On The Monitor this week:
- Mathew Hoh on the futility and likely counterproductive results of U.S. military action against ISIS/ISIL
- Bruce Fein on the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)
More about this week’s guests:
Matthew Hoh is the Former director of the Afghanistan Study Group, Hoh is a former Marine and State Department official. In 2009 he resigned from his post with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of U.S. strategic policy and goals in Afghanistan (Washington Post, front page, “U.S. Official Resigns Over Afghan War,” October 27, 2009).
Quote: I am in opposition to the US being involved militarily in the civil wars in Iraq and Syria, as I foresee the results being the same as previous US interventions: escalation of the wars, mass suffering of the Iraqi and Syrian people, and a waste of American lives and treasury. Despite the Administration’s claims, this authorization is not limited, it simply pushes the decision for the US to remain at war in Iraq and Syria to the next president; it allows for ground troops, just not “enduring” ground troops, an incredibly subjective description; and it offers no path to peace and reconciliation in Iraq and Syria, just the promise of Americans killing and dying in the middle of two civil wars. In its coda the authorization does repeal the 2002 authorization for President Bush to invade Iraq, which is the genesis of these wars and of the Islamic State, but rather than serving as a cautionary historical blunder to protect our leaders from repeating a tragedy, it simply is written as a preceding and out dated legal necessity.
On the Monitor this week:
- Freedom of the Press under serious assault by Obama and Holder. An interview with Matt Rothschild.
- Is Boko Haram in Nigeria stronger because U.S.-led War in Libya Boost? An interview with Ajamu Baraka.
More about this week’s guests:
Matthew Rothschild is the senior editor of The Progressive magazine (from 1994), which is one of the leading voices for peace and social justice in this country. Rothschild has appeared on Nightline, C-SPAN, The O’Reilly Factor, and NPR, and his newspaper commentaries have run in the Chicago Tribune, the L.A. Times, the Miami Herald, and a host of other newspapers. Rothschild is the host of “Progressive Radio,” a syndicated half-hour weekly interview program. And he does a two-minute daily radio commentary, entitled “Progressive Point of View,” which is also syndicated around the country. Rothschild is the author of You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression (New Press, 2007). He also is the editor of Democracy in Print: The Best of The Progressive, 1909-2009 (University of Wisconsin Press, 2009)
Nearly 50,000 people have signed a petition in recent days urging President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to end legal moves against New York Times reporter James Risen.
Charging that the administration has launched “an assault on freedom of the press,” the petition tells Obama and Holder: “We urge you in the strongest terms to halt all legal action against Mr. Risen and to safeguard the freedom of journalists to maintain the confidentiality of their sources.”
Federal prosecutors are threatening Risen with jail unless he reveals a confidential source. Risen has said he will not capitulate.
Freedom of the Press Foundation: Court Guts Reporter’s Privilege
Truthout: Conversation With James Risen: Can Journalists Protect Their Sources?
Politico: Justice Department Urges SCOTUS to Pass Up Reporter’s Privilege Case
Justice Department Brief: James Risen v. United States of America
Titled “We Support James Risen Because We Support a Free Press,” the petition says: “Without confidentiality, journalism would be reduced to official stories — a situation antithetical to the First Amendment.”
The petition was initiated by five organizations: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR); the Freedom of the Press Foundation; The Nation; The Progressive / Center for Media and Democracy; and RootsAction.org.
Ajamu Baraka is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who is based in Colombia. He has written extensively on Africa and just wrote the piece “From Benghazi to Boko Haram: Why I support the Benghazi Inquiry,” which states: “Seemingly out of nowhere, Boko Haram burst into the awareness of people around the world as a shadowy group of Islamists with the ability to carry out audacious attacks that paralyzed the army of the most populous country in Africa. People now want to know the group’s origins, where they came from, why they are kidnapping girls and how they became such a powerful threat. All important questions — but questions that cannot be answered by just looking at the internal politics of Nigeria, as important as those are, because Boko Haram is incomprehensible when decontextualized from the destabilization, death and destruction unleashed across Africa from the Sahel into West Africa as a result of one historic event — the vicious NATO obliteration of the state of Libya.
“African Union Commission chief Jean Ping warned NATO, during its bombing campaign and arming of so-called rebel forces in Libya, that the weapons they provided the ‘rebels’ would end up in the hands of al Qaeda throughout Africa. He said, ‘Africa’s concern is that weapons that are delivered to one side or another … are already in the desert and will arm terrorists and fuel trafficking.’
“Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo expressed what many in Africa feared from the NATO attack on Libya: ‘We knew that at the end of the Libya operations, there would be fallout. And the fallout would be where would all the weapons go? Where would be some of those who have been trained how to use weapons [and] how would they be accounted for? … Part of what is happening in Mali is part of the fallout from Libya, and we should not expect that Mali will be the last.’
“Reports from the United Nations [Reuters headline in 2012: “Arms from Libya Could Reach Boko Haram, al Qaeda: UN“], the Guardian newspaper and many other sources reveal how Boko Haram benefited from the destabilization of various countries across the Sahel following the Libya conflict, receiving arms and training from an emboldened al Qaeda and its Saudi backers. …
“We understand that there will be an attempt to keep the focus narrow. Members of both parties and everyone in the higher echelons of the military/intelligence community knew that the U.S. had aligned with groups in Eastern Libya that were known to be jihadists. The fact that both parties supported the NATO intervention knowing that jihadists affiliated with al Qaeda played a major part in the overthrow of Gaddafi and that the largest CIA station in North Africa was established in Benghazi where it provided arms and was used as a staging ground for inserting jihadist forces into Syria, means that both parties share an interest in avoiding the serious legal and moral implications of U.S. actions in Libya. …
“And I am outraged knowing that U.S. policy-makers don’t give a damn about the school girls in Nigeria, because their real objective is to use the threat of Boko Haram in the Northern part of the country to justify the real goal of occupying the oil fields in the South and to block the Chinese in Nigeria.”
On this week’s show:
- The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled in 2011 that the NSA’s program is illegal. We talk with Mark Rumold about the possible release of that opinion, which, as you may expect, is secret.
- Dirty Wars hits the big screen in Houston and around the country. We talk with film’s director, Richard Rowley
More about this week’s guests:
Mark Rumold is a staff attorney at EFF, working primarily on the FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) Project. His legal interests include the First Amendment, information privacy, and the ways technology can improve how we structure government. He received his law degree from Boalt Hall and his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. In his spare time, Mark likes doing the New York Times crossword puzzle, cheering for disappointing sports teams, and traveling.
Richard Rowley director, cinematographer, editor. Over the course of fifteen years, Richard Rowley, co-founder of Big Noise Films, has made multiple award-winning documentary features including Fourth World War and This Is What Democracy Looks Like. His shorts and news reports are also regularly featured on and commissioned by leading outlets including Al Jazeera, BBC, CBC, CNN International, Democracy Now!, and PBS. Rowley is a co-founder of the Independent Media Center. Rowley has been a Pulitzer Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow, a Jerome Foundation Fellow, and a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow.
This week’s show looks at the expanding wars in Libya and Afghanistan – How the Obama administration fiddles the numbers and violates the constitution.
Tonight’s Guests are Jules Lobel and Gareth Porter
Through the U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights, Jules Lobel has litigated important issues regarding the application of international law in the U.S. courts. In the late 1980’s, he advised the Nicaraguan government on the development of its first democratic constitution, and has also advised the Burundi government on constitutional law issues.
Professor Lobel is editor of a text on civil rights litigation and of a collection of essays on the U.S. Constitution, A Less Than Perfect Union (Monthly Review Press, 1988). He is author of numerous articles on international law, foreign affairs, and the U.S. Constitution in publications including Yale Law Journal, Harvard International Law Journal, Cornell Law Review, and Virginia Law Review. He is a member of the American Society of International Law.
“The House refusal to authorize the Libya war makes clear the president doesn’t have any authority under the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution to continue with the war in Libya.” Read the CCR statement
Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy who has been independent since a brief period of university teaching in the 1980s. Dr. Porter is the author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005). He has written regularly for Inter Press Service on U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran since 2005. We welcome him back to the Monitor to talk about the latest developments in the Afghanistan War.
You can read his latest articles here.
The Los Angeles Times reports: “Gen. David H. Petraeus, President Obama’s choice to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told senators Thursday that the U.S. should consider a policy for using special interrogation techniques when a detainee is withholding information that is immediately needed to save lives.”
This week’s show looks at events in Libya with two different guests – Horace Campbell and Robert Naiman.
Horace Campbell is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. He is the author of Rasta and Resistance From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney; Reclaiming Zimbabwe: The Exhaustion of the Patriarchal Model of Liberation; and Pan Africanism, Pan Africanists and African Liberation in the 21st century. His most recent book is Barack Obama and 21st Century Politics: A Revolutionary Moment in the USA. He is working on a book on AFRICOM (United States Africa Command).
Opposing Gaddafi’s massacre and foreign intervention in Libya
Website: Horace Campbell
Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. Mr. Naiman edits the Just Foreign Policy daily news summary and writes on U.S. foreign policy at Huffington Post. He is president of the board of Truthout. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East. He joins us tonight to talk about military action in Libya and the potential consequences of these actions.
He just wrote the piece “Congress Must Debate the Libya War,” which states: “To put it crudely: as a matter of logic, if President Obama can bomb Libya without Congressional authorization, then President Palin can bomb Iran without Congressional authorization. If, God forbid, we ever get to that fork in the road, you can bet your bottom dollar that the advocates of bombing Iran will invoke Congressional silence now as justification for their claims of unilateral presidential authority to bomb anywhere, anytime.”
Website: Robert Naiman | Just Foreign Policy
This week marks the 8th anniversary of the official start of the invasion of Iraq. As has been noted on this show many times, Iraq had been under fairly constant bombardment for over a decade prior to that date but this was an official declaration of war. Even though it was unconstitutional since Congress did not declare war, the people most affected by the war – Iraqi civilians – don’t much care about the constitutionality of the war and continue to suffer as a result of it.
This week also marks the 8th anniversary of The Monitor. Tonight’s guests will be Raed Jarrar and Phyllis Bennis.
Raed Jarrar is an Iraqi-American blogger and political advocate. He has just returned from his last trip to Iraq last week where he spent a month in Erbil participating in a conference on Iraqi media. Raed Jarrar was born in Iraq, and he was in Baghdad 8 years ago during the US-led invasion. Raed immigrated to the US in 2005. He is joining us from Washington, DC.
Blog: Raed in the Middle
Phyllis Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of “Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s UN.”
Quote: “Libya’s opposition movement faces a ruthless military assault. They have already paid a far higher price in lost and broken lives than activists in any of the other democratic uprisings shaping this year’s Arab Spring. They are desperate. So it is not surprising that they have urged, demanded, pleaded for international help, for support from the most powerful countries and institutions most able to provide immediate military aid. [Thursday night] the UN Security Council gave them what they asked for. Or did it? The legitimacy of the Libyan protesters’ demand does not mean that the decision by the United Nations and the powerful countries behind it was legitimate as well. The Libyan opposition, or at least those speaking for it, asked for a no-fly zone, for protection from the regime’s air force, to allow them to take on and defeat their dictatorship on their own terms. Many of us opposed that idea, for a host of reasons including the dangers of escalation and the threat of a new U.S. war in the Middle East. But whatever one thinks about that demand, the Security Council resolution went far beyond a no-fly zone. Instead, the United Nations essentially declared war on Libya.”
Commentary: UN Declares War on Libya
This week’s show looks at the economy from a couple of different angles. The first is the redistribution of wealth from poorer to richer and the second is the effect recent events in the Middle East have had on oil and gas prices. Our guests are Richard Wolff and Chris Markowski
Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan. He recently wrote and article titled “How the rich soaked the rest of us – The astonishing story of the last few decades is a massive redistribution of wealth, as the rich have shifted the tax burden.”
It is well worth the read.
Article: How the rich soaked the rest of us
Christopher Markowski is the youngest nationally syndicated talk radio host in the USA. He has worked on Wall Street and runs a company providing financial advice to private investors. He will be talking with us about his views on the latest ‘energy crisis’.