January 4 - Terrorists Posing as Patriots in Oregon; The Growing Confrontation Between Iran and Saudi Arabia; The Abysmal Human Rights Situation in Saudi Arabia

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin with the standoff in Oregon between as a self-declared group of armed “patriots” who have occupied government buildings and the FBI who are exercising patience and restraint. Thomas Mockaitis, a Professor of History at DePaul University who has taught counter-terrorism courses as part of the Department of Defense Counter-terrorism Fellowship Program, joins us to discuss his article at The Huffington Post “Stop Calling Terrorists Militiamen” and the double standard of white extremists playing soldiers in the Oregon woods who are at best criminals and at worst domestic terrorists, and Black Lives Matters and Occupy protesters who if armed, would provoke a much more aggressive response from the authorities.

Part 2

Then we speak with revolutionary Iran’s first Ambassador to the United Nations, Mansour Farhang, a professor of international relations at Bennington College, about the growing confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia where on both sides hardliners want to distract the domestic discontent of their restive publics facing economic hardship by stoking nationalist fervor. And following the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric by the Saudis, we will also discuss the abysmal human rights records on both sides with Saudi Arabia having executed 168 people last year while Iran conducted 694 executions of mostly political prisoners.    

Part 3

Then finally we look into the appalling human rights situation in Saudi Arabia where any criticism of the king could result in death and where anti-terrorism laws are used to stifle any dissent and justify capital punishment that usually involves beheading but can include crucifixion. Sarah Whitson, the executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division joins us to discuss the Saudi government’s disregard for human rights while at the same time it spends hundreds of millions on public relations efforts to improve its international image.

Sarah Leah Whitson