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We will be featuring a recording of a previous interview with J. Michael Springmann. You can get a signed copy of his book Goodbye, Europe? Hello, Chaos? Merkel’s Migrant Bomb by calling in your pledge of $75 at 713-526-5738 or by pledging online at kpft.org.
Topic: Europe is under siege, flooded by wave after wave of migrants and refugees from destabilized nations. What drives this trend—and what awaits the continent if its borders collapse?
They come from across the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa—floods of refugees seeking sanctuary in Europe. Most are men. Some are terrorists. And all represent an ethnopolitical nightmare for the European Union.
What drives these migrants? Why, instead of seeking out nations with common ethnic and religious ties, do they instead head north and west, where few speak their language or share a common culture?
In Goodbye,Europe? Hello, Chaos? Merkel’s Migrant Bomb, former diplomat J. Michael Springmann provides an in-depth analysis of the migrant flood, its causes, and what it means for Europe. Building on arguments put forward in his previous work, Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World, the ex–State Department official and attorney reveals how US foreign policy created the crisis.
Springmann’s insider knowledge of US policy permeates this insightful, sometimes terrifying look at a world where migrants become weapons, nationalism is condemned, and civil liberties hang in the balance.
As the world watches the destruction of Syria and the flood of refugees into Europe, few bother to ask some important questions: Who benefits? Who provides refugees with the resources they need to head north and west? Why are most migrants male, and why is Europe a favored destination?
About our guest:
J. Michael Springmann, a career official with both the Commerce and State departments. He was economic/commercial officer in Stuttgart (1977–1980), a commercial attaché in New Delhi (1980–1982), a visa officer in Jeddah (1987–1989), a political/economic officer in Stuttgart (1989–1991), and, finally, an economic analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1991). He is the author of Visas for Al Qaedea: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World and Goodbye, Europe? Hello, Chaos? Merkel’s Migrant Bomb
We will be featuring part of a speech by John Kiriakou delivered at a KPFT fundraising event in August. We have signed copies his new book Doing Time Like A Spy available for a pledge of $120. His book is a memoir of his twenty-three months in prison. Using twenty life skills he learned in CIA operational training, he was able to keep himself safe and at the top of the prison social heap. Including his award-winning blog series “Letters from Loretto,” Doing Time Like a Spy is at once a searing journal of daily prison life and an alternately funny and heartbreaking commentary on the federal prison system.
More about this week’s guest:
John Kiriakou became an anti-torture whistleblower and activist when he told ABC News in December 2007 that the CIA was torturing prisoners, that torture was official U.S. government policy, and that the policy was approved by the President. John was driven to ruin by the Justice Department because of these revelations.
Immediately after John’s interview, the Justice Department initiated a years-long investigation, determined to find something–anything–to charge him with. This was his payback for blowing the whistle on the torture program.
John eventually was charged with three counts of espionage, one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and one count of making a false statement as a result of the 2007 ABC News interview. Finally, in order to avoid the risk of spending 45 years in prison, John accepted a plea to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection
Act. All other charges were dropped. Even though he had no criminal intent, and there was no harm to the national security, accepting the plea resulted in a sentence of 30 months in prison.
From 1990 until March 2004, first as an analyst, and later as a counterterrorism operations officer, John Kiriakou served in the Central Intelligence Agency. He became chief of counterterrorist operations in Pakistan following the September 11 attacks acting as a senior operations officer. His tour culminated in the March 2002 with the capture of Abu Zubaydah, al-Qa’ida’s third-ranking official.
When he returned from Pakistan, John was named Executive Assistant to the CIA’s Deputy Director for Operations. In that capacity, John was the principal Iraq briefer for the Director of Central Intelligence.
John then became senior investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after a brief time in the private sector, where he focused on international terrorism, piracy, and counternarcotics. Additionally, John served as senior intelligence advisor to the Committee’s chairman, Senator John Kerry.
Following his service on the Hill, John became an intelligence and counterterrorism consultant and author.
On The Monitor this week:
- Last week Roy Moore won Senate runoff election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Moore is no stranger to controversy (among other things, he has said that homosexuality should be illegal, Muslims to not be allowed in Congress, and 9/11 was God’s punishment for Americans’ sins). We talk with Frederick Clarkson about the significance of Moore’s victory.
- The Spanish government violently responded to an independence referendum in Catalonia. Hundreds were injured or unable to vote. The result, despite (or because of the low turnout) was about 90 percent in favor of independence. Sebastiaan Faber explains how and why this happened.
More about this week’s guests:
Frederick Clarkson is senior fellow at Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank in Somerville, Massachusetts. He is also the author of the 2016 report “When Exemption is the Rule: The Religious Freedom Strategy of the Christian Right” and wrote the book Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy. You can also read some of his recent work here. Quote: “Roy Moore is the most openly theocratic politician in national life — and he has a good chance of being the next U.S. Senator from Alabama. The special election to fill the remainder of the term of Jeff Sessions, who was appointed as U.S. Attorney General by president Trump, will be held on Dec. 12. Moore is heavily favored to prevail over Democrat and former federal prosecutor Doug Jones. Moore favors criminalizing abortion and homosexuality. He does not respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution, and the federal courts to enforce civil rights laws. His views hark back to the time of massive resistance to civil rights for African Americans, when opponents invoked the notions of nullification and interposition — which basically meant that states could ignore federal actions; including court orders they believed were inconsistent with the Constitution. Like the nullificationists of the last century, Moore does not view the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal courts as binding on the states. Particularly if they conflict with his idiosyncratic view of what God requires. Roy Moore epitomizes the contemporary politics of theocratic Christian dominionism in his attacks on separation of church and state and religious freedom. Moore was twice elected on a statewide ballot as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He has also been removed from office each time because he violated orders from a federal judge. The first time, he had installed a two-and-a-half-ton monument to the Ten Commandments in the foyer of the state courthouse. A federal judge ruled that this was an unambiguous violation of separation of church and state and ordered it removed. Moore refused. The second time, he sought to undermine a federal court order to state officials to honor the Supreme Court’s 2015 stand for marriage equality in the case of Obergefell v Hodges. Moore sought to direct state probate judges not to issue same sex marriage licenses, claiming that existing state bans on same sex marriage were still in force.”
Sebastiaan Faber is a professor of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College and author of several books, including Alcalá de Henares: Instituto Franklin de Estudios Norteamericanos; Anglo-American Hispanists and the Spanish Civil War: Hispanophilia, Commitment, and Discipline; Exile and Cultural Hegemony: Spanish Intellectuals in Mexico (1939-1975) and the forthcoming Memory Battles and the Spanish Civil War. He just co-wrote “Have Spain and Catalonia Reached a Point of No Return?” for The Nation. Quote: “While the repressive measures taken so far have certainly made a region-wide vote more difficult, the Catalans refuse to give up. In a nationally televised interview aired on Sept. 24, Catalan President Puigdemont vowed to go ahead with the referendum [this Sunday]. Meanwhile, the arrests of Sept. 20 have prompted massive, ongoing demonstrations in Barcelona and elsewhere.”
On The Monitor this week:
- Victor Wallis on Harvard rescinding Chelsea Manning’s visiting fellowship after CIA director cancels event calling Manning a “traitor”
- Jon Schwarz on North Korea, how the media is covering the story and the things we are not being told
More about this week’s guests:
Victor Wallis, is professor of liberal arts at Berklee College of Music (Boston) and managing editor of Socialism and Democracy. He is a member of the Harvard College class of 1959 and was among several Harvard graduates who presented a petition in Cambridge at the office of the Kennedy School’s dean, Douglas Elmendorf. The Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics cancelled the invitation to Manning after intense pressure from top CIA officials. The cancellation came shortly after the acting director of the Institute, Bill Delahunt, had publicly declared: “We welcome the breadth of thought-provoking viewpoints on race, gender, politics and the media.” The RootsAction petition presented on Friday says: “By revoking Chelsea Manning’s fellowship, you have disgraced the Harvard Kennedy School. By caving in to pressure from present and former top officials of the CIA, you have jettisoned academic freedom. By deciding that it is appropriate for Sean Spicer but not Chelsea Manning to retain a fellowship, you have failed to fulfill Harvard’s responsibility to be independent of government power and coercion. During his stint at the Trump White House, Mr. Spicer earned a reputation for lying. As a whistleblower, Ms. Manning earned a reputation for truth-telling. It is a sad day when a record of facile mendacity is more revered at Harvard than a record of revealing difficult truths.”
Before joining First Look, Jon Schwarz worked for Michael Moore’s Dog Eat Dog Films and was Research Producer for Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.” He’s contributed to many publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, and Slate, as well as NPR and “Saturday Night Live.”In 2003 he collected on a $1,000 bet that Iraq would have no weapons of mass destruction.
Recent articles on North Korea:
On The Monitor this week:
- Gareth Porter on whether we have been deceived over Syrian Sarin Attack
- Peter Clarke on how the First World War helped shape the political imaginations of David Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes.
More about this week’s guests:
Gareth Porter is an American historian, investigative journalist, author and policy analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy. He was active as a Vietnam specialist and anti-war activist during the Vietnam War, serving as Saigon Bureau Chief for Dispatch News Service International from 1970–1971, and later, as co-director of the Indochina Resource Center. He has written several books about the potential for peaceful conflict resolution in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, including his 2005 book Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, an analysis of how and why the United States went to war in Vietnam. In 2012 he was the winner of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, which is awarded annually by the Frontline Club in London to acknowledge reporting that exposes propaganda. His latest book is Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (Just World Books, 2014). Article: Have We Been Deceived Over Syrian Sarin Attack? Scrutinizing the Evidence in an Incident Trump Used to Justify Bombing Syria
Peter Clarke was formerly a professor of modern history and Master of Trinity Hall at Cambridge. His many books include Keynes: The Twentieth Century’s Most Influential Economist, The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire, The Keynesian Revolution in the Making, 1924-1936 and the acclaimed final volume of the Penguin History of Britain, Hope and Glory, Britain 1900-2000. He lives with his wife, the Canadian writer Maria Tippett, in Cambridge, England, and Pender Island, British Columbia. His most recent book is The Locomotive of War: Money, Empire, Power and Guilt
This week’s show features three interviews that were originally aired in September 2011. The first interview is with Andrea LeBlanc and Paul Arpaia (who at the time had just returned from Afghanistan). They are members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a group whose family members were killed in the attacks. The second interview is with Andy Worthington, a freelance investigative journalist, author and filmmaker, specializing in Guantánamo and the “War on Terror,” but also covering revolutionary movements in the Middle East, and UK politics. The third interview is with physicist Steven Jones who spoke about the collapse of WTC Building 7.
More about this week’s guests:
Andrea LeBlanc is a steering committee member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Her husband, Robert LeBlanc, was killed aboard Flight 175.
Paul Arpaia is an award-winning associate professor of history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches modern Italian and German history.
On Sept. 11, 2011, Paul’s cousin, Kathy Mazza was a captain for the New York Port Authority police force. She died at the World Trade Center carrying a person on a stretcher down a flight of stairs in the North Tower. Paul is one of 200 members of Peaceful Tomorrow from 31 states and seven foreign countries. The organization founded by family members of those killed on September 11th who have united to turn our grief into action for peace.
Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, author and filmmaker, specializing in Guantánamo and the “War on Terror,” but also covering revolutionary movements in the Middle East, and UK politics. He writes regularly for newspapers and websites including the Guardian, Truthout, Cageprisoners, and the Future of Freedom Foundation. He also writes occasionally for the Daily Star, Lebanon, the Huffington Post, Antiwar.com, CounterPunch, AlterNet, and ZNet, and his work is regularly cross-posted across the Internet.
His website is one of the top 100 world politics blogs, was archived by the British Library in January 2011, and receives around 300,000 page views every month. In the five years he has spent working full-time on Guantánamo and related issues, he has worked for two NGOs (Reprieve and Cageprisoners), and has also been involved with a third NGO, Amnesty International, primarily in promoting, to student audiences, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” the film he co-directed with Polly Nash. In addition, he has worked as a consultant for the United Nations, and has also worked as a media partner with WikiLeaks.
Website: Andy Worthington
Steven Jones is an American physicist. For most of his career, Jones was known mainly for his work on muon-catalyzed fusion. In the fall of 2006, amid controversy surrounding his work on the collapse of the World Trade Center (which Jones believes was destroyed by controlled demolition during the September 11 attacks), he was relieved of his teaching duties and placed on paid leave from Brigham Young University. He retired on October 20, 2006 with the status of Professor Emeritus. He joins The Monitor this week to talk about 9/11, ten years later…and his recent work on alternative energy research.
This week’s show takes a closer look at Houston’s weather and flooding with two guests. Why were different parts of the city so differently impacted by Harvey and prior weather events? What will this mean for future events? First up is Historian Bob Buzzanco to discuss the political players in Houston, and Texas, and the background to recent flooding events. Our second guest is Meteorologist Eric Berger to discuss the weather conditions that created Harvey and the current “yellow blob” in the Gulf, and what we can expect from Irma.
More about this week’s guests:
Robert Buzzanco is professor of history at the University of Houston. He is a scholar of 20th Century U.S. History and Diplomatic History. Buzzanco has also contributed to national newspapers and magazines such as the Baltimore Sun, Houston Chronicle and Newsday magazine. He has been interviewed or cited by various international media such as the BBC, NPR, Financial times, Al-Jazeerra and the Islamic News Network. See the recent interview with him on Vimeo. He gives a breakdown of the current situation and the relevant history in Houston, including the 2001 tropical storm Allison, which deluged Houston and caused over 20 deaths. After that storm, Buzzanco notes there was widespread discussion of Houston following a different development model, only to pave over more green space. For more background see from the Texas Tribune and ProPublica “Boomtown, Flood Town,” which notes: “unchecked development remains a priority in the famously un-zoned city, creating short-term economic gains for some while increasing flood risks for everyone.”
Eric Berger is the senior space editor at Ars Technica, covering everything from astronomy to private space to wonky NASA policy. Berger spent his college years at the University of Texas dreaming about the stars, which led him to an astronomy degree. But he decided studying a particular classification of stars in depth for the rest of his life seemed a little dull, and preferred meeting interesting people to the solitude of observatories. He dove into journalism, hoping to explain the complexities of science and medicine to the general public. Hoping to interact with readers, he began the SciGuy blog in early 2005, encompassing everything from nanometers to parsecs. Eric previously worked at the Houston Chronicle for 17 years, where the paper was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009 for his coverage of Hurricane Ike. A certified meteorologist, Eric lives in Houston.
I want to apologize for not posting show details for the last two week. Two weeks ago I was out of the country and last week I was unable to make it to the studio because of the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Staci Davis held the show together in my absence (thank you Staci!). Things are not quite yet back to normal but we were lucky to make it through relatively unscathed. My thoughts are with those who were not so lucky. I hope you are all doing better than you were last week.