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Program Archives - 2008

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(29 Dec) 080905 Noam Chomsky - Wars, Bailouts and Elections

In the economic meltdown the term "in history" is routine. E.g., the biggest bailout in history, the largest bank failure in history, the greatest corporate collapse in history, and the stock market's worst week in history. There are more in histories on the horizon because the fundamental issue is not being addressed. The so-called free market is not free. Washington has forever been intervening on behalf of corporations. Sometimes with direct cash but more often through the tax code. And don't forget all those lucrative government contracts secured by lobbyists. Can anyone see the dots much less connect them? The political class votes for Wall Street while invoking the name of Main Street. Instead of buying toxic assets with taxpayer money why not give the money directly, at no or low-interest, to homeowners who are in danger of foreclosure?

Noam Chomsky, internationally renowned MIT professor, practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice. He is in huge demand as a public speaker all over the world. The New York Times calls him, "a global phenomenon, perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet." Author of scores of books, his latest are The Essential Chomsky and What We Say Goes.

(22 Dec) 080904 Praful Bidwai - India: A Million Mutinies

India: A land of enchantment. A favorite destination spot for Westerners who visit palaces in Rajasthan and attend spiritual retreats in the Himalayan foothills. Prior to the global meltdown, India's growth rates ranked among the highest in the world. Glitzy malls and office towers dotted the landscape. Billionaire Bollywood moguls were cutting deals with Hollywood. Launching moon missions, it was being hyped as the next superpower. There's that India but there are also other Indias. Income gaps between rich and poor escalated. The number of children suffering from malnutrition in India is nearly double that of Sub-Saharan Africa. Economically-distressed farmers are committing suicide in huge numbers. A plethora of Special Economic Zones, sometimes called, Special Exploitation Zones, have mushroomed. The upshot? A large area of the country is up in arms, literally, in resistance to unjust government policies and predatory corporations.

Praful Bidwai is a leading independent Indian journalist and political analyst. He served as editor of The Times of India for many years. He currently writes for the Hindustan Times, Frontline, and many other newspapers and magazines. His regular column, From the World's Most Dangerous Place is on www.Antiwar.com.. He is the recipient of the Sean McBride International Peace Prize.

(15 Dec) 080903 Tariq Ali - Uncle Sam's Pakistan

Pakistan has long been a close ally of the United States. Forging strong ties with Pakistani military and intelligence services, Washington embraced a series of dictators. It was during the draconian 11-year rule of General Zia ul-Haq that defined the strategic relationship between Washington and Islamabad. Zia heavily Islamicized Pakistan and vastly increased the number of religious schools. Later, the U.S. supported Pervez Musharraf, another military dictator, to the end of his disastrous rule in August 2008. Today, Pakistan is on the edge of bankruptcy. There is massive unemployment, skyrocketing inflation, shortages of food and extensive power cuts. Conditions are ripe for upheaval in Uncle Sam's Pakistan. And Washington's response? It pours fuel on the fire by bombing and attacking Pakistan in pursuit of its so-called war on terror. A war, which many Pakistanis are opposed to.

Tariq Ali, an internationally renowned writer and activist, was born in Lahore, Pakistan. For many years he has been based in London where he is an editor of New Left Review. A charismatic speaker, he is in great demand all over the world. In his spare time he is a filmmaker, playwright and novelist. He is the author of many books including The Clash of Fundamentalism, Pirates of the Caribbean and Speaking of Empire & Resistance with David Barsamian. His latest book is The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power.

(08 Dec) 080902 Tahira Abdullah - Pakistani Women

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the human rights situation for women in that country is grim. The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto while she was campaigning in late December 2007 captured world headlines but violence against women continued unchecked throughout the country. The murder of Zille Huma Usman, the Punjab province's Minister for Women's Development, by a religious zealot, was another example of women's insecurity. But the killing of prominent women masks the thousands of acts of violence carried out in silence and where men often go unpunished. Women are vulnerable and lack power particularly in rural areas where they are the targets of acid attacks, burning, rape and honor killings. In a strongly patriarchal culture women's voices are generally muted. But some Pakistani women are fighting back.

Tahira Abdullah is a prominent women's rights activist and development worker based in Islamabad. AR's David Barsamian talked with her in Islamabad.

(01 Dec) 090103 Sara Roy - The Impossible Union of Arab and Jew

Have you ever found yourself being accused of being "one sided"? It happens all the time. When it comes to one of the global community's seemingly intractable disputes, the so called "Palestine / Israel Problem" it can often seem that being "one sided" depends on what side you're on. If you attempt to voice your concerns over the poverty, deprivation and incarceration of Palestinians under Israel's illegal occupation, you will soon find that accusations of being "one sided" fly thick and fast. On the other hand, if you support the so-called "security" arrangements that the Israeli government says it must maintain, you might well find yourself being described as a "friend of Israel". But what about Jews who disagree with their government? Or Jews who do not live in Israel but see only more harm, dislocation and potential loss of life, on both sides, as being the inevitable outcome of the severe conditions imposed on the Palestinian communities in Israel? The late Edward Said once said "I have been unable to live an uncommitted or suspended life. I have not hesitated to declare my affiliation with an extremely unpopular cause." But he is not alone. Many Jews, both inside Israel and without, have aligned themselves with this same "extremely unpopular cause". For their efforts, many have been shunned by their own community and many more are not given space in the mainstream media to put forward their arguments. It seems, they, like Edward Said, are too "one sided" to be allowed to speak. Sara Roy is one such Jew who has found herself muzzled by vested interests. However, the renowned Harvard Scholar refuses to accept that there are "sides" among those who are victims in this conflict. Ms Roy maintains that "Judaism has always prided itself on reflection, critical examination, and philosophical inquiry". She argues that unless Israeli Jews and those of the Diaspora reflect on their own history, critically examine their own morality and attempt to change the current Middle East paradigm, then their beloved Israel will fail.

Sara Roy has written extensively on the Palestinian economy and has authored numerous books, journal articles and commentary pieces on the impact of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. She serves on the Advisory Boards of American Near East Refugee Aid and the Centre for American and Jewish Studies at Baylor University. She delivered the 2008 Edward Said Memorial Lecture at Adelaide University on the 11th October, 2008

** Only available as CD

(24 Nov) 080901 Tom Hayden - Movements and Machiavellians

Machiavelli wrote his classic work, The Prince in 1513. The book was intended to win favor with the ruling Medici family in Florence. That is to say, he was looking for a job. The Prince has subsequently become the guide to the exercise of raw political power. Machiavelli extolled ends over means. The capturing and maintaining of power is the be all and end all of politics. His name is synonymous with ruthlessness, manipulation, and deception. Today, Washington political operatives say they are realists and pragmatists as opposed to starry-eyed idealists. Some critics of Henry Kissinger and Karl Rove described them as epitomizing the worst of the Machiavellian approach. Gandhi emphatically made the point that ends do not justify immoral means. The tension and struggle between movements and Machiavellians are constantly played out, not just in the United States, but around the world.

Tom Hayden has been involved in many of America's social movements for decades. He was the main author of the 1962 Port Huron Statement, the manifesto of Students for a Democratic Society, the campus-based, activist movement. He went from street protests and being indicted by the Nixon Administration to holding office in Sacramento. He served eighteen years in the California State Assembly and State Senate. Author of many books, his two most recent are Voices of the Chicago Eight and Writings for a Democratic Society.

(17 Nov) 080804 Ahmed Rashid - Pakistan and Afghanistan: Descent into Chaos

The chickens are coming home to roost for the United States in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Alliances with warlords, corrupt politicians, double-dealing intelligence agencies and military dictators have led to disastrous outcomes. Pakistan and Afghanistan are joined at the hip. They share bonds of kinship, culture, languages and religion. There are large Pakhtoon populations on both sides of the 1,500 mile, (2,400 km) border. Pakistan and Afghanistan are experiencing Taliban insurgencies. In Kabul, U.S.-backed Hamid Karzai sits upon a shaky throne. The former Unocal oil company consultant has narrowly escaped assassination. His counterpart in Islamabad, Asif Ali Zardari, husband of the slain Benazir Bhutto, and who spent years in jail on criminal charges, is walking on eggshells. Meanwhile, the Americans keep bombing schools and wedding parties in both countries. And now Washington is carrying out attacks by its troops inside Pakistan

Ahmed Rashid has been described as "the most influential journalist in the world." Based in Lahore, he has been reporting on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia for many years. His articles appear in leading newspapers and magazines all over the world. He is a guest on major TV and radio outlets. His book Taliban was an international best seller. He is also the author of Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia. His latest book is Descent into Chaos.

(10 Nov) 080803 Gore Vidal - The Fall of the United States

At the end of WWII, the U.S. emerged as a global power with unprecedented wealth and advantages. Most of that has been squandered. We've gone for number one creditor nation to number one debtor. As its vast military machine straddles the globe, at home, things fall apart. The mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, need a massive taxpayer bailout. Even Thomas Friedman, a champion of U.S. dominance, in the Sept 7, 2008 New York Times mentions the word "decline" and U.S. in the same sentence and points to problems "in infrastructure, basic research and education." Curious that he doesn't mention the huge Pentagon budget, hundreds of bases, and the permanent war economy as factors contributing to the decline. The signs of decay are everywhere but Washington politicians from both parties largely avoid talking about it. Imperial fantasies continue.

Gore Vidal is one of the singular literary figures of this era. A scion of a political family, he grew up in a milieu of power and politics. Winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, he's the author of scores of historical novels, plays, and screenplays. He also has written a number of bestselling non-fiction books including Dreaming War, Imperial America and Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. The Washington Post calls him "the master essayist of our age."

(03 Nov) 080802 Kevin Phillips - Swimming with the Sharks: The U.S. Economy

Since the end of World War II, almost automatically, each generation expected to be better off then the previous one. No more. The American economy is in decline. The rapidity of the collapse has been startling by historical standards. Thanks to reckless bi-partisan policies at home and endless imperialism and militarism overseas the salad days of prosperity are over and unlikely to return. The national debt, the budget deficit, the trade deficit, and individual debt are huge. The rate of home foreclosures has not been seen the Great Depression of the 1930s. Corporate and personal bankruptcies are sharply rising. The math is pretty simple. If you keep borrowing and borrowing, sooner or later you have to pay up. The sharks are out there taking bigger and bigger bites of your wallet and, if you have any, your savings.

Kevin Phillips was chief political analyst for the 1968 Republican presidential campaign, which culminated in the victory of Richard Nixon. Phillips also was partly responsible for the design of the Republican "Southern strategy," which transformed the once Democratic South into a Republican stronghold. In 1969 he wrote The Emerging Republican Majority. His politics have evolved over the ensuing decades. He is the author of many books including American Theocracy and Bad Money.

(27 Oct) 050802 John Bonifaz - The Case for Impeaching Bush

On May 1, 2005 the Sunday Times of London published a secret memo which summarized meetings between top British officials and the Bush Administration. Dubbed the "Downing Street Memo" it instantly became front-page news in Britain but not in the United States. The memo's explosive content reveals that by July 2002 George W. Bush had already decided to invade Iraq, that he knew that legal cover for the war was "thin," and that he would need to sell it to the public using "fixed" intelligence claims about 9/11 terror links and WMDs.

John Bonifaz, lawyer, activist, and author of Warrior King, has launched a legal and citizens campaign aimed to impeach President Bush. The campaign is online at afterdowningstreet.org.

(20 Oct) 060701 Noam Chomsky - Facts Matter: The War on Terror

Doris Lessing, the eminent British writer, once said of Tony Blair: "He believes in magic. That if you say a thing, it's true." She could describing George Bush. The American president, who has commented that he has "war on his mind," proudly proclaims that he goes by his "gut" instinct when he makes decisions. That's scary. Stated simply, facts matter. Shortly after 9/11, Bush declared a "war on terror," not knowing or recalling that years before Ronald Reagan beat him to the slogan. Anyway, some heads did turn. Gore Vidal found it absurd. "It's like a war on dandruff," he observed

Noam Chomsky, internationally renowned MIT professor, practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice. He is in huge demand as a public speaker all over the world. The New York Times calls him, "a global phenomenon, perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet." Author of scores of books, his latest are Failed States and the bestseller Imperial Ambitions.

(13 Oct) 031102 Chris Hedges - War As An Addiction

War is an emotionally intense and exhilarating experience. From ancient times war and the warrior have been celebrated. The adrenalin rushes of combat, the parades, the medals and the adulation are all part of the allure of war. It is imbued with ideas of nobility, selflessness and glory. General George Patton, one of America's most famous warriors said, "Compared to war all other forms of human endeavour shrink to insignificance. God, I do love it so." War is an elixir that gives some who wage it purpose and resolve. If one is not careful, as Chris Hedges warns, it can become addictive.

Chris Hedges joined The New York Times in 1990. Before that he reported for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio. He has seen war up close in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central America. His book War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning received the 2003 Overseas Press Club award. The Los Angeles Times calls it, "A powerful message to people contemplating the escalation of the "war against terrorism."

(06 Oct) 080801 Winter Soldier - Testimonies from Iraq War Veterans

The Winter Soldier investigation originally took place in Detroit in 1971. Vietnam War veterans testified about war crimes they had committed or witnessed. In 2003 the United States invaded Iraq on false pretenses. Not one of the many allegations to justify the attack was true. In an endless war and occupation no one has been held accountable. The president says, "I don't regret it at all." The vice-president says the war is "succeeding brilliantly." Representative Dennis Kucinich has introduced 35 articles of impeachment against the president. As one comic remarked, "Is that all?" Thousands of American troops have died, tens of thousands have been wounded, war costs may exceed $3 trillion. The war has come home in tragic ways. Divorce, depression, PTSD, domestic violence and suicide rates are high among returning veterans. Taking the name Winter Soldier, dozens of war veterans gathered in Silver Spring, Maryland in the USA, to talk about their experiences.

Taking the name Winter Soldier, dozens of war veterans gathered in March 2008 at Silver Spring, Maryland in the USA, to talk about their experiences.

(29 Sep) 080705 Sunita Narain - Rethinking Growth

In water stressed India, women walk for miles to fetch water. A stunning illustration of the problem is in the Himalayas. Its millennia-old glaciers are the source for many of Asia's great rivers. They are shrinking at such a rapid rate that in a quarter of a century they may disappear. The official response in India? Build more dams. What is New Delhi thinking? There will not be enough water to drive the new turbines. The paradigm of growth and so-called development is intoned like a sacred mantra, it is never even challenged. It is touted as a panacea for all problems. With the various environmental crises facing the planet it is urgent for a radical reevaluation of conventional concepts of growth.

Sunita Narain. (Soo-nee-ta Na-ra-yan) Director of the Centre for Science and the Environment in New Delhi, is a leading environmentalist. She is the editor of Down to Earth magazine. She is recipient of the Stockholm Water Prize and the Padma Shri from the Government of India. She was listed as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy magazine.

(22 Sep) 080704 Michael Parenti - Contrary Notions

Much of what passes for political analysis in the media is a discussion of tactics. Deeply embedded ideas are never mentioned let alone questioned or challenged. Taking their cues from so-called Washington conventional wisdom, such notions as international law or the UN Charter are only applied to official enemies. If you have your eyes open you can see this constantly. The pattern is almost routine to the point of boredom. But who's looking? Take commentators David Brooks and Mark Shields on PBS' NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. All perfectly reasonable and civil people who don't yell and complete their sentences. When it comes to U.S. aggression, a term you will not hear, they discuss modalities such as, Do we have enough troops? Are the Allies lined up? The underlying assumption of the right to attack is not open to debate.

Michael Parenti is one of this country's foremost independent political analysts. He has taught at major colleges and universities in the US and abroad. He is the author of numerous books including the classic Democracy for the Few and the highly acclaimed The Assassination of Julius Caesar. His latest book is Contrary Notions.

(15 Sep) 080703 Maude Barlow - The Global Water Crisis

Water, water, everywhere. It looks that way. More than 2/3s of the earth's surface is water but of that, only a tiny percentage is suitable for drinking. Underground water supplies, aquifers, the most abundant source of fresh water, are being depleted. It is predicted that two-thirds of the world's population will not have enough drinking water by 2025. Corporations with their allies in government and international financial institutions are taking advantage of this crisis by pushing through water privatization schemes. Collectively they are manufacturing consent for corporate control of water. For businesses water is blue gold. Ka-ching. For humanity it is the very basis of life. A global water justice movement is emerging to establish water as a right, which can't be bought or sold for profit.

Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, Canada's largest public advocacy organization, and the co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, working internationally for the right to water. She is the recipient of the Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, and the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. Author of many books, her latest is Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis.

(08 Sep) 080702 Youdon Aukatsang - Tibet: The Struggle for Freedom

Tibet, the roof of the world, struggles for freedom against China. Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama fled his homeland in 1959 and lives in exile in India. The Nobel Laureate is noted for his espousal of non-violence. Nevertheless he is accused by the Chinese of being "a wolf in monk's robes" plotting against Beijing and fomenting rebellion. Demonstrations against China have followed the Olympic torch around the world. The issue of Tibet is in the international spotlight. That's not where China wants it. Over the decades of Chinese rule there has been a government-sponsored "Go West" campaign to resettle Tibet with ethnic Chinese. The Dalai Lama has called what China is doing in Tibet a form of "cultural genocide" and "demographic aggression." Chinese policies and tactics are sharpening the Tibetan yearning for liberation.

Youdon Aukatsang is a member of the Tibetan Parliament in exile. She is a graduate of Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She is Executive Director of Empowering the Vision in New Delhi.

(01 Sep) 080701 Benjamin Barber - Runaway Capitalism

Our great leaders tell us what we already know, The economy is "sour." But no worries. At the end of the day all will be well. Just keep on shoppin.' Capitalism is the only game in town. Growth for growth's sake, without any attention paid to its consequences, is producing what one Canadian writer calls "The Cancer Stage of Capitalism." And like a cancer it will keep metastasizing until it kills its host. The economic system is predicated on constant expansion and growth. The gospel of consumerism is an unsustainable paradigm. What is required is a radical rethinking of basic assumptions. Yet virtually no politician is willing to speak the hard truth to citizens. They are tinkerers at best, suggesting cosmetic changes such as buying a hybrid car and recycling paper and glass. Other than that it's business as usual.

Benjamin Barber is a well-known scholar and political theorist. He is the author of many books including the bestseller Jihad vs. McWorld. His latest book is Consumed: The Fate of Citizens under Capitalism Triumphant.

(25 Aug) 080604 Steven Salaita - Anti Arab Racism

Edward Said, the great Palestinian-American scholar commented that racism against Arabs is the last acceptable form of racism in the U.S. Arabs are constructed as the Other, dark and evil. There have been numerous Newsweek and Time magazine covers depicting angry, bearded Arabs, wearing a checkered kaffiyeh, and brandishing a weapon. Radio & TV talk show hosts compare Islam to fascism. Hollywood movies contribute greatly to negative images of Arabs. They are the enemy du jour. The conventional stereotype of Arabs usually consists of the following elements: They are all wealthy, barbaric, cunning, untrustworthy, mendacious, misogynist, cruel and sadistic. Perhaps the most bizarre comment about Arabs is that they are anti-Semites. Bizarre why? Arabs are Semites. Arabic is a Semitic language. In these formulaic constructions, repeated ad nauseum, an entire people and culture have been reduced to caricatures.

Steven Salaita is a professor at Virginia Tech. He's the author of Arab American Literary Fictions, Cultures and Politics. His latest book is Anti-Arab Racism in the USA.

(18 Aug) 080603 Noam Chomsky - Iraq: The Forever War

Imperial powers have historically cooked up great reasons to sell their wars to their people. The standard litany for aggression is self-defense, freedom, liberty and democracy. The attack on Iraq was not a mistake. It was a crime. And criminals should be brought to justice. But we don't have anyone in the political system that can utter those words. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, "Impeachment is off the table." And the media? Surely the watchdog of democracy won't shy away from the truth. They'll tell the American people the hard facts. Sorry. The press corps is more like a press corpse. The crime of the war on Iraq and its now estimated, by Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, three trillion dollar cost will hasten the demise of the United States as a world power. Will anyone be held accountable?

Noam Chomsky, internationally renowned MIT professor, practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice. He is in huge demand as a public speaker all over the world. The New York Times calls him, "a global phenomenon, perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet." Author of scores of books, his latest are The Essential Chomsky and What We Say Goes.

(11 Aug) 080602 Scott Ritter - Iran: All Options on the Table

George W. Bush proclaimed, "The action and policies of the Government of Iran continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States." That was part of executive order Bush issued extending the national emergency with respect to Iran. The leaders in Washington and those that would replace them frequently chant in unison that when it comes to Iran: All options are on the table. Iran is virtually encircled by American military forces. It has not threatened the U.S. So why would America attack? Seems nutty, right what with Iraq and Afghanistan? But Tehran has always been in Washington's gunsights. Axis of evil, regime change, all of that.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine intelligence officer and a veteran of the first Gulf War. He served as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq for seven years. He's an expert on weapons and arms control. In the lead up to the attack on Iraq, Ritter openly questioned whether Iraq had any weapons of mass destruction. He is the author of Frontier Justice and Waging Peace. His latest book is Target Iran.

(04 Aug) 080601 Arundhati Roy - Brave New India: Uprisings

India is hot. Its meteoric rise as an economic power with a growing number of millionaires and billionaires is a great success story. Not quite. Politically, India has gone from its Nehru-inspired non-alignment to aligning itself with Washington. Its priorities mirror its mentor's. 19% of the country's budget goes to the military while education gets about 5% and public health a scant 1%. Journalist Praful Bidwai writes, "We are a poor country and we are spending like crazy on guns while 77% of Indians live on less than 20 rupees [50 cents] per day." They have little access to clean water and electricity. The contrasts and contradictions are sharp and widening between the rich who live well-lit lives of opulence and the indigent who are literally in darkness. From Assam to Jharkand and from West Bengal to Andhra Pradesh, the dispossessed are rebelling and resisting.

Arundhati Roy is an author, lecturer and activist. Her book, The God of Small Things won the prestigious Booker Prize. The New York Times calls her, "India's most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence." She is the winner of the Lannan Award for Cultural Freedom. Her latest books are An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire and The Checkbook & the Cruise Missile, with David Barsamian.

(28 Jul) 080504 Trita Parsi - Israel, Iran and the US: Treacherous Alliance

You know the old saw, politics makes strange bedfellows. How about this one? Israel, Iran and the U.S. Yep, hard to believe but true. For many years the three acted in close cooperation. It's a story that's barely known. And for good reason. It is inconvenient. It's like being reminded that the U.S. supported Saddam Hussain during his worse atrocities in the 1980s. Now that Iran is evil incarnate and its leader is compared to Hitler, all kinds of charges are levelled against it. Iran is responsible for the messes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush announces, "Iran is a threat to nation's everywhere." Everywhere? Nigeria? Ecuador? New Zealand, too? Iran is the excuse for the U.S. to inject itself even further into the Middle East by building more bases and selling billions of dollars in weaponry.

Trita Parsi is the author of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States. He wrote his doctoral thesis on Israeli-Iranian relations at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He teaches at JHU. He is head of the National Iranian American Council.

(21 Jul) 080503 Dahr Jamail - Iraq: Beyond the Green Zone

The Green Zone is a special highly privileged area in Baghdad. It is heavily fortified and surround by high blast-resistant walls. It has everything most Iraqis lack: a steady supply of clean drinking water, sanitation and sewage services, lots of gas and most important electricity. The U.S. is now building its largest embassy in the world there. The vast 21-building complex is experiencing the usual cost overruns. The final price tag may exceed 3/4s of a trillion dollars. Outside the Green Zone is another world. It is called Iraq. Many journalists covering Iraq are of the drive-by category. Fly in, fly out, do a couple of stand-ups with a mosque in the background and an interview or two with a high ranking American officer and it's a wrap!

Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who went to Iraq to report on the war and occupation. His articles appear in The Guardian, The Nation and other journals and magazines. His latest book is Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq.

(14 Jul) 080502 Deborah Koffman and Alan Snitow - The Corporate Takeover of Water

Remember Pete Seeger's classic song, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" A new version of that may be "Where Has All the Water Gone?" Scientists have identified large areas of the planet as "hot stains," that is regions of the earth running out of clean, drinkable water. Our most precious natural resource is imperiled. Rising demand along with fetishes with green lawns, golf courses and endless showers are all part of an appalling lack of conservation. Depletion of aquifers, rivers and lakes shrinking and drying up, pose serious threats to our collective well-being. Water for millennia was considered an integral part of the commons, for the public good, not owned for private use and profit. All that is changing now with ominous consequences. Corporations are sweeping down and literally buying water. A major crisis is not far away.

Deborah Kaufman is the co-author of Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water. Her documentary films "Thirst", "Secrets of Silicon Valley" and "Blacks and Jews" have been broadcast on PBS and throughout Europe and Asia.

Alan Snitow is the co-author of Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water. His documentary films "Thirst", "Secrets of Silicon Valley" and "Blacks and Jews" have been broadcast on PBS and throughout Europe and Asia.

(07 Jul) 080501 Angela Davis - The Meaning of Freedom

The idea of freedom is inspiring. But what does it mean? If you are free in a political sense but have no food, what's that? The freedom to starve? Or if the candidates on the ballot are yoked to unjust power structures, what's that? The freedom to vote? The colonies in Asia and Africa gained their independence from their European lords but did they gain freedom? Frantz Fanon, who worked with the liberation movement in Algeria wrote prophetically in his classic work, "The Wretched of the Earth," that the newly independent states of the post-colonial era will not achieve real freedom if they replicate the patterns of oppression and domination perfected by their former masters. He warned about changing one policeman for another. Replacing white sahibs with brown and black ones.

Angela Davis is one of the iconic figures of this era. She was acquitted of conspiracy charges in 1972 after one of the most famous trials in U.S. history. She went on to become an internationally regarded scholar and writer. She is the author of many books, including "Women, Culture and Politics" and "Blues Legacies and Black Feminism." Her latest is, "Abolition Democracy." Governor Ronald Reagan of California vowed when he fired her from her position at UCLA that she would never again teach in the state system. Today, she is a tenured professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

(30 Jun) 080404 Jules Boykoff - Martin Luther King Jr & the FBI

The FBI has a long history of persecuting people for having the wrong political ideas. J. Edgar Hoover was the Bureau's first directors and he served in that post for almost 50 years. He ran the FBI as an unchallenged lord of the manor and his agents were serfs to do his bidding. Hoover had a particular animosity for and loathing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Nobel Peace Prize winner and leader of the Civil Rights movement. He called King "the most notorious liar in the country." Using infiltrators, the spread of rumors, fabrication of evidence, and media manipulation, the FBI launched a full-scale smear campaign to discredit Dr. King and the movement he led. It was all done of course in the name of "national security." April 4th, 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jules Boykoff is professor of politics and government at Pacific University. He is the author of The Suppression of Dissent.

(23 Jun) 080403 Michael Shuman - The Small-Mart Revolution

The end of the 20th century saw an extraordinary change in scale in world trade. Supply lines became ever longer. We get water from Fiji, grapes from Chile and almost everything else from China. Corporate chain stores proliferate. Globalization is constructed on a foundation of cheap and endless oil, gas and coal. The environmental consequences of this system are enormous. As a perfect storm of peak oil, climate change and economic instability looms, going local is making more and more sense. You can see shifts in the paradigm. For example, there is a rapid growth in and popularity of farmers' markets and CSAs, Community Supported Agriculture. The latter is a method for the public to create a relationship with a local farm and to receive a weekly basket of fresh food.

Michael Shuman is the co-director of the Institute for Policy Studies and author of numerous books and articles on the connection between local economies and international affiars.

(16 Jun) 080402 Juan Cole - Invading the Middle East: Napoleon to Bush

In 1798, France under Napoleon, invaded Egypt. In 2003, the United States, under Bush, invaded Iraq. Both invasions were characterized by colossal ignorance and breathtaking arrogance. Both rulers were going to remake the map of the Middle East. The quest for domination was camouflaged behind a fa¨ade. Spreading the ideals of freedom, liberty and democracy were the rhetorical covers for a much larger imperial agenda. After a relatively quick and easy conquest of Cairo, the French began to face an insurgency. Resistance spread. Sound familiar? People didn't like to be occupied then and they don't like it now. But apparently Napoleon and Bush knew what was best for the natives. In the end, the French emperor and his legions returned to France dispirited and defeated.

Juan Cole, a widely respected expert on the Middle East, teaches history at the University of Michigan. He is a guest on major news programs. He is the author of many books including Sacred Space and Holy War. His latest is Napoleon's Egypt.

(09 Jun) 080401 Sanjay Kak - Kashmir: The Struggle for Freedom

In 1947, the British partitioned India into India and Pakistan. One unsettled issue was then and remains now Kashmir. Once compared by a Moghul emperor to heaven on earth, today it is highly militarized zone with armed troops in the streets of the capital Srinagar. Kashmir's towns and villages are dotted with garrisons, checkpoints, roadblocks, barbed wire and towers. A rebellion against Indian rule erupted in 1989. Hundred of thousands of soldiers and security forces were sent to crush the uprising. Kashmir is the most densely military occupied place in the world. It has been caught between the rival claims and agendas of India and Pakistan. The wishes and desires of the Kashmiri people, who have their own language, culture and traditions, have been subordinated to the power politics of larger states.

Sanjay Kak is an independent award-winning documentary filmmaker based in New Delhi. His earlier films include the highly acclaimed "Words on Water" on the anti-dam movement in the Narmada Valley in Central India. His latest film, "Jashn-e-Azadi" ("How We Celebrate Freedom") is about Kashmir's struggle for self-determination.

(02 Jun) 080304 Sut Jhally - How TV Exploits its Audience

In a 1958 speech, legendary broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow said about TV, "This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and even it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it is nothing but wires and lights in a box." Imagine if Murrow were around today with all talk shows full of hot air, vitriol and salaciousness. That box is a delivery system for media corporations to sell eyeballs, audiences, to other corporations called advertisers. That's the political economy of TV. Viewers are bombarded with ads wrapped around inane programming. The box has great potential as Murrow says, but it is barely approaching it. TV is more of a device to get people to buy things they don't really need.

Sut Jhally is Professor of Communications at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is the founder and executive director of the Media Education Foundation and the author of The Codes of Advertising. He co-directed the critically acclaimed documentary, Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire.

(26 May) 080303 Vandana Shiva - India: States of Resistance

Washington and its echo chambers in the media like Thomas Friedman never cease to extol the virtues of so-called free trade. So-called because it is heavily dependent on taxpayer subsidies. While well-paying jobs disappear in the United States and wages are stagnant, citizens fork over billions of dollars to top corporations to export their products. For example, giant American agri-businesses dump their cheap grain in the Indian marketplace. This is the famous level playing field that free trade advocates loudly champion. But how can Indian farmers compete? They can't. The impact has been devastating. As journalist P. Sainath and others have documented, there is an epidemic of suicides among farmers as well as an internal refugee crisis. Unequal trade deals are producing a backlash. All over India groups are fighting back.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally-renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. A physicist, scholar, political activist and feminist, she is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi. She's the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. Author of many books, her latest are India Divided and Earth Democracy. AR's David Barsamian talked with her in New Delhi in late December 2000.

(19 May) 080302 Susan Faludi - The Terror Dream

9/11 was a double hijacking. First the actual event, and then the political hijacking engineered by an assortment of neocons, theocons, chicken hawks and born-again imperialists. Within weeks Afghanistan was attacked and occupied and plans were underway to invade Iraq, even though that country had nothing to do with 9/11. America, muscular and robust, fights wars and threatens others with military action. And something was happening on the home front as well. There was a revival of so-called traditional values and gender roles. Men defend and protect and women stay home and raise kids. It was like old times. Masculinity was back. And feminism was put in its place: on its back and in the kitchen. Political theater kicked in with pseudo-macho presidents swaggering on aircraft carrier flight decks to fables about Jessica Lynch. Fairy tales replaced reality.

Susan Faludi is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Her articles appear in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Nation. She is the author of the bestseller Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her latest book is The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America.

(12 May) 080301 Rahimullah Yusufzai - Report from Pakistan

The U.S. has long supported military dictators in Pakistan from Ayub Khan to Pervez Musharraf. In the 1980s Washington struck a Faustian bargain with Gen Zia ul-Haq, a tyrant who overthrew and then executed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the father of Benazir. In return for Zia's support for the Afghan mujahiddin fighting the Soviets, the U.S. and its Saudi allies pumped in billions of dollars and tons of weapons into Pakistan. All of that aid was funneled through the Pakistani military and its Inter-Services Intelligence, the ISI. The latter favored such jihadi extremists as the notorious Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. It was during this period that there was an enormous growth of madrasas, Islamic schools in Pakistan, and the development of fundamentalist formations inside the country. The legacy of that jihad directly connects with much of the instability in Pakistan today.

Rahimullah Yusufzai (Raheemoolah YOOSOOF-zay) - is a leading Pakistani journalist. Based in Peshawar, he is considered an expert on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. He is an editor of The News International and he also reports for BBC, ABC and GEO TV.

(05 May) 041002 Paul Watson - Sea Shepherds

They fire chocolate pies and stink bombs from cannons. They also sink docked ships. They've dismantled the illegal Icelandic whaling industry and have been attacked by the Norwegian Navy. Governments and the corporate media call them terrorists, but these activists call themselves the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Their sole mission is to defend marine wildlife.

The Sea Shepherds draw a clear line between property destruction and physical violence and there are few that would argue against their commitment to enforcing international environmental laws, yet their methods put them at the centre of much controversy. A run in with the group may be very costly, as when they sank half the Spanish whaling fleet, but they have never been convicted of a crime. Their actions have not caused injuries but are effective at stopping those who break the law.

Paul Watson co-founded Green Peace in 1972, leaving the organisation 1977 because he felt its original goals were compromised. That same year he started Sea Shepherds to continue direct action tactics to defend marine wildlife. He is professor of Ecology at Pasadena College of Design and also teaches ecology at UCLA. He is author of Sea Shepherd: My Fight for Whales and Seals and Ocean Warrior: My Battle to End the Illegal Slaughter on the High Seas.

(28 Apr) 080202 Tariq Ali - War and the Media

When the U.S. marches to war, the media march with it. The din of collateral language rises to cacophonous levels. The mobilization and ubiquity of present and past high-ranking military officers on the airwaves is an essential component of manufacturing consent for war. Perhaps we need no-air zones for them. That's unlikely to happen when ABC and NPR's Cokie Roberts gushes, "I am, I will just confess to you, a total sucker for the guys who stand up with all the ribbons on and stuff and they say it's true and I'm ready to believe it." And the vaunted BBC? Not much better. In the lead up to the attack on Iraq it gave just 2% of its coverage to antiwar dissent.

Tariq Ali, an internationally renowned writer and activist, was born in Lahore, then a part of British-ruled India, now in Pakistan. For many years he has been based in London where he is an editor of New Left Review. A charismatic speaker, he is in great demand all over the world. In his spare time he is a filmmaker, playwright and novelist. He is the author of The Clash of Fundamentalisms, Bush in Babylon, and Pirates of the Caribbean. He and AR's David Barsamian have collaborated on a book entitled Speaking of Empire & Resistance.

(21 Apr) 080201 Michael Pollan - The Cornification of Food

The elephant inside our food system and even beyond is corn. Its presence is pervasive and dominant. It is an integral part of industrialized agriculture and the industrialized food chain. Processed food relies heavily on corn. Take a look at any wrapper or can and see for yourself. Cows fatten up on corn. It contributes to obesity in humans. And growing it? Not so good. It consumes prodigious amounts of fossil fuel energy. And corn turns out to be a major reason why farmers in Mexico go broke and migrate to the U.S. Under NAFTA, American taxpayer subsidized corn is dumped in Mexico at below market prices. Mexican farmers can't compete. More than two million of them have been thrown off the land

Michael Pollan, professor of journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of The Botany of Desire. His The Omnivore's Dilemma was selected as one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times.

(14 Apr) 031202 Kurt Vonnegut - In Conversation

Kurt Vonnegut has become a cultural icon. His observation of the destructiveness and dehumanisation of the 20th century, distilled by his rich imagination and quirky view of events and their time frames, make for delightful reading and listening experiences. His irreverence is palpable, as is his disdain for Bush and the current administration. Asked by a journalist for an idea for a really scary reality TV show, Vonnegut responded, "C Students From Yale, it would stand your hair on end." In his book Hocus Pocus, published in 1990, he wrote, "Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math, that doesn't mean we deserve to conquer the Universe."

Kurt Vonnegut was an infantryman in WW II and was captured during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. He was then taken to a POW camp in Dresden in time to experience the horrific Allied firebombing of the city from the relative safety of an underground meat locker. The destruction wrought was greater than that of Nagasaki. He is now a self-described "fourth-generation German-American living in easy circumstances." He has written over 20 books and ranks among America's most widely read and best loved authors. Kurt Vonnegut died on the 11th April 2007.

(07 Apr) 030403 Martin Luther King - Beyond Vietnam

Every year, almost like clockwork Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech gets airplay. The charismatic orator is frozen on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963. No doubt it was a great presentation, deeply moving and full of dazzling poetry and inspiring images. But it was not his most important speech, nor was it his most courageous one. That was to come on April 4, 1967 in Riverside Church in New York. There King demonstrated his political maturity and understanding of how the system works. He moved beyond a simple race analysis to include class and foreign policy issues. He forcefully denounced the war in Vietnam. He called the US "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world" and he deplored the "giant triplets of racism extreme materialism and militarism." Exactly one year later King was assassinated in Memphis.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Nobel Peace Prizewinner, is one of the 20th century's most enduring figures. He was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta. He was an early convert to civil disobedience and non-violence. He said, "Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics." He rose to national prominence in 1955 during the epic 382-day Montgomery bus boycott. He went on to spearhead a movement which effectively ended juridical apartheid in the US.

(31 Mar) 080105 Kathleen Cleaver - State Repression of the Black Panthers

Of all the radical organizations in the 1960s none struck as much fear in the establishment as the Black Panther Party. Militant blacks off the plantation system of subordination was too much for the white power structure. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover called the Panthers "the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States." The official apparatus of repression, federal and local launched a systematic campaign to sabotage, undermine, and crush the Panthers. And they were successful. Agent provocateurs, disinformation and straight out assassination, as in the case of the murder of Chicago Panther leader Fred Hampton, were part and parcel of the methods used. Today the State again has accrued extraordinary powers of repression. There are lessons to be drawn from the experience of the Panthers and the current situation.

Kathleen Cleaver dropped out of college to work full time with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. From 1967 to 1971, she was the communications secretary of the Black Panther Party, and the first woman member of its central committee. After sharing years of exile with her former husband, Eldridge Cleaver, she returned to the United States in 1975. Today, she teaches law at Emory University in Atlanta.

(24 Mar) 080104 Richard Grossman - Rolling Back Corporate Power: Lessons from the Past

It seems that corporations have been part of the scene forever. Not the case really. An 1886 landmark Supreme Court decision elevated corporations to its current special legal status. In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, the Court ruled that a private corporation was a person and as such, under the Constitution, was protected by the Bill of Rights. The consequences of that ruling were enormous. Today, corporations stand virtually unchallenged. Such behemoths as ExxonMobil and General Electric make billions in profits and straddle the earth. In many instances their bottom line is bigger than most of the economies of countries in the UN. Sure they create jobs and so-called wealth but at what cost? And who really benefits? Perhaps there are lessons from the past that can help us to contest corporate power today.

Richard Grossman is a top expert on law and corporations. He directs the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy and is author of Taking Care of Business.

(17 Mar) 080103 Julian Darley - The Post Carbon World

As our lives have become ever more complex so too has our food chain. Where once people ate food grown fairly close to them now it is being shipped literally from around the world. From grapes in Chile to water from Fiji much energy is expended in filling our fridges. These products arrive in containers at ports where they are then loaded onto tractor-trailer trucks for long haul delivery. This is an unsustainable model. The stress on the planet and its fragile ecology is severe. Changes in climate and energy point to the necessity for rethinking our local economies. There is a huge growth in and popularity of farmers markets and CSAs, community supported agriculture. More and more people are thinking and acting locally when it comes to food and life in a post carbon world.

Julian Darley is the founder of Post Carbon Institute headquartered in Sebastopol, California. He is the author of High Noon for Natural Gas and the co-author of Relocalize Now!

(10 Mar) 080102 Nubar Hovsepian - The War on Lebanon

In July 2006, in response to a Lebanese Hezbollah cross border raid, which killed and captured several Israeli soldiers, Israel launched an intensive bombing campaign on Lebanon. More than a thousand Lebanese were killed and serious damage was done to the country's infrastructure. Israel claimed it was acting in self-defense. Most saw the scale of the retaliation disproportionate. The United States blocked calls for an early ceasefire and provided arms to Israel. It should be recalled that Israel occupied Lebanon from 1982-2000 sowing bitterness among many Lebanese. Seymour Hersh has reported that Washington endorsed in advance Tel Aviv's plan to bomb Lebanon. U.S. support of Israel in the war has intensified already high anti-American feelings in the region. Lebanon is left with massive rebuilding costs and a fragile internal political structure.

Nubar Hovsepian is professor of political science and international relations at Chapman University. He is the author of The War on Lebanon. His forthcoming book is The Politics of Palestinian Education.

(03 Mar) 080101 Fatima Bhutto - Pakistan in Peril

Pakistan is routinely called "the most dangerous country in the world." How it got that way is not the focus of much scrutiny. Much of history is forgotten or never told. The United States has supported military dictatorships in Pakistan. The current ruler, Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, is a favorite of Washington's. He is an ally in the so-called war on terror. Billions of dollars in aid flow to Islamabad, almost all of it goes to the military. Musharraf demonstrates his dedication to democracy by illegally changing the country's constitution, arresting peaceful protestors, sacking and imprisoning judges and lawyers, and gagging the media. The State Department excuses these actions as "bumps on the road." For Washington, Pakistan and its 165 million people are seen as instruments to further its geopolitical aims.

Fatima Bhutto published her first book, Whispers of the Desert, a collection of poetry, when she was 15. She is a graduate of Columbia and the London School of Oriental and African Studies. Her articles appear in the LA Times, CounterPunch and other newspapers and journals. Her latest book about the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan is 8.50 A.M. 8 October 2005.

(25 Feb) 071004 Dilip Hiro - Oil: Blood of the Earth

Since the end of WWII, a central tenet of U.S. foreign policy is control of the world's oil. And since much of the oil was in the Middle East, the U.S. began a concerted effort to dominate the region. First, it displaced the old imperial powers, Britain and France. Then it established a series of military bases, and client regimes subordinate to Washington. Today, the Persian Gulf is patrolled by aircraft carrier battle groups with their cruise missiles and F-16s. These vast armadas, positioned off of Iran, carry out what are euphemistically called "routine naval exercises." Imagine if the Iranian navy, which barely exists, and certainly has no aircraft carriers, had ships off of Seattle carrying out "routine naval exercises" what the American response would be?

Dilip Hiro (Dee-leep Hero) was born in the Indian subcontinent and was educated in India, Britain and the United States. He's an internationally renowned expert on the Middle East. A journalist and historian, he's the author of more than 20 books including Secrets and Lies and The Iranian Labyrinth. His latest is Blood of the Earth.

(18 Feb) 071003 Amal Saad-Ghorayeb - Hezbollah

Hezbollah, party of God in Arabic, is a major component of Lebanon's political and social life. The party, led by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, represents the historically underrepresented Shia, the country's largest group. Lebanon has a complex sectarian-based political structure, a legacy of French colonialism. Each of the country's 18 religious sects is allocated seats in parliament. And top governmental positions are designated, e.g., the president must be a Maronite Catholic, the prime minister, a Sunni, and the speaker of the parliament, a Shia. The division of power continues despite radical shifts in Lebanon's demographics. Hezbollah came to worldwide prominence during its battle with Israel in the summer of 2006. It is routinely depicted in Western media in negative terms.

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb is an expert on Hezbollah and her book on the Lebanese party has been widely praised and cited. She taught political science at Lebanese American University in Beirut. Currently, she is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Middle East Center in Beirut.

(11 Feb) 071002 Munder al Adhami – Operation Iraqi Freedom

It seems like so many years ago. And it was. Shock and awe. The march on Baghdad; the conquest of Iraq; the embedded corporate reporters cheerleading the victory. Originally the invasion was called Operation Iraqi Liberation until someone noticed that the acronym spells something we'd rather not mention. So it was changed to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Alan Greenspan, longtime chair of the Federal Reserve, let the cat out of the bag when he said the war was "largely about oil." And the Iraqis? No one counts their dead and wounded. They are just extras on the American-designed set to recast the Middle East. A funny thing happened on the road to Mission Accomplished. The Iraqis, no matter how much they disliked Saddam Hussein, were none too happy about being occupied.

Mundher al-Adhami is a native of Baghdad, where his family still lives. A political activist, he went into exile during the regime of Saddam Hussein. He travels frequently to Iraq and the Middle East.

(04 Feb) 071001 Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine

Catastrophes from Katrina to Iraq from Afghanistan to the Asian Tsunami clear the way for corporations to move in and operate in newly privatized zones, pushing local government overboard. Kind of like shock and awe economics. Privatize, privatize, privatize is intoned like a mantra by the economic high priests of neoliberalism. The belief in the so-called free market is almost akin religious dogma. Abuses, shoddy work and rampant profiteering rule with little or no oversight or accountability. Governments sub-contract and outsource their essential functions and services as jobs float downstream from the public sector into the private. Free market neoliberalism is synonymous with democracy and since everyone loves the latter what's not to like about the former? But what it really is, is a get rich quick crusade.

Naomi Klein of Canada is an award-winning journalist, author and filmmaker. Her articles appear in major newspapers and magazines all over the world. Her documentary film on the economic crisis in Argentina is The Take. No Logo, her book on globalization and marketing was an international bestseller. Her latest book is The Shock Doctrine.

(28 Jan) 070904 Ron Margulies – Turkey, Armenians and Kurds

When Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's Nobel Prize winner for literature, said that more than one million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds had been killed in his country, he was not only publicly vilified but also prosecuted by the government. And he's not the only one who has gotten into trouble for speaking out. Breaking the taboo and talking about the 1915 state-organized and directed genocide of the Armenians and the plight of its large Kurdish population is dangerous. Witness the murder of journalist Hrant Dink. The Turkish government takes out full-page ads in the "New York Times" denying the genocide. It warns of retaliation against the United States if the Congress acknowledges a historical fact. Ankara is also threatening to invade Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish fighters.

Ron Margulies was born in Istanbul and was educated there and in England. In addition to being a political activist and commentator, he is a well-known Turkish poet and has published seven books of poetry.

(21 Jan) 060604 Eric Schlosser – Reefer Madness

Marijuana is a multi-billion dollar piece of this underground economy. Public support is growing for relaxing or eliminating the penalties against adults who smoke pot. But the Bush administration continues to push severe punishment and strict definition of marijuana as a dangerous illegal drug. Another thriving part of the underground economy in the US is the exploitation of undocumented immigrants for cheap labor. Huge agribusinesses depend on it and so do many individuals who want to save a few bucks on gardening or housekeeping.

Journalist Eric Schlosser examines both marijuana and immigrant labor in his book Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. He's also the author of the widely acclaimed best-seller, Fast Food Nation. Eric Schlosser is an award-winning correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly.

(14 Jan) 070804 Eric Foner – Who is an American?

Definitions of who is an American have been constantly shifting for more than two centuries. Parameters expand and contract as the political winds vary. Historically, race and racism have been central factors in determining who is an American. With changing demographic and immigration patterns, what are the implications of this important issue for the 21st century?

Eric Foner is one of America's preeminent historians. He is DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia University and author of many books, including the award-winning Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, Who is an American? and The Story of American Freedom.

(07 Jan) 070604 Angela Davis – Racism: Then and Now

Radio shock jock Don Imus's racist and misogynistic remarks about the Rutgers Women's basketball team ignited protest that resulted in his being taken off the air. Another radio host, Neil Boortz, called former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney a "ghetto slut." Defenders of such of such outrages say, Hey, They do it. Just listen to gangsta rapper lyrics. Racism today has taken new shapes and forms. There are no Bull Connor police chiefs with water hoses, truncheons and dogs threatening African Americans. De jure Jim Crow is gone but de facto Jim Crow is still around.

Angela Davis is one of the iconic figures of this era. She was acquitted of conspiracy charges in 1972 after one of the most famous trials in U.S. history. She went on to become an internationally regarded scholar and writer. Author of many books, including Women, Culture and Politics and Blues Legacies and Black Feminism, her latest is, Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture. Governor Ronald Reagan of California vowed when he fired her from UCLA that she would never again teach in the state system. She is a tenured professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

(31 Dec) 070902 Russell Means - For the World to Live Columbus Must Die

For too many of us, for too long, the indigenous peoples of this continent have been curiosities that existed somewhere over the horizon between fantasy and reality. The popularly crafted images were of medicine men, squaws and peace pipes, teepees, tom toms and tomahawks, war bonnets, war paint, war whoops and war parties. The only Indians we knew were named Tonto, Geronimo and Crazy Horse. In recent years a lot of these clichˇs have disappeared. The American Indian Movement has done much to break down the conventional stereotypes. AIM articulates a program of self-awareness and pride. It promotes treaty and land rights and religious freedom for Native Americans.

Russell Means, an Oglala Dakota and a prominent voice in the continuing struggle for indigenous rights, is a founding member of AIM and one of its leading spokespersons. He is Chief Executive Officer of the American Indian Anti-Defamation Council, an organization which monitors anti-Indian racism in the media and politics, and has organized and lectured throughout the world.

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