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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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The Fence

If you listen regularly, you know we’ve spent a great deal of time covering Mexico and the U.S. Border.

The killing along the northern border of Mexico now rivals the statistics in any war.  Our leaders have decided on the building of a wall, almost 2,000 miles long, that has already cost our taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars (and still climbing.)

The border patrol –a no win brutal job–is our largest federal law enforcement agency with over 22,000 officers in the field.

All signs indicate that none of this is making any difference – nor will it ever.

Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with author and professor Lee Maril about the fence we’ve been building – both physical and virtual, along that border… its’ history, its’ effect (and lack thereof), and its’ future. Lee brings a wealth of both life experience and heavy-duty research to the subject.

Lee’s blog – leemaril.com – is a great resource for more information on the subject.

About the guest:
Lee Maril has been studying the U.S.-Mexico borderlands since moving there in 1975. His focus is the people who live along the border, their history, and the public problems they face on a daily basis. Most recently he is the author of The Fence: National Security, Public Safety, and Illegal Immigration along the U.S.-Mexico Border (Texas Tech University Press). He is also the author of Patrolling Chaos: The U.S. Border Patrol in Deep South Texas, a related examination of the Border Patrol based upon two years of access to this federal law enforcement organization. He has authored six other books, all of which focus on some aspect of inequality, including race, class, and gender in the Southwest and the borderlands.

Lee has testified three times before the United States Congress. Most recently he testified at the Immigration field hearings in Dubuque, Iowa, based upon his border research. His research to date has been reflected in two bills initiated in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate. He has been interviewed on national television, on major market radio stations throughout the country, and his work has been cited in a variety of publications including The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Christian Science Monitor. Lee has also served as a consultant in both the public and the private sector.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Lee Maril received a B.A. from Grinnell College, his M.A. at Indiana Univeristy-Bloomington, and his Ph.D. from Washington University (St. Louis). He taught at two borderland public universities and a borderland public vocational school for a total of 17 years. He currently is the Founding Director of the Center for Diversity and Inequality Research and Professor of Sociology at the Thomas Hariott School of Arts and Sciences, East Carolina University.

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A Death Reconsidered.

Was Col. Ted Westhusing’s death in Iraq something more sinister than suicide?

“Since last March, when I wrote a story about the apparent suicide of Col. Ted Westhusing in Iraq, I had believed there was nothing else to write about his tragic death.

But in December, I talked to a source in the Department of Defense who met Westhusing in Iraq about three months before his death. The source, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, was investigating claims of wrongdoing against military contractors working in Iraq. After a short introduction, I asked him what he thought had happened to Westhusing. ‘I think he was killed. I honestly do. I think he was murdered,’ the source told me. ‘Maybe DOD didn’t have enough evidence to call it murder, so they called it suicide.’ ”

Tonight, we interview author Robert Bryce about this sad tale.

About the guest:
Robert Bryce’s articles have appeared in dozens of publications including the Atlantic Monthly, Slate, New York Times, Washington Post, American Conservative, The Nation, Washington Spectator and The Guardian. His first book, Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron, received rave reviews and was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2002 by Publishers Weekly. His second book, Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America’s Superstate, was published 2004.

Bryce spent 12 years writing for the Austin Chronicle. His third book, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of “Energy Independence,” will be published in March by PublicAffairs. He lives in Austin.

Links:

I am Sullied-No More – Robert Bryce’s first article about Col. Westhusing

A Death Reconsidered – Bryce’s most recent Westhusing article

Robert Bryce’s Website

The FOIA Documents Robert Bryce refers to in the episode

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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