Podcast Show #3


The Boiling Frogs Presents Philip Giraldi

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Philip Giraldi discusses the Israel Lobby, Larry Franklin, the recent scandal involving Representative Jane Harman, the continuous erosion of our civil liberties, and much more.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA and DIA counter-terrorism officer, member of the American Conservative Defense Alliance, and contributing editor at The American Conservative magazine. He has a regular column, Smoke & Mirrors, on Antiwar.com.

Here is our guest Philip Giraldi unplugged!

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  1. avatar Metemneurosis says:

    So now your excuse is that the Palestinians were rushed and they didn't really have time to think it over. If this is a legitimate reason for not recognizing a democratic election why not also include complaints like "We're not given any real choices. We only get candidates who are already beholden to all the powerful interests groups in Washington."

    Look the definition of terrorism in a broad sense is the use of terror to achieve political ends. But this is pretty broad and depends too much on the (possibly unreasonable) inclinations of the people experiencing the terror. And anyway, many if not all governments in the world would be guilty on this definition. I read somewhere – but can't find it now so perhaps you'll enlighten me – that during the Reagan administration some top officials got together and tried to come up with a definition of terrorism. The problem was for every def. they proposed the US could be construed to have engaged in terrorism. Thus they were all rejected. But even if this story is apocryphal the point is that unless it has a rigorous definition "terrorist" is highly prejudicial word. It's a label you can use that has a lot of power and doesn't require a lot of argument because it invokes so many fearful images. People are never likely to ask for a definition since the word evokes an atmosphere of heightened alert. Asking for a definition would be to risk being seen as unhelpful in the atmosphere of emergency evoked by the word.

    So really until it's defined it's just cheap talk. The real question ultimately is a moral question about the justification of the use of violence. If we continue to use the broad definition what do we do with Israel's public admission that the purpose of Cast Lead was to instill fear in the Palestinian people. Perhaps they could just insist on the incredibly clear distinction between fear and terror.

    But the point here is just that the word 'terrorist' just confuses the issue because it allows for these kinds of tit for tat recriminations. My problem is not with using violence to instill fear. That can be justified in certain cases. My problem with Israel over Cast Lead is in using violence against innocent people.

    Thuggish behavior? What about soldiers shooting 14 year old kids as they're just walking down the street? Of course they just shot him with a rubber bullet (i.e. steel bullet with a thin rubber coating). That's a documented case. What about the videos of settlers throwing rocks from the top of a steep hill – big rocks that could break your skull – at farmers trying to harvest their land while Israeli soldiers stand right next to them. And then the soldiers coming to arrest the farmer because he yelled at the settlers or something innocuous. What about the case of a 19 year old foreign aid worker who was walking Palestinian children home from school (grade school kids) so they wouldn't be attacked by settlers who was herself attacked and had her cheekbone broken with a bottle by a group of full grown male settlers. She and other workers were surrounded by a group of maybe 20 and spit on so much it felt like rain they said. But you're right this has nothing to do with racism.

  2. avatar Metemneurosis says:

    And to me, it's not about Palestinians being Semites. You see they are Arabs and not even Palestinians

    I guess I'll let it pass that you basically said Palestinians aren't Palestinians. First, the point of alluding the Arabs being Semites was to draw attention to the hypocrisy of those who constantly appeal to the word 'anti-semitism'. It's just that it's ironic really.

    As for whether you're concerned with they're being Semites. An American racist will typically say of blacks that he doesn't dislike them because they're black but because they're trying to corrupt his culture or whatever. So the fact that you say you're not concerned with that says little in itself.

    And this thing about there not being any Palestinians. There is a geographical area called Palestine. There are people who live there. By your argument there are no Asians, no Americans, no Africans etc. etc. The world is magically depopulated. Maybe you should propose this solution to all those concerned with overpopulation.

    This is one of those standard Israeli apologist arguments. And it's really a pathetic one.

    Look the mandate of Palestine under international law at the time of the break up of the Ottoman empire was supposed to be formed into a nation state or states based on the desires and votes of the inhabitants. Balfour had no legal standing to grant anyone anything. But even if it had been legal that in no way justifies kicking people out of their homes, nor ethnically cleansing Arabs from their property. And before you tell me that Jews had had a presence in the land since ancient times let me just say "So what". This doesn't justify kicking people out of their homes or ethnic cleansing either.

    It's not the Arabs job to find descent homes for the people who lived in what is modern day Israel. The fact that you think it is the Arabs job because the Palestinians are Arabs strongly suggests that you're thinking of this in racial terms. It's as if you said "Why don't all these blacks quit complaining. If they don't like it here why don't they go back to Africa." i.e. where the other blacks are. See the analogy. They don't go to Africa because this is their home. Palestinians don't want to live in Jordan. They want to go back to their homes. Some of them still have the deeds and the keys to their houses. But a lot of them are willing to give that up too if you'll just stop killing them and taking more of their land. Israel now controls 60% of the West Bank and has about 500,000 people there. And I don't think that even includes East Jerusalem.

    As for whether I'm privileged. I don't know what you mean. Do you mean that I should feel privileged to live in the US? If that's it then, yes I do. Do you mean I'm spoiled and ungrateful? Then I'd say spoiled yes, ungrateful no. But in that case I don't see what's supposed to separate you. Nor do I see how this is related to foreign policy.

    On what you said being self-evident. It's apparently not because it appears manifestly false to me. 2+2=4 is self-evident. What you said is a complete non-sequitur from anything anyone else here has said.

  3. Words and labels change in the thousands of years between books.

    What if you aren't scared?

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anon the Neocon-
    @Metemneurosis

    No. Go subject yourself to terrorism, and then we can see if you want to broaden its meaning. Absurd!

    Either words have meaning for you, or you beat them to mean what you want. In that case, conversation is pointless ,as its a foregone conclusion. The same goes for any administration, Reagan or Obama. Do you really expect me to say that if Regan did it, it must be right?!

    We have certainly supported groups engaged in terrorist activity. However, at no point in our history did we engage in terrorist activity.

    I am baffled by your inability to grasp the meaning of the term.

    As for rubber bullets and farmers – please, pick up a rifle and defend your country. Let's see how good a goody-goody you will be. You have nothing to die for, and that's the greatest privilege the hated capitalist and democratic system provides you with.

    Is it just me, or are peoples concept of the world at the level of the medieval Catholic church or Saudi Islam? Does everything require a monoexplanation. Now its the family, today everyone is a terrorist from Reagan to Ahmed the neighbor to Sharon the Israeli?

    What's up with the limited apparatus here? Yes, a terrorist is angry. Yes a soldier is angry – hence by your narrow logic – the soldier is a terrorist!?

    What gives. Come on, its becoming stale!

    On Philistines.

    There is no such thing as a Palestinian. Never was. There are Muslim Arabs, and that's how they viewed themselves, because their identity prior to partition was religious. Technically they are just "Sabras".

    The Land of Israel is Jewish. Always has been and will be. Get with it. We will fight to the last man to keep it that way. As for Canaan, let the Canaanites have it!

    Racialist terms?

    Jewish isn't a race. But keep your "racisms" to yourself. That's name calling, and it gets me mad.

    Jews are a nation. And Israel is ours by commandment and history.

    The Romans banned us from Jerusalem. The Byzantines banned us from Jerusalem. The Caliphs banned us from Jerusalem, the Ottomans banned us from Jerusalem, and now the world is banning us from Jerusalem.

    But guess what, Jerusalem was never, ever, a Philistine city, and never will be.

    You can ban us all you want. And you can do it for 2000 years, but guess what, we'll beat you, and we'll be back. The Palestians, are Arabs. They invaded the land with the Muslims, and ever since, made sure we have no rights to live on our land.

    Nation states are nation states. Jews are a nation. The Palestinians will be able to keep the slivers that Canaanites historically possess. And if they want to be Canaan, let them be Canaan!

    As for Jordan and Syria – nice dodge. You obviously have ZERO experience in the area. Otherwise you wouldn't make little textbook statements, divorced from reality.

    Theoretical question – tomorrow Texas becomes independent, all Texans living in New Mexico demand annexation to the Texan state – you gonna say what?

  5. avatar Konstantin says:

    Metemneurosis,

    Regarding what you said about Mike Ruppert concerning peak oil and the food supply, he is wrong. There ARE alternatives to both oil and fertalizer for food crops and can be implemented before the oil runs out. Here is one proposal called the Aim High plan:

    Aim High Plan for Factory Mass Produced Liquid Fluoride Reactors

    Justifying a police state for a peak oil scenario is just one more in a long line of lies to grab ever more power for the haves at the expense of the have nots.

  6. avatar Metemneurosis says:

    @Anon the Neocon

    If it's so self-apparent what makes someone a terrorist then please give me a definition.

    I'm not saying that their aren't people who kill and do so wrongly. People who are evil or who are fanatical and dangerous. My point is just that it's difficult to apply the word so many in our government and others want to apply without having to make a choice between precision and hypocrisy. Again ultimately the real question is a moral one but no government will put it in those terms (unless temporarily in the rhetoric of war which people cynically expect and therefore won't even try to hold them to).

    So now let's keep in mind that I've said the real question about terrorism is a moral question about the justification of violence. My point was that the imprecision of the word isn't helping with our debate and we should make ourselves clear on what we think justifies or fails to justify violence on the part of the people we're talking about. I would have thought that implication was clear. But obviously this is a topic that gets you very riled up. Nevertheless when you respond to me "Go subject yourself to terrorism, and then we can see if you want to broaden its meaning" you're just missing the point. At the very least we know terrorism involves terror. I've just said it's unclear where the borders are. I never said terror isn't bad.

  7. avatar Metemneurosis says:

    Do you really expect me to say that if Regan did it, it must be right?

    I expected no such thing. It was merely an illustrative story.

    I am baffled by your inability to grasp the meaning of the term

    Again please enlighten me. I'm not saying it can't be made precise just that it's not used with any precise sense.

    As for rubber bullets and farmers – please, pick up a rifle and defend your country. Let's see how good a goody-goody you will be. You have nothing to die for, and that's the greatest privilege the hated capitalist and democratic system provides you with.

    This is really unhinged. I don't know where you're getting the idea that I hate capitalism. You're projecting a lot of stuff on to me that has nothing to do with anything I've said. And as for whether I hate democracy about a month ago you said to me "I'm glad we can both agree on the need for democracy" These kinds of emotion filled exaggerations aren't doing anything. You might as well type a bunch of meaningless symbols. @@%#%& Q-bert.

    I certainly never said soldiers were terrorists. I was responding to your insinuation that certain people were thuggish. The point was that that won't work for your argument that we shouldn't recognize someone politically.

    The Land of Israel is Jewish. Always has been and will be.

    If you mean 'had jews living in it' I don't know that that's true but probably for most of it's history there was a jewish population there, yes.

    Jewish isn't a race

    Well that depends on who you ask. According to some it's an ethnicity and it certainly has distinct genetic markers. But that's beside the point. If you don't like racist. We can make up some other terms, like ethnic hubris or religious hubris.

    And I don't see it as name calling. You seem to see the situation in racial terms. The Arabs should take care of these people who were living in our land because their Arabs. These people don't deserve to keep the homes they lived in for generations because their Arabs or their Muslim or Christian.

    Israel isn't yours by history. Just because some jewish people lived in the land doesn't mean that everyone else who claims that religion has an exclusive right to live their over other people. If having lived on the land is your criterion for rightful claims to it then all muslims and christians have a right to it too. And I wouldn't be surprised to find out that at least one Hindu or Buddist had lived there at one time. So let's invite them to immigrate as well.

    It's been quite a while since I've read the Old Testament scriptures. But as I read them, at least the ones shared by the Christian and Jewish traditions, they promised Israel to the Jews so long as they continued to obey Gods law. I seem to remember a few things about not killing and not coveting in the law.

    As far as I'm concerned as many Jews as want to can live in Jerusalem. But it's still wrong to take houses from other people who already live there. (Besides that all the examples I gave were from the West Bank not Jerusalem)

    And your analogy with Texas is flawed. The correct analogy would be to ask if the Indians have a right to take back their historic lands. The answer is that they have a right to live anywhere they want. And I wouldn't be against government reparations that would help them reacquire lands. Even under current US law the tribes are owed billions that hasn't been paid for decades. But that said they don't have the right to kick me out of my house because I didn't ask to be born here. My ancestors (some of whom were Native American) didn't have a right to take their land but that's not something I did. Still even here there are two crucial disanalogies. In the American case no one lived in my house before I did. If they did then they'd have some claim to it. And here none of the original ethnic cleansers are still alive and reaping the benefits of what they did, whereas that's not the case for Israel.

  8. Go subject yourself to terrorism, and then we can see if you want to broaden its meaning.

    You know what, Mr. Neocon? You've got a lot of balls to come here and say something like that.

    When your family members get picked up by state security forces and are subjected to months of torture by them, then MAYBE I'll think about trying to spend five minutes to squeeze out a tear for you.

    And the contra-guerrillas and JITEM who did this torture? They were established and trained by the Americans. But that's okay, right? Because they were there to enforce "democracy"! YOUR wonderful "democracy", the same democracy that you forced in Iraq, that you're forcing in Afghanistan, and that you want to force in Iran.

    In fact, we can look back a long time and see just where America has tried to force "democracy".

    Oh, sorry, I guess you call it "democracy promotion" . . . kind of like the "promotion" that NED projects get into . . . NED projects that are funded by the same organization–a "democratically" elected Congress–that gave Turkey the weapons systems and military training it used to murder tens of thousands of Kurds, destroy thousands of villages, wipe out property and sources of livelihood, "disappear" thousands more Kurds through extrajudicial murder.

    It was probably an NED project that built all those acid wells in The Southeast. So that makes acid wells "democracy promotion" and that's why it's all okay with you.

    Anyway, it's obvious why you were so concerned about "democracy" for Iran. Too bad you aren't so equally concerned about "democracy" for Palestine.

    (Let me add that you don't know where I stand on Uighurs or Palestinians or Iranians so any assumption of yours about what I think about those is just that–an assumption.)

    You sound like primitive nationalist Kurds who love to claim that Sivas is historically Kurdish and therefore belongs in a greater independent Kurdistan. But if you don't have the numbers on the ground then you don't hold the ground so it isn't exclusively yours anymore, is it? It doesn't matter how many thousands of years ago that it was exclusively yours.

    If you really believe in all your own BS about picking up a rifle and defending your country, then why don't you take your own advice and do the same for Israel instead of getting the Americans to fight for Israeli interests? I mean, that's what all this AIPAC shit is all about, isn't it? Don't YOU have something to die for? YOU go, then, and die instead of being a coward and requiring others to go die for you.

    Well, if Americans are stupid enough to keep dying for Israeli interests . .. .

    By the way, I think you should ask the British about Jewish terrorist activity.

    You probably would have had a lot in common with some guy from the SS, Mr. Neocon. They were smart guys, weren't they? A lot of them had advanced degrees from important universities. They probably threw out a lot of fancy talk of the primitive nationalist variety. But they were pretty retarded in the morality department. Kind of like you.

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anon the Neocon-

    Thank you Mizgin, for the "pretty retarded in the morality department". It's always a pleasure when someone can be both emotional and reasonable at the same time. I mean it.

    You seem to misunderstand what neoconservatism is about, and there is not enough space in the comments section to let me explain.

    Tersely – believe me, you don't know know much about democracy promotion :)

    You believe it is just a fig leaf for geostrategic interests.

    You're wrong.

    It certainly can be just a "fig leaf"…but that doesn't mean it always is.

    Let's talk about Morality – since you brought it up.

    Morality is a big word. Please blame your Turkish government, not Washington. We have our interests to look out for –

    1) Our national security, which presumes defending the national sovereignty of the United States of America as a constitutionally ordered nation.

    2) To promote an international environment favorable to our security.

    Promoting democracy in Turkey we do via the EU. And there America has been supportive of EU efforts – that's why the situation of Kurds has improved in the last decade.

    We also protect the rights of all Turks, by making sure they have a stable state to maintain their sovereignty and security. You can chaff all you want – but Eurasian politics don't leave room for idealism. From its inception, the Kemalist project failed in establishing a modern state – hence Turkey is extremely vulnerable to fragmentation, and radicalization.

    Go ahead and chaff, and blame us for making the technology which the Turks bought.

    But you're being cheap. I suppose you'd rather be shot with something made in the USSR or China?

    My point isn't that a US bullet is sweeter – my point is that the killing is being done by your government, not ours. And if we had failed to so much as maintain a relationship with your government, its very likely that there would right now be no Kurds of which to speak. After what they did to the Armenians, one wonders what a Soviet occupied Anatolia would have looked like – considering the prominence of Armenians in the USSR.

    You can hate Israel, and you can hate America, because you can't admit that the alternative – a Turkey allied to the USSR or dominating a Pan-Turanist empire, would have done to a national group who refused to recognize Turkish sovereignty.

    You would have gone the route of the Chaldeans my friend.

    Hate us for counterinsurgency expertise…but it saved lives – including yours.

  10. avatar Anonymous says:

    @Metemneurosis

    I liked your name – always nice writing it – although tempted to say Metempsychosis.

    Thanks for being tolerant with my occasional outbursts. They are not personal.

    Ok – terrorism for me, is the systematic tactical usage of ground explosives against civilian populations engaged in their day-to-day activities.

    Terrorism is not the same as terror (we agree, I hope).

    The US, again has never engaged in any kind of terrorism, in its history.

    Unfortunately, we have cooperated with terrorists. We have aided them. We gave them political support and diplomatic cover. We have also exploited terrorism in political terms – meaning that instead of admitting it was Karimov that did it, we towed the Dushanbe line,etc.

    I would be foolish to deny any of this.

    But the fact remains that our people have never-ever engaged in actual terrorism – our culture, traditional American culture and whatever is left of it – doesn't cultivate that kind of mindset. And I dare say most cultures in the world – do exactly that. China, Islam, Africa, Russia, all cultivate a profoundly cruel and sadistic type of man. We have our Chuck Princes, but they don't compare to the monsters I've seen.

    About analogies.

    I maintain that my Texas analogy is correct, and your native American one is wrong. Unless of course you want to reverse it – the Jews are the native Americans, not vice versa – but even then, I wouldn't go there.

    One cannot find a "golden rule" to deal with territorial conflict.

    If we go case by case, we can't find a guiding principle for the following Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Georgia (Abkhazia, Ossetia), Moldavia, Israel/Arab Occupied Territories (AOT), Turkey-Greece, Kurdistan…

    Native Americans. There are a few problematic myths in relation to them.

    First, they were savages. Doesn't justify any abuse on our part – but they were not saints. Second, they did not object to our presence here. Third the conflict was mutual, and its not clear how it started. Like with Islam in Egypt. No one doubts the Copts preferred the Muslims to the Byzantines – for about the first fifty years.

    The difference was, the Copts were a bit more civilised than their Muslim occupiers. In the American case, the Natives were always savages.

    The Natives here, were not interested in settling down. Their own warrior values made them amenable to being used by the French, then by the British, into perpetual war against the young new state.

    History is replete with defeats of nomads – because the inverse – is always worst – Mongols and devastation.

    The Natives in America had no claim to all of the land here. We built this country, not they. We certainly committed crimes against them in the process – regrettable crimes – but we owe them nothing, as those crimes form only a portion of the actual acquisition of land – nor are we responsible for their initial savage state.

    If anything, our real crimes were committed against the Spanish/Mexico where we stole a lot.

    But in as much as every-single citizen of the earth benefits from what the Founders built in America- they owe some of that gain to the regrettable occasions when Native American's were forcibly removed from land that we had recognized as theirs.

    There is no greater shame for this nation, than inconsistent application of law – or lawlessness. The Native American's weren't its only victims…but that's another story.

    As Neocons, we want democracy promotion to be a consistent feature of our foreign policy as a part of general promotion of rule-based behavior in the international system.

  11. avatar Metemneurosis says:

    @Anon the neocon

    Metempsychosis, you realize, means transmigration of the soul. But even if we let 'psychosis' have it's modern meaning then 'metempsychosis' would mean change in psychosis, which isn't obviously insulting. But hey it's the thought that counts right?

    I presume by 'savages' you mean something like primitive and war-like. That's too broad a brush (for instance we actually had a treaty the Cherokee nation, who invented their own alphabet and were publishing bilingual newspapers before we relocated them) but it's not really important for the larger issue . I agree they didn't have a claim to all the land and I agree they weren't all saints and probably did a lot of wrong themselves. Just like any other group of human beings. Still I think it's wrong to say we don't owe them anything.

    If in saying I should reverse the analogy you mean to imply that the Jews were kicked out by some other occupier and therefore have claim to the land I disagree. Look let's drop the historical analogies as they're just complicating the issue. Very simply here's how it works. If you kick me out of my house or off my land then you've wronged me and you owe me some kind of reparations. If I die and you die that's usually it. End of story. The only exception is if my grandchild or child can show that they somehow suffered by not having access to the house you took from me. If I built a new house in another location and they grew up there, there's not going to be much plausibility to that. If my grandchild goes and tries to claim the land from your grandchild it's essentially someone who hasn't suffered any wrong trying to take something from someone who hasn't done any wrong, hence it's just the same as when you took the house from me in the first place. To see the matter as a case of 'those guys took it from us' as in 'those Arabs or Muslims took Jerusalem from us Jews' is still to see it in ethnic or religious terms. There's no ethical ground to stand on here. People are moral agents not ethnicities or religions. As many Jews as want to live in Jerusalem should have that opportunity. It would be fine with me if Jews are allowed to immigrate to the West Bank if they want too. But they have to make deals to which both sides come voluntarily and which both sides agree on to purchase the land from those who currently own it. It's very simple just like the property laws in most any society anywhere else.

    As for your definition of terrorism I presume that since you're limiting it to 'ground explosives' you'll agree that Hamas's use of rockets to hit Israel doesn't constitute terrorism. If not then I'll presume we can include use of bombs and missiles as worthy of consideration here. But what then of the US fire-bombing of Dresden or Hiroshima and Nagasaki? I believe these all count as the deliberate targeting of civilian populations. It also follows from your description of terrorism that no one who uses only guns can be a terrorist. I'd think there would be a lot of groups who'd like to use this loophole if they knew about it. It'd be awful convenient for political reasons. If we're going to presume from the beginning that the US has never participated in terrorism (I'm not going to presume this bit if I did . . .) then we could take this to show that your definition is highly inaccurate.

    Unfortunately, we have cooperated with terrorists. We have aided them. We gave them political support and diplomatic cover. We have also exploited terrorism in political terms – meaning that instead of admitting it was Karimov that did it, we towed the Dushanbe line,etc.

    And this is the same behavior that got many of the detainees we've been torturing into their prison cell's, including American citizens still held without trial. Now perhaps the difference is one of mens rea. But that's pretty difficult to establish and no one has tried with the current detainees, at least not in any real court. If they did then I'd be more likely to support their efforts.

  12. Thanks for confirming my suspicions about your lack of morality, Mr. Neocon. Such a lack is very Straussian of you.

    It's also consistent with the Straussian idea that only those who realize there's no morality are the ones who are fit to rule . . . over all the untermenschen, naturally.

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