For the anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar on March 15, our hosts discussed the question, "What does it take to lead a country?" If Caesar were alive today, what would he do, and how would he do it? How should we interpret the facts of Caesar's life?

The discussion continues from the previous week's interview with Tom Stevenson about his book on Julius Caesar.

Following this, we discussed some current events: the latest ISIS revelations, Venezuela as a 'national security' threat and then the pedophile scandals in both the US and UK.

Running Time: 01:48:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Harrison: Hello everyone, welcome back to Truth Perspective it is March 14th, I am Harrison Koehli.

Elan: And I'm Elan Martin.

Harrison: Yes.

Karen: I'm Karen.

Harrison: Thank you. Today we're going to be picking up where we left off last week with our discussion. I hope everyone managed to catch that one. We interviewed Tom Stevenson about his book on Julius Caesar. Well we're going to take off from that and go in a few different directions starting out with a discussion on the role or the nature of leadership and what makes a good leader, but first of all I mentioned today was March 14th. Tomorrow, what's tomorrow? Oh did anyone hear that? Just wait.
Lisa Simpson: Beware the Ides of March.

Homer Simpson: No.
Harrison: Tomorrow it's March 15th, the Ides of March, the famous date in history when Julius Caesar was assassinated. According to the official account it's been something like over 2000 years since Caesar was assassinated and we still remember it. The name of the day even gets nods on shows like The Simpsons so that just goes to show that what Tom Stevenson was talking about last week, that Caesar lives on and you can find him pretty much everywhere, in pop culture, in politics and everywhere really but we'll get to Caesar in a bit. First of all leaders, politicians, we all hate them right? Well personally if I look at the way I see the world I don't like too many politicians and I think the first thing that comes to my mind and usually probably a lot of people's minds about politicians is something like the word crook or liar or slime ball or con man or snake in suit, what about you guys?

Elan: Psychopath comes to mind.

Harrison: That's a good word.

Elan: Pretty quickly.

Karen: Yeah, I would have to agree.

Harrison: Well are there any politicians that we've liked? Like in past history? Recent history?

Karen: Maybe JFK.

Harrison: Yeah OK.

Elan: Here, here!

Harrison: So why do people like JFK?

Elan: Well I would say one of the first things is that he's best known for his speeches, the types of things he was saying. He was trying to instill values that were important and actually came out and said certain things about the establishment, and of course these were things that up until Dwight Eisenhower we haven't heard too much about. So he was a brave, progressive guy and was unabashed about it.

Harrison: And he had a little bit of charisma too, I mean he was popular. There were people who didn't like him of course, that's the case with any politician but just like his brother Robert, there was just something about them that people gravitated towards them and seemed to - there's just this emotional, I don't know even the word. It's just like an emotional pull towards these people, they just seem to exude some kind of charisma on people.

Karen: You've felt connected to them.

Harrison: Yeah, like you knew them and that's why so many people were horrified and in despair after both of them were assassinated.

Karen: And it was in your face, there was no way to anticipate it. No way to recover very soon from it.

Harrison: But on the other hand, like Stevenson was saying last week, charisma isn't always a good thing. I mean when you look at the people and the politicians that have had charisma, people generally look upon them as positive leaders or positive role models like the Kennedy's. But then you've got the charisma of someone like an Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin; it seems there's something that they have in common, this charisma. But it seems like they're somewhat poles apart, because on the one hand you've got the charisma around someone who seems like at least a genuinely decent person and on the other hand someone who at least in history and among people at the time has gone down as an evil tyrant so there's something going on there. We'll get into that a bit but my point being that charisma seems to be a double edged sword that seems to have something positive about it in certain instances but in others it can go in some nasty directions.

So if we look back on Caesar, he had a lot of charisma and that shows in the historical texts that we have and the records about him. He had charisma and popularity not only among his peers or at least a group of his peers but also the Roman people, and we saw that when he was killed as well. People basically rioted in the streets after he was killed and that just goes to show the kind of feeling that he had inspired in others. Now when we were having the discussion last week there were a few comments that I would have liked to have made but didn't get the opportunity. When I read about the history of Caesar and Caesar's life I see a guy - I don't see it the way that Tom saw it - I see him more as like a JFK figure even; for the time. And what leads me to think that? Well if you look at the course of his career there is that kind of popular tint to it that he was popular with the people.

He did introduce certain legislation that the people supported and liked and while he wasn't necessarily revolutionary like Tom pointed out, he did make certain changes. He did go against certain groups in the establishment and he did make certain comments. Right from the beginning of his political career when he first started out as what we called a lawyer - taking people to court - he went after guys that had engaged in some horrible practices in the past; it was a political statement about soldiers. He went after these people who were extorting the provinces, people who were engaged in corruption and political assassinations. From the beginning of his career it carried over and throughout his career in what seems to me a pretty stable and consistent way.

So basically what I'm saying here is these are from a beginning of his career while he may not have aspired to supreme power, he did seem, to me at least, to have certain set of principles that guided the way he "did politics". Elan do you have comments on that?

Elan: Well I agree that it seems to be a guiding principle in his career. It's very hard to separate who Caesar was from the times he was living in, and I think Stevenson establishes that in his book. At the same time when we look at certain leaders today who are going against certain trends in their society and policies that are foisted upon them by other nations, I think we tend to underestimate the challenges that they're faced with; on multiple fronts as well. I think that probably was the case with Caesar. I mean by Stevenson's admission he did instill reforms and even if they were not revolutionary they were still addressing problems as they came up, and at the time that may have been the very best that he was able to do given everything that he was confronted with.

Harrison: Well if we come back to the present and just look in terms of the general kind of ideal politician, let's ask ourselves if we were looking at a politician and we wanted to say well that's a good guy, he's doing good stuff, he's not like all the rest of the crooks in Washington or in any other country. Well what would we be looking at and what would this guy or woman actually be doing? What would they plausibly and practically be able to do? Because if we think about the way politics is structured, in pretty much every country there's a very entrenched system that has existed for however many years beforehand. It could have been near decades before certain systems of government were set up. It could be 100's of years where we have these institutions that have just carried over and developed and just continued on for all these generations so let's say you've got this guy, this person, this man or woman who is intelligent, has a conscience, can see the problems that are in a society and basically just wants to do a good job as a civil servant. What are they going to do? Well first of all, they've got to get into the system if they're not already in it. How do you get into a system that's already existed for however many generations? Well you've got to "play the game" a little bit, you have to know how the game works and you have to be willing to play it.

Elan: You know, what you've just said reminds me a lot about JFK and how he got into office, apparently his father Joe Kennedy had made certain deals with the mafia in helping to secure a certain number of votes in a very tight race with Nixon in 1960. This was just a political reality that he had to acknowledge how things were running, so when you think of Kennedy you don't think of someone who was making deals with the mafia and yet he must have been aware on some level of the strings that his father Joe 'Bootleg' Kennedy was going to in order to get him into office, and that was just something he had to do.

Harrison: And when he did get the presidency he and especially his brother Robert went after organized crime and that of course leads some conspiracy theorists to think that was the motive behind his killing. That the mafia basically was taking revenge on him for going after the people that helped him to get into power. So there's that but I think that example right there shows what a person of conscience can do once they achieve a position like that. Sure they might have gotten there with the help of some shady dealings, but to be able to live and operate in that world, not be controlled by it and, in fact, to make efforts to make it better says something about what these people are like.

So we've got this guy who gets into power at some level of government in an existing country so anyone that does so - like we said - has to accept the reality as it is and work with the political facts on the ground as they are. At least in order to establish him or herself in the system, but what can they do once they get there? I mean last week Tom had mentioned he didn't think that Caesar was a statesman and by his definition of statesman I think that's correct. He said he didn't have a grand vision for totally restructuring the entire way that the empire was run and I think that's a fair assessment, but how much of that is plausible though? Is that practical? Can a person that just wants to totally reform, let's say American politics, and says "Ok I'm gonna be president first of all". Someone thinking that isn't probably going to be president. Let's say we've got this young idealist "I'm going to totally reform American politics, I'm going to demolish the Fed, I'm going to shatter apart the CIA, I'm going to shut down all the military bases around the world, I'm going to shut down the NSA, I'm going to get to the bottom of everything, I'm going to find out what happened at Roswell."

Karen: Where is this guy?

Elan: Well this guy was Kennedy sadly and think that's the point there. He's the last leader that we've seen who tried to do these types of things and arguably there may be a couple others we can mention who aren't up against quite as much; but close. It was an impossible task even with the vision and the charisma and some of the support that would be required to do it.

Harrison: Well, because I think that these problems can be seen and they can be seen by many people, you look at all these individual problems and you say "well that's got to stop". You know, like all the torture going on, the black sites, the surveillance, torture, political assassinations, NGOs funding coup d'états in other countries, they're identifiable problems, but let's say that someone like Kennedy saw all these problems at his time, could he really practically address each one of them and fix all of them? Well he may be able to see these problems and see immediate steps that can be taken according to the conditions as they are but something like totally taking apart the CIA? Well that's kind of a pipe dream. Who knows, it may be possible but not without a lot of steps to finally get to that point because when you look at the nature of politics then and now, like I said at the beginning, these are entrenched political structures that have been around for years. It's not simply a matter of going into the office and putting an X over the CIA and saying "Ok, you guys don't exist anymore".

These political relationships, these power relationships exist regardless of what's on paper. The CIA would still exist if the CIA as an institution didn't exist because these people would still have access to resources. They'd still have the connections they have, they'd still have access to all of their agents and patsies all over the world. So if we were to look back in 2000 years at Kennedy, and let's say the documents have been destroyed, we don't have access to all the historical records, we've just got bits and pieces - I'm kind of making an analogy for the way that we see the history of Rome - just say a similar thing happened in the future, we wouldn't have access to Kennedy's real thoughts. We might have access to some of his speeches and we'd have access to what people said about him afterwards. History would have been scrubbed a little bit because some people with all these books would have looked back and said "Oh well you know, we don't really like that, that doesn't fit our political wants of the day so just cut it out. Leave that for now and let the rest go on to the future."

So we wouldn't have access to what's going on in his mind. All we'd have access to is what he was actually able to do, what he was able to achieve. We'd say "Oh Kennedy wasn't a statesman, he didn't get rid of the CIA, after he died the US got even worse and there was a history of coup d'état and just horrible things after that. Kennedy mustn't have been a very good guy." But I think that's losing sight of the political realities at the time and just what a force he was up against. As much personal power or forces an individual can have in a system like this, they're up against so much. And I think that's what a lot of people missed from the analysis when they look at these things because when we look at these power structures today, like in the States and in any kind of Western country, they're basically oligarchies where you have this small group of rich individuals that make the decisions and that's the way it was in Rome.

Tom said some interesting things about Roman society and the kind of environment that Caesar would have grown up in. So we talk about the extreme level of competition; not only did you have to go up against every other Roman citizen in order to ascend the political ladder of positions to the top which would be consul and senator for life, you had to compete with all of your ancestors and basically everyone in Roman history to be the best. So let's say there's this young Caesar who by all accounts was extremely intelligent and had just an enormous amount of self will, self-discipline, and we try to imagine what he might have been thinking as a young man. I think Tom might probably be right that he didn't necessarily envision becoming a monarch. He didn't really have the resources available at the time or the political capital as a young man to think of it as a real possibility. It was one step at a time, one decision at the time and by the man's nature he seems to have made all the right choices. He went all-in enough times and won enough times to be able to ascend that ladder of the Roman hierarchy because anyone in that society who wanted to be a good civil servant, statesman or politician had to do that, and there's no way around it.

If you are in Rome and you wanted to make any kind of difference, you had to play that game, you had to become a part of that competition and you had to win. So with Caesar, he did that, he entered the system, he followed all the rules. Like Tom said his entire career followed a pretty traditional path at every stage in the game. When he was of the age to enter a certain political office he entered that political office, he did what was required while in that political office and he often did it better than everyone else. Now that points to something else in Caesar's character, that all these things that he did, he did better than everyone else. So Roman politics was a very competitive industry and if we think in terms of fairness, if it's all about competition and the best man wins and Caesar gets to the very top then everyone should be alright with that?

Karen: I think it depends on your viewpoint as looking from afar, the best politicians are usually the ones that play the politician games, they are the ones that know their audience, they know who they're speaking to, they know what is expected, they have their finger on the pulse of that society. It very much becomes a marketing tool as to how they present themselves. There are rare politicians such as Caesar who may have gone on instinct, and instinct always runs to a truer place within you and pulls out a higher loftier set of morals or rules or outcomes.

Harrison: That reminds me of something from Arthur Khan's book about Caesar, The Education of Julius Caesar. He talks about how there isn't a lot of data on Caesar and so what he does is look at what we can plausibly know about what a Roman child would have experienced, and the kind of values that would have been instilled in them. He talks about what seems to me at least to be, really good values that were - at least on the surface - seen by Romans as the right things, so you know being a good leader, and that would apply in the family and in the patron-client relationship. The idea of fairness, just being a good person to deal with, solve problems and the value of truth. So there are all these values that would really have an effect in a child receptive to them.

Now this is kind of like the thing that Bob Altemeyer talks about, religious conversions and people who become atheists coming out of a very strict religious environment. In that religious childhood they're kind of - I wouldn't necessarily say battered but - inundated with these ideals and religious values about truth. This really becomes a part of this child to the point when they start seeing contradictions in the bible, they say "well that can't be true". So actually it's their religious value for truth that makes them leave their religion. Now I wonder if something similar would happen to a man like Caesar who has grown up seeing a society a certain way according to these values and these values actually become real and then you see the reality, what's really going on. Because when you look at Roman society it really wasn't that pretty, I mean just like we were saying about American politics, it was an oligarchy and while the things got done and the state ran on, there was just the disparity and wealth and even the competition among the senators or the ruling class. You can look at that, lets say from a young and naive point of view, this is the view I was trying to give a few minutes ago about the competition. It's based on the best man wins, and once you've established your position, you know I'm number 3 in Roman society, you know that you're number 3 for a reason and that you're better than everyone 4 down. But it doesn't really work that way, and the shock comes when you see that it doesn't actually work that way; that there are these power relationships in certain individuals, they scheme to have certain power relationships and say Okay we're gonna make it so our 3 families establish or have this many consulships, and then you'll have power and then we'll give you consulship. We're all just going to kind of collude together in order to be the top man in Rome.

Well that has nothing to do with merit, that's just using the power that you've already got in order to keep it, despite any shortcomings you might have. So when Caesar gets to the top and following that chain of events - like Tom was talking about - at the end of his life when he was consul for life, he was about to be deified and had all these honors heaped upon him. A group of the senators got together and said "Well we don't like this because we want our traditional opportunity to compete with you, to compete for power as oppose to you giving it to us." Well you know Caesar was there, he was at the top and he was there for a reason and if they really liked the traditional structure and practices of Rome so much, they should admit that they couldn't top him right?

Elan: Well there's something else that Caesar was doing, I think, and Stevenson was comparing this to Sulla's actions as well, he had made relationships and tried to have a more inclusive government. So he was reaching out to people and even if it didn't seem revolutionary at the time, he was including more people from the larger empire and very casually, in many cases, making deals with them that were mutually beneficial. Yes politically, but also to the empire at large, and also to these individuals who might have been on the outer fringes. That was another cause for resentment among these optimates or senators who were vying for staying in power or getting some of their power back. It also shows all roads lead back to psychopathy. You had to have had a fair number of these guys who were just going nuts with the idea again even if it wasn't revolutionary, that there was power being taken away from them and it was completely unacceptable to them.

Harrison: So when I was talking about entrenched political systems, this is what I really had in mind because that's a definition of pathocracy, an entrenched pathological grouping of people aspiring to get power and keep it. And once they are in power, if anyone tries to come up against that they will stop at nothing to get rid of them. This is another one of these political realities that someone has to keep in mind when they go into politics, they're going up against a bunch of ruthless psychopaths who will kill them at any opportunity if they think it's in their interests and that's what happened to Caesar. It's what happened to JFK, Robert Kennedy, MLK and all these people that we talk about who were assassinated. The biggest reason is because of this psychopathy. A psychopath doesn't see any of those things that we were talking about, about the values in a society because the values in a culture in society is just a mass for them. They use it just to manipulate other people, so a decent human being will actually assimilate those values as part of themselves, as part of their way of life and the way they approach how they live their life, how they do their work.

A psychopath can't understand any of that, so that's where you have this disparity between what the ideals of a society are - the ideals let's say even of a positive side of a competitive environment like in Rome - and then the caricature or the distortion of that in which people use that system just to get power for the sake of power. Not based on any kind of personal merit but simply because they're the most ruthless bastards of the bunch and certainly some of those ruthless people were in the group, the so called optimates. As Tom described them, they were extremely reactionary; just stubborn to the point that both sides were willing to go to civil war. They were willing to have a civil war because they basically didn't want Caesar. They just would not compromise with him even though all the events they were having at the time showed that that would be the thing to do; the sane course of action; they just couldn't go there. Then, once Caesar won the civil war and received all his honors, there's this conspiracy to assassinate him.

Now if you look at the conspiracy and the motivations behind it, they said it was for Libertas, for Liberty, for freedom, to have their freedom; Caesar was a tyrant and he took away their freedom. Now what he was taking away was their freedom to engage in these corrupt practices aspiring for power for the purposes of power and that's it; they didn't have any high moral values or high visions for how to make the empire not only function but function well. They just wanted things to stay as they were, they were reactionary. So it's kind of ironic that they were using freedom as their call, as their slogan like Tom says in his book, Caesar was actually popular, the people liked him so what's going on there?

Elan: Well how better to convince the public that they should go against someone but to tell them that they're not really free? And we see that everywhere. There's a colour revolution in the world today, we're fighting for democracy, we're fighting for freedom and it's this nebulous vision that's been foisted upon them by think tank employees in the West and it's a very superficial idea. But it's like a meme, a viral contagion and they can't or don't or won't think beyond the slogan.

Karen: It's always been the choice of wrapping propaganda around a lie, or wrapping a lie around propaganda, or wrapping the truth around propaganda, and that's the choice that the public has to see through. Any of the nefarious kinds of rulers were masters at calling black, white and white, black so it's very much in the realm of the average person to make those kinds of distinctions and see if they can suss out what is truth and what is camouflage.

Harrison: And I think that Romans could see it, I mean the people, the plebs because Caesar - let's say he had a good PR team or it was his own good PR team because he was very careful about the way he presented himself. To make sure not only that he presented himself in a way that aligned with the traditional values and norms of Roman society but also to really point out his difference from those that would be called the evil tyrants. In a choice between Caesar and Sulla I don't think any sane person would choose a Sulla. The assassination lists alone is one of the big points, but Sulla was an evil dictator and so Caesar very consciously went against that and that's partly where his policy of clemency came from. He wasn't going to have his enemies put on kill lists simply because he wanted to eliminate all competition, he would publicly forgive them, show mercy towards them and accept them into his milieu.

Karen: Well he exemplified his values.

Harrison: Yeah, and I think that we don't have access to Caesar's innermost thoughts, but I think by looking at his actions we should be open to the possibility, even the probability that behind his actions there was a corresponding value that went along with it. So clemency wasn't just a political scheme, because he thought it would work better than anything else, it was because he was genuinely a clement person. He was merciful, he was also an experienced and effective general in warfare - that's another thing we can get into - but if you look behind the surface of the actual things that he did, I think you can pick up that kind of - not only charisma - but that good charisma that you'll see in an individual like JFK.

If we look at Roman society and we look at the conditions, the expectations and the things that a politician/warrior - because politicians were warriors - had to do in that system, Caesar had to be a general, he had to go to war, he had to have military victories, he had do all of these things within the system. So if we look and if we ask ourselves, what would a Caesar look like today? I don't think that - this is where I disagreed with Tom last week regarding what would Caesar look like today. Well, I don't think that we could take just Caesar and place him into our culture and then have him start the Gallic wars because they're totally different political realities. If we look at the general characteristics of Caesar, Caesar entered the political environment and did what he had to do within that political environment. I think that's the model that we can translate into today's realities. If we take a Caesar prototype and we put them in politics today, what are they going to do? Well I think an individual like that would first of all have extreme intelligence and conscience, see the problems available, see the steps that can be taken towards using those political realities and making them better step by step, not with any revolutionary "just tear down the system and start over", but they would see those realities, work within that system and progress in that system.

Elan: Although an argument could be made that with a guy like Chavez, if we want to compare the two, that if it wasn't exactly a revolution, then he really did instill some serious reforms in Venezuela. Nationalizing the media, creating social services that weren't there for the poor but again I think - like you were saying Harrison - you have to take it specifically to the political situation in which this person is rising and each situation is different. Another great political leader might start or have his career in the KGB.

Harrison: Is that where we're going? Okay, yeah, we can.

Elan: A very good argument could be made that where better to start than in one of the most entrenched political police state mentalities? So that you're learning from within? And I think that's what we're seeing with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Harrison: Well we've had some conversations, you know we talk a lot in the SOTT office and when this has come up in the past I've asked, and I've said Okay, well if there were a good politician, a good leader, where will they come from? Well the only answer that I can come up with is in the intelligence services. And the reason that I think that, is because when we're talking about pathocracy, the intelligence services are the ones that run the game, these are the entrenched systems of power, and so anyone trying to get into the system runs up against these intelligence agencies, and what do you do? When you run up against the CIA you get killed, but if you have been a part of that system, you know how it works, and within any institution I don't think that 100% of people that work in the CIA are evil, probably a very, very large percent.

Elan: 98%

Harrison: 98%, yeah, but you know, there's always someone that's more decent than another person in any institution. You're in a job and you've got a horrible boss and just lazy employees that you work with. But you know there's that one person that you see and say "Oh that's a decent person; well that person would make good manager" you know, they're not. Every once in a while you get a decent person in a corporation or whatever and you can kind of form a little network with them and I think those probably exist, now they may not be perfect, but they are a starting point.

I want to talk some more about Putin, but before we go there I just wanted to talk about a little bit more about the nature of political reform and was it actually possible? Because I don't think that it's a feasible scenario to come into a country and tear everything down and think that you can build it up again. There has to be some level of continuity between what's been going on before, and what happens afterwards. If you just tear everything down, that is a chaos creator. I mean that's what happens after world wars and even after a war there's still some continuity, there's still just the social systems and companies, businesses, city workers. Those things still exist to some degree and they just have to get back on their feet and start up again but if you tear everything down I don't think that's a realistic approach to politics or to statesmanship.

Karen: No that's just a different agenda for a different end.

Harrison: And it happens sometimes but I don't think that's anything to aspire towards, so again when we're looking at politics it's a matter of looking at the facts on the ground and what you can do with those facts to understand them a bit better. So yeah, I agree with Elan I think that there are quite a few similarities between Caesar and Putin. First of all they look the same, they've both gone a little bit bald but that's cool.

Well just a few things about Putin, in the West you hear of course that he's an evil dictator; an authoritarian. He holds sole power in the country and everyone does what he tells them to and if they don't he'll have you assassinated. That's the image that we get over here at least. But I'd argue that he's not authoritarian but that he's authoritative. That - like Caesar in Rome - he's where he is because he's the best person for the job and if there were others like him they'd be in similar positions. And Caesar would probably recognize them and I think - Putin, sorry I'm confusing my autocrats. But he's there because he is authoritative in the sense that people listen to him because first of all people trust him and he makes good decisions. He's smart, he knows what he's doing.

Elan: He also surrounds himself with a very high quality of people who have obviously put their trust in him. You think immediately of Sergey Lavrov, who is this man comparable to on the world scene today? Very few and yet he's a diplomatic statesman of the first order, he's out there shaking hands with and having conversations with despicable liars like John Kerry. So I think that Putin couldn't do what he's doing unless he had the trust and faith of people like Lavrov who could see where he's going, see what he wants to do and exercise every amount of will and skill in trying to make these situations in Syria, Iran and Ukraine on the world stage better. And it's very easy to disparage their efforts if you don't know what it is they're up against, and they're up against a lot.

Karen: But leaders like Putin, they have decided what kind of power they want to have, they outline that within their psyche. They bring people up to the level they are aspiring to, so its where he has set his sights and what is the calibre of the people that he is bringing up with him that can piggy back on his trajectory; its very much about what kind of power you're choosing. If you are a leader today and you are settling for things and you are trying to monkey wrench things together and come up with something, people see that. They don't aspire to that level. That brings people down; that changes the whole atmosphere.

Harrison: Well, I want to go off in a little bit of a different direction and using that analogy but being in a band. Now for anyone who's been in a band or a musician just imagine this scenario where you've got a bunch of musicians and one of the guys in the band is just really good. You know he could be a great guitar player or she could be the saxophone player and she's the one that makes the band great. Having that one person in the band, it acts on the rest of the band so the rest of the band plays a bit better being with that person but you take that person away and then you're just left with kind of a mediocre band. Or you get rid of the lead singer and you get some hammy bad singer that replaces them it's like it takes something away and it just doesn't work after that; that person made the band.

Now I think that there's a similar thing going on in Russia and back in Rome where if we look at Caesar - like Tom was saying - Caesar held the empire together in those last couple years. If he hadn't had as much power as he did, it would inevitably just fall apart and civil war would crop up again. It did after he died because there was no one to carry on that continuity from the situation that Caesar was in. Now that's the problem that I see Russia possibly being in is that despite all these great people that are surrounding Putin I don't think that anyone's on the scene that could actually replace him and do as a good a job.

So things are still centred around Putin and part of the reason for that is the immense popular support that he has among the Russian people, but what happens without Putin? Well then you're left with that band that's lost their lead singer and another problem is that at least from what I see reading about the way Russians see Putin and the government in general: Russian people genuinely like Putin, they like what he's doing, they appreciate him and they want him to be their leader. At the same time, they don't see the entire the Russian government system as being Putin, there's still corruption. If they see Putin as the exception, there's some good stuff going on but without Putin, things wouldn't necessarily be great. That's the impression I get.

Karen: But still the band without their lead singer or their lead saxophonist has experienced a better quality of music, they have approached it and will be looking for it again maybe.

Elan: There's a wonderful article that came out a few weeks ago or maybe just about week and a half ago is William Engdahl's "Russia's Remarkable Renaissance". This journalist has some roots there, he spent time with them in Russia, he knows the Russian people and it seems that the band is not only those immediately surrounding Putin, but really a whole generation of Russians and even expats who've come back to Russia and who are sharing this vision of a renewed Russian society. A Russian culture, a Russian nation and who want to be there with all its problems, because it still has problems; lots of them. But they want to be a part of its growth and none of them have to say anything specific to Putin, but he's instrumental in creating the conditions in Russia today that would allow for this kind of renaissance if you like to call it that. In participation and the parts of so many people who've rejected "things are better in the West." This is a dynamic situation, we're seeing something really interesting there and I think a lot of very talented people recognise that and want to be a part of it, and that wouldn't happen without his inspiring moves to the betterment of the nation.

Harrison: I think you made a good point Karen about the fact that people can see that. I mean they have something to take pride in and also they've got something to remember. I think this happened after Caesar died, that they remembered Caesar and when Augustus became emperor they could see the disparity. They could see that Augustus was no Caesar even if he called himself that. Augustus even went overboard with the propaganda around himself that he was the son of god, he was the person to bring peace to the empire and the golden age and people could see through that. I talked about this when I was discussing Israel and Noels book on Nazism.

In the first century BC and AD, this is what certain Jewish groups at the time were saying. They saw Augustus as the anti-Christ, the anti-Messiah. He was the false god, the false idol because he presented himself as the saviour and he really wasn't. And none of the emperors after that in those 200 years could say the same about themselves as Caesar, I mean they were just as bad.

So at the very least I think that's there's something to remember and that gives people a yard stick by which to measure what else goes on. But as you can see, if they see corruption in the regional leadership they've got something to compare it to and say "Oh here's the benchmark and you're not living up to it." Now luckily at least in Russia there's a person in charge who can do certain things and make certain decisions that go along with those sorts of values. We don't have that in many countries in the world today. Certainly not the major western countries. So I think more Westerners should research Vladimir Putin and see what a real leader could do. But speaking about Russians, recently just a few days ago an ex-US general got on Fox news - I believe it was Robert H. Scales and this is what he had to say:
The only way that the United States could have any effect in this region and turn the tide is to start killing Russians. Killing so many Russians that even Putin's media can't hide the fact that Russians are returning to the motherland in body bags. But given the amount of support we've given the Ukrainians, given the abilities of the Ukrainians themselves to counter attack against these - what 12,000 Russians camped in their country? Sadly that's not likely to happen.
Harrison: 12,000 Russians... wow.

Elan: Kill the Russians, that's the answer.

Karen: Roulette.

Elan: What do you say? What do you say about a guy like Scales, I mean he...

Karen: ..Is off the scales.

Elan: He's off the scales. I was speechless when I first read it but having processed it a little bit, he seems to get all of his info from the NATO Chief General Breedlove. I mean he's one of these guys who says there are 40,000 Russian troops amassed at the border, when it's probably close to 20,000. They don't have a strategic headquarters there, they've just been stationed there since the beginning of Ukraine crisis.

But he's just one of these guys who's so over the top and has no insight. Basically just a terrific mouthpiece for the psychopathic mind-set of the US military industrial complex and all the neocons in the US. Really we should thank them for making such an obvious example of all that.

Harrison: Well the Russian investigative committee is launching a criminal case against him or at least they have initiated the process. I doubt anything will come of it but it would be nice if it did. They said that "such statements break not only the norms of the Russian legislation, but Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, which prohibits any war propaganda or any instigation of discrimination enmity or violence." I mean to go on national TV and say the US has got to kill a whole bunch of whoever, that's says something about the level at which the American military politics and the media itself is at; it's less than childish. It's like the worst of the terrible 2's. It's like if you could get all the terrible 2s' together and distill them into 1 person and then multiply that 1 person by several 1000 then you've got the American elite.

Karen: Except nobody then follows the terrible 2's but they do follow guys like this.

Harrison: Anything else on that? On Scales?

Elan: Well I guess it's no surprise that he had his venue at Fox news and it was in one of the articles that made mention of this also mentioned that Fox was ranked the most trusted network in the US according to a recent poll by Quinnipiac University. Is that Canadian? Have you ever heard of Quinnipiac University?

Karen: Quinnipiac polls, yes.

Elan: So do they poll whether Britney Spears is more popular than Christina Aguilera? Or are they known for anything else?

Karen: I have no idea.

Elan: Maybe they're part of Newscorp.

Karen: It's not the truth I've been seeking lately.

Harrison: It's just embarrassing to see a guy like that get onto TV and say something so stupid, but that's what the American people believe and people not just in America but in Western media in general. I saw a clip on YouTube about the German media and them just interviewing Germans about the way that they saw their media. Apparently I think it was 63% of Germans polled didn't trust their media at all and thought that it was just total lies when it came to Russia and the Ukraine. So it's like that in several different countries and for him to get up there and say that thing about 12,000 Russians being in East Ukraine it's just ridiculous.

Elan: Well speaking about German media that reminds me of the recent article that has come out in Der Spiegel. Der Spiegel has been a mouth piece for the Merkel administration and they've been publicly refuting General Breedlove's assertions - which are really lies - on this subject on how aggressive the Russian military is and how many boots are on the ground that are representative of the Russian military in Ukraine. It's as though the German government has finally woken up - assuming it's true that they have this direct line to Der Spiegel - and are saying "these are lies and we're trying to stave off a war with Europe and Russia and you just keep lying about it." So finally there's some movement there, I hope it continues, it would be interesting to see how the US responds, how NATO responds towards being written there. So far Breedlove has just been like "I stand by what I say" well W. (Bush) stood by what he said as well.

Harrison: So did Ted Bundy.

Elan: Yes, look where that got everybody. But I guess we'll see, I guess it's a close thing. That's what we're closely watching, what is Der Spiegel saying? And what will they continue to say?

Karen: And what well Breedlove continues to say because he is the top commander of NATO and he is the American mouth piece and he has been known recently to thwart whatever negotiations have been going on between Merkel and Putin. Every time there are little hints of breakthroughs in negotiations, Breedlove comes up with some more statistics that are really false. He makes things look bad and sabotage is essentially the atmosphere and part of the blow back on Breedlove - and of course that's part of the blow back on the United States being in NATO - is that the EU has been throwing up some ideas about creating their own army.

Many of the countries belong to the EU, I think there's something like 22 countries that belong to the EU and it's also known as the North Atlantic alliance. That's another name you might look for when you're researching or running into things about NATO. It's not like all of these countries in the EU don't have their own armies, the EU in fact has a reserve little battle group for any kind of emergencies and they belong to NATO; this is a big conglomeration. They have the US contingency that's always there, all of these countries lend soldiers to each other but now they've come up with this idea that they want to have an EU army. You have to wonder why this has surfaced in the past week or two. It's not just that they're disgruntled and feeling the US and NATO's pressure and want to move out and be a little more autonomous.

United States provides something like 70% of all of the funding to NATO, so it gets a big say in what happens. Just having the EU be juxtapositioned between Russia and the United States logistically, value wise, mentally and whatever else goes into it has to be an uncomfortable squeeze position. If they want to be a little more friendly to Russia they've got the United States backing them off. If they side with the United States, they run the risk of being lumped into all of the United States' mechanics so it's uncomfortable that this has come up; we'll see what happens.

Harrison: What about Venezuela?

Elan: Oh we've got interesting things going on there. Nicolas Maduro who took the leadership of Venezuela after the assassination, or the death of Hugo Chavez. Well that was something, he was assassinated. I think Chavez himself thought that his death was a result of poisoning by the West. Maduro came out recently and said that he was going to put certain people in the West on his own terrorist watch list, which is funny. It's ballsy, it's brave and it's probably most of all extremely appropriate and true so he came out with this statement. He said that he was revoking visa rights for former US politicians such as George W Bush and Dick Cheney "as terrorists against the peoples of the world" which is remarkable and again just fantastic.

He also said "I've decided on a prohibition list for people who will not be permitted visas and who can never enter Venezuela for a set of chief US politicians who have committed human rights violations, they have bombed the people of Iraq, the people of Syria, the people of Vietnam. It is an anti-terrorist list". And he goes on in his speech to call for a global rebellion against US imperialism. He goes on to say "The US thinks that it is the boss, the police of the world, something happens somewhere let's say in Asia and a spokesperson for the US comes out saying that the US government thinks that such and such a government shouldn't do such and such thing in Asia, are we going to accept a global government? Enough of imperialism in the world" and of course this comes on the heels of a story in February about some more individuals in Venezuela who were caught colluding with groups in the West to try and undermine Venezuela yet again; there were a couple attempts at coups when Chavez was in office.

Harrison: Was that the recent one that you were talking about?

Elan: Yep.

Harrison: Oh well I happen to have a direct line to the US State Department here.

Elan: Oh cool.

Harrison: Yeah we've got Jen Psaki here, she's gonna make a fool of herself.
Reporter 1: President Maduro last went on the air and said that they'd arrested multiple people who were allegedly behind the coup that was backed by the United States, what is your response?

Psaki: These latest accusations, like all previous such accusations are ludicrous, as a matter of long standing policy the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means. Political transitions must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful and legal. We've seen many times that the Venezuelan government tries to distract from its own actions by blaming the United States or other members of the international community for events inside Venezuela, these efforts reflect a lack of seriousness on the part of the Venezuelan government to deal with the grave situation it faces.

Reporter 2: The US has a long standing practice of not promoting what did you say? How long standing is that? In particular in South and Latin America, that is not a long standing practice.

Psaki: Well my point here Matt, without getting into history is that we do not support, we have no involvement with and these are ludicrous accusations.

Reporter 2: In this specific case, but if you go back not that long ago during your lifetime.

Psaki: So that's 21 years?

Reporter 2: Touché, but I mean does long standing mean 10 years in this case?

Psaki: My intention was to speak to these specific reports.

Reporter 2: But you said it's a long standing US practice, I'm not so sure. Depends on what your definition of what longstanding is.

Reporter 3: Whatever we say about Ukraine, whatever, the change of government in the beginning of last year was unconstitutional and you supported it.

Psaki: That's is also ludicrous.
Harrison: Who let that man in the White House? He never comes to a press meeting again. I just want to comment on that for a few seconds because, oh Psaki! First of all she said that it was ludicrous to say that the change of government in Ukraine was unconstitutional and on what planet was it constitutional? It wasn't! It is a plain statement of fact and the fact that she can't even admit, she has to worm her way around questions about the US not violating the sovereignty of other countries by staging coup d'état, I mean (sigh) what do you say to a person like that?

Elan: You can't have a conversation with someone like that because you might as well put a tape recording of Dick Cheney saying something equally bad and put it on the podium and let it play. She probably doesn't even know anything, she's probably just as poorly informed as the administration would like the rest of the West to be.

Harrison: I think she knows some things. She was caught on audio, she thought her mike was off on one of these press conferences; you can't tell by listening to this clip but she's reading to the person who asked the question about Venezuela. She has her prepared responses for different topics. So she's reading the response that has been prepared for her - or by her I don't know, probably for her - so she's reading it. But in this past instance she was caught on audio saying "oh that line on whatever was bullshit" like she was saying that their official line was bullshit. So even in the audio it's kind of clear here that she knows what she's saying is total BS but she can't bring herself to contradict that written statement that the US has a longstanding practice of not doing these nasty things. Even though Matt - can't remember his last name from AP, the guy that questions her after that brings it up - she says she won't admit that she was wrong about that but she'll just clarify this thing "oh well this was actually about this specific instance" so the implication there is of course that she's admitting that the US has done this countless times elsewhere but she never actually says it.

Elan: And he calls her out on the fact that she makes her reference "that's not a policy of the US, we don't do those sorts of things." It's interesting that she would say that because speaking specifically to Venezuela; what they were discussing, there's a quote from the State Department that they "provided training, institutional building and other support to individuals and organisations understood to be actively involved in the brief ouster" and that was speaking to the 2002 attempted military coup in Venezuela when Chavez was briefly ousted and then came back into power. So who is she trying to fool? But of course the White House has to make these statements; it's just what they need to do. There's still a percentage of people who are paying a certain amount of attention and they have to respond in some way.

Harrison: Just Psaki being Psaki. But at least we get to play clips of her being an idiot on the show and laugh because otherwise I just don't know what I'd do.

Elan: We'd cry. Well you know that story actually got even more interesting because not a week after Maduro makes these statements and Psaki gets in front of the Press Corps and does her thing you have Obama calling Venezuela a national security threat. I wish we had a sound bite of that, although that might have just been on paper. But basically they're going to create more sanctions against some people in Venezuela and it's just totally absurd.

Harrison: Yeah, the US is facing an imminent threat from Venezuela, we're gonna see Venezuelan troops you know in the streets of LA. You see I don't even know what to say when something like this happens because it's so ridiculous, a national security threat? Seriously?

Elan: Yeah, well you know he's just upping the ante and that's basically their MO, they had to do the same thing in Ukraine with Crimea deciding to secede from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation. It now suddenly became about Russian aggression and all the lies and the propaganda have to get ramped up in response because they have no other recourses; nothing else they can really do.

Harrison: You know I think that Obama might actually be a political genius. With everything that's been happening, he has just been trying so hard to do everything so over the top that people finally get it that politics in the United States is a total joke; all the scripts are being written by the staff at The Onion. I feel for Obama because he's just trying really hard and his people aren't getting it. People are still taking him seriously but he has no intention in being taken seriously, he's just playing his part in trying to get a few laughs every once in a while but the military seems to be just not getting the hint, they actually take his jokes as if they're statements of fact and then they go off on another country.

Elan: You know how literal the military is.

Karen: That's a really interesting theory.

Harrison: I'm sticking to it, I think that's a good one. How about we move on to another part of the world? Well there are some interesting things happening in Iraq and Syria of course, we've been talking about ISIS for the last year but first of all on Thursday, just a few days ago, Marine General John F. Kelly said the following at a Pentagon briefing. He said that "100 would-be militants have already left small Caribbean countries including Venezuela to fight with Islamic state extremists in Syria" and that they can potentially get across the US border when they return home, so another big threat. This one is coming partially out of Venezuela because the Islamic extremists are going from Venezuela to all these Caribbean countries to fight, and then they're going to come back and we're going to have a whole bunch of problems.

Now this happened on Thursday, well just a few days before that, on Monday March 9th a member of the Iraqi Parliament Security and Defence Committee, Abbas Al-Ghazali, said that he was in possession of irrefutable intelligence documents showing that the Islamic state is receiving arms aid from Israeli as well as a number of Western and Arab countries. Also in the same statement he said that Baghdad needs more weapons, they need more supplies and that they are willing to purchase them from east European countries, Russia and China. This is a member of the Iraqi parliament. Now he's not the first one to say something like this, in fact I've got a whole list here and I've tried to get through them all, just interrupt me if it gets boring.

But first of all in October, some context. The US was looking into an event that happened in Iraq where they "mistakenly" dropped supplies onto ISIS, these supplies were supposedly meant for the Kurds fighting Kabani against the Islamic state there in Syria on the border in Turkey. So they mistakenly dropped these supplies to IS and so they were looking into this; this was in October. Skip a few months to December, Iraqi MP Majeed Al-Karawi disclosed that US planes were supplying ISIS terrorists with arms and communication in the Salahuddin province. He added that the US and the international coalition are "not serious in fighting against the ISIL organisation" because they have the technological power to determine the presence of ISIL gunman and destroy them in one month. The US is trying to expand the time of the war against ISIL to get guarantees from the Iraqi government to have its bases in Mosul and Anbar provinces.

Again, this is also in December, another senior lawmaker in Iraq, Najah Al-Hababbi complained that the terrorist group still received aids dropped by "unidentified aircraft". He said "The international coalition is not serious about air strikes on ISIL terrorists and is even seeking to take out the popular voluntary forces from the battle field against ISIS so that the problem with ISIS remains unresolved in the near future." He is saying the US's goal is to make sure that the conflict remains unresolved, he also said that the ISIL terrorist are still receiving aid from unidentified fighter jets in Iraq. January 3rd just after these statements were made, committee chairman of the Salahuddin security commission Jasseem Al-Jabara - Salahuddin was the place they said that they were dropping the supplies for ISIS - he disclosed that again "Unknown planes threw arms and ammunition to the ISIL gunmen south east of Tikrit city." Also near the Dour district and Mosul.

January 5th, 2 days later, commander of Iran's Basij Voluntary Force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi said that the US embassy in Baghdad is the command centre for the Islamic state of Iraq and for all these terrorists. He said "The US directly supports ISIL in Iraq and the US planes drop the needed aid and weapons for ISIL in Iraq." This is a guy in Iran saying that but then again in January the head of the Iraqi parliament's national security and defence committee Hakim Al-Zamili disclosed that the coalition had dropped weapons including advanced anti-aircraft weapons and food stuff for ISIL in Salahuddin; again in Al Anbar and Diyala provinces. He said that 'the coalition is the main cause of ISIL's survival in Iraq.

Again in January, another senior Iraqi legislator, Jome Divan, a member of Al-Sadr bloc in the Iraqi parliament reiterated that the US led coalition is the main cause of ISIL's survival in Iraq. He said "The international coalition is only an excuse for protecting the ISIL and helping the terrorist groups with their equipment and weapons." He said that "the coalition support for ISIL is now evident to everyone" and continued "the coalition has not targeted ISIL's main position in Iraq"; those were in January.

February 21st, again Al-Zamili announced that he had documents and photos showing that the US Apache helicopters air dropped food stuffs and weapons for ISIL in the southern part of Tikrit. Popular Iraqi forces shot down one of the US helicopters carrying the weapons drop and released photos of this helicopter a week later on the 28th.

2 days after that statement on February 23rd Al-Zamili declared that the Iraqi army has shot down 2 British planes as they were carrying weapons for ISIS in Al-Anbar province, the Iraqi parliament after that asks London for an explanation - I don't think they're going to get one. The Iraqi law maker further noted the cause of such Western aids to the terrorist group and explained that the US prefers a chaotic situation in Anbar province, which is near the cities of Kabala and Baghdad, as it does not want the ISIS crisis to come to an end.

Also on the 23rd, Head of the Al-Anbar Provincial Council Khalaf Tarmouz said "we have discovered weapons made in the US, European countries and Israel from the areas liberated from ISIS's control in the Al-Baqdadi region"; so they find American weapons there. Two days after that, February 25th, coordinator of the Iraqi Popular Forces, Jafar Al-Jaberi said "the US planes have dropped weapons for the ISIL terrorists in the areas under ISIL control and even in those areas that have been recently liberated from the ISIS control to encourage the terrorists to return to those places."

Elan: Where are you getting this stuff from, the internet? You're reading those articles from the internet again Harrison?

Harrison: This is Iraqi news. Sorry one more, Sunday March 8th, this is the day before the first thing that I mentioned. Special Forces declared they've arrested several ISIL foreign military advisors including American Israeli and Arab nationals in an operation in Mosul in the northern parts of the country. The Iraqi forces have said that they have retrieved four foreign passports, including those that belong to American and Israeli nationals and one that belonged to a national of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council member state.

Elan: OK, what are the implications of this?

Harrison: Well first of all these are all official statements from members of the Iraqi Parliament.

Elan: Let's take them as true because there's been more than enough information out there to suggest that the war on terror is manufactured. What does it allow the US to do? It allows the US to continue to bomb Syrian infrastructure. By the way they're saying that over a hundred Syrian civilians have been killed in those bombings which in itself is just horrific and perpetuates this narrative. Couple that with the monthly beheading du jour that we're subject to; it's Al-Qaeda got tired and they needed to create this new ISIS threat and when will it stop? It won't anytime soon.

Karen: Not as long as it's working.

Harrison: Well back to Russia for a minute, this happened at a particular time because when the whole chemical weapons thing was going on in Syria, Russia basically stepped in as the sane party and resolved the non-conflict because Assad was not gassing his own people as the West was saying. That's just ludicrous, to use Psaki's term; I'm not being Psaki.

So Russia basically came in and resolved that situation which put the kibosh on the US's wish to go in and bomb the place. So now we have this ISIS crisis and you were saying with the weekly or monthly beheadings and now people are crying and wishing for a new bombing campaign; a new war. It's almost as if ISIS with their slick propaganda is fitting right in with American foreign policy agenda which is an odd coincidence and nothing more. Do not look at the man behind the curtain.

So the US seems to be getting what it wants or at least is in the process of eventually getting what it wants when Russia had stopped that several years ago, and so why do they want Syria? Well of course Russia has a pretty tight relationship with Syria and like so many conflicts in that part if the world - well, all over the Ukraine - this is all part of the US's agenda to take Russia down a notch or two or just eliminate it from the playing field.

So bringing it back to how we started this discussion, I think when you consider all of these things going on and you look at this ISIS organisation for example, the evidence and just the astounding idea that the US is actually dropping weapons and supplies for them while at the same time allegedly supposed to be engaged with this military conflict with them. Just think about the mentality behind that and then put yourself in the position of all those Russian politicians and intelligence individuals and just look at what they're up against; look at what Putin's up against and just think about the enormous amount of pressure and danger in a situation like this where you've got the world against you. Not only do you have internal enemies but you've got allegedly the biggest military might, the biggest super power with the barrel pointed at your head. Just the amount of stress that must cause and to be able to keep your head cool enough to make intelligent decisions on how to navigate the minefield. While I don't like politicians in general, I've got huge amount of respect for a person that can put up with that every day.

Elan: There's another thought for anyone who comes from that part of the world; Russia, Eurasia. And that is the tremendous amount of energy in resources that the Russia government has to expand in order to identify and isolate and try to keep up with all of these conflicts. If you're focused on all of those things that are ostensibly designed to put your country under, it doesn't leave very much time to think about other things.

So one thought that comes up in all of this, considering that article that was mentioned earlier by Engdahl, where might a country like Russia be today if it didn't have to use as much of its resources and energy and focus and time as it is right now, where would it be today? With itself, with its economy, with its people? With creating other connections to other nations? If it didn't have to think about these things? I don't know, maybe that's a question we can also apply to Caesar's leadership: what might have he been able to accomplish if Rome wasn't as fractured as it was if he didn't have as many optimates as they were trying to vie for power, what might he have accomplished?

Karen: What if the United States was on a different trajectory?

Elan: Bingo.

Karen: What could we have been accomplishing?

Harrison: What if Kennedy wasn't assassinated? What if every president since then wasn't a total tool? The stuff of dreams.

Karen: We should all leave the world better than we came into it.

Harrison: Well do we have anything else we want to cover today?

Karen: It's up to you.

Elan: Well just on the subject of Russia, there was another article posted to SOTT recently about a senator and a member of parliament who had actually proposed bills separately to have all candidates for public office take mental health tests; I thought that was real interesting. For one, it would take someone in Russia to say that, but I think it's a healthy perspective on the whole problem. Why haven't we heard that suggestion made in the US by anybody? At least none that I have heard from.

Harrison: I'll make it right now.

Karen: You go Harrison.

Harrison: Motion proposed.

Elan: Aye!

Karen: Aye!

Elan: Fast! Mental health tests for all candidates in the US.

Harrison: And then the results should be made available to the public.

Karen: Quinnipiac.

Elan: Yes.

Harrison: Can you imagine if that would happen and the results were made public? Well, you know just on a related note, there was a new book that's been published, written by a guy named Henry Vincent; he wrote it with Nick Bryant. Nick Bryant is a journalist and he wrote the book The Franklin Scandal a few years ago, it's on the paedophilia network cover up in the 80s and Vincent was actually mentioned in this book, he owned and operated a gay escort service in Washington DC.

So he came into this whole Franklin scandal because he was associated with this CIA guy and there were ties with what was going on with the Franklin people and the book is called Confessions of a DC Madam: The Politics of Sex Lies and Blackmail. Now it's just come out, I haven't had a chance to read it yet but I've read a few reviews and summaries of it and it sounds pretty explosive and interesting. Here's just a few of the facts that are revealed in this book; because Vincent met a whole lot of people. He was catering to the highest levels of US government people.

First a little bit of trivia, he knew the infamous Geoff Gannon. As a gay sex worker from the 80s, Gannon made the news several years back. He was in the Press Corps or something in the White House, you've got pictures of him hugging George Bush at the time and so Vincent knew him and was associated with him in the 80s. Another one, CIA Chief William Casey was getting gay escorts to service him in 1986 as was a Donald Greg, a 30 year CIA veteran associated with George H W Bush. Casey was requesting to have sex with children. A George H. W. Bush cabinet heavy hitter was being provided adolescent boys to have sex with by Craig Spence, that was the CIA connected guy. This official was brought in to rescue Donald Greg from being exposed in a GOA probe of Greg from using government credit cards to buy gay escorts.

Now apparently this guy's name isn't revealed in the book but it can deduced from his description as being an Attorney General, Richard Thornburgh. Those are just a few of the revelations from this book. Nick Bryant, I recommended his books several times, he's just an amazing journalist, totally credible and he checks his sources. So the fact that he's associated with this book and that Vincent decided to come forward with it, is a good thing because it reveals just the nasty side of politics. And this stuff is still going on, that wasn't just in the 80s and it wasn't just George H. W. Bush. So yeah, I just wanted to mention that; throw that out there if you weren't horrified already.

Elan: Gosh what is it about the elites and paedophilia? I mean we've had these stories come out recently about Margaret Thatcher's people protecting MPs in England and the cover up there and of course they were also killing these children it appears, so we have this in the UK and we have this in the US; probably other Western countries as well.

Harrison: France, Netherlands, Portugal. I just wanted to say the name of the book again, it is Henry Vincent who was the author, Confessions of a DC Madam. There was an interesting article on SOTT in reference to the Thatcher scandal and the person writing the article made a good point, it is that if you're an individual like this, with these kinds of - how do you even describe it? - These perversities, how do you go about your life in order to get what you want? Well you can just be a shady, skeezy child molester on the street and try and get by without getting caught or you can work your way to the top of the power structure where you're totally protected.

So the point that this author was trying to make is why the upper echelons of leadership positions in any country are dominated by paedophiles - because they gravitate towards those positions in order to gain that security and that freedom from being caught. Because even if someone speaks out against them they have got an entire system of protections that they can use in order go get away with it. And reading Nick Bryant's book or just reading about the current scandal going on in the UK, you see how this plays out. They own the police, they can get investigations shut, they can get files disappeared, they can get people killed. I mean it's just where this type of person would want to be and so that's the way it is unfortunately. You've got these kinds of people attracted towards positions of power and that is the environment that you enter if you want to change the system. Just think about that for a minute, that these are the people you are up against.

Elan: And the other perversity is killing people in general, having no compunction about engineering a coup, a colour revolution, an assassination, just to further your own idea of what power is in another nation. You know that reminds me of a recent article about the numbers of drone operators who were recruited from the air force and other various places who have quit. There are more people quitting this job than they can hire on apparently, and they experience post-traumatic stress and real pangs of conscience when they realise that what they're asked to do and what they have done is to basically play a video game where the people on the screen are alive and innocent and murdered because of buttons that they're pushing. So all manner of perversities at the highest levels have this trickle-down effect on everyone else in one way or another.

Harrison: Alright, it looks like we have a caller. Kent from West Virginia, how you doing Kent?

Kent: Pretty good. What's interesting about this paedophilia - this tends to be on generalities - is that all of these are Republicans in the United States or in the Conservative Party in the UK, and these are the staunch upright people; most of them have families. I'm sure they all have families, they have wives. But there's never another woman in their life, so they're very respectful in that fashion and so that's odd you know. And it's always in the United States that the Democrats like Gary Hart, Bill Clinton and John Kennedy - well if they like girls - these perverted ones are out to get them because they like the girls. But these guys are faithful to their wives, their wives love them because there's never the scandal of another woman in their life and of course when boys are boys well who cares what they get up to? Of course then there's always the business people that are trying to screw people in every way, shape and form so there's another aspect of it that I always found interesting. It's pretty disgusting altogether as far as I'm concerned, but I don't know how you get rid of it.

Harrison: Yeah, I know it is disgusting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Kent.

Kent: OK.

Harrison: But yeah, you mentioned the Democrats and the Republicans, I'll have to double check the Franklin book because I'm pretty sure there were Democrats associated with that too, so it's not just Republicans. It may be that there are more Republicans than Democrats who are associated with these kind of things, but I think it's something that spans political parties in general. So I think we're going to end it there on that light note and so thank you for listening, check out some of the books that we've mentioned today and we will talk to you again next week so everyone take care.

Karen: Have a good week.

Elan: Thanks for listening.

Harrison: Bye, bye!