Archive for December, 2007

Talk Nation Radio interviews Graham Usher of al-Ahram Weekly in Pakistan and Kamran Ali in Karachi

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Talk Nation Radio Special Pakistan Experts Graham Usher and Kamran Ali on the Bhutto Assassination

Here are additional formats for listening to this week’s special reports on Pakistan.

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Dec. 28, 2007

Produced by Dori Smith
TRT: 29:51 !

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We discuss reactions in Karachi and other cities as former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is buried. What other types of reactions are anticipated? What should US and European policy be toward Pakistan?

Graham Usher is a correspondent for al-Ahram Weekly in Pakistan. He looks at the impact of the Bhutto assassination on upcoming elections and reports that opposition candidate Nawaz Sharif has already said he would boycott upcoming election. We discuss the political climate and talk about likely plans for election and what is at stake for the US.

Kamran Ali of the University of Texas at Austin joins us from Karachi to discuss his view on the Bhutto assassination, who may have been involved, what repercussions there could be, and whether or not there will be civil war.

You can find his publications and pertinent information about his scholarly work online at MERIP Middle East Report, and you can contact both of our guests on today’s program through the Middle East Desk, http://www.middleeastdesk.org

Anatol Lieven on the Crisis for Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the World

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Talk Nation Radio Special
Anatol Lieven on the Crisis for Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the World

Produced by Dori Smith
TRT: 29:13

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We spend the half hour discussing the assassination of Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto with Anatol Lieven, an expert on Afghanistan, national security, and terrorism and a former senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. We look at the assassination, discuss likely perpetrators, and talk about the various types of terrorists operating in the region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. As the world begins to understand the implications of the Bhutto assassination, global markets are falling. We discuss the key issues on people’s minds as the nuclear armed Pakistan is further destabilized. We consider the US Military plan to send more US Special Forces into Pakistan on training missions, their new ‘surge’ plans for Afghanistan, and how the overall policy of the White House could exacerbate the problem and cause things to go critical. (see NYT and Democracy Now for Dec 27, 2007)

There are dark plans afoot, and some of them have been fronted by the Democrats. All of this happening in a politically charged climate in the US just prior to the Presidential primaries in Iowa. Of concern, terrorists like Gulbadin Hekmatyar who have long benefited from murky US foreign policy initiatives. He and other war lords rose to power during the US effort against Russia. What would happen to such figures in Afghanistan now? Would they benefit from the assassination of Bhutto? (http://talknationradio.com/?p=69) Other questions raised include: What can the US do to prevent a deterioration of security in the region? Who should be approached for talks? Who should be fought? Can America remain in Afghanistan and/or can US forces pull out? What about the impact of British and EU leaders approaching the Taliban for quiet talks?

Anatol Lieven previously covered Central Europe for The Financial Times writing about Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the former Soviet Union. He has also covered Russia as well as India as a freelance journalist and reported for the Eastern Services of the BBC. He is author of numerous books on policy including ‘The Baltic Revolution; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence’. That book won him the George Orwell prize for political reporting. You can find his analytical piece on Pakistan ‘Western Myths and Pakistani Realities’ published by the International Herald Tribune at the New America Foundation http://www.newamerica.net which also features a list of his other books and articles.

Radio producers may feel free to use any portion of this audio for their own reports. We will be providing another half hour special, interviews with Pakistan experts from the Middle East Desk http://middleeastdesk.org/ Graham Usher of al-Ahram Weekly and Kamran Ali in Karachi recorded 12-27 — 12-28 doritalknation@sbcglobal.net for further information.

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Turkey’s Bombing of Kurdish PKK and US Clandestine Support for PKK linked Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan, PEJAK

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Talk Nation Radio for December 26, 2007
Turkey’s Bombing of Kurdish PKK and US Clandestine Support for PKK linked Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan, PEJAK

The US is supporting Turkey’s air strikes on PKK targets in Northern Iraq while also clandestinely supporting PEJAK, a PKK related group that operates in the same region.

An interview with Stephen Zunes of the University of San Francisco.

Listen to this week’s program in 64 bitrate here or in 128 here other formats here

In his December 21, 2007 piece in National Catholic Reporter, ‘A Nation Without a State’, Stephen Zunes of the University of San Francisco points out that ‘inconsistency and double-dealing have marked U.S. policy toward the Kurds’. We look at the recent history of US foreign policy involving the Kurds and other aspects of US/Iraq policy. (This is part one of a two part show, stands alone.)

Stephen Zunes is an advisory committee member and Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy in Focus Project and an associate editor of Peace Review. He says the plight of the Kurds has been largely ignored by the international community until periodic flare-ups of violence threaten to escalate into a larger regional conflict, and he calls the Kurds A Nation without a State in his National Catholic Reporter piece December 21st because the largely Sunni Muslim population of more than 30 million Kurds is divided among six countries including Northern Iraq and also Turkey, Syria, Iran and the Caucuses.

He also discusses the murkey political waters the Bush administration is in by actively supporting Turkey’s air strikes on PKK targets while at the same time clandestinely supporting the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJAK), a group closely allied with the PKK, which operates out of the same remote mountain valley. And we look at some of the economic pressures that are causing a rift between the US State Department and the White House over certain oil contracts signed with the Kurds. Of interest is Ray Hunt of Hunt Oil in Texas.

Background information: Turkey’s recent arms build up, particularly for its air force, has been of great concern to arms control experts. One concern was that the US would bring Turkey into regional conflicts, that of course, a concern expressed by Turkish leaders too back in 2003 when the Bush administration sought to use turkey as a staging ground for the invasion of Iraq. Another concern was that the presence of new state of the art weaponry presented a temptation to leaders in Turkey to engage in air strikes at the border with the Iraq. Under the Bush administration that air force has been the recipient of more than 11 billion worth of state of the art air craft; that includes 100 new generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets and 117 additional F-16s. Turkey was also able to purchase other technology to modernize its air force as part of a quid pro quo with the Bush administration. Turkey gave the US Military wider access to their strategic air base at Incerlik, and the US has used that access to create a faster resupply route for US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prior to the start of their air campaign Turkey placed tens of thousands of ground forces at the border with Iraq, and at least some hundreds of troops did cross the border into Northern Iraq. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described the PKK, the guerilla force of the Kurdish Workers Party, as a terrorist organization and as such their war appears to be in line with the Bush administration’s war on terror. But there are much wider implications in this new instability in Iraq having to do with power struggles over territory and oil.

Turkey received major arms throughout the administration of both George H. W. Bush and then Bill Clinton. But Turkish leaders were able to go even further in their efforts to bring their air force up to western standards during the tenure of George W. Bush. They now participate in the manufacturing process for the F-16 working closely with Lockheed Martin.
Turkey also participates in the testing of new air based weapons technology with McDonald Douglas.

Dr. Stephen Zunes is an advisory committee member and Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy in Focus Project and an associate editor of Peace Review. He is a Professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco, where he has taught since 1995 and writes frequently for a wide variety of publications in the US, Canada, and Europe.

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Special Thanks to Foreign Policy in Focus and Seasons Greetings to our listeners and supporters at various stations.
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Dahr Jamail on Washington’s Mirage of Improvements in Iraq

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Talk Nation Radio for December 20, 2007
Dahr Jamail on Washington’s Mirage of Improvements in Iraq

Listen to the program in streaming Mp3 audio here

Produced by Dori Smith at WHUS at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT http://www.whus.org
TRT: 29:17
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In our introduction we look at the Iraqi/US plan to bring Iraqi refugees back to Iraq from Syria. This plan has some critical problems. The UNHCR warning issued in November was ignored as the return was folded into news of Iraq War successes. We hear the UNHCR warning, then George Bush’s comments during a press conference 12-20-07 where he ignores a reporter’s question about the refugees.

‘So this is a society that is evolving. Now it takes a while for societies that have been brutalized by tyranny and you know wrecked by war to meet expectations and so the questions I ask on Iraq and Afghanistan is: is there progress? Are people feeling better about life? And of course we press their governments to work to come together and get budgets passed or you know decaba…in Iraq’s case de-Baathification law or oil laws and those are all important. But what’s also important is the human condition and I believe we are making progress on both fronts’. George W. Bush 12-20-07

Then Stephen Zunes comments on the real human condition in Iraq. There is now segregation and newly constructed US walls dividing Shiites from Sunnis.

Dahr Jamail provides his insights on real versus exaggerated reports of the success of the US Military surge. ‘Iraq is lost’ he argues, citing the steady increase in instability and risk for Iraqi civilians. We discuss ongoing efforts in Iraq by Deputy Secretary of the State John Negroponte and others who are indeed pressing the Iraqis to accept debaathification laws and more importantly, oil laws. Where Negroponte, Bush, and various US candidates for the White House, discuss ‘economic and social’ progress in Iraq are they using code for ‘oil laws?’

Dahr Jamail argues that it is not a matter of if but when the US uses military force against Iran. That despite the White House admission that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2004.

For further information on this topic see Dahr Jamail’s December 17, 2007 story in Islam Online, ‘Mirage of Improvement in Iraq, Yet Another Facelift for the Failed Occupation.’

His book, Beyond the Green Zone, Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq is available at fine book stores and the University of Connecticut Co-Op

Next Week: MidEast expert Stephen Zunes discusses his 12-21-07 National Catholic Reporter story, ‘A Nation without a State.’ We discuss the potential long term consequences of twin border crises involving Turkey’s attacks on Kurdish villages and Kurdish incursions into Iran.

From his article: ‘While cautioning Turkey against overreacting, the United States is actively supporting Turkish military efforts to track and suppress guerrillas of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), including support for Turkish air and artillery strikes into Iraqi territory.

At the same time, the United States has been clandestinely supporting the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJAK), a group closely allied with the PKK, which operates out of the same remote mountain valley. While the PKK launches its attacks in Turkey, its sister organization PEJAK launches its cross-border raids into Iran. Unlike the retaliatory attacks by Turkey against the PKK, the United States has condemned Iran’s retaliatory attacks against PEJAK as acts of aggression against Iraqi territory’. Stephen Zunes 12-21-07

Special thanks to Foreign Policy in Focus

WHUS is located at FM 91.7 on the dial in Connecticut

Music by Fritz Heede

Contact Dori Smith at talknationradio@gmail.com

Dahr Jamail on Tactical Perception Management in Iraq

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Talk Nation Radio for December 13, 2007
Dahr Jamail on Tactical Perception Management in Iraq

“The fulcrum of this piece that I wrote for Tom Dispatch; my whole goal was to get out the point of how the Pentagon so effectively with the assistance of a complicit corporate media dehumanizes Iraqis and demonizes them and creates a situation where the occupiers of Iraq, the US Military, can effectively do whatever they want and get away with murder and torture and other war crimes. This has become acceptable only because of their ability to demonize the people that are essentially the victims of their policies.” Dahr Jamail, December 12, 2007.

Dahr Jamail’s new book, Beyond the Green Zone, Dispatches from an Unembedded Reporter in Occupied Iraq, has won widespread acclaim. Dahr has also just received the 2007 Eighteenth Annual Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage.

Produced by Dori Smith at WHUS at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT
TRT: 29:43

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There has been a new emphasis in Washington on the creation of an Iraq War success story just ahead of US Presidential elections. So we asked Dahr Jamail to discuss the reality of this “success” and talk about his recent story in Tom Dispatch on “Tactical Perception Management in Iraq”. Dahr explains that the US press in Iraq is still not verifying US Military reports prior to airing them.

If you read through corporate media reports, he points out, you find language that if taken literally would mean that
Iraq Has Only Militants, No Civilians. As you will hear Dahr mentions the figure of over one million one hundred and eighteen thousand Iraqi civilian dead during the war thus far. That number is based on a recent estimate by Just Foreign Policy. It agrees with another widely accepted report released in September by Opinion Research Business, ORB, a London polling agency. It established through polls of Iraqis that one million civilians have died since the US invasion in 2003.

We look at real versus exaggerated reports of “success” which is in fact an odd word to use under the circumstances; going over reports on events in October and December 2007.
and http://www.beyondthegreenzone.org

For Transcripts and audio: http://www.talknationradio.org

WHUS is located at FM 91.7 on the dial in Connecticut
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Music by Fritz Heede

Contact Dori Smith at talknationradio@gmail.com