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Cocaine Death Squads and the War On Terror

Regular listeners to our broadcast know – we have repeatedly made the point that the war on drugs doesn’t work – nor has it ever.  Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with Dr. Oliver Villar, co-author of “Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia”, who has spent over a decade researching the subject, and has some eye-opening observations on not only why it doesn’t work, but also on why it’s supposed to work that way.

About the guest:

Dr. Oliver Villar is a lecturer in Politics at Charles Sturt University. For the past decade his research has been devoted to this book. Much of the research is based on his PhD dissertation on the political economy of contemporary Colombia in the context of the cocaine drug trade. He has published broadly on the Inter-American cocaine drug trade, the U.S. War on Drugs and Terror in Colombia, and U.S.-Colombian relations.

Oliver was born in Mendoza, Argentina and has lived in Sydney for most of his life. In 2008 he completed his PhD on the political economy of contemporary Colombia in the context of the cocaine drug trade at the then UWS Latin American Research Group (LARG). Whilst completing his PhD, Oliver’s research interests in political economy, Latin America and the global drug trade followed teaching positions in politics at UWS and Macquarie University. His academic interests have involved an engagement with the sizeable Latin American immigrant community in Sydney and Melbourne and international concerns, such as with political and policy concerns over the ‘globalisation’ of crime and terrorism and the underlying causes of the processes involved.

At CSU Oliver’s research interests continue to focus on the vast and dynamic reservoir of political economy and the study of class analysis and class relations. This abiding interest extends across economic thought, economic development and the development of social and political relationships between the First World and Third World (in particular between the United States and Latin America) and the impact of neoliberal economic globalisation.

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This Week – Support WBAI

Since 1996, we’ve been doing this for nothing.  We couldn’t have done it without WBAI.

Tonight, we feature some of our favorite guests and topics from over the past year.  While you may only listen to our show via the web – the show itself would not be possible were it not for WBAI-FM – Part of the Pacifica Radio network.

So please show your support for WBAI by sending them a donation below, or by visiting their website.  During the broadcast, you can also call 212-209-2950.

Info on the guests can be found below.

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Tonight’s guests:

Bill Conroy has worked as a reporter or editor for the past eighteen years at newspapers in Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota and Texas.

His investigative reporting over the past five years has focused on corruption and discrimination within federal law enforcement agencies.

He is also a journalist for Narco News. His investigative pieces, particularly those on the House of Death, have made him our most-favored guest.


Stephan Salisbury is the senior cultural writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has been a reporter for three decades.

He has won numerous awards for his work and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize as part of an Inquirer investigative team looking into local election fraud.

He is author of the recently published Mohamed’s Ghosts: An American Story of Love and Fear in the Homeland published by Nation Books.


Howard Bloom, a Visiting Scholar at New York University, is founder of the International Paleopsychology Project, executive editor of the New Paradigm book series, a founding board member of the Epic of Evolution Society, and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the National Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Society, the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, The International Society of Human Ethology, and the Academy of Political Science. He has been featured in every edition of Who’s Who in Science and Engineering since the publication’s inception.


Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, an internationally recognized expert on intelligence, is the President and CEO of the Intelligence & Security Academy, LLC, a national security education, training and consulting company.

From 2002-2005, Dr. Lowenthal served as the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production and also as the Vice Chairman for Evaluation on the National Intelligence Council. Prior to these duties, he served as Counselor to the Director of Central Intelligence. Dr. Lowenthal was the staff director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 104th Congress (1995-97), where he directed the committee’s study on the future of the Intelligence Community, IC21: The Intelligence Community in the 21st Century. He also served in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), as both an office director and a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and has been the Senior Specialist in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

Dr. Lowenthal has written extensively on intelligence and national security issues, including five books and over 90 articles or studies. His most recent book, Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy (Congressional Quarterly Press, 4th ed., 2009), has become the standard college and graduate school textbook on the subject. He has also written a fantasy novel, Crispan Magicker, published in 1978. Dr. Lowenthal is a frequent public commentator on intelligence issues. He has appeared on each of the major networks, the Lehrer Newshour and Charlie Rose; his op-eds have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Dr. Lowenthal received his B.A. from Brooklyn College and his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He joined the adjunct faculty of the Johns Hopkins University in 2008, after 14 years as an adjunct at Columbia University. He is the Executive Director of the International Association for Intelligence Education and a Chairman Emeritus of the Intelligence Committee for AFCEA.

In 2005, Dr. Lowenthal was awarded the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Intelligence Community’s highest award. In 2006, he received AFCEA’s Distinguished Service Award for service to the Intelligence Community. In 1988, Dr. Lowenthal was the Grand Champion on Jeopardy!, the television quiz show.


Photo by Charles Miller

LESLIE KEAN is an independent investigative journalist with a background in freelance writing and radio broadcasting. She has contributed articles to dozens of publications here and abroad including the Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Providence Journal, International Herald Tribune, Globe and Mail, Sydney Morning Herald, Bangkok Post, The Nation, and The Journal for Scientific Exploration. Her stories have been syndicated through Knight Ridder/Tribune, Scripps-Howard, New York Times wire service, Pacific News Service, and the National Publishers Association. While spending many years reporting on Burma, she co-authored Burma’s Revolution of the Spirit: The Struggle for Democratic Freedom and Dignity (Aperture, 1994) and she has contributed essays for a number of anthologies published between 1998 and 2009. Her freelance journalism has been supported by grants from numerous foundations including the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation, The Fund for Investigative Journalism, and the Nation Institute.

Kean was also a producer and on-air host for a daily investigative news program on KPFA radio, a Pacifica station in California. She began covering the UFO subject in 2000 with a feature story in the Boston Globe, and followed with additional mainstream stories. In 2002, she co-founded the Coalition for Freedom of Information (CFi), an independent alliance advocating for greater government openness on information about UFOs, and for responsible coverage by the media based on a rational and credible approach. As director of the CFi, she was the plaintiff in a successful, five-year Freedom of Information Act federal lawsuit against NASA. In 2007, she co-organized a landmark Washington DC international press conference on official UFO investigations, which received media coverage around the world.

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Crossing Zero

In light of the now decade-long war in Afghanistan, and the rapid-fire political and societal changes sweeping through the world, it helps to understand how we got here… what forces played a part in setting it up – and continue to exert their influence to this day.

Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald have been writing and researching the subject for over 30 years.  Their valuable insight – not just with regard to the situation on the ground, but the political machinations and power players behind the scenes – sheds a sorely-needed light on these subjects.

Tonight, Mike and Mark talk with them about this, propaganda, the media and more.

About the guests:

Gould & Fitzgerald have been involved in the Afghan debate for over thirty years. Their books, Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story (2009) and Crossing Zero – The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire (2011) have been praised internationally by numerous news, foreign policy and military experts.

Their involvement in Afghanistan began in 1981 when they were the first journalists to gain access through diplomatic channels at the United Nations following the expulsion of 1135 western journalists one month after the Soviet invasion. Contracted to CBS news, they found a stark contrast to the picture that was playing on the evening news. In 1983 they invited Roger Fisher, director of the Harvard Negotiation Project to return with them to assess the chances of getting the Soviets to leave Afghanistan. Contracted to ABC Nightline, Roger was told by the Soviets that they wanted to go home. Nightline skewed the story away from negotiation. Over the years they saw efforts to negotiate a resolution in Afghanistan consistently overruled by forces who always managed to undermine peaceful solutions. Cold War journalism still haunts the Afghan story to this day.

You can read a whole bunch of their brilliant work at their website – http://invisiblehistory.com/

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Favor and Fear

How liberal IS the media? When does the press really fight for the truth? The answers, from someone who has been deep inside mainstream media – are “not” and “rarely”. His latest article, “The NYT’s Favor and Fear” – gives just one glaring example.

Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with Robert Parry about this and much much more. A conversation that covers deep history right up to the present – and gives a sobering look into how politics reaches deeper than just electioneering and rhetoric – but into the intelligence community itself.

About the guest:

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com.

His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

His investigative journalism website, consortiumnews.com, is an incredibly important resource. Please visit the site, and support them any way you can.

The Consortium News stories we cover tonight:

The NYT’s Favor and Fear

From the archives: Interview with Judge Lawrence Walsh (mp3)

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The Wikileaks Whistleblower & Iran-Contra Revelations

Almost four decades after Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers – another whistleblower has stepped forward and now is facing similar retaliation.

Army Intelligence Specialist Bradley Manning is alleged to have turned over a large volume of classified material about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to Wikileaks.org, including the recently posted U.S. military video showing American helicopters gunning down two Reuters journalists and about 10 other Iraqi men in 2007. Two children were also injured.

The 22-year-old Manning was turned in by a convicted computer hacker named Adrian Lamo, who befriended Manning over the Internet and then betrayed him, supposedly out of concern that disclosure of the classified material might put U.S. military personnel in danger. Manning is now in U.S. military custody in Kuwait awaiting charges.

PLUS

A congressional report on Iran/Contra was written haphazardly and deceptively, including an apparently false claim that Reagan’s innocence was approved unanimously by a House task force.

A recent reexamination of the task force’s work also reveals that evidence implicating Reagan’s campaign in a pre-election deal to delay the release of 52 Americans then held hostage in Iran was kept from the U.S. public and even from members of the task force; that senior staff investigators shelved late-arriving evidence of Republican guilt; and that dissent within the task force was suppressed.

Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with Robert Parry about these two important stories.

About the guest:

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com.

His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

His investigative journalism website, consortiumnews.com, is an incredibly important resource.  Please visit the site, and support them any way you can.

The Consortium News stories we cover tonight:

Wikileak Case Echoes Pentagon Papers

The Tricky October Surprise Report

Related links:

http://collateralmurder.com/
The Wikileaks site about the leaked video

The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks
The great article by Glenn Greenwald at Salon, including an interview with Adrian Lamo

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CIA Hit Teams and more…

“Despite the new controversy over whether a global CIA “hit team” ever went operational, there has been public evidence for years that the Bush administration approved “rules of engagement” that permitted executions and targeted killings of suspected insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The above from Robert Parry’s piece Bush’s Hit Teams at consortiumnews.com.

Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with Bob about this great investigative piece.

About the guest:

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com.

His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

His investigative journalism website, consortiumnews.com, is an incredibly important resource.  Please visit the site, and support them any way you can.

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Rape and Murder in the Military

How some troops are being “supported”.

Tonight, we speak with Retired Army Colonel Ann Wright about this simply disgusting story. From her April story on CommonDreams:

“The Department of Defense statistics are alarming — one in three women who join the US military will be sexually assaulted or raped by men in the military… But, now, even more alarming, are deaths of women soldiers in Iraq, and in the United States, following rape. The military has characterized each of the deaths of women who were first sexually assaulted as deaths from “non-combat related injuries,” and then added “suicide.” Yet, the families of the women whom the military has declared to have committed suicide, strongly dispute the findings and are calling for further investigations into the deaths of their daughters. Specific US Army units and certain US military bases in Iraq have an inordinate number of women soldiers who have died of “non-combat related injuries, with several identified as “suicides.”

Continue reading Rape and Murder in the Military

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The Pornography of Power

How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America

We’ve all heard of Eisenhower’s famous warning about the military industrial complex (video below). Tonight, Mike and Mark speak wtih Robert Scheer about his devastating book on the subject of militarization, and its’ effect on society.

About the Guest:

Robert Scheer has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist. His columns appear in newspapers across the country, and his in-depth interviews have made headlines. He conducted the famous Playboy magazine interview in which Jimmy Carter confessed to the lust in his heart and he went on to do many interviews for the Los Angeles Times with Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and many other prominent political and cultural figures.

Between 1964 and 1969 he was Vietnam correspondent, managing editor and editor in chief of Ramparts magazine. From 1976 to 1993 he served as a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, writing on diverse topics such as the Soviet Union, arms control, national politics and the military. In 1993 he launched a nationally syndicated column based at the Los Angeles Times, where he was named a contributing editor. That column ran weekly for the next 12 years and is now based at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Continue reading The Pornography of Power

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Torture

This week, Mike and Mark are joined by Celerino Castillo – Vietnam Vet and Ex-DEA agent – to talk about torture, the sorry state of the justice system and the “war on drugs”. Listeners will want to check out the article on waterboarding referenced in the show, by Federal Judge Evan Wallach.

About the Guest:

CELERINO “CELE” CASTILLO III, is a 20-year veteran of both state and federal law enforcement with 12-year service in the U. S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration. Mr. Castillo is a highly decorated DEA agent for his undercover operations in Central and South America. For several years, he was also placed in major cities like San Francisco and New York City for deep cover operations. He is an author of “Powderburns” Cocaine, Contras And The Drug War, and is an acclaimed public speaker and educator.

COURT QUALIFIED EXPERT WITNESS: For 20 years Mr. Castillo has qualified as an “expert witness” in criminal and civil trials, both for and against various state and federal law enforcement agencies, in the following subjects: Undercover tactics, entrapment, informant handling practices and procedures, all subjects related to drugs trafficking, money laundering, and international narcotics investigations, police profiling, research on federal documentation for the defense. (Bates)

Continue reading Torture

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Blackwater, Mercenaries and the Middle East.

This week, Mike and Mark are joined by Robert Young Pelton, author of “Licensed to Kill – hired guns in the war on terror.”

About the Guest:

Author and filmmaker, Robert Young Pelton is known for overcoming extraordinary obstacles in his search for the truth. He has made a career of bypassing the media, border guards and the military in his goal of getting to the heart of the story. In his travels to and through the world’s most dangerous places, Pelton has shared risks with his hosts and often has become the sole surviving witness to history-shaping events. His recent journeys have taken him inside the siege of Grozny in Chechnya, the battle of Qala-I-Jangi in Afghanistan, the rebel campaign to take Monrovia in Liberia, inside the hunt for Bin Laden in the Tribal Areas with the CIA, with insurgents during the war in Iraq and running RPG Alley every day for four weeks with Blackwater in Baghdad.

Pelton is also known for penetrating many of the world’s most dangerous terrorist, rebel and paramilitary organizations. His goal as a neutral observer and accurate chronicler of events has earned him access on all sides of many wars including being the only journalist in combat operations with US Special Forces in Afghanistan and other covert and private military groups.

His travels have not been without penalty. He has been kidnapped by right wing death squads in Colombia, survived a plane crash in Indonesia, a head on motorcycle accident in Peru and gracefully endured numerous detainments and attacks.

His access has allowed Pelton to return with stunning interviews, surprising stories and unforgettable footage for his articles, documentaries and books. The world met just one the many characters Pelton has met when they watched his world exclusive interview of the American Taliban, John Walker Lindh.

In addition to his work for National Geographic Adventure, Pelton has worked for Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, ABC News, CBS 60 Minutes, CNN and other major media networks. His unusual perspective, insight and humor have made him a popular guest on news networks and entertainment shows that range from Oprah to NPR.

As an author, Pelton is best known for his classic underground guide to surviving danger; Robert Young Pelton’s The World’s Most Dangerous Places (Harper Collins), now in its fifth edition. His other books include Come Back Alive (Random House), an intense autobiography, The Adventurist (Broadway Books) and his latest: Three Worlds Gone Mad (Lyons Press) a book about three wars and the people Pelton met fighting them.

Links:

Robert Young Pelton’s Website – comebackalive.com

Judge Evan Wallach article – “Waterboarding Used to Be a Crime”

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Some Prior Guests

David Moorhouse

Ray McGovern

Dr. Rick Nuccio

Renee Boje

Daniel Ellsberg

Richard Stratton

Gerard Colby

Greg Palast

Dennis Dayle

Ralph McGeehee

Stan Goff

Mark Levine

Vincent Bugliosi

J.H. Hatfield

Siobhan Reynolds

Charles Bowden

Katherine Gun

Bob Parry

Sandy Gonzalez

Sibel Edmonds

Ellen Mariani

Peter Lance

Senator Bob Graham

Cele Castillo

Tosh Plumlee

Donald Bains

Will Northrop

Aukai Collin

John Loftus

Joyce Reilly Von Kliest

Kelly O' Meara

John P. Flannery

Bill Conroy

Sander Hicks

Paul Williams