Well, and it could be – you must be kind of proud of that, in a funny way, but it could be any other number of congressmen, Hollings, or a lot of others who’ve suffered the same fate, but that’s really just what it comes down to is campaign contributions. That’s what M. J. Rosenberg wrote today in an article, or yesterday in an article, about Obama and Netanyahu pretending like they’re going to do anything about the colonization of the West Bank when what it’s all about is just making nice for the upcoming midterm.

McKinney: Well, look. There’s 11 U.S. warships off the coast of Iran.

Horton: Hey.

McKinney: So they’re doing more than making nice. They’re about to make war.

Horton: Aw, geez. Well all right. Thank you. We’re going to have to leave it right there. Cynthia McKinney, everybody. I appreciate it very much.

McKinney: Thank you.

Gareth Porter

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_08_porter.mp3]

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPSNews, discusses the recent rumors of war against Iran, why he thinks violent military confrontation unlikely in the short to medium term, continuing opposition from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the central role of the American Israel Lobby in pushing for a war certain to be detrimental to the United States and the American/Israeli pathology toward aggressive war against helpless opponents.

MP3 here. (18:33)

Gareth Porter is an independent historian and journalist. He is the author of Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam. His articles appear on Counterpunch, Huffington Post, Inter Press Service News Agency and Antiwar.com

Philip Weiss

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_06_weiss.mp3]

Philip Weiss, author of the blog MondoWeiss, discusses the role of the Israeli government and the neoconservative movement in lying the American people into war in Iraq, the woeful dishonesty of the American media on all issues related to the occupations of the West Bank and Gaza strip, the pathetic belly crawling of “a$%-kissing little chicken-sh*t” Gen. David Petraeus before the feet of his neocon masters as he accidentally revealed to an anti-neocon activist with a careless email forward, signs of progress in Americans’ view of Israel issues as well as those of the elites.

MP3 here. (29:30)

Philip Weiss is an investigative journalist who has written for The Nation, New York Times Magazine, The American Conservative, Jewish World Review and other publications. He is the author of American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps and writes the blog “Mondoweiss.”

Grant F. Smith

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_06_smith.mp3]

Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research of Middle East Policy and author of America’s Defense Line: , discusses the real reason for Israel’s policy of “strategic ambiguity,” about their nuclear weapons, his conference on Israeli nuclear weapons, Israel’s offer to sell nuclear missiles to apartheid South Africa, Obama’s pretended push for a two state settlement, the leaked Luntz poll indicating that the American people are finally beginning to see through Israel’s ridiculous perpetual-victim narrative, and outgoing senator Arlen Spector’s efforts to help cover up for the Israelis who stole weapons-grade nuclear material from the NUMEC corporation in Pennsylvania.

MP3 here. (39:18)

Grant F. Smith is the author of Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy, America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government and Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal. He is a frequent contributor to Radio France Internationale and Voice of America’s Foro Interamericano. Smith has also appeared on BBC News, CNN, and C-SPAN. He is currently director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C.

Lawrence Wilkerson

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_02_wilkerson.mp3]

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, discusses why Bush and Cheney must have known most Guantanamo prisoners were innocent, the US military’s inability to do battlefield vetting of Afghan war prisoners, Cheney’s reversal of the Blackstone formulation on the wrongful imprisonment of innocents, how Colin Powell and others were kept out of the loop about intelligence based on tortured confessions, how the intelligence failures on Iraq WMD were in part due to compensating for missing Saddam’s real program in 1990-91 and why Douglas Feith and Richard Perle are essentially representatives of Israel’s Likud party.

MP3 here. (28:52) Transcript below.

Larry Wilkerson is a retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell.

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Scott Horton interviews Col. Lawrence Wilkerson July 2, 2010

Scott Horton: All right, y’all, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio, I’m Scott Horton, and our next guest on the show today is retired Col. Larry Wilkerson. He helped lie us into war with Iraq and he’s regretted it ever since. Now he’s at the New America Foundation. Was an aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Welcome to the show. How are you doing, Larry?

Lawrence Wilkerson: Doing fine.

Horton: Appreciate your joining us here. Now, this is kind of old news, but what’s so old about it? It’s all still going on. From April 9, of this year, 2010, “George W. Bush ‘Knew Guantanamo Prisoners Were Innocent’,” in the Sunday Times, which normally I would think if it’s in the Sunday Times, it’s not true, but here they’re quoting you, and you seem like an honest guy, so why don’t you tell us about it?

Wilkerson: I believe that as soon as we got the 740 or so prisoners out of Afghanistan to Guantanamo, that we knew there had been improper battlefield vetting; that is to say, there were too few troops in Afghanistan, U.S. troops, to do the kind of combat status review tribunals, the other things under the Geneva Conventions that are normally done, that indeed we’ve done in every war since World War I, even before that, and so what happened was that no U.S. soldiers were involved really significantly in their capture. There were Pakistanis, there were warlords, there were Northern Alliance troops and so forth involved, but there really weren’t any U.S. personnel involved. So this complement of prisoners came to Guantanamo having been swept up on the battlefield by all manner of people other than the U.S. and having had no battlefield vetting whatsoever.

So when we got them there, it was clear that there were people there who didn’t belong there. We had people who were over 90 years old. We had 12-year-olds, 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds, 16-year-olds. We had British citizens. We had Australian citizens and so forth. We had foreign ministers like Jack Straw from London, for example, a good friend of Colin’s, asking us immediately to repatriate these people because they were our allies – the UK, arguably our special relationship ally – and yet we wouldn’t do that.

So it became clear, I think, to the highest levels in the U.S. government quite swiftly in 2002 that we had people at Guantanamo we didn’t know much about at all. Some of them might be hardcore terrorists, some of them might be nothing more than soldiers, drivers and that sort of thing, and a whole bunch of them, maybe even the majority of them, might be nothing more than people who had been swept up on a battlefield that was quite chaotic, and incidentally swept up at times for bonuses that we were paying. We paid $5000 to a Pakistani, for example, for capturing someone, so what’d he do, he goes out and he captures his enemy and makes $5000 off of it. If he’s Taliban, that’s great. If he’s al Qaeda, that’s even better. But normally they weren’t. They were just people that the Pakistani made $5000 off because he didn’t like him very much.

Horton: Well now, on one hand, Secretary Powell, and the vice president, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, and everyone must have known this because I think quite a bit of this was in the media, at least, if you’re reading The Guardian or something, this wasn’t, you know, it was pretty apparent that they were sort of just sweeping up people and paying bounties and that kind of thing early on. But, here you are, you’re a former high-level official in the government and you’re saying you know for a fact that these men knew. How do you know for a fact that these men knew? Did you all see the same papers and you know they saw the same papers, or you were in the room when Colin Powell and Dick Cheney discussed this, or what?

Wilkerson: No, a lot of this is my surmise with regard to the vice president and the president. I mean it’s very difficult for me to see what I saw and know what I knew, listening to deliberations that Secretary Powell went through with, for example, his Ambassador for War Crimes, Pierre Prosper, and others and not believe that my president and my vice president knew how screwed up they were at Guantanamo. Furthermore, I know what the philosophy was, and the philosophy was that if you’ve got one terrorist in jail, who cares if you’ve got 500 innocent people in jail? It’s worth it. It’s worth it for two reasons: One, because you may be able, because the people you’ve got who are innocent came from the same region, the same country, the same area, often the same province as the terrorist, you may be able to get information out of them that may be helpful. So that’s the first reason. The second reason is, who cares if you sweep innocent people up as long as you get the bad guy? I mean, if you read Ron Suskind’s book, you understand that that was pretty much the philosophy that Vice President Cheney exercised all the time.

On the other side of the coin, I heard the discussions that took place every morning at 8:30 in the conference room when we met with the assistant secretary and the under secretaries and office heads and so forth, and people like Pierre who were dealing with this issue of trying to repatriate people, trying to get people who weren’t guilty of anything other than having been swept up on the battlefield, like the teenagers and the 90-year-old man and so forth, out of Guantanamo and back to their country. Or in the case of people we didn’t know anything about, which I think was the majority of them, back to a country where the same kind of process could be pursued, perhaps even better pursued, as in the UK – after all they had experience with Northern Ireland and so forth and a lot more terrorist experience than we did – and getting them back to them so that they could do it. All this conversation went on day after day after day, but nothing ever happened.

The Uighers were another case in point. I think everyone early on knew that the Uighers were guilty of nothing but having been swept up on the battlefield. Now we have U.S. courts having corroborated that fact. There were about 16 or 17 of these Uighers. They were from the far province, the western province of China, Xinjiang province of China. And yet we hadn’t at the end of the Bush administration repatriated them yet because we couldn’t find anybody in the world that wanted to take them. We didn’t want to give them back to the Chinese. We were fearful that the Chinese would take draconian, drastic action about them because the Chinese had declared that that group of people were terrorists in their own right. So, I mean, this went on daily, this discussion, and is today, and it was clear to me that the highest-level people knew how screwed up the situation was in Guantanamo. Now, the fact that I saw the Secretary of State aware of it, knew that he talked to Dr. Rice every day, knew that he talked to Secretary Rumsfeld quite frequently, that leads me to believe that the highest people over there in the White House knew about it too. And if I conclude otherwise, then I have to conclude they were all idiots. And though I’ve said some disparaging things about the vice president and others, I don’t think I’ve ever called them an idiot. I don’t think they were idiots.

Horton: Well, did Scooter Libby sit in on these deputies’ meetings?

Wilkerson: No, these were meetings in the State Department where Secretary Powell meets with his people.

Horton: Oh, I see. But they have the deputies’ meetings where the Deputy Secretary of Defense and State and all the different departments come together and then the vice president surely would have somebody representing him there, right?

Wilkerson: Oh, the vice president had people representing him everywhere. There were people at the lowest level coordination meetings within the interagency group from the vice president’s office. For example, when I sat in on discussions of the six-party talks or issues in Asia in general with Jim Kelly, who was the Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, who was in the chair – when I sat in those low-level coordination meetings, the first level, if you will, of the interagency process, there was always a person from the vice president’s office there.

Horton: Now, you know, pardon me, but, it seems to me like if you guys were having these meetings where you talk about how there’s all these innocent people there, on such a regular basis, was everybody not agreeing that “We know we’re liars but this is part of our PR for the war on terrorism, is we got to pretend that there’s more than 100 of these guys in the whole world”?

Wilkerson: Well, look at the problem they had. Look at the challenge they had. And when I say they, I mean the entire interagency, including my boss, Secretary Powell. The challenge had a number of dimensions to it. The first dimension was, “Wow, we don’t know about these people. They were not vetted properly on the battlefield. They were not taken by U.S. soldiers. We don’t know. All we have in some cases is a card with an expected name, maybe the time and date of capture, and maybe who captured. That’s the extent of the trail of evidence that we have. Wow. We don’t want to release these guys because they might really be terrorists. Better to keep them in jail and be wrong about their guilt or innocence than to release them and let them resume the war.” That’s the first dimension. Second dimension…

Horton: All right, well, we’ll have to hold it right there. We’ll get back to the second dimension of it after this break. It’s Larry Wilkerson from the New America Foundation. Antiwar Radio.

Horton: All right, y’all, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio. I’m Scott Horton, and I’m talking with retired Col. Larry Wilkerson, former aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell, now at the New America Foundation, and we’re talking about how the government, the Bush government, knew that the men at Guantanamo Bay were innocent. And you were saying, sir, about the second dimension, or maybe you want to recap the first, the two points about what y’all knew, and I guess I was suggesting that it seems like it must have been a cynical conversation, that we have this PR stunt to try to prove that there are lots of terrorists out to get us, you know, 700-something innocent people at Guantanamo originally, while there were never more than a couple hundred al Qaeda in the whole world in the first place.

Wilkerson: Well, the first dimension that I mentioned was of course that we didn’t want to let a terrorist go. And that’s a legitimate dimension, in my view. The second one was, how on earth could you possibly admit to the American people how screwed up Guantanamo was? If you’re Secretary Rumsfeld and you admit that, you’ve just admitted that you don’t know what you’re doing. And you certainly open yourself up to firing by the President of the United States, and you’ve made yourself look like a total fool. So you’ve got this very understandably human dimension to it that no one wants to admit that they’ve made such a colossal error. You’ve got another dimension to it, too, and you hinted at it there. It’s what I call the “Karl Rove dimension.” You want to exploit this as much as you possibly can, so you put them in shackles, you put hoods on them, you put them in orange jumpsuits, and you show a little TV footage every now and then. You want the American people to believe that these are heinous, despicable, deadly criminals.

Horton: Yeah, goes good with an orange alert in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Wilkerson: Yeah. And it doesn’t hurt that you’re doing that. And you’re also, if you’re the vice president, who’s been saying from one end of the country to the other that there are contacts between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and Baghdad, which the intelligence community was saying, “No there aren’t, no there aren’t, no there aren’t” repeatedly, then you want these people to be, shall we say, subjected to the most extreme interrogation methods possible in order to get out of them corroborating proof that there are contacts between al Qaeda and Baghdad.

Horton: Now, now, let me stop you right there, because any journalist – in fact, let’s go ahead and point at McClatchy Newspapers – they went through and they said, “Look, all the torture coincides with Iraq lies, Iraq al Qaeda lies, Iraq weapons of mass destruction lies, but you were there. Were there discussions that you overheard, Col. Wilkerson, where they were deliberately talking about “We need to torture these guys into lying about Saddam Hussein’s connections to Osama bin Laden”?

Wilkerson: No, I was not. And I would not have been privy to those kinds of conversations anyway.

Horton: You ever talk with Colin Powell about that, in the elevator or when you were walking to the car?

Wilkerson: I don’t even believe, in my study of past national security decision-making situations, I don’t even corroborate this, I don’t even believe Colin Powell knew about it. I think this was a very, very closely held, vice president, perhaps the president – I’m not even sure the president was fully versed on it – George Tenet group that worked the problem aside from everyone else. And that’s not – historically that’s not unusual. When the president issues a finding to do something like this, whether it’s Eisenhower issuing a finding to overfly the Soviet Union with U-2s, or whether it’s Eisenhower, for example, issuing a finding to overthrow the first democratically elected prime minister in Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, the community that knows about that finding, that decision, is very small. It usually doesn’t include anyone without a need to know, and that means people who are actually going to have to execute the decision. So, I have no problem understanding that my boss didn’t even know about some of this stuff.

Horton: Well, but when you guys were the recipients of the information, such as, we have this guy, I don’t know if they told you the name, al-Libi, but he says that Saddam taught the al Qaeda guys how to make chemical weapons and so forth, did you believe that, or did you know that had anything to do with people being, you know, crucified from the ceiling until they “admitted it,” or worse?

Wilkerson: I didn’t know that until much later. I found it out through my own research, and in the case of Shaykh al-Libi, I found it out because this intelligence individual revealed to me that he had had been tortured in Egypt.

Horton: But I mean the CIA brought you his lies and said, “Use this,” right?

Wilkerson: But the CIA did not bring us any identification of sources, and that’s their normal modus operandi. We did not know, for example, that Curveball existed until well after his UN presentation. We did not know that. What the term of art that the CIA used with the Secretary of State and with me and others was “a high-level al Qaeda operative” has revealed so and so and so and so. We didn’t know names. We didn’t know places. We didn’t know interrogation methods and so forth until well after the presentation.

Horton: Well, formalities aside, did you know that they were BS-ing?

Wilkerson: I’ll be very honest with you and tell you that I suspected at the time that we weren’t getting the full truth.

Horton: Well, now there’s so much ground to cover on Guantanamo, but there are so many other things I want to ask you about as well. Is there anything important about Guantanamo I might have missed – to give you a chance to address here?

Wilkerson: Well I think, you see, one other thing, when President Bush makes a decision to send, if I remember right, it was 14, the 14 high-value detainees that were fairly – we were fairly certain about were very instrumental either in 9/11 or in other activities that al Qaeda was planning or had accomplished, when he decided to pull them out of the secret prisons, which as you know were distributed across the globe, and put them in Guantanamo, there were statements at that time, and some of us made with some derision in our voice, that, “Hey, for the first time since Guantanamo was opened, we really have some hardcore al Qaeda there.”

Horton: Right, yeah, it puts the lie to the whole Guantanamo situation when anybody who was actually, you know, Ramzi bin al-Shibh or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, were in a former Soviet torture dungeon in Eastern Europe or in Morocco or in an underground dungeon in Thailand or something like that.

Wilkerson: And frankly I think that was one of the president’s reasons for putting them at Guantanamo. Because we knew the situation at Guantanamo was untenable in the long term and we needed to get some people down there who really counted.

Horton: All right, now, I have a bunch of questions. I don’t know how many I can fit before the next break – do you think there’s any chance I can keep you one more segment after the bottom of the hour?

Wilkerson: Um, yeah. I can stay for another 15 minutes or so.

Horton: Okay, great, I know you’re busy, and I appreciate it. So I want to talk about the aluminum tubes. I want to ask you about the aluminum tubes. Because so much hinged on the idea, as you know, anybody who knew anything about nuclear anything would have been able to just laugh at it, but, you know, the idea that Hussein had some sort of advanced uranium enrichment program or something was laughable to anybody who knew anything about it – or to the IAEA, for example – but the case for war hinged on these tubes. And it was not just the neocons. I believe the story was, it was somebody at the CIA insisted on it. And yet you were working with Colin Powell over at the State Department, and I know that it was the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which I guess is sort of the State Department’s own little CIA there, that they and the Energy Department said, “This is nonsense.” And that was leaked to, or not leaked but discussed at least off the record with Knight Ridder Newspapers, and even with the Washington Post – in September of 2002 the Post ran a story saying, “The lower people don’t believe this.” And yet they kept using it all the way up until the invasion in 2003, including, of course, in Colin Powell’s famous speech – and now I’m sorry because the bumper music’s playing, we’ll have to go out to break, but I’ll try to get your answer on the other side of it. Everybody, it’s Col. Larry Wilkerson, who used to work for Colin Powell when he was Secretary of State in the first Bush administration. We’ll be right back.

Horton: All right, y’all, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio on the Liberty Radio Network, LRN.fm, and KAOSRadioAustin.org, talking with retired Col. Larry Wilkerson. He’s now at the New America Foundation. And the question before the break was about the aluminum tubes and who believed this nonsense about the aluminum tubes other than the American people?

Wilkerson: Well, you have to look at the entire panoply of intelligence that was brought to bear on Iraq. There are 16 intelligence entities in the United States, 17 if you count the Foreign Intelligence board. Fourteen of the 16 agreed on the nuclear program. I&R at State and DoE’s intelligence outfit were the only two that dissented, and their dissent was duly noted in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. But, more important than that consensus in the intelligence community that was wrong, obviously, was the fact that it wasn’t just aluminum tubes. There were seven items that the other 14 entities brought out to demonstrate that they thought he had a program. They ranged from everything from the tubes and magnets and rotors and all the things necessary for a centrifuge complex, to scientists that Saddam was trying to recruit who were nuclear scientists, to software that he was purchasing around the world through his what we called “spider front” of companies that purchased in Germany and Russia and elsewhere for him, and so there were other reasons to believe, not the least of which, and I didn’t even include it in the seven, was the fact that we had been very wrong in 1990 and 1991 about his nuclear program. He was much further along than the intelligence community had estimated at the time. So you might say they were trying to make up for their failure in ’90 and ’91 by assessing that he was further along then. So it wasn’t just the aluminum tubes, though admittedly they were a part of it. And I’m not one to defend this at all, because it was dead wrong, but there were other aspects to it than just the two dissenters and the aluminum tubes.

Horton: Yeah. Well, the guys at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, they bought everything but the tubes, or they were –

Wilkerson: Yeah, they bought the chemical and they bought the biological. And then one of the things Tom does in his book now –

Horton: Well, I meant in terms of the other pieces of the nuclear story there. Because you know, Mohamed ElBaradei said, “Come on, this is not right. I’ve been there.”

Wilkerson: Well, you have to remember that ElBaradei had motives of his own, and even if he didn’t have motives of his own, the president, the vice president, even the Secretary of State and others thought he did. So, you know, you’re dealing with politics here and you’re dealing with international politics.

Horton: Right.

Wilkerson: That’s sometimes hard to deal with.

Horton: But at the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, how much of the nuclear story were they buying? – You said there were the 14 different pieces…

Wilkerson: They didn’t buy any of it. To Tom Fingar’s credit, to Carl Ford’s credit and other analysts in INR, they stood up against the rest of the intelligence community, except for the small element in the Department of Energy, and they said, “We dissent. We do not believe he has an active nuclear program. We do think he wants nuclear weapons, we do think that he will eventually try, but we don’t think he’s got an active program right now.” And they were right.

Horton: All right, now, I guess we can keep going down that path, but there’s so many other things. Let me ask you about the role of David Wurmser and John Bolton in the State Department in the first Bush Jr. administration. It sort of seemed from the outside – there was a piece in Salon.com by Anonymous called “The State Department’s Extreme Makeover,” that came out, I think in 2002, maybe early 2003, saying “Boy, these guys that work for Cheney came in, turned the place upside down, marginalized or fired all the old CFR member types and you know if we put aside Iraq for the moment there’s the story of how America broke the agreed framework with the North Koreans, put new sanctions on them, and now it’s the Proliferation Security Initiative which said we’re going to seize your ships at sea and all this, in what seemed like deliberate plan to provoke the North Koreans into withdrawing from the Nonproliferation Treaty, as John Bolton has been caught on tape saying, what’s his plan with Iran as we’ll, to so frustrate them that they would just go ahead and quit their international agreement. And I wonder if you can kind of tell me about your view from inside the State Department of these two men and how the Cheney network operated under Colin Powell and Dick Armitage and you over there at the State Department?

Wilkerson: There’s no question that John Bolton was operating off a different sheet of music than the rest of us on more than one occasion. I would go in to see the Deputy Secretary of State and we would both lament the fact that we didn’t seem to be able to control him because he was covered by the vice president’s office. Very difficult to control an under secretary who ultimately has access to the vice president and, in this case, ultimately to what I believe was the real power in the first Bush administration. We tried. Obviously, we didn’t do that good a job. He made some very egregious speeches about North Korea, about Syria, about Cuba having an active biological weapons program, of all things, tried to intimidate one of our I&R analysts, a young man, Christian Westermann. The secretary had to bring the young man in and tell him no one in the State Department would intimidate him and give him access to his own office were it to happen again. So, yeah, it was a contest.

Now to go to those two specific individuals in your statement earlier, I think there’s a very clear-cut case that Wurmser was not only working for Rumsfeld and Feith and the Pentagon, but he was also working for Israel. I think Feith was working for Israel too. Cheney, on the other hand, I think was working for Cheney. And so you had this confluence of motivations and confluence of unholy alliance, if you will, of strange characters. You had Feith and Wurmser, who as far as I was concerned, were card-carrying members of the Likud Party. And they had different motivations from people like Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld. And they had different motivations than people like Cheney and Libby and Addington and the vice president’s office. So you had this alliance of these people who were all after one thing, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, but in many cases, for very different reasons.

Horton: Wow, so, please elaborate about what exactly you mean there. I guess people sort of differentiate between who’s an actual spy or who’s an agent of influence, and I guess the Israelis have a thing called a “sayanim” who’s like, “Eh, a friend of Israel who does things for us sometimes,” that kind of thing. Just how much agents of Israel, these guys, do you think they were? Wurmser and Feith, particularly.

Wilkerson: I’ll put it this way. I think Douglas Feith thought that Israel’s interests and the U.S. interests were 100% complementary 100% of the time. So if he was looking out for Israel’s interests, it was not any, by any way, stretch of the imagination, being unfaithful or traitorous with regard to the United States because our interests were the same, all the time, every day, day in and day out. That’s of course nonsense, but I think that’s really the way he believed.

I didn’t know Wurmser that well so I can’t tell you how he believed, but I do know that there were people in the Pentagon and elsewhere in the government, as there are right now this minute, and as there will be tomorrow, who were working as much for Israel as they are for the United States, and I know that with AIPAC and the Jewish Lobby, as John Mearsheimer has called it, in general operating the way it normally operates in this country, this special relationship that we have with Israel overlooks a lot of this a lot of the time. I mean you can throw out Jonathan Pollard and you can throw out an occasional attempt to do something about the more egregious spying, especially when it brings clear damage to us, but by and large it happens all the time. Look at what happened with Franklin and Rosen and AIPAC and that business. It’s pretty much been swept under the rug now. We share classified data with the Israelis all the time, both through official conduits and through unofficial ones too, and people get away with it all the time.

Horton: Well, no doubt about that. So, I wonder what you have to say about Richard Perle? Is that a general enough question for you?

Wilkerson: Richard Perle was so much on our minds – and he would love to hear me say that – in 2001 and 2002 that the secretary actually asked me to build a dossier on him and to see what he was saying, because he was going all over the world, Europe principally but elsewhere too, and he was talking, and he was being perceived, as an official member of the government. Of course he was a semiofficial member, he was on the Defense Policy Board, and he was pushing the war with Iraq, and we at the State Department in particular didn’t like what he was doing.

Horton: I tell you what, I’m starting to hate these hard breaks, but that’s it. Thank you very much for your time on the show. I hope we can do this again soon, because I’ve got more questions.

Wilkerson: Okay.

Horton: And you apparently have a lot of answers.

Wilkerson: Thanks so much for having me.

Horton: All right, everybody, that’s Larry Wilkerson. He’s at the New America Foundation.

Kenneth O’Keefe

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_07_01_okeefe.mp3]

Human rights activist Kenneth O’Keefe discusses his reasons for joining the Gaza aid flotilla, his disillusionment with the vaunted Marine Corps honor code, the use of experimental vaccines on unwitting soliders in the Gulf War, terrorist accusations leveled at him and associated organizations by Israel’s defenders and why he will keep trying to run the Gaza blockade until it ends.

MP3 here. (24:51)

Human rights activist Kenneth O’Keefe is a former US Marine and Gulf War veteran. He was a passenger on the MV Mavi Marmara and participated in the ship’s defense against the Israeli commando raid.

Ann Wright

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_06_22_wright.mp3]

Former State Department diplomat Ann Wright discusses her reasons for joining the Gaza aid flotilla, her firsthand account of the Israeli raid on the MV Mavi Marmara and Challenger 1, the use of collective punishment to effect regime change and Obama’s silence on the death of nine activists including a US citizen.

MP3 here. (26:33)

Ann Wright grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas, and attended the University of Arkansas, where she received a master’s and a law degree. She also has a master’s degree in national security affairs from the U.S. Naval War College. After college, she spent thirteen years in the U.S. Army and sixteen additional years in the Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel. She is airborne-qualified.

In 1987, Col.Wright joined the Foreign Service and served as U.S. Deputy Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan, and Mongolia. She received the State Department’s Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2,500 people from the civil war in Sierra Leone, the largest evacuation since Saigon. She was on the first State Department team to go to Afghanistan and helped reopen the Embassy there in December 2001. Her other overseas assignments include Somalia, Kyrgyzstan, Grenada, Micronesia, and Nicaragua.

On March 19, 2003, the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Ann Wright cabled a letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell, stating that without the authorization of the UN Security Council, the invasion and occupation of a Muslim, Arab, oil-rich country would be a disaster. Since then, she has been writing and speaking out for peace. She fasted for a month, picketed at Guantánamo, served as a juror in impeachment hearings, traveled to Iran as a citizen diplomat, and has been arrested numerous times for peaceful, nonviolent protest of Bush’s policies, particularly the war on Iraq.  In the last year, she has been on delegations to Iran and Gaza. She lives in Honolulu.

Jason Ditz

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_06_21_ditz.mp3]

Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses Israel’s revised list of goods allowed into Gaza, smuggling tunnels from Egypt that provide “luxury” goods for a few politically connected Gazans, running the clock out on an international flotilla investigation, Obama’s gutless presidency and why Turkey is at a crossroads.

MP3 here. (17:47)

Jason Ditz is the managing news editor at Antiwar.com.

Jason Ditz

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_06_16_ditz.mp3]

Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses the lies and half truths in Israel’s propaganda campaign against the Gaza aid flotilla, the media’s narrative change from “Israel attacks aid ship” to “Terrorists ambush Israeli soldiers,” how outlandish Israeli accusations capture media attention while rebuttals are mostly ignored, military censorship of news stories in Israel proper and evidence that the Gaza blockade is intended as collective punishment and not to “keep the weapons out.”

MP3 here. (18:15)

Jason Ditz is the managing news editor at Antiwar.com.

Jason Ditz

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_06_07_ditz.mp3]

Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com, discusses the reports emerging from flotilla activists released from Israeli custody, why the fleeting nature of media news cycles may defeat efforts to debunk Israel’s propaganda blitz and the missing-in-action official US government response to the killing of Furkan Dogan.

MP3 here. (16:17)

Jason Ditz is the managing news editor at Antiwar.com.

Jeremy Scahill

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_06_03_scahill.mp3]

Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, discusses the few voices of dissent against Israeli apologists for the flotilla attack in US mainstream media, fast and furious IDF press releases that shift the discussion to Hamas and away from the collective punishment of Gaza civilians, the US government’s choice to defend Israel instead of US citizens and the removal of any doubt that Israel has become a pariah state.

MP3 here. (10:32)

Jeremy Scahill operates the website Rebelreports.com and is a contributor to The Nation, Democracy Now, CommonDreams.org and Alternet.org. He is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

Ray McGovern

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_06_03_mcgovern.mp3]

Ray McGovern, former senior analyst at the CIA, discusses the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, LBJ’s personal intervention that stopped the Navy from responding to the Liberty distress call and the two most likely explanations for the attack: Israel’s desire to assault the Golan Heights without US foreknowledge and to cover up the execution of Egyptian prisoners of war.

MP3 here. (10:11)

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years, from the John F. Kennedy administration to that of George H. W. Bush. His articles appear on Consortium News and Antiwar.com.

Eric Margolis

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_06_02_margolis.mp3]

Internationally syndicated columnist Eric Margolis discusses the indications that US military action in Pakistan will soon escalate beyond drone missile strikes, the ignorance and arrogance of American strategists and policy makers, Israel’s hard working (and busy) propaganda machine and how the US government’s continued willingness to apologize for Israel increases the risk of another 9/11.

MP3 here. (21:22)

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles appear in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times and Dawn. He is a regular columnist with the Quebecor Media Company and a contributor to The Huffington Post. He appears as an expert on foreign affairs on CNN, BBC, France 2, France 24, Fox News, CTV and CBC.

As a war correspondent Margolis has covered conflicts in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Sinai, Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Pakistan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He was among the first journalists to ever interview Libya’s Muammar Khadaffi and was among the first to be allowed access to KGB headquarters in Moscow. A veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq.

Margolis is the author of War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet and American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World.

Eric Garris

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_06_01_garris.mp3]

Eric Garris, founder and director of Antiwar.com, discusses the highly restrictive Gaza blockade that subjects 1.5 million residents to collective punishment for electing Hamas, Israel’s surprisingly violent attack on the aid flotilla after allowing half of the previous attempts to pass through, the timid official US response (amid a chorus of international condemnation) to Israel’s killing of humanitarian aid volunteers and why Israel has likely lost its key alliance with Turkey.

MP3 here. (20:48)

Eric Garris is the founder, managing editor, director and webmaster of Antiwar.com.

Philip Giraldi

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_05_21_giraldi.mp3]

Former CIA and DIA officer Philip Giraldi discusses press reports that attempt to link Iran with al-Qaeda and build the case for war, the danger of a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran based on perceived intentions rather than facts, neocon Frank Gaffney’s tireless warmongering and why Israel may have an opportunity to attack Iran in August.

MP3 here. (30:23)

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a contributing editor to The American Conservative and a fellow at the American Conservative Defense Alliance. He writes regularly for Antiwar.com.

Robert Parry

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_05_12_parry.mp3]

Robert Parry, founder of ConsortiumNews.com, discusses new evidence that Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign struck a deal with Iran to extend the hostage crisis until after the election, quid pro quo arms deals between US-proxy Israel and Iran prior to the Iran Contra scandal, the heavy CIA influence in Reagan’s campaign and subsequent administration and why George H.W. Bush was much more “in the loop” than he admits.

MP3 here. (30:51)

Robert Parry is an investigative journalist who won the George Polk Award in 1984 for reporting on the Iran-Contra affair and uncovering Oliver North’s involvement in it. He is the founder and editor of ConsortiumNews.com and author of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, Trick or Treason: The October Surprise Mystery and Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.

Gareth Porter

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_05_11_porter.mp3]

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for Inter Press Service, discusses the unusually pessimistic Pentagon report on US progress in Afghanistan, pre-announced military offensives that prevent major confrontations with the Taliban, Hillary Clinton’s heavy-handed approach to diplomacy with Pakistan, NY Times writer David Sanger’s sudden realization that US foreign policy does indeed have consequences and why Israel is hesitant to violate US-controlled Iraqi airspace to strike Iran.

MP3 here. (28:11)

Gareth Porter is an independent historian and journalist. His articles appear on Counterpunch, Huffington Post, Inter Press Service News Agency and Antiwar.com.

Grant F. Smith

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_05_11_smith.mp3]

Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C., discusses the newly declassified GAO report (from 1978) on the diversion of US nuclear material to Israel, marginal investigations and possible coverups by the FBI and CIA, prosecutorial immunity for high-profile Americans who commit crimes for Israel’s benefit, billionaire Haim Saban’s considerable influence on the Democratic Party and why LBJ’s political debt to fundraiser Abraham Feinberg probably explains his disdain for the NUMEC investigation.

MP3 here. (37:24)

Grant F. Smith is the author of Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy, America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government and Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal. He is a frequent contributor to Radio France Internationale and Voice of America’s Foro Interamericano. Smith has also appeared on BBC News, CNN, and C-SPAN. He is currently director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C.

Philip Giraldi

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_05_05_giraldi.mp3]

Former CIA and DIA officer Philip Giraldi discusses the cloak-and-dagger media spectacle of a former CIA agent claiming to have knowledge of secret Iranian weapons, the possibility of an Israeli air strike on Iran this summer, how Israel sabotages US relations with Mideast rival countries, why it has become politically impossible for the US to rein in Israel and how the cost of maintaining US empire is the constant threat of blowback.

MP3 here. (51:48)

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a contributing editor to The American Conservative and a fellow at the American Conservative Defense Alliance. He writes regularly for Antiwar.com.

Joe Lauria

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_05_04_lauria.mp3]

Independent investigative journalist Joe Lauria discusses the ongoing U.N. conference on nuclear nonproliferation, the Obama administration’s attempt to propose a nuclear-free Middle East without acknowledging Israel’s nuclear weapons, Hillary Clinton’s pronounced lack of diplomatic acumen, why South African-style nuclear disarmament might be in Israel’s future and how US foreign policy encourages nuclear proliferation.

MP3 here. (27:30)

Joe Lauria is a New York-based independent investigative journalist. A freelance member of the Sunday Times of London Insight team, he has also worked on investigations for the Boston Globe and Bloomberg News. Joe’s articles have additionally appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Montreal Gazette, The Johannesburg Star, The Washington Times, New York Magazine, ARTnews and other publications.

Glenn Greenwald

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_03_26_greenwald.mp3]

Glenn Greenwald, former constitutional lawyer and current Salon.com blogger, discusses the support among Leftists for criminalizing political “hate speech,” Attorney General Eric Holder’s preliminary investigation of detainee torture, the potentially unlimited scope of the “executive assassination ring” continued under Obama, why the word “terrorism” is too politicized to be usefully descriptive and how the recent US/Israel row has prompted many Americans to rethink their support for Israel.

MP3 here. (23:30)

Glenn Greenwald was a constitutional lawyer in New York City, first at the Manhattan firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and then at the litigation firm he founded, Greenwald, Christoph. Greenwald litigated numerous high-profile and significant constitutional cases in federal and state courts around the country, including multiple First Amendment challenges. He has a J.D. from New York University School of Law (1994) and a B.A. from George Washington University (1990). In October of 2005, Greenwald started a political and legal blog, Unclaimed Territory, which quickly became one of the most popular and highest-trafficked in the blogosphere.

Upon disclosure by the New York Times in December 2005 of President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program, Greenwald became one of the leading and most cited experts on that controversy. In early 2006, he broke a story on his blog regarding the NSA scandal that served as the basis for front-page articles in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, all of which credited his blog for the story. Several months later, Sen. Russ Feingold read from one of Greenwald’s posts during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Feingold’s resolution to censure the president for violating FISA. In 2008, Sen. Chris Dodd read from Greenwald’s Salon blog during floor debate over FISA. Greenwald’s blog was also cited as one of the sources for the comprehensive report issued by Rep. John Conyers titled “The Constitution in Crisis.” In 2006, he won the Koufax Award for best new blog.

Greenwald is the author of A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok and Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics.

Lt. General Robert G. Gard, Jr.

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_03_24_gard.mp3]

Lt. General Robert G. Gard, Jr., Chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, discusses Israel’s ability to drag the US into a war with Iran, the difficulty of destroying Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility even with bunker-busting bombs, Pentagon war games that exposed serious US vulnerabilities to Iranian retaliation, the need to vastly reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the US and Russia and why the aircraft carrier-based US Navy is becoming obsolete.

MP3 here. (36:55)

Lt. General Robert G. Gard, Jr. is Chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation where his policy work focuses on nuclear nonproliferation, missile defense, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, military policy, nuclear terrorism, and other national security issues.

Larisa Alexandrovna

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_03_11_alexandrovna.mp3]

Larisa Alexandrovna, Managing Editor of investigative news for RawStory, discusses the lies told about the US push for war with Iraq in Karl Rove’s new book, how the Bush administration “fixed the facts” around their Iraq policy, US bellicosity on Iran that is meant to assuage Israel’s fears of a competing regional power, Russian geopolitical successes against lightweight US strategists, why purple fingers are not necessarily indicative of democracy, the media’s obsession with “balance” at the expense of presenting facts or telling the truth and the difficult task of assigning appropriate blame to the public and media for complicity in Iraq War lies.

MP3 here. (49:55)

Larisa Alexandrovna is an investigative journalist, covering mostly national security and intelligence. She is currently the Managing Editor of investigative news for the Raw Story. She is a contributor to Alternet, The Huffington Post, and other publications.

Philip Giraldi

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_03_05_giraldi.mp3]

Former CIA and DIA officer Philip Giraldi discusses the usual suspects who are calling for war with Iran, the practical limitations on the U.S. military’s ability to fight a third concurrent war, the ploy of letting Israel start a war with Iran so the U.S. will be obligated to finish it, likely U.S. sponsorship of the terrorist organization (and former al Qaeda satellite group) Jundallah, birth defects in Iraq linked to depleted uranium and the terrible U.S. network news shows exemplified by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell’s conflicted reporting.

MP3 here. (30:48)

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a contributing editor to The American Conservative and a fellow at the American Conservative Defense Alliance. His Smoke and Mirrors column is a regular feature on Antiwar.com.

Ray McGovern

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_02_23_mcgovern.mp3]

Ray McGovern, former senior analyst at the CIA, discusses the successor to IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, the rift between US intelligence agencies and the Obama administration over the 2007 Iran NIE, why Adm. Mike Mullen‘s resistance to Israel’s hawkishness on Iran appears to be weakening, how the terrorist attacks of US-supported Jundallah have disrupted diplomacy with Iran and the new poll that indicates Americans are ready to be lied into yet another war.

MP3 here. (25:47)

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years, from the John F. Kennedy administration to that of George H. W. Bush. His articles appear on Consortium News and Antiwar.com.

Grant F. Smith

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_02_16_smith.mp3]

Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C., discusses the US Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) that is closely allied with the Israel lobby and enforces sanctions on Iran, how sanctions and embargoes punish the law abiding and make billionaires out of black market operators, Israel’s importation of Iran-sourced pistachios that violates its own “Trading With the Enemy Act” and how the debate over Iran’s nuclear program diverts attention away from the intractable Palestinian problem.

MP3 here. (28:17)

Grant F. Smith is the author of Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy, America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government and Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal. He is a frequent contributor to Radio France Internationale and Voice of America’s Foro Interamericano. Smith has also appeared on BBC News, CNN, and C-SPAN. He is currently director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C.

Kelley B. Vlahos

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/10_01_27_vlahos.mp3]

Kelley B. Vlahos, contributing editor at The American Conservative magazine, discusses the latest attempt by anti-Hugo Chavez members of Congress to get Venezuela on the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list, unlikely allegations of collusion between al Qaeda and the FARC in drug smuggling operations, Israel’s promotion of a Hamas/Hezbollah/S. America link, the terrible New Yorker articles of Jeffrey Goldberg and the big logical leap of inferring government sponsorship of terrorism from the donations of individuals.

MP3 here. (28:00)

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, a Washington, D.C.-based freelance writer, is a longtime political reporter for FoxNews.com and a contributing editor at The American Conservative. She is a featured Antiwar.com columnist and Washington correspondent for Homeland Security Today magazine.

Philip Giraldi

[audio:http://scotthorton.org/radio/10_01_05_giraldi.mp3]

Former CIA and DIA officer Philip Giraldi discusses the likely circumstances that allowed a Jordanian triple-agent to kill seven CIA operatives in Afghanistan, how the CIA’s limited ability to overcome cultural and language barriers forces a dangerous reliance on foreign intelligence services, Hillary Clinton’s declaration that Yemen is now a threat to the whole world, growing foreign and domestic opposition to the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, newly discovered problems with the Iranian documents published by the Times of London, the massive disinformation campaign to provoke wars in Iran and Yemen and why Iran’s perfectly reasonable proposal to swap low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel rods will probably be rejected by the US.

MP3 here. (44:40)

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a contributing editor to The American Conservative, fellow at the American Conservative Defense Alliance and a regular columnist for Antiwar.com.

Sibel Edmonds

[audio:http://scotthorton.org/radio/10_01_04_edmonds.mp3]

Former FBI contract translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds discusses the corruption of “political termite” former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, the systemic rot indicated by the disappearance of accountability and oversight in all levels of US government, pervasive political self-dealing and foreign espionage based in Chicago, bribes and lucrative salaries given to current and former US politicians by Turkish operatives, ignorant or apathetic voters that keep voting for incumbents, the special set of ethical and legal exceptions given to Israel and the bribery and espionage investigations that have targeted Dan Burton, Bob Livingston, Jane Harman and others in Congress.

MP3 here. (41:40)

Sibel Edmonds is the founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers. She has appeared on national radio and TV as a commentator on matters related to whistleblowers, national security, and excessive secrecy & classification, and has been featured on CBS 60 Minutes, CNN, MSNBC,  NPR, and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The American Conservative, and others. Her book, Shooting the Messenger, co-authored with Professor William Weaver, is forthcoming from Kansas University Press in the fall of 2010.

PEN American Center awarded Ms. Edmonds the 2006 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy”. She is also the recipient of the 2004 Sam Adams Foundation Award.

Ms. Edmonds worked as a language specialist for the FBI’s Washington Field Office. During her work with the bureau, she discovered and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security implications. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was retaliated against and ultimately fired in March 2002. Since that time, court proceedings on her issues have been blocked by the assertion of “State Secrets Privilege”, and the Congress of the United States has been gagged and prevented from any discussion of her case through retroactive re-classification issued by the Department of Justice.

Ms. Edmonds began her career in 1993 as Project Director for the Rostropovich Foundation, a non-profit humanitarian organization providing medical and food aid to children of the former Soviet Union. She re-located to St. Petersburg, Russia and managed correspondence, shipments, inventory and security precautions in the largest children’s hospital in St. Petersburg. Later, she worked as the Executive Director & Co-Founder of Edmonds Industries, a Consulting and Holding Company, investing in international business and residential real estate development. Ms. Edmonds also worked as a volunteer for the Alexandria CASA program (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for abused children, and as an instructor for the Alexandria Office on Women’s Domestic Violence Program.

Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University, and AA degree in Science from NVCC. She is certified as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and as an instructor for the Women’s Domestic Violence Program. She is fluent in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani.

Daniel Ellsberg

[audio:http://scotthorton.org/radio/10_01_01_ellsberg.mp3]

Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, discusses the losing battle of Robert Byrd and Edward Kennedy (who both presided as senators over the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1964) to defeat the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, LBJ’s decision to escalate the Vietnam War despite the prescient predictions of disaster by advisor Clark Clifford, the doublethink prospect of destabilizing Pakistan in order to stabilize it, how “effective” counterinsurgencies often provoke civil war, the re-arrest of Israeli whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, the underestimation of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the inadequacy of currently proposed treaties on nuclear weapons.

MP3 here. (1:00:14)

Daniel Ellsberg is the author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers and the articles “U.S. Nuclear War Planning for a Hundred Holocausts” and “Hiroshima Day: America Has Been Asleep at the Wheel for 64 Years.”

In 1959 Daniel Ellsberg worked as a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, and consultant to the Defense Department and the White House, specializing in problems of the command and control of nuclear weapons, nuclear war plans, and crisis decision-making. He joined the Defense Department in 1964 as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs), John McNaughton, working on Vietnam. He transferred to the State Department in 1965 to serve two years at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, evaluating pacification on the front lines.

On return to the RAND Corporation in 1967, he worked on the Top Secret McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68, which later came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1969, he photocopied the 7,000 page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; in 1971 he gave it to the New York Times, the Washington Post and 17 other newspapers. His trial, on twelve felony counts posing a possible sentence of 115 years, was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct against him, which led to the convictions of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.

Sibel Edmonds and John M. Cole

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/09_10_23edmonds_cole.mp3]

Former FBI contracttranslatorturned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and former FBI counter-intelligence officer John M. Cole discuss State Department cooperation with the “mujahedeen” in the Central Asian Turkic countries through the Turkish military and intelligence in the time before 9/11, a State Department order to release suspicious Uzbeks and Turks after the attack, the neocons’ and realists’ joint-attempt to negotiate the invasion of Iraq from Turkey in the summer of 2001, Edmonds’s overall credibility and level of access to information in her role as “language specialist” for the FBI, espionage within the FBI and why it continues unabated, Cole’s “conservative estimate” of 125 worthwhile investigations into Israeli espionage in the U.S. which quashed by political pressure from above, Edmonds’s accusations that Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and Marc Grossman have been participating in the stealing and fencing of nuclear secrets to Turkish and Israeli agents for years, Grossman’s outing of CIA front-company “Brewster-Jennings” to a Turkish diplomat in August, 2001 – nearly 2 years before the Valerie Plame scandal – and it’s destruction as a result, the grey area where legitimate lobbying by foreign governments crosses into espionage and criminality, Cole’s call for prosecutions and Edmonds’s intention to turn her new news Website, BoilingFrogsPost.com, into a home for journalists who want to practice their craft without partisanship or political pressure.

MP3 here. (1:17:21)

Sibel Edmonds is a former FBI-contract language specialist turned whistleblower against government incompetence and corruption. The ACLU has described her as the most gagged person in U.S. history.

John M. Cole, Former Veteran Intelligence Operations Specialist, worked for 18 years in the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division as an Intelligence Operations specialist.

Gabriel Kolko

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/09_10_21_kolko.mp3]

Gabriel Kolko, author of the article “Israel: A Stalemated Action of History” at Counterpunch.org, discusses post WWII immigration restrictions that encouraged many European Jews to settle in Israel, the limited tolerance of Israeli citizens toward unrelenting state militarism, how Jews are more culturally defined by nationality than religion and the end of the U.S.-dominated unipolar world.

MP3 here. (23:29)

Gabriel Kolko is a scholar and activist who has written widely on sociology, philosophy, and history. He is the author of fourteen books including World in Crisis: the End of the American Century, The Age of War: The United States Confronts the World and Triumph of Conservatism. His articles often appear on Counterpunch.org and Antiwar.com.

Grant F. Smith

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/09_10_07_smith.mp3]

Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C., discusses the 60 year history of Israeli espionage against the U.S., Obama’s “assumption of openness” decree that has made FOIA requests more successful, the inauspicious start of the 1985 U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement and how the 1979 Iranian Revolution cost Israel an important export market.

MP3 here. (31:04)

Grant F. Smith is the author of the new book America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government. He is a frequent contributor to Radio France Internationale and Voice of America’s Foro Interamericano. Smith has also appeared on BBC News, CNN, and C-SPAN. He is currently director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C.

Ran HaCohen

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/09_07_22_hacohen.mp3]

Ran HaCohen, author of the “Letter From Israel” column at Antiwar.com, discusses the fascist characteristics of the Israeli state, Obama’s generous concessions on settlements that weaken U.S. leverage, the narrowly defined news spectrum that dominates Israeli media, Gaza’s permanent status as an open air prison and the unlikely prospect of Egypt or Jordan helping Israel by administering Gaza and the West Bank.

MP3 here. (28:16)

Dr. Ran HaCohen was born in the Netherlands in 1964 and grew up in Israel. He has a B.A. in computer science, an M.A. in comparative literature, and a Ph.D. in Jewish studies. He is a university teacher in Israel. He also works as a literary translator (from German, English, and Dutch). HaCohen’s work has been published widely in Israel. “Letter From Israel” appears occasionally at Antiwar.com.

Ray McGovern

USS Liberty survivor belatedly awarded Silver Star

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/09_06_04_mcgovern.mp3]

Ray McGovern, former senior analyst at the CIA, discusses USS Liberty survivor Terry Halbardier’s belated Silver Star award, LBJ’s personal involvement in preventing military aid from reaching the besieged USS Liberty, two major theories explaining why Israel attacked the ship and Adm. Mike Mullen’s groundbreaking mention of the Liberty in an apparent attempt to dissuade Israel from attacking Iran.

MP3 here. (32:06)

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years, from the John F. Kennedy administration to that of George H. W. Bush. His articles appear on Consortium News and Antiwar.com.

Isaac Luria

J Street lobby pushes for 2-state solution

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/09_06_02_luria.mp3]

Isaac Luria, Campaigns Director for J Street, discusses his organization’s attempt to represent the majority opinion of American Jews on Israel policy, Obama’s limited time to leverage his political capital and push for a 2-state solution, why a second Israel lobby is good news for progressive U.S. politicians and how evenhanded U.S. diplomacy lessens the influence of radicals in Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

MP3 here. (27:45)

Isaac Luria is Campaigns Director for the progressive pro-peace, pro-Israel lobby, J Street.

David Bromwich

Obama, Netanyahu and the New York Times

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/09_05_21_bromwich.mp3]

David Bromwich, professor of literature at Yale University, discusses Edmund Burke’s warnings on excessive concentrations of power, misleading coverage of the Obama/Netanyahu conference in which the New York Times exaggerated Obama’s hawkishness on Iran and the administration’s position on a Palestinian state.

MP3 here. (29:20)

David Bromwich teaches literature at Yale. He has written on politics and culture for The New Republic, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, and other magazines. He is editor of Edmund Burke’s selected writings On Empire, Liberty, and Reform and co-editor of the Yale University Press edition of On Liberty.

Philip Weiss

What’s the Jane Harman scandal all about?

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/09_04_30_weiss.mp3]

Investigative journalist Philip Weiss discusses all the implications of the Jane Harman wiretap story the MSM hasn’t run with yet, the evidence of Israeli attempts to dominate U.S. policy decisions on Iran to start a war, the J Street lobby’s moderating influence and how Israeli leaders are oblivious of the political re-evaluation of Israel by American Jews.

MP3 here. (25:46)

Philip Weiss is an investigative journalist who has written for The Nation, New York Times Magazine, The American Conservative, Jewish World Review and other publications. He is the author of American Taboo : A Murder in the Peace Corps and writes the blog “Mondoweiss“.

Philip Giraldi

Israeli asset almost became CIA director

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/09_04_23_giraldi.mp3]

Philip Giraldi, contributing editor at The American Conservative magazine and regular contributor to Antiwar.com, discusses the confirmed existence of an incriminating Jane Harman wiretapped conversation, the appearance that Harman is effectively an asset of a covert Israeli intelligence operation, the perception among some U.S. politicians that the road to higher office runs through AIPAC and the increasingly apparent near-total corruption in U.S. government.

MP3 here. (40:38)

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA and DIA counter-terrorism officer, member of the American Conservative Defense Alliance and contributing editor at The American Conservative magazine. His Smoke and Mirrors column is a regular feature on Antiwar.com.

Partial transcript by Luke Ryland:

Phil Giraldi: My source has seen a copy of the (Harman) transcript, and there are apparently a couple of copies floating around in various places, and he’s been able to confirm that what the New York Times and other sources have been reporting about some of the actual words used and some of the quotes are alleged to have been made in this conversation are completely accurate.

He further indicated to me that the original leak of this information came from an official at the Department of Justice – where of course these transcripts would be on file. So that’s kind of interesting in and of itself, because it raises the question of why this is happening right now, and how did this happen. Is there some political motivation behind it?
[…]
There are a couple of things to look at here. The first thing to look at, of course, is what would have been the potential consequences of this – and one of the potential consequences is that you might have had someone who was – essentially – an Israeli agent either heading the House Permanent Intelligence Committee – or heading the CIA, which was another job that Jane Harman had a shot at.

Scott Horton: A couple of things here. Let me start with that – and suggest that what you are saying here is hyperbole. I don’t know, you’re a former intelligence agent, a covert operative, not an analyst, but on the covert side of the CIA. If you recruit someone in another country, that makes them an agent, or an asset?

PG: That makes them your asset, because, you see the line you try to get a potential agent to cross is to do something illegal for you, and once they cross that line, there’s no going back, because they will always have that skeleton in their closet, and that skeleton is always going to be there. And all you have to do is go back and tweak them and say ‘Hey – remember that conversation we had, and that favour we did for you, and the favour you did for us? Well, we remember that, and we have another favour to ask you’ – and that’s the way it works, that’s how you recruit spies, and that’s how you run spies.

SH: … So what you’re saying here is that a foreign power almost had their agent as the head, the Chair, of the House Intelligence Committee, and then also she was runner-up for Director of Central Intelligence, or Director of CIA, in the new Obama administration?

PG: That’s right. She could have conceivably had either position, and indeed if the scheme that they had worked out where the Israeli lobby and the Israeli interests were going to weigh in with Nancy Pelosi to make sure that she got the job, it would have happened.

And there’s no reason to assume that it wouldn’t have happened except of course that both the Israeli and Jane Harman were not aware that (the conversation) was being taped while this conversation was going on, and Nancy Pelosi was later briefed on the call.
[…]
But the fact is that the idea was a sound one, that the Israeli lobby had enough influence, and certainly if you combine it with the money issue, to make sure that Harman got the job. But the problem for Pelosi was that once the investigation got opened by the FBI this becomes a matter of public record, in a sense, and Pelosi could not take the risk of appointing her to the job.

SH: That’s a really good point. I guess it is fair speculation that if Pelosi didn’t have any idea, and this was the normal course of events, she probably would have gone along, and that’s the normal course of events in that city.

PG: Sure, because Jane Harman was mentioned as the likely candidate. If you think back to that time, it was a big surprise when Reyes got the job instead of her, and everybody was wondering what has happened here, and now this kind of fills out the story.
[…]

SH: Now, your source, I know you can’t name names, but can you say whether this is a journalist friend of yours, or a current or former intelligence agent, or who this is that saw the transcript?

PG: It is a journalist who saw it.

SH: So, I guess I’m going to understand that the name on the transcript other than Harman is blacked out or what? How come we don’t know – of all the leaks all over the place about this – how come we still don’t know the name of the alleged Israeli spy here?

PG: Yeah, that’s correct – it’s an interesting question, and in fact the journalist I talked to – the transcript he saw did indeed have the name missing, and – now, this is interesting – because that is often a deliberate way of handling a source that is co-operating with you. So this might mean that the FBI already had a hook into this guy.
[…]

SH: Somebody in the comments section at antiwar.com/radio blog mentioned that Jane Harman had done this major flip-flop and there was a link to a youtube video of the Armenian lobby group – a lot of you people protesting quite loudly calling her genocide denier. Apparently she was a co-sponsor of the Armenian Genocide Recognition Resolution – or what ever it was – while at the same time it was discovered that she had written a letter to Tom Lantos to scotch the thing.

SH: So that reminded me of course of Dennis Hastert because I believe the story goes that, according to Vanity Fair, and Daniel Ellsberg and people familiar with the Sibel Edmonds case, which I know you’ve written about, that this was something that Hastert got a direct cash pay-off for – thousands of dollars – in order to thwart the Armenian Genocide resolution, in order to protect America, and apparently Israel’s relationship with Turkey. Can you expand on that?

PG: Yeah, I think that you hit it right at the end there. I think that what she was doing… she’s a congresswoman from Los Angeles and she has a strong constituency of Armenians who are wealthy and politically motivated, and so she was indeed one of the co-sponsors, but the Israel lobby, and Israel, decided that they didn’t really want this to go ahead, for a couple of reasons. The relationship with Turkey being the most important one, and a lot of congressmen as a result of the shift on the part of the Israeli interests also shifted those votes. So she was one of them. Tom Lantos of course was involved in this too. Nancy Pelosi did a shift on it as you know. So a lot of it goes back to Israel.

SH: … I want to really focus on this distinction between, as you said, Israel’s covert operations against the US government – and I think anybody tuning in to this story will say ‘Wait a minute. A congresswoman being bought off by an Israeli spy to intervene in a trial of other Israeli spies? What is going on here? It seems like this must not be taking place in a vacuum. There’s a bigger picture here to understand about the extent of Mossad or whatever influence inside the US.’ Can you give us a reasonable picture of what we’re looking at here?

PG: Well, I guess it is what the Greeks would call Hubris, and the Israelis would call chutzpah. It’s a sense that the Israelis have, because of the power of their lobby, have basically come to the point of view that they can do anything and get away with it. And essentially this point of view has been supported by reality. You know, why should an Israeli intelligence officer, or a surrogate of an Israeli intelligence officer be able to call up a congressman and even make one of these proposals in a credible way? It’s kind of astonishing. You or I couldn’t do it.

The Israelis act as you might think back to the article I wrote last year for the American Conservative about Israeli spying. The Israelis are amongst the most active spies against the US, and a big part of this espionage operation is what they call covert actions, or influencing operations where you influence the policies of the countries that you are targeting. The objective of all of this is to do it in a covert way – as the name implies – so that your hand is not revealed, and this is precisely what we’re seeing in this phone call where the Israeli intelligence officer is presumably using a surrogate to make the call, someone who has access to Jane Harman and he makes his proposal and his proposal is an attractive one, and as I said earlier, once you are on the hook for this, you are on the hook for ever. And once you’re on the hook forever, whatever they ask you to do within the realm of possibility, you have to do. And that’s basically how an intelligence operation of this sort works.

SH: Well, that’s pretty outrageous. Is it just crazy to think that somewhere in any intelligence agency they would think ‘Wait a minute – I think going for the Chair of the Intelligence Committee is a bit too high. This might be more trouble than it is worth’ or something like that? Would basically any covert operator try to rig a situation like that?

PG: Well you always go for risk-versus gain assessment on any operation in intelligence, but this one is a gold medal one. You get the big star for catching the person at the top of the pile, and certainly if she had this conversation with this person on the phone, clearly it was somebody she had been talking to before about things that kind of were maybe similar, because otherwise she would have probably been unwilling to even talk to him about these kinds of things, so they kind of had a feeling that she would be inclined to look at this thing positively before they even made the proposal, and they threw some very strong incentives into the hopper. They hit the money button in terms of money for the Democratic Party and they also hit her own personal ambition in terms of turning her into the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

SH: So that’s where we really get into Bizarro World here… You have Larry Franklin, the case that started all of this thing, the top Iran analyst in the policy shop at the Pentagon, he wanted a promotion to the National Security Council, so apparently the way he judged his risk/benefit, the idea of going to Rumsfeld and asking for a recommendation was out of the picture. He decided instead the best route to the White House was through Israeli spies, and apparently this is the same way that Jane Harman assesses the balance sheet as well: If I want a promotion, I need to get the government of Israel to intervene on my behalf! That’s really through the Looking Glass at this point isn’t it?

PG: Well, it’s not through the Looking Glass, because obviously they felt that that was the way to go. And, you know, there are a lot of other people that see the US in the same way. For example, let’s go back to our Turkish example. Why are the Turks so cozy with Israel? Do they have any real community of interest? You know, they have some common enemies in the area and so forth, but the big reason is that being chummy with the Israelis is a big plus for the Turks vis-a-vis the US. So a lot of people have seen our foreign policy as having this kind of key in the door which is the Israeli relationship, the Israeli connection, and clearly this was very plausible that the Israelis would be able to make these things happen. And even a canny operator in the political sphere like Jane Harman was convinced that it would work.

SH: I guess the message here is that the American people are just not responsible enough to maintain a world empire, because the incentive for the leaders of every other country to exert extraordinary influence in order to try to influence this empire apparently outmatches the American people every time.

PG: And our politicians are so corrupt and so motivated by their own interest that it makes it easy to manipulate them. I suspect that’s a big part of it too. But you know this whole Israeli thing has been going on for so long, and they’ve been so successful at it, that they just kind of feel that at certain levels they are bullet-proof, and they can do what they want, they can manipulate the situation to satisfy their own needs. And I think, in this case, I think the story has real legs and I think this is something that maybe is not going to go away no matter how hard Fox News and some of the others try to make it go.
[…]

SH: I want to get to the NSA thing because that connects to this story in a couple of important ways, and I guess the Ben-Ami Kadish theft of nuclear secrets cuts perhaps into the same thing. I’m having trouble figuring out exactly who is investigating what and under what authority but it seems like there has been one big FBI counter-intelligence operation against Israel spying inside the US since about 1998 or 1999, and that this one investigation seems to interact with all these different things – whether it is the leaking of secrets to Ahmed Chalabi who then passed them onto Iran, or whether it is the Sibel Edmonds story talking about the Turkish lobby, the neocons or Israeli spies in the Pentagon or paying off people in the Pentagon to steal secrets for them. It all sort of seems like – perhaps even this Jane Harman investigation – or would-have-been investigation-that-never-happened – is still kind of part of this one big counter-intelligence operation. Am I guessing anything close to right there? What do you think is going on?

PG: Well, I think that the key here is that this is all part of one huge, co-coordinated intelligence effort by the Israelis, and once you make that assumption, you realize that what the FBI is doing is they’ve been nibbling at the edges of this for a long time, and they’ve been discovering increasingly that a lot of the pieces come together. And we really shouldn’t be surprised at that. I would also throw in a lot of the phony intelligence leading up to the Iraq war, a lot of the phony intelligence that we’ve seen more recently trying to blacken the Iranians. This is all part of a scheme that is basically coordinated by Israeli intelligence, but has a lot of fellow travelers in the US, particularly the people we were seeing up until recently at the Pentagon, that basically are part of this scheme. And I think what the problem is for the investigators at the FBI is that they get a lot of names, they get a lot of information, but a lot of these people turn out to be Jane Harmans. They turn out to be people that basically are in very sensitive positions in the government and it becomes a political issue where to go with this kind of investigation, and the result is that most of these investigations are, as in the case of the Jane Harman investigation, they are squashed.

SH: It really goes to show, I guess, that you can even understand their point of view. That to really make the change and say for example really let the FBI off the leash and try to bring cases and let the Justice Department try to bring cases against as much Israeli spying and corruption and that kind of thing as they can, in this whole interconnected web of neocons and criminals… It would be ‘horribly destabilising,’ in their words, right. We’d be talking about taking two thirds of Washington DC and putting them in prison.

PG: Yeah, that’s one way to look at it. The thing is that if the FBI and DoJ ever went after all the people who ever gave classified information to Israel or did things that amounted to malfeasance or criminal activity on behalf of Israel there would be a lot of people running through the system, and you’d have people like Abe Foxman screaming ‘Anti-semitism!’

So yeah, there’s a political dimension to everything but this is one kind of festering sore that has been there for a long time, and to lance it now would be an enormous political problem for any administration, Democratic or Republican.
[…]

SH: Let’s talk about heroin.

PG: Sure

SH: Part of the Sibel Edmonds case is that, and again, this is like a giant onion with all of these different layers, but she basically describes nuclear secrets being sold on the black market, in one big market basically that includes basically the terrorists’ underground economy and money laundering obviously, and heroin running from Central Asia through the Turkic countries and into Europe. Now, my basic assumption going into these matters has got to be that the CIA is running the whole thing, and I wouldn’t know why anybody in America participating in such a thing would really be in such a bad way if it’s all given a wink-nod but the US government anyway. But maybe I’m assuming too much. What do you say?

PG: Well, I have no evidence that the CIA is involved with these things. I think that there are a lot of this is private enterprise. These are people who are a Turkish General, or retired CIA officers of whom I could name a couple but I won’t, who are involved in… let’s call it commodities trading – in Central Asia, in the Middle East, and getting stuff into Europe and into Russia and stuff like that. Russian Generals, warlords in Afghanistan, Pakistani intelligence officers, there’s a whole community of people out there, and they’re all kind of involved in these same ventures.

And once you set up a mechanism that is good for shipping drugs and getting it into a certain market you can use the same mechanism, in reverse, to sell weapons. So that I think is the bottom line of Sibel’s story – that there are just a whole lot of complex relationships that have been set up in the Middle East and Central Asia – Israelis are in the middle of a lot of these, there are Turks involved, but there are Americans involved too.

Gareth Porter

Obama team debates best way to threaten Iran

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/09_04_09_porter.mp3]

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for Inter Press Service News Agency, discusses the divisions on Iran policy between the U.S. and Israel and within the Obama administration, the misleading journalism from David Sanger of the NY Times, the dangerous diplomatic leverage game the U.S. is playing and how U.S. arrogance derived from its superpower status leads to foolish foreign policy strategies.

MP3 here. (32:30)

Gareth Porter’s articles appear on the Huffington Post, Inter Press Service News Agency and on Antiwar.com.

Charles Featherstone

Does the Bible sanction modern day war crimes?

[audio:http://awr.dissentradio.com/09_03_30_featherstone.mp3]

Charles H. Featherstone, seminarian and freelance editor, discusses the use of religion to justify Israel’s Gaza invasion, the irony of browbeating Muslims for being anti-modern while citing an ancient biblical text, the eventual election of a Palestinian Arab as Prime Minister of Israel and the limited but significant opportunities for free expression in Saudi Arabia.

MP3 here. (38:38)

Charles H. Featherstone’s articles are archived at Lewrockwell.com. He is a Lutheran seminarian and blogger.

Philip Giraldi

Some Reasons for Optimism

[audio:http://awr.dissentradio.com/09_03_23_giraldi.mp3]

Philip Giraldi, contributing editor at The American Conservative magazine, discusses the disposition of U.S. diplomacy in the Obama administration, the role Dick Cheney played in scuttling a Syria/Israel peace agreement, Obama’s use of unofficial envoys to float diplomatic trial balloons in Iran and Russia, the fate of Hamid Karzai and why the Pyrrhic nature of the Israel lobby’s recent victory over the realists has been greatly exaggerated.

MP3 here. (41:43)

Philip Giraldi is a former DIA and CIA counter-terrorism officer, member of the American Conservative Defense Alliance and contributing editor at the American Conservative Magazine. His Smoke and Mirrors column is a regular feature on Antiwar.com

Jim Lobe

Obama’s Appointments

[audio:http://awr.dissentradio.com/09_03_05_lobe.mp3]

Jim Lobe, Washington Bureau Chief for Inter Press Service, discusses the balance of power between different foreign policy factions, the work record of Dennis Ross from Oslo Accord negotiator to WINEP associate, the centrality of uranium refining in U.S./Iran relations, the resurgence of the Arab League and the National Intelligence Council appointment saga of Chas Freeman.

MP3 here. (62:41)

Jim Lobe is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy, particularly the neo-conservative influence in the Bush administration. The Washington Bureau Chief of the international news agency Inter Press Service (IPS), Lobe has also written for Foreign Policy In Focus, Alternet, Tompaine.com, and was featured in BBC and ABC television documentaries about motivations for the US invasion of Iraq. His articles appear regularly on Antiwar.com.

Noam Chomsky

Hegemony or Survival

[audio:http://awr.dissentradio.com/09_03_03_chomsky.mp3]

Noam Chomsky, author of Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, discusses the roots of U.S. imperialism, the often overlooked opportunity costs of empire, the exaggerated strength of U.S. economic rivals, the continuation of the Great Game into the 21st century, how the Western World’s observance of the Durand Line exacerbates problems in Afghanistan, the empire’s loss in Iraq, the U.S. doctrine of punishing Iran just to make an example out of them and the Israeli policy of incremental displacement of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories.

MP3 here. (41:12)

Noam Chomsky is professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and widely regarded as the father of modern linguistics. He is the author of Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies and dozens of other books on politics and linguistics.

Robert Dreyfuss

Obama’s Iraq and Iran Policies

[audio:http://awr.dissentradio.com/09_03_02_dreyfuss.mp3]

Robert Dreyfuss, author of Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, discusses the Obama administration’s Iraq withdrawal plan, the survivability of Iraq’s central government without U.S. support, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran and why the doctrine of preventive war left town with the Bush administration.

MP3 here. (29:01)

Robert Dreyfuss writes “The Dreyfuss Report” blog for The Nation. He is the author of Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam.

Kathy Kelly

War Crimes in Gaza

[audio:http://awr.dissentradio.com/09_01_24_kelly.mp3]

Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, discusses her recent visit to Gaza at the end of Israel’s incursion, the systematic damage done to civilian infrastructure, the mounting evidence that the Israelis used white phosphorus and committed war crimes, the large volume of images and reporting broadcast by Al-Jazeera in Gaza compared to the Western media’s near-blackout of coverage and the hopeful possibility that new U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell can broker a peace deal.

MP3 here. (30:37)

Kathy Kelly is the founder of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, a 3-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and helped initiate the Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign to end the UN/US sanctions against Iraq.

Philip Giraldi

Israeli Spies Get Out of Jail Free

[audio:http://awr.dissentradio.com/08_12_16_giraldi.mp3]

Former CIA counter-terrorism agent Philip Giraldi discusses his Antiwar.com article “Israel’s ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card” on Antiwar.com, discusses the degradation of law and order when Dick Cheney can admit that he authorized torture and not fear prosecution, the long delayed Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman espionage trial, rumors of a Bush pardon for Jonathan Pollard, the disconnect between federal agents who aggressively pursue espionage cases and their department heads who don’t follow through, Steven Rosen’s new day-job blogging for Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum and the disappearance of indicted spy-for-Israel Ben-Ami Kadish.

MP3 here. (45:57)

Philip Giraldi writes the bi-weekly Smoke and Mirrors column for Antiwar.com, is a board member of the American Conservative Defense Alliance, a contributing editor for The American Conservative magazine and a former counter terrorism officer for the CIA.

Bill Barnwell

The End of Days

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_12_01_barnwell.mp3]

Bill Barnwell, minister from Michigan and writer for LewRockwell.com, discusses the merit of the “Obama is the Antichrist” rumors, how American dispensationalists influence Mideast policy, the havoc created if a Third Temple were rebuilt in Israel, the wisdom of a historical-contextual reading of the Bible and the conflict between militarist theology and Biblical scripture.

MP3 here. (37:06)

Bill Barnwell is a pastor and writer from Michigan. He holds both a Master of Ministry degree and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree from Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Ray McGovern

Obama’s Daily Briefing

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_11_17_mcgovern.mp3]

Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, discusses the prospect of a proper presidential intelligence briefing in an Obama administration, what questions Obama should ask his foreign policy gurus about Iran, how the NYT finally got the Georgia story right, how Russia’s recent show of force helped put the kibosh on an Iran attack, Cheney’s false flag operation fantasies and why Robert Gates is a greater threat to peace than Rumsfeld.

MP3 here. (45:14)

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for twenty seven years and a co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Philip Giraldi

Who is Rahm Emanuel?

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_11_17_giraldi.mp3]

Philip Giraldi, former CIA counter-terrorism officer and regular contributor to Antiwar.com, discusses his article “AIPAC’s Man in the Obama Camp,” Rahm Emanuel’s family ties to Israel and military service there, his ascension in the Democratic Party from Clinton fund raiser to Democratic Leadership Council powerhouse, the domestic spy service floated by Democratic leaders, the overreaching ambition of Rep. Jane Harmon and the new headquarters of the Democratic War Party, the “Project for a New American Security.”

MP3 here. (36:17)

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA officer and an authority on international security and counterterrorism issues. He is a regular columnist for Antiwar.com and a contributing editor for The American Conservative.

Eric Margolis

American Raj

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_11_13_margolis.mp3]

Eric Margolis, author of American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World, discusses the repeating of history in Afghanistan, India’s under-the-radar regional influence and sweetheart nuclear deal, ramifications of a future “Pashtunistan”, the precarious economic and political conditions in Pakistan, the possibility of Obama using Bill Clinton as Kashmir peacemaker, the need for a waxing Department of State and waning Pentagon in the foreign policy realm, the Caspian oil pipeline as “Great Game” prize, new accusations about Syria’s nuclear program and the supreme importance of U.S./Russia relations.

MP3 here. (53:49)

Eric Margolis is a foreign correspondent and columnist with the Quebecor Media Company and author of War at the Top of the World and American Raj.

Gareth Porter

Iranian ‘Smoking Laptop’ Documents Forged

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_11_11_porter.mp3]

Gareth Porter, author of the important new article “Documents Linking Iran to Nuclear Weapons Push May Have Been Fabricated” at RawStory, discusses the latest labyrinthine developments in the “stolen laptop” documents story, how the weight of evidence indicates the documents are forgeries in the “Nigerian yellowcake” tradition, the two oft-confused but very different IAEA investigations of Iran’s nuclear program and a future expose on Israeli involvement in the affair.

MP3 here. (39:42)

Dr. Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy. Porter is the author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam. He has written regularly for Inter Press Service on U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran since 2005.

Grant F. Smith

Try AIPAC!

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_10_24_smith.mp3]

Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy and author of America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government, discusses the intrigue behind the AIPAC spy case, long rage patterns of neocon duplicity and criminality, the history behind the Logan Act, the complicity of the corporate media, the likely continuity of Mideast policy in an Obama administration and the War Party’s shutting down of much needed U.S. trade with the Mideast.

MP3 here. (38:42)

Grant F. Smith is the author of the new book America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government. He is a frequent contributor to Radio France Internationale and Voice of America’s Foro Interamericano. Smith has also appeared on BBC News, CNN, and C-SPAN. He is currently director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C.

Jim Fine

Pacifism and War

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_10_21_fine.mp3]

Jim Fine, Legislative Secretary for Foreign Policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s Iraq Peace Campaign, discusses the pacifism of the Quaker faith, the defeat of the Iranian war resolution in Congress, the exaggerated Iranian threat, the need for global nuclear disarmament and to negotiations with adversaries, Ahmadinejad’s admission of the 2003 negotiations that the U.S. backed out of, Bush’s signing statements immunizing him from obeying the law stopping permanent military bases and seizing Iraq’s oil, the hawkish stance Obama will have to display to avoid Republican criticism and the groups who stand up to AIPAC.

MP3 here. (40:55)

Jim Fine, Legislative Secretary for Foreign Policy for the The Friends Committee on National Legislation’s Iraq Peace Campaign. Jim has lived in Beirut, Jerusalem, Ramallah, and, briefly, in Baghdad. For over three decades he has traveled extensively throughout the region meeting with political, social, and religious leaders and developing relationships of trust and confidence. He has served as the American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) International Affairs representative in the Middle East traveling to Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. He has also worked with a Quaker high school in Ramallah, and with the Middle East Council of Churches.

Lawrence Wilkerson

The Cheney Cabal’s Lies and Torture

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_10_13_wilkerson.mp3]

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, (US Army Ret.), former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, discusses the coalition of Oil and Israeli interests in pushing the invasion of Iraq, all the reasons that everyone should have known that the WMD and terrorism pretexts were just that, the disgrace he felt during Powell’s UN speech and his surprise at the positive coverage, the status of Anar al-Islam in Kurdistan before the war, the after the fact creation of al Qaeda in Iraq by Zarqawi and his allies, how he came to understand how the Cheney-Neocon cabal operated – too late, the continued polarization of American politics, the responsibility of David Addington, Jim Haynes, Doug Feith, Jay Bybee, John Yoo, Timothy Flanigan and Alberto Gonzales for the torture policy adopted after 9/11, its consequences, John McCain’s pro-torture Detainee Treatment Act, how the administration killed the Iranian peace offer of 2003 and how the administration let Osama bin Laden escape from Afghanistan in 2001.

MP3 here. (52:44)

Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, U.S. Army (Ret.), was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005. He is now the Pamela Harriman Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary.

Philip Giraldi

The Terror Wars

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_09_22_giraldi.mp3]

Philip Giraldi, former CIA counter-terrorism officer and columnist for Antiwar.com, discusses the grossly overstated number of “terrorists” by the War Party, the centuries of the failures of those trying to conquer Afghanistan, the current crises in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Georgia, the exaggeration by the Bush regime of world conflicts to help the McCain campaign and how best to protect Americans from actual terrorists.

MP3 here. (36:27)

Philip Giraldi is a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues. He is a regular contributor to Antiwar.com in a column titled “Smoke and Mirrors” and is a Contributing Editor who writes a column called “Deep Background” on terrorism, intelligence, and security issues for The American Conservative magazine.

Gareth Porter

Iran Laptop Fraud; Hands Off Pakistan!

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_09_16_porter.mp3]

Gareth Porter, independent historian and reporter for IPS News, discusses the probable MEK-NCRI/Israeli origins of the supposed “Smoking Laptop“; origin of all contemporary “outstanding questions” related to Iran’s nuclear program, some reasons why the accusations based around it do not stand up to scrutiny, and the National Intelligence Council’s warning to the White House against the ratcheting up of the war inside Pakistan.

MP3 here. (35:19)

Dr. Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy who has been independent since a brief period of university teaching in the 1980s. Dr. Porter is the author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005). He has written regularly for Inter Press Service on U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran since 2005.

Joe Lauria

For Sale: West’s Nuclear Secrets

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_08_08_lauria.mp3]

Investigative reporter Joe Lauria discusses the series he co-wrote for the London Times about the Sibel Edmonds case, including the 30 year Washington connection to the A.Q. Kahn nuclear black-market operation, the difficulty in corroborating stories about such a secretive subject, the inability of American mainstream media to diverge from the status quo, how the Tinner family fits into the story and the history of the military-industrial-congressional complex as told in the new book he’s co-authored with former senator Mike Gravel, A Political Odyssey.

MP3 here. (50:50)

Joe Lauria is a New York-based investigative journalist. A freelance member of the Sunday Times of London Insight team, he has also worked on investigations for the Boston Globe and Bloomberg News. Joe’s articles have additionally appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Montreal Gazette, The Johannesburg Star, The Washington Times, New York Magazine, ARTnews and other publications.He is the author with former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Mike Gravel of A Political Odyssey: The Rise of American Militarism and One Man’s Fight to Stop It, published by Seven Stories Press, with a foreword by Daniel Ellsberg.

Philip Giraldi

Beware False Flag Attack In Iraq

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_07_28_giraldi.mp3]

Philip Giraldi, former CIA counter-terrorism officer and columnist for Antiwar.com, discusses the possibility of and precedents for an Israeli “False Flag” operation in Iraq to frame Iran and draw the U.S. into attacking, the conflicts within the administration over Iran policy, the likely catastrophic consequences of any attack, U.S. covert operations within Iran, America’s support of the Iranian Islamic Revolution back in 1979, how real conservative principles apply to foreign policy, the extensive databases of “dangerous” Americans kept by the government, total lack of accountability in Washington, provocative stance toward Russia and demented neocon view of the world.

MP3 here. (39:41)

Philip Giraldi is a former DIA and CIA officer, partner at Cannistraro Associates, Francis Walsingham Fellow for the American Conservative Defense Alliance, contributing editor at the American Conservative magazine and columnist at Antiwar.com.

David Bromwich

The War Party and the Times

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_07_21_bromwich.mp3]

David Bromwich, Sterling professor of English at Yale University and blogger at the Huffington Post, discusses the op-ed in the New York Times by Benny Morris advocating an American/Israeli attack on Iran, numerous reasons not to attack Iran, the difference between pre-emptive and preventive wars, the constant warmongering of the New York Times, the War Party and the media’s ignoring of the opinions of the American and the Iraqi citizenry and the usefulness of impeachment.

MP3 here. (34:01)

David Bromwich teaches literature at Yale. He has written on politics and culture for The New Republic, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, and other magazines. He is editor of Edmund Burke’s selected writings On Empire, Liberty, And Reform and co-editor of the Yale University Press edition of On Liberty.

Gareth Porter

Seismic Shift or Non-Decision on Iran?

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_07_18_porter.mp3]

Gareth Porter, reporter for IPS News, discusses the fight between the “realists” and hawks in the Bush administration, the routine where Rice gets what she wants, but then Cheney makes her efforts meaningless – as in the case of William Burns’ trip to Geneva, George Bush Jr.’s complete inability to lead – thank goodness, crying wolf, the public’s distracted impotence to stop a war they oppose, the relative influence of the Israeli Lobby on Middle East policy in Congress and the White House, Ariel Sharon’s preference for the order of future regime changes, speculation that Cheney may have “learned” a bunch of nonsense about a necessary clash of civilizations from Prinston historian Bernard Lewis after 9/11, the War Party’s former(?) belief in regime change from the air.

MP3 here. (30:38)

Dr. Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy who has been independent since a brief period of university teaching in the 1980s. Dr. Porter is the author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005). He has written regularly for Inter Press Service on U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran since 2005.

Ray McGovern

War With Iran to Keep Us in Iraq?

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_07_16_mcgovern.mp3]

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern discusses his recent article on the probable Israeli/U.S. attack on Iran, Israel’s need for new war in Iran to keep the U.S. military in the Mideast due to the failure in Iraq, the outspokenness of the military brass against an attack on Iran, AIPAC’s drafting of the new Iran war resolutions, Bush and Cheney’s loyalty to Israel, the never-ending conflicts created by the Israel occupation of Palestine, the need for the American people and Congress to understand the catastrophe that would ensue from attacking Iran and the urgency of impeachment.

MP3 here. (48:57)

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years – from the John F. Kennedy administration to that of George H. W. Bush and is a co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Gareth Porter

No One to Stop Them Now

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_07_01_porter.mp3]

Dr. Gareth Porter discusses his recent article about how the War Party’s excuses to attack Iran are actually great reasons not to, how the U.S. and Israel share the common roles of being both dominate forces and fearful victims, U.S. manipulation of the IAEA against Iran, the many political ploys the war party is using to provoke Iran into retaliating, the two war resolutions in Congress that are about to be passed, the attacks on the U.S. military in Iraq that will take place if we assault Iran, Gen. Petraeus’s direct line to the vice president, the Israel Lobby’s vast influence over U.S. foreign policy, the impotence of Bush’s character and Khalilzad’s plan to switch back to the Sunnis.

MP3 here. (44:36)

Dr. Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy who has been independent since a brief period of university teaching in the 1980s. Dr. Porter is the author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005). He has written regularly for Inter Press Service on U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran since 2005.

Philip Giraldi

Israeli Espionage In America

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_06_12_giraldi.mp3]

Philip Giraldi discusses his recent article “The Spy Who Loves Us: Israeli Espionage In America” about the extensive Israeli spy network inside America and their surveillance of the 9/11 hijackers, the corroboration of their spying by U.S. intelligence agencies, the case of spy Jonathan Pollard and how Israel passes it’s stolen intel on to many enemies of America, the still secret identity of Israeli very top level asset “Mega,” the spy for Israel, Ben-Ami Kadish, and his treasonous crimes, the Israeli and Iranian influence in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, the White House/Iranian “negotiation” charade, and the planning for and consequences of an attack against Iran – including the possible use of nuclear weapons.

MP3 here. (40:04)

YouTube here.

Philip Giraldi is a former DIA and CIA officer, partner at Cannistraro Associates, Francis Walsingham Fellow for the American Conservative Defense Alliance, contributing editor at the American Conservative magazine and columnist at Antiwar.com.

Jim Lobe

The Israel Lobbies

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_06_04_lobe.mp3]

IPS’s Jim Lobe discusses the role of the Israel Lobby in American politics, why groups like AIPAC lean so far right compared to most American Jews, AIPAC’s immense influence, how the Christian-right’s support of Israel is simply an “instrumentalist” means to an apocalyptic end and the Lobby’s role in U.S. Iran policy.

MP3 here. (22:43)

YouTube here.

Jim Lobe, works as Inter Press Service‘s correspondent in the Washington, D.C., bureau. He has followed the ups and downs of neo-conservatives since well before their rise in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Byron Dorgan

Rampant War Corruption

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/charles/aw0516byrondorgan.mp3]

Byron Dorgan, U.S. Senator from North Dakota, discusses the corruption within the al-Maliki government in Iraq, the State Department’s corruption in Iraq, American military equipment ending up in the hands of the insurgency, Halliburton Iraq’s contracts, the situation of Iraqi judge al-Radi and the Iraqi Public Integrity Commission, the incompetence of President Bush regarding the management of the Iraq War, and the recent controversial comments by President Bush before the Israeli Knesset.

MP3 here. (20:55)

Byron Dorgan is a U.S. Senator from North Dakota. Byron L. Dorgan was re-elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate in November 2004 with nearly 70 percent of the vote after serving two previous terms in the Senate and six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Since 1996, he has served in the Democratic Leadership as an Assistant Democratic Floor Leader, and since 1998, also as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy committee. He is the first North Dakotan to serve in the Senate Leadership. In addition, Senator Dorgan serves on four other Senate Committees. He is Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, Chairman of the Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee within the Appropriations Committee. Also, he is Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee within the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, and he is a senior member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee where he chairs the Interstate Commerce, Trade and Tourism Subcommittee.

Ray McGovern

What’s to Stop Them?

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_05_20_mcgovern.mp3]

Former CIA analyst and antiwar activist Ray McGovern discusses his open letter to Adm. Fallon and the probability of a U.S. attack on Iran, the history of Robert Gates and his weak influence on Bush, the corporate media’s corrupt relationship with the state, the Pentagon’s bogus Iranian arms expose and the near total indifference of the press, Adm. Fallon’s firing for speaking out against attacking Iran, the Air Force’s role, the insanity of John McCain, the unconstitutionality and illegality of our aggressive wars, Congress’s impotence in deterring the White House from attacking Iran, Bush’s life-long lack of accountability, how The Project For The New American Century blueprint for world domination and neocon “Israel first” foreign policy has made the U.S. and Israel less secure, the role of Elliot Abrams and Dick Cheney in fomenting the next war, possible disastrous consequences, the Israeli government’s attack on the U.S.S. Liberty to hide their war crimes in 1967 and the U.S. government’s role in the cover-up.

MP3 here. (50:45)

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years – from the John F. Kennedy administration to that of George H. W. Bush and is a co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Eric Margolis

Neocons Push for More Horrible Wars

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_05_12_margolis.mp3]

Eric Margolis, foreign correspondent for Canada’s Sun National Media and author of War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet, discusses the new hype about Israel’s bombing of the supposed Syrian/North Korean nuclear facility in September 2007, the North Korean uranium enrichment program which still does not exist and which they still won’t fess up to, Israeli peace negotiations with Syria over the Golan Heights on the eve of further war, the two countries’ relative strength, the insane neocon “the Iranians want to be bombed and taken over by the MEK” theory, new war plans being drawn up, various ways that Iran could strike back, the bogus threat of the “Shi’ite Crescent,” the very real willingness of the Iranians to negotiate and do business with the U.S., the motivations which drive the al Qaeda movement, pro-Americanism in France and the NATO/EU Army question.

MP3 here. (42:17)

Award winning author, columnist, and broadcaster Eric S. Margolis has covered 14 wars and is a leading authority on military affairs, the Middle East, South Asia, and Islamic movements. He is the author of War at the Top of the World. See his website.

Gareth Porter

MEK Laptop, Fallon v Cheney, Sons of Iraq

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_03_06_porter.mp3]

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses the MEK/NCRI origins of the “smoking laptop” the slim case made by its “evidence” even if taken at face value, Centcom commander Admiral Fallon’s conflict with the White House over statements he made in opposition to war with Iran, the shift toward the Sunni “insurgency” (aka: “Sons of Iraq,” “Concerned Local Citizens”) and the pitfalls of America’s divide and rule strategy.

MP3 here. (37:30)

Dr. Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy who has been independent since a brief period of university teaching in the 1980s. Dr. Porter is the author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005). He has written regularly for Inter Press Service on U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran since 2005.

Dr. Porter was both a Vietnam specialist and an anti-war activist during the Vietnam War and was Co-Director of Indochina Resource Center in Washington. Dr. Porter taught international studies at City College of New York and American University. He was the first Academic Director for Peace and Conflict Resolution in the Washington Semester program at American University.

Bill Barnwell

Christianity and War

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_03_06_barnwell.mp3]

Bill Barnwell, minister from Michigan and writer for LewRockwell.com discusses the ranting of Pastor John Hagee against Catholicism and for Armageddon, the question of whether or not God is an American nationalist and warmonger and the danger of a real “clash of civilizations.”

MP3 here. (28:45)

Bill Barnwell is a pastor and writer from Michigan. He holds both a Master of Ministry degree and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree from Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Gen. Robert Gard

Deal With Iran

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_02_22_gard.mp3]

Army Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard Jr. (Ret.), senior military fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation, discusses the possibility of war with Iran in the wake of the National Intelligence Estimate, the unreasonable demands of the U.S. State Department in order for negotiations to even begin, whether the Iranian leadership is too “crazy” to deal with, the hopefully slight possibility that the U.S. would use nuclear weapons in an air war against Iran, the Israeli bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 and it’s counterproductive results, the status Iran’s relationship with the IAEA, Iran’s various offers for peace negotiations during the Bush years, America’s relationship with the Mujahideen e Khalq and their front the NCRI, possible consequences for American interests in the region in the event of war and the thin excuses for and enormous costs of putting a “missile defense system” in Eastern Europe.

MP3 here. (36:09)

Lt. General Robert G. Gard, Jr. is the Senior Military Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation where his work focuses on nuclear nonproliferation, missile defense, Iraq, Iran, military policy, nuclear terrorism, and other national security issues.

During his military career, Gard fought in both Korea and Vietnam, and served a three year tour in Germany. He also served as Executive Assistant to two secretaries of defense; the first Director of Human Resources Development for the U.S. Army, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and President of National Defense University (NDU).

Steve Clemons

Middle East, Cuba, Humanitarian War

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_02_22_clemons.mp3]

Steve Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and author of the influential blog The Washington Note, discusses his view that there will not be a war against Iran barring the creation of some sort of incident, al Qaeda’s goals in the region, the end of Castro’s reign in Cuba, Ron Paul and Chris Dodd’s position in favor of normalizing relations with them and the differences and sames between the neocons, realists and liberal internationalists.

MP3 here. (37:42)

Steven Clemons directs the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, which aims to promote a new American internationalism that combines a tough-minded realism about America’s interests in the world with a pragmatic idealism about the kind of world order best suited to America’s democratic way of life. He is also a Senior Fellow at New America, and previously served as Executive Vice President.

Publisher of the popular political blog The Washington Note, Mr. Clemons is a long-term policy practitioner and entrepreneur in Washington, D.C. He has served as Executive Vice President of the Economic Strategy Institute, Senior Policy Advisor on Economic and International Affairs to Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and was the first Executive Director of the Nixon Center.

John Taylor

Bush, Abrams vs. Palestinians

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_02_13_taylor.mp3]

Middle East expert John Taylor discusses Bush and his lackey Elliot Abram‘s successful efforts to do nothing at all to help achieve peace in Palestine, the dishonest media, Tom Lantos’ participation of the “babies left to die on the cold floor” hoax of 1990 and Abram’s role in Iran-Contra.

MP3 here. (26:30)

John Taylor received an A.B. in Near Eastern Languages from the University of Chicago, a B.A. and an M.A. in Oriental studies from Cambridge University, and an MBA from Columbia University. He served two years active duty in the United States Army, reaching the grade of sergeant, and spent six years in the reserves. Before making his career in the oil and gas business in Texas, he worked in the Middle East as an archaeologist, banker, and civil servant. Taylor is a life-long Republican.

Seymour Hersh

Israel’s Sept. Attack on Syria

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/charles/aw020508syhersh.mp3]

Seymour Hersh from the New Yorker discusses his new article about the  Israeli air strike against Syria last September, U.S. complicity and the lies used to justify it.

MP3 here. (17:00)

Seymour Hersh is an award winning investigative reporter currently writing for the New Yorker magazine.

Mohammad Omer

Exodus to Egypt

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/charles/awmohammadomer012508.mp3]

Mohammad Omer, author of Rafah Today, discusses the exodus of Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt, breaking the Israeli blockade and engaging in peaceful commerce with the Egyptians.

MP3 here. (19:21)

Mohammad Omer is a student in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah and author of the Website RafahToday.

Philip Giraldi

Cheney Back in Charge of Iran Policy

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_01_24_giraldi.mp3]

Former CIA counter terrorism officer and Antiwar.com columnist Philip Giraldi discusses his information that Secretaries Rice and Gates have once again been sidelined by Vice President Cheney who remains bent on war with Iran, the truth about al Qaeda and what is to be done about them and the case of former FBI translator-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and her allegations of crimes by powerful government officials and foreign spies.

MP3 here. (44:08)

Philip Giraldi is a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues. He is a regular contributor to Antiwar.com in a column titled “Smoke and Mirrors” and is a Contributing Editor who writes a column called “Deep Background” on terrorism, intelligence, and security issues for The American Conservative magazine.

Transcription of the Sibel Edmonds portion below…

Continue reading “Philip Giraldi”

Gareth Porter

Hezbollah Didn’t Do Argentine Bombing

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_01_21_porter.mp3]

Gareth Porter discusses his recent story in The Nation: “Bush’s Iran/ Argentina Terror Frame-Up“: How the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina has always been blamed on Iran via Hezbollah by the U.S. and Israel despite conflicting evidence and how the Bush administration is rehashing this incident to implicate Iran as the most dangerous terrorist threat in the world. Porter also discusses his article: “How The Pentagon Planted A False Story” about the War Party’s manipulation of the story of the Iranian speedboats’ and U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf.

MP3 here.

Dr. Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy who has been independent since a brief period of university teaching in the 1980s. Dr. Porter is the author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005). He has written regularly for Inter Press Service on U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran since 2005.

Luke Ryland

FBI Cover-up in Sibel Edmonds Case

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_01_21_ryland.mp3]

Luke Ryland, proprietor of the blogs Against All Enemies, Let Sibel Edmonds Speak, discusses the new articles in the London Sunday Times about the Sibel Edmonds case and indications of an FBI cover-up of their long-term investigation into the alleged Israeli-Pakistani-Neocon axis of nuclear spying in the United States.

MP3 here. (42:32)

Luke Ryland blogs at Against All Enemies, Let Sibel Edmonds Speak, Kill the Messenger, Disclose Denny, and WotIsItGood4. He lives in Tasmania.

Philip Giraldi

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/charles/aw101107philgiraldi.mp3]

Philip Giraldi, former DIA and CIA officer, partner at Cannistraro Associates, Francis Walsingham Fellow for the American Conservative Defense Alliance and Antiwar.com columnist, discusses his August, 2005 report about Cheney’s order to SAC to draw up plans for nuking Iran, his recent report in the American Conservative about the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel agreeing on war with Iran to the complete surprise of Secretaries Gates and Rice, the recent Israeli attack on Syria and his information that the target was an air defense system, the disinformation campaign in the media that the target was some kind of make-believe nuclear weapons program between North Korea and Iran, the Israeli/neocon agenda for regime change in the Middle East, and the story behind the “accidental” transfer of nuclear weapons to Barksdale.

MP3 here. (16:48)

Philip Giraldi is a former DIA and CIA officer, partner at Cannistraro Associates, Francis Walsingham Fellow for the American Conservative Defense Alliance, contributing editor at the American Conservative magazine and columnist at Antiwar.com.

John Hagee

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/charles/aw2007-10-01johnhagee.mp3]

John Hagee, President and CEO of John Hagee Ministries, pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio and author of In Defense of Israel and Jerusalem Countdown, discusses the End of the World, fig trees, Noah’s Ark, the treachery of Senator Reid, the ambition of Gen. Petraeus, his program to encourage divestment from Iran, his belief that the President has the authority to start wars without the consent of Congress, the battle of Armageddon, and the return of Jesus Christ.

MP3 here. (18:51)

John Hagee is the founder and pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, is the President and C.E.O. of John Hagee Ministries which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in America on 160 T.V. stations, 50 radio stations, eight networks and can be seen weekly in 99 million homes and is the founder of Christians United for Israel.

Joseph Cirincione

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/07_09_25_cirincione.mp3]

Joseph Cirincione, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons, discusses the true nature of Syria, North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs, the neoconservatives lies about them, their motives, the Cheney Cabal’s attempted end run around the president, the willingness of the mass media to continually repeat whatever the government says about Iran, the fragility of the UN’s non-proliferation regime and the possibility of a nuclear war against Iran.

MP3 here. (39:31)

Joseph Cirincione is Senior Fellow and Director for Nuclear Policy at CAP and author of the new book, Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons (Columbia University Press, Spring 2007). Prior to joining the Center in May 2006, he served as director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for eight years. He is the co-author of Contain and Engage: A New Strategy for Resolving the Iran Nuclear Crisis (Center for American Progress, March 2007), Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats (Second Edition, 2005), and Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security (March 2005). He teaches at the graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Steve Clemons

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/07_09_19_clemons.mp3]

MP3 here. (44:54)

Steve Clemons, director of the Strategies Program at the New America Foundation and author of the influential blog TheWashingtonNote, discusses his view that the president is seeking a “third option” and is not yet on board with Dick Cheney’s plan to bomb Iran.

Clemons also breaks the story that in a personal discussion with former South Korean President Kim De-Jung on Tuesday he was told that the current South Korean Foreign Minister has informed him that their government believes there is no merit at all to the recent claims that the North Koreans have been working with Syria on nuclear technology and that this is an effort by the neoconservatives to derail the six-party talks.

Steven Clemons directs the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, which aims to promote a new American internationalism that combines a tough-minded realism about America’s interests in the world with a pragmatic idealism about the kind of world order best suited to America’s democratic way of life. He is also a Senior Fellow at New America, and previously served as Executive Vice President.

Publisher of the popular political blog The Washington Note, Mr. Clemons is a long-term policy practitioner and entrepreneur in Washington, D.C. He has served as Executive Vice President of the Economic Strategy Institute, Senior Policy Advisor on Economic and International Affairs to Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and was the first Executive Director of the Nixon Center.