2005 Program Archive

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December 18th, 2005

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Wayne White on the situation in Iraq and the elections taking place there, which the Bush administration hopes will stabilize that country. Wayne White is an Adjunct Scholar at Washington's Middle East Institute. He most recently served as Deputy Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia (NESA). White also served as principal Iraq analyst and head of INR/NESA's Iraq team from 2003 to 2005. He was Chief of INR's Maghreb, Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq division and State Department representative to NATO Middle East working groups from 1990 to 2002. Five times he received the State Department's Superior Honor Award, and three time's the Department's Meritorious Honor Award. In 1986, he was named INR's first "Analyst of the Year," and, in 2004 received the Secretary's Career Achievement Award from Secretary Powell. Mr. White also has received the National Intelligence Certificate of Distinction for service during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, in 2000 the National Intelligence Medal for Outstanding Achievement, a 2004 citation from the National Intelligence Council for his work on the Iraq crisis, and was a 2002 National Intelligence Fellow.

Kate Martin on the National Security Agency, the Patriot Act and the charge that it has spied on American citizens. Kate Martin has been Director of the Center for National Security Studies since 1992, where she has litigated and written about national security and civil liberties issues, including government secrecy, intelligence, terrorism, and enemy combatant detentions. Ms. Martin has taught Strategic Intelligence and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law School and also served as general counsel to the National Security Archive, a research library located at George Washington University.

Dr. Belinda Reyes on the issues surrounding immigration. Dr. Reyes is an Assistant Professor and founding faculty at the School of Social Science, Humanities, and Arts at the University of California, Merced. Formerly she was a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. Her research focuses on immigration issues and the economic progress of race and ethnic groups in the United States. Her publications include: Holding the Line? The Effect of the Recent Border Build-up on Unauthorized Immigration; Taking the Oath: An Analysis of Naturalization in California and the United States; and A Portrait of Race and Ethnicity in California: An Assessment of Social and Economic Well-Being. She has briefed various federal, state, and local governmental bodies and addressed numerous civic organizations on immigration policy issues.

December 11th, 2005

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Special: Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize for Literature acceptance speech (unedited)

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Senator Bob Graham on the pre-war intelligence--what was known and unknown, and how the intelligence was used, or misused. Bob Graham is a former two-term governor of Florida and a three-term United States Senator. While recognized for his leadership on issues ranging from health care to environmental preservation, Senator Graham is best known for his ten years of service on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence including eighteen months as chairman in 2001-2002, during which he co-chaired the House-Senate Joint Inquiry into the intelligence community's failures prior to 9/11. Following the release of a declassified version of the Joint Inquiry's final report in July 2003, Senator Graham advocated reform of the intelligence community and sponsored legislation to bring about needed changes. He ran for President of the United States in 2004. His most recent book is "Intelligence Matters : The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America's War on Terror." He recently had an Op-Ed published in the Washington Post, entitled "What I knew before the invasion."

Charles Kupchan on relations between the United States and Europe and the recent visit of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Europe. Dr. Kupchan is a 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. Previously, 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.

Karen Greenberg on the use of torture as a policy and as a strategy of the United States. Dr. Greenberg is the Executive Director of the Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law and a visiting professor in the NYU college of arts and sciences. Considered one of the leading experts on US torture policy, she is the co-editor of "The Torture Papers: the Road to Abu Ghraib" --a collection of all the available government memos and reports about torture, from Sept 2001 to March 2004, published by Cambridge Press. Also she is the Editor of "The Torture Debate in America" -- a series of essays which explore government policy on torture from a variety of perspectives, and "Al Qaeda Now," both also published by Cambridge Press. She has an article in the new issue of The Nation magazine--a special edition devoted to the subject of torture: "Secrets and Lies: Denials and Doublespeak Aside, Torture is US Policy and Bush Administration Strategy."

Special:

We present Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize for Literature acceptance speech, which was delivered last week on December 7. This is a powerful and profound statement by a man moved now, in serious illness, to speak words withheld, and which indicts policies of the United States and Great Britain, most primarily American foreign policy and the invasion of Iraq. In language which soars with artistry, poetry and rage, Pinter expresses utter contempt for those who would engage in torture and inflict misery in the name of freedom and democracy. He calls for a politics that is engaged with "fierce intellect" to reclaim "the dignity of man." The brief announcement of the Swedish Academy on Pinter's award was: "The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2005 is awarded to the English writer Harold Pinter "who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms."' In the ceremony, the 75-year-old playwright's work was described as "seductively accessible and frighteningly mysterious" at the ceremony in Sweden. Pinter was unable to attend the event in Stockholm because he has been recovering from cancer of the esophagus and his doctors did not let him travel. But, there was still rapturous applause for the man who has written a plethora of plays including The Room, The Birthday Party and The Caretaker. A spokesman from the Academy said: "In its choice of a Nobel Laureate, the Swedish Academy recognizes only the creative power of a single individual regardless of nation, sex and literary genre. "However British you may appear in the eyes of many, your international and inter-human impact in the field of drama has been uniquely strong and inspiring for half a century. "If someone thinks your prize is late in coming we may reply that at any given moment somewhere in the world your plays are re-interpreted by new generations of directors and actors." The award, presented by the King of Sweden, was accepted on the playwright's behalf by his publisher Stephen Page. After hearing of his award Pinter promptly announced he would not be writing any more plays. The writer used the opportunity of his Nobel Prize lecture to present this powerful critique of US and British foreign policy in a passionate voice, unmuted by his ill health and throat cancer. Harold Pinter's Nobel Lecture was pre-recorded, and shown on video December 7, 2005, at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm.

December 4th, 2005

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Special Briefing:

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Steve Clemons is publisher of the popular political blog, TheWashingtonNote.com, and a long-time policy analyst in Washington, D.C. He is currently Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, where he was previously Executive Vice President. Clemons currently co-directs the New America Foundation's American Strategy Program. He co-founded the Japan Policy Institute with Chalmers Johnson. In the last few months he was very active in opposing the nomination of John Bolton to become Ambassador to the United Nations and he recently presented former Colin Powell Chief of Staff Colonel Larry Wilkerson at a conference in which he gave a stunning speech that pointed fingers at Cheney and Rumsfeld. He also writes frequently on matters of foreign policy, defense, and international economic policy. His work has appeared in most of the major leading op-ed pages, journal, and magazines around the world. He speaks to us from London.

Wayne Slater is Senior Political Writer for The Dallas Morning News. He was appointed after serving 15 years as Austin bureau chief. He has appeared on numerous network television shows and is co-author of the bestseller, Bush's Brain. Slater traveled for 16 months covering the presidential campaign of George W. Bush. He has covered every Republican and Democratic national convention since 1988. He has appeared on NBC's Meet the Press, CNN's Crossfire and Inside Politics, ABC's Nightline and Good Morning America, C-Span, National Public Radio and Fox News' The Beltway Boys and The O'Reilly Factor.

Dr. Paul Zeitz The Bird Flu Threat and AIDS: Public Health Vs. Pharmaceutical Profits. Dr. Zeitz is the Executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance. Dr. Zeitz said recently: "America cannot protect itself without investing in global public health. ... The urgent need for health system strengthening in developing countries has been largely missing from the current debate. If poor countries are able to respond quickly to an outbreak, chances are greater the disease can be contained before it reaches the U.S. ... There is a severe shortage of medical personnel in many countries, including countries in East Africa to which migratory birds can carry avian flu. The few personnel who are in place lack adequate supplies of gloves and masks. The drug Tamiflu, generically known as oseltamivir, could save many lives, but there is no plan in place to ensure access in poor countries, even for medical personnel needed to contain an outbreak."

Special Briefing 12.04.05

Max Blumenthal on the conservative movement and the religious right. Max Blumenthal is a Nation Institute Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow whose work regularly appears in the Nation. He has also written for The American Prospect, Salon.com, and the Washington Monthly. He received the Online Journalism Award for best independent feature in 2003 from the Online Journalism Association and the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications. He is a Research Fellow at Media Matters for America.

Abbas Kadhim on the state of affairs in Iraq--the insurgents, the army, security and chaos, promise and pitfall. Mr. Kadhim is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley and lecturer at Stanford University in Islamic Studies. He fought against Saddam Hussein in the Shia uprising in the aftermath of Gulf War I and escaped the slaughter in which many perished.
 

November 27th, 2005

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Phillip Knightley on the threat by George Bush to bomb al Jazeera. Mr. Knightley is one of Great Britain's most distinguished journalists and authors . An Australian by birth, Phillip became part of the celebrated Sunday Times Insight team from the 1950s to the 1970s, breaking such famous stories as the Kim Philby spy scandal, the Profumo sex scandal and exposing the effects of thalidomide on new-born babies. Now an acknowledged expert in the dark arts of warfare and espionage, having written the seminal text of wartime propaganda First Casualty, he lives in London and works as a freelance journalist for publications all over the world. He is the author of some 10 books, covering in depth some of the biggest stories of recent times. Most recently he has written his autobiography A Hack's Progress and the critically acclaimed history Australia: A Biography of a Nation.

Lamis Andoni on the Bush threat against al Jazeeah. Lamis Andoni began her journalism career in 1982 as a reporter covering the Middle East for a variety of Arab newspapers. Her hard-hitting coverage has resulted in her being banned in Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia and in Jordan during the 1980's. She went on to become a writer for western newspapers, including the Guardian of London, the Financial Times, the Christian Science Monitor and her work has appeared New York Times, the Washington Post and many other publications. She has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, a visiting scholar in journalism at Harvard, and a visiting lecturer in journalism at UC Berkeley, focusing on the Arab media. She is currently a consultant to al Jazeera as regards international affairs. She is directly involved in assessing and countering government intimidation against the news service.the journalism school at the University of California at Berkeley, where she specializes in monitoring the Arab media, most particularly al Jazeera.

James Paul on the control of the Iraqi oil resource, what many believe the Iraq war and occupation was all about. James Paul is the Executive Director of Global Policy Forum, which co-published the bombshell report "Crude Designs" (available at crudedesigns.org), saying "this report confirms what many have long suspected: that big US and UK companies have enormous interest in Iraq's giant untapped oilfields, and shows clearly how these companies have been angling to gain control of those fields and now, under the occupation, are closing in on their goal."

Dr. Ed Brook on the phenomenon of global warming and new discoveries which prove the impact man's activities have changed our climate. Says Dr. Brook, "we've taken a lot of carbon out of the ground and put it in the air." Dr. Brook is a professor in the Department of GeoSciences at Oregon State University who specializes is paleoclimatology. We will speak to him about recent discoveries regarding glacial ice-core samples and what they show about the earth's changing climate, particularly as regards global warming. What is the scientific consensus regarding global warming and can it be slowed or stopped? We'll look into these important questions with Dr. Brook.

November 20th, 2005

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Robert Dreyfuss on the uproar in the pubic, the media and in Congress following Representative Murtha's declaration that Bush's Iraq war is a failure "wrapped in delusion." Mr. Dreyfuss writes extensively on Iraq, the war on terrorism, and national security for The Nation, The American Prospect, and Rolling Stone, and is a frequent commentator on NPR, MSNBC, and CNBC. His new book is Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, which is the gripping story of America's misguided efforts, stretching across decades, to dominate the strategically vital Middle East by courting and cultivating Islamic fundamentalism. Dreyfuss has an article in the December issue of Rolling Stone, entitled "Getting Out of Iraq," which is also the subject of an almost unprecedented conflict in the House of Representatives, which erupted last Friday night after Congressman Murtha of Pennsylvania attempted to introduce a resolution calling for withdrawal of the troops. Republicans hijacked this effort by introducing their own "counterfeit" resolution.

Lawrence Velvel on the Patrick Fitzgerald investigation and the Bush administration's involvement in torture. Dear Velvel is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and has practiced law in the Department of Justice and the private sector. In those capacities, he has written numerous briefs for the Supreme Court. He has been a law professor at the University of Kansas Law School and Catholic University in Washington, D.C.. He is the author of the quartet Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam. The books in the quartet are entitled: Misfits In America, Trail of Tears, The Hopes and Fears of Future Years: Loss and Creation, and The Hopes and Fears of Future Years: Defeat and Victory. He is one of the founders of the Massachusetts School of Law, where he currently serves as Dean. He has written some of the most penetrating analyses of the Fitzgerald investigation, the Iraq war and the torture issue, which can be found at his blog: www.Velvelonnationalaffairs.com

Lawrence Walsh on the neocon connections between his prosecution of the scandals of the Reagan/Bush era and the Fitzgerald investigation and prosecution of the Plame scandal of the current Bush administration. Mr. Walsh is a distinguished attorney based in Oklahoma who served as Independent Counsel for the historic Iran/Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, which involved the current presidents father and in which a number of persons, now known as "neocons," first came to public attention. Mr. Walsh is the author of Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up and The Gift of Insecurity: A Lawyer's Life (Oct-2003, memoir). He joins us from his home in Oklahoma.

November 13th, 2005

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Robert Baer on the state of affairs in Iraq and the Middle East, on whether or not Bush deceived the nation into war, and where the situation is header. Robert Baer is a former CIA officer assigned to the Middle East and is the author of two best-sellers, "See No Evil" and "Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold our Soul for Saudi Crude." His book "See No Evil" has been made into a major motion picture, starring George Clooney, which will be released in December.

Robert Fisk on Iraq and the Middle East. Fisk answers the question: is the American project in Iraq over? Robert Fisk is a best-selling author and journalist. Fisk is the Middle East Correspondent of The Independent and has lived in the Middle East for almost three decades. He holds more British and international journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent. The Financial Times has said of Fisk: "As a war correspondent, he is unrivaled . . ." The London Sunday Times said, "He is a devastating witness to the failure of politics to guard mankind against itself." His last book, Pity the Nation, a history of the Lebanon war, was published to great critical acclaim. His new book is a monumental 1,000-page work, "The Great War for Civilisation : The Conquest of the Middle East," which has been described as an "unflinching, stunning achievement."

November 6th, 2005

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Senator Gary Hart on the recent shut-down of the United States Senate by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's invocation of the rarely used rule 21, which forced a closed session, and forced Majority Leader Bill Frist to finally move forward on the long-delayed Pre-War Intelligence Report. Also, Senator Hart discussed the crumbling wall separating church and state, with what dire consequences may derive therefrom, the Iraq war, the Plame scandal and the Democratic party. Senator Hart served as a member of the United States Senate from 1975 to 1987 representing Colorado and was twice a candidate for President of the United States. Among many distinctions, he was co-chair of the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century, which performed the most comprehensive review of national security since 1947, predicted the terrorist attacks on America, and proposed a sweeping overhaul of U.S. national security structures and policies for the post-Cold War 21st century. He is the author of a number of books, including Restoration of the Republic: the Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st Century America (2002), The Fourth Power: a new grand strategy for the United States in the 21st century and the just-published God and Caesar in America: An Essay on Religion and Politics, which warns of a looming theocracy in the United States--a dictatorship by a minority.

Dr. Mark LeVine on the unrest among disenfranchised, unemployed Muslim youth in France, on the situation vis-a-vis the assassination of the Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri and the suspected Syrian perpetrators, and on the situation in Iraq. Dr. LeVine is an Associate Prof of Modern Middle Eastern History, Culture and Islamic Studies at UC Irvine. He has lived and worked in the ME and North Africa for more than a dozen years, traveled through Iraq last year and just returned from Beruit, Lebanon a week and a half ago. He is the author or editor of more than half a dozen books on the Middle East and related topics, and the author of the just-published "Why They Don't Hate Us."

John McArthur on the failure of the Democratic party to provide a real opposition to the Republicans and on why "liberal hawks" support the Iraq war. John "Rick" McArthur is an award-winning journalist and author, and president and publisher of Harper's Magazine . He writes a monthly column for the Providence Journal and for Canada's national newspaper, the Globe & Mail. Mr. MacArthur's first book, Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War, was a finalist for the 1993 Mencken Award for books and won the Illinois ACLU's 1992 Harry Kalven Freedom of Expression award. His critically acclaimed follow-up, The Selling of "Free Trade": NAFTA, Washington, and the Subversion of Democracy, published in the spring of 2000, was called "an immensely pleasurable read." by the Chicago Tribune and "illuminating" by the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1993 he exposed "Nayirah," the Kuwaiti diplomat's daughter who participated in faking the Iraqi baby-incubator atrocity, a fraud used to help sell the first Iraq war. He has written a new piece which blasts "liberal hawks" who supported the Iraq war, and in some cases still do.

October 30th, 2005

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John Dean on the indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby by US Attorney and Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. Is Libby a "fire-wall" for Vice President Cheney? Will other be indicted? Who will this politically affect the Bush presidency? John Dean served as Richard Nixon's White House lawyer for a thousand days. Before becoming Counsel to the President of the United States in July 1970 at age thirty-one, John Dean was Chief Minority Counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, the Associate Director of a law reform commission, and Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He has recounted his days in the Nixon White House and Watergate in two books, Blind Ambition (1976) and Lost Honor (1982). In 2001 he published "The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon Appointment that Redefined the Supreme Court;" and in early 2004, Warren G. Harding. His newest book is "Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush." He is a frequent commentator and write for Findlaw.com.

Laura Rozen on the Niger forgeries--the documents that helped start a war. Where did they come from? Who forged them? Who wanted them forged? For money, ideology, or more? Laura Rozen is a senior correspondent for the American Prospect. She writes about national security issues for other publications, including the Nation and the Village Voice, and for her blog, www.WarandPiece.com . She joins us from Washington, D.C..

October 23rd, 2005

Part One

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Part Two

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Noam Chomsky in a discussion on the state of affairs in the nation today. Dr. Chomsky is considered one of the world's most pre-eminent public intellectuals and political thinker in a class by himself. He is the author of numerous bestselling political works, from American Power and the New Mandarins in the 1960s to "9-11" in 2001. A professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT, he is widely credited with having revolutionized modern linguistics with his theory of "transformational grammar." He is a prolific author, with 360 titles listed of his works in various forms, at Amazon.com. He is the author most recently of "Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post 9/11 World."

Robert Dreyfuss on US involvement in promoting fundamentalist Islam for its short-term strategic goals, a policy that resulted in long-term problems. Mr. Dreyfuss writes extensively on Iraq, the war on terrorism, and national security for The Nation, The American Prospect, and Rolling Stone, and is a frequent commentator on NPR, MSNBC, and CNBC. His new book is Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, which is the gripping story of America's misguided efforts, stretching across decades, to dominate the strategically vital Middle East by courting and cultivating Islamic fundamentalism. Among all the books about Islam, this is the first comprehensive inquiry into this critical issue: How and why did the United States encourage and finance the spread of radical political Islam? (Abridged interview. For the full interview, please see Live From the Left Coast.)

Background Briefing PART TWO

Janis Karpinski tells her story about Abu Ghriab. Janis Karpinski is a former Brigadier-General who served in the U.S. military for over twenty-five years, most recently as the Commander of the Military Police Brigade in Iraq, charged with oversight of Abu Ghriab prison. She received a Bronze Star for her service in the Gulf War. She now lives in Hilton Head, South Carolina. In her new book, "One Woman's Army" the former General refuses to take the fall for those who ordered torture at the infamous prison. Karpinski tells the story and names names.

October 16th , 2005

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Youseff Ibrahim on the Iraq constitutional referendum, the al Qaeda/Zarqawi letter and the Judith Miller scandal at the New York Times. Youseff Ibrahim is a highly regarded expert on the Middle East, having for 24 years reported on the region for the New York Times, as a senior foreign correspondent. He is currently the Managing Director of the Strategic Energy Investment Group, specializing in risk analysis.

Bill Press on the GOP's hijacking of religion for their political purposes. Mr. Press is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. He was co-host of MSNBC's Buchanan and Press and was also co-host of CNN's Crossfire and The Spin Room with Tucker Carlson. He has had a high-profile career in government, politics, and broadcasting for three decades and served as chairman of the California Democratic Party from 1993 to 1996. He was named Best Commentator of the Year by the Associated Press and has received numerous other awards for his work, including four Emmys and a Golden Mike Award. He is the author of Spin This! and Bush Must Go and writes a syndicated newspaper column distributed by Tribune Media Services. In addition to the foregoing, Mr. Press is a former Seminarian and it is this religious background which inspired his new book, HOW THE REPUBLICANS STOLE CHRISTMAS: The Republican Party's Declared Monopoly on Religion and What Democrats Can Do to Take It Back.

Peter Irons on the misuse of presidential power to take America to war. Dr. Irons is an emeritus Professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, and the author of numerous books, including A People's History of the Supreme Court, and editor and narrator of May It Please the Court. His writings have earned him an unprecedented five Silver Gavel Awards from the American Bar Association. His new book, War Powers: How the Imperial Presidency Hijacked the Constitution, is a very important explanation of how the United States Presidency has been able to take the US to war without consent of the legislature, a repeated practice which has lead to the current Iraq war, described recently by General William Odom as the worst foreign policy disaster in American History, the full consequences of which are yet to be known.

October 9th, 2005

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Lawrence O'Donnell on the latest developments in the roiling White House Plame scandal, which is coming to a head with possible indictments of very high level Bush administration officials. Mr. O'Donnell is an Emmy winning producer of NBC's The West Wing. He is also MSNBC's senior political analyst and a panelist on The McLaughlin Group. He is a former contributing editor of New York Magazine and a former Democratic Chief of Staff of the United States Senate Committee on Finance and for the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Mr. O'Donnell has also served as Senior Advisor to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Professor Douglas Laycock on President Bush's nomination of his attorney, Harriet Miers, to become a member of the Supreme Court. Douglas Laycock is a professor of constitutional law at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He has been recently quoted in the Los Angeles Times and other news media regarding the background and associations of Bush's Supreme Court Nominee Harriet Miers, and how they may suggest what the reality of her positions are on important issues. Lured to Texas from the University of Chicago Law School in 1981, Professor Laycock is generally considered to be the nation's leading authority on the law of remedies and one of its two leading scholars on the law of religious liberty. He testifies frequently before Congress about issues of religious liberty, and has argued many cases in the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He is author of the leading casebook Modern American Remedies: Cases and Materials (Aspen, 3d ed. 2002); the award-winning monograph, The Death of the Irreparable Injury Rule (Oxford, 1991); and many articles in Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Supreme Court Review, and elsewhere. He has been Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan Law School and is also a member of the Council of the American Law Institute and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Wayne White on the situation in Iraq and Bush's recent speech in which he again tells the American people to ready themselves for what seems to be a perpetual "war on terror." Mr. White is an Adjunct Scholar at Washington's Middle East Institute. In March 2005, he retired as Deputy Director of the Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia in the State Departments Bureau of intelligence and Research. White entered the Foreign Service in 1973 where he served with the U.S. Embassy in Niamey, Niger in 1974-1976 during the Sahel Drought Emergency as the General Services, Consular and Political/Military Affairs Officer. During 1976-1978, he served as Chief of the Non-Immigrant Visa Section at the U.S. Embassy in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and Deputy Chief of the Immigrant Visa Section. He spent the rest of 1978 and most of 1979 in Egypt, Israel, and the Sinai serving as a peacekeeper with the U.S. Sinai Field Mission. In late 1979, Mr. White joined INR/NESA in Washington, serving as editor of INRs Arab-Israeli Situation Report (1979-1980) and Analyst for Iraq (1979-1986). He then served as Senior Analyst for Syria, head of NESAs Lebanon Crisis Team, and Deputy Chief of NESAs Arab-Israeli Division (1986-1990). He was Chief of NESAs Maghreb, Arabian Peninsula, Iran, and Iraq Division during 1990-2002. He became NESAs Deputy Director and Senior Regional Analyst in 2002. During the March-April 2003 Iraq War, he took over as INRs principal Iraq Analyst, and, subsequently, headed INRs Iraq Team from August 2003 through March 2005. Mr. White has traveled widely in West Africa, North Africa, the Levant, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, Europe (including Russia), the Caribbean and Japan. In 1983, he served for several months on a special assignment as Political Officer in the U.S. Interests Section in Baghdad. Between 1981 and 1986, he spent nine months in the Arabian Peninsula and Jordan briefing senior foreign officials, including the late King Hussein of Jordan. During 1987-1990, Mr. White performed similar duties with respect to Israel in support of ongoing US-Israeli talks. He also represented the State Department at yearly NATO meetings on Middle East and Mediterranean issues during 1990-2002.

October 2nd , 2005

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Lou DuBose on the criminal indictment of House Speaker and key GOP leader Tom DeLay. Lou DuBose is an investigative journalist and the author of the recent"The Hammer: Tom DeLay: God, Money and the Rise of the Republican Congress." Lou DuBose is the co-author, with Molly Ivins, of Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America and Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush and Boy Genius: Karl Rove, the Brains Behind the Remarkable Political Triumph of George W. Bush. He was the editor of the Texas Observer for eleven years. Lou DuBose is also currently covering the historic "Intelligent Design" trial in Pennsylvania, in which we again revisit some of the same themes of reason and science confronting medieval fundamentalism, nearly 100 years after the so-called "Scopes Monkey Trial."

Robert Collier on the tragic and powerful story of the life and death of football star-turned-soldier Pat Tillman. Collier describes the disturbing dishonesty of the Pentagon in accounting for this killing, which should have never happened. He discusses the determination of the Tillman family to bring the truth forward, and their outrage at the use of their son for propaganda. He also describes Tillman as an amazing human being, unique, intelligent, humorous, full of life, courageous, independent and a critic of the Iraq war and George Bush, who he opposed for reelection. Robert Collier is a staff reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, who has been covering foreign affairs for the paper since 1994. His reporting has dealt with a wide range of international issues, from Mexico to China, to the war in Iraq. He was given the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma-Delta-Chi award in 2003 for international reporting, which cited and honored his reporting from Baghdad, before and during the invasion as well as the occupation in the invasion's aftermath . His front page story last Sunday in the Chronicle has drawn international attention and powerfully recounts the extent to which the Defense Department willfully and falsely used the tragic "friendly-fire" killing of Pat Tillman, the star athlete who enlisted in the military after 9/11, for propaganda, providing a false account to the American people, and deceiving the grief-stricken Tillman family--a family now resolved to have the real truth fully and completely revealed.

September 25th , 2005

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George Galloway on his just-completed book tour of the US, the "strange bedfellow" alliance of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair and on the massive Washington D.C. anti-war protest at which he was to speak the next day. Mr. Galloway is the Respect Party's Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow in London, a seat he won after his expulsion from the Labour Party, after thirty-six years, for his opposition to the Iraq War. He is the author of "I'm Not the Only One," published in January of this year, and the new book "Mr. Galloway goes to Washington: the Brit who set Congress straight about Iraq," which is an account of his confrontation at a US Senate subcommittee chaired by Senator Norm Coleman. Coleman had accused Mr. Galloway of fraud in his attempt to aid Iraqi children who were starving as a result of UN sanctions. Galloway turned the tables on the senators is a blistering attack which left the senators reeling and speechless, accustomed as they are to the tepid and controlled discourse which serves as political discourse in Washington, D.C.. In reaction to Galloway's rhetorical blast at the senators, he received more than 20,000 emails from Americans congratulating him for speaking truth to power. He just concluded a national tour promoting his new book, in which he addressed overflow crowds. We spoke to him last Friday, the day before he was to speak at Washington's anti-war rally which drew over 100,000 protestors. (Pre-recorded on 9.23.05).

Dr. Robert Pastor on election reform in the United States and the recently completed Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform. Dr. Pastor is the Director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management and Vice President of International Affairs at American University. He is also the Executive Director of the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, which last week published its recommendations intended to increase voter participation, enhance ballot security, reduce fraud, make election administration impartial and provide for paper auditing of electronic voting machines. Previously, Pastor was Professor of Political Science at Emory University, and was a Fellow and Founding Director of the Carter Center's Latin American and Caribbean Program and the Democracy and China Election Projects. At The Carter Center, he developed the technique of "election mediation" and organized the observation of more than 30 elections throughout the world. Pastor was the Senior Advisor to the Carter-Ford National Commission on Election Reform and also former President Carter's personal representative to the Commission. A member of the Governing Board of Common Cause, he chaired their Task Force on Election Reform. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer, a Fulbright Professor in Mexico, and the initiator of the Humphrey Fellowship Program when he was National Security Advisor on Latin American Affairs from 1977-81. He received his M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University and is the author or editor of 16 books on U.S. foreign policy, democratization, and North America. Robert Pastor's new Center for Democracy and Election Management trains students, political leaders, journalists, and election managers from the US and abroad. Dr. Pastor has been a foreign policy advisor to each of the Democratic Presidential Candidates since 1976 and was Co-Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Americas for the Gore-Lieberman campaign. President Bill Clinton nominated him to be Ambassador to Panama, and he served as the Senior Advisor to the Carter-Nunn-Powell Mission to restore constitutional government in Haiti in 1994.

Michael Harris on the past, present and future of America's weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Harris is the author of a new book on the development and testing of the US nuclear arsenal. Mr. Harris began writing The Atomic Times in 1955 when he was an army draftee stationed on Eniwetok and finished the book fifty years later. In between, he married novelist Ruth Harris (in 1970) and spent years as a public relations executive at CBS Television, eleven of them on the staff of The Ed Sullivan Show. In addition to welcoming the Beatles at the airport on their first trip to the United States, he is the author of Always on Sunday, the bestselling (and unauthorized) biography of Ed Sullivan.

September 18th, 2005

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Hugh Kaufman on the toxic gumbo of chemicals and bacteria that was New Orleans and how responders are in jeopardy. Mr. Kaufman is a senior policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. He is one of the core group that founded the EPA, having worked at the agency for 35 years. He was the chief EPA investigator for the post-9/11 emergency response. He has been outspoken in his work, and in his environmental advocacy as a private citizen. Recently, he said "After 9/11, because the government did not do its job properly and provide the responders with the proper clothing and equipment -- like respirators -- now over 75 percent of the responders are sick as dogs ... And they're starting to die off, four years after their heroic efforts in responding to 9/11. And I'm concerned the same thing is happening down in that region of the country, where the responders are not provided respirators and the proper equipment to protect them from their exposures. The danger is actually worse when the water goes away, because you have hazardous materials more concentrated in muck and dust. People will more readily come back, and will try to clean their homes or porches. And they'll have toxic dust they'll be sweeping around. And they'll inhale it and ingest it. ... If there's no clean-up you have basically people living and trying to clean in the middle of the country's largest Superfund site."

Professor Peter Edelman on the near "sure thing" of the confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Professor Edelman his been on the faculty of Georgetown Law School. Previously, he was Associate Dean of the Law Center, Director of the New York State Division for Youth, and Vice President of the University of Massachusetts. He was a Legislative Assistant to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and was Issues Director for Senator Edward Kennedy's Presidential campaign in 1980. Earlier, he was a Law Clerk to Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg and before that to Judge Henry J. Friendly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He also worked in the U.S. Department of Justice as Special Assistant to Assistant Attorney General John Douglas. He took leave during President Clinton's first term to serve as Counselor to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala and then as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Professor Edelman's book, Searching for America's Heart: RFK and the Renewal of Hope, was published by Houghton-Mifflin in January 2001. He is the author of many articles on poverty, constitutional law, and issues about children and youth. His article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled, "The Worst Thing Bill Clinton Has Done" received the Harry Chapin Media Award. Peter Edelman has chaired and been a board member of many organizations and foundations. He is currently the board president of the New Israel Fund, and is a board member of the Center for Community Change, the Public Welfare Foundation, Americans for Peace Now, the Center for Law and Social Policy, and a half dozen other nonprofit organizations. He has been closely watching the confirmation hearings of John Roberts for Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.

James Paul on the recent U.N. Summit and the difficult relationship between the Bush administration and the world's most important vehicle for international communication and conflict resolution. Dr. Paul has been Executive Director of Global Policy Forum since its foundation in late 1993. He worked previously as a writer and consultant (1989-1993) with projects for Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights. He earned his B.A. degree from Harvard College in 1963 (cum laude), his M.A. from Oxford University in 1968 and his Ph.D. from New York University in 1975. He won the Book Prize for academic excellence at Christ Church College in Oxford. While at MERIP, he won the World Hunger Media Award (1987) and he received a "Peacemaker" award by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in 1996. He is an editor of the Oxford Companion to Politics of the World and his most recent book is Humanity Comes of Age. From 1995 to 2002, and again beginning in 2004, he has served as Chair of the NGO Working Group on the Security Council. He also has served on the Editorial Committee of Peuples Méditerranéens, he was Chair of the Board of Trustees of the World Fellowship Center, and he was a member of the Committee for an Exploratory Study of Graduate Education in Political Science of the American Political Science Association. In addition to English, he speaks French, German, Spanish and Arabic. He is listed in Who's Who in America and is currently a member of the Academic Council on the UN System.

September 11th, 2005

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Michael Scheuer on the state of the "war on terror," American security and our nation's standing in the world, four years after 9/11. Formerly known as "Anonymous," a nom-de-plume for the two books and several articles he has written, Michael Scheuer is a twenty-two year veteran CIA analyst. He headed the bin Laden task force for the agency and was their top expert. He is the author of the best-seller "Imperial Hubris," which is a powerful critical assessment on the failure of this country to seriously deal with the formidable realities we face as a nation. Scheuer's previous book is "Through our Enemy's Eyes," which will be published in an updated edition in January 2006, with additional material. Ian speaks with Mr. Scheuer about what has happened at the CIA-- a purge leaving only Bush yes-men, the "war on terror" that appears to have played directly into bin Laden's hands and a US global strategy, driven by neocon ideologues, which is a manifest failure four years after 9/11. He asks about the lack of accountability in national leadership, the 9/11 Commission report and more.

Mark Danner on where we are four years after 9/11. Mark Danner is a professor of journalism and politics at the University of California-Berkeley and Bard college, and the author, most recently, of Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror. His previous books are "The Road to Illegitimacy" and "Massacre at El Mozote." He has an excellent article, published today in the New York Times Magazine, entitled "Taking Stock of the Forever War" in which he examines the Iraq quagmire and its impact on the region, the US and the world. Also see Mark Danner's website at www.markdanner.com

September 4th, 2005

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Philip J. (P.J.) Crowley on the failure of the Bush administration to address and prevent an enormous disaster in New Orleans. P.J. Crowley is a Senior Fellow and Director of National Defense and Homeland Security at the Center for American Progress. Previously, Mr. Crowley was Special Assistant to the President of the United States Bill Clinton for National Security Affairs, serving as Senior Director of Public Affairs for the National Security Council. In all, Crowley was a spokesman for the United States government and United States military for 28 years, 11 of those years at the Pentagon and three at the White House. He served for 26 years in the United States Air Force, retiring at the rank of colonel in September 1999. He is a veteran of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During the Kosovo conflict, he was temporarily assigned to work with then NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.

Dr. Ari Kelman on the question of whether New Orleans was more of a natural, or more of a "man-made" disaster, and on the future of this great American city. Dr. Kelman is an associate professor of history at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of the prize-winning "A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans," which was published in 2003." He has been guest-blogging on the New Orleans disaster for Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo, had an article published New Orleans at Slate.com "City of Nature--New Orleans' blessing; New Orleans' curse," and has an op-ed on New Orleans published in the Baltimore Sun.

Steve Clemons on the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Steve Clemons is force behind the popular political blog, TheWashingtonNote.com and is a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, where he was previously Executive Vice President. Clemons currently co-directs the New America Foundation's American Strategy Program with well-known foreign policy thinkers Sherle Schwenninger and Michael Lind. Previously he served as Executive Vice President of the Economic Strategy Institute and as Senior Policy Advisor on Economic and International Affairs to Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). He also served for seven years as Executive Director of the Japan America Society of Southern California and co-founded with Chalmers Johnson the Japan Policy Research Institute. Clemons has organized a stellar conference to be presented this week in Washington, D.C. and presented by the New America Foundation: Terrorism, Security and America's Purpose. It will be webcast at www.americaspurpose.org and carried all day Tuesday on C-Span.

August 28th, 2005

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Fadel Gheit on the rapid rise in gas prices, which he sees resulting from a "perfect storm" of factors, but most primarily George Bush and his ill-conceived and prosecuted war on Iraq. Gheit also criticizes Bush on his manner of dealing with Venezuela and how he has destabilized the Middle East on which the world depends for energy, seeing Saudi Arabia as increasingly vulnerable. Mr. Gheit was described in a New York Times profile published last Friday as "an elder statesman among oil analysts," with more than 30 years of experience in oil and gas research and analysis. His is widely regarded as having a comprehensive insight into matters of oil and energy, integrating a deep knowledge of the industry, of the Middle East, of US domestic and international politics, and of the demands of the international markets. A native of Egypt, Fadel Gheit is a graduate of Cairo University and New York University. He is currently Senior Vice President for Oil and Gas Research with Oppenheimer and company in NYC, which covers 26 energy companies. He was previously with Mobil Oil and JP Morgan Company. At the beginning of this year, he recommended that investors buy shares in a number of oil and energy companies he had specified: from major integrated oil companies like Exxon Mobil to refiners like Tesoro and independents like Anadarko and Kerr-McGee. The stocks on Fadel Gheit's list have gained 45.5 percent so far this year.

Colonel E. M. Chamberlain on his analysis of the issues facing the US military in Iraq and how politics will play a major role in the deployment of forces in that country. Colonel Chamberlain retired from thirty years of infantry service with the United States Army as a full colonel in 2002. He comes from a family which has, for four generations, served this country as professional soldiers in the U.S. Army. Colonel Chamberlain graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1972, commencing a career, which earned many medals and commendations, including the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Distinguished Service Medal. Among his many career highlights, Colonel Chamberlain served as the Commander of Task Force Striker during Desert Storm, as the commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and as the Inspector General of Central Command under General Anthony Zinni from 1998 to 2000, a position via which he gained a broad familiarity with the Middle East. An avid student of military history, Colonel Chamberlain has, for the last three years, contributed commentary and analysis on strategic and military affairs to the Chicago Tribune, including a piece published recently entitled, "Prediction: forces of politics, not warfare, will bring Iraq pullout by 2006." He joins us from his home in Lutz (pronounced "loots"), Florida.

Ann Wright on the ongoing protests against the Bush handling of the Iraq war. Ann Wright resigned from the U.S. Foreign Service on March 19, 2003, while serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Mongolia . She resigned due to her disagreement with the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq without the authorization of the UN Security Council, the lack of effort in resolving the Israel-Palestinian situation, the lack of policy on North Korea and unnecessary curtailment of civil liberties in the United States . Ms. Wright joined the Foreign Service in 1987 and served as Deputy Chief of Mission of US Embassies in Sierra Leone , Micronesia and briefly in Afghanistan . She received the State Department's Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2500 persons from the civil war in Sierra Leone , the largest evacuation since the evacuation of Saigon in 1974. Ms. Wright was on the first State Department team to go to Kabul , Afghanistan . She helped reopen the US Embassy in Kabul in December, 2001 and worked in Afghanistan for five months, serving in the last month as Deputy Chief of Mission (Deputy Ambassador). Before entering the Foreign Service, she served in the Army and has a combined regular Army/Army Reserve service time of 29 years. She served primarily in special operations units and attained the rank of colonel. While on military duty in 1982 and 1983 in Grenada, she was on the US Army's International Law team and participated in civil reconstruction work following the US rescue mission. Colonel Wright is airborne qualified. Ms. Wright has Master's and Law Degrees from the University of Arkansas and a Master's Degree in National Security Affairs from the US Naval War College, Newport , Rhode Island . She participated in the documentary film "Uncovered: The Truth About the Iraq War .

August 21st, 2005

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Houzan Mahmoud on the difficulty in crafting a constitution in Iraq, a country more and more driven by ethnic and religious conflict. Houzan Mahmoud is the U.K. director of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq and co-founder of the Iraqi Freedom Congress. She has been expressing her grave concern that the Iraqi constitutional process is dividing Iraq along the lines of religious sects and tribal factions, that a constitution put together under US occupation, with rampant daily suicide bombings and terrorist attacks, necessarily will lack legitimacy. She says that it appears more and more likely that the final constitution will be founded not on a modern secular democratic model, but on a fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, which will take women's rights back "hundreds of years." We speak to her from her home in England.

James Howard Kunstler on the looming crisis facing the world and portented by increasing fuel prices--a world without oil. James Howard Kunstler is the author of what are considered two classics of sociologic commentary: "The Geography of Nowhere" and "Home from Nowhere," which established him as one of the great commentators on American space and place. His latest book, "The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of the Oil Age, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century," offers an alarming vision of a post-oil future. In the book James Howard Kunstler states that, as a result of artificially cheap fossil-fuel energy, we have developed global models of industry, commerce, food production, and finance over the last 200 years. But the oil age, which peaked in 1970, is at an end. The depletion of nonrenewable fossil fuels is about to radically change life as we know it, and much sooner than we think. The Long Emergency tells us just what to expect after the honeymoon of affordable energy is over, preparing us for economic, political, and social changes of an unimaginable scale. Riveting and authoritative, The Long Emergency is an indictment that brings new urgency to the critical issues that will shape our future, and that we can no longer afford to ignore.

Dr. William Martin on the religious right in the United States. What are their goals? Have they over-reached? Has the will to earthly power corrupted spiritual teaching and the true message of Jesus in America's evangelical churches, in their effort to achieve political control? Dr. Martin is a Senior Fellow for Religion and Public Policy at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. He is the author of the definitive "With God on Their Side: the rise of the religious right in America," from which the PBS series of the same name was produced. Dr. Martin graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1963 and received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1969. During his years at Rice, he has received numerous teaching awards, including a Lifetime Award for Excellence in Teaching. His articles, most dealing with various aspects of religion and popular culture, have appeared in such publications as The Atlantic, Harper's, Esquire, and Texas Monthly, as well as in scholarly journals. An updated edition of the book "With God on Their Side" has just been released and an updated version of the PBS documentary series will be released on DVD in September.

August 14th, 2005

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John Dean on all President Bush's men, and the investigation of same in the Plame outing. The only serious investigation the Bush administration has ever been subjected to is now being conducted by US Attorney and Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. Is Fitzgerald going experience an "Archibald Cox" moment? Cox was fired in the Nixon Watergate scandal in what was called "the Saturday Night Massacre." Or, would the political price to be paid by GW Bush in doing this be too high? Mr. John Dean served as Richard Nixon's White House lawyer for a thousand days. Before becoming Counsel to the President of the United States in July 1970 at age thirty-one, John Dean was Chief Minority Counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, the Associate Director of a law reform commission, and Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He has recounted his days in the Nixon White House and Watergate in two books, Blind Ambition (1976) and Lost Honor (1982). In 2001 he published "The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon Appointment that Redefined the Supreme Court;" in 2002 he published an e-book "Unmasking Deep Throat;" and in early 2004, Warren G. Harding. His newest book is "Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush."

Philip Giraldi on the Bush administration's saber-rattling vis-a-vis Iran, the radically shifted Iraq-Iran dynamic and the false basis for the Iraq war in the forgery of documents -- in the United States -- which served as bogus documentation of Saddam attempting to obtain uranium from Niger with which to produce WMD. Mr. Giraldi was, for 17 years, a CIA operations officer specializing in counter-terrorism, who served in Europe and the Middle East. He now works in the private sector doing security consulting and he writes a column in the American Conservative on international security issues. Giraldi has recently expressed concern in his column and elsewhere that those who brought us the war with Iraq--the neocons--are now focusing considerable attention on Iran. He notes that Vice President Cheney has tasked StratCom to develop a plan of attack, utilizing conventional and nuclear forces, against that country.

Crawford Bush "vacation" protest update with Anne Wright Ian looks into the latest developments as Cindy Sheehan maintains her vigil during President Bush's long vacation at his ranch in the arid environs of Crawford, Texas. Ann Wright is there, with Sheehan, in Crawford. Ann Wright resigned from the U.S. Foreign Service on March 19, 2003, while serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Mongolia . She resigned due to her disagreement with the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq without the authorization of the UN Security Council, the lack of effort in resolving the Israel-Palestinian situation, the lack of policy on North Korea and unnecessary curtailment of civil liberties in the United States . Ms. Wright joined the Foreign Service in 1987 and served as Deputy Chief of Mission of US Embassies in Sierra Leone , Micronesia and briefly in Afghanistan . She received the State Department's Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2500 persons from the civil war in Sierra Leone , the largest evacuation since the evacuation of Saigon in 1974. Ms. Wright was on the first State Department team to go to Kabul , Afghanistan . She helped reopen the US Embassy in Kabul in December, 2001 and worked in Afghanistan for five months, serving in the last month as Deputy Chief of Mission (Deputy Ambassador). Before entering the Foreign Service, she served in the Army and has a combined regular Army/Army Reserve service time of 29 years. She served primarily in special operations units and attained the rank of colonel. While on military duty in 1982 and 1983 in Grenada, she was on the US Army's International Law team and participated in civil reconstruction work following the US rescue mission. Colonel Wright is airborne qualified. Ms. Wright has Master's and Law Degrees from the University of Arkansas and a Master's Degree in National Security Affairs from the US Naval War College, Newport , Rhode Island . She participated in the documentary film "Uncovered: The Truth About the Iraq War .

August 7th, 2005

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Dr. Mezier Behrooz on Iran's political dynamic, it's nuclear intentions and on the multiple reports that Vice President Dick Cheney has tasked the Pentagon's StratCom to develop conventional and nuclear weapon attack plans to be used against Iran. These plans seem to have a certain echo of the Bush/Cheney pre-emptive attack on Iraq. Dr. Behrooz is a professor of Middle Eastern History at California State University, San Francisco. His most recent book is "Rebels with a cause: the failure of the Left in Iran" "Rebels with a Cause" unearths new details and provides fresh insights into an enduring puzzle of modern Iranian political history, concluding that the Left's demise came from a combination of Iran's geopolitical setting, where both the Soviet and Western worlds saw advantage in the stability of Iran during the Cold War, as well as internal factors such as splits and factionalism, and--not leas--the Iranian Left's over-enthusiastic devotion to a barren Stalinism with its poverty of philosophy and ideas. This book is based on primary and secondary Persian-language sources never before published in English.

Cindy Sheehan on her efforts to confront President Bush on his decision to invade and occupy Iraq. The interview was conducted outside of the Bush compound at Crawford, Texas. Cindy Sheehan is co-founder of the group Gold Star Families for Peace, and is the mother of Casey Sheehan, a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq. Sheehan: "George Bush recently said, speaking about the dreadful loss of life in Iraq in August: 'We have to honor the sacrifices of the fallen by completing the mission,' and 'The families of the fallen can be assured that they died for a noble cause.' We want our loved ones' sacrifices to be honored by bringing our nation's sons and daughters home from the travesty that is the Iraq war immediately, since this war is based on horrendous lies and deceptions. Just because our children are dead, why would we want any more families to suffer the same pain and devastation that we are. ... We are determined to stay until we get answers from George Bush. We deserve and expect him to welcome us with answers as to why our loved ones are dead."

Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa on the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. What was the impact of the bomb in ending the war? What role did Russia play? Dr. Hasegawa was born in Tokyo, Japan and is a graduate of the University of Tokyo and from the University of Washington, Seattle, from which he received his PhD in history. He has taught New York State University, Hokaido University in Japan and is currently a professor of history and Director of the Center for Cold War Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of the just-published landmark "Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman and the Surrender of Japan," in which Hasegawa rewrites the standard history of the end of World War II in the Pacific by fully integrating the three key actors in the story--the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan. From April 1945, when Stalin broke the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact and Harry Truman assumed the presidency, to the final Soviet military actions against Japan, he brings to light the real reasons Japan surrendered. Hasegawa: "Contrary to the conventional American thought, the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not have the most decisive impact on Japan's decision to surrender. Truman and Stalin were in intense competition. Truman wanted to force Japan to surrender by dropping the atomic bombs before the Soviets entered the war [against Japan]. Stalin wanted to join the war before Japan surrendered. Prior to the atomic bombing on Hiroshima, in order to avoid unconditional surrender, Japan was trying to terminate the war through Moscow's mediation. The Hiroshima bomb did not change this policy. To Truman's disappointment, however, taking advantage of Japan's reliance on Moscow, after the Hiroshima bomb, Stalin advanced the date of attack on Japan, and managed to join the war in the nick of time. Only when the Soviets entered the war, did the Japanese Emperor decide to surrender by accepting the Potsdam Declaration."

Clayton Swisher on the situation in Israel's occupied Gaza Strip--as reactionary, fundamentalist settlers confront the Israel government as it attempts to evacuate the Israeli settlers in order to return Gaza to the Palestinians who dwelt on it for many years. Clayton Swisher is a former marine reservist and federal criminal investigator who currently works as the Director of Programs at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C.. His recent book THE TRUTH ABOUT CAMP DAVID has been acclaimed in the Middle East, from Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper to Al-Jazeera. He has appeared recently on CNN FN, CBC, ABC News, CSPAN, Voice of America, and been quoted as an authoritative source in the Financial Times and Irish Times, as well as published in the LA TImes. He has lectured at universities including Harvard, Penn and American. He had an Op-Ed recently published in the Los Angeles Times, "Is the Palestinian Authority Passe?" interviewed with

Ehud Eiran is a senior Research Fellow at the International Security Program at the Belfer Center, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.Eiran worked as a legal clerk for two Israeli Attorney Generals and as Assistant to Prime Minister Ehud Barak's Foreign Policy Advisor. He also served as an officer in the Israeli Army and is currently a Reserve Major in the IDF.

July 31st, 2005

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Bill Fletcher on the recent dramatic fissure in America labor as major pieces of the AFL-CIO split away. What happened and what does this split mean for labor's future? Mr. Fletcher is the President and Chief Executive Officer of TransAfrica Forum, and was formerly the Vice President for International Trade Union Development Programs for the George Meany Center/National Labor College of the AFL-CIO. Prior to his service at the Meany Center, Bill served as Education Director, and later, Assistant to the President of the AFL-CIO. Bill's union staff experience began in Boston as an organizer for the United Auto Workers, followed later as the Organizational Secretary/Administrative Director for the National Postal Mail Handlers Union in Washington, DC. Bill has also worked for the Service Employees International Union where he held various positions, the last one being Assistant to the President for the East and South. Bill Fletcher is a graduate of Harvard University and has authored numerous articles published in a variety of books, newspapers and magazines. He is also the co-author of the pictorial booklet: The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941.

David Hawkins on the recent passage of Bush's Energy Bill, which environmentalists decry as having been written by the corporate energy lobbyists and somewhat servile to the energy industry. David Hawkins has been the Director of the National Resources Defense Council's Air and Energy Program since 1991, and in 2001 became director of the NRDC Climate Center, which focuses on advancing policies and programs to reduce pollution responsible for global warming and harmful climate change. He began his work in "public interest" law upon graduation from Columbia University Law School in 1970. He joined NRDC's then new Washington office in 1971. Together with former NRDC attorney Dick Ayres, Mr. Hawkins began NRDC's Clean Air Project. The Project has monitored and shaped the design of the federal Clean Air Act since the law's passage. The intent of the Project has been to provide a voice for the public in the countless decisions that EPA and State agencies make every year in delivering on the law's promise of improved air quality. In 1977 he was appointed by President Carter to be Assistant Administrator for Air, Noise, and Radiation at EPA. In that position he was responsible for initiating major new programs under the 1977 Amendments to the Clean Air Act. With President Reagan's election in 1981, Mr. Hawkins returned to NRDC to co-direct NRDC's Clean Air Program. Working with the Clean Air Coalition, NRDC defeated a prolonged effort by the new administration to roll back the protections o the Clean Air Act. Eventually Congress passed a much-strengthened law in 1990 and NRDC was a major architect for all of its provisions.

Stephen Pizzo on a wave of recent setbacks for liberals and progressive as the Bush administration sees legislative victories on several fronts, while the institutions of the left, and democracy itself, deteriorate. Pizzo examines the Bush administration, which he considers the worst presidency of all time, but also indicts the Democratic party has having no inspirational message and no leadership to ignite the American people towards active participation in their country--all of which goes to a rather bleak status report on our democracy. Stephen Pizzo is an award-winning journalist specializing in business, financial and political issues. His weekly articles are published on Alternet and his daily commentary is featured at Newsforreal.com. He has authored a number of books, including a New York Times bestseller and his journalism has appeared in many publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones and many others. Pizzo was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has won a number of journalistic prizes, including the George Polk Award, the George Loeb Award, the Investigative Reporters and Editors book of the Year Award, the Project Censored Award and many others.

July 24th, 2005

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Mia Bloom on the growing phenomenon of suicide terror in Iraq and, now, in London. Dr. Bloom is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati and a consultant to the New Jersey Office of Counter Terrorism. She is considered one of the foremost experts on terrorism, suicide terrorism, ethnic conflict, rape in war, and child soldiers. Bloom is also a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and provides expert advice on terrorism to federal and state authorities. Her recent book, "Dying to Kill: the allure of suicide terror," was described by David Rappoport of UCLA and the Editor of the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, as "The most comprehensive and lucid book on suicide terror available-- taking the mystery out of the phenomena." She also authored an Op-Ed in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times entitled, "Grim Saudi export: suicide bombers."

Bruce Shapiro on the nomination of John Roberts by GW Bush to the Supreme Court. Bruce Shapiro is an investigative reporter and political analyst who has written extensively on civil rights, human rights, the death penalty and the Supreme Court for Salon.com, the New York Times, Harpers, the Guardian of London, The Nation and other publications. He teaches investigative journalism at Yale University and, as field director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, he is a leader in efforts to reform news reporting on violence. His most recent book is Shaking the Foundations: 200 Years of Investigative Journalism in America. He also writes for The Nation magazine's Supreme Court Watch and has a couple of articles on the Court and nominee in the August 1 issue, including one entitled "The Stakes in the John Roberts Nomination."

James Marcinkowski on the exploding Rove/CIA retaliatory outing scandal and its impact on those working in the US intelligence services and on American security itself. Mr. Marcinkowski was a "classmate" of CIA covert operative and wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's, Valerie Plame. Marcinkowski and Plame attend CIA training together and he was outraged at the treatment she received by those who leaked her name to the press. The leaking of Plame's name subjected her life to threat, along with those who worked with her. With identities revealed, they were lost as assets to US security interests. Plame's identity was revealed after her husband charged that Bush administration claims regarding Saddam Hussein's alleged attempts to get uranium from Niger, were unfounded. Marcinkowski testified at last week's joint House/Senate Democratic hearing on the Rove/CIA scandal and its impact. Many expressed admiration for his insightful observations and articulate presentation of the principles and facts involved.

July 17th, 2005

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Sidney Blumenthal on the unfolding scandal over what appears to have been a conspiracy to attack the credibility of Ambassador Joseph Wilson by revealing the identity of his wife, an under-cover CIA agent. This is more than a story about a CIA agent being exposed; it is about an administration who appeared to have lied to the American people to take the United States to war against Iraq, with a subsequent occupation, which has taken many lives. Sidney Blumenthal was a top advisor to President Bill Clinton and is the author of The Clinton Wars. He is also columnist for Salon.com and the Guardian of London. He has written for the Washington Post, the New Republic and the New Yorker and has authored five books, in addition to The Clinton Wars, which is in a newly revised paperback edition.

James Moore on President Bush's chief political strategist--Karl Rove and his role in the Plame Conspiracy. James Moore is an Emmy Award winning TV news correspondent with more than a quarter century of print and broadcast experience. Moore is also the author along with Wayne Slater of the New York Times bestseller "Bush's Brain: how Karl Rove made George W. Bush presidential," a book which has been made into a documentary film, now available on dvd. He has traveled extensively on every Presidential campaign since 1976. His reports have appeared on CNN, NBC, and CBS. His professional honors include: an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association, and the Individual Broadcast Achievement Award from the Texas Headliners' Foundation. His latest book is "Bush's War for Reelection: Iraq, the White House, and the People."

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed on the fact that Muslims in the US seem to be true examples of the "melting pot"--not involved in radical Islam, active participants in American democracy, well educated and flourishing. Ambassador Ahmed is, according to the BBC, "probably the worlds best-known scholar on contemporary Islam. He is the former Pakistani Ambassador to Great Britain, and has advised Prince Charles and met with President George W. Bush on Islam. He is now Chair of Islamic Studies and professor of International Relations at American University in Washington, DC. Dr. Ahmed is a distinguished anthropologist, writer, and filmmaker. He has been actively involved in interfaith dialogue and the study of global Islam and its impact on contemporary society for many years. His recent books are "Islam Under Siege," "Postmodernism And Islam: Predicament And Promise" and "Resistance And Control In Pakistan."

(interviewed with)

Hussein Ibish was fomerly the Communications Director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation's largest Arab-American membership organization. He is now with the Progressive Muslim Union, an organization to promote the interests of Muslims who embrace progressive stances on social and political issues. Dr. Ibish is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, and has written for many other papers. He is the editor and principle author of 2 reports on Hate Crimes and Discrimination against Arab Americans 1998-2000 (ADC, 2001) and Sept. 11, 2001-Oct. 11, 2002 (ADC, 2002). He is author of "At the Constitution's Edge: Arab Americans and Civil Liberties in the United States" in the collection States of Confinement (St. Martin's Press, 2000), Legitimizing Occupation: Cordesman, CSIS and the New Intifada (ADC.org, 2000) and "Anti-Arab Bias in American Policy and Discourse" in Race in 21st Century America (Michigan State University Press, 2001). He is also the author, along with Ali Abunimah, of The Palestinian Right of Return (ADC, 2001) and "The Media and the New Intifada" in The New Intifada (Verso, 2001). Mr. Ibish serves as Vice-President of the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom (NCPPF). He has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

July 10th, 2005

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Tariq Ali on the terrorist bombing in London. Tariq Ali, based in London, is a long-time political activist, critic and analyst of the Middle East, neo-colonialism and international affairs. He is a filmmaker, novelist and author of "Bush in Babylon: Recolonizing Iraq" and "Clash of Fundamentalisms."

Dr. Loretta Napoleoni on the terror bombings in London and the larger picture of Bush's "global war on terror." Dr. Napoleoni is the author of "Terror, Inc.: tracing the money behind Global Terrorism." Dr. Napoleoni was a Fulbright scholar at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC and a Rotary Scholar at the London School of Economics. She was among the few people to interview the Red Brigades in Italy after three decades of silence; this research became the topic of her PhD. An expert on international terrorism, Napoleoni, in her book Terror, Inc., traces 50 years of Western economic and political dominance in developing Muslim countries - backing repressive, corrupt regimes, fighting the Cold War by Proxy and blocking the legitimate economic ascendancy of millions. "As in the Crusades", in which Napoleoni finds many modern parallels, "religion is simply a recruitment tool; the real driving force is economics. Dr. Napoleoni is interviewed from her office in Rome.

David Corn on the unfolding scandal of Karl Rove outing the wife of administration Iraq war critic Ambassador Joseph Wilson in an act of retaliation. Revealing such information is an injury to Valerie Wilson (nee Plame), but is also a serious violation of the national security of the United States. David Corn is Washington editor of The Nation magazine. He is the author of Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades (Simon & Schuster, 1994). The Washington Monthly called Blond Ghost "an amazing compendium of CIA fact and lore." The New York Times termed it "a scorchingly critical account of an enigmatic figure who for two decades ran some of the agency's most important, and most controversial, covert operations." His recent book The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception, details 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. David Corn's websites are davidcorn.com and bushlies.com. He is based in Washington, D.C.

June 12th, 2005

PART ONE
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PART TWO

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BACKGROUND BRIEFING Part One

Ambassador Joseph Wilson on the false premises that Bush and the neocons used to justify an invasion of Iraq, and on the subsequent retaliation levied against him and his wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame, for uncovering one of those untruths (that Saddam was seeking uranium from Niger). Joseph Wilson holds a record of diplomatic service to the United States which is extensive, having served in the diplomatic corps from 1976 to 1998. He was Ambassador to Iraq under the first George Bush and was the last American official to meet with Saddam Hussein prior to Desert Storm. Ambassador Wilson is the author of the best-selling "The Politics of Truth: inside the lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomats Memoir," a riveting account of his revelation that Bush's 2002 State of the Union speech contained falsehoods which were used to push this nation to an unnecessary war--and tells the story of how the Bush administration punished him and his wife for truth-telling. Her career as a CIA operative looking to contain nuclear proliferation was destroyed by operatives in the Bush administration, who would damage the interests of the United States in order to personally retaliate against Ambassador Wilson. Wilson's book, "The Politics of Truth," is in a newly revised and expanded edition. EXPANDED BIO: Ambassador Wilson served as 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 1998 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 (1972), the most advanced International Affairs training offered by the U.S. Government. He speaks fluent French. Ambassador Wilson holds the Department of 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. He is married to the former Valerie Plame and has two sons and two daughters.

Gore Vidal in a unique extended discussion with Ian Masters, on where we are and where we appear to be going as a nation. Mr. Vidal is a prolific novelist, playwright and essayist, and one of the great stylists of contemporary American prose. Vidal made his debut as novelist with Williwaw at the age of 19, while still in the US Army. From then to now, he has written many novels, essays and commentaries. Gore Vidal has also been active in liberal politics. In 1960 he ran unsuccessfully for the US Congress as a Democratic-Liberal candidate in New York. Between 1970 and 1972 he was co-chairman of the left-leaning People's Party. In 1982 Vidal launched a campaign in California for the US senate. He came second out of a field of nine, polling half a million votes. As an essayist Vidal has dealt with a wide range of subjects from literary to issues of national interest, and people he has known. Vidal's family have provided him with a wealth of material, starting from his maternal grandfather, former senator Thomas Pryor Gore and his relation to Jackie Kennedy through one of his mother's marriages. Among his more recent books are: Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta, What Went Wrong in Ohio: the Conyers Report on the 2004 Presidential Election (he provided the introduction), Lincoln: a novel, Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams and Jefferson, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace; and the title we're offering up today: Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia. Gore Vidal remains one of the most thoughtful, incisive and erudite voices in America today.

MORE: Vidal grew accustomed at an early age to a life among political and social notables. He was born at the military academy in West Point, New York, where his father was an instructor. He was raised near Washington, DC, in the house of his grandfather, Thomas P. Gore, a populist Democrat senator from Oklahoma. Vidal learned about political life from him, and when he was a teenager he adopted the first name of Gore. Vidal also spent time on the Virginia estate of his stepfather, Hugh. D. Auchincloss. After graduating from Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, he served on an army supply ship in the Aleutian Islands, near Alaska. Much of his time in the Enlisted Reserve Corps he devoted to writing. Upon his discharge he worked for six months for the publishing firm of E.P. Dutton. From 1947 to 1949 Vidal lived in Antigua, Guatemala. Williwaw was based on his wartime experiences as first-mate on Freight Ship 35 in the Alaskan Harbour Craft Detachment. The conventional seafaring story was written in the spirit of Ernest Hemingway. In 1948 The City and the Pillar shocked the public with its homosexual main character and the novel also broke the mold of gay American fiction. The book was reissued in 1965 with a different ending. The Judgment of Paris (1953) is about a young man traveling with the jet-set and wondering how to satisfy his own part-cynical, part-romantic outlook. Several of Vidal's following novels did not gain critical approval, and Vidal began to write plays for television, Hollywood and the stage. In the 1960s Vidal returned to the literary scene by writing historical novels, including Julian (1964), written in the form of a journal by the eponymous Roman emperor, Washington, D.C. (1967), a political thriller spanning the years 1937-52, Burr (1974), in which its title character rises above the other Founding Fathers, 1876 (1976), Duluth (1983), and Lincoln (1984), a carefully reconstructed account of the life of the US president, who is "almost diabolically unknowable in his use of power". Creation (1981) is the memoir of an imaginary grandson of Zoroaster who travels the world in the service of Persian kings and plays with the ideas of Confucius, Gautama Buddha, Anaxagoras and other thinkers. In Live From Golgotha (1992) Vidal portrayed events in the Bible as though they were reported on television. Among Vidal's finest works are two novels which deal with power and sex. Myra Breckenridge (1968) is a transsexual comedy parodying the cult of the Hollywood film star, dedicated to Christopher Isherwood. Its sequel, Myron, appeared in 1974. Myra is a feminist and her alternate self, Myron, is her mirror image and bitter antagonist. The hero of Washington, D.C., Peter Sandford, appeared again in The Golden Age (2000), in which the reader meets a number of real, historical figures, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Joseph Alsop, Tennessee Williams and the author himself. Gore Vidal has also been active in liberal politics. In 1960 he ran unsuccessfully for the US Congress as a Democratic-Liberal candidate in New York. Between 1970 and 1972 he was co-chairman of the left-leaning People's Party. In 1982 Vidal launched a campaign in California for the US senate. He came second out of a field of nine, polling half a million votes. In the 1960s Vidal moved to Italy and appeared as himself in Fellini's Roma (1972). During the Reagan years, Vidal published a collection of essays, Armageddon (1987), in which he explored his love-hate relationship with contemporary America. In 1994 Vidal co-starred with Tim Robbins in the film Bob Roberts. His collected essays, United States (1993), won a National Book Award. In Palimpsest (1995) Vidal wrote of his early life and friends, among them President Kennedy's family. As an essayist Vidal has dealt with a wide range of subjects from literary to issues of national interest, and people he has known. Vidal's family have provided him with a wealth of material, starting from his maternal grandfather, former senator Thomas Pryor Gore and his relation to Jackie Kennedy through one of his mother's marriages. Vidal has also met and worked with prominent people, using freely these connections in his essays.

BACKGROUND BRIEFING Part Two

Joe Trento has spent more than 35 years as an investigative journalist, working with both print and broadcast outlets and writing extensively on national security issues. Before joining the National Security News Service in 1991, Trento worked for CNN's Special Assignment Unit, the Wilmington News Journal, and prominent journalist Jack Anderson. Trento has received six Pulitzer nominations and is the author of six books, including The Secret History of the CIA, and his most recent, "Prelude to Terror: the rise of the Bush Dynasty, the rogue CIA and the Compromising of American Intelligence." ABOUT THE BOOK: After decades of writing and research about American intelligence, Joseph Trento has written the most authoritative indictment of CIA splinter groups, two generations of Bush family involvement in illegal financial networks, and the funding of the agents of terror. Prelude to Terror reveals the history of a corrupt group of spymasters-led by Ted Shackley-who were fired when Jimmy Carter became president, but who maintained their intelligence portfolio and used it to create a private intelligence network. After this rogue group helped engineer Carter's defeat in 1980 and allied with George H.W. Bush, these former CIA men planned and conducted what became the Iran-Contra scandal and, through the Saudis, allied the U.S. with extreme elements in Islam. The CIA's number-one front man, Edwin P. Wilson, was framed by Shackley and his cohorts so that Wilson's operations could be taken over. For the first time the story of how CIA director George H. W. Bush was recruited into this network, and brought it into the bosom of the Saudi royal family, is told in detail, as well as how this group's manipulation of the CIA bureaucracy allowed Osama bin Laden's fundraising to thrive as al Qaeda flourished under Saudi and CIA protection.

Aaron Glantz on conditions in Iraq and where we stand in that conflict. Aaron Glantz is a reporter for Pacifica Radio and other media outlets. He is the author of the newly published "How America Lost Iraq." He has visited Iraq three times during the U.S. occupation: for a month immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein; from February to May 2004; and during the elections in January of 2005. His work from Iraq has also been syndicated to newspapers around the world by Inter Press News Service. Aaron is a founding producer of Pacifica Radio’s national newscast, Free Speech Radio News. In the course of his work he has also reported from Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, South Korea, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, France, and Denmark. Before becoming an international reporter, Aaron served as California State Capitol reporter for Pacifica’s flag-ship station, KPFA in Berkeley, CA, where he won the California Journalism Award for radio in 2000. A native of San Francisco, he lives in Los Angeles with his fiancée, Ngoc Nguyen, and her family.

About the book: A reporter in Iraq shows how the U.S. squandered its early victories and goodwill among the Iraqi people, and allowed the newly freed society to slip into violence and chaos. As a reporter for the staunchly antiwar Pacifica Radio, twenty-seven-year-old Aaron Glantz had spent much of early 2003 warning of catastrophe if the U.S. invaded Iraq. But, as he watched the statue of Saddam topple, he wondered whether he had been mistaken: In interviews with regular Iraqis, he found wide support for the Americans. Then, public opinion changed. In early 2004, the U.S. military initiated a completely unprovoked bombing campaign against the population of Fallujah, increasing support for an armed resistance. The attack confounded many anti-Saddam Iraqis, and plunged the nation into chaos. In How America Lost Iraq, Glantz tells his story of working on the front lines, while revealing truths that most media outlets have missed or failed to report. For instance, 50 percent of the U.S.-trained Iraqi army has either mutinied or refused to fight; the Iraqi public has sustained appalling civilian casualties; corporate contractors including Halliburton and Bechtel have failed to supply Iraqis with the basic necessities of daily life, such as clean water and electricity; and a respected poll shows that 82 percent of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave. Here is the brutally honest account of a reporter who discovered how popular the U.S. presence was in Iraq-and who then watched this popularity disappear as the Bush administration mishandled the war, leaving us with the intractable conflict we face today.

Gordon Davidson on the Iraq war-themed "Stuff Happens." Gordon Davidson is the founding artistic director of Center Theatre Group, which is one of the largest and most active theatre companies in the country, producing award-winning theatre year-round in both the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center of Los Angeles, and the new Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. For 38 years he has guided hundreds of productions to the Taper stage while overseeing numerous special projects sponsored by the Taper. This work and his direction of many of the Taper plays have been acclaimed both in Los Angeles and New York, garnering many awards including a Tony Award for the Taper in 1977 for theatrical excellence.

MORE: In the 1990s, the Taper was distinguished by having two of its plays "The Kentucky Cycle" and "Angels in America" (Part One - "Millennium Approaches") receive in consecutive years the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, the first time for plays produced outside of New York. "Angels in America," when subsequently produced on Broadway, also received in consecutive years two Tony Awards for Best Play, for Part One and Part Two - "Perestroika," respectively. In fact, in 1994 when "Perestroika" won the Tony Award, three of the four plays nominated for Best Play were Taper plays (with "The Kentucky Cycle" and "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992" joining "Perestroika"). In 1977, Davidson won a Tony Award for his direction of "The Shadow Box," which also won the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for Best Play for its author, Michael Cristofer. In that same season, Davidson was the recipient of an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Director for "The Shadow Box" at the Morosco Theatre and "Savages" at the Hudson Guild Theatre, and an Obie for his direction of "Savages." Davidson's direction of "Children of a Lesser God" (which received two Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, including Distinguished Production) brought him a Tony Award nomination (one of four nominations for the play) and a New York Drama Desk Award nomination (one of five). "Children of a Lesser God" won three 1980 Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Actor and Best Actress. Previously, he staged The Phoenix Theatre productions of "Murderous Angels" and "The Trial of the Catonsville Nine," winning an Obie Award and a Tony Award nomination for the latter play, and he was honored with a New York Drama Desk Award for "In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer," staged at Lincoln Center. "The Shadow Box," "Savages," "Murderous Angels," "Oppenheimer" and "Catonsville" premiered at the Taper under Davidson's direction, whose other credits there include "The Devils," "Mass," "Terra Nova," "Children of a Lesser God," "The Lady and the Clarinet," "Chekhov in Yalta," "Tales From Hollywood," "The Hands of Its Enemy," "The Real Thing," "Ghetto," "Unfinished Stories," “Nine Armenians,” “QED,” “The Talking Cure” and “Stuff Happens,” among others. For the Ahmanson Theatre subscription series, he directed a revival of Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music" at the Doolittle Theatre, and after supervising the remodeling of the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center, he staged the 30th anniversary production of "Candide" in November 1995 as the first production in the new Ahmanson. Gordon is also the artistic director/producer of CTG’s newest theatre – the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, where last fall he directed the first production, “A Perfect Wedding,” in the theatre’s inaugural season that included six world premieres. Davidson was named by Variety as one of the top 100 entertainers of the century. He was honored by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle with a Special Award for his outstanding contributions to American playwrights and three Distinguished Direction Awards; he received a Margo Jones Award for encouraging new plays and playwrights; he was given The Governor's Award for the Arts in 1990 honoring his contributions to the performing arts in California; the Founders League of the Music Center of Los Angeles County honored him for 30 years of artistic leadership in 1997; and he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in New York in 1999. Davidson has served as president of Theatre Communications Group and the League of Resident Theatres. He is currently on TCG’s board of directors, and has been a board member of several arts organizations including the Non-Traditional Casting Project. He regularly serves on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and is an artistic advisor for the Fund for New American Plays. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was appointed to the National Council on the Arts by President Clinton. He has received honorary doctorates from Brookyln College, California Institute of the Arts and Claremont University Center.

May 29th , 2005

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Steven Clemons

on the John Bolton confirmation as UN ambassador. Clemons is publisher of the popular political blog, TheWashingtonNote.com, and a long-term policy practitioner and entrepreneur in Washington, D.C. He is currently Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, where he was previously Executive Vice President. Clemons currently co-directs the New America Foundation's American Strategy Program with well-known foreign policy thinkers Sherle Schwenninger and Michael Lind. He has been very active in opposing the nomination of John Bolton to become Ambassador to the United Nations. He also writes frequently on matters of foreign policy, defense, and international economic policy. His work has appeared in most of the major leading op-ed pages, journal, and magazines around the world.

Kate Seelye on the situation in the Middle East. Seelye is a reporter and producer for National Public Radio, PBS Frontline and other outlets, specializing in the Middle East. The daughter of an American Diplomat, she has spent most of her life in Lebanon and Syria. Ian interviewed her live from Lebanon.

David Phillips on the Iraq reconstruction fiasco. Phillips is Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a Visiting Scholar at Harvard's Center for Middle East Studies, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and an analyst for NBC News. He has published opinion pieces in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. His new book is "Losing Iraq: inside the the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco."

May 22nd , 2005

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John Flannery on the "nuclear option," the elimination of the two-hundred year-old filibuster and the Republican changing of rules in order to win, or to avoid accountability as in the case of the ethics of Tom DeLay, or any number of issues that stand between the GOP and totalist control of the United States. John Flannery is a former federal prosecutor from New York who has handled widely publicized federal criminal investigations and prosecutions that have run the gamut from securities fraud, to a mob prison break, to the the bribery of a Congressman, to heroin-trafficking by major organized crime figures. John has served twice on Capitol Hill. On the Senate side as Special Counsel to the U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and then as Special Counsel to the U.S. Senate Labor Committee. On the House side, he served again as Special Counsel. But his most challenging assignment on the Hill was his work for the Democratic minority on the historic Impeachment proceedings of President William Jefferson Clinton. John was also Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. Mr. Flannery holds undergraduate degrees in Physics (BS, Fordham) and Industrial Engineering (BS, Columbia), a law degree (J.D., Columbia), and a Masters Degree (Masters in Information Science, GW).

Gary Schroen on the hunt for bin Laden in Afghanistan, the status of "the war on terror" and his assessment of the neocon-driven occupation of Iraq. Gary Schroen served in the CIA for thirty-five years, with much of his career focusing on the Middle East, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. His honors include the Intelligence Cross, the highest award given by the CIA. His is the author of the fascinating new book, First In, which describes his leading the CIA into Afghanistan in the months after 9/11 to establish contact with the Northern Alliance and lay the groundwork to bring down the Taliban regime and rout al Qaeda from their camps, caves and bases.

May 15th , 2005

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Youseff Ibrahim on the state of affairs in the Middle East. Ibrahim breaks news unheard in the US regarding the considerable pressures being placed on Syria. Youseff Ibrahim is a highly regarded expert on the Middle East, having for 24 years reported on the region for the New York Times, as a senior foreign correspondent. He is currently the Managing Director of the Strategic Energy Investment Group, specializing in risk analysis.

Professor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. on George Bush's surprising revisionist history regarding the Yalta agreement, between FDR, Churchill and Stalin. Bush, surprisingly, repeats the canard which was the stock-in-trade of the ultra-right John Birch Society, which blames FDR for Stalin's later domination of Eastern Europe. FDR seems the target of much of Bush policy (e.g., Social Security). Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., one of America's most eminent historians and authors, sets the record straight. He has taught history at Harvard and is an emeritus Professor at City University of New York. He has published numerous books, including many best-sellers and classics. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and numerous other honors. He has served as president and chancellor of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, president of the Society of American Historians and he is a member of the board of the Arthur Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America (named for his father). Active in liberal politics, Schlesinger was a cofounder of the Americans for Democratic Action (1947). He served as an assistant to Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy , and in 1961 President Kennedy appointed him special assistant for Latin American affairs. His works include the classic Age of Jackson (1945) and The Age of Roosevelt (3 vol., 1957-60), a sweeping narrative and analysis of the New Deal period in U.S. history, written from a strongly sympathetic viewpoint. His study of Kennedy's White House years, A Thousand Days (1965), won the Pulitzer Prize for biography. His other works include The Politics of Hope (1963), The Bitter Heritage (1968), The Imperial Presidency (1973), Robert F. Kennedy and His Times (1978), The Cycles of American History (1986), and his latest, War and the American Presidency (2004). Dr. Schlesinger and Ian discuss the following quote, which echoes across the decades, from one Republican President to another, and demonstrates how much the party has changed. "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are...a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 11/8/54

Gregory Townsend on the status of international law in a time of American unilateralism. Gregory Townsend was a member of the prosecution team in the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal prosecuting the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. Prior to that,he was and International Prosecutor with the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo, where he prosecuted and jailed terrorists who murdered ethnic Serbs and committed other heinous crimes. Prior to that, he was with the Los Angeles Public Defender's Office.

May 8th , 2005

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Nikolai Gorshkov, the head of the BBC's monitoring unit in Moscow, which monitors all Russian news broadcasts and creates a digest which is used by the BBC and others, on the visit by President George W. Bush with Russian President Vladimir Putin. How has the Russian press covered the event and what is the state of the Russian press itself, after being seriously cowed by President Putin? Ian examines Bush's Russian diplomacy, the Putin presidency, the Bush-Putin relationship and conditions in Russia and the former Soviet Union. More on Nikolai Gorshkov: he worked for 12 years with Soviet TV and Radio (USSR Gosteleradio), followed by 12 years with the BBC (first World Service, then News, now Monitoring). While at BBC Monitoring he has witnessed the "news for sale" culture in Russia, analyzing dozens of Russian broadcasters and hundreds of publications for their leanings, slants and trustworthiness. Nikolai was an interpreter with the State Committee for Science and Technology in the Soviet Union. As a reporter for Moscow Radio English Language Service he drank cognac with Robert Maxwell in a Kremlin-provided limo, flew in Mrs Ts jet to the earthquake stricken Armenia, joined Peter Ustinov in a KGB-run theatre, and shared Soviet anecdotes with John Le Carre for his Russia House best-seller! It all came to a halt with the 1991 coup, after which he became a freelancer before landing a job with the BBC Russian Service in 1993. He broke through the glass wall between vernacular services and Newsgathering in 2001 to become a BBC News correspondent in Moscow, where he has reported on hostage crises, the bewildering Yukos saga, and the shocking wipeout of the liberal opposition to President Putin in the 2003-2004 elections.

Dr. Norman Dombey, who is a professor emeritus of theoretical physics at the University of Sussex in Great Britain and an expert in arms control and nuclear non-proliferation, on the subject of the leaked "Downing Street" memo from the British Prime Minister's office, which clearly indicates that the justification for war was consciously untrue and that evidence would be "fixed" in the United States to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Dr. Dombey is the author of a piece that appeared in London Review of Books, "Iraq's Nuclear Incapacity." Ian and Dr. Dombey discuss the political dynamic at play as Tony Blair is re-elected, but has lost a substantial number of seats in Parliament, which most believe can be attributed to Blair's alliance with President George Bush in the Iraq war.

Bradley Martin on North Korea and it's leader Kim Jong Il's apparent intention to test a nuclear weapon. A veteran foreign correspondent and journalism educator, Bradley Martin holds the Manship Chair in Journalism at Louisiana State University. Martin previously had been the Scripps-Howard Visiting Professional at Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in Athens, Ohio. His earlier teaching and research positions include Fulbright fellowships in Japan and Korea, and a Stanford professional journalism fellowship. A Princeton University graduate in history, Martin served as Asia bureau chief and editor of Newsweek, The Asian Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, Asia Times, and Asian Financial Intelligence. His new book is "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader:North Korea and the Kim Dynasty," which columnist Nicholas Kristof, writing in the New York Times Book Review, described as "twenty-five years in the making, the finest book ever written on North Korea."

In Memoriam: at the end of the program Ian pays tribute to his friend and frequent guest on Background Briefing Colonel David H. Hackworth. For more information about this remarkable man, please visit www.hackworth.com

May 1st , 2005

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Larry Johnson

on the recent revelation that the Bush administration had suppressed the regular annual report on world terrorism. Why? According to Larry Johnson, who broke the story on an intelligence-related weblog, it could well be that the data shows that Bush's "war on terror" is a complete failure. The report, eventually released under another name, shows that after an extended, bloody and expensive "war," shows that terrorism has increased by 300%. Mr. Johnson served as a Deputy Director in the U.S. State Department's Office of Counter Terrorism from 1989 until October 1993. In that capacity, he managed crisis response operations for terrorist incidents throughout the world. Mr. Johnson also participated in the investigation of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103. From 1985 through September 1989 Mr. Johnson worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. During his distinguished career worked in the Directorate of Operations, served in the CIA's Operation's Center, and established himself as a prolific analyst in the Directorate of Intelligence.

Dr. Maziar Behrooz on the emerging dynamic in Iraq which seems to have, as opposed to the public representations of "rising democracy" in that war-torn country, turned controlling power over to the mullahs of Iran. Dr. Behrooz says in this interview, "the Iranians had two enemies: the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. Now, Bush has does what the Iranians could not do--he has defeated their enemies for them." Dr. Behrooz was born in Iran, moved to England and then came to the United States. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA's Near East Studies Program, with a special concentration on 19th and 20th century Iran. He is the author of the 1999 book "Rebels with a Cause: The Failure of the Left in Iran," which was translated and published in Iran in 2000. Dr. Behrooz is now at work on a biography of Crown Prince Abbas Mirza Qajar, a leader in 19th century Iran who introduced some of the first modern reforms to Iranian society. He was instrumental in creating the Center of Dialogue in Berkeley, which sponsors lectures primarily of interest to the Bay Area's Iranian community. He is a Professor at San Francisco State University in the Islamic Studies program.

Craig Unger on the recent Saudi visit to Bush's ranch in Crawford, which was especially notable due to the many published photos of the President holding hands and kissing the visiting Sheik. Unger talks about the lengthy and lucrative relationship between the Bush dynasty and the Saudis, reporting that over one billion dollars has been transferred from the Saudis to the Bush's and their business interests since the relationship began some decades ago. Mr. Unger also talks about the gloomy prospects for increasing oil costs and also describes the disconnect between the Saudi royal family and the religious leadership which calls for jihad against Americans in Iraq. Craig Unger is an investigative journalist and author of the best-seller "House of Bush, House of Saud." His work on the Bush--Saudi connection was featured in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. He appears frequently as an analyst on terrorism, Saudi-American relations and the oil industry on CNN, the ABC Radio Network and many other broadcast outlets.

April 24th, 2005

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Professor Herman Schwartz

on the "nuclear option" the Republicans are exercising to eliminate the filibuster in order to pack the courts with their nominees, a number of whom are viewed as extremist. Herman Schwartz is a legendary civil rights attorney and professor of constitutional law at the Washington College of Law at American University. He is the author of Packing the Court, and The Struggle for Constitutional Justice in Post-Communist Europe, and the editor and contributor to The Rehnquist Court and The Burger Years. He has been a counsel to many congressmen and senators and is the former Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the US Senate Antitrust & Monopoly Subcommittee and a former member of the US delegations to the UN Human Right Commission and to the World Human Rights Conference. He has consulted with numerous former Soviet bloc countries on constitutional and human rights reform. His new book is "Right Wing Justice: The Conservative Campaign to Take Over the Courts."

James Wolcott on the question of religion and politics in America. Wolcott is a Vanity Fair contributing writer, focusing on media, culture and politics. He is the author of "Attack Poodles and other Media Mutants," the novel "The Catsitters," and his JamesWolcott.com blog is a popular stop for websurfers looking for keen insight and acid wit. He is featured with Steve Wasserman at UCLA's Fowler Museum, as part of the annual Los Angeles Times' Festival of Books, which is co-sponsored by KPFK.

Bracken Hendricks on energy and the environment. Bracken Hendricks is executive director of the Apollo Alliance, based at the Institute for American's Future in Washington DC. From a recent press release: Apollo Alliance Joins Set America Free Coalition, Joint Efforts Planned Washington, DC. -- Set America Free (www.setamericafree.org) and The Apollo Alliance (www.apolloalliance.org) , two fast-growing coalitions calling for a new national commitment to reducing dependence on oil, today announced plans to partner on efforts to change U.S. energy policies. "Our call for reducing oil dependence is galvanizing broad-based support across the political spectrum," noted Gal Luft, Co-Chair of Set America Free. "Polls show that 9 in 10 Americans support a crash effort for reducing dependence on Middle East oil. Now we need to come together to actually achieve the goal. We welcome the addition of the Apollo Alliance coalition to our unique effort." Added Bracken Hendricks, Executive Director of the Apollo Alliance: "There is remarkable agreement among many so-called strange bedfellows - labor and business, environmentalists and evangelicals, governors and generals, urbanites and farmers - that we can't afford to finance both sides of the war on terror while losing American clean energy jobs to overseas competitors. We endorse the work of Set America Free and look forward to working with them in the months ahead on joint editorial board appearances and other activities designed to move the debate forward in the core directions we agree on." Set America Free Coalition brings together prominent individuals and non-profit organizations concerned about the security and economic implications of America's growing dependence on foreign oil. The coalition, organized by the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), promotes a blueprint which spells out practical ways in which real progress toward energy security can be made over the next several years.

April 17th, 2005

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Dr. Perry Link

on the rise of nationalism within and conflict between China and Japan. Recent weeks have seen rising tension between the two Asian powers, with demonstrations against Japan in China and the vandalism of Japanese property and interests in China. Japan is outraged. What is the source of this conflict? What role has the U.S. played? Where is it going? Ian Masters talks to an expert, Dr. Perry Link. Dr. Link is a Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at Princeton University. He received his B.A. from Harvard in 1966 and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1976. Professor Link specializes in 20th-century Chinese literature and has written widely on Chinese literature and culture. His publications include Evening Chats in Beijing (1993), a discussion of modern China as viewed through the eyes of Chinese intellectuals, and The Uses of Literature: Life in the Socialist Chinese Literary System (2000). Professor Link also co-edited The Tiananmen Papers, which provided an inside account of key leadership deliberations over the Tiananmen democracy protests in 1989. In addition to teaching at Princeton, Professor Link serves on the Board of Advisors of Beijing Spring, a monthly Chinese-language magazine dedicated to the promotion of human rights, democracy, and social justice in China.

Dr. Yoshi Tsurumi on George W. Bush, his student at Harvard Business School some thirty years ago. Dr. Tsurumi, now teaching International Business and Marketing at Baruch College (City University of New York), recalls Bush as a chronic liar, someone who despised FDR and the New Deal, who rejected the Securities Exchange Commission, had no concern for the poor, supported the Vietnam war, but was happy to avoid it through his father's connections. Tsurumi also asserts that Bush personifies a pirate MBA capitalism with no social conscience or sense of responsibility. Bush, he says, is trying to "destroy" not "reform" Social Security and return the U.S. to the days of the Gilded Age and the Robber Barons. "The Bush we see today is the same Bush I saw thirty years ago." Bush is a liar and a fraud and totally unfit to hold public office, says Tsurumi in this powerful and revealing interview.

Mark Potok on the conviction of right-wing extremist Eric Rudolph to four consecutive life terms. Mark Potok heads the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Alabama. He oversees all of that pre-eminent social justice organization's hate group monitoring and is Editor in Chief of the publication, The Intelligence Report. Potok and Masters discuss the label "Christian Terrorist" as being appropriate for Rudolph in that his terrorism is derived from his professed "Christian" religious beliefs, however extreme. "Islamic terrorist" is a label heavily used in the media to describe terrorists in the Middle East who are similarly motivated by their extreme and heretical religious beliefs. Potok also discusses the "mainstreaming" of right-wing extremism into conventional Republican party values and policies and the prospects for further extremism and violence in the coming years. Homegrown terror is an American reality, now and in the future, Potok warns. www.splcenter.org

April 10th, 2005

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Robert Baer

on the cooking of the nation's intelligence to produce "useful" intel to serve policy. Baer also critiques the recent Silberman-Robb report and talks about the Niger forgery. Mr. Baer is a former CIA officer, author "See No Evil" and his most recent "Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold our Soul for Saudi Crude."

Dr. Charles Kupchan on Bush's appalling nomination of John Bolton to be the US Ambassador to the United Nations. 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) and numerous articles on international and strategic affairs.

Julia Preston on the politics and progress of Democracy in Mexico. Preston and Masters focus on the recent "scandals" engulfing the Mayor of Mexico City, all of which appear to have been generated by his political opposition. Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon were The New York Times Mexico bureau chiefs from 1995 to 2000. Along with two other reporters, they won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for their coverage o Mexico's narcotics underworld. Their new book is Opening Mexico: the Making of a Democracy.

April 3rd, 2005
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BREAKING NEWS:

FORGERY OF IRAQ-WAR-JUSTIFYING DOCUMENTS DONE IN THE UNITED STATES, SAYS FORMER TOP US INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL ON LOS ANGELES RADIO PROGRAM

Statement from Dr. Michael Ledeen:

I have absolutely no connection to the Niger documents, have never even seen them. I did not work on them, never handled them, know virtually nothing about them, don't think I ever wrote or said anything about the subject. I have left a voice mail for Cannistraro suggesting he should apologize and retract right away. I think you should get back to him and ask him if he didn't just make it up, or was repeating gossip. There can be no credible evidence for the claim, and you will not wish to be associated with it, I'm sure.

And you should also notice that you and Cannistraro have misspelled the acronym for the Italian Military Intelligence Service. It's SISMI not SISME. A good Italian like Cannistraro should at least know that!

Michael Ledeen

 

Vincent Cannistraro, a senior and experienced former CIA official, spoke with Ian Masters about the recent Bush-authorized Silberman-Robb Commission report which places blame for "intelligence failures" on the nation's intelligence services, particularly the CIA. Some newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, have printed some sharply contrary accounts, however, which stated that intelligence officers actively tried to warn top officials that their primary source for WMD information and the Iraqi threat information was extremely dubious. This source, code-named "Curveball," (who is related to the now-disgraced Iraqi National Congress head, Ahmed Chalabi) was considered by many in the CIA to be unreliable at best and mentally ill at worst. The charge has been made, by counter-terrorism official Richard Clarke and others, that the Bush administration demanded that intelligence be provided to suit their prior intention to strike Iraq. Former CIA Director George Tenet, to whom Bush awarded the Medal of Freedom--the nation's top civilian medal (after what has been called by many the "worst intelligence failure in American history")--has strenuously disputed the reports that said "warnings" were given by intelligence officers to top officials. To sort out the reality from the hype, Ian Masters interviewed an intelligence expert whose long experience and authority in clandestine operations of the CIA is likely unexcelled--Vincent Cannistraro. In the course of this interview, Cannistraro makes the powerful charge that the famous forged Niger documents, cited by President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address in January 2003, as proof of Saddam's nuclear intentions, and used in part as justification for the subsequent invasion of Iraq, were not forged in Italy as had been previously suspected, but were fabricated in the United States. When asked by Ian Masters if he would state the person or persons who actually perpetrated the forgery, Cannistraro declined. Masters presses, proffering "If I were to say the name 'Michael Ledeen' to you, what would you say?" Canistraro responds with "you're very close." Dr. Ledeen is a well-known Washington national security operative, having been fired from the Reagan National Security Council and as a figure in the Iran-Contra scandal. Described by the BBC as an "ultra neo-conservative," he enjoys close ties to the Vice President's office and in the Pentagon. He has extensive connections in Italy. Further background: The Niger forgery, described as "obvious" and "amateurish" by Mohammed al-Baradei, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was revealed as a forgery by an investigation conducted by the IAEA. The forged Niger documents emerged originally in Italy, passed to a reporter at the Italian Panorama magazine (owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi) by an Italian arms-dealer and businessman, with ties to Iran-Contra figure Manucer Gorbanifar. Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who, at the behest of Vice President Cheney, investigated the alleged Iraq-Niger tie implied in the documents--prior to the January State of the Union address, concluded that their contents were false (although he did not state that they were forgeries). After Wilson saw that Bush had used the false information contained in the documents in the 2003 State of the Union, he wrote an Op-Ed, published in the New York Times, stating that Bush's SOTU Niger allegations were non-credible. Later, apparently in retaliation, Wilson's wife Valerie Plame, who was operating as a CIA agent working in anti-nuclear-proliferation efforts, had her agent-cover blown by journalist Robert Novak. Novak publicly reported information given to him by "someone in the White House," which made Plame's career in which she was working to stop the spread of nuclear weapons untenable, as well as compromising the personal safety and security of her and others with whom she worked. An investigation of the Plame matter continues, conducted by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, with no conclusion yet announced. At this point, no civil suit have been filed in the case. The "pre-emptive" Iraq war continues apace with its historic consequences, justified initially in part, by documents forged in the United States, according to Cannistraro.

Dr. John C. Green on how religion and politics seem to have fused in Republican party leadership and how it is manifested in the recent spectacle over the removal of a feeding tube, which kept Terri Schiavo's body alive, in spite of the fact that her mind had been in a persistent vegetative state for fifteen years. Dr. Green is the director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Akron. Green has done extensive research on American religion and politics. He is co-author of The Diminishing Divide: Religion’s Changing Role in American Politics (Brookings Institution Press, 2000), The Bully Pulpit: the Politics of Protestant Clergy (University Press of Kansas, 1997), and Religion and the Culture Wars (Rowman & Littlefield, 1996). In addition, he has published more than sixty scholarly articles and some thirty-five essays in the popular press. He is a contributing editor for www.beliefnet.com.

Coleman McCarthy on the legacy of Pope John Paul II. Coleman McCarthy is a veteran peace activist, animal advocate and educator who founded and directs the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, DC. He was a columnist for The Washington Post from 1969 to 1997. McCarthy is the author of All of One Peace: Essays on Nonviolence and editor of two anthologies, Solutions to Violence and Strength Through Peace: the Ideas and People of Nonviolence.

March 27th, 2005

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Graeme Fuller on reality of "growing democracy" in the Middle East. Recently, neocons and the pundit chattering class have been crowing that "Bush was right" and that their plan to spread democracy (even though democracy was never mentioned by Bush as a reason for invading Iraq, until things went badly there) is succeeding. Ian talks to Lt. Col Graeme Fuller, former Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council about whether or not things are going according to plan, and if there is a plan, in the Middle East. Will the outcome resemble the intention, and will it favor US interests, and the world's interests for peace in the Middle East?

Joe Cirincione on developments in Iran as they respond to pressure regarding that country's attempt to construct nuclear power plants. Cirincione is the author of Deadly Arsenals: Tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction (Carnegie Endowment, 2002) and a senior associate and director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC. He teaches at the Georgetown University Graduate School of Foreign Service. Cirincione formerly worked for nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives: six years on the professional staff of the Committee on Armed Services and three and one-half years on the Committee on Government Operations, and served as staff director of the Military Reform Caucus under Congressmen Tom Ridge and Charles Bennett. He has held positions at the Henry L. Stimson Center, the U.S. Information Agency, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and previously at the Carnegie Endowment. In May 2004 the National Journal listed Cirincione as one of the 100 people whose ideas will shape the debates over the 'ten most important issues of the day.' The World Affairs Councils of America previously named him one of 500 people whose views have the most influence in shaping American foreign policy. Cirincione is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Dr. Jonathan Ross on the meaning and significance of the Terri Schiavo case, in terms of the case itself, the politicization of difficult personal and family matters, and the state of health care in the United States. Dr. Ross is a member of the Board of Directors and a past-President of Physicians for National Health Care ( www.pnhp.org ). He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at the Medical University of Ohio, where he also practices as a General Internist. He deals with end-of-life cases, such as Terry Schiavo's, on a regular basis and sees the Schiavo matter as a micro representation of a macro problem--how we deal with life and death issues and how we deal with health care in this country. Ian gets his take on the Terry Schiavo controversy and talks about why we desperately need a working healthcare system in this country.

INTERVIEWED WITH:

Reverend G. Simon Harek A Jesuit priest and author of the books "Virtuous Passions" and "Nonviolence for the Third Millennium," Harak is anti-militarism coordinator of the War Resisters League. Reverend Harek believes that end of life decisions are a personal matter and that his faith indicates that "extraordinary means" should not be taken to prolong life unnaturally. He says that Bush and the Republicans have no moral standing in their breast-beating and public piety in the Schiavo case and do not advocate a "culture of life," but more embody a "culture of lies."

MORE: He is quoted saying, "one of the first things we learn is that the more universal your ethical principles are, the more moral force they have. I hear of Bush's flying back to D.C. to sign the Schiavo bill, and I think of him flying back from his first presidential campaign to sign the death warrants of Texas prisoners. I think of Bush signing a bill in Texas to cut off funds for life support for people who want their children to live, but can't afford it. I hear of the government's concern for this individual, tragic case, and I think of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children whom we diseased and starved to death during sanctions, and now the hundred thousand more Iraqis who have died in this invasion and occupation. How universal, how convincing, is the concern Bush has shown for this individual case?"

March 20th, 2005

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Dr. Robert Ebel on the recent revelation of competing "secret plans" for Iraqi oil, which were developed before the invasion of that country by the United States, and which set neocons who wanted to use Iraqi oil to destroy OPEC, against the oil companies and State Department "pragmatists." Many believe oil was the real reason for Bush's war--we'll explore that question and the competing secret plans for Iraq's oil, along with the broader picture of oil and energy with Robert Ebel, the Chairman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Energy program. Dr. Ebel previously was with the CIA for 11 years and spent over 7 years with the Office of Oil and Gas in the Department of the Interior.

More: Expertise: Oil and energy issues; Central Asia and the Transcaucasus; nuclear materials management; Iraqi oil sector Robert E. Ebel is chairman of the CSIS Energy Program, where he provides analysis on world oil and energy issues, with particular emphasis on the former Soviet Union and the Persian Gulf. He is also codirector of the Caspian Sea Oil Study Group and the Oil Markets Study Group. In addition, he has directed studies on global nuclear materials management and on the geopolitics of energy. Mr. Ebel served with the CIA for 11 years and spent over 7 years with the Office of Oil and Gas in the Department of the Interior. He also served for some 14 years as vice president, international affairs, at ENSERCH Corporation, advising the corporation and its subsidiaries on international issues relevant to day-to-day operations. Mr. Ebel has traveled widely in the former Soviet Union. He was a member of the first U.S. oil delegation to visit that country, in l960, and in l970 was in the first group of Americans to inspect the new oil fields of Western Siberia. In 1997, he led an International Energy Agency team examining the oil and gas sector of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In 2002, he participated in the Sudanese peace talks, held in Machakos, Kenya, and in 2002-2003, he worked with a group of former Iraqi oil officials, under the Department of State's Future of Iraq Project, to produce an assessment of the Iraqi oil sector. Mr. Ebel is a past chairman of the Washington Export Council and past member of the board of American Near East Refugee Aid. He is the author of a number of books, including The Petroleum Industry of the Soviet Union (1961), Communist Trade in Oil and Gas (1970), Energy Choices in Russia (1994), and Energy Choices in the Near Abroad (1997) and coeditor of Energy and Conflict in Central Asia and the Caucasus (2000) and Caspian Oil Windfalls (2003). Mr. Ebel is a frequent commentator on national and international radio and television, and his views on energy issues appear regularly in newspapers here and abroad. He holds an M.A. in international relations from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a B.S. in petroleum geology from Texas Tech. In 2002, he received the Department of State's Distinguished Public Service Award.

Dr. Jacob Hacker on what appears to be the Bush plan to become a "reverse FDR" and set American citizens adrift, to remove the social safety net provided by programs like Social Security and Medicare. Hacker calls what Bush is doing "risk privatization," meaning basically that you're on your own: no social contract, no welfare, no Social Security, no health care . . . a social condition which is so retrograde, so third world, that it portends a United States which little resembles a modern democracy. We'll explore these questions with Dr. Jacob Hacker, who is the Peter Strauss Family Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He is also a Fellow at the New America Foundation and sits on the American Political Science Association's public presence Task Force on Inequality and Democracy.

More: Dr. Jacob Hacker, Ph.D., Yale University, 2000, is Peter Strauss Family Assistant Professor of Political Science. He is also a Fellow at the New America Foundation and sits on the American Political Science Association's public presence Task Force on Inequality and Democracy. He was previously a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows and a Guest Scholar and Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution. His research interests include the politics of U.S. social policy, American political development, and the comparative political economy of the welfare state. In the current academic year, he is teaching a senior seminar on the American welfare state in comparative perspective and a lecture course on inequality and American democracy (for which he received an Instructional Innovation Grant), as well as a graduate course on the comparative political economy of the welfare state. His articles have appeared in the British Journal of Political Science, Studies in American Political Development, Politics & Society, and the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law. He is also the author of two books: The Road to Nowhere: The Genesis of President Clinton's Plan for Health Security (Princeton, 1997), which was co-winner of the 1997 Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration; and The Divided Welfare State: The Battle over Public and Private Social Benefits in the United States (Cambridge, 2002), which, as a dissertation, received prizes from the American Political Science Association, the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, and the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Harvey Wasserman on the recent comments made by Senator Robert Byrd on the floor of the Senate which noted parallels between the Bush administration and the rise of fascism in Europe. Byrd's statements were highly controversial and provoked outrage from Republicans such as RNC chair Ken Mehlman and members of the right-wing chattering class, pundits on radio and cable television. Harvey Wasserman wrote an article on this subject, which can be read at http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0307-22.htm . Wasserman is the Senior Editor and "Superpower of Peace" columnist for the Columbus, Ohio-based Free Press ( www.freepress.org ) Harvey Wasserman is also senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service. He helped to start the "No Nukes," movement, a phrase he coined. He is author or co-author of six books, including four on nuclear power and renewable energy, and two histories of the United States, including the just re-released "Harvey Wasserman's History of the United States."

More: Harvey's journalistic writings and columns have appeared in major newspapers and magazines worldwide. He has worked as a radio talk show host and has appeared on several hundred radio and TV programs over the years. He has also spoken to several hundred campus and citizen gatherings for peace, justice and environmental sanity, and is a member of the National Writers Union, Local 1981 of the United Auto Workers. Harvey's first demonstration (for civil rights) was in 1962, as a junior at Eastmoor High School. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1967, Harvey helped found the legendary anti-war Liberation News Service, which in 1968 moved to the Montague (Massachusetts) Farm, still in operation (under the stewardship of the Peacemaker Community) as one of the longest-standing organic communal farms in US history. In 1973 Montague became a launching pad for the grassroots anti-nuclear movement. Harvey helped coin the phrase "No Nukes" in the successful fight against twin reactors proposed nearby. In 1976 he helped organize the Clamshell Alliance, which staged the first mass demonstrations against the Seabrook nuclear plant. In 1979 he co-organized the Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) concerts in Madison Square Garden in 1979. In 1994 he spoke for Greenpeace to 350,000 semi-conscious fans at Woodstock 2. Along the way Harvey has taught history and journalism at Hampshire College, got an MA in US history from the University of Chicago, and traveled around the world, speaking and writing against nuclear power. He moved back to central Ohio in the mid 1980s, where he has helped organize successful campaigns against a regional radioactive waste dump, Columbus's now-shut trash burning power plant, a cancelled housing development at the Pickerington Ponds Wildlife Refuge, and the now-defunct McDonalds in Bexley. Most recently Harvey has focused on the rising renewable energy industry. In 2002 he co-authored, with legendary windpower pioneer Dan Juhl of Pipestone, Minnesota, HARVESTING WIND ENERGY AS A CASH CROP: A GUIDE TO LOCALLY OWNED WIND FARMING (www.danmar.us). He is hoping to convert Ohio and the world to a "Solartopia" of wind and solar power. He is also working for the Superpower of Peace and its inevitable victory over the evil forces of the Bush Junta. Harvey is married with five daughters and two grandchildren.

March 13th, 2005

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Dr Nawal El Saadawi on the reality of Bush's "democratization" of the Middle East. Nawal El Saadawi is a writer, medical doctor and founder and president of the Arab Women Solidarity Association. Among her books are "The Hidden Face of Eve," "Women at Point Zero" and "The Fall of the Imam." Her most recent book, "The Novel," was recently banned by Al Azhar, the Islamic University in Cairo. Dr. El Saadawi states, "this notion that George Bush has fostered democracy around the world is ridiculous. He is in fact acting like a global dictator. We have been struggling for democracy in Egypt and will continue to do so. You cannot have real elections under foreign occupation as the Iraqis and Palestinians have tried to do recently. In fact, Iraqi elections were a step back in some ways because at least under Saddam the family code was secular; what we are seeing in Iraq is a backlash against that and a real setback for Iraqi women."

Under some perceived pressure from Bush's public rhetoric, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has recently indicated that he would allow some sort of challenger in Egypt's presidential elections this year. She has stated her intention to seek the Egyptian presidency. According to Dr. El Saadawi, "What do we mean by democracy? Is it just to go and vote -- or is it all people participating in governing themselves? Egyptian law prohibits people from organizing. The Arab Women Solidarity Association, which I founded, has been banned by Egyptian government decree since 1991. ... "

Tim Pat Coogan on the recent troubles in Ireland regarding the IRA, criminal activities and subsequent coverups. Tim Pat Coogan is the former editor of the Irish Press and is recognized as the leading historian of Ireland in the 20th century. He is the author of a number of very significant books, including "The Troubles: Ireland's ordeal and the search for peace," "Michael Collins: the man who made Ireland," "Whatever Green is Worn: the story of the Irish diaspora," "The IRA," "The Irish: a personal view" and "1916: the Easter rising."

Lou DuBose on longtime Bush loyalist Karen Hughes and her recent assignment to the State Department to "spin the world" and Undersecretary of State for George Bush's neocon foreign policy. DuBose describes Hughes' relationship to Bush as one of "canine loyalty," but says that "she will finally meet a press corps she wont be able to spin." Also, DuBose talks about the worsening legal position for Tom DeLay. DuBose is the author of the recent "The Hammer: Tom DeLay: God, Money and the Rise of the Republican Congress." Lou DuBose is the co-author, with Molly Ivins, of Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America and Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush and Boy Genius: Karl Rove, the Brains Behind the Remarkable Political Triumph of George W. Bush. He was the editor of the Texas Observer for eleven years

March 6th, 2005

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Robert O'Harrow on how the American people are losing their privacy and may be losing the security of their personal financial assets. Robert is a Washington Post reporter, who created the nation's first "privacy beat." He wrote a recent front-page piece on the massive ChoicePoint data theft, in which over a hundred thousand citizens had crucial personal and financial data stolen and transferred to . . . ? It is not now known. It could be the Russian mafia, Nigerian con-men, or a host of other international criminals. O'Harrow is the author of No Place To Hide, a new book about the data revolution and the government outsourcing of security and intelligence. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for a series of articles on privacy and technology.

Dr. John Ackerman about the state of democracy in Mexico, as controversies arise in the presidential election. Dr. Ackerman is a professor at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Mexico City. (Profesor-Investigador Coordinador, Programa de Investigación sobre la Legalidad, el Estado de Derecho y la Rendición de Cuentas (PLER), Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, México (FLACSO-México)).

February 27th, 2005

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Dr. George Irani on the developing situation in Lebanon. Who are the players? What is the truth behind the chaos? George Irani is a member of the core faculty at Royal Roads University. In 1997-98, he was a Jennings Randolf Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace. There he conducted a research on rituals of reconciliation as methods of conflict control and reduction. Between 1993 and 1997, Irani was assistant professor at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon. There he taught courses on international relations and conflict resolution.

Bradley Martin on North Korea and it's leader Kim Jong IL. A veteran foreign correspondent and journalism educator, Bradley Martin has been named Manship Chair in Journalism. Martin previously had a one-year stint as the Scripps Howard Visiting Professional at Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in Athens, Ohio. His earlier teaching and research positions include Fulbright fellowships in Japan and Korea, and a Stanford professional journalism fellowship. A Princeton University graduate in history, Martin also studied law at Emory University and served as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching at Thailands National Institute of Development Administration. He began his news career on The Charlotte Observer covering race relations. After working as a national transportation reporter for The Baltimore Sun, he was posted to Japan in 1977 and lived and worked mainly in Asia. He served as Asia bureau chief and editor of Newsweek, The Asian Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, Asia Times, and Asian Financial Intelligence. His new book is "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty."

Jennifer Washburn on the corporatization of our colleges and universities. What's wrong with corporate money in higher education? Ian discusses the problem. Jennifer Washburn is a fellow at the Open Society Institute, where she is examining the impact of privatization, and a newly appointed fellow at the New America Foundation. Jennifer Washburn is currently a Fellow at the New America Foundation. Formerly a Fellow at the Open Society Institute and a senior research associate for the Arms Trade Resource Center of the World Policy Institute at the New School for Social Research, Ms. Washburn writes for The Atlantic, The Nation, Lingua Franca, the American Prospect, and other national magazines. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

February 6th, 2005

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Lawrence O'Donnell is an Emmy winning producer of NBC's The West Wing. He is also MSNBC's senior political analyst and a panelist on The McLaughlin Group He is a former contributing editor of New York Magazine and a former Democratic Chief of Staff of the United States Senate Committee on Finance and for the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Mr. O'Donnell has also served as Senior Advisor to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Borzou Daragahi on the recent Iraqi elections--what they mean and what the future of the US in Iraq is likely to be. Mr. Daragahi is a Middle-Eastern and Central Asian correspondent, based in Tehran, Iran, reporting on political, economic and cultural issues for english-language newspapers, magazines and radio outlets (San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Deutche Welle, The World, Marketplace, and others). His website is www.borzou.com.

Dr. Juan Cole also on the elections in Iraq. Dr. Cole is widely considered to be one of our leading scholars of contemporary Iraq. Dr. Cole is a professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan; author of the Informed Comment weblog; and author of Sacred Space and Holy War (London: IB Tauris, 2002), which examines the Iraqi Shiites. He is the author of a recent piece at Salon.com "The Shiite Earthquake." His weblog is www.juancole.com.

Dr. John Geyman on President Bush's health care initiatives outlined in his State of the Union address. Dr. Geyman also discusses the dreadful state of healthcare in the US today. Dr. Geyman is professor emeritus of Family Medicine at the University of Washington, editor of the Journal of the American Board of Family Practice and the President of Physicians for a National Health Program. He is the author of the books "The Corporate Transformation of Health Care: Can the Public Interest Still Be Served?" and the just-released "Falling Through the Safety Net: Americans Without Health Insurance." Physicians for a National Health Program's website is www.pnhp.org.

January 30th, 2005

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Dr. Azzam Alwash on the elections in Iraq. How legitimate is the process? What promises and pitfalls does it hold? Dr. Alwash is the Director of the Eden Again Project. Born in Kut, Iraq in 1958, he spent much of his younger years in Nasseriya on the fringes of the marshlands. His father Mr. Jawad Alwash was the district irrigation engineer, and Azzam used to accompany him on trips into the marshlands to resolve water disputes. He left Iraq in 1978 as a result of the Baathist regime. He completed his Bachelor of Science (Civil Engineering) at California State University at Fullerton, and his PhD in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Southern California. Subsequently, he worked for 20 years as a soils engineering consultant in southern California. In 1997, he became active in Iraqi expatriate politics. He is on the Board of Directors of the Iraq Foundation and the Iraqi Forum for Democracy. In August 2003, Azzam took a leave of absence from his consultancy practice to direct the Eden Again operations in Iraq. He now lives permanently in Iraq, dividing his time between Baghdad, the marshlands, and international speaking engagements.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts on his assessment of the Bush administration and the consequence of its policies, internationally and domestically. Dr. Roberts is the Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. A former editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal and columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service, he is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate in Los Angeles and a columnist for Investor's Business Daily. During the Reagan administration, he served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for economic policy and played a major role in the Economic Recovery Act of 1981. Roberts is the co-author of "The Tyranny of Good Intentions." This is a critical eye from a conservative perspective.

William Arkin on the secret military and intelligence operations of the United States around the world. Arkin is the author of the new book "Code Names : Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operations in the 9/11 World" and is a NBC News military analyst, consultant, and author. He has been a columnist for The Los Angeles Times, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic Education at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC, and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, U.S. Air Force, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Arkin's work as a military analyst for NBC News has spanned Desert Fox in Iraq in 1998, the 1999 Yugoslav war, the events of September 11, and current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

January 23rd, 2005

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Tom Carothers on President Bush's recent inaugural speech, with particular regards to his rhetoric regarding the "spread of democracy."  Are the policies of the Bush administration conducive to the advancement of democracy?  Tom Corothers is a leading authority on democracy promotion and democratization worldwide as well as an expert on U.S. foreign policy generally. He is the author of the new book "Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East." He founded and is codirector of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project, a research endeavor that analyzes the state of democracy in the world and the efforts by the United States and other countries to promote democracy. In addition, he has broad experience in matters dealing with human rights, international law, foreign aid, rule of law, civil society development, Latin America policy, and East European politics. He is adjunct professor at the Central European University in Budapest and serves on the board of various organizations devoted to democracy promotion.  

Dr. Maziar Behrooz on President Bush's saber-rattling against Iran and his use of the words "freedom," "liberty" and "democracy" in his inaugural speech.  Do these words resonate with authenticity in the Middle East?  Will threatening or actually taking military action against Iran put at wedge between the mullahs and the public, or drive them closer together?  Dr. Behrooz was born in Iran, moved to England and then came to the United States.  He received his Ph.D. from UCLA's Near East Studies Program, with a special concentration on 19th and 20th century Iran.  He is the author of the 1999 book Rebels with a Cause: The Failure of the Left in Iran, which was translated and published in Iran in 2000. Dr. Behrooz is now at work on a biography of Crown Prince Abbas Mirza Qajar, a leader in 19th century Iran who introduced some of the first modern reforms to Iranian society. He was instrumental in creating the Center of Dialogue in Berkeley, which sponsors lectures primarily of interest to the Bay Area's Iranian community.  He is a Professor at San Francisco State University in the Islamic Studies program.   

Dr. Michael Sells on the religious dimension of the Bush presidency and religious politics in the US.  Dr. Sells is the Emily Judson Baugh and John Marshall Gest Professor of Comparative Religions at Haverford College.  He holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University.  Dr. Sells is the author of Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations, Mystical Languages of Unsaying, The New Crusades: Constructing the Muslim Enemy.  In 1993, Dr. Sells was key in the founding of the Community of Bosnia (COB)organization. COB seeks to summon the powers of humanity against all forms of racism and genocide.

January 16th, 2005
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Mark Danner on the use of torture by the United States and on the forthcoming elections in Iraq. Mark Danner is a staff writer for The New Yorker and regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He has written extensively on Haiti, Central America, the Balkans, and the development of American foreign policy in Europe and the Middle East, among other stories. Danner is also Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College. He is the author of the recent book "Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror" and the highly acclaimed "Massacre at El Mozote." He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Pacific Council on International Policy, the World Affairs Council of San Francisco, and the Century Association, and is a fellow of the Institute of the Humanities at New York University. www.markdanner.com

Stephen Roach, Chief Economist Morgan Stanley, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, on what he believes is the unsound economic and monetary policy of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. In the current issue of Foreign Policy, Roach says that when Greenspan steps down as chairman of the Federal Reserve next year, he will leave behind a record foreign deficit and a generation of Americans with little savings and mountains of debt. Americans, Roach says, are far too dependent on the value of their assets, especially their homes, rather than on income-based savings; they are running a huge current-account deficit; and much of the resulting debt is now held by foreign countries, especially in Asia, which permits low interest rates and entices Americans into more debt. "This is no way to run the global economy," Roach says. So far, the Fed has bucked the odds, Roach adds. But the longer the situation exists, the more chance there is that it will spell danger for the United States and the world.

Roger Morris on a world made more dangerous by the policies pursued by George Bush and the neocons who stampeded the US into a quagmire via fear-based rhetoric. Morris and Masters evaluate what lies ahead in four more years of GW Bush and lament the failure of the Democratic party to tell the American people the truth in a distinct and compelling way. Morris was on the National Security Council for Presidents Johnson and Nixon and has a forthcoming book on the history of American diplomacy in the Middle East.

January 9th, 2005

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John D. Hutson, former Rear Admiral and Judge Advocate General of the United States Navy, current Dean and President Franklin Pierce Law Center on the fitness of White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to serve as Attorney General of the United States.  Dean Hutson testified on Senate committee which evaluated Gonzales and expressed his view that Gonzales' infamous "torture memo," which was the "legal" basis for the torture inflicted by US personnel on detainees in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Hutson points out that Gonzales' ignoring the Geneva Conventions and engaging in torture actually puts American soldiers at great risk and has greatly diminished the world's respect for the United States.  Dean Hutson was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with three gold stars), Meritorious Service Medal (with two gold stars), Navy Commendation Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal as well as other awards.  He is a frequent guest on National Public Radio and has appeared on national television broadcasts including NBC Nightly News, the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Nightline with Ted Koppel, C- Span, BBC, CNN, 60 Minutes, 20-20 and others.  He frequently lectures at law schools, bar associations, ACLU, and other forums around the country.          

Steve Clemons on the recent conference he organized for the New America Foundation, which featured former National Security Advisors Zbignew Brezezinski and Brent Scowcroft.  General Scowcroft has been quoted much in the media recently having said at the conference that the Iraq vote may not make for a more settled country, but, rather, precipitate a civil war.  This conference follows another well-received event, entitled "al Qaeda 2.0."  Steve Clemons is the Executive Vice President of the New America Foundation and also serves as Director of the Japan Policy Research Institute.   He also has a weblog, which we highly recommend: www.thewashingtonnote.com , which features a number of Mr. Clemon's articles and observations.  

Professor Fritz Stern, eminent historian and scholar of European history, who was a refugee from the Nazi regime and who was recently honored with the Leo Baeck Medal, on the disturbing parallels he sees in the rise of the Nazis and death of democracy in Germany to conditions in the United States today.  In his speech on the occasion of the award of the medal, he cited the rise of the Christian rightwing in the US as dangerously similar to what happened in Germany.  He said that Hitler saw himself as "an instrument of divine providence" and fused his dogma with Germanic Christianity.  President Bush has said that he feels he has been chosen by God to serve in troubled times.  "Some people recognized the moral perils of mixing religion and politics," he said of prewar Germany, "but many more were seduced by it. It was the pseudo-religious transfiguration of politics that largely ensured Hitler's success, notably in Protestant areas."  "There was a longing in Europe for fascism before the name was ever invented," Stern says. "There was a longing for a new authoritarianism with some kind of religious orientation and above all a greater communal belongingness. There are some similarities in the mood then and the mood now, although also significant differences." Stern warns of the danger in an open society of "mass manipulation of public opinion, often mixed with mendacity and forms of intimidation." Dr. Stern is a passionate defender of liberalism as "manifested in the spirit of the Enlightenment and the early years of the American republic."  "The radical right and the radical left see liberalism's appeal to reason and tolerance as the denial of their uniform ideology," he says. "Every democracy needs a liberal fundament, a Bill of Rights enshrined in law and spirit, for this alone gives democracy the chance for self-correction and reform. Without it, the survival of democracy is at risk. Every genuine conservative knows this."  In Stern's speech he says, "In the late 1920s a group of intellectuals known as conservative revolutionaries demanded a new volkish authoritarianism, a Third Reich. Richly financed by corporate interests, they denounced liberalism as the greatest, most invidious threat, and attacked it for its tolerance, rationality and cosmopolitan culture."  The intellectual "conservative revolutionaries" of then remind us of today's "Neoconservatives," who were the architects of the Iraq war and have effectively captured US foreign policy, although Stern does not make this explicit comparison.  Dr. Stern is an emeritus professor of History at Columbia University and the author of a number of books, including "The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology."

Full Text of Dr. Stern's speech on receiving the Leo Baeck Medal (November 2004):

My thanks to Foreign Minister Fischer for his presence and for his most generous remarks; my thanks to Michael Blumenthal, to Ismar Schorsch, to Richard Holbrooke, to Anna-Maria Kellen, to Carol Strauss and the Leo Baeck Institute—to all of you. I see many friends here? It’s heart-warming and mind-numbing to be praised for simply doing what I thought had to be done. To have witnessed even as a child the descent in Germany from decency to barbarism gave the question “how was it possible” an existential immediacy. So I did no more than what others of my generation did as well: wrestle with that question, try to reconstruct some parts of the past, perhaps intuit some lessons. So I find it easier and more appropriate to translate your kind words into a celebration of Clio, the historian’s exacting and often elusive muse, and to use today’s festive occasion to acknowledge friends, colleagues, mentors, American and European, who have inspired me by example and encouragement. Writing is painful and solitary; scholarship at its best offers companionship, even harmonious companionship. No wonder that I am grateful for the exuberant exaggerations uttered tonight.

I am also grateful for the timing of this event. It would be nice to ascribe this to some invisible hand, but I suspect it had to do with the visibly crowded schedule of the Foreign Minister. Still, for me it is felicitous because it is an encouragement at a hard time; events of the last ten days have intensified my reasoned apprehension, my worry about the immediate future of the country that saved us and taught us and gave us so much. I take heart from tonight, since renewed hope is itself a marvelous gift. Herr Fischer, I can’t divine your thoughts and feelings about this country—they may be buried in your diplomatic heart—but let me say that what you see in this hall tonight is something very special and inspiriting: if the United States were a parliamentary democracy, if we had a House of Commons where the opposition faced the government in weekly contest, you would recognize here leading members of the shadow government.

Among us we have persons who could be your partner in statesmanship, and we have talent also to fill Treasury and Justice; we have many ministers of education, a minister for human rights, and when I look at my grandson I realize we even have junior ministers. We are reminded of the strength and vitality of this country. The world must envy us this bounty—and some day even our own citizens will appreciate our blessings.

I take special joy in saying this because the German-speaking refugees who came to this country in the 1930s and thereafter had similarly enthusiastic feelings about this country. Not only gratitude for saving us, giving many of us a chance for a new start, if often under harsh circumstances—I think of my own parents—but love and admiration for a country that was, when we arrived, still digging itself out from an unprecedented depression, under a leader whose motto was that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” unlike his German contemporary, who preached fear in order to exploit it. The United States was the sole functioning democracy of the 1930s—that “low, dishonest decade—and under FDR it was committed to pragmatic reform and in inimitable high spirits. No, I haven’t forgotten the unpleasant elements of those days—the injustices, the right-wing radicals, the anti-semites—but the dominant note of Franklin Roosevelt’s era was ebullient affirmation of reform and progress.

We are here to celebrate the Leo Baeck Institute, a monument that German Jewish refugees built as a memorial to their collective past, a troubled, anguished, glorious past to which many of them remained loyal even after National Socialism sought to deny and destroy it. It is impossible to generalize about German Jews in the modern era, but common to most of them was an earlier deep affection for their country, its language and its culture. Perhaps they loved not wisely, but too well. Even Albert Einstein with his abiding antipathy for things German remembered his unique, never-duplicated companionship with his German colleagues during his great years in Berlin with Max Planck and Max von Laue. I remember from my childhood the decent Germans, so-called Aryans, who being opponents of the Nazi regime disappeared into concentration camps after 1933.

The ties between us had been close, and when they were broken, when so many Germans decided they didn’t want to know what was happening to their Jewish or “non-Aryan” neighbors, when they denied their common past, the pain was deep. But something of what had once been remained in the minds of many refugees, and they founded the Institute to be a repository of this legacy. Its archives are a treasure for historians and scholars from everywhere—in recent decades especially from Germany itself—have come to its unique library. The LBI has contributed to greater understanding and reconciliation between Americans and Germans, between Christians and Jews.

The founders probably seized quickly upon the name Leo Baeck, to recall the last liberal Rabbi of Germany—a student of the German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey, someone who deepened theological learning by taking a fuller account of the irrational, mysterious elements in human existence. However much he and Paul Tillich had understood the power of the demonic when they studied it in the 1920s, Baeck couldn’t have imagined that he would live to see the triumph of hate-filled unreason. In the end, he had to endure living under that triumph, in a unique position as the last head of Germany’s Jewish community, its representative to Nazi authorities, which finally sent him to Theresienstadt, that Nazi mockery of a model concentration camp, where for a time specially selected victims, spared as yet from extermination, were allowed to retain some form of a community before they died of hunger and disease. Baeck survived his years there—perhaps he met my father’s sister and her husband in Theresienstadt before they were deported to Auschwitz, where they were murdered.

Richard von Weizsaecker, in his extraordinary presidential address on the fortieth anniversary of Germany’s unconditional surrender, warned that sparing German feelings would be of no avail. The wounds remain and need to be acknowledged. In that same spirit of candor, let me say that the work of the LBI is all the more important in light of what an earlier head of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Gerson Cohen, wrote in a Leo Baeck Yearbook in 1975. He mentioned that German Jewry had had “a bad press” in recent literature, being depicted occasionally as epitomizing submissiveness and self-hatred.

Theirs is a complex history, and hence the importance of the diverse testimony collected at the Institute; but it is also appropriate to recall Heine’s thought--that Jews are like the people they live among, only more so. Hence German Jews, who came in great variety—orthodox, liberal, secular, converted—were like Germans only more so: ambitious, talented, disciplined, and full of ambivalence.

After their civic emancipation in the nineteenth century, German Jews made an unprecedented leap to achievement, prominence, and wealth within only three generations, but some special insecurity and vulnerability clung to them, as it did to many Germans. I remember finding in an obscure book Disraeli’s confession to young Montefiore: “You and I belong to a race that can do everything but fail.” What a poignant remark, I thought, and mentioned it to my son, who instantly responded, “How hard on the others.”

It probably was hard on the others, but now many Germans regret the absence of that creative complicated element of German Jewry. They recall the inestimable contributions that Jews made to German life and culture in their century of partial emancipation. But their forbears had more complicated feelings on the subject, and even the most successful Jews felt, as Walther Rathenau once said, that “there comes a moment in every Jew’s life when he realizes he is a second-class citizen.”

Perhaps that strange mixture of German hospitality and hostility to Jews evoked the ambivalent response of some of the greatest of German Jews. They were the brilliant diagnosticians of German-European hypocrisy, the memorable breakers of taboos: think of Heine’s mockery of German sentimental pretense, of Karl Marx’s insistence that the cash nexus trumps virtue, or of Sigmund Freud’s exposure of sexual hypocrisy and falsehood. Disturbers of a false peace are indispensable but rarely welcomed. So anti-semitism, which comes in many guises and degrees, existed in pre-1914 Germany, as it did more ferociously in other countries. In Germany, it became an all-consuming political weapon only after the Great War. It is now conventional wisdom that the First World War and its senseless, unimaginable slaughter was the Ur-catastrophe of the last century.

It brutalized a Europe that before 1914, though deeply flawed by injustice and arrogance, also contained the promise of great emancipatory movements, championing the demands for social justice, for equality, for women’s emancipation, for all of human rights. The war radicalized Europe; without it, there would have been no Bolshevism and no Fascism. In the postwar climate and in the defeated and self-deceived Germany, National Socialism flourished and ultimately made it possible for Hitler to establish the most popular, the most murderous, the most seductive, and the most repressive regime of the last century.

But the rise of National Socialism was neither inevitable nor accidental. It did have deep roots, but the most urgent lesson to remember is that it could have been stopped. This is but one of the many lessons contained in modern German history, lessons that should not be squandered in cheap and ignorant analogies. A key lesson is that civic passivity and willed blindness were the preconditions for the triumph of National Socialism, which many clearheaded Germans recognized at the time as a monstrous danger and ultimate nemesis.

We who were born at the end of the Weimar Republic and who witnessed the rise of National Socialism—left with that all-consuming, complex question: how could this horror have seized a nation and corrupted so much of Europe?—should remember that even in the darkest period there were individuals who showed active decency, who, defying intimidation and repression, opposed evil and tried to ease suffering. I wish these people would be given a proper European memorial—not to appease our conscience but to summon the courage of future generations. Churchmen, especially Protestant clergy, shared his hostility to the liberal-secular state and its defenders, and they, too, were filled with anti-Semitic doctrine.

Allow me a few remarks not about the banality of evil but about its triumph in a deeply civilized country. After the Great War and Germany’s defeat, conditions were harsh and Germans were deeply divided between moderates and democrats on the one hand and fanatic extremists of the right and the left on the other. National Socialists portrayed Germany as a nation that had been betrayed or stabbed in the back by socialists and Jews; they portrayed Weimar Germany as a moral-political swamp; they seized on the Bolshevik-Marxist danger, painted it in lurid colors, and stoked people’s fear in order to pose as saviors of the nation. In the late 1920s a group of intellectuals known as conservative revolutionaries demanded a new volkish authoritarianism, a Third Reich. Richly financed by corporate interests, they denounced liberalism as the greatest, most invidious threat, and attacked it for its tolerance, rationality and cosmopolitan culture. These conservative revolutionaries were proud of being prophets of the Third Reich—at least until some of them were exiled or murdered by the Nazis when the latter came to power. Throughout, the Nazis vilified liberalism as a semi-Marxist-Jewish conspiracy and, with Germany in the midst of unprecedented depression and immiseration, they promised a national rebirth.

Twenty years ago, I wrote about “National Socialism as Temptation,” about what it was that induced so many Germans to embrace the terrifying specter. There were many reasons, but at the top ranks Hitler himself, a brilliant populist manipulator who insisted and probably believed that Providence had chosen him as Germany’s savior, that he was the instrument of Providence, a leader who was charged with executing a divine mission. God had been drafted into national politics before, but Hitler’s success in fusing racial dogma with a Germanic Christianity was an immensely powerful element in his electoral campaigns. Some people recognized the moral perils of mixing religion and politics, but many more were seduced by it. It was the pseudo-religious transfiguration of politics that largely ensured his success, notably in Protestant areas.

German moderates and German elites underestimated Hitler, assuming that most people would not succumb to his Manichean unreason; they didn’t think that his hatred and mendacity could be taken seriously. They were proven wrong. People were enthralled by the Nazis’ cunning transposition of politics into carefully staged pageantry, into flag-waving martial mass. At solemn moments, the National Socialists would shift from the pseudo-religious invocation of Providence to traditional Christian forms: In his first radio address to the German people, twenty-four hours after coming to power, Hitler declared, “The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built up. They regard Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and the family as the basis of national life.”

Let me cite one example of the acknowledged appeal of unreason. Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker, Nobel-laureate in physics and a philosopher, wrote to me in the mid-1980s saying that he had never believed in Nazi ideology but that he had been tempted by the movement, which seemed to him then like “the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” On reflection, he thought that National Socialism had been part of a process that the National Socialists themselves hadn’t understood. He may well have been right: the Nazis didn’t realize that they were part of an historic process in which resentment against a disenchanted secular world found deliverance in the ecstatic escape of unreason. German elites proved susceptible to this mystical brew of pseudo- religion and disguised interest. The Christian churches most readily fell into line as well, though with some heroic exceptions.

Though modern German history offers lessons in both disaster and recovery, German has remained the language of politics in crisis. And the principal lesson speaks of the fragility of democracy, the fatality of civic passivity or indifference; German history teaches us that malice and simplicity have their own appeal, that force impresses, and that nothing in the public realm is inevitable.

Another lesson is the possibility of reconstruction, for the history of the Federal Republic since World War Two, a republic that is now fifty-five years old, exemplifies success despite its serious flaws and shortcomings. Postwar Germany made a democracy grow on what was initially uncongenial ground, when its people were still steeped in resentment and denial. American friendship supported that reconstruction, especially in its first decade.

I fear that an estrangement is now taking place, and I suspect that all of us here would wish to preserve in the private realm what may be in jeopardy in public life. German democracy, German acceptance of Western traditions, has been the precondition for its gradual reconciliation with neighbors and former enemies, with Poles and Slavs; for its efforts at reconciliation with Jews; for a general acceptance of the burden of the past and a collective commitment for the future. This German achievement is remarkable—but it too needs constant protection.

Herr Fischer, thank you for coming, and thank you for your kind words. We wish you success and Fortuna. Your great predecessors Walther Rathenau and Gustav Stresemann longed and worked for a peaceful Europe; your responsibilities go beyond Europe, which at last is peaceful. My hope is for a renewal on still firmer grounds of a trans-Atlantic community of liberal democracies. Every democracy needs a liberal fundament, a Bill of Rights enshrined in law and spirit, for this alone gives democracy the chance for self-correction and reform. Without it, the survival of democracy is at risk. Every genuine conservative knows this.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.

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