June 18 - Sectarianism and the Proxy War Over Syria; Will the Repudiation of Hardliners Lead to Less Repression in Iran?; Whistleblowers and Leakers

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Part 1

We begin with the announcement today from the G8 summit that in spite of their differences over Syria, the U.S. and Russia have come together to back an urgent G8 call for peace talks on Syria in Geneva. Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor of Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and author of “The World Through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East” joins us to discuss the sectarian underpinning of the Saudi-Iranian proxy war in Syria and how Hezbollah’s reputation in the Arab world has been tarnished. shibley telhami

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Part 2

Then we hear from veteran foreign correspondent Reese Erlich who is just back from Iran where he covered the elections. We will discuss how much the Supreme Leader was taken by surprise by the last-minute surge of the moderate candidate Hassan Rohani, who won outright, and whether the repudiation of the hard-liners will translate into any improvement in human rights and an easing of the brutal security state-within-a-state run by the Revolutionary Guards under the control of the Supreme Leader. reese ehrlich

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Part 3

Then finally we get a comparison of the current leaker of secrets Edward Snowden, who on the eve of the G8 summit revealed that Britain’s GCHQ had spied on delegates at the previous G20 conference in London, and an earlier whistleblower Katherine Gun who worked for GCHQ and went public with embarrassing secrets of how the NSA spied on the UN in the run up to the Iraq war. Marcia Mitchell, the author of “The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War: Katherine Gun and the Secret Plot to Sanction the Iraq Invasion” joins us. She has an article at Counterpunch “Spying on the G20 Summit”. marcia mitchell