Law and Disorder Radio – William Blum on the US, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Israel – Electronic Frontier Foundation Fights Back Against NSA Spying – Dr. Harriet Fraad Speech at Left Forum 2013 (Part 2) – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

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The United States, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Israel
President Barack Obama addressed the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly last week, near the end of September. His speech reflected some of the shift in global politics in the Middle East, especially in Syria. He also spoke about Iran, and mentioned the usual: “We are determined to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.” Obama said, “We are not seeking regime change. We respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.” Iran has signed on to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which recognizes the right to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.

William Blum:

  • One must accept the basic premise that the United States wants to dominate the world.
  • In that context it becomes clear that the main problem we have with other countries is one of disobedience.
  • Our closest ally in the Arab world is Saudi Arabia. If that’s not the most oppressive government in the world then it’s damn close to it.
  • We’ve overthrown the 3 leading secular governments of the Middle East. First Iraq, and then Libya, and now we’re in the process to attempt to overthrow the Syrian government.
  • In ’79, the Shah of Iran was overthrown by various forces, but the ones that came to power were the Islamists.
  • It’s a myth that the U.S. was totally opposed to Islam coming to power in Iran then.
  • What Washington feared is the left coming to power in Iran.
  • The left, all over the world, are the least likely to be obedient to Washington, to become a client state.
  • So the left is the first target of U.S foreign policy.
  • Israel fears Iran, in the same way it fears Iraq and Libya. Any country in the Middle East that had some military power and is not falling in line as an obedient friend or follower of Israel, that country becomes a target of Israel, which means a target of the U.S.
  • The 3 main targets have all been attacked by Washington and that’s where we are today.
  • Cuba then and now has represented what Washington fears greatly, a good alternative to the capitalist system.
  • They have inspired people and countries all over the world, especially in Latin America.
  • It’s not very well known that throughout the ’70s and into the ’80s, Afghanistan had a fairly progressive government. Women had full rights. I’ve seen photos of that time, of women walking around in mini-skirts.
  • What happened to that society and government? Our dear government overthrew it.
  • It’s amazing when we hear people say we have to stay in Afghanistan to help the women there.
  • Saddam Hussein, as much of a dictator as he was, he still ran a welfare state.
  • The people in their daily life were much better off than they are today and there was peace and order.
  • Syria is not going to make a good client state to the United States and Israel. Syria is a bit too friendly with Russia.
  • It’s amazing how sensitive we are to those who will not embrace the American empire.
  • Almost all the leading people in Israel except for Netanyahu, they know Iran is not a threat. It’s all hype.
  • Netanyahu needs this hype and the U.S. needs it.
  • There’s a very growing trend now to be turned off by all of this war. The vote in Congress, if it were held, would be against invading Syria.
  • The American public is very tired of these wars.
  • Sign up for the monthly Anti-Empire Report.

Guest – William Blum has been a freelance journalist in the United States, Europe and South America. His stay in Chile in 1972-3, writing about the Allende government’s “socialist experiment” and its tragic overthrow in a CIA-designed coup, instilled in him a personal involvement and an even more heightened interest in what his government was doing in various parts of the world. In the mid-1970’s, he worked in London with former CIA officer Philip Agee and his associates on their project of exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds. His book on U.S. foreign policy, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, first published in 1995 and updated since, has received international acclaim.

eff homelandsurvEFF Fights Back Against NSA Spying

A few shows ago, we asked Attorney Carl Messineo with the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund what legal steps they are taking to stem the pervasive breach of civil liberties from the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance program. Our own Heidi Boghosian, author of the book Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance has discussed in detail the public fight back from a legal standpoint. David Greene, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, brings us up to date about ongoing litigation, lawsuits and FOIA requests to continue the fightback against government and corporate spying.

Attorney David Greene:

  • There’s a lot we still don’t know about how much they know about us.
  • We do know that they have several programs to collect communications data. They have a program called UPSTREAM that collects all internet communications.
  • This actually happens at the fiber level, where the switching facilities are. The splitter splits the transmissions to where the communications company wants it to go, and one branch actually goes toward the government.
  • We at EFF have known about that and had a lawsuit pending for 7 years now.
  • Our lawsuit was originally against AT&T and then Congress granted telecoms immunity.
  • One of the other things we’ve learned about is a program that also collects internet records called PRISM. PRISM seems to be focused on collecting email correspondence between foreign targets and the United States.
  • They’re basically collecting the call data of every telephone call made in the United States. Right now they’re saying they’re not collecting the content of the calls but only the metadata.
  • They’re also collecting social media data as well and doing things such as social mapping.
  • There are several provisions of the Fourth Amendment and one of the issues here is the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.
  • Basically people’s information is being searched, being seized without a probable cause to believe these people actually did anything wrong.
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation is an organization that fights for civil liberties in the digital world.
  • Whenever you go up against the government, you’re going to be out-resourced.
  • There are many things about being a free person that require a person to operate with some degree of privacy from there government.

Guest – Attorney David Greene, Senior Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has significant experience litigating First Amendment issues in state and federal trial and appellate courts, and is one of the country’s leading advocates for and commentators on freedom of expression in the arts. David was a founding member, with David Sobel and Shari Steele, of the Internet Free Expression Alliance, and currently serves on the Northern California Society for Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee, the steering committee of the Free Expression Network, the governing committee of the ABA Forum on Communications Law, and on advisory boards for several arts and free speech organizations across the country.

fraad_-300x222 Left Forum 2013: Dr. Harriet Fraad Part 2

We hear part 2 of a presentation from Harriet Fraad, a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist in Manhattan. She writes regularly for Truthout, Tikkun Magazine and The Journal of Psychohistory. Her blog with Richard D. Wolff, Economy and Psychology appears at HarrietFraad.com and RDWolff.com. Her latest book is Bringing It All Back Home, edited by Graham Cussano. Her article on “Emotional and Sexual Life in a Socialist America,” written with Tess Fraad Wolff, will appear in the book Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA (Harper Collins 2013). This panel explores what socialism could look like in the United States.