Flashpoints producer Dennis Bernstein interviewed Professor Elaine Hagopian, writer and investigative author Larry Everest and A'sad Abu-Khalil, professor of political science. They discussed a variety of issues facing Iraq and the U.S. at the current stage of the conflict. The Flashpoints program summary for the day's program will give you some idea for the sweeping scope of their analysis. It's worth listening to in full, and this segment of the program is attached as a standalone mp3 file.
At about the 8 minute, 49 second mark, A'sad Abu-Khalil addresses Dennis Bernstein's questions about the scenes we are seeing in Western TV reports in the last two days. While he acknowledges that his concern is a conspiracy theory, he offers his analysis in the spirit of being skeptical of what we are seeing:
"I think that a lot of people will disagree with me when I say this, and I didn't see anybody saying that even in the Arabic media this morning. And I usually do not resort to conspiracy theorists. But let me say this. Don't be surprised (that) if in a year or two or three Bob Woodward comes out with a book in which we learn that the scenes today -- as I was watching on Al-Jazeera this morning -- struck me as too theatrical, too orchestrated, and not really genuine.And I really believe -- personally, I have no evidence of course -- I would not be surprised if this was arranged by the CIA and some of the people from the Iraqi national congress. Because it's symbolic effect will be grave, to basically send a message that the regime is crumbling.
"And I also noted ... how did this occur? People were walking spontaneously, and there were in their back pockets had hammers and sledge hammers because whenever they stroll down the street they do that.And there were all these findings in Baghdad, and people saying let us just gather ... pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein. ... That's not to say that there's not relief for people to get rid of a brutal dictatorship.I'm not saying that. But I also want to say that when people live under a brutal occupation like this one is, after being bombed from the air and sea and everywhere else for 21 days, I mean, of course they're going to be intimidated andthey're going to kiss the shoes -- literally -- of their occupiers.I've seen those scenes myself in South Lebanon, when the Israelis came. Within one year, instead of showering them with praise, they were tossing grenades at their convoys.
"...one last point. As I was watching interviews with people in Basra, for example, whenever they are interviewed by Western journalists who are always embedded and surrounded by heavily armed US troops they say rather cautious nice things like "really happy, there's no problem." But I notice when they speak to Abu Dhabi TV and Al-Jazeera TV, they are very critical of the Americans and British. And some of them... Just yesterday, I was watching this on Abu Dhabi TV ... some of the interviewed were saying this is getting worse than times under Saddam Hussein. ... This is not to say that we should go back to the kind of Saddam tyranny.But I'm saying that I think -- very quickly -- the Iraqis will come the realization, inevitable, that the United States absolutely doesn't have the true interests of the Iraqi people at heart."
Program summary for April 9, 2003, lifted from the Flashpoints website:
Wednesday, Apr 9, 2003 stream / download
-00:00 Dennis Bernstein: introduction:
-00:50 Robert Knight and the Knight Report.. Robert:
http://www.flashpoints.net/images/audio2.jpgSaddam Hussein to be denied medical care, says Rumsfeld.. hopes that the Iraqi people have a happy life.. Palestine Hotel reports looting and vandalism.. as US troops destroy statues and posters of Saddam Hussein.. snipers still active.. IRC suspends humanitarian aid to Baghdad because of chaos.. still no WMD found.. oil fields found.. US Senate resolution seeks to 'democratize' Iran.. US under Sec of State, John Bolton issues warning to Iran and Syria against possessing WMDs.. no mention of Israel's many WMDs.. Al Jazeera TV says Saddam may be under protection of the Russians.
http://www.flashpoints.net/images/audio2.jpg now to Amman, Jordan with Flashpoints special correspondent, Ziad Abbas (link2) (link3).. sadness around the killing of Tareq Ayoub.. Ziad: all the morning newspapers have big pictures of Al-Jazeera reporter, Tareq.. articles about how the US army targeting the Arab journalists.. in this war the Arab media become more independent, more important.. people very angry, big march and rally.. many journalists speaking.. Tareq's family said we reject the American message of condolence.. the body on the way to Jordan, tomorrow the funeral.. Dennis: Ziad, you are from Palestine, do you see parellels with how the Israelis target journalists?.. Ziad: sure.. Tareq is from Palestine.. his uncle still lives there.. more than 170 journalists have been (killed) in Palestine, some international.. the Palestinian journalists do not have free movement.. about the first intifada.. tens of us journalists were jailed, were tortured.. even in this intifada, many of the Palestinian journalists.. shot and killed, injured, jailed.. the Israeli journalists they have special passes.. not easy to be a Palestinian journalists.. Dennis: even the Palestinian journalists working for Reuters or AP?.. Ziad: absolutely, they are shot by the army or settlers.. they even shoot now the international activists, the ISM members, like Rachel Corrie in Gaza.. like in Jenin a few days ago (Brian Avery).. how the US media plays with the facts to (justify the occupation).. about the two times that Ziad was arrested and tortured.. first time in March 1988.. (he describes).. two lines of soldiers from the bus to the jail, the prisoners had to pass between the lines, each soldiers had a stick.. hit us, as we tried to pass, I will never forget it.. this kind of torture.. try to hurt the dignity of the people.. the second time.. we used the small cameras to take pictures of what the soldiers were doing in the refugee camps..
http://www.flashpoints.net/images/audio2.jpgUS media gushing over the fall of Iraq.. Bush hawks and Ariel Sharon calling for an attack on Iran.. and Syria..
http://www.flashpoints.net/images/asad.jpgnow a roundtable discussion with Professor Elaine Hagopian, and Larry Everest, author of Oil, Power, and Empire, and A'sad Abu-Khalil, Professor of Political Science.. Elaine:
http://www.flashpoints.net/images/elaineh.jpg about the plan to run a new oil pipeline from Iraq to Haifa, Israel.. would have to go through either Jordan or Syria.. a great appetite on the part of US for 'more adventures'.. A'sad: from 1991 through today, Iraq has suffered very much.. still they resisted this invastion.. if they want to take out Syria or Iran, would be a much messier affair.. Larry: the clash of two titanic forces.. ex CIA head James Woolsey said this war on Iraq is the opening salvo of WW4.. why the US is conquering and occupying Iraq.. controlling world energy sources.. to be the dominant superpower.. Larry: we are seeing scenes of people celebrating, but we're not seeing.. the people of Iraq have been starved, deprived of water for 13 years.. they just want this nightmare ended.. A'sad: don't be surprised if someone comes out with a book.. not surprised if the celebrations weren't arranged by the CIA.. of course the population will kiss the feet of an invading army.. heavily armed troops.. on Al Jazeera TV, much less jubilation, and more anger at the US.. the US doesn't have the true interests of the Iraqi people at heart.. the message is clear.. Elaine: it looked manufactured to me also.. and the 'government' that the US is setting up, with a convicted embezzler at its head.. A'sad: we are being bombarded with propaganda.. the US spent $75 million dollars to buy the loyalties of warlords in Afghanistan, how much would it take to buy a few starving Iraqis.. Elaine: all this Israeli Palestinian 'roadmap' talk is nonsense.. Larry: a new form of colonialism.. the opposite of democracy.. US talking about putting former head of Philips Petroleum in charge of Iraqi oil.. lawyers in Iraq preparing martial law.. civilians being rounded up.. about the US head of civilian administration.. he was the one who.. the US will be rewriting the textbooks that the Iraqi kids will learn in school.. A'sad: if it takes tens of US troops to keep Karsei alive, it will tens of thousands of US troops to keep the proposed new government in power.. Elaine: the main purpose is to recognize Israel.. talk about the artwork of Iraq.. the big art dealers meeting in DC to try and get the US government to let them loot.. and the US concerned that Iraq had converted to the Euro (not the dollar).. Venezuala too.. the US seeking to reverse this trend.. A'sad: about the Israeli connection.. the Russian occupation of Afghanistan gave rise to the Taliban, the Israeli occupation of Lebanon gave rise to Hezballah, this US occupation of Iraq will give rise to more Islamic fundamentalism.. Elaine: all the US 'neo-cons' have some connection to Israel.. worked hard to mesh the two countries.. in the past, the US policy used to try to take the Arab sensibilities into account.. this administration is not.. like Eliot Abrams.. covered up slaughters in Central America.. Larry: we're seeing a clash of imperialism and people.. US and Israel against the Arab world.. 60% of the oil and natural gas reserves are in the Middle East..
http://www.flashpoints.net/images/audio2.jpg music break Michael Franti, All Bombing Is Terrorism, We Can Bomb The World To Pieces, But We Can't Bomb It Into Peace..
-51:23 Dennis: now to Moscow with Fred Weir, writer for the Christian Science Monitor..
http://www.flashpoints.net/images/audio2.jpg people protesting in front of the US embassy.. Fred: up to a hundred thousand people.. largest demonstration in years.. people specifically upset that the Russian convoy leaving Baghdad was fired upon by US *Special Forces*.. so close they could see the Russian flag.. fueling the feeling that it was a message, punishment for the Russian anti-war vote in the UN.. the Russian press has covered all the events in Iraq.. done a thorough job in covering the war..
-57:46 Dennis: wrapup
-58:58 End today's show. today's review by john lionheart