Sott Talk Radio logo
Broadcasting from deep in the heart of the American Empire, join your hosts Harrison Koehli and Elan Martin, and fellow Sott.net editors, as they discuss everything from current events and the latest machinations and manipulations of the global elite to history, science, and religion, and how it all fits together.

This week, we are pleased to interview activist, journalist and author Robert Fantina. Robert is a long-time critic of U.S. policy and activist for the cause of the Palestinians. His latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy. How does the U.S.'s history impact its present? What's really going on in the Middle East? And what do Americans and the world have to look forward to with the coming presidential elections? Tune in Saturday to find out!

The Truth Perspective is brought to you by the SOTT Radio Network and SOTT, your one-stop source for independent, unbiased, alternative news and commentary on world events.

Live every Saturday from 2-4pm EST / 11am-1pm PST / 8-10pm CET.

Running Time: 02:04:00

Download: OGG, MP3


Listen live, chat, and call in to future shows on the SOTT Radio Network!


Here's the transcript of the show:

Harrison: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to The Truth Perspective. In the studio today we have returning Meg, William, Shane and Elan. Say hi, everyone.

Shane: Hi, everyone.

Meg: Hi, everyone.

William: Hello.

Harrison: And I'm your host for today, Harrison Koehli and it is January 30th, end of the month. The first month of 2016 has gone by very fast and of course news is not stopping. There's a lot going on in the world. So today we are very pleased to have Robert Fantina here to talk with us about it all. Bob is an activist and journalist working for peace and social justice. Shortly after the 2004 presidential election he moved from the US to Canada where he wrote the book; Desertion and the American Soldier. He is also author of the novel; Look Not unto the Morrow, a Vietnam era anti-war love story, and his most recent book is entitled; Empire, Racism and Genocide-A History of US Foreign Policy published by Red Pill Press. He is currently active in supporting the human rights struggles of the Palestinian people and he writes regular columns for websites like Counterpunch and Mint Press News. You can visit his webpage at, RobertFantina.com and you can find him on Twitter.
So Bob, it's great to be speaking with you today and thank you so much for coming on the show.

Bob: Thank you. It's my pleasure.

Harrison: Great. First of all, can you just tell our listeners a bit more about yourself? Have you always been a social activist, a writer, or was there a time in your life when something changed and you started on this path?

Bob: I've always had an interest in social justice but didn't do much about it until I started hearing about atrocities going on in the world and looking into why they were happening. I looked into them initially because of peoples' suffering and I wanted to know what I could possibly do to alleviate that suffering and then I started looking at the causes, why were they suffering, why were people fleeing their countries, why were people starving to death, why were people dying who were definitely innocent.

So as I started to look into that more, that led me to see what my country, the United States at the time, was doing to assist these people and what I learned was not so much that they were assisting these countries but were causing a number of these problems, these tragedies that were going on in the world. At that point I did begin to write. The way I dove right into that was my book on desertion because I had heard since the time I was a child that desertions were traitors or cowards or both and that they hate the country and they're selfish and all this.

So I started doing a little more reading and started reading accounts of deserters who had deserted from the Vietnam War and started to learn something very different. Then I wondered if that was the case, that there were legitimate reasons for people to desert in earlier US wars and I started doing some extensive research which resulted in my book, Desertion of the American Soldier.

Harrison: Cool. So then you moved in 2004, right?

Bob: It actually was November of 2004. The following year it took me about six months to find work in Canada, but I did and I moved to Canada and I've lived there ever since. Canada is not a utopian society but at the time I moved until today, I didn't want my tax dollars going to kill innocent Iraqis. So that was the last straw, is when I left.

Harrison: Well I'm from Canada myself. Since the Iraq war I've had similar sentiments and feelings as you, but I just have to say that it was a disappointment for me just to see the way Canada was run and the way we handled foreign policy for the last 10 or 15 years. What's your opinion on Canada's part in, for example, "the global war on terror"? Maybe you can give some comments on what you think about the new leadership. Do you think anything will change under Justin Trudeau?

Bob: Okay, a couple of very good questions there. First let's go to the war on terror, which is waged mainly by the United States and allies and it's really a war of terror; the United States terrorizing innocent people, particularly right now in the Middle East. We hear in the United States, "Why are these people coming to our country? Go back to where you came from!" Well if the United States would stop bombing their countries maybe they'd be able to stay there.

So the war on terror is really a war of terror. We'll talk a little bit more about it because I think it's important to understand why the United States feels it needs to wage this war of terror. But in answer to your second question about Mr. Trudeau's election, I do believe that he was elected mainly on the basis of his name, his father having been a very popular prime minister. I see some chance of (inaudible) ...in the country but I don't see very much in foreign policy. Justin Trudeau has stated that the BDS-Boycott/Divestment/Sanction movement, which is aimed at the equal rights and self-determination to the Palestinian people, has no place in Canada. He said that Israel Apartheid Week which is a very popular and important activity on university campuses usually in the spring of the year, which also highlights and focuses on the injustices that Israel is perpetrating on the Palestinian people, he said that Israel Apartheid Week has no place in Canada.

So I'm not optimistic about his administration as far as foreign policy. Canada was involved in actual bombing raids in the Middle East under Mr. Harper. Justin Trudeau has stopped that but is still doing training and other things that are supporting the war of terror.

Harrison: I can't disagree with anything that you say there.

Bob: Okay.

Harrison: Probably the worst thing that I saw was a little - I don't think it was an official campaign video, but it was a video of Trudeau being asked a question about Israel and his statement in response to that was just the most sycophantic. It was just really disgusting. He was saying that Israel was the greatest country, that Canada would always be a supporter of Israel no matter what and there's no chance that he'd change that whatsoever; basically what you'd expect to hear from pretty much any big politician in the US or Canada.

Bob: Yes.

Harrison: On the one hand I know that if you're going to be in politics in North America, you can't really say anything else. You pretty much have to say something like that. But on the other hand it's just the way that he said it was really creepy actually, to see him talk about it. But one interesting thing that I saw on the news just this last week was that Canada's foreign minister had said that Canada needs to approach its relationship with Russia in a different way. We need to start cooperating with Russia as opposed to being an enemy. I thought that was an interesting statement. I don't know if anything will come out of it because at least until now Canada has taken the American line it seems with their "If it's anti-Russian it's good" even when it's not.

Bob: Right. It's always encouraging to hear anyone talk about more outreach to other nations and any world leader talking about diplomacy rather than sabre-rattling or talking in hostile terms about another country. So the foreign minister's words are certainly encouraging but as you said if they amount to anything at least it's a step in the right direction.

It's also interesting when you mentioned Justin Trudeau's comments about Israel and how it was almost creepy.

Harrison: Yeah.

Bob: I don't know if you paid attention too much that Hilary Clinton has to say. But she speaks of Israel in almost romantic terms. I find that creepy. She talks about it being a flower that has blossomed in the desert and all this other stuff. Well when one considers the amount of foreign aid from the United States that has poured into Israel in the last several years, anything would be a flower blossoming in the desert. It doesn't matter what conditions are with that much money and with complete immunity from any international accountability, any country could become rich and powerful. But one of her biggest supporters is a billionaire who has said that the one issue candidate is the issue of Israel. When asked how much he will contribute to Mrs. Clinton's campaign, he said, "As much as is needed".

Harrison: Was that Haim Saban?

Bob: That's who it is.

Harrison: Yeah. There was a story again this week. Apparently he bought something like 40% of shares in the company that owns the satire site, The Onion.

Bob: Oh, really!

Harrison: Yeah, he now has a controlling share in The Onion and so he's on the record as saying that, like you said, he's a one issue guy. It's Israel first and that's it. Let me get it open because he says some funny stuff in there - well scary.

Bob: Right. There goes The Onion, obviously!

Harrison: Yeah, exactly, this really sucks because they had some really good headlines. Here are some examples. So in the past they published headlines like Israel-Palestinians Given Ample Time to Evacuate to Nearby Bombing Sites; Israel vows to use veto power if Chuck Hagel Confirmed as US Secretary of Defense; Israel Calls for an Increase in US Taxes to Fund Attacks on Gaza. Those are pretty hard-hitting headlines. There's a quote from him, "I'm a one issue guy and my issue is Israel". He has said that he takes a three-pronged approach to politics and one is political donations, the other is establishing think tanks and the third is controlling media outlets. So now he buys up The Onion so yeah, it's just going to be downhill from there. This guy's kind of crazy. He said in 2014 that if Israel believed the anticipated international nuclear deal with Iran puts Israel's security at risk then, "Israel should bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches". So those are his words. And this is the guy that said that he totally agrees with Hilary Clinton. He thinks that she would be great for the country and great for the world and on the issues that he cares about Clinton is "pristine plus". How's that for needing the vomit bag!?

Bob: Could you repeat that last quote. You were breaking up just a little bit.

Harrison: He said that, "Clinton would be great for the country and great for the world. On the issues I care about Clinton is pristine plus."

Bob: Okay. Well that says it all, doesn't it? He's only got one issue and she's his candidate. And it is scary. He said his three-pronged approach is political contributions, think tank and media ownership. Political contributions are really the same as congressional ownership, really. It's just another way of saying that he has put up money and then the lobby purchases congress. They pay a premium price but they get what they pay for. They donate all kinds of money to all of the members of congress and congress votes the way the lobby expects them to. So Hilary Clinton should run for prime minister of Israel. I'm sure she would win and that's where she belongs.

Harrison: Yup.

Elan: Yup.

Harrison: Couldn't agree more. Now just so listeners know, you've got an article on this that you just published the middle of January called, Hilary Clinton: Israel First. It's a great article and you just take some quotes of the things that she has said in a recent essay for the Jewish Journal that she wrote on January 6th.

Bob: Yes.

Harrison: I'm going to read one of the quotes here, just to hear her in her own words. Let me go down here. So she writes that,
We must continue to fight against global efforts to delegitimize Israel. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, known as BDS, is the latest front in this battle. BDS demonizes Israeli scientists and intellectuals—even young students—and compares Israel to South African apartheid. That's wrong and this campaign should end.

Yeah, comment?

Bob: Are you asking me or are you asking the panel?

Harrison: Oh, anyone. Go ahead, Bob.

Bob: Well it's interesting how so many BDS policies demonize Israel. Israel is doing that all by itself by its murderous rampage in the West Bank, its periodic carpet bombing of the Gaza Strip. You have to remember that Palestine has no army, navy or air force, that the rockets that Hamas occasionally shoots into Israel have been described by Norman Finkelstein, author and professor and son of holocaust survivors, as enhanced fireworks. He says that's all they are. And Israel has the most up-to-date weaponry, all provided by the United States, some of it illegal under international law that it uses to illegal bomb the Gaza Strip.

So no one needs to demonize Israel. BDS doesn't need to do it. I certainly don't need to do it. Israel is doing a fine job of demonizing itself.

Harrison: Were there some other comments I heard, any comments from the panel, Alright.

Bob: As she said about the comparison to Israel and South Africa, South African politicians have said that what's happening in Israel is far worse than whatever happened in South Africa.

Harrison: Yeah.

Bob: So, Mrs. Clinton can talk all she wants but the facts... (inaudible) ...

Harrison: Say that last bit again? I didn't catch that.

Bob: I said Hilary Clinton has said that comparisons of Israel to South African as apartheid are wrong, that it should end but even politicians in South Africa have said that what's happening with Israel is worse than whatever happened in South Africa.

Harrison: Yeah, that's what really gets me because I've heard those politicians say that, the South African ones, so for her to come out and write that it's wrong, I can't even believe it. I don't really like Donald Trump, but I can't stand Hilary Clinton either. It's so sad and just makes me so angry that all these candidates are just such rotten people. Hilary Clinton is just such a liar and a killer.

Shane: And a fascist.

Harrison: Yeah, and to see people actually supporting her and thinking that there's anything good about this women, well it gets to me. We tend to be equal opportunity bashers here so we should probably talk a bit about Trump too and the republicans, but did you have anything else to say on that, Bob?

Bob: Yeah, actually I have another article today on Counterpunch and it's about Bernie Sanders and Joe Stein. At this point I'm voting for Joe Stein. That's who is going to get my vote. But it talks about them and one of the things mentioned in the article is we look at the democratic side and you have Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders running for the democratic nomination and when we look at the whole list of republicans running, is this the best that the United States has to offer; people who will either appeal to the most base instinct of the extreme, extreme end of the spectrum, or people who are bought and paid for by corporations and lobbies? Is this it? The United States is not a Marxist oligarchy. It's run by the rich and this is who they offer.

But enough of that, as you said. Let's move on to the republicans; equal opportunity bashers. Yes, just a couple of comments about Mr. Trump. It's hard to know exactly where to start with his remarks. He has said that Muslims should not be allowed in the country until they can be thoroughly checked out by the government. Why do we live in a society where that statement is tolerated? And apparently after he said it his polls went up significantly. He has said recently with the US serviceman who deserted in I believe it was Afghanistan and he was held for five years and released about a year ago, Mr. Trump has said that he should be shot and that he were there he would shoot him himself.

Now we don't know all circumstances about that gentleman's departure from the military as desertion; so I am really concerned that Mr. Trump is willing to set himself up as judge, jury and executioner in this and any other case. So he's troubling on so many fronts.

Shane: Seeing Donald Trump's popularity just strikes me that we're living in this really warped reality. You take him and travel back in time 20 years and I doubt that the American population would be as receptive as they are now. It seems that we've devolved to such a point, people are so fearful, he's tapping into - like you said earlier - these really base aspects of people and it just seems that that's kind of the climate that we're seeing. There is a fertile ground, I guess, for the likes of Donald Trump to be popular. He seems to be able to tap into those things in ways that many of the other candidates don't. They have this regular political veneer that people are very used to, but his speech, the way he talks, it's such a very base way of speaking. It's very frightening I think that he has reached such popularity. It kind of speaks to just how low American has gotten.

Bob: Yes, I agree with what you're saying. You mentioned 20 years and possibly a little longer than that, but around that time he would not have been so accepted. There's been such polarization since then and I think that part of that is based on fear and when a population is very fearful, they'll let the government do anything. They'll let the government listen in to our telephone calls and read our emails. They will let the government wage wars which are very profitable for a few people around the world. And I think that's what is happening. I think it is purposeful that people are fearful.

The United States always has enemies. In the latter half of the 20th century it was communism. There was fear that the communists were going to take over. There was a communist hiding in every closet and hiding under every bed and that was the big fear so the United States had to have a huge military budget and also go and invade countries that had even a leftist government because it was at risk of communism.
So after the Soviet Union collapsed, the Cold War really ended. Communism was no longer something to be fearful of. So the United States looked around for an enemy and has now decided as Islam as the big bad wolf that needs to be defeated. Now they don't say it's Islam always, although Donald Trump will say that and some other people say that. The government says its ISIS and Islamic radicals, but it's still demonizing an entire, huge religion.

But the point made by Elan who was just speaking I think?

Shane: Shane.

Bob: Shane, I'm sorry. I think the point is the country has devolved into a point where so many people in the US are willing to go with their fears and support a candidate who represents the worst of their fears and the worst of their feelings, that Muslims are all murderers and that the only thing we can do is kill them before they kill us. And we have a Donald Trump coming out and not saying those exact words but saying we should keep Muslims out of the country and they need to be investigated and they need to be watched, and this sort of thing. And that's what people are buying into and it's really tragic. It does not bode well for the US.

Elan: I was just thinking, in a sense - and I think this is a point that you make in a number of your articles and your most recent one Bob - is that at the end of the day even if you compare Trump to Clinton, if Trump is bombastic in saying all these things and riling up the Islamophobia and the xenophobia, Clinton is no better in her quieter, less rhetorical way. It just seems like all of the policies that she would help perpetuate that began under Bush and Obama, would just be continued, enforced, perpetuated and at the end of the day, amount to the same kinds of things that I believe we see geopolitically and policy-wise coming from the US.

Bob: I agree completely. Hilary Clinton is attempting to run as the person who will maintain Obama's legacy. Well that means more drone strikes. That means more bombing of the various countries in the Middle East. It means continued support for Israel apartheid. When she was running for president eight years ago she said that if Iran ever bombed or invaded or attacked Israel in any way, she would obliterate Iran as president. Now one has to remember that Iran is the country, like any other country, with a huge number of children and young adults and people are just going about their business. For her to make that statement, which I'm sure she was honestly sincere about, is really frightening.

I think the point that you've made is very good, that whether it's Trump or Clinton being elected president, we're going to see much of the same thing. There'll be some subtle differences in some social policies, but as far as foreign policy's concerned, it will be continued disaster.

Meg: It seems like there would be an escalation of it too, for them to be that hot-tempered, to react that way, to not have a diplomatic solution first, and to just bomb Iran. It seems like there'd be an escalation if either one of them were elected.

Bob: I think so because they're both people who believe might makes right and they want to be in control of the mightiest as far as military power is concerned, every country on the planet. So if they don't like something that Iran does or that Afghanistan or Brazil or anyone else does, they can just press their buttons and bomb that country. And that's very frightening. The United States is not known for its diplomatic finesse as history shows diplomacy over war and Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton represent the worst of that and would perpetuate it.

Shane: Watching the political circus that the US presidential election is, it's mind-numbing. It's not always something that you really want to watch, the debates or anything. It's all a circus, but what strikes me is just the amount of violent statements that are coming out of the mouths of these people. It's really striking. That seems to be their prime directive, just this violence.

Harrison: Bob, let me just read something from an article you wrote last year in September. This article was for Mint Press and it's titled, Land of the Prejudiced, Home of the Bigoted: America's Long History of Hatred Continues. You start the article with a quote from Andrea Tantaros of Fox News. We featured some particularly egregious statements of hers on this show several months ago, but in this one she said:If you study the history of Islam, our ship captains were getting murdered. The French had to tip us off. These were the days of Thomas Jefferson. They've been doing the same thing. This isn't a surprise. You can't solve it with a dialogue. You can't solve it with a summit. You solve it with a bullet to the head. It's the only thing these people understand.

So this is just an example, like Shane was saying, of the type of violent statements that you'll get out of some people not only in the political establishment but the media and particularly the right-wing media which just shows, I think, that this is the real sentiment that's bubbling under the surface in a lot of cases and sometimes it comes out in an explicit statement like this. But when you have statements from people who may be in some context considered more moderate, for example you'll have the people that say, "Oh it's not Islam, it's just ISIS. We're not against all Muslims. It's just militant Islam", it seems like these are just platitudes. They're kind of these meaningless statements that on the surface they appear moderate. They appear as if there's some kind of reason or even some kind of good will or understanding of the situation.

But underneath the message is that, like you were saying, it is Islam and that Muslims as a people are not quite human. And this is the sentiment that is going on all over the place. Particularly in the past year but also in the past decade and more, we've had this increase in this anti-Islam feeling and opinions and action. We've had attacks of hate on Muslims and utter and explicit bigotry that is popping up all over the place, not just in the US. So it seems like this is a big dynamic or trend that is only going to continue to get worse.

In that same article where you quoted this Andrea Tantaros you wrote in response, "What would the reaction be if a news commentator said that the only thing Jews understand is a bullet to the head?" That just gets to the heart of the matter I think, because there are so many statements that you'll read in the news and even from the so-called moderates, where if you just replace "Muslims" with "Jews" it sounds like something that you'd expect to read in the history of Nazi Germany about the kinds of things that the Nazi party was saying about Jews at the time, which would be totally unacceptable today and it would be immediately criticized - and rightly - if something like that were said about Jews today. But because it's about Muslims, it seems like its okay and people get away with it. It's totally unacceptable and it boggles my mind that it is so accepted among society in general, that there isn't more of an outcry against it and more of awareness that this is the same thing that went down in Germany in the '30s. I just can't believe how people cannot see the parallels and see the road that they're on and where this could lead. Do you have anything to say about that?

Bob: Absolutely. I believe in that article I also mentioned a woman whose name escapes me at the moment, a Muslim woman was on a plane and was refused an unopened can of soft drink that. Many people criticized her and no one came to her defence. There's a reason the politicians are exploiting it because it is real. People believe in the anti-Islam culture. They're buying into it. They are being fostered. You mentioned also the fact that people just aren't seeing the parallels to Nazi Germany and as that all came to a head and the separation and harassment and the assaults and all that, and it is exactly the same.

It brings up another parallel Harrison, and that's that after World War II, each side said, "never again" because they had all withstood horrific genocide during that period of Nazi Germany. But don't Israelis see that by having separate streets for Palestinians, separate walls for Palestinians, being able to assault and kill with absolute impunity, is exactly what they suffered from a generation ago and yet they'd rather continue. We don't learn from history. I don't know why but we don't.

Harrison: Well speaking of history, I just want to come back to your book, Empire Racism and Genocide. As a Canadian myself I was aware of some of the shared history. Of course Canada has its own legacy of its responsibility for and policies towards the natives at the time early in Canada's history, but there were some wars and other events and policies that you mention in your book that I hadn't heard of before. I didn't have an extensive education on American politics growing up in Canada. But one of the illusions that your book shatters I think, is that there was ever a time when US history was nice and rosy. It's right there in the title of your book, Empire, Racism and Genocide. That pretty much covers the entire history of the United States and that goes right back to the beginning. So maybe could you give some examples from American history that show just how far back these policies go and then maybe we can get to a parallel to today and how nothing really has changed.

Bob: Okay. First I want to mention, you said as a Canadian growing up you didn't get much education about history. I need to tell you that Americans in the United States growing up don't get much US history. They get the whitewashed version.

Harrison: Yeah.

Bob: The land of the free and home of the brave and that myth, that nonsense. But going back as far as the war of 1812, at that time manifest destiny was (inaudible) ... But there was a belief in the United States (inaudible) ...to manifest destiny that the United States somehow was given North America and that as the frontier moved from the first 13 original colonies on the east coast and leaked to the Midwest and so on, taking Florida, taking Texas from Mexico, Canada was also going to be part of the United States. The war of 1812 was waged with that purpose and partly because US business felt there was a huge market for its goods and it could produce goods, furs and so forth, which Canada could then sell. So it was very much business oriented and as far as what the Canadians wanted, as usual, that didn't play into their formulations at all.

Moving out the Mexican American war wherein the US gained a huge part of Mexico, Texas, was again the US wanted more property because they wanted to expand and it was for money; more farmlands, cotton was becoming a huge industry and more land was needed for that. Well Texas is fine. So that's kind of from the early part of the country's history. But even when we look at later wars, it's important to know that prior to World War II, the US was doing all kinds of business with Germany despite the atrocities that Germany already started committing and that during the war - and this is detailed in my book and the references are all there - there's a law called, the Trading With the Enemies Act, so any company that wants to do business with a company in a country that it is at war with, has to get permission from the US government.

Well during WWII, many companies in the US were allowed to do business with companies in Axis countries. So as a result the US was providing telecommunications support to Nazi Germany, was providing parts for trucks that were being used in the German war against the United States, against the allies. Also after the war Ford Motor Company who had a factory in Germany that had to be bombed, sued the United States and received damages for the bombing of that factory.

So it all boils down to business or power and who dies in the pursuit of those twin gods doesn't really matter much to the United States.

Elan: You know Bob, you wrote an article, The US Feeding the War Machine you describe some of these things. You also included ITT, Ford Motor Company and Standard Oil of California as all were doing business with Germany. When I was a teenager I read Joseph Heller's Catch 22 which was about a soldier who's coming to terms with the insanity of war and there's a character in it named Milo who is effectively bombing his own air base because he was paid to do so by the enemies of his air forces. I didn't understand at the time, even though I thought it was bizarre, that that's exactly, in a sense, what exists. The Catch 22 is real. This dynamic is a reality.

So putting the facts out there as you did in that article really brings home just how insane this collusion is between big business, the military industrial complex and our so-called enemies.

Bob: Yes. And it's generational. This is not a new phenomenon. This has been going on as long as the United States really has existed, with collusion between business and power and it is the military industrial complex off on steroids.

Shane: A little earlier Bob, you had mentioned manifest destiny. That's the first part of your book. It seems that this idea that America has this god-given right to expand, in the early years it was just within North America, within what would become the United States. But it seems that that same idea has also developed into a foreign policy although it's not called that anymore. It's now called just spreading democracy and freedom. It's essentially the same thing.

Bob: Yes. What we hear about now is American exceptionalism. I refer to American exceptionalism as the bastard spawn of manifest destiny, that the United States is going to spread its particular brand of democracy throughout the world whether the world wants it or not. You mentioned that initially manifest destiny was just in North America. I think it was Theodore Roosevelt when he was secretary of war - it's called secretary of defence now, same thing - he was desperate for the United States to become a great military power and especially a naval power. So when the battleship Maine blew up in Havana harbour in 1898 or 1899 it was still North America, but that was his opportunity to spread outside of the continent, to a different part of North America. And that was when we might look at the beginning of going into another country and invading, there was a lot then of this and certainly, but that was one of the earlier episodes of doing that. But I do think this spreading of democracy is kind of a buzz phrase that is used fairly frequently these days. It's part of manifest destiny.

Elan: It's interesting because I'm just thinking about your book and all of these kinds of seeds that have been planted and these imperialists' tendencies that are outlined in your book. I think that many of us see the events of 9/11 as this really strong shift in US foreign policy, as Shane was alluding to, towards imperialism, but one thread that seems to run through your work is that imperialism is in the US's very DNA and that nothing really has changed in the life of the US as a nation and that these seeds that we're seeing were planted a long time ago and nourished and grown for quite a while. So what I wanted to ask you is how do you describe or redefine the events of the last 15 years in the US in the context of all of this history that the US has, of being imperialistic? Is it like the flowering? Is it its apogee? Is it its last hurrah?

Bob: Well, I wish it were. I think the events of 9/11 and the following as an opportunity for imperialism to re-course. Following the Vietnam War, there was lots of talk about the US needing to learn lessons of that war to only go to war as a last resort, to only put young Americans in (inaudible) ... There has to be no other alternative. Well, that didn't fit well with the powers that be. The government of the US needs to show the rest of the world that the US is the strongest, the biggest, the baddest and don't mess with the US. And having those comments following the Vietnam War, (inaudible) ...

So there were a few amendments between the last part of the 20th century there was Grenada and a few others which I'd like to get into a bit of detail about later, but it wasn't until the United States was actually attacked on 9/11 that the government had a real strong reason to instil fear into the hearts of the American citizens. "The United States had been attacked. One of the symbols of the country, the World Trade Centre had been completely destroyed. The Pentagon had a plane flown into it. We were in grave danger and needed to destroy those who were threatening the United States". That turned out to be Afghanistan and Iraq.

It's interesting that in Afghanistan, the Taliban had forbidden an oil pipeline to go through the country. That's just coincidental, right? So I think the last 15 or 16 years have represented an opportunity for this refocusing or re-emergence as the world's policeman who will go to any means to achieve its goals. It's a sad event but it enabled the government to focus on Islam as an enemy and scare the population and brings to where we are today, which is not a good place to be.

Harrison: Guys, just hold on a sec. We may have a caller so I'm just going to see. So caller are you on the line?

Steven: Yes, I'm here. This is Steven, Orlando area.

Harrison: Hi Steven. How are you doing?

Meg: Hi Steven.

Shane: Hey Steven.

Steven: Good. I have some comments and I appreciate your guest's work and the focus. I'm a working class person. I'm 52 years old. I work manual, hard labour and I do work that the people that are here undocumented won't even do. I get in lakes, cold water, dirty, and wages haven't risen for 25 years. So when I hear this stuff about Trump, I was alarmed by Trump's scapegoating, his brash comments, but I look at it from the idea of what are people thinking in general. I work with wealthy people, working class poor, Hispanic people, black people, and I've developed kind of a theory. I believe that everybody really knows down deep about the imperialism but that we're bombarded with the big lie every day from cradle to grave. You don't counter that. You don't spout off and say that it's not true because you need to work. You need to be held in esteem with connections so you can develop money.

That's just what rolls and I really believe that most people, even the ones that might say something against a Muslim, I believe these people know in their heart of hearts that they're just like everybody else but you just kind of go along with it. I don't, but I'm just saying people go along with it because the focus on the Muslims is all about keeping you from focusing on the quality of your life and the fact that you're losing pace, the fact that your kids aren't going to be able to afford a house and are sleeping in your basement.

So I believe that all this just continues on and everything just gets incrementally a little bit worse, a little bit worse, but then Trump comes out. And the thing about Trump, there's a lot of anger from people, especially white working class people that are lower middle class to working class because they know what's going on. They've funded terror wars, supported dictatorships in Central America, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico. We support a horrendous government there. They passed NAFTA, so people are squeezed down there. They come here, they fill construction jobs. So, wages don't rise. And I find it remarkable the way the tap down and the direct hatred against migrants here because they're in construction. They're in every industry.

And I'm not advocating any kind of stoking hatred, but at the same time, your average working class guy listens to liberals that are more concerned about the rights of migrant people that are here without papers than his own well-being and then that's perfect fodder for somebody like Trump to spout off a few comments; not go deep, not develop any policy, programs, but just spout off a few things. And then it's like, "Yeah, that guy gets it. He gets where I'm coming from" right?

And I'll just say this, the liberals and the intellectual left; I don't even read them anymore. I don't like them. I don't like them just as much as I don't like the right-wing intelligentsia. They just all suck. They make money by spouting off crap. If you're a worker, "Oh you want to be scared of republican", blah, blah, blah and drama, drama and it's all about diverting your attention because we're all separated. Unions are destroyed. There are no solidarity movements where people across the spectrum can come together and do something more brilliant. We're just all disgusted and we focus on the stupid TV shows. And most people tune out of politics, you know? Hilary sucks. Trump's just a creepy oligarch who knows what he wants.

But the thing is everybody knows that there are big lies about "We're here for freedom, blah, blah, blah". They know it's a big lie. And people really know it, but they just don't articulate it because to do so would put you totally on the outs, whether you're a white yuppie type or you're working. It'll totally put you on the outs. But I really believe that most people are intelligent enough to know what's going on. We're fearful. I don't think most people focus on or hate Muslims and I know that people like Trump used it to his advantage to position himself to the right of all the other republican candidates.

We're just in a horrible position right here. I believe the financialization of the economy, everything's going to totally collapse and it's only when everything collapses that people can dome together and do something different because they have to and all of the big fear-mongering and that dynamic isn't going to hold sway anymore.

Also one last comment, those people that think, they don't buy into the propaganda against Russia, but the more people are connected to these parties and they watch MSNBC or Fox on the liberal side or the conservative, they buy the catechism. They buy into it and it's just a frickin' shell game. It's just a farce. And I'll just say one more thing about Trump. I really don't believe he's a Muslim hater. I don't believe he's an immigrant hater. I believe he's a calculator and as much as he's a PT Barnum carnival barker and he knows what buttons to hit and he hit them. So the thing is that people will go for Trump just because they're so disgusted with the establishment two party duopoly that there's just a hope that maybe this guy would go in there and shake things up. And I would say this, because I'm very concerned about Russia and stoking imperialist wars, I believe that Trump would probably be the least inclined to go that route. I'm not saying I'm going to vote for him, but if it came down to between him and Hilary, I would probably vote for Trump, to be honest with you. Because I don't really think he's like Adolph Hitler. I just think he came out and said some brash things just to position himself and Hilary's just a very, very scary imperialist and I could see her getting us into a nuclear war.

So anyway, that's all I really had to say and I enjoy listing to the rest of y'all's comments unless you have any questions for me.

Harrison: Nothing from me. Thanks Steven.

Bob: Thank you. I'd like to just make a comment. I agree with much of what this caller has said. A couple of things that stand out that focuses on the interests (inaudible) ...does keep people from focusing on what's really important in their lives. They have to be fearful, they have to be looking over their shoulder for the next immigrant that's going to come and take their job away or the next immigrant that's going to come and bomb them. This is what they're being told. So, they don't look at the real issues of the day because of the big lie that the caller mentioned. Actually Hitler defined that as saying (I'm paraphrasing) that people in general tell small white lies every day and wouldn't imagine the government would tell huge lies, which it does, but they buy it because they just can't imagine anyone telling a lie of that proportion. You do see a lot of that too and the caller referred to Donald Trump as a carnival barker and I think that's a very apt description.

Steven: I'd like to say one more thing. I find the most depressing thing, I've instinctively supported unions. I'm a working class guy even though I have some college education I never went into that profession. But the thing that's the saddest, it's just sad, is just the total lack of (inaudible) ... Yeah, can you hear me?

Shane: You're breaking up a little bit Steven. We didn't catch any of that.

Steven: (inaudible) ...

Bob: I didn't get the last comment.

Steven: Alright. Bye-bye.

Harrison: Sorry Steven, you were breaking up there.

Steven: That's okay. Y'all take care. Bye-bye.

Harrison: Okay, you too.

Shane: Thanks Steven.

Elan: Thanks for calling.

Shane: One point that Steven touched on was that there can be this segment of the population that maybe on an unconscious level do recognize the mechanisms that are going on. I think that that can be true, but I think for most of the population, just looking back at the history of the United States, it does show that there is this unconscious hatred that these politicians do tap into and it's so easy to manipulate. They just put on this veneer of manufacturing these ideas that what the US policy is is based on good and these high-sounding principles when really what's underneath that and is driving it is this racism and this distinction from the dominant culture, from others. It started out right from the beginning of US history, which you wrote about in your book, how the Native Americans were portrayed, which was that they were savages and they were backward.

Bob: Right.

Shane: I think that that does happen, something perhaps that's unconscious. I don't know, but there is something there that's very scary with the majority of the population I think, that is a major driving force in the creation of these policies that end in these horrific acts of genocide and imperialism and so on.

Bob: I agree. It's happened time and time again. When people came from China to work on the various huge road projects they were horribly discriminated against. When people of Irish descent started coming to the United States in large numbers they were discriminated against. Catholic priests were killed. Irish Catholic churches were burned, that sort of thing. It's been true with just about every ethnic group that has, for one reason or another, come to the United States. And we're seeing it today with prejudice again; Syrians and others who are fleeing the bombing of their home and trying to take their families to a safe place and still they're rejected and criticized and we're told to be afraid of them. It's a point well taken.

Harrison: Meg, did you have something to say about the refugee crisis? Maybe we can go on to that topic.

Meg: Yeah, as you guys were talking I've been thinking about the Palestinians and I think about the Jews in Nazi Germany and now the refugees. It seems like it's the same demonization that's going on.

Bob: It is.

Meg: I was reading about Denmark and Germany and the way they're handling the refugee crisis and it just screams Nazi Germany. In southern Germany, I think it's called the Baden-Württemberg, but they're confiscating cash and valuables. They're confiscating jewellery. One of the news reports said they confiscated about four figures from each refugee and the same thing with the Danish government. They have camps outside the cities. They're building tents for single male immigrants. The comparison and the escalation, if you think about Palestine right now being one of the worst places to live in the world, it's like these refugee camps that are going to be popping up all over Europe are just going to be a mirror image of that. I know you see those parallels, but it's pretty disturbing to see how overt it is and nobody's really recognizing it for what it is.

Bob: It is disturbing and as I mentioned before, we don't learn from history. We don't learn that this is just WRONG, that these are human beings. Certainly, any group of people are going to have some people in it who have an antisocial tendency. That's true. You get a random 50 people in the room and you'll probably have that, but to say that these people, because they're from Syria or because they're from Pakistan, all need to be ostracized, need to be kept in a refugee camp and that sort of thing, simply because they're Syrian or Pakistani or whoever they are, is just wrong. And don't people see that this is what was done a generation ago that everyone after the fact was horrified by, said how wrong it was and how could we have ever done this, and now we're doing the same thing all over again. I don't get it.

Meg: I don't either. It doesn't make sense to me. We could talk good and evil, but you see the evil behind it but Trump, Palin, Hilary Clinton and the European leaders. They are giving citizens a free pass to hate somebody, whether it's Palestinians, whether it's Syrians, whether they're refugees and it's just hate and violence and hate and violence. It's a common thread feeding this distraction. It's better to hate the Muslims than worry about the fact that you might lose your home. I don't know what it is.

Bob: Yeah. It's better to hate the Muslims and ignore the fact that you might lose your home due to corrupt banking practices.

Meg: Right.

Bob: That's kind of abstract. You can't really get your hands around that, but you can see someone wearing a burqa; "Oh, I need to be afraid of that." People don't think they can do anything about the banking crisis which is ongoing but they see someone wearing a burqa or they hear someone speak Arabic, "Oh, that's the enemy".

Meg: Yeah, absolutely. I read an article about a month or so ago. In Austin, Texas there was a Muslim student walking from the university with headphones on and he was physically assaulted because somebody thought he was talking ISIS on their headphones.

Bob: Yeah, I read about that.

Meg: Who does that?! Only in America I guess people do that. It's ridiculous.

Bob: It was a university student who followed him apparently. What did this person learn in his education?

Meg: I don't know. I think that they're learning from their leaders. I read somewhere - I don't remember who it was but they say that citizens of a society follow their leaders and I think that our citizens are following our leaders. And I think it's happening on a global scale, excluding Russia which seems to have some dignity and respect for international law and human rights.

Bob: But that brings up another topic and an observation I have to everyone who's running for president on the democratic or republican side. Meg, you mentioned international law. Well Israel is in violation of international law because of the occupation and because of the blockade. The United Nations has issued sanctions against Israel more than it has any other country. Also the politicians in the US still support Israel completely so where is there respect for international law? Where is there respect for human rights, self-determination and human dignity? So if they're willing to overlook the crimes of Israel, what other crimes are they going to overlook? And this I think is quite frightening. If they're willing to countenance violation of international law, what international laws will they violate?

Meg: Yeah.

Elan: Well it seems like having a value for something like international law, real ethics, real morals an understanding of what they really mean in practicality, what they would look like. It is largely lost on most people. Getting back for a moment to your question earlier in the show, you said that Israel would say, "Never again" but then goes around and acts with such egregious hypocrisy towards the Palestinians in not recognizing the similarity between how it treats Palestinians and how Jews were treated during World War II. Occasionally we've heard stories about some holocaust survivor saying, "Hey! This is kind of the same! What are we doing?!"

Bob: Yes.

Elan: Or we have some conscientious objectors in the IDF who come out and relate their stories about war crimes that are being committed and they're being asked to commit. Meg brought up a good point and that is that so many people in Israel and in the US are these authoritarian followers who just follow the lead of what they're being told and don't question anything in any significant or deep way. And of course as you mentioned at the top of the show, there's so much whitewashing in history, we're given so little understanding of what's actually happened in many of the most important historic events of the past few hundred years. Are there any other factors, do you think, that are keeping individuals so zombified to the realities of persecution as we're seeing them today?

Bob: I think there are a couple of them, at least when it comes to the United States and Israel. When you mentioned that there are people who just follow their government - and many do - but then there are people who really feel that way, really feel that Palestinians are subhuman and therefore they vote for candidates who will reflect that belief. But I think that one of the things that the United States and Israel have in common is a feeling of exceptionalism. It's a little bit different for both, but it does exist. The United States feels that it's the greatest country in the world, given some kind of divine blessing to run the world in the way it sees fit. The Israelis on the other hand see themselves as the perpetual victim; it's very existence is always threatened by no matter what happens and therefore it needs to protect itself and it fosters that opinion among its citizens the same way the US government fosters the concept of exceptionalism among its own citizens.

I wrote an article a while ago that talked about Israel's constant belief that anything is an existential threat to it. You may recall that the International Soccer Foundation was considering expelling it and that Israel considered and existential threat. No matter what it did, it's a conspiracy. So in the same way that the US is threatened or was allegedly threatened in the '50s and '60s by communism and is now allegedly threatened by radical Islam, Israel perpetuates a feeling that its country and its citizens are threatened by anything that criticizes them. Anything that criticizes Israel is anti-Semitic they say and it's just a blanket, knee-jerk reaction.

So I think that while people are distracted by things that the government is telling them to be afraid of, that's where this follower mentality, following their leaders right over the cliff - because that's where they're going - comes from. They need to fear that they're the best there is.

Shane: It strikes me that this idea of exceptionalism in different forms in the US and in Israel, Israel has this Zionist background. It's almost like a secular religious idea that's in both countries, like this idea of manifest destiny. I think it originally has its roots, if I remember correctly, in England and it was more of a religious idea. But these ideas, these tenets, are completely devoid of any actual morality or anything connecting to what could be a higher purpose for mankind. And that's why you could call it this distorted secular religion. I don't even know how to explain it but it's so prevalent.

And then at the same time, it seems that there's this projection onto Muslims towards their religion when really at the core, it's from inside of the minds of these psychopaths that are running the show within the US and Israel. This extremism is coming from them. It's theirs.

Bob: Yes, and you mentioned the lack of morality. Manifest destiny doesn't have any real morality to it but the interpretation of that by those who adhered to it back in the day and those who believe in exceptionalism today, because the United States is somehow better and the people are somehow better and therefore they have the right to force other countries to be "better" by their definition of it. There is no morality.

But it's the same thing when we talk about the religious right of the Christian right in the United States. They generally come out with statements and pronouncements and policies that Jesus Christ would certainly not recognize as anything his followers should be doing. But it's been perverted to be what it is today. So I think that lack of morality you mentioned is key to the problem.

Harrison: Since we're on the topic of Israel, I just want to bring attention to a couple of recent stories that have come out in the past couple of days. First of all, I believe it was France's foreign minister has just said that France will recognize Palestine if the peace process continues to fail. Of course the peace process will fail so we'll see if France keeps up on their statement regarding that. Another curious item that was in the news this week, it came out that the US and the UK had hacked Israeli drones. They did this from Cyprus during the last assault on Gaza. Apparently they were keeping an eye out for any possible attacks on Iran but I just find just the fact that this was published to be interesting.

Whenever something like this gets revealed it's usually for some kind of purpose, but that's the news. So US and UK were hacking into Israeli drones and basically stealing their feeds to see what these drones were broadcasting, where they were flying and what they were doing. I don't have the stories on hand, but just in the past few weeks it seems there have been more stories in the news of countries or officials - it seems - making public statements that are a more objective view of Israel than we usually get. Do you have any thoughts on that Bob?

Bob: Oh I so do! You mentioned the France thing, that it will recognize Palestine if the peace process doesn't succeed. I think it's important to know that the United States has always been pushing negotiations. Now as I've written in more than one article, negotiations between two parties can only proceed when each has something the other wants and that they can only obtain by surrendering something it has. Now what Israel takes what it wants from Palestine with complete impunity, so what is there to negotiate? Palestine would say, "No, you can't have this land" and Israel will say, "We'll take it anyway" and takes it and the international community does nothing. So there aren't going to be any successful negotiations ever. So we need to just move past that and accept that reality, which maybe France is finally doing.

Now the hacked drones I had not heard about but that is very good news. In general, different things that we're hearing from the world, for example Sweden's foreign minister Margot Wallström (I hope I'm pronouncing the name correctly) have called out Israel, that Israel may have committed war crimes and that the extrajudicial killing of Palestinians in Jerusalem needs to be investigated. So she has received death threats and they are being investigated and so on. But now remember what she has done - as you know Palestinians have been stabbing or attempting to stab Israelis in Jerusalem. About 100 Palestinians have been kill (inaudible) ...so again a very lopsided death toll. In other countries if someone attempts to stab a citizen, they will arrest the alleged perpetrator. Israel, regardless of the age, will just shoot them dead. So Ms. Wallström is saying that needs to be investigated because it is an international crime.

So Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Ms. Wallström is fostering terrorism, she doesn't know what she's talking about and it has created an international incident between Sweden and Israel. Now we have to remember that Israel will never allow anybody into Gaza or the West Bank to investigate what's going on. Of it had nothing to hide I would think it would welcome any international investigation.

But the other thing that's changed more and more, I did see just the other day that president Obama encouraged or sent a memo saying that this law that's been on the books for a number of years has to be enforced by saying that goods produced by Israel in the West Bank had to state their sources because some people could buy something that says it's made in Israel is actually made in the West Bank using stolen resources which of course is a violation of international law. That's another thing that's happening.

So we are seeing at least a small shift. There are also articles that show Israel Losing its bipartisan US support in that more and more people are siding with Palestine over Israel. This is a significant change. I think part of the reason this is happening is I do think the invasion and bombing of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014 was a turning point because between that bombing and the one previously two years earlier, the amount of people active on social media has skyrocketed astronomically. So people aren't just getting their news anymore from Fox or MSNBC or wherever else, they're actually getting it from people who have different viewpoints. All of the major news media in the United States is owned by a few corporations so of course they foster what they want told and what they want the world to know.

People are hearing more due to social media. A couple of examples; there have been some fairly major demonstrations in New York City by orthodox Jews opposed to the occupation. I never saw anything about those on any news station that I've watched but I did hear about it on social media and saw pictures of it on social media and we're hearing more of. And as the people hear that and see that and know and understand what's going on, they're starting to see things differently. Much of the population won't just be apathetic and just worry about their personal daily concerns, putting food on the table, certainly an important thing. Those who are activists, who are learning more, are the ones who'll really be able to make a difference. It's kind of a long-winded answer, but I do think we are seeing a change and it can't come soon enough for the Palestinians.

Shane: I agree with you. It did seem that there was that turning point during the summer of the 2014 bombings of Palestine. That was just so egregious and so devastating that whatever (inaudible) ...that Israel can conjure up, it couldn't meet the force of how devastating, awful and appalling that was for the world to see. That seems to be a characteristic that we're seeing from empire this past year, that both the US and Israel are acting out in more and more egregious ways and they just think that they the power and the control over people and they don't see that people are seeing through the lies and people are turning more and more to alternative media outlets because they're not getting any actual news about the situation. It's just not being covered, particularly like with Syria. Nothing's being said about what's really happening in Syria and the successes that Russia has had there. People know that something's going on over there, so I think they're just shooting themselves in the foot. Their delusions of power are just so entrenched in their thinking that they don't see the possibilities where they are of screwing up.

Harrison: Shane, let me just interrupt you for a second. It looks like we may have another caller. So caller you're on the line. Are you there? Hello. Do you have a question or are you just listening in?

Elan: That was Meg.

Meg: Sorry, I didn't mean to confuse you.

Elan: She just wanted to say hello.

Harrison: Okay. It looks like they're probably just listening in. So go ahead Bob. Did you have any response to what Shane had to say?

Bob: I just agree that - I had a thought. Just summarize your points?

Shane: Just that both the US and Israel are acting out and pushing the envelope too far and that I don't think that they see themselves doing that but other people do, or are beginning to.

Bob: Yes, it's like the bully who doesn't think he's a bully. But the rest of us, kids on the school playground know who the bully is and sooner or later someone's going to confront him. And right now the international community is starting to confront Israel. Israel has always relied on the US to protect it, even in the Security Council with its veto power and the United States has been very consistently doing so. Now of course regardless of who gets elected president at the end of this year that will continue. President Obama has the opportunity to make some real changes in the last several months of his presidency. I don't think he will certainly, but he could go down in history as the president who made a significant difference in bringing peace to the Middle East if he had the courage to do so. It wouldn't be that difficult for him to do but for whatever reason he's not going to do it.

But yes, I do agree that the United States and Israel are pushing their military power too far in the world that's being set up.

Elan: Well the other big piece of news in past weeks has been UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon coming out in criticism of Israel and basically saying it as it is, saying how can you not expect the Palestinians to lash out in the way that they have considering the desperation and the suffering that they've been inflicted with by Israel. He's kind of come out swinging, which is an unusual development, compelling Netanyahu to make statements in response, "We can't condone terrorism" just the most banal response you can make.

Bob: Right.

Elan: But there's kind of a disconnect with this peace process in Israel and the Palestinians if you put that side-by-side next to what the US has been doing in backing proxy forces in Syria, destroying Iraq, putting NATO forces into Libya and facilitating the rise of ISIS in the Middle East, the US puts on this show of engaging the peace process and you even read some things occasionally that suggest that there is this sincere effort to get Netanyahu to the table and really negotiate some kind of just and lasting peace. So Bob, do you think that's just a ruse? Is the US fulfilling this superficial roll as peacekeeper? What I'm saying is next to all the other damage that they're inflicting on the rest of the world, why even keep up with this pretence of caring about peace in Israel and Palestine?

Bob: It is pretence because if the US was serious about Israel actually bringing an end to the occupation, then it would reduce the foreign aid against Israel. Last year it gave Israel $2.8 billion in foreign aid in addition to American military equipment that it provided. So if the US were sincere about brokering a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, it would do it. So your question is why the US continues to pay lip service to that while it goes around bombing other parts of the Middle East and that is a good question. It wants to ignore Israel and Palestine and just allow them to continue encroaching on Palestinian land and still tell the United States citizenry that it is protecting them from terrorists because it's a "war on terror" and that's why they're bombing in Syria but that they really want peace and that's why they're always asking the Israelis and Palestinians to come to the table and negotiate.

So it's PR for the United States that is something to help them feel good about what their government is doing and they seem all to willing to buy into that.

I want to make another point in regards to the Middle East that might help negotiations development when each side has something the other wants that can only be obtained by surrendering it. But let's look at an analogy. If someone robbed a bank and everyone knew who the bank robber was, no one would suggest that the robber and the bank manager sit down together to determine how much money the bank robber was going to give back. The bank robber would be arrested, the money would be returned to the bank and that would be the end of it. Palestine should not have to negotiate with Israel about how much of the land Israel has stolen it's going to give back. If we accept - and this is another conversation - but if we accept the international standard that Palestine and Israel consist of the pre-1967 war borders, then Israel has an international obligation to remove all of its settlements from the West Bank who are there illegally, in violation of international law and end the blockade. That's what needs to be done. There's no need for negotiations. Just follow the laws!

Harrison: Bob, your description of one of those things that's happening in Israel right now reminded me of something else. You were talking about the stabbings that are going on and the call for an inquiry into I guess what you would call the execution of these people with knives. I saw a video a couple of weeks ago of one of these instances of a young teenage girl - I think it was two girls - but one of them had a knife and was dancing all over the place and threatening to stab people and then an Israeli police officer just showed up and shot her six times or something.

It of course reminded me of what's been going on in the states for years and it seems increasingly now in the last couple of years in these police executions of people on the street. These are examples that don't even have as plausible an excuse as the Israeli police officers many times. There are examples or reports in Israel of incidents where the police will shoot and kill someone and then plant a knife on them in order to justify the killing. Of course we have the same thing going on in the states but oftentimes in the states it is just simply and execution where the person being shot and killed did not do anything wrong, had no weapon on them, didn't even make any threatening moves. It seems like the police training, the policy is to shoot on sight at even the hint or the suggestion or even the imagination of some kind of threat on the part of the person they're shooting and then to empty their entire magazine into that person.

So this just seems like another example and trend going on in American society that is just totally wrong and needs to change but doesn't seem to be changing, doesn't seem to be going anywhere. It seems to be a systemic thing and with undertones or even overtones of racism, just the number of black citizens who are shot in the streets and killed. What do you see going on in the states in regard to that?

Bob: Young black males have just become target practice for the white police. It's horrific. In very rare occasions is a police officer ever indicted for these killings. There are situations where - I read not too long ago, I don't know what state it was in - a gentleman was visiting friends in a town he didn't live in and went for a walk and he had his hooded sweat shirt on and the hood up, which is not unusual in the wintertime, and the police stopped him. They didn't shoot him luckily, but they stopped and picked him up and said that he had been reported and was a suspicious person and all this other stuff. Well if he was a white person walking around the neighbourhood, it probably wouldn't have been anything but this inherent racism which is just a part of this new society.

It's also interesting to note that one of the more widely publicized police killings of a young, unarmed black man was in Ferguson, Missouri and it's interesting to note that the Ferguson police had received training by Israel. Israel provides a lot of training really in the US, police-sponsored in US cities. So when one looks at Israeli police shooting unarmed people with very little if any provocation, then they're teaching that to US police officers who are learning the lesson very well and doing it very well.

Also as we look at the racism in Israel, a Jewish man was killed recently by Israelis because he was thought to have been Arab. I don't know why, or what he was wearing, but it was just a mistake because they thought he was Arab. So in Israel it's acceptable to shoot Arabs and kill them and in the United States it's acceptable for the law enforcement to shoot blacks and kill them. And the situation isn't getting any better.

Harrison: No. It looks like we may have a caller. So caller, you're on the line. Are you there?

Kent: Yeah. Hi, how you doing?

Harrison: Is this Kent?

Kent: Yes.

Harrison: Hi Kent. How you doing?

Kent: Pretty good. A couple of quick things; I read an article on RT just yesterday. I'll read you the title. "Two IDF soldiers sentenced to prison, demoted for drive-by shooting of camel." So they're giving their soldiers jail time for shooting a camel but they shoot Palestinians with total impunity. I think that's a pretty telling sort of situation. You're talking about the "peace process". I grew up around Washington. I'm a little bit older than you guys and I would watch the news and there was Henry Kissinger down there and he had shuttle diplomacy back in '68 I guess it was, and that nonsense has been going on continually since then. And it's just a sham. It's just an absolutely total sham, but it's going on; shuttle diplomacy. I don't know who they think they're fooling. I think it's just something for them to do, work for the boys and the girls. So I think that's basically what it amounts to, and grandstanding.

Bob: Yeah, put on a good show for the people, right?

Kent: Yeah.

Bob: Put on a good show for the people.

Kent: Yeah.

Bob: And while Kissinger was having his shuttle diplomacy, bombs were dropping.

Kent: Yeah. And I don't even know if they really are fooling anybody anymore. Well, they are certainly fooling some people I guess, mainstream type people I guess are still fooled. Anyway, I just had that comment.

Bob: You can fool some of the people all of the time, right?

Kent: Yeah, you can fool some of them all the time and we're seeing that, aren't we?

Bob: Yeah.

Kent: Well thanks a lot.

Harrison: Thanks Kent.

Shane: It's interesting that it seems like over the years that the mask has dropped. Kissinger, and I think others too during the Cold War, did have this façade of diplomacy and the rhetoric was certainly antagonistic against Russia. But now it just seems that there isn't even a façade of wanting to show diplomacy. There's nothing. It's just completely devolved into these really bizarre and these overt lies and these bully school yard type children who are running the show. They don't even have a desire to put on a show of diplomacy. It's just name-calling and the same.

Bob: Yes. And there's no outreach, no real effort. The only exception possibly is the recent Iran deal. At least the United States did not bomb Iran to get them to agree to the terms, but that wasn't mainly the United States that was involved in that. There were some other countries that were also involved. As far as the United States or Israel is concerned, diplomacy is not the name of the game.

Shane: Yeah, it seems to me that the US, even though it was involved, didn't really want the sanctions to be lifted. And now they're trying to push the new sanctions and just with their behaviour towards Iran, Kerry comes out and makes all these ridiculous statements about Iran. But meanwhile there is this new force that I think is coming about between Russia, China and Iran and others who are creating a different geopolitical atmosphere that hopefully can create a different way of doing things that is freer from US influence. I was actually wondering about your thoughts on those dynamics, Bob. Do you see with the US losing influence on the world stage and where are those development headed?

Bob: A very good and important question. US will lose influence as its economy is eclipsed by other countries and China seems to be the country that will soon have a much stronger economy than the US. That coupled with military power will enable a balance of power in the world which it doesn't have right now because right now it's the United States running the whole show and doing whatever it wants to do. As these other groups, China, Iran and so on, gain in strength, then there will be a counterbalance to the United States which will be a very important development for the world.

But while we're talking about Iran, I would like to bring up another topic that is very typical in US history and that is constant false flags of some reason given by the government to start a war that is simply a lie. Now there are several going back in time. I mentioned the sinking of the battleship Maine. That was probably as a result of internal combustion but the government and press said it was Spain that had blown it up. There was no evidence then, there is no evidence since then presented to prove it was anything other than an internal problem with the ship that caused it to explode. But it did cause a war. It was successful in allowing the United States to start another war.

In Vietnam we had the Gulf of Tonkin when two ships thought they had been fired on. But then the captain of one of the ships said no, it wasn't actually they had been fired on. There were some ghost images on the radar. There had been no attack. However, that incident was the catalyst for a major escalation of the war and you know what a disaster that was.

In 2001, 2002 and 2003 we had the whole thing of weapons of mass destruction and 9/11 and results from 9/11 being in Iraq which they weren't, they used that to get the country behind it in invading Iraq and we know what a disaster that was. You mentioned Iran it brought this to my mind again because a week or so ago, two US ships entered Iranian waters and the ships were captured and the sailors on them were held for a day or so. Many right-wing politicians said this was an act of aggression against the United States and Iran to capture US sailors, etc., etc.

Now by all accounts the sailors were treated humanely. The US ships were in Iranian territorial waters and we could talk about how the US treats its political prisoners in Guantanamo, in water-boarding in Iraq or kidnapping people and bringing them to other rendition sites where they're tortured. So was concerned that this might cause another international incident. It didn't, but it is the kind of thing that the US is always willing to exploit for its own advantage. Obviously there was no advantage to either further sanction Iran or invading Iran at the time or that would have been done. But false flags have been a staple of US foreign policy since the very start.

Harrison: Bob, we've got a question from someone in our chat room. This is from Zoya. She wants to do know did you hear about the recent witch hunt in Israel against the Breaking the Silence organization? If you did, what's your opinion on that and what people in North America have to say about it at all? Are you familiar with that story?

Bob? Okay thank you, a very good question. Yes I am. Breaking the Silence is the group of former IDF soldiers that I think Harrison you mentioned before, that are telling their stories. They're telling stories of atrocities they committed, that they were told to commit that were part of government policy. Now the Israel government is going after them obviously, because this is not anything they want publicized. However they're still speaking out. They have not been silenced and I hope they will not be silenced. They are being harassed. Nobody's been arrested yet. Perhaps the person in the chat room knows more about it than I do at this point.

But it is another good sign that soldiers themselves are coming out. They're a group of young people who refuse to serve in the military, which is a good sign in and of itself, but those soldiers in Breaking the Silence who are speaking out and talking to people and saying exactly what's been going on, is very powerful. They have to expect to be harassed in every way possible by the Israeli government because they are - what's the word I'm looking for - they are exposing the evil of the government that is just inherent in the government.

This is not some fluke. This is not some military leader who ran off the rails and encouraged these vile practices. This is government policy and the soldiers are exposing it. Is that the point that the person in the chat room wanted? If there's more information, if she could just type it in under the question I'd be happy to try to answer it.

Harrison: Well that's all she had, but if she posts again I'll read it out.

Bob: Great.

Harrison: I just wanted to come back to the Iran deal for one sec. There's an article by Tony Cartalucci that he wrote this last week. He quotes a 2009 report by the Brookings Institute called, The Path to Persia; Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran. So this was in 2009 and I just want to read one paragraph from it that Cartalucci brings attention to. So they write:Any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context both to insure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blow-back from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support, however grudging or covert, is to strike only when there is widespread conviction that the Iranians were given, but then rejected, a superb offer, one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances the United States or Israel could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians brought it on themselves by refusing a very good deal.

So that's the end of the quote from this, "Which Path to Persia" report and I think it's a great paragraph for a couple of reasons; one, because it just exposes exactly what you just mentioned Bob, about false flags and just how duplicitous the motivations to go to war are. Here the Brookings Institute is basically saying that we want to go to war but we need public support so what we're going to have to do is organize and plan a fake good deal for Iran, so a deal that we want them to reject. So we'll make it so good, but somehow we'll get them to reject it and then once they reject it, then we'll be able to portray our actions, which we wanted to do beforehand, as being a reaction to that as opposed to the thing that we'd planned all along.

That's one point. The second point is that they make reference to this great deal. So Cartalucci wonders if this recent nuclear deal is the one that they were planning back in 2009; if that's the case - because it sounds like it. This was a good deal. But in this case Iran did not reject it. It has gone through. So at least Cartalucci wonders if this was the deal and if the plan is still on the books, and I say it is. I'd say it is still on the books, but the end goal is still to destabilize Iran, regime change and basically like the Clintons said, to bomb the country if the Americans don't get what they want.

So just to bring up the idea that this Iran deal; on the surface seems great. I think that it's great that this happened and that sanctions have been lifted and Iran is now solidifying relationships all over the world again. But did you have any thoughts on this and the idea about where American policy towards Iran will go, from now?

Bob: I think that my thoughts reflect yours exactly. The United States will not be satisfied because Israel is not satisfied. Israel had been opposed to this deal since the very beginning. So the United States can't work independently and say, "This is a good deal now. Iran got something. The world got something. Iran gave us something and that's what the negotiating was all about" because Israel still doesn't want Iran to be any kind of a nuclear power, even if it's for peaceful purposes.

Also, I think in answer to your question, the United States is not yet done with Iran and it's still going to cause problems there and we'll see how Iran and the rest of the world reacts. I'm always happy when a country commits to having no nuclear weapons. However I wondered also often about why Iran is not allowed to have nuclear weapons but Israel is. So I think that's a question that needs to be asked and answered. It's been asked often enough. They need to answer (inaudible) ... Mr. Cartalucci's article that you've quoted is a very interesting quote from Brookings Institute, very telling, very typical of the way US operates. The 9/11 attacks against the US were just a gift from I don't know who, to George Bush since he wanted to invade Iraq for some time. But I don't think the US is done with Iran yet, unfortunately for the world.

Harrison: Yeah. Well it looks like we're coming up to the end of the show, Bob. Is there any kind of closing statement you wanted to make? A point, which we didn't get to yet?

Meg: I have a question.

Harrison: Meg, you've got a question.

Meg: Well I wanted to hear what Bob had to say, absolutely, but I do have a question that I don't think will take that long to answer.

Bob: We've covered a lot of the points. Go ahead Meg.

Meg: I've been thinking a lot recently about inspiration and hope. I know with your articles you're trying to call attention to what you see as injustice. I read in one of your articles that you found hope and inspiration from reading about the Palestinians and how they had this attitude that things were going to get better, they had hope. I saw a similar video that Mondo Weiss did where they interviewed some Palestinian children and they were hopeful. They wanted to become engineers to help Gaza get water. They wanted to become social workers or lawyers and that sort of thing. So I just thought I would throw that out there because it's been on my mind, hope and inspiration, if you have some, or what you use as a source of your inspiration to keep writing.

Bob: Thank you. I'm in contact with several people in Gaza and they have extreme difficulties yet they persevere. They try to find work. They go to work. They go to school. They have dreams. They have aspirations. Their spirits are not broken. Things are extremely difficult for them. I occasionally Skype with a couple of people and we always do it during those hours of the day that they have electricity. Now if we have a power outage it's a big deal. They have electricity a few hours a day if they're lucky. They have to go somewhere and carry water back to their house, that sort of thing. Yet they continue to live their lives. They marry. They have children. And they hope for and dream of and expect a better day. So they're inspiring to me. They cause me to want to work more on their behalf and on behalf of people throughout the world. There are so many people oppressed. With didn't touch on the Kashmiri who have horrific oppression. There's poverty in the world. My inspiration comes from Palestinians that I know that I was talking to the other day.

Meg: Awesome.

Bob: Thank you for the question.

Harrison: Well great. Thank you so much Bob for being on the show. Just so our listeners know we've been speaking with Robert Fantina. He is the author of Empire, Racism and Genocide. You can find it on Amazon. It's a great book. We recommend getting a copy, reading it; maybe get some extra copies as gifts for friends. And you can check out his website at robertfantina.com. So thanks again Bob for being on the show and good luck with your future writings and we look forward to talking to you again.

Meg: Thanks Bob.

Bob: Thank you. Thank you to the entire panel. I've enjoyed this very much. Thanks for the opportunity.

Elan: Thanks Bob.

Shane: Thank you for coming on Bob.

Harrison: Thanks again. For our listeners make sure to tune in tomorrow to the Behind the Headlines Show. It's hopefully going to touch on that last question that Meg just brought up, finding hope in a world where there is so much reason to feel despair. So, tune in tomorrow, at 12 p.m. eastern time on the SOTT Radio Network. So until next week, everyone take care and we'll see you then.

Everyone: Good-byes.