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On this week's episode of 'Behind the Headlines', Sott Radio Network co-hosts Joe Quinn and Niall Bradley discussed current affairs with author, historian, and U.S. foreign policy critic, William Blum, whose popular online newsletter, 'The Anti-Empire Report', chronicles the global horror that is US foreign policy... or rather, empire-building.

Disgusted at what the United States government was doing in Vietnam, William quit his post at the US State Department in 1967, and became a freelance journalist in the US, Europe and South America. He was also a founding editor of the Washington Free Press, the US capital's first 'alternative' newspaper.

In the 1970s, William worked with former CIA officer Philip Agee in exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds around the world. Among his many books on US foreign policy, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, first published in 1995, is critically-acclaimed as the best book on the topic.

Running Time: 01:41:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Niall: Hi and welcome to Behind the Headlines on the SOTT Radio Network. I'm Niall Bradley and my co-host, Joe Quinn.

Joe: Hi there.

Niall: Today we're speaking with author William Blum. William was working at the US State Department when he quit in 1967 in opposition to the US war in Vietnam. Thus began his long career in journalism. William was one of the founding editors of the Washington Free Press, the first alternative newspaper in the US capital. Working as a freelance journalist in the US, Europe and South America, William often saw firsthand what the US government was doing all over the world, then of course in the name of "saving people from communism".

Among his many books on US foreign policy are Killing Hope-US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (a very good book). Another one that comes to mind is Rogue State-A Guide to the World's Only Superpower. In 1999 William received a Project Censored award for exemplary journalism. Specifically for a story about how in the '80s the US had given Iraq the material to develop those chemical and biological weapons we heard so much about.

William has been critiquing US foreign policy as a regular columnist for a number of publications. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows. His online column The Anti-Empire Report can be found at his website where you can also purchase his books. After decades spent telling the truth about what the US government really gets up to and no doubt sometimes feeling like he's talking to a brick wall, William recently decided to wind things down so we're very grateful to have him with us today. He has agreed to come back into the fray, so to speak.

Joe: Welcome to the show William.

Bill: Hi. Thank you very much.

Joe: William, it's Bill I think is it, that you preferred to be called? You're known as Bill?

Bill: I'm okay with either name.

Joe: Okay, I'll go with Bill because it's shorter.

Niall: Alright. Bill it is.

Joe: There's plenty of specific questions we could ask you because your books are full of very specific details about the crimes, effectively, of what's become known to most people with some intelligence as the US empire, but I was thinking that I might start with a more general question and a very general one at that. The thought just occurred to me to ask you what is wrong with our world, in your opinion today? What's the major problem? I'm assuming you think there's something wrong.

Bill: The violence is what bothers me the most. Every day it's a punch in my stomach. It really upsets me. Most of the violence? Well in recent decades, it's our own government. I've summarized US foreign policy since the end of WWII as follows: In that period the US has attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments. We've attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders. We've interfered in the elections in about 30 countries. We have stopped revolutionary movements in about 20 countries. And we lead the world in torture in that period. And there's one more other item in my list. I can't think of it at the moment. But that's the summary of our record since 1945.

Joe: The strange thing about that summary is that it is more or less exactly the opposite of what the average American or even the average westerner would say about the US over that 50 year period, since the second half of the last century.

Bill: Yeah. Either they wouldn't know about it or what they know about it they rationalize as being "for the good, "we had no choice, "we're fighting evil communists and evil drug dealers and evil terrorists and so it's all in a good name". That's how they would rationalize it.

Joe: So you've got to break a few eggs to make an omelette kind of thing, that okay it's unfortunate that some people may have died or whatever, but overall supposedly, the US over the past 70 years or even the past 100 years, has been a force for good in the world. That's what people think.

Bill: Right.

Joe: And the problem is your books make it very clear that they are absolutely not, or have certainly not been a force for good in the world. They've been a force for death, suffering and general chaos around the world during that period and the death and suffering of millions of people.

Bill: The main problem in attempting to make the average American understand what his government has done is they have a deep-seated belief in the goodness of our intentions. We have done things which look kind of bad and maybe even did more harm than good, but they have fixedly believed that we mean well. As long as a person, American or otherwise, believes that the US government means well in its foreign policy, then they're able and willing to rationalize whatever the government actually does "for a good cause". And that's something which activists in the US need to keep in mind when they're having an argument with some other American about US foreign policy, is to keep in mind that this person probably begins from the basic belief that the US government means well.

Joe: The thing is there's probably a bit of projection going on there in the sense that the average American does mean well and would like to think that their effect on the world as a people and...

Niall: That they're looked upon as being...

Joe: No, what I'm saying is more fundamental in the sense that the average American has good intentions towards other people as a general rule and they elect these people who, for whatever reason, think are going to embody the same benevolence toward the rest of the world. So what's the difference between the average American and the average American politician?

Bill: Well they both have the same belief. The person in office knows or believes that he will not remain in office unless he continues these same policies, otherwise if he doesn't continue these same policies, he'll be called weak on communism, weak on terrorism and all kinds of things. They'll accuse him of supporting terrorism. The electoral system here is very primitive, I think that's the word to use, and these people who run for office and who hold office, when it comes to foreign policy, they almost never step out of that mould I've just described. They're more likely to do so on a domestic issue, but on foreign policy, no.

Joe: I've heard you say elsewhere that a good definition of democracy for you or for anyone really, because it's quite true, is that democracy is the extent to which someone has an input or an influence on the things that impact their lives, the laws, etc., that impact their lives directly.

Bill: Yes.

Joe: But by that definition the US isn't really much of a shining example of democracy.

Bill: No. I call the US today and for some time it's been a plutocracy; ruled by the rich. The gap between the rich and the poor in the US is by far the greatest in the world or in history and that by itself makes the statement that we are a democracy very questionable. That's a basic fallacy with our system and that has to be dealt with. Some people put it in the form of money has to be taken out of politics. There are people, even some in Congress who share that view, but they haven't yet found a good way to do it.

Niall: By the definition of democracy, the US is not such, you described it as a plutocracy. The chasm then between the state of affairs in the US and the rationale for doing what the US does elsewhere in the world today, is done in the name of democracy. But of course if it's plutocracy, that is what is projected elsewhere. I'd like to get your comment on the situation in Greece at the moment. Although this is within Europe and to all purposes it's an EU affair, it strikes me that the hard line that's been taken in Brussels is a mirror image reflection of the hard line that would be taken by Washington.

Bill: Yeah. One could view the Greece question as a class conflict. The powers that be in Europe, like Mrs. Merkel, look upon the recent leaders of Greece as being striking workers, upstarts. And how dare they challenge the authority of we the bosses? Like all good bosses, they have to teach a lesson to these workers so that others will not have the same idea. The hard line taken against Greece is a warning to Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland and so on. "If you act the same way, we will crush you financially in the same way. The people will suffer in the same way". That is like a domestic labour dispute with the bosses and the workers. "A lesson has to be taught."

Niall: Yeah, it's extremely clear if you look at some of the dialogue back and forth between not just the current "radical left" government in Greece, but the previous one that was mainstream, liberal Greek government, it's astonishing, the conversations the Troika were having with the representatives were all about wage disputes, collective bargaining; the source of the mainstay of a national government, the issues of who gets paid, who gets paid how much, was all coming straight from Brussels. "No, no, no, you've got to do it this way."

Bill: Yeah, the bosses even are clamping down on pensions. This is normally a local, domestic issue but it's highlighted internationally from the same capitalist mentality, that you have at home. It's very clear in that sense.

Joe: Bill, the crimes that you detail in your books, and you have been faced into and facing yourself into over the past 50 years or more, it's my impression that looking back on that and looking at what's happening today, that the crimes of this so-called elite, who are just criminals obviously but they style themselves as being the elite, that they've gotten worse perhaps since 9/11 but as a general rule, over the course of the past 50 years, they've ramped up the things that they do, the crimes that they commit around the world, as detailed in your books, they continue to do those at an increasing rate and in a more egregious way over that period of time.

But at the same time during that time there's been many more people like yourself who've come out and exposed these crimes. I was struck by the kind of problem inherent, in the sense of what does that portend for the ability of truth-tellers like yourself to contribute to any meaningful change in the world if - as I see it anyway, I don't know if this is your view as well - that these people are getting worse in what they're doing. They're committing more egregious crimes all the time, even as they're being exposed.

Bill: Yeah. I do have faith in education. I think more and more and more people are learning these facts that we've just explained. I think the public is getting much more wise. The whole world is getting much more wise to what's going on, to the nature of the game that's being played. I can only advise people who ask me what they can do, to educate yourself as much as you can and as many other people as you can, about the real facts of these historical events. Eventually, I can only hope, eventually numbers will reach a certain critical mass and there will be some kind of explosion. I can't predict the exact nature of that explosion, but I have the faith that it will happen and that's the advice I pass on to people as to what they can do. I admit it cannot be as inspiring as telling people to grab the pitchforks and the fires and storm the palace. It's a slow process, obviously. That's all I can advise people to do.

Joe: It occurred to me also that maybe the fact that more people are becoming aware of the real nature of the world and the powers that control it, that that may be actually pushing these same powers to act in more...

Bill: Yeah, the more they're challenged, the more they'll react that way. And of course now in this age of information we live in with the internet especially, of course many more people are learning much more than before and they're processing and the powers that be are reacting as expected. They're not going to sit back and just accept this. So that explains Mrs. Merkel and that explains the American government and other governments. We can't be surprised by that. We just have to keep on pushing, keep learning, keep educating other people and keep pushing.

Joe: Yeah, I suppose it's a silver lining, but there's an idea there that the more desperate they get, the more mistakes they might make and at some point we might get an event that would really reveal the man behind the curtain. That's maybe a pipe dream.

Bill: The more they act that way the more they'll turn people off. So the process would be multiplied.

Niall: Yeah, there are EU officials on the record as saying to Yanis Varoufakis who relates this back to the public "Yeah, we're perfectly aware that our economics is junk science, at least the way we're applying it, is destructive to Greece but you don't understand. The reason we're doing this is to break the backs of the Greek people". I don't think they understand this, but there is a kind of an instinct that "Oh my god! There's a large population here who are discussing and aware of what's actually going on and what we're like! We need to beat them back."

Joe: Yeah, that guy Varoufakis, the former finance minister who left, said that when talking to these European central powers, that they said "Yeah, we know what you're saying. We understand that what you're saying makes sense", but he said that they said to him "But we're going to crush you anyway".

Bill: Yeah, that vote on the 5th in Greece, 52 percent voted in a way that the European powers that be found to be reprehensible and they reacted to that. The punishments which they have outlined in their latest agreement are worse than had been thought of before. So they're reacting, as you said. when they're challenged and castigated by the mob, they will react in a tougher manner.

Joe: Speaking of mobs Bill, what's your take on what's happening in the US with - I hesitate to call it race war - but it seems like there's been a lot more of that over the past year or so, tension between blacks and whites in the US on various different pretexts. Do you see that being a problem?

Bill: I don't think that's so much a black/white thing but a cop/non-cop thing. The cops of America are pretty awful and it's becoming much more apparent because of the video cameras people carry around with them. I don't think the cops are any worse now than they were 20, 30 or 40 years ago, but the cameras are so omnipresent that we're seeing things we would never have seen before and we're forced to believe the stories people tell about the cops much more than we had to before. So it's really an amazing change in our perspective and in our news presentation and it's very good.

Joe: It's very good and it also ties into what we just said previously, that this preponderance of video cameras among the population holds the potential to expose the nature of the beast to so many people and get to that point where something will break.

Bill: If only we could present to the American public in as concise a manner as with these video cameras, what US foreign policy results in abroad. If we could show videos of the results of our support of Saudi Arabia, for example, in the Middle East, or of Egypt or of Israel, that would help to move people. The Russian station RT, which is shown in a number of American cities, does show much more of this than you find on NBC and ABC and that's a good thing also.

Joe: Yeah. Speaking of the Middle East, we had the recent en tant with Iran, supposedly a breakthrough in negotiations and we're all friends now. Is that really all it's about?

Bill: Well you know, I haven't seen this comment. I read a lot about the path concerning Iran. I read a lot and I've yet to see anyone make this comment, that when you get right down to it, the thing is completely meaningless. It has meaning only if Iran was really a threat to have nuclear weapons and a threat to invade the US or with these nukes to nuke the US or Israel. But of course this isn't the case at all. Iran has known for decades that any such attack upon the US or Israel would mean the end of Iran completely. So they're not so suicidal as to do that. There have not ever been any danger of Iran, even if they had nuclear weapons, no danger of them using them against the US or anyone, for that matter. So in that sense, this pact was totally unnecessary. All the public statements, the fancy meetings in Vienna and all that, is just a big show to show who's boss.

But it's Israel who's behind it. They are determined to remain the only nuclear power in the Middle East and that's the reason that they're so opposed to Iran getting nuclear weapons and the US is just following in those footsteps. But what happened in Vienna, in any real sense, is totally meaningless.

Niall: Okay, do you have any idea or opinion on why then, the US is going against what it has been doing for so long, which is take Israel's position on this issue?

Bill: Oh you mean why they were dealing with Iran at all you mean.

Joe: Yeah, why this change of tack and the dropping of sanctions, supposedly?

Bill: I can only guess that Obama is working on his "legacy".

Niall: Aha!

Bill: He probably knows that this wasn't necessary. It's all show.

Joe: It's showmanship.

Bill: He probably knows that. And that I'm guess is the main motivation. The US has been getting more and more flack about its policy in the Middle East for years and years and including it's support of Israel. It finally may have made a slight dent in the steel of US policy. I'm not sure. I would have to be able to read the mind of Barak Obama.

Niall: Sure.

Bill: I can only guess that it has to do with the things I just mentioned. But from a practical point of view there was no need for it. It was just some image-serving policy.

Joe: And of course Netanyahu made hay out of the whole thing by trumping up how this is terrible, telling Israelis they're all going to die soon basically, which obviously supports his position as this hawk in the Israeli government.

Bill: Yeah, Netanyahu and Obama supposedly don't care for each other too much so that may also have played a role.

Niall: Bill, you wrote in your book Rogue State that the Cold War never really ended. You were writing this in 2000.

Bill: Right.

Niall: And this is based on what you saw in the '90s. Now everyone else was saying "Oh yes the Cold War is ended. It's over!" And you said "Nope!"

Bill: That question has been answered in now what people call Cold War II, one could easily say it's just the same Cold War.

Niall: It never ended.

Bill: And it was proved that it was never communism per se that brought in the American power elite. It was the idea of anyone challenging American dominance in the world. The bottom line in my view about US foreign policy is that if you want to understand those policies, you have to understand that the US wants to dominate the world and they've been wanting to do this for centuries. This explains all kinds of things. Any country which stands in the way of that dominance like the Soviet Union did and Russia now does and China now does, they are by definition enemies to be thwarted in one way or another. That's what happening now. We call it another Cold War but it may become hot.

Niall: You said centuries there Bill. Do you think there's some kind of original design...?

Bill: One can date the beginning of the American empire from the conquest of the Indians. When they reached California they had no place to go except abroad and that's what they did. And at that time they announced the policy of the Monroe Doctrine [Manifest Destiny] which gave us the right to Latin America.

Niall: Yes.

Bill: But there's another term I'm thinking of. Anyhow those are some of the beginning stages. And then it reached another level in the 1890s when we invaded and conquered Cuba and Guam and some other nations in the Pacific. That was the more outward, obvious manifestation of the US empire and it's been busy growing itself ever since.

Niall: Yeah, it's just been a non-stop growth process from the beginning.

Bill: For people who want to understand US foreign policy, they have to keep in mind these basics. They can't just look at each event and each day as if it has no predecessor. It's all part of an ongoing pattern of empire.

Joe: And who drives that empire? That desire to expand empire? Because obviously you're talking here about it including many, many dozens of administrations of both democrat and republican. It really doesn't seem to matter who's in the White House.

Bill: No, it doesn't matter at all.

Joe: So is there someone behind the White House that is driving this?

Bill: In modern times it's the corporations and just to be realistic, the people who support the empire's policies have the money and with that money they can change the outcome of almost any election. So if the politician wants to remain in office he knows very well he cannot undertake a new foreign policy. He cannot castigate the imperialists. It's the same dilemma faced by any American President for two centuries.

Joe: Was that term you were thinking of Manifest Destiny?

Bill: Manifest Destiny, right. That was the term, of course. Thank you. And then the next expression in sequence was the American Century coined by the founder of Time Magazine in the early 1900s, the American Century. Yeah, we have had our eye on that prize for a long time.

Joe: We're going to let you go soon, but just as a final closing question, do you see this continuing on for the next few hundred years or do you see any change possible to a somewhat better world?

Bill: Well every empire comes to an end, and it's easy to say that the American empire will come to an end some day. But the question is, what will end first, the American empire or the world? The US is the main violator of the world environment. The US military is the one institution in the world that pollutes more than any other institution in many ways. Forget about the politics. Just for the sake of our environment, which is to say the sake of the future of the world, the American military establishment has to be put to an end. That's by itself enough reason to fight the empire.

Joe: Well it can't come soon enough as far as we're concerned.

Bill: It won't happen in my lifetime. I'm an old man.

Joe: Well you never know. Things can happen pretty quickly. I often think that maybe something else might intercede. There's been a lot of talk about the big one, concerning earthquakes over on the west coast of the US and I'm thinking that maybe some kind of an environmental problem could possibly...

Bill: Well that would not be an improvement on what we have now would it?

Joe: No, it wouldn't be an improvement but it might go some way to kind of bringing the whole system down.

Bill: Yeah, but it'll bring the system down and everything else including all our lives and our homes. I'd rather find a...

Joe: You're looking for a peaceful transition.

Bill: Yeah. Even if it's revolution, not to see destructive phenomenon as you're speaking of, but old fashioned revolution with a certain number of people killed. But the buildings at least remaining.

Joe: Standing. Well having an revolution and people being killed couldn't be any worse than what's going on in the world today anyway, with the US empire at the helm, so yeah, it's a good option.

Bill: I'm looking for something better, not something worse.

Joe: Yeah. Absolutely. Well listen Bill, we don't want to keep you too long. I just want to say thanks a million for taking this time to talk to us. You've been on our book shelf for a long time and your work has really shaped and formed our own view of the world and led us on to do what we're doing. I think that's true for many other people, so you're a credit. I don't think this is to much for us to say that you're a credit to humanity.

Bill: Okay. Thank you very much.

Joe: And I hope you continue on for as long...

Bill: As long as I can. Okay.

Joe: As long as you can, as long as it's possible.

Niall: Keep on trucking.

Bill: Same to you. Bye-bye.

Joe: Alright Bill, thank you.

Niall: God bless. Bye-bye. That was William Blum. Joe's right though, you can't give him enough praise because his books, if you're familiar with them, maybe you're not directly familiar with them, but if you are reading articles online that kind of summarize US interventions since World War II like he has done, chances are high you're reading something that's extracted from his books because particularly Rogue State, has a complete list of all interventions. I think if you're seeing a list of them online it's pretty much taken from his book.

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. It's the definitive compendium of American crimes in the past 60 or 70 years and it's a horrible, horrible list that just goes to show in large part, why the world today is in the state that it is in. It has been largely because of these so-called interventions, US benevolent, democratic interventions in other countries which were effectively just overthrowing democratically elected governments and promoting tinpot dictators, brutal dictators left, right and centre and supporting them; either putting them in power or supporting them against the will of the local people and often against the will of a few Americans who knew about it with the rest of the American people at the time and even today, are completely oblivious to what was going on. So they weren't questioned at all. They didn't have an opinion because they didn't know anything.

And as Bill says, it seems that corporations, the plutocracy or the corporatocracy or whatever you want to call it, but it's these major corporations and the people behind them that are shaping the US government policy. And even that's not absolutely true in a sense because the politicians, as many people listening will know, there's a revolving door between the politicians and corporate life in the US. So there's not much to choose between them or you couldn't really get a piece of paper between them in that sense. So plutocracy, ruled by a corrupt elite who serve their own interests.

That's the truth and what's amazing is that the dominant narrative for all these decades has been effectively, exactly the opposite. It almost gets into the big lie supposedly touted by Goebbels, that the bigger the lie that you tell, the better chances that people will not see through it. People would never imagine that you could be saying one thing and be doing absolutely exactly the opposite, mirror image effectively.
The reason we only had a short interview with Bill Blum was that he's not a spring chicken. He's 82 years old and he also has some health issues right now but he's doing very well for someone his age and for someone who has faced themselves into the horrible truth of this world and the crimes that have been committed against the ordinary people of this world for so long. Imagine how many people in a similar situation who do look at the same kind of details just turn away and can't stomach it because it upsets them too much. But for him to be doing it since the 1960s...

Niall: Yeah, the story goes that in 1967 he was working to become a US diplomat and he saw the insider view of the Vietnam war. Whatever questions he had about it before, when he saw it up close he was horrified and he quit. He had to go independent and helped set up, pre-internet days, an actual newspaper. I think it was a lot harder to do in 1967.

Joe: Yeah. He has a website, as Niall was saying earlier on, and every few weeks he would publish an anti-empire report which is basically an article that he had written about what had been going on. A few weeks ago he announced that he was taking a bit of a hiatus because of health issues and also because, as he said himself, he was burned out. He said that after more than a dozen years of putting out that report and because US foreign policy keeps repeating itself with the same lies, he too often found himself repeating the same ideas he'd expressed before, often in more or less the same words. I can fully empathize with that one because it doesn't change!

You look back into history through books like Bill's and you see that what's going on today has been going on for decades and decades and decades. People have been talking and writing about it for all that time, so the faces change, the name of the threat or the faces of the so-called threat to the wonderful glorious democratic west change, but that's just the façade. The same policy is pursued in the sense of creating that threat, supporting it, propping it up, shoving it in western peoples' faces to scare them into supporting US military overt and covert interventions for the expansion of the empire, which is for the purpose of funnelling as much of the world's wealth through the exploitation of people around the world up to the top, to the small group, with multi-national corporations acting as a front company, like a CIA front company, up to the top of the pyramid, to the elite/criminal few. That's their job. That's what they're here to do and they are determined to do it.

So, in other news...

Niall: It's all the same.

Joe: The same stuff is happening over and over again.

Niall: We're here reporting this news. Bill's there writing about it decade after decade, it's the same thing.

Joe: To know what happened this week, look at last week. Well no, there's been a few things I suppose that are worth mentioning, if only for the point of showing that the same thing continues to happen. There was the one-year anniversary of MH17, the Malaysian airlines passenger plane that was shot down over eastern Ukraine, absolutely, unequivocally by a jet that people saw near the plane before it crashed and burned. Yet there's not a word about that in the western media really. I don't think they even mention it. They might mention it in a small article here and there.

Niall: Conspiracy theories!

Joe: Crazy eastern Ukrainian conspiracy theories or something like that, but this is just evidence that they're trying to cover something up, coming up with this outlandish idea when in fact "everybody knows" that it was a BUC M1 missile launcher from the ground in the possession of these same eastern Ukrainian rebels. There's no evidence for it but we're having to go on a lot of fairly thin evidence because all of the hard evidence was taken away and has been kept in secret. You'd think that the people in possession of this evidence, i.e., the Dutch, the British and the Americans who want to blame Russia and the eastern Ukrainian rebels, would divulge it all because it's such slam-dunk hard evidence. "Here you go. Nobody can question it." "Well put it out there!"

But no, they don't put it out there. They keep it all secret and just throw out allegations with nothing to back them up, no hard evidence. The US government supposedly, according to the Russians, had a satellite flying over that area at the exact time so they have some pretty high definition images of what happened to that plane at that time, but they won't reveal it. Isn't that very strange behaviour for a country that supposedly has incriminating evidence against its enemy and it's making the claim that "my enemy did this horrible deed. I have hard evidence but you're not going to see it". Does that not strike anybody as curious or as completely insane? Or to put it another way, a complete load of horse shit.

Niall: But Joe, "Putin killed my baby". That's all you need to know.

Joe: Let's just remember Putin killed my baby. Putin ate my baby. That was MH17. It's boring really. Things these days are getting more and more boring in the sense of it's a really bad argument. You know how bored you would get with someone who is supposedly debating you or arguing with you and they kept coming at you with really inane, easily proved as false arguments. You would eventually just go "Just go away will you!?" And I'd love the western media just to go away but unfortunately this kind of inane, puerile, childish propaganda apparently finds fertile ground when it lands in the head of many people in the west. They actually believe it. They believe "Putin killed my baby". That's all they need. You don't need any evidence. You just need a headline like that and everybody believes it.

People don't want to use their brains apparently. They're not interested in actual reality. They want to believe that what their authorities say is the truth. So just say what the truth is and I will believe you. And also don't show me anything that suggests that my authorities might not tell the truth because then I'm really screwed. What am I going to do then? I'm going to have to start thinking and I might just freak out so just keep reminding me that my authorities are the good guys and keep telling me little snippets of truth so I can digest them and feel good about myself and the country I live in. Anything else, just leave me alone. I don't want to know.

Niall: Well Joe, those pesky Russians chose the anniversary to add a couple of new details. They're not really based on the actual investigation because the Russians don't have any access to it.

Joe: They've been locked out of it.

Niall: They've been locked out of it. But we saw this analysis based on photo images of the damaged cockpit. There was a very good analysis done by a Russian team of aviation experts who deduced from that the blast field of whatever hit the plane. Then they worked out it would have been a missile of a certain weight, etc. And from that they worked back, and this is coming from RT, that it would have been an Israeli type most likely.

Joe: A python missile.

Niall: And of course our antennae went up when we saw that because right after the event last year Joe worked out, probably, it would have been the type of jet that was used, the SU25, that the Russians picked up on a radar. Everyone was going "Oh that doesn't make sense because they can't fly at that height." However there were some of these old Sukhoi jets that were souped up by an Israeli group.

Joe: They weren't souped up in terms of their actual flight capabilities in the sense of their original engines, but there were other people who said that kind of jet, an old Russian SU25, Sukhoi that can reach that altitude if only for a short time and would be able to fire a missile. So that was kind of put to rest that it couldn't reach that height. But then the problem was that the kind of armaments and the kind of targeting system on those old jets were from the '70s era.

The most important thing, the point Niall is making is that there was an SU25 KM variant, nicknamed the scorpion, that was made by a Georgian aircraft manufacturer in league with Elbit Systems of Israel, which is an Israeli aircraft armaments manufacturer and they upgraded the cockpit and put on a new glass cockpit and a heads-up display so they can see through their visor and have a digital readout in the visor. This was massively upgraded but advanced the plane's navigation and arms system by 30 years at least.

Niall: Their own blurb said it made them NATO compatible.

Joe: Right. Well that's the additional thing, that it allowed this plane which previously could only carry Soviet...

Niall: Payloads, weapons.

Joe: ...non-NATO weapons, this one was upgraded to carry NATO weapons. And of course NATO missiles, etc. would be cutting edge, let's say, US would be cutting edge missiles. Certainly Russia's catching up now but the west has been on the cutting edge of weapons development for quite a while. So it would be that kind of missile that was used to specifically target and hone in to the cockpit area of MH17.

So all of that circumstantial evidence, let's say, suggests or backs up the idea that, along with the eyewitness testimony, that it was a jet that shot it down. And as we said many times and in the articles that were written on it, maybe this is the kind of people we're talking about. We're talking about people who will not really think twice about shooting down a plane full of 298 civilian passengers, the majority of them from Holland, in order to make Russia look bad. When they're willing to play that kind of game, basically, you can imagine the nature of the people that you're talking about, who think nothing about killing 300 innocent civilians. Certainly they've been involved in making decisions that killed many more civilians over the years, so it's nothing to them.

But they're willing to do that kind of mass murder simply to demonize their enemy, to make someone look bad. It's kind of like the equivalent of someone in your neighbourhood spreading nasty rumours about you, to try and make you look bad. Well at the level of the people that we're talking about here, who "rule the world" they'd kill 300 people to make you look bad. They'd go and slaughter your next door neighbour and his whole family and try and pin the blame on you. If you can imagine someone who'd do that to try and make you look bad, that's who we're talking about.

That's the people who basically rule over all of us and make decisions and are plotting our collective future. We're in their hands, in theory, or they would like to think so. But of course not buying into the bullshit and exposing them at every turn goes a long way to putting you outside of their hands, certainly in terms of your ability to not follow their dictates and to start making decisions based on your own intelligence and awareness rather than looking to authority.

Because it's very clear at this stage that the established authorities in this world are extremely evil people. So why would you look to evil people for any kind of guidance? You shouldn't because the guidance they'll give you will screw you over basically. They'll exploit you and abuse you and very often, in many cases, kill you in their own interests. So they're certainly not people to be looked to for anything other than evidence of who they are and what they are and why you should stay well away from them and everything they preach and everything they promote.

Niall: Something they're preaching this week in Russia Hate Week is the unwillingness on the Russian side for setting up an international - not an investigation into what happened to MH17, the Russians want that and they're getting stonewalled into an actual crash investigation - what the west wants though is to begin criminal proceedings. So the Russians are saying "No, we can't jump to that yet" and their negative response has been portrayed this week as "Oh, they have something to hide. You see! You see!" But the Russians said no. They explain in an actual diplomatic statement "The reason we don't want to go to prosecutions yet is because clearly, we have already been found guilty, Russian officials, in trial by media and this is a political move."

Joe: And also "You haven't presented all the evidence". They're not going to be a party to some kind of a criminal investigation when they're not allowed to see the evidence, or if they've reason to think the evidence is being withheld or it will be a one-sided criminal prosecution, which it absolutely will because it's been clear from the very beginning what the whole of this is, to find Russia guilty in the eyes of the "international community" which is America and Europe. Screw the rest of the world.

Niall: It's a show trial. It's classic Soviet stuff, all the stuff that we said the Soviets did? Isn't it amazing how Soviet the west has become? And it's totalitarian and people are talking about it quite openly in other "venues", let's say, other spheres. Obviously I'm thinking here about Greece. People left, right, doesn't matter what their background is, are going "This is a bit harsh!"

Joe: Well that's an example of what we were talking about with Bill, that these people are increasingly desperate and in the past maybe when someone like the Syriza part would come along and they would start promoting and demanding rights for ordinary people in the street, the EU would have dealt with that in a more quiet, subtle way, and they may not have even had such a bad reaction to it. They may have gone "Okay, let's cut a deal here." But the fact that they couldn't help themselves from coming out and effectively showing the whole world what a bunch of psychos they were.

Most people who watched it realized that this was revenge. There was that hashtag on Twitter about "This is a coup" and that this was pure revenge. This wasn't about the economics of it or what was good for the German people or the Greek people. This was about the powers that be becoming enraged at the people asserting themselves when as far as the powers that be are concerned, they had spent so long in creating this environment where they stand on unopposed by anyone, and they dictate what happens. So for someone to stand up and say "Excuse me. I don't agree", it enraged them and that display of rage shocked a lot of people.

I know Bill would prefer a nice peaceful transition into a utopia, but I think our best bet at this point, in terms of more people waking up, is that this criminal elite in the world are pushed into situations like that where they drop the mask, where they can't help themselves to flail out and lash out at anyone that opposes them.

Niall: Yeah. I hope our position on that doesn't sound too sadistic, but we kind of do need the elite to be themselves, to go mad, go postal.

Joe: Yeah, because there's no chance of anybody believing what we would say or anybody else would say about "Look, here's the evidence that these people are not what they present themselves to be" because people will default to believing what they hear these people say. And these people obviously lie, talk about democracy and freedom and they watch baseball games and talk about baseball and talk about sports and stuff and joke with their constituents and have a bit of fun. They go on holidays. They seem like such normal people.

So ordinary people are always going to buy the bullshit, that lie, rather than looking behind and having to face that cognitive dissonance of what these people look like and what they've actually done. So the only chance for people to really break that illusion, break that spell, is for these criminal elite to show themselves for what they are, in their actions. And then there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. People will freak out and they won't know what to do because their idols will have fallen. They'll have no benevolent leadership anymore. I don't know what'll happen then if that happens, but I expect these criminal elite have to expose themselves because that's the only way a lot of people are going to get what's really going on.

Niall: Amen.

Joe: And here endeth this sermon. On the Iran thing, I agree with Bill. Obama might possibly be looking towards his legacy. "See I achieved peace with Iran." But I also wonder as this has been going on for a long time, these exchanges with Iran.

Niall: Since 2000. The recent one.

Joe: Yeah, there was warmongering up until 2007. "We're going to bomb Iran" and it looked like there was sabre-rattling.

Niall: I was thinking of the sanctions. They began in 2000.

Joe: Yeah. But the peace overtures have been going on for a few years now and I had the idea that maybe it was with an eye to a resurgent Russia and these people actually realizing that "Okay, it's better if we make friends with Iran than keep them as an enemy because as an enemy they're going to more easily fall into the orbit of Russia and its plans to take over the world." Iran would fit into the BRICS and Eurasian economic area and Iran has a lot of resources, oil and gas.

So I thought that there might have actually been some real politick going on with these peace talks in Iran, that the US was saying "Listen, the threats and the sanctions are not working anymore. There's a new context here. We have to consider this situation with Iran and it's better if we try and get something out of it and get something from them and lock them into an agreement with us", let's say, "lock them into being partners with us to keep them away from Russia". It's possible.

But it all has to be considered in the context of the extreme likelihood that Iran already has nuclear weapons.

Niall: It was never about nukes.

Joe: How do you justify all of this? It's all people have heard. "Iran's going to get a nuke. Stop Iran getting nukes." Iran had had nuclear weapons for several years, maybe 10 years. This is an example of the mendacity of these people. It's all a massive show! You cannot take one thing they say at face value!

Niall: Even Netanyahu, in a recent speech he gave to the press where he castigates this as a catastrophic decision for the region", yada, yada, he didn't mention the word nuclear once. And remember all the reports we're hearing now about "Oh, sanctions are lifted. $100 billion worth of investment in Iran. Another $100 billion worth of oil." They've already started shipping and signing contracts up the whazoo.

Joe: Yeah, with China.

Niall: No, the EU.

Joe: This is Iran?

Niall: Iran, yeah.

Joe: They're also shipping per tanker...

Niall: It's business time because it was always business time.

Joe: The first tanker of Iranian oil left the Persian Gulf the other day, on its way to China.

Niall: Okay.

Joe: So there's a lot of geopolitical stuff going on here. But there's one thing Bibi actually said that was true, I think, but it was 20 years ago. And I think that was the only time. He made one mistake 20 years ago. You've got to forgive him. He told the truth. And it was in the UN and he looked strangely the same, which means that...

Niall: Kind of greenish?

Joe: Yeah, but between then and his recent talks at the UN 20 years later, about the same topic, Iran's nukes, he almost hasn't aged, which makes me wonder about what he's on. What's fuelling this person? It might be the blood of Palestinian children, but you never know.

Niall: What did he say that was true 20 years ago?

Joe: Twenty years ago he was the UN saying "Iran is going to develop a nuclear weapon very soon, within the next year." Twenty years ago he was saying this. Twenty years ago that was true and not long after that Iran did. So this is one big sham that's gone on.

Niall: If anything, this peace deal is an acknowledgment of the new reality; that Iran is now a nuclear power also.

Joe: That's why Iran has never been invaded, why Iran has not been bombed. That's the only reason.

Niall: Despite being surrounded by US bases.

Joe: And the Israelis. You don't think the Israelis wouldn't have cobbled some pretext together by now?

Niall: Oh they did. In 1982 they sent jets into Iraq.

Joe: Yeah.

Niall: Blasted a developing nuclear plant.

Joe: Right, but Iran has these nukes most likely.

Niall: We think from former Soviet arsenals.

Joe: Right.

Niall: They got through to them.

Joe: And that's why they haven't been invaded or bombed because as Bill Blum says in one of his books, the only reason that countries aren't invaded and bombed by the US is that they have...

Niall: An ability to fire back.

Joe: A reasonable ability to defend themselves. If you can't defend yourself, the US attacks. If you can defend yourself and you can make it painful enough for the attacker, the US, then they'll always think twice. So they haven't invaded Iran because of their nuclear capability. But it hasn't been announced publicly by the Iranians either and I think that's kind of what the talks are about maybe, because Israel doesn't want this to spread. I think it's a big secret. They don't want this to spread around to other countries in the Middle East because they'll all then start to say "Well why can't we have them as well?"

Everybody wants nukes. Israel's like "Okay listen, Iran has a nuke. Let's not tell anybody. Nobody say a word about this. We'll pretend they don't. Pretend that we're the only ones still with nuclear capability in the Middle East and that way we'll stop the contagion spreading. We can remain top dog and we'll just keep threatening them with annihilation. But what we're threatening them with annihilation over is "Do not tell anybody that you have a nuclear weapon".

Niall: So Israel's bluff has been called. Israel's upset.

Joe: Right.

Niall: And the British foreign secretary this week more or less spelled it out. He said something like "Israel can complain all they want but this is the new reality", something that they would never would never have been ballsy enough to say before I think.

Joe: Anyway, what else has been going on? There's not much. It's all quiet on the western front.

Niall: It's not quiet in eastern Ukraine. It's pretty insane there at the moment. So you've got this ceasefire that never really ended because the Kiev junta never really stopped lobbing missiles. But they did increase recently, the number of attacks on civilians in Donetsk and eastern parts of Ukraine. There's still a tight rein on the rebels there, so there has not been any kind of massive push or retaliatory push from them. But on the other side of Ukraine, in the west, there is a strong chance any time soon of there being a coup within the coup because we've now got people inside the Azov Battalions and other of these rightwing fighters who are basically the extreme right in the west of Ukraine, who are really antsy. We don't know how much clout or ability they do have to actually overthrow the regime the US put in, but Kiev is now in the middle of two fronts, east and west.

Joe: Yeah. Well that's what happens when you fire up a bunch of rightwing nut jobs to do a job for you, which was overthrow Yanukovich last year and bring Ukraine into the orbit of the west. You can't just drop them afterwards. When you raise these nut job battalions, you have a hard job getting rid of them afterwards and that's what you're talking about. These people are demanding more power that they were supposedly promised, more say, more influence. There was a show in the parliament where basically they're fighting with Poroshenko.

I think partly they're using the nationalism card where they see clearly - which it isn't hard to see - that Ukraine has been completely subverted and taken over by the US to the point that the non-Ukrainian, former President of Georgia, Saakashvili - can't even say his name, you have to spit to say his name [laughter] - he's this little tinpot dictator psycho guy who is wanted in Georgia now for fraud and murder I think. The US basically said "Listen, put him in as your governor of Odessa and we'll pay his salary and all of his staff." The US is paying the staffs' salary of this non-Ukrainian, this Georgian, who was suddenly given Ukrainian citizenship by order of the US. "Give that guy citizenship. Make him the governor of Odessa and we're going to pay his salary and all his staff because we want him in there."

So there's that, and there's the fact that it was revealed that the Kiev government is taking calls directly from a senator in the US who revealed that he was calling the government on a daily basis and telling him what to do, basically. This was just a senator. This isn't Obama or anybody because that's below Obama supposedly. Just get some senator to run Ukraine and tell them what to do on a daily basis in terms of passing various laws, what to do here, there military, etc.

So when this came to light obviously, this angered these nationalists because "Well it's Ukraine's sovereignty just being totally sold down the river!" So that's what's working these guys up as well. They're using that to try and work the people of Ukraine up. Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if there's another so-called revolution down the line and take focus off eastern Ukraine. You'd have a western Ukrainian rebellion and the whole thing will just fall apart and the US will walk away; wait until it's all over and then install a new government and start again. So yeah, the whole thing's ridiculous. It's just chaos. It's deliberately sewn chaos for no other reason, other than the chaos itself although I note that there were recent contracts for exploration for Ukrainian oil given to an American oil company.

So that's what's going on. It's just madness, pure madness. There's a lot of stuff, when you're looking at what's going on in the world, that you can say "The reason why that is happening is because of madness/insanity at the highest level". As far as ordinary humans are concerned, this is insanity. These people are clinically insane in terms of their choices to do these things because no normal person would do it. When you get people who get off on chaos, murder and violence, that's going to look like insanity to a normal person. But you're forgetting that they're insane.

Niall: On the Grexit, Joe, what's the latest here? We had what seemed like an amazing development when we first read it, where the IMF steps into the issue and says "You know what? None of this can go ahead. You can't impose these austerity measures on Greece without giving them debt relief", in effect writing off the debt. They even suggested that Berlin or the European Central Bank ought to transfer large sums of money to Greece to help them out. This is the IMF that we've known for 50 years has been the arbiter of such structural adjustments and austerity measures, stepping in and playing the good guy. What the hell's going on here?

Joe: Well the IMF enjoys the position of being international. It's an international monetary fund. Its bets are hedged around the world. This was more up close and personal for the EU. And like we discussed with Bill, there was a lot...

Niall: Vengence.

Joe: ...vengeance and fury basically at a country, Greece, that the European central powers had decided long ago was "ours". "You play the game here and that's it. You're locked in." And then to turn around at the 11th hour and try and upset the applecart really, really annoyed them. Of course most of Greece's so-called "debt", i.e. the money that certain people had planned to extract from Greece, also known as its debt, or a steal from Greece, also known as its debt, most of those people were Germans; the German economy and German bankers, Europeans who planned to get the most out of Greece and now with the Syriza party and Tsipras there was a threat to their payday.

I think it can be explained by the exposure - it's not really a good word - but the exposure that Germany and the European central powers had on Greece compared to the IMF. The IMF I think had loaned them $1.3 billion, but the rest of the so-called debt, more than $300 billion was owed back to the EU central powers essentially. So their fury was in direct relation to the amount of money they stood to lose or not win from Greece upsetting the applecart and going its own way effectively.

When you have people who are infected or ill or sick with greed, it's an illness for them, you try and take that wealth away or cut off their feeding, they get very annoyed.

Niall: In the game of brinksmanship and bluff in the weeks and the recent days surrounding the standoff between Athens and Brussels, it does seem however that something that was initially suggested was bluff, is not, because they're still talking about it. It seems that the Germans are pretty serious about a temporary Grexit so Greece would leave the Eurozone for a period of however many years. Is there a possibility here that they actually think that's for the best or is this a bluff again? Because I can't imagine that in terms of "keeping what is ours", how do you keep that mentality at the same time as saying "Well here. These people are a problem for us, therefore go away. You're not in the club anymore."

Joe: Well when they say "keeping what is ours" it's basically profiting from the suffering or from the energies of the Greek people, as all oligarchs do. The Germans were able to float the idea of Greece leaving. For some people it was a bluff, that this was the worst case scenario and "we're happy to let you go". In playing this poker game, the Germans had to appear as not only were they willing to go to the worst case scenario for Greece, which was a Grexit, but they were happy about it. "That's fine. You leave. I don't care."
To some extent that could have been a bluff and I think to some extent it was a bluff. But at the same time if Greece leaves the Eurozone, that doesn't automatically catapult it into the South China Sea. It's still on the borders with several Eurozone nations. There's long-established trade...

Niall: Economic ties.

Joe: ...economic ties between all those. You can't just cut those without any pain. And they would have to continue to do business with the EU, but now on very unfavourable terms with a destroyed Greek economy and a different currency. They would be able to exploit them and extract their vengeance in a similar way. Basically they were going to get revenge no matter what. "We're going to get revenge by imposing these really harsh measures on you, or you can leave and then we'll impose them."

Niall: So to answer people saying "Well why don't they just do the obvious, just leave the Eurozone, leave the EU? Give them the two fingers?" But the answer to that is while the new Greek leadership might like to do that, it's not as simple as just doing it. It's enormous pain in the short term.

Joe: Yeah. It's a very difficult situation. Even Varoufakis, who everybody is saying is wonderful Varoufakis, and he seems to be a fairly level-headed guy as far as it goes, he himself said that while he didn't agree with Tspiras' decision to go with austerity measures...

Niall: He understood why he did it.

Joe: He understood the very difficult situation he was in. And it was a very difficult situation. it's only not difficult if you're a psychopath and you don't have any conscience, empathy or concern for people. If you're not a psychopath and you actually care about the welfare of the people, if you're genuine in that sense as I think maybe Tspiras was, it's a very difficult situation because you're being told "You make the choice and it's going to affect 10 million people. Now you decide. How would you think about it? And I'm assuming you want what's best for the Greek people. You don't want them to suffer. Go away and make your decision."

Instead of people just sitting there calling Tsipras a traitor and his ego and blah, blah, put yourself in his position. Really put yourself in his position and think about what you would do under that kind of pressure and assuming you actually cared for the Greek people and realizing that you're locked into a system where you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Everybody can relate to that situation where you feel that way, where you've been put in that position or you put yourself in that position for whatever reason. It's not pleasant and it's not easy to make a good decision when you realize that no matter what decision you make, you're going to get an awful lot of crap from 50 percent of the population and probably not be much liked by the other 50 percent, no matter what you do.

Niall: People have been astonished, maybe less so now because it's been talked about for several months, but when it first came out, people were astonished with the suggestion from the central EU authorities, that Greece would be asked to leave the Eurozone. But actually that wasn't the first time they issued that threat. Two years ago when Cyprus went bankrupt, same deal, buy out its banks which were now foreign owned, they had zombie banks debt transferred to Cypriot people, EU says "Okay to recapitalize the zombie banks, we're just going to steal the money from the ordinary people who deposited their money in the bank". They just took the money directly.

Joe: A bail-in basically.

Niall: A bail-in.

Joe: Where they confiscate peoples' savings accounts and give them to the Central Bank as liquidity and then the Central Bank has to pay that off to the Central EU powers.

Niall: Well to the private investors.

Joe: And to the private investors, one in the same in fact.

Niall: Yes, they are now the same. People made a killing off that. But I wondered at the time "How in the hell did Cyprus agree to that?!" I've since seen an interview with a Cypriot, now an MP. I think he was in the government at the time. He said "We had a gun to our head. We were told 'If you don't go along with this, you're out of the Eurozone' and that would have been a death knell for us'."

Joe: It's nobody's fault. You can't go around blaming politicians from these countries. Okay, you can blame them to a certain extent because of their naïveté in not having the foresight to realize that this whole EU project was designed to effectively...

Niall: Screw them over.

Joe: ...make 550 million people in the EU into wage slaves and not much wages at that, to increasingly turn the screws on them. That was the project all along and the powers that be that have come into power over the years of the EU have increasingly come onboard with that plan to that point that we see today and it was exposed for everyone to see with the Greece situation, that that is what their agenda is.
So what was the question?

Niall: There was no question but you were going to say "We can't really blame the local..."

Joe: We can't blame the local legislators except maybe for their naïveté in not seeing the extent of the psychopathology amongst these powers and the way they've been massively corrupted. If you want to blame someone, blame those people, those psychopaths in power who are doing this, who are putting countries in this position where they're able to hold a gun to their heads and say "Do it or else". You've got to direct your anger at the right people because using scapegoats and stuff only helps the real evildoers.

But yeah, Greece has been sold down the river. It's interesting that it's only two weeks and already there's news that multinational companies like a French construction company called Vinci, that makes roads and airports and they've already expressed an interest in buying up any number or all of Greece's 41 airports. This is privatization. This was demanded by the EU; sell off all of your state assets.

Then there's another shipping and port company called Maersk that is now lobbying for purchasing of Greek ports. This is just going to continue on until most of the state assets in Greece, like in most of the rest of the EU, particularly in the UK, things like roads, ports, airports, other services, electricity, postal service...

Niall: It's the shock doctrine on steroids.

Joe: ...will all be sold off to private individuals and those private companies are a worse deal than government regulated services because the government officially doesn't have such a strong interest in turning a massive profit on those services and industries as a private corporate does. Private corporations want to immediately buy the company from the government, cut 50 percent of the staff and then cut the wages of the other 50 percent by 50 percent, close down lots of buildings, sell them off; basically create crappier service for the people than it was under the government and rake in the profits. So the people suffer. The get a crappier service as well as the people working for that company. In many cases there's millions of people working for those formerly state public service industries and that's where Greece is going. And it's going to continue.

Niall: But that's not just Greece.

Joe: But in a certain sense, they're just coming in line with the rest of Europe because Greece has held out against that for a long time. They're coming in line with the rest of Europe. But of course the poorer countries in Europe, countries with not so many resources and not so favoured, but particularly the ones with the smaller populations, tend to get the worst end of the stick. And that's to be expected in the EU as part of the EU project.
So it was good while it lasted, the example that Greece gave. Like I've said before on many occasions, people shouldn't get too excited about "Oh this is when the little guy's going to stand up to the big guy and knock his glasses off."

Niall: Quick! Everybody! To the Bastille!

Joe: "We're going to win. Let's have a revolution. It's all going to be over." No, these things come along not for the underdog to win, but for the underdog to at least have it in him or her to throw a few good punches and expose or outrage the big, powerful guy, "that you would even dare to defy me" and then provoke him to expose his true nature. That's what's beneficial in all these things. This is kind of what we were saying with Bill Blum, that this is really the only hope you have, which is to have more examples from this powerful elite, of their true nature, so that more people can realize it and say "Oh my god! We're not in Kansas anymore!"

Niall: Indeed.

Joe: And then see what happens. Who knows what happens after that, but that's as good as it's going to get. Nobody's going to come along and save everybody and take over the world and usher us all in to some kind of Valhalla, utopia or whatever. I don't think that's what this planet is designed for. It's not it's destiny. But there's lots of opportunity to learn a lot of important things along the way and that's one of them, which is the nature of the powers that control this world. And the more opportunities ordinary people are given to see that, the better because that's the main point; to realize the way you thought they were.

Niall: Bill suggested things might build up to a critical mass and there would be, he termed it "an explosion". The explosion Joe and I had in our head was probably a little different to the explosion he was thinking of. But I'm using that as a way to get into this funny headline. I find it funny. It also reveals the pathology, if you think about it. So there's a massive asteroid passing today or tomorrow at a safe distance, so they say, 2 million miles away, but somebody somewhere, probably NASA, has decided that they know what the asteroid is made of - platinum, and they put a nominal value on it. The asteroid is worth $5.4 trillion. And that was it! That was the headline. It's going around. You should probably look it up. I'm thinking to myself, what was that supposed to mean?!?! It was an asteroid passing by and you're putting a figure on it that's suggesting it's valuable enough to what? go and mine it? Well yeah, they are serious about trying to land on and mine asteroids.

Joe: But it's a perfect example of the nature of this world. If somebody from space was looking and saw that that was one of the main concerns of the people that rule this planet when they looked at a space rock, one of which could potentially threaten all life on earth, if the first concern was "how much money could we make from it?", that's is a perfect example of what's wrong with this world and why this world is not going anywhere good, fast. But my question is, if that asteroid landed on earth, would that be public money or would it be quickly privatized? Five-point-three trillion would be good for a few grand at least.

Niall: Space programs are privatized in the US now. Private companies are sending rockets up, so I'm afraid it would be a private investor.

Joe: What if it landed?

Niall: If it landed. Who gets to it first?

Joe: Well then, that's fair enough. I'll get my flag.

Niall: It'd be the asteroid rush!

Joe: Alright, folks, we're going to leave it there. We will be back next week with another show. Just wanted to say thank you again to Bill Blum. It was a pleasure having him on the show. So thanks for listening and thanks for chatting.

Niall: We'll see you again next week - same time, same place.