ClandesTime 189 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: Omar Nasiri

Omar Nasiri was a Moroccan who spent 6 years spying on Al Qaeda for several European intelligence agencies. In this episode I review his autobiography Inside the Jihad, including the year he spent in Afghan training camps in the mid-1990s.

America’s Long History of Hating Immigrants

Reading Time: 15 minutesWhen Ken Cucinelli spoke this week about Emma Lazarus&;s words on the Statue of Liberty being meant “only for Europeans,” he was signaling both ignorance of history and a reminder that distrust of the “other” runs deep in the American psyche.As bad as the pushback a

Everything You Know About Charles Manson Is Wrong!

Reading Time: 26 minutesJoan Didion famously said that the Sixties ended on August 9, 1969, with the murders of Sharon Tate and six others at the hands of the so-called Manson Family. For 50 years, the official narrative has held that the murders were initiated by Manson to appear as if they were committed by the Black Panthers with the goal of starting a race war.

ClandesTime 188 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: Mubin Shaikh

The 2006 arrests of the Toronto 18 was a key moment in the post-9/11 war on terror. It helped internationalise the war effort and added Canada to the list of supposed terrorist targets. This week I examine the life and work of the main Canadian intelligence informant inside the Toronto 18 – Mubin Shaikh.

Cyber Armies Are on the March

Reading Time: 15 minutesIt is often said that the American military is fighting every war based on the lessons learned from the last one. Today, that’s not an option because its past conflicts will not prepare the US for the battlefield of cyberspace.

ClandesTime 187 – When Entertainment Liaison Offices Go Bad

The relationship between government liaison offices and the entertainment industry usually works well, resulting in added production value for the industry’s products and the furtherance of the government’s agendas. But sometimes things go wrong.

The Supreme Court’s Recent Decisions Cement Minority Rule

Reading Time: 1 minuteAt the end of June, the Supreme Court issued decisions on partisan gerrymandering and on the effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 national census.

ClandesTime 186 – NCIS

NCIS is a wildly successful TV drama, one of the most popular series of the last 20 years. This week I recount how the DOD, Navy and Marine Corps routinely rewrite episodes of NCIS to fit their PR and propaganda goals.

ClandesTime 185 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: Morten Storm

Morten Storm is a Danish man who converted to Islam in the 1990s and got involved in the jihadi scene in Denmark, the UK, Yemen and Somalia. In 2006 he suffered a loss of faith, and turned to Danish intelligence and offered to help them fight the war on terror.

We’ve Just Doubled Down On Revolutionary War Mythology

Reading Time: 13 minutesSuddenly this celebration of Independence Day has become, by presidential fiat, a celebration of war and militarism. It’s as if we really believed that our own Revolution was a singular triumph of military might.In fact, according to our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, University of Rochester professor of history Thomas P.

Why Election Integrity Is the Whole Ballgame

Reading Time: 13 minutesIf the Democratic debates told us anything, it’s that some of our would-be leaders don’t see the proverbial forest for the trees.So many signs indicate that our democracy is not working.

The Frightening Rise of Algorithms

Reading Time: 13 minutesWhen the computer “Hal 9000” refused astronaut David Bowman&;s request  to “Open the pod bay doors, HAL” in 2001: A Space Odyssey, it was as if our most primal fears of thinking machines came rushing headlong into the 20th century.Today, algorithms and artificial in

Who Should Censor Online Speech?

Reading Time: 18 minutesThere are few First Amendment issues more pressing today than how online speech should be governed. It impacts our interpersonal relationships, our views of almost every aspect of society, and of course our politics.

Facing Human Extinction, Activist Wants to ‘Go Down Swinging’

Reading Time: 18 minutesAs Democratic leaders offer their “Green New Deal” modeled on FDR’s “New Deal,” veteran environmental leader Randy Hayes has drafted the “New Green Deal,” a to address what he calls “a deep planetary emergency.”

ClandesTime 183 – Fields of Fire

Fields of Fire is one of the greatest movies that was never made. A brutal but sympathetic portrait of the Vietnam War, it was denied military support despite being written by a former Secretary of the Navy. This week I examine the story of Fields of Fire using a file from the DOD’s entertainment liaison office.

Why Trade Matters

Reading Time: 24 minutesThe US is in a full-blown “trade war” with China. The possibility of tariffs on goods from Mexico, combined with other trade actions by the Trump administration, could send the entire US economy off the rails. The Federal Reserve is already looking at ways to prevent this disaster in the making.History teaches that global trade matters.

Powerful Democrat Lives Large on Corporate Cash

Reading Time: 16 minutesAs the new chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) is being showered with campaign contributions — more than a half million dollars in the first quarter of 2019.Journalist David Daley, who lives in Neal’s district, reviewed the fundraising and spending reports in a recent column in the Boston Globe (see link below).

ClandesTime 182 – Clear and Present Danger

1994’s Clear and Present Danger is one of the most important movies in the cinema of the war on drugs, depicting black operations by the CIA and US military against a Colombian drug cartel.

ClandesTime 181 – The Cinema of Iran-Contra

Iran-Contra is in many ways the definitive government conspiracy – involving guns, drugs, anti-communism and black operations, it went all the way to the White House.

The Solution to Democracy Is Less Democracy, Author Says

Reading Time: 16 minutesWe keep trying to reform our political system to make it more “democratic.” Grassroots organizations across the world are pushing reforms, trying to bring politics closer to the people. Parties have turned to primaries and local caucuses to select candidates.

ClandesTime 180 – The Politics of Monster Movies

Monster movies are one of the most beloved and distinctive genres in cinema, featuring a winning combination of exotic spectacle, ground-breaking visual effects and reflections on humanity’s relationship with nature.

Trying to Understand Trump’s Finances Is Taxing

Reading Time: 19 minutesOver the past two years, Americans have been subjected to a crash course in government and its discontents: from separation of powers and obstruction of justice to the fine points of collusion vs. conspiracy.

It’s All About the Benjamins: The Trouble With Philanthropy Today

Reading Time: 15 minutesIt seems that every time we experience a “gilded age,” the rich, perhaps worried that the pitchforks will soon be at the gates, increase their giving.According to David Callahan, our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast and the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy, political polarization has divided the world of large-scale giving as never before.Each side looks askance at the

ClandesTime 179 – The Philosophy and Politics of Superman

Superman is one of the world’s most recognisable cultural icons. A symbol of human idealism, he has been subject to a range of political and philosophical agendas over the last 80 years.

Green Shoots in the Future of Voting

Reading Time: 18 minutesGiven the ongoing standoff between Congress and the White House, it’s becoming clearer each day that the “tiebreaker” will be the 2020 election.So it’s encouraging to learn that the prospects for voting reform are not as bleak as some stories might lead us to believe.

What’s It Like to Work at Walmart?

French Canadian journalist Hugo Meunier specializes in “immersion reporting.” He spent three months working at a Walmart store and offers an insider’s account of the plight of low-paid worker bees who stock the shelves and endure abuse from bargain-hunting shoppers.In this WhoWhatWhy podcast interview, Meunier explains the training and indoctrination he received, as well as the company’s attempts to motivate workers with daily reports on store sales and repeated dangling of a $2,000 annual performance bonus.

ClandesTime 178 – Black Panther vs Django Unchained

Black Panther and Django Unchained are perhaps the two most successful movies featuring black actors in lead roles that Hollywood has ever made. But are they as radical as they seem?

Democracies Are Not Forever… Is the US Headed Down the Same Path As Rome?

Every day, no matter what the issue — whether it’s election integrity, rule of law, climate change, guns, impeachment, or the Mueller report — what’s at stake is not just daily political wins and losses, but the very survival of the republic.As was the case at its founding, during the Civil War, and at a select few times in US history, Americans would be making a huge mistake if they took the survival of the nation for granted.

The Mueller Report: Further Proof That a Savior Isn’t Coming

According to Sarah Kendzior, the Mueller Report doesn&;t even scratch the surface of what’s been happening.In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Kendzior, the no-holds-barred commentator, calls special counsel Robert Mueller incompetent.

After Legalization of Gangs, Ecuador’s Murder Rate Dropped 400%

Gang violence is one of the main drivers of the exodus from Central America. In response to the exodus, President Donald Trump wants to cut US aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras — a move that critics say will only exacerbate the situation. Trump has also talked about using tough police tactics and mass deportation to eliminate the Latin street gang MS-13 — a group that actually originated in Los Angeles.

The Life, Captivity, and Trial of Bowe Bergdahl: A Symbol of America’s Failure in Afghanistan?

Journalist Michael Ames joins Jeff Schechtman in this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast to talk about the high-profile military crimes of Bowe Bergdahl — and what they say about both Bergdahl and the failure of US efforts in Afghanistan.Bergdahl, the longest-held American POW since Vietnam, endured five years of hellish conditions.

ClandesTime 176 – What Vice Doesn’t Tell You about Dick Cheney

Vice has won awards along with praise from audiences and critics alike, but how well does it inform its audience about Dick Cheney? This week I take a look at the important material that Vice overlooked, or didn’t know about.

Could Everything You Know About Global Population Growth Be Wrong?

Since the 1960s we’ve come to understand that an expanding global population threatens our quality of life — and, potentially, all life itself. Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book, The Population Bomb, set the stage for 50 years of doom-laden assumptions about population growth.