2003 Programs

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December 14th, 2003


Special Briefing: Saddam Captured
Brian Bennett (Middle East correspondent for Time magazine based in Iraq, author of a recent article entitled "Who are the insurgents?") on the disconnect between the Iraq insurgents and the former dictator Saddam Hussein.  According to Bennett, in a live interview exclusive to Background Briefing, those who have attacked the U.N., the Red Cross, the Iraqi police and the American military do not appear directed by Saddam--a view which is reinforced by the capture of Saddam, disheveled, disoriented and without any way to communicate with anyone, other than the rats and lice who infest the cell-like hole he was found in.  Americans are facing a genuine insurgency in Iraq that does not appear likely to moderate simply because Saddam is in custody.
Tariq Ali (long-time political activist, critic/analyst of Middle Eastern, neo-colonialism and international affairs, filmmaker, novelist and author of "Bush in Babylon: Recolonizing Iraq" and "Clash of Fundamentalisms") on what the capture of Saddam means and doesn't mean and why it will all likely be a circus of distraction from the real issue: the serious dysfunctionality of the war and its aftermath, with dire consequences as near inevitable.
Youssef Ibrahim (24 years as Senior Middle-East foreign correspondent and reporter with the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations based in New York, Managing Director of Strategic Investment Group, Consultant specializing in "risk analysis") on how Saddam's capture will play to the Middle East audience, to Europe and for domestic American consumption.  Will Saddam be placed on a "show-trial" to play to Bush's re-election in October?  Ibrahim believes that a death sentence will be given to Saddam, but what will he say while on trial?  Will he divulge his previous connections to Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and a number of other notables?  What Saddam may reveal is not expected to be flattering to his former U.S. patrons. 
Joshua Marshall (is the author of the weblog, www.TalkingPointsMemo.com ,  which many Washington insiders consider an indespensible daily read, as well as a contributing writer for The Washington Monthly) on the confused diplomacy coming out of the Bush adminstration--offending allies while asking for their help.  Is there a "war within the war" as the neocons struggle for power over the president with the forces of the more mainline Republicans, as represented by James Baker.  Some, such as NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman, have suggested that Baker has been dispatched to help extricate Bush from his neocon handlers.  Also, how will the capture of Saddam affect political dynamics at home and abroad?

December 7th, 2003


Andrew Cockburn (Andrew Cockburn is the author of several books on defense and international affairs, including "Out of the Ashes: the resurrection of Saddam Hussein," "Dangerous Liason," "The Threat" and "Secret Power."  He has also written about the Middle East for The New Yorker and coproduced the 1991 PBS documentary on Iraq title "The War We Left Behind." He lives in Washington, D.C.) on the reality of Iraq, obscured by political fog and negligent press.  In this interview, Cockburn addresses issues raised in a recent Los Angeles Times Op-Ed on the subject of Iraqi nationalism and rejects the notion of splitting the country into three separate regions, as some (Leslie gelb of the Council on Foreign Relations) have suggested.

Dr. Robert Jay Lifton (distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at John Jay College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. For more than forty years as a writer, investigator, and psychiatrist, he has used the skills of a researcher and the imagination of a healer of the mind to confront some of the most disturbing events of our times. As a witness, he analyzes how men and women lose and recreate their humanity in extreme situations. Hiroshima, the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, and now terrorist cults: these are the territory of Robert Jay Lifton's explorations as he probes the profound questions of death and its meaning for life. Robert Jay Lifton is the author of many important works including The Nazi Doctors, winner of the Los Angeles Times book prize; and Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima, winner of a National Book Award. He also wrote Home From the War: Vietnam Veterans: Neither Executioners Nor Victims. In 2000, he published Destroying the World to Save It: Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism.  His most recent is Superpower Syndrome: America's Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World) on the apocalyptic nature of the "war on terror," on Superpower vulnerability and fear, on how the US brings a "military fundamentalism" approach to a war of fundamentalisms, on how a "quest for omnipotence" drives the Bush administration.  Lifton's body of work defines a unique vision, combining history and psychology, in the analysis of political events. 

Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer (Director of Global and International Studies and Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is an expert on religious violence, conflict resolution and South Asian religion and politics, and has published more than two hundred articles and a dozen books. His widely-read Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence (University of California Press, revised edition 2003), is based on interviews with violent religious activists around the world--including individuals convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, leaders of Hamas, and abortion clinic bombers in the United States--and was listed by the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times as one of the best nonfiction books of the year. A previous book, The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State (University of California Press 1993) covers the rise of religious activism and its confrontation with secular modernity. It was named by the New York Times as one of the notable books of the year. His book on Gandhian conflict resolution has recently been reprinted as Gandhi's Way (University of California Press 2002), and was selected as Community Book of the Year at the University of California, Davis. His most recent work is an edited volume, Global Religions (Oxford University Press 2003), and he is working on a book on religion and war, and an edited volume on religion in global civil society. He has received research fellowships from the Wilson Center in Washington D.C., the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for contributions to the study of religion, and is the 2004 recipient of the Silver Award of the Queen Sofia Center for the Study of Violence in Spain. Since the events of September 11 he has been a frequent commentator in the news media, including CNN, NBC, CBS, BBC, NPR, Fox News and ABC's Politically Incorrect.) on the origins of terror driven by extremist religion.

November 30th, 2003


Nicolas Confessore (Editor, Washington Monthly website: www.washingtonmonthly.com, author of a breakthrough account of Congressional Majority Leader Tom DeLay's so-called "K-Street Project" called "Welcome to the Machine") on the advance of the Republican party's effort to create a de-factor one-party system.  Confessore talks about the the passage of the recent Medicare "reform" bill as a serious new stage in the drive to one-party dominance of the US government.  The bill was passed without input or cooperation of Democrats.  In an unprecented move, Democrats were not even permitted in the conference committee as the bill proceeded to a final vote.  Is this a signal that American democracy as we have known it has ended, or is this a period of right-wing extremism which the nation will pass through on the way to a democratic renewal.  Confessore discusses the prospects.
Dr. Bajis Dodin (Palestinian-American, born in Hebron, Palestine, Professor at American University in Cairo, Egypt as well as Director of University of California Education Center in Eqypt.  Dr. Dodin is a lifelong peace activist, who has advocated a "one-state solution," but recognizes that as currently unrealistic and advocates a two-state solution) was, in the last week, both in Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories.  He provides an eyewitness account of conditions in the occupied territories on Middle Eastern perception of Bush's stealth arrival in Baghdad--seen not as the action of a "liberator" basking in the praise of those he has "liberated," but that of an occupier, terrified of the deadly insurgency directed against him.  Within the last few days he has met with the Speaker and members of the Jordanian parliament, the Iraqi Minister of Energy (the Iraqi Minister of Water was also present) and he discusses their pessimistic outlook.  He speaks of the wide disparity of news reporting between the American and world press, how the Middle East regards the US as having been hijacked by extremists and that "there is no functioning State Department."  He says that putting Iraq right must involve a genuine committment to the United Nations and be linked to resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, because the latter gives credibility to the former.
Max Blumenthal
(investigative reporter who recently won a presitigious Online Journalism Award for his Salon.com article "The Day of the Dead" on the murder of hundreds of women in Ciudad, Juarez.   Blumenthal has written for Salon, the Washington Monthly, the American Prospect and others.  He also has a forthcoming piece on how the wealthy Ahmansons fuel hard right-wing Christian Reconstructionist ideology in American politics, which will be published at Salon.com.) on the deaths in Juarez and how the political culture of Mexico may have played a role in preventing a solution to these terrible crimes.  He speaks about this heinous situation in compelling terms, drawing a portrait of free trade gone mad in a place where there is no law, replaced by a feral culture fed and feeding on greed.  He also speaks of his research into Christian Reconstructionism, an extremist movement seeking to supplant democracy in the United States with a theocracy led by American "mullahs" enforcing religious laws most citizens would be appalled at.

On Max Blumenthal's award (from Jounalists.org)

Why Awards Matter:

"Some people routinely skip awards dinners. After all, it's just a list of winners and you can always catch up later. But the ONA attendees who made that choice this go round missed a lot. Anyone who cares about the present and the future of online journalism couldn't help but be moved by Max Blumenthal's stirring acceptance of the independent feature journalism award for Salon.com's "Day of the Dead". Anytime someone wonders why online journalism matters I'll think of Max's passion and commitment to telling the story of the women of Juarez."

November 23rd, 2003

Dr. Charles Kupchan (Dr. Kupchan is an Associate Professor of international relations in the School of Foreign Service and Government Department at Georgetown University. He is also a Senior Fellow and Director of Europe Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Kupchan was Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council during the first Clinton administration. Before joining the NSC, he worked in the U.S. Department of State on the Policy Planning Staff. Prior to government service, he was an Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton University.  He is the author of The End of the American Era (2002), Power in Transition: The Peaceful Change of International Order (2001), Civic Engagement in the Atlantic Community (1999), Atlantic Security: Contending Visions (1998), Nationalism and Nationalities in the New Europe (l995), The Vulnerability of Empire (1994), The Persian Gulf and the West (1987), and numerous articles on international and strategic affairs. Dr. Kupchan received a B.A. from Harvard University and M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees from Oxford University. He has served as a visiting scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs, Columbia University's Institute for War and Peace Studies, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales in Paris.) on the recent state visit of President Bush to England:  What does the visit mean for Bush domestically and internationally?  What does the visit mean for Blair?   What are Blair's motivations?  Does England's future lie with America or with Europe?  

Dr. Omer Taspinar (Director of the Project on Turkey for the Saban Center for Middle East Studies at the Brookings Institution and an Adjunct Professor, European and Middle East Studies, Johns Hopkins University) on the recent bombings in Turkey--Who is responsible, what are they trying to accomplish, what do the bombings mean to the strategic relationship with the US and how will Turkey respond.  

Spencer Ackerman (Assistant Editor at The New Republic and co-author, with Franklin Foer, of a breakthrough analysis of Vice President Dick Cheney, called The Radical: what Dick Cheney really believes) on how Vice President Cheney probably wields more power and influence than any Vice President in American history. Cheney's influence on and creation of policies which have dramatically changed the course of history is discussed.  Josh Marshall on Ackerman and Foer's reporting: "I can't say enough good things about this piece.   It not only goes into fascinating detail about the back-and-forth between Cheney's Office of the Vice President and the CIA over the last two years, it also gives an insightful reading of the evolution of Cheney's own foreign policy views going back into the mid-1980s . . . for now this is the piece on Cheney, the intel wars, and Iraq. It convinces me even more of something I've thought for some time: that Cheney's office is a rogue operation in this administration and one with the defining influence."

November 16th, 2003


Anatol Lieven  

Dr. Samer Shehata  

David Neiwert  

Bernard-Henri Levy

November 9th, 2003


Christopher Hedges

Ivo Daalder

Toby Dodge

November 2nd, 2003


Elizabeth Drew

Sidney Blumenthal

Graeme Fuller

October 26th, 2003


Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV (Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from June 1997 until July 1998. In that capacity he was responsible for the coordination of U.S. policy to the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. He was one of the principal architects of President Clinton's historic trip to Africa in March 1998. Ambassador Wilson was the Political Advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of United States Armed Forces, Europe, 1995-1997. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Gabonese Republic and to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe from 1992 to 1995. From 1988 to 1991, Ambassador Wilson served in Baghdad, Iraq as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy. During "Desert Shield" he was the acting Ambassador and was responsible for the negotiations that resulted in the release of several hundred American hostages. He was the last official American to meet with Saddam Hussein before the launching of "Desert Storm." Ambassador Wilson was a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Service from 1976 until 1998. His early assignments included Niamey, Niger, 1976-1978; Lome, Togo, 1978-79; the State Department Bureau of African Affairs, 1979-1981; and Pretoria, South Africa, 1981-1982.  In 1982, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Mission in Bujumbura, Burundi. In 1985-1986, he served in the offices of Senator Albert Gore and the House Majority Whip, Representative Thomas Foley, as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. He was Deputy Chief of Mission in Brazzaville, Congo, 1986-88, prior to his assignment to Baghdad. Ambassador Wilson was raised in California and graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1972. He is a graduate of the Senior Seminar (1992), the most advanced International Affairs training offered by the U.S. Government. He speaks fluent French. Ambassador Wilson holds the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award, the Department of State Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, the University of California, Santa Barbara Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the American Foreign Service Association William R. Rivkin Award. Additionally, he has been decorated as a Commander in the Order of the Equatorial Star by the Government of Gabon and as an Admiral in the El Paso Navy by the El Paso County Commissioners.) on the intense controversy related to the outing of his wife, an undercover CIA agent, by the White House as an act of revenge for his publicly announcing that Iraq was not attempting to buy uranium in Africa, as President Bush had asserted in his 2003 State of the Union Address.  Wilson also talks about the Neocons, saying that they are "parasites" who have attached themselves to the Republican party, to its great detriment.

David Corn (Washington editor of The Nation magazine. He writes on a host of subjects, including politics, the White House, Congress and the national security establishment. He has broken stories on George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Oliver North, Colin Powell, Richard Gephardt, Hillary Clinton, Rush Limbaugh, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon and other Washington players and institutions. Corn has contributed articles, including political satire and book reviews, to the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe, Newsday, Harper's Magazine, The New Republic, Mother Jones, The Washington Monthly, the Village Voice, Slate and Salon, and he contributes a weekly column on national politics--"Loyal Opposition"--to www.TomPaine.com and www.Alternet.org.  Corn frequently is a guest on television and radio talk shows. He is a contributor for Fox News Cable and has been a regular on CNN, C-SPAN, and MSNBC. He also has been a substitute co-host for CNN's Crossfire and has appeared on The McLaughlin Group (NBC/PBS), Washington Week in Review (PBS), ABC News, CBS Morning News, Fox Television News, The Capital Gang (CNN), Equal Time (CNBC), Tim Russert (CNBC), and other shows and networks. He was a co-host (with Pat Buchanan) of the nationally syndicated radio show Buchanan and Company. He has contributed commentary to NPR, BBC Radio, CBC Radio and Pacifica Radio, and he has been a guest on scores of call-in radio programs. His forthcoming The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception, due out from Crown Publishers this September, will detail a pattern of deceit that has become commonplace in Washington today. Corn, is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University. He previously worked for Ralph Nader's Center for Study of Responsive Law and Harper's Magazine.) on the Bush presidency and its apparent inability to communicate truthfully.  Corn identifies and outlines many examples of falsehoods and speculates as to why so much lying, and why the media does not hold the President accountable.

October 19th, 2003


Joseph Cirincione

(Senior Associate and Director, Non Proliferation Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, member Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Professor Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, author of "Deadly Arsenals: tracking weapons of mass destruction," editor "Repairing the Regime: preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction," "Iraq: a new approach," "Central America and the Western Alliance," producer "Proliferation 2001") on the absence of WMD's in Iraq, the Kay Report, and what this may mean for U.S. strategic plans in the region.  Cirincione notes that while Bush's credibility (and his polling numbers) is falling domestically, they are abysmal internationally.  How will the shattering of American credibility and prestige around the world affect our standing internationally, our diplomatic initiatives and our our own security?  

Dr. Ann Florini
(Senior Fellow, Governance Studies Program, Brookings Institution, author "The Coming Democracy: New Rules for Running a New World" and "The Third Force: The Rise of Transnational Civil Society," co-author of ""Secrets for Sale: How Comercial Satellite Imagery Will Change the World." PhD in Political Science, UCLA. Formerly a Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,Georgetown University, UCLA, United Nations Association of the USA and Brookings Institution; Research Director, Project on World Security, Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Currently, Senior Associate and Director, Project on Transparency and Project on Transnational Civil Society, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, written articles published in Foreign Policy, International Studies Quarterly and International Security. Currently completing a book on transnational governance.) on how democracy can be promoted, advanced and sustained worldwide via citizen empowerment and governmentaltransparancy.

October 12th, 2003


Stephen Pizzo (investigative journalist specializing in business and financial issues, author of the New York Times bestseller "Inside Job: the Looting of America's Savings and Loans," "Profiting from the Bank and S&L Crisis," "The Ethic Gap: the Crisis of Ethics in the Professions," numerous articles in a variety of publications ranging from the New York Times to the Washington Post to the Los Angeles Times and to Mother Jones.  See recent articles at TomPaine.com , Misleader.com , and Alternet.org .) Pizzo has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has won many other journalistic prizes, including the George Polk Award, the George Loeb Award, the Investigative Reporters and Editors book of the Year Award, Media Alliance Meritorious Achievement Award, the Project Censored Award and many others) on the cronyism between the Bush administration and the corporations profiting off the rebuilding of Iraq. The Bush adminstration talks about a level playing field, but, in reality, the fix is in.  Pizzo also states that what is happening now is the embodiment of Eisenhower's warning against the military/industrial complex. He feels that the privatization of military projects has many pitfalls. 
Susan Milligan
(Congressional reporter, Boston Globe) on her recent trip to Iraq.  Ms. Milligan discusses the rebuilding effort, the on-the-ground reality of life in Baghdad, the seige mentality of the CPA bunkered in the former palaces and how moved she was by the plight of the Iraqis, "who have been through so much turmoil."  She perceives that the average Iraqi looks at the American occupiers and says "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
Anne Louise Bardach
(Newsweek International, contributing editor Vanity Fair, Visiting Professor International Journalism UC Santa Barbara, author Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana, has been reporting on Cuba for the last 11 years) on life in Cuba, the future of the "revolution," the anti-Cuba dynamic in Florida and GOP politics, the hypocrisy of a trade embargo with Cuba and a thriving one with China and her belief that the embargo has been a folly and a failure for over 40 years. 

October 5th, 2003


Colonel W. Patrick Lang

(retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for 32 years. He is a highly decorated veteran of several of America?s overseas conflicts including the war in Vietnam. He was trained and educated as a specialist in the Middle East by the U.S. Army and served in that region for many years. He was the first Professor of the Arabic Language at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. In the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) he was the ?Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia and Terrorism,? and later the first Director of the Defense Humint Service.? For his service in DIA, he was awarded the ?Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive.? This is the equivalent of a British knighthood. He is an analyst consultant for many television and radio broadcasts, among them the Jim Lehrer ?Newshour.? Member, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) on the misuse of intelligence to serve a political agenda, the Plame Affair, and the serious problems that lie ahead in restoring Iraq to functionality in the context of an insurgency against the US occupation. In the course of this interview,he speaks about media being pressured by the Bush administration to not have on critical voices such as his on the air.

Dr. Imad Khadurri (Iraqi Nuclear Scientist, holds Masters in Physics from the University of Michigan and PhD in nuclear reactor technology from the University of Birmingham, England. Worked in Iraqi Atomic Energy Technology from 1968 to 1998) on the Kay report, how he knew there were no WMD's, how the war justification was built on a foundation of lies. Although a very private man, was moved to speak out a year ago when he saw Bush first speaking about the "Iraqi threat" in the justification the neocons used to take the US into the Iraqi quagmire. Despite his unsurpassable level of background and authority in the Iraqi weapons program, he couldn't get anyone in US intelligence, the military or the administraion to pay attention to what he had to say, "because the facts that I had did not serve their political agenda to prosecute this criminal war." He sources much of the fake intel with the Iraqi National Congress. Link: www.iraqsnuclearmirage.com

Sheldon Rampton (co-author "Weapons of Mass Deception," "Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry," "Trust Us, We're Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with your Future," "Mad Cow USA: Could the Nightmare Happen Here?;" Rampton also is with PR Watch and the Center for Media and Democracy) on the confabulation of evidence and the manipulation of public opinion leading to war. Rampton talks about the willing uncritical compliance of the media in the run-up to war, becoming a de-facto mouthpiece for the Bush administration. Rampton also speaks about media coverage of war, embedded, cheerleading and uncritical. Rampton reveals the little-known background of the the Iraqi National Congress as a creation of an American Public Relations firm, The Rendon Group. Links: www.prwatch.org , www.prwatch.org/cmd/

September 28th, 2003


Susan Eisenhower, President of the Eisenhower Institute, granddaughter President Dwight Eisenhower  

Nina Khrushcheva, Professor New School, NYC, grand-daugher of Russian Premier Nikita Kruschev  

Rahul Mahajan, author of "The New Crusade: America's War on Terrorism" and "Full Spectrum Dominance: US Power in Iraq and Beyond," founder No War Collective  

Philip Coyle, former Assistant Secretary of Defense and director of operational test and evaluation at the Pentagon from 1994 to 2001

September 21st, 2003


Dr. Paul Krugman (Professor of Economics Princeton University, author "The Great Unraveling: Losing our way in the new century," columnist for the New York Times) on the Bush presidency--how it's economic policies are unsustainable and how they likely mask a hidden agenda to defund, eliminate or "privatize" social security, medicare and other government programs.  Krugman also talks about the dissembling and distortions of the Bush administration, which led to a belligerent unilateralism alienating the US from its traditional allies and ultimately to war, something Krugman refers to as "an awesome screwup."  Krugman, pointedly, addresses the radicalism and audacity of today's GOP, saying that our country is being taken in a "revolutionary" virtual coup, which most people have not recognized--and which will produce a United States far different from that which it was in the 20th century, back to the "gilded age" of robber barons and a huge gulf between rich and poor.

Youssef Ibrahim (formerly 25 year veteran reporter with the NY Times, fellow at the Center for Foreign Relations, Op-Eds have appeared in many publications, consultant to the petroleum industry) on the unprecendented anger in the Arab world against the United States resulting from the war in Iraq, the sabre-rattling against Iran and Syria, and the failure to be even-handed vis-a-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Ibrahim sees the neocon cabal at their patron Bush as having led the US into an inextricable quagmire from which come negative consequences which are already apparent, but will likely become far worse. 

Uri Avnery (long-time Israeli peace activist, founder of Gush Shalom www.gush-shalom.org/english/ ) on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Avnery challenges the "mythology" propagated in the US media about Arafat, saying that, contrary to the "lies,"  the Palestinian leader was Democratically elected, enjoys widespread public support and is genuinely and legitimately positioned to negotiate peace.  This point of view, which is never heard in the US, expressed as it is by a respected Israeli activist, will be startling for many Americans.  Also not heard are Avnery's other insights shared in this interview--that the Likud party has never wanted peace, just land and power, and that American "Christian Zionists" have been pushing this conflict, both in Israel and in the United States, with the Likud and smaller radical parties to their right.  Avnery makes his points with considerable force and authority.

September 14th, 2003


Adam Shapiro (International Solidarity Movement-accompanied an ambulance into Yasser Arafat's compound during the IDF seige in March 2002 and was trapped inside with Arafat for some time and observed the Palestinian leader at close hand) and Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi (Professor at New York University of Middle-Eastern studies) on the Israeli cabinet's initiative to exile President Arafat.  Shapiro and Abdulhadi analyze the strategic consequences of exiling or killing Arafat on Israel, the Palestinians, overall Middle-East peace and stability and to the United States.  The analysis is critical of Israeli and Palestinian leadership, as well as of US policy as it applies to the peace process, a roadmap clearly no longer traveled by anyone.  Can we put things right on a course towards peace?  What steps must be taken?  Can current leadership take us there?  What role should the United States play?  These questions and more frame the discussion.
Clyde Prestowitz (former trade negotiator under President Reagan, founder and president Economic Strategy Institute, author of "Rogue Nation: American unilateralism and the failure of good intentions) on the WTO meeting in Cancun, Mexico, the crisis of competition brought onto third-world farmers by governmental price subsidies for crops grown in the United States and Europe.  Farmers in the third world, unable to compete with subsidized prices, are finding themselves in desperate straits and their countries are facing a loss of their agriculture industry.  Prestowitz also talks about the disconnect between how America perceives itself and how it is perceived by others, and how it is becoming more and more to be thought of as an arrogant "rogue nation" which ignores laws and violates human rights as it pleases.
Wayne Madson (former officer with the National Security Agency - NSA - during the Reagan administration and author of "America's Nightmare: the presidency of George Bush the second") on the enormous amounts of money being spent by the Pentagon on the Iraq war and the enormous sums which will be spent.  Madson also reflects on how the war is going, how the US has lost prestige, respect and good-will worldwide and how things might be expected to develop.

September 7th, 2003


General Wesley K. Clark (Ret.) On Iraq war planning failures.

Tariq Ali On deteriorating conditions in Iraq

Dr. Martin Hart-Landsberg and
Dr. Seung Hye Suh On the developing diplomatic crisis over North Korea

August 31st, 2003


Jessica Stern (former member National Security Council under President Clinton, former fellow specializing in terrorism for the Council on Foreign Relations, author of "Terror in the Name of God: why religious militants kill," Ms. Stern was the inspiration for the Nicole Kidman character in the film "The Peacemaker") on what motivates terrorism and why religion often supplies the ideological underpinnings of terrorism. Ian and Jessica Stern dialog on how these factors apply to what is happening now in Iraq and elsewhere. The religious factionalism in Iraq will likely increase, and with it terrorism in an accelerating cycle of violence. The Bush adminstration seems at a complete loss as to what to do in Iraq, having won the war while quickly having lost the peace, via a complete loss of preparation in the war's aftermath and an ideological marriage to a worldview which is fundamentally unrealistic. The Bush administration appears to have made one of the worst foreign policy blunders in US history. Ms. Stern's book is particularly timely with the impending execution of abortion-provider murderer Paul Hill. Incidentally, Hill has, oddly, been given the almost unprecedented privelege of a press conference in which to characterize himself as an heroic martyr, who expects a "great reward" in heaven for his murderous activity on earth. The parallels between Hill's rhetoric and that of Jihadi terrorists (rewards in heaven for murderous martrydom on earth per the 9/11 hijackers) are somewhat striking, with both acting in the "name of God." The question is begged: if Jihadis are referred to as "Islamic terrorists," why aren't Hill, and others like him, referred to in the US media as"Christian terrorists?"

Robert Baer (former CIA officer, author "See No Evil" and the newly published "Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold our Soul for Saudi Crude") on who is likely behind the recent spate of bombings in Iraq. Baer's extensive first-hand knowledge as a CIA officer, specializing in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, puts him in a uniquely qualified position to comment on the situation America finds itself in with respect to the Iraq debacle. Bush, in desperation, seems now to need the previously despised UN, which Secretary Powell had made a justification to--all of which has now been revealed as false--to clean up the mess which Iraq now most certainly is. Baer's book, "Sleeping with the Devil," deals with his assertion that the real source of funding and direction for the 9/11 attack lay with elements in Saudi Arabia, a fact which the Bush administration strategically ignored, as Baer puts it, out of "willful blindness," so that their long-held ambition to attack the impotent Iraq could be realized. Baer further asserts that Wahabi extremists in Saudi Arabia (who view themselves as the "co-rulers," with the royal family, of the oil-rich state) have done unparalleled damage to Islam, one of the world's great religions, by their complicity in terror.

Christopher Hartman (Research Director with United for a Fair Economy www.ufenet.org) on how economic inequality is continuing to grow in the US as the gulf between rich and poor widens. Joining Ian on the program for this segment is colleague Jonathan Taplin as they engage Hartman on a discussion on what Hartman refers to as Bush's "shrink, shift and shaft" budget. Hartman asserts that Bush seeks to shrink government to nothing more than a "Watchtower state," limited to military, police and property-rights protection. He says they wish to shift the tax burden off investiments and onto wages, off of federal progressive taxation and onto state and local taxation that hit low and middle-income people the hardest. Finally, he says that the Bush administration seeks to "shaft" people who depend on government safety nets or investment in equality of opportunity. Ian, Jonathan and Christopher also discuss other aspects of this era of greed in the US, including the absurd levels of executive compensation vs. what laborers receive, the disappearance of the middle-class and the stunning gulf between rich and poor. Instead of a "Watchtower State," Hartman envisions an "opportunity state," in which all citizens have a genuine equal opportunity with an adequate safety net for those in need.

August 24th, 2003


Denis Halliday (former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, former Director of the Iraq oil-for-food program, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2001) on the deteriorating situation in Iraq, the attack on UN Headquarters in Baghdad, the question of UN collaboration with the US in Iraq, the failure of the occupation in Iraq and the need to establish a time-table for establishment of peace and order via a functional Iraqi police force, the formation of an indigenous military to guard the borders, the creation of system of law and justice, the restoration of water, electricity and telephone infrastructure--in short, the basics of a functioning civil society.  The failure to do so will exacerbate the anger of a populous now pushed to a breaking point of hopelessness, frustration and rage, and promote a escalating cycle of violence.
Eman Ahmed Khammas (Co-Director Occupation Watch, website: www.occupationwatch.org  ) via satellite phone directly from Baghdad, Ms. Khammas, provides an extraordinary eye-witness account of what life is like now in Iraq.  Her voice pleading to be heard, sends a distress signal to the world.  In a gripping account otherwise unheard in US media, she describes what it's like to live without lights, air-conditioning (temperatures can approach 120 degrees), telephones, social services, police, fire, hospitals.  She condemns the occupation authorities for making little to no progress in restoring basic services like electricity and water.  "The people here cannot believe," she says, that a powerful, technically sophisticated nation like the United States cannot make the electricity work in Baghdad."  She describes a horrendous crimewave that has swept the city.  "Crime is the king here now," she says.  "People are afraid to go out without escort, and even then, it is unsafe. Women have been raped . . . nowhere is there safety."  This is a not-to-be-missed interview, giving an all-important on-the-ground first-person account.
Rend Rahim Franke (Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation, website: www.iraqfoundation.org ) on the poor record of progress towards democracy the occupation has thus far achieved.  She discusses the obvious failures, the disparity between what has been promised and what has been delivered, and what steps must be taken to forge a humane and workable road ahead.  
Nancy Lessin and Charlie Richardson (Co-Founders of Military Families Speak Out, websites: www.bringthemhomenow.org ,www.mfso.org ) on their belief that US soldiers in Iraq are "cannon fodder" for Bush's imperial ambitions.  They are, according to Lessin and Richardson, ill-supplied, ill-supported and "mission-less," sitting in a bunker behind barbed wire, accomplishing nothing.  When out on patrol, soldiers are subject to attack, frightened, and prone to over-reaction.  Many soldiers are mystified as to why when are told by the Commander-in-Chief, that they are "liberating" a population from a dicatator, why their presence is obviously resented.  Where are the "sweets and flowers" which were supposed to greet them.  Why, they ask, when Bush declares the "Mission Accomplished" in his staged landing on the Abraham Lincoln months ago, are soldiers dying every day?  Nancy and Charlie have a son assigned to duty in Iraq.  They receive information directly from soldiers in the field and report on their websites (referenced above) true accounts of what it's like to be a soldier in Iraq.

August 17th, 2003


Dr. George Akerlof (Nobel Prize Laureate, 2001 for Economic theory, Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley) on the Bush administration.  Dr. Akerlof is sharply critical of George W. Bush and his policies, pointedly saying that he is "the worst President in the history of the United States."  Although he is critical "across the board," of the Bush administration, Dr. Akerlof details the economic disaster Bush's policies portend. He says that Bush's tax cuts are a wrongly "permanent" answer to a short-term recession, leaving the nation with red ink "as far as the eye can see."  Beyond the fact that the tax cuts do nothing to actually stimulate the economy, since the wealthy have no need to spend per se, they cripple the government's ability to deal with future crisis, and that inability produces a crisis of national security.  Bush's failure is so monumental, his creation of debt and defict so collosal, that it threatens the future of the United States.  Akerlof says that Bush and his corporate backers are "looting the country."  From what Akerlof, whose authority and expertise is impeccable, says, it's clear that no American will remain unharmed by these policies, which are the product of a radical and reckless mind, and do not reflect tradtional "conservatism" in any respect.
Max Blumenthal (Investigative jounalist with The American Prospect and Salon.com) on the behind-the-scenes players who created the California Gubenatorial Recall.  Blumenthal traces the recall drive from its first inception to the Republican consultants, to the elected officials to the money people, to Darrell Issa who was a "useful idiot" for the plotters and to the White House itself.  The complexity of right-wing elements who have conspired to sow this electoral chaos in California is woven by Blumenthal into a clearly emerging picture, a picture of an ideology which views democracy as something to be scorned and manipulated.  No amount of chaos is too much for the extremists involved in the recall, who with right-wing talk radio, and with their confederates at the highest level of Republican power.  The Clinton impeachment, Ken Starr, the 2000 debacle in Florida, the redisctricting in Texas and now the coup in California--these and much more all part of a pattern?  According to Blumenthal, it is.
Dr. Don McCanne (President Physicians for a National Health Care Program www.pnhp.org ) on one of the most important issues facing our nation: health care.  Why is it that the United States spends more for health care and gets the least of any country in the world.  Why are so many Americans without access to care?  Why are medical bills the major source of personal bankruptcy in the country?  Why are all attempts to get national health care immediately attacked by the old accusation of "socialized medicine?"  Why is our system based on the concept: "your money or your life."  Is there a better way.  Absolutely, says Dr. Don McCanne, who has devoted his life to advancing the cause of "Single Payer National Health Coverage."  We can have a system, says Dr. McCanne, which covers all Americans, doing a better job than we have now, without costing a penny more than we now spend.  So, who opposes this plan?  The health insurance industry and, to a lesser extent, the pharmaceutical industry.  The insurance industry adds a layer of cost to health care which does nothing for America.  So why is it there?  Lobbyists, campaign finance--all the usual suspects behind most of our country's problems.  This is crucial issue about which we must all become more aware.

August 10th, 2003


Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski(USAF recently retired from active duty, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Under Secretary for Policy: Near East/South Asia, SubSarahan Africa Directorate, AFHq, National Security Agency, adjunct faculty University of Maryland) on the outright capture of US foriegn policy by the NeoCon cabal now in power within the GW Bush administration.  The hardcore NeoCons, including Cheney, Perle, Rumsfeld, Libby, Feith, Bolton, Wolfowitz have labored in exile trying to advance their imperialistic remake of the world.  Reagan kept them at bay, as did the first George Bush.  Clinton left them to wander in the wilderness.  It was GW Bush ("we can fill him with ideas"--Richard Perle) who fatefully placed them in power and they now have the run of his presidency.  Lt. Col Kwiatkowski discusses the circular reasoning, the group think, the false premises, the hidden agendas, of the NeoCons as they contrive and conspire in the Pentagon to manipulate the military, the press, the politicians, to advance their agenda, via cooked intel, baseless propaganda and selective use of facts.  This is a brave and genuinely patriotic effort by someone on the inside to alert the citizenry as to what a clear and present danger the NeoCons pose, not only to world peace, but to the United States itself.(See Briefing Notes for articles by Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski.)
Patrick Caddell (former pollster for President Jimmy Carter, political consultant, MSNBC commentator) on the political debacle/spectacle of the California Gubenatorial Recall.  Caddell, who is no fan of Governor Davis, nor of the Republican conspirators who conceived and funded his removal,takes a plague on both their houses" approach.  Ian questions the recall as democracy gone awry, while Caddell says it's "people's democracy in action."  If this is a political circus, then who are the clowns?  How does a political mess on top of an economic mess serve the people of this state? These questions and more are addressed.
Jackie Cabasso (Executive DirectorWestern States Legal Foundation www.wslfweb.org, an Oakland , California-based organization that monitors US nuclear weapons programs and policies) on the Bush/NeoCon drive to construct factories which will assemble new generations of nuclear weapons, which are meant to actually be used, instead of as deterrence.  Cabasso paints a troubling picture of an administration which is not averse to the unleashing nuclear fury on the planet.  She says Americans must inform themselves and take action to stop nuclear proliferation before its too late.

August 3rd, 2003


Seymour Hersh (Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, New Yorker magazine reporter/columnist www.newyorker.com, author of a number of books, including "The Dark Side of Camelot," "The Samson Option," "The Target is Destroyed" and "The Price of Power") on the veiled connection of elements in Saudi Arabia to support for al Qaeda and the 9/11 terror attacks on the US.  Also Hersh assails the "dumbing down" and disengagement of the US Congress over the last thirty years, leaving the Bush administration unchecked and our governmental system unbalanced.  Also, Hersh addresses the real state of affairs in Iraq and what the Bush/NeoCon agenda may portend both in the Middle East and in the United States.
Robert Baer (former CIA officer, author "See No Evil" and the newly published "Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold our Soul for Saudi Crude") on how the real source of funding and direction for the 9/11 attack lay with elements in Saudi Arabia, a fact which the Bush administration strategically ignored, as Baer puts it, out of "willful blindness," so that their long-held ambition to attack the impotent Iraq could be realized.  Baer asserts that Wahabi extremists in Saudi Arabia (who view themselves as the "co-rulers," with the royal family, of the oil-rich state) have done unparalleled damage to Islam, one of the world's great religions, by their complicity in terror.  He further projects that the extremists in Saudi Arabia, if they ascend to unrivaled power, may well shut down the oil fields, causing enormous economic disruption to the world economy.    Despite the corruption and extremism he identifies, Baer feels that Saudi Arabia is not without hope and may well find its way to a more rational and humane future.  With respect to Iraq, Baer says that the US must engage UN cooperation, something the NeoCons don't seem to welcome.  Why?
Col. Patrick Lang (former head of Middle East intelligence Defense Intelligence Agency, President Global Resources Group and Middle East analyst for PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer) on how Iraq, with its diverse population, is the most complex of Middle Eastern countries.  Lang explains how US actions, in attacking Baathist elements and attributing the widespread insurgency only to them, seems to be playing into the hands of the extremist religious elements, something which will produce an anti-US regime and an outcome precisely the opposite of that which the Bush/NeoCon crowd had intended. (See Col. Lang's article "Speaking Truth to Power" at www.americamagazine.org)

July 27th, 2003


Abbas Khadim (former Iraqi dissident who opposed Saddam Hussein in the US-encouraged uprising after the first Gulf War, now a graduate student studying in the United States.  After joining in the uprising, Khadim saw thousands of his compatriots slaughtered by Hussein's military and barely escaped with his life.) on who is attacking US troops in Iraq, what needs to be done to bring stability, why rebuilding the infrastructure is crucial and the steps that the US must take now to prevent the situation from becoming a disastrous quagmire.  The solution is complicated by the fact that, because Iraqi freedom fighters were terribly betrayed by Bush the first after the Gulf War, and after a decade of debilitating sanctions and because of the now evident lack of post-war planning by GW Bush, Rumsfeld, et al, Khadim sees the US as currently having limited credibility in Iraq.  Many observers believe that this pre-emptive attack on Iraq may be one of the worst mistakes in the history of US foreign policy.  Clearly, what the US does now in Iraq will have enormous consequences for America and the Middle East for some time to come.
Saud Ashgar (interviewed from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, retired engineer Aramco) and Dr. Ali Alyami ( www.saudiinstitute.org , Saudi native, college professor, human rights activist) on the criticisms of the Saudis which have swirled through the US media in the wake of last week's 9/11 report.  Mr. Ashgar asserts that the Saudis are actively fighting al Qaeda, that they are making advances with respect to human rights issues and positive reforms.  He suggests that anti-Saudi propaganda is being pushed by the Israeli lobby.  Dr. Alyami is a strong critic of the House of Saud and the oppressive religious police which make Saudi Arabia one of the most repressive societies in the world.  Dr. Alyami says that the issues of corruption and repression in Saudi Arabia are matters of fact, not merely propaganda.  This discussion outlines the central conflict, as tradition confronts modernity, as the religious police confront rationalism and human rights, in this country, which is perhaps both blessed and cursed by its enormous and coveted energy resources.
Dr. Raphe Sonenshein (Professor of Political Science, Cal State Fullerton www.fullerton.edu ) and Dr. Shaun Bowler (Professor of Political Science, University of California at Riverside www.ucr.edu ) on the unprecedented history-making recall election to be held on October 7, 2003.  Dr. Sonenshein points out that the two-part ballot may produce an odd un-democratic outcome: if 49.999% of voters vote NOT to recall Davis (potentially millions), Davis will be removed and replaced by one of possibly dozens of candidates who will likely have received only a tiny fraction of the votes to keep Davis in office.  Dr. Bowler believes that, despite those who predict certain doom for the Democrats,  Davis actually can win.  Both foresee a potentially fearsome no-holds-barred political fight as Davis struggles to survive and the Republicans work to destroy him and ascend to power.  For the Democrats, Sonenshein holds, the risky tactic of putting everything behind Davis is the best, and perhaps only, viable strategy.  But, according to Shaun Bowler, there is risk for the Republicans too: if they lose after ginning up the recall, they could marginalize themselves indefinitely in California, the nation's most populous state and most powerful economy.  This is the first in what will be on-going coverage and analysis of the California Recall.
Senator Mike Gravel (former US Senator Alaska 1969-81, served on the Finance, Interior and Environment and Public Works committees, chaired the Energy, Water Resources and Environmental Pollutions subcommittees, noted for entering the entirely of the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record, founded the National Initiative for Democracy www.ni4d.us , www.philadelphiatwo.org intended to invigorate the American electoral process via "direct democracy") on the challenges posed by North Korea as it continues to threaten nuclear militarization, while it's population barely subsists in a dismal abyss of poverty and famine.  South Korea is, in contrast, booming, with its industrious population fueling the 11th largest economy in the world.  How can the North Korean threat be defused peacefully?  Is reunification of North and South a possibility?  Ian and Senator Gravel discuss the issues.

July 20th, 2003


Special Note: In this program Philip Knightly asserts (at about the 14:00 minute point) that the extremely controversial forged Niger document yellowcake uranium ore is a "red herring" because, according to his source, Iraq was already in possession of "500 tons of yellowcake" at a facility just outside of Baghdad, and that this possession was legal.  Although many in the US media have mis-reported that Iraq was "seeking" 500 metric tons of yellowcake ore, the reality is that they already had it.  This fact would have necessarily been known to Washington, London and the UN, since it was overtly stated in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) from last October.  The pre-existence of the ore is corroborated by George Tenet in an official statement released by him.  Also under-reported in the US media is the fact that yellowcake ore, by itself, is useless.  It requires an infrastructure and equipment that Saddam was very far, if not impossibly far, from possessing.  The logic of this issue has not been assembled by the media: even if the Niger document were not a forgery and Saddam actually was seeking more yellowcake ore, why is this such a specific threat that war is an appropriate response, especially since Iraq ready had hundreds of tons of the material?  If Knightly is correct, and it would appear that he is, then Bush, or his speech-writer, Steven Hadley, may well have consciously used the forged Niger document in his State of the Union address to suggest to American people that Iraq was attempting to acquire materials which it did not already possess for purposes which would threaten the US.  That being the case, then no element of Bush's representation on this matter was true.
(Corroboration: George Tenet's press release here)

Philip Knightly (British journalist The Independent, author "The Second Oldest Profession," "The Master Spy: the Story of Kim Philby") on the unfolding scandal revolving around the recent suicide of UN weapons inspector David Kelly, who was the source of a BBC report that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had "sexed up" dubious intel on Iraqi WMD's to justify a case for war on Iraq. That intel was later used by GW Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell.  Dr. Kelly was distraught over the matter, knowing the truth as he did, but being pressured as he was by the British government and their "Official Secrets Act." Confronted on the Kelly suicide by British journalists while on a trip to Japan, Blair was asked "do you have blood on your hands?" and "will you resign?"  This tragedy may provoke an inferno which could consume the career of the Prime Minister, and impact President Bush's political fortunes as well.
Reed Hundt (former FCC Chairman, www.reedhundt.com , author "You Say You Want a Revolution: a story of information age politics" ) on the surprising grass-roots rejection of the recent FCC vote to further deregulate ownership restrictions, which would allow for further media consolidation, likely resulting in even worse news and information programming than we now see.  Most surprising, perhaps, has been the activation of the members of congress, including dissident Republicans, who have voted, in both the Senate and the House, to reverse the FCC order.  Ultimately, however, a reversal of the FCC via legislation would require the signature of GW Bush, which is unlikely.  That the public and the legislature is aware and taking action bodes well for a future time when those currently in power are out of office and media regulation may be restructured to better reflect the reality of public interest being properly served by the national resource of our broadcast spectrum. 
James Dobbins (former special diplomatic envoy to Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan, Assistant Secretary of State, Special Advisor to the President, Special Assistant to the President, Ambassador to the European Community, Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the Rand Corporation) on the enormous challenges of rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure and providing humanitarian aid in what many feel may become a deteriorating Vietnam-like quagmire.  Did Bush have a war plan, but not a peace plan?  Will international cooperation be inevitable in what is the largest rebuilding task since World War II?

July 13th, 2003


Ray McGovern (27 year CIA veteran, provided daily briefings for Presidents Kennedy through GHW Bush, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) and Andrew Wilkie (Senior Intelligence Analyst for the Australian Office of National Assessments until he resigned in protest against the Iraq war) on the use of cooked intel, single-source non-corroborated information and outright forgeries all apparently "selected" to serve a pre-determined and politically-driven outcome.  This misuse of the intelligence gathering and analytical process is the reverse of professional practice and has seriously compromised the integrity and credibility the Bush administration and the US, British and Australian intelligence services.  The bogus intel was used to sell the Iraq war to the American people and the world.  This conflict is now far from Bush's "mission accomplished" rhetoric and increasingly appears to be an inextricable quagmire, with the US now in full counter-insurgency mode, while the country languishes with a broken infrastructure.  McGovern and Wilkie discuss the politicization of coalition intelligence services, CIA director Tenet's laughable "apologia" and how media in the US is giving Bush a relatively soft ride on this matter. 
Akwe Amosu (Executive Editor/Producer www.AllAfrica.com) on Bush's recent 5-nation tour of Africa.  Ian and Ms. Amosu discuss the diverse issues which dramatically impact Africa, a continent with great beauty, natural resources and potential, but with grievous problems, ranging from drought and starvation, to regional conflicts, to political corruption,  and to the catastrophic spread of AIDS.  A positive engagement of the United States with Africa could be genuinely beneficial.  But, how sincere and effective will Bush's efforts be?  Do African oil and potential African markets influence the President's agenda?  Will US troops be sent to Liberia?  These issues and more are discussed.
Robert Boston
(author "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Pat Robertson and the rise of the Christian Coalition," Communications Director Americans United for Separation of Church and State) on the business relationship between the President of Liberia (Africa) Charles Taylor, widely cited as cruel and corrupt, and American evangelist Pat Robertson in the operation of a gold mine, called "Freedom Gold."  Robertson has been outspoken in his defense of the Liberian dictator.  Boston discusses Robertson's entrepreneurial pursuits, which included an African diamond mine (in Zaire with another dictator: Mbutu) and an oil refinery.  Robertson, who ascribed 9/11 to gays and lesbians and who believes that "endtime prophecy" is unfolding (with Bush's help) in the Middle East, is also involved in the secretive Council for National Policy, a little known organization which puts the most powerful right-wing elements in America together to set and advance their agenda--all behind closed doors.
Kalle Lasn (Editor in Chief Adbusters magazine, www.adbusters.org , author "Culture Jam: the uncooling of America" ) on the insightful and subversive magazine's effort to "un-brand America" ( www.unbrandamerica.org ).  This effort proceeds from the thesis that the US has become more a "brand," and less a nation with laws, principles and ideals which serve its citizenry.  Lasn talks about corporatism as displacing democracy, marketing displacing communication, and the corporate media as vehicle which, instead of empowering with information and thoughtful entertainment, has become corrosive to the human experience.  Adbusters and Unbrand seek to create awareness and, from that, action.  From the "Unbrand" website: "In the end, the Resistance was known for one thing - they simply would not participate.  Not in the 24-hour economy, the 60-hour work week, the flag-waving parades, the media manias, the permanent fear, the cheers for the troops.  And then there was their mark.  It crept into daily life, until it became a constant reminder that these really were bleak times.  Until one day you no longer knew who was in control - the empire that was everywhere - or this invisible revolution."

July 6th, 2003


Congressman Bob Filner (representing California's border district 51) on how the Democratic party must respond to the totalist tactics and strategies of Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, et al.  Filner is at the core of a new Dem party group, the Mad Dog Democrats (Mad=moving all Democrats).  http://www.house.gov/filner/
Bill Fletcher, Jr. (President Trans Africa Forum, advocating for the peoples of Africa) on President Bush's trip to Africa, what issues are present, and what outcome is expected.
Roger Morris (former National Security Advisor, Presidents Johnson and Nixon,  US Presidential biographer and historian) on how President Bush's "bring 'em on" statement which dares insurgents to attack US troops in Iraq is unprecedented in its juvenile bluster and poor judgment.
Wayne Madsen (journalist specializing in political, military and national security matters) on the military's poor morale, and on the deep resentment on the part of top military for Rumsfeld and Bush.
Tim Jemal (representing Californians United for Nursing Home Care, (213)503-2967) on how the crisis in the California state budget impacts multiple sectors of the state, how the "super-majority" necessity for budget passage empowers a "tyranny of the minority," and how the recall campaign is a Republican is an anti-democratic effort to capitalize on a budgetary train-wreck of their own making and responsibility.

June 29th, 2003


Nicholas Confessore (Editor Washington Monthly www.washingtonmonthly.com) on how the GOP is turning Washington's K-street lobbying industry into an arm of the Republican Party and how this strategy plays into the larger goal of establishing a de facto one-party rule in the USA.  This comprehensive political strategy, masterminded by movement conservatives in positions of power and influence such as Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove and others, seeks to make the Republican Party indistinguishable from corporate cartels and utterly dominant in American life, with a consequent transformation of public service to private profit, the end of social programs, the shrinkage of the middle-class and the gulf between rich and poor expanding to third-world dimensions.  This important discussion, and the article which inspired it, are not to be missed.
Dr. Rahul Mahajan (Author of "The New Crusade: America's War on Terrorism" and "Full Spectrum Dominance: US Power in Iraq and Beyond."  Dr. Mahajan is a member of the Nowar Collective, the National Board of Peace Action, and the National Committee of the National Network to End the War against Iraq.  He holds a PhD. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin.  www.rahulmahajan.com ) on what's really happening in Iraq, how the United States will impose "full spectrum" dominance in the Middle-East and elsewhere and how US foreign and economic policies support repressive and kleptocratic regimes worldwide.  Dr. Mahajan addresses US manipulation of the UN, the NeoCon agenda for the world and the price to the citizens of the US and the world of the NeoCon empire.
Dr. Cheryl Rubenberg (former Professor of International Studies, Florida International University.  Author of "The Palestinians in Search of a Just Peace," "Israel and American National Interest: a Critical Examination," and "Palestinian Women: Patriarchy and Resistance in the West Bank") on the under-reported back-story of the "Roadmap to Peace."  Dr. Rubenberg addresses the unlikelihood of success, after 35 years of military occupation,  for the peace effort, the questionable sincerity of the participants, the dubious authenticity of the hand-picked by the US and Israel Palestinian representative.  She questions the Israeli commitment to a just long-term settlement, given the powerful political and religious forces in Israel that insist of the sovereignty of Israel over the occupied territories.  She notes open discussion in Israel of "Palestinian transfer" (see www.gamla.org.il/english ).  Dr. Rubenberg offers a simple prescription for a genuine peace: honesty, fairness, abandonment of the settlements, a real state with real democracy, and respect for the humanity of both sides.  Can this become a reality?

June 22nd, 2003


Panel on democracy in Iran: three human rights and democracy activists discuss the changing dynamics within in Iran and how Bush's "axis of evil" rhetoric and foreign policy may impact outcomes in this country of 70 million. 
Dr. Sasan Fayazmanesh--Associate professor of economics at California State University, Fresno.

Ali Shakeri--Chairman of the Society for Democracy in Iran and Vice Chair of the Iranian-American Democratic National Council.
Dr. Simin Royanian--Co-founder Women for Peace and Justice in Iran.  ( www.women4peace.org )
also on the program:
Gene Lyons
(author "Hunting of the President," "Fools for Scandal," "Widow's Web."  Columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) on the culture of lies in American media and politics.  Lyons and Masters discuss the disconnect between Clinton's lies about sex which produce a media frenzy and Bush's lies about war, the economy and general statecraft, which result in media adoration and high public approval rating.  Lyons also discusses the potential Presidential aspirations of 4-star general, Rhodes scholar and Arkansas native, Wesley Clark.

June 15th, 2003


Jonathan Taplin (internet entrepreneur, creator of Intertainer.com, award-winning film and television producer and political activist) discusses the impact of the June 3 FCC decision on the American cultural and politcal landscape.  Ian forsees, unless the decision is reversed by congress, increasing cultural and political vacuity in what is, now by regulatory design, a de-facto media right-wing echo chamber.
Ray McGovern (27 year veteran of the CIA, and former chief background briefer for President George H.W. Bush) on G.W. Bush's increasing lack of credibility in his justifications for war against Iraq.  Despite the fact that Saddam was a despot and swindler, Bush's outcome-driven use of apparently "cooked" intelligence has devastated U.S. credibility world-wide. Further, recent reports show that 160+ American soldiers and up to 10,000 Iraqi civilians may have been killed in the war effort, a war conducted at enormous expense to the U.S. tax payer.  What have we really done with this war and what is the actual price to be paid?
    Also, Masters and Taplin field phone calls from listeners on the FCC, Iraq and political issues.

June 1st, 2003 TWO PART SPECIAL

Part 1--The Bush Presidency

James Moore (Emmy and multiple jounalistic award-winning co-author Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove made George W. Bush presidential) on the tactics of Presidential Advisor Rove in guiding GWB's presidency.  Moore describes the "what you see is what you DON'T get" strategies of mis and dis-information, bait-and-switch campaigns, and the unprecedented radical agenda of the Bush administration.  48 minutes.

part 1 download

Part 2--The FCC and Media Monopolies.

Nicholas Johnson (former FCC Commissioner, professor, author)

John Nichols (media jounalism, investigative reporter and author "Our Media, Not Theirs") and

Bob Williams (Center for Public Integrity) on who is behind the FCC push to allow media monopolies, what consequences this will have to American democracy and the undue corporate influence on the decision-making process.  52 minutes.

part 2 download

May 25th, 2003


Roger Morris (former National Security Council under Presidents Johnson and Nixon, author) on rising fascism in the US body politic.

Panel on Israeli/Palestinian peace and the emergence of a political alternative to AIPAC (Tikkun Community), asking the question, who really speaks for Judaism in America?

Rabbi Michael Lerner (founder of Tikkun.org, author of "Spirit Matters")

Dr. Stephen Zunes (Assoc. Professor of Politics & Chair of the Peace and Justice Program San Francisco State University, author "Tinderbox: US Middle East foreign policy and the roots of terrorism")

Dr. Michael Nagler (Professor emeritus UC Berkeley, Chair UC Peace and Conflict Program, author "Is There no Other Way: the search for a non-violent future")
Milton Beardon (former Intelligence Officer, oversaw anti-Soviet CIA effort in Afghanistan) on the conflict between the Pentagon and the CIA, the role of intelligence in a democracy, "cooking" intel for political purposes, "blowback" and Middle-East assessment.

May 18th, 2003


Youssef Ibrahim (veteran Middle East reporter NYTimes, WSJ) on the Saudi bombings and neocon mismanagement in Iraq.
Dr. Ali Alyami ( www.SaudiInstitute.org , human rights activist) on the "beginning of the end of the House of Saud," their appalling civil rights record and the likelihood of major instability.
Dr. Robert Pollin
(Economics Prof U of Mass, Amherst, author of the forthcoming "Contours of Descent: US economic fractures and the landscape of global austerity") on US economic deflation and what can be done about it.

May 11th, 2003


James C. Moore (co-author of "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove made George Bush presidential") on Karl Rove's--referred by Moore as "co-President"--conflation of policy and politics.
Lina Krushcheva (senior fellow World Policy Institute, New School for Social Research) on the emerging disturbing similarities between the Bush administration and American media to the old Soviet system.
Paul Berman (author "Terror and Liberalism") postulates a threat posed by Islamic fundamentalism and its terrorist manifestation to the western liberal tradition.

May 4th, 2003


Dr. Rashid Khalidi (U of Chicago) Roadmap to peace? Palestinian perspective. 

Marsha Friedman (Former member Israeli Knesset) Roadmap to peace? Israeli perspective.

Dr. Anthony Pratkanis (UC Santa Cruz) Landing on Lincoln: Bush manipulation of press and public; methods of propaganda. 

Jonathan Taplan (Internet entrepreneur) Media: from diversity to monolith; fighting Michael Powell's FCC de-regulation.

April 27, 2003


Panel on future strategies for the peace movement:

Dr. Barbara Epstein (UC Santa Cruz, History of Consciousness)

Dr. Robert Edgar (Win Without War, Natnl Council of Churches)

Dr. Leone Hankey (Coalition for World Peace).

Panel on practicality of hydrogen-powered automobiles:

Sheldon Plotkin (SoCal Federation of Scientists, "The Wizards")

Dan Sperling (Inst. for Transportion Studies, UC Davis)

James Heffel (Center for Environmental Research, UC Riverside)

April 20th, 2003


Senator James Abourezk (fmr US Senator on future of US in Iraq and Syria)

Abbas Kadhim (former Iraqi freedom fighter on rebuilding Iraq)

Dr. Elizabeth Carter (UCLA Archeologist on the destruction of antiquities in Iraq)

Dr. Lynn Swartz Dodd (Curator/Asst Prof USC Archeology on archeology in Iraq)

April 13th, 2003


Dennis Halliday (former Asst UN Sec General on Iraqi relief)

Dana Priest (Washington Post reporter on US military as "nation-builders")

Dr. Mark LeVine (UCI prof on Bush, Iraq and war protests)

Dr. Peter Katona (UCLA, former CDC, on SARS epidemic)

April 6th 2003


Dr. Fawaz Gerges (war and its regional consequences)

Dr. George Irani (war and US foreign policy)

Remi Khoury (editor, Beirut Evening Star)

Dr. Celcilia Lynch (politcs and religion)

March 30th 2003


Bert Sacks (conditions in Iraq)

Dr. Jean Rosenfeld (war, terrorism, politics and religion)

Bob Somerby (media critic)

March 23rd 2003


Senator George McGovern (Iraq war unjustified)

Graeme Fuller (strategic implications of war)

Ambassador Edward Peck(history of Iraq)

Robert Parry ("in"-bedded reporting)

March 16th 2003


Roger Morris (war and U.S. security)

Dr. Lawrence Lessig (Internet freedom threatened)

Dr. Robert Johanson (crisis at the U.N.)

March 10th 2003


Ray Zilinskas (chemical and bio-warfare)

Dr. Bruce Lincoln (faith-based foreign policy)

John Sacret-Young & Conrad Kellen (The Pentagon Papers)

March 3rd 2003


Youssef Ibrahim (Mideast, oil and the Neo-cons)

Mike Miller (oil well fires)

Michael Cherkasky (threats to U.S. security)

February 24th 2003


Mike Farrell (Win without war)

Dr. David Dill (Stanford professor: serious problems with electronic voting machines)

Jean Heller (reporter: US uses faked satellite photos to influence Saudis)

Dr. Paul Boyer (US foreign policy meets biblical prophecy)

February 17th 2003


Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl (MidEast destabilization), Dr. Stephen Zunes (Iraq war unjustified), Gloria Steinem (protests in America), Charles Kupchan (U.S.-Europe split)

February 9th 2003


February 2nd 2003


Phil Coyle (military use of space shuttle)

David Freeman (hydrogen energy)

Mike Gray (shuttle disaster)

January 27th 2003


John Steinbruner (Bush nuclear weapons policy)

Robert Alley (the religious right)

Marsha Friedman (Israeli elections)

January 20th 2003


John Manley (9/11 and rush to war)

Michael Lind ("Made In Texas")

Josh Marshall (on Dick Cheney)

January 13th 2003


Dr. Benjamin Barber (Democrats in disarray)

Mark Weisbrot (Venezuela)

James Fallows (military-industrial complex)

David Cole (S.U.V. wars)

January 6th 2003


Peter Hayes (North Korea)

Philip Coyle (S.D.I.)

Dr. Theodore Postal (missile defense tests rigged)

December 16th 2002


David Armstrong (Bush foreign policy)

Thomas Carothers (Bush and Democracy)

Arturo Valenzuela (Venezuela)

December 9th 2002


Philip Gunson (Venezuelan civil war)

Gary Milholland (Iraq WMDs)

Heather Boucher (Bush staff shakeup)

John Wolfsdahl (Russian WMDs)

December 2nd 2002


Dr. Helene Gayle (AIDS in Africa)

Francis Kissling (US policy and AIDS prevention)

Stephen Schwartz (two faces of Islam)

Ambassador James Akins (Saudi Arabia)

November 25th 2002


Youssef Ibrahim (mideast politics)

Graeme Fuller (US and the MidEast)

David Harris (US/Canada flap)

Tracy Wood (women in the press corps)

November 18th 2002


Christopher Pyle (homeland defense and civil liberties)

Dr. Perry Link (Chinese politics)

Dr. Benjamin Barber (alternatives to war)