Karen Greenberg – SUBTLE TOOLS: The Dismantling of American Democracy from the War on Terror to Donald Trump

Karen Greenberg is the Director of The Center on National Security at Fordham University. Her 2016 book, ROGUE JUSTICE :The Making of the Security State, explores the War on Terror’s impact on justice and law in America.

Her latest book, SUBTLE TOOLS: The Dismantling of American Democracy from the War on Terror to Donald Trump, is published by Princeton University Press.

We spoke with Karen Greenberg on January 7, 2022, one year and a day after a momentarily united, bipartisan Congress fled in fear for their lives from a mob, who had violently invaded the capitol, preventing the fulfillment of their obligation under the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to meet on January 6 and count the electoral votes of the 2020 presidential election. They were unable to do so until January 7, 2021, one year to the day that Karen Greenberg and I spoke.

Articles pertinent to this interview:

The U.S. drops an average of 46 bombs a day: Why should the world see us as a force for peace? https://www.salon.com/2022/01/11/the-us-drops-an-average-of-46-bombs-a-day-why-should-the-world-see-us-as-a-force-for-peace/

The 20-Year War on Terror Was an Amazing Success—If You Were Terrorism https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/01/04/20-year-war-terror-was-amazing-success-if-you-were-terrorism?vgo_ee=Y82RBGepzJGygaHT4lvL4KyPUFd7JHyq9acdSgULWaM%3D

Crisis of Command: The Pentagon, The President, and January 6 https://www.justsecurity.org/79623/crisis-of-command-the-pentagon-the-president-and-january-6/

Timeline for Anniversary of January 5: DOJ Election Fraud Investigations and GA Senate Runoff https://www.justsecurity.org/79743/timeline-for-anniversary-of-january-5-doj-election-fraud-investigations-and-ga-senate-runoff/

The American polity is cracked, and might collapse. Canada must prepare https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-american-polity-is-cracked-and-might-collapse-canada-must-prepare/

Links to audio additions to the broadcast version of this interview:

Tapping My Own Phone (Ron Whitehead) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Orrsv7kkxYo

Uncivil War (Shemekia Copeland) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtYnzXdhkm0

The Dance – Ron Whitehead & The Storm Generation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZLaNzQH6Dg

Kristen Iversen FULL BODY BURDEN:Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats

In this interview with Kristen Iversen from June 27, 2012, we learn about the history and legacy of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Site, located 15 miles northwest of Denver, CO. Iversen grew up in nearby Arvada, and worked at the plant.

The recent catastrophic fires in Superior and Louisville, CO, brought it to mind, since Superior butts right up against and downwind from the Rocky Flats site, and Louisville butts right up against Superior. On the day of the fire, December 30, 2021, winds were clocked at Rocky Flats at 115 miles per hour. But beyond that, as Kristen Iversen tells us, those winds had been blowing east from the plutonium contaminated site for 6 decades.

Local residents protested the moral and physical dangers at Rocky Flats, as well as proposed real estate developments along its borders, which were nonetheless built, in spite of the scientific findings of plutonium contamination and strong, local resistance, and which have now been utterly destroyed by the fires.

An aerial view of one of the Boulder County neighborhoods that burned to the ground on Thursday. Photo: Hart Van Denburg/AP/Shutterstock

It has been widely reported that abundant spring rains allowed the grasses to grow profusely, only to dry completely in the ensuing drought and unseasonably hot and dry Fall and early Winter. In the growing, those plants absorbed plutonium, known to have been blown there from the Rocky Flats Weapon Lab site during those six decades. The fire vaporized whatever plutonium had been taken up by that tinder dry plant material, blowing it in unknown amounts and unknown distances to the east. I have not found any reports mentioning this aspect of the fires, much less considering the fallout from it, in the most literal sense.

Perhaps this post can be a beginning of that consideration.

Articles referenced or pertinent to this story:

The Return of the Urban Firestorm https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/01/colorado-saw-the-return-of-the-urban-firestorm.html?utm_source=pocket-newtab

The Rocky Flats Grand Jury’s Files Have Gone Missing https://www.westword.com/news/rocky-flats-grand-jurors-were-silenced-and-now-files-are-gone-11430085

Update Regarding Rocky Flats Hot Particle Study https://www.rockyflatsnuclearguardianship.org/single-post/2020/04/09/Update-Regarding-Rocky-Flats-Hot-Particle-Study

Plutonium Inventory Differences at the Rocky Flats Plant & Their Relationship to Environmental Releases https://nuke.fas.org/cochran/nuc_11229601a_178.pdf

It’s alive: The groundbreaking research on the microbes in wildfire smoke https://grist.org/grist-video/its-alive-the-groundbreaking-research-on-the-microbes-in-wildfire-smoke/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=weekly

Alfred McCoy TO GOVERN THE GLOBE: World Orders & Catastrophic Change

Alfred McCoy is University of Wisconsin Harrington Professor of History. He was our guest in 2017, when his book, IN THE SHADOWS OF THE AMERICAN CENTURY: THE RISE AND DECLINE OF US GLOBAL POWER, was published by Haymarket Books. That archived interview can be heard on our website, forthright.media. https://forthright.media/2017/10/04/alfred-mccoy-in-the-shadows-of-the-american-century-the-rise-and-decline-of-us-global-power/

Fifty years ago, the publication of his book, THE POLITICS OF HEROIN IN SOUTH EAST ASIA, led to his testifying before the Senate Committee on Appropriations Foreign Operations Subcommittee in June 1972. His research, including traveling to Hmong villages in Laos, revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency was knowingly involved in the transportation of heroin in the Golden Triangle of Burma, Thailand, and Laos. The CIA tried to block its publication, but it has been translated into 9 foreign languages with three English editions and is regarded as the “classic” work on global drug traffic.

His new book, also published by Haymarket Books, is titled TO GOVERN THE GLOBE: WORLD ORDERS & CATASTROPHIC CHANGE.

In it, he explores the interplay of three factors—sovereignty, human rights, and energy—in shaping the succession of empires and their global systems from the Black Death of 1350 through the coming climate crisis of 2050.

It is packed with meticulously researched facts and analysis of world history of the last 600 years, examining the continuities and disruptions that create systems that rule international affairs.

He asserts that China will become the world hegemon by 2030, via initiatives such as the Belt & Road Initiative, which makes manifest Halford Mackinder’s thesis that who controls the World Island, controls the world.

Articles referenced or pertinent to this interview:

On the Most Fundamental of All Human Rights: Survival https://tomdispatch.com/climate-crisis-at-the-top-of-the-world/

Climate Crisis at the Top of the World https://tomdispatch.com/climate-crisis-at-the-top-of-the-world/

Washington’s World Order and Catastrophic Climate Change https://tomdispatch.com/to-govern-the-globe/

In China’s new age of imperialism, Xi Jinping gives thumbs down to democracy https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/dec/12/xi-jinping-china-beijing-new-age-of-imperialism

China Biggest Winner in Afghanistan https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/09/13/china-biggest-winner-afghanistan?utm_term=AO&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_content=email&utm_source=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Emai

The US military trained him. Then he helped murder Berta Cáceres https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/dec/21/the-us-military-trained-him-then-he-helped-berta-caceres

Washington’s Great Game and Why It’s Failing https://www.greanvillepost.com/2015/06/11/tomgram-alfred-mccoy-washingtons-great-game-and-why-its-failing/

Julius S. Scottt, Groundbreaking Historian of the Caribbean, Dies at 66 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/16/obituaries/julius-scott-dead-common-wind.html

How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jan/09/how-the-heroin-trade-explains-the-us-uk-failure-in-afghanistan

Here’s how to repay developing nations for colonialism – and fight the climate crisis https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/14/heres-how-to-repay-developing-nations-for-colonialism-and-fight-the-climate-crisis

Spencer Ackerman REIGN OF TERROR: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America & Produced Trump

Spencer Ackerman had just graduated from Rutgers University, when the attacks on 9/11 occurred. He began his journalism career, focused on national security, with the New Republic in 2002, and then went on to write for Wired, The Guardian and The Daily Beast.

He won a 2012 National Magazine Award for his reporting on biased FBI training, and a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service (with Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras, and others at the Guardian) for reporting on revelations of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency based on the Edward Snowden revelations.

His recent book, REIGN OF TERROR: HOW THE 9/11 ERA DESTABILIZED AMERICA AND PRODUCED TRUMP, was published by Viking in August, 2021. We spoke with him on December 3, 2021.

Articles referenced or pertinent to this interview:

House Responds To GOP’s Lauren Boebert With Islamophobia Bill Sponsored By Ilhan Omar https://www.huffpost.com/entry/bc-us-congress-boebert-omar_n_61b9c78ae4b0317f6dcec77a

US rejects calls for regulating or banning ‘killer robots’ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/dec/02/us-rejects-calls-regulating-banning-killer-robots

The rise of the killer robots – and the two women fighting back https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/08/the-rise-of-the-killer-robots-jody-williams-mary-warehan-artificial-intelligence-autonomous-weapons

How Sept. 11Gave Us Jan. 6 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/09/opinion/how-sept-11-gave-us-jan-6.html?searchResultPosition=4

McChrystal: ‘Impossible to Argue’ War on Terror Was Worth It https://www.thedailybeast.com/mcchrystal-impossible-to-argue-war-on-terror-was-worth-it?ref=author

Donald Rumsfeld, Killer of 400,000 People, Dies Peacefully https://www.thedailybeast.com/donald-rumsfeld-killer-of-400000-people-dies-peacefully?ref=author

Secret Court Reveals: FBI Hunted for Domestic Terrorists Without a Warrant https://www.thedailybeast.com/secret-court-reveals-fbi-hunted-for-domestic-terrorists-without-a-warrant?ref=author

The Insurrection Isn’t Over https://www.huffpost.com/entry/insurrection-republican-party-trump_n_60b1217ae4b04ddf13edbe9d

Maj. Ian Fishback, Who Exposed Abuse of Detainees, Dies at 42 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/23/us/ian-fishback-dead.html?surface=most-popular&fellback=false&req_id=485534344&algo=bandit-all-surfaces&variant=0_bandit-all-surfaces&pool=pool/91fcf81c-4fb0-49ff-bd57-a24647c85ea1&imp_id=505104580&action=click&module=Popular%20in%20The%20Times&pgtype=Homepage

Pentagon Chief Orders New Inquiry Into U.S. Airstrike That Killed Dozens in Syria https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/29/us/politics/pentagon-airstrike-syria.html

‘The goal was to silence people’: historian Joanne Freeman on congressional violence https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/28/historian-joanne-freeman-congressional-violence-paul-gosar

US added to list of ‘backsliding’ democracies for first time https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/22/us-list-backsliding-democracies-civil-liberties-international

Can American democracy escape the doom loop? So far, the signs are not promising https://www.salon.com/2021/12/10/democracy-doom-loop/

Kathleen Belew A Field Guide to White Supremacy

Kathleen Belew is an international authority on the White-Power Movement and Assistant Professor of History at the university of Chicago.

Her 2018 book, BRING THE WAR HOME: THE WHITE POWER MOVEMENT AND PARAMILITARY AMERICA, published by The Harvard University Press, was a hugely important work toward our understanding of the international white supremacy movement.

She now has a compilation of essays, A FIELD GUIDE TO WHITE SUPREMACY, which she co-edited with her colleague at the University of Chicago, History Professor, Ramón A. Gutiérrez. It contains the writings of a diverse group of writers, among them Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Jamelle Bouie, Judith Butler, Rebecca Solnit, just to name a few.

In September of 2019, Professor Belew was a witness at a congressional hearing on confronting white nationalism. In her witness statement, she described the white power movement as a threat to our democracy and that that is was transnational. Her research and writings decry the notion that attacks such as the massacres at the Christchurch Mosque, the Tree of Life Synagogue, or the El Paso walmart are the work of lone wolves. We spoke with Kathleen Belew on October 28, 2021.

Articles referred or pertinent to this interview can be found here:

A historian of white power reacts to the Rittenhouse verdict: ‘a bonanza for the far-right’ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/24/historian-white-power-reacts-kyle-rittenhouse-verdict-far-right

Three Trials in America – The conversations playing out in courtrooms in Kenosha, Charlottesville, and Georgia are revealing https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/10/kenosha-charlottesville-georgia-trials-justice-system-race.html

Neo-Nazi duo handed nine-year US prison terms over apparent attack plot https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/28/neo-nazi-the-base-far-right-us-prison-terms

Victims of Charlottesville Rally Argue the Violence Was Planned https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/24/us/charlottesville-rally-trial.html

U.S. Border Agency Settles With 2 Americans Detained for Speaking Spanish https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/26/us/montana-spanish-border-patrol.html?searchResultPosition=1

A 19th-Century Law Dismantled The KKK. Now It Could Bring Down A New Generation Of Extremists https://www.huffpost.com/entry/charlotesville-spencer-kessler-trial-spitalnik_n_61730a2ee4b09314320ae288

How higher education can win the war against neoliberalism and white supremacy https://www.salon.com/2021/10/24/how-higher-education-can-win-the-against-neoliberalism-and-supremacy/

2020 Had The Most Reported Hate Crimes Since 2001: FBI Data https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fbi-2020-hate-crimes-asian-americans_n_6176fd81e4b010d933148e55

“Diversity,” “White Supremacist” Among Terms WI GOP Seeks to Ban in Schools https://truthout.org/articles/diversity-white-supremacist-among-terms-wi-gop-seeks-to-ban-in-schools/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=1e0e4c93-75bb-4f98-941f-8f5c9ca0dbce

California synagogue killer not allowed to speak as he gets life without parole https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/oct/01/california-synagogue-killer-not-allowed-speak-life-without-parole

Abortion Has Just Never Been About Abortion https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/15/opinion/abortion-evangelicals-conservatives.html

White supremacists declare war on democracy and walk away unscathedhttps://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/nov/10/white-supremacists-war-on-democracy-unscathed

Ecotones: Angella Ahn

Angella Ahn is the virtuoso violinist in the Ahn Trio, MSU Bozeman School of Music Faculty member, Artistic Director of Montana Chamber Music Society, Member of the Montana Arts Council and much more.

We spoke with her on October 21, 2021 about her life, her career, her many contributions to Bozeman and Montana culture – and for that matter the world’s. She has performed in all 50 states and at least 30 countries.

From appearing on the cover of Time magazine as a child in 1987, or performing at the White House in 2011, she graces us with her joie de vivre, love of music and embodiment of how to live in a state of gratitude and giving.

You may wish to learn more about the Montana Chamber Music Society: http://montanachambermusicsociety.org

This Season 11 Episode 1101 of 11th & Grant features Angella Ahn & Friends: https://www.pbs.org/video/11th-and-grant-angella-ahn-friends/

Education: The New Whiz Kids – Why Asian Americans are doing so well, and what it costs them http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,965326,00.html

You can hear this very first edition of Ecotones with Sada Schumann and view her award winning History Day documentary, “Defining Korea: How Conflict and Compromise Shaped a Nation” here: http://kgvm.org/show/sada-schumann/

Giulio Boccaletti WATER: A Biography

In addition to having been a lead author of the fifth Assessment Report to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Giulio Boccaletti was Chief Strategy Officer and Global Managing Director for Water at The Nature Conservancy, where he led a team of over 200 freshwater scientists, policy experts, economists and on-the-ground conservation practitioners, promoting action on water issues by governments and businesses.

Earlier in his career, he was a partner of consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he co-founded the water practice and worked with businesses and governments around the world. He trained at MIT, Princeton and Bologna University in Physics and Atmospheric Science. His book, WATER: A Biography, was published in Sept. 2021 by Pantheon Books. We spoke with him in England on October 15.

Articles referenced or pertinent to this interview:

Flooding could shut down a quarter of all critical infrastructure in the U.S. https://www.axios.com/flood-risk-united-states-critical-infrastructure-a8703d5b-8d95-4584-8bc3-4ea086b83cfa.html

China floods: Nearly 2 million displaced in Shanxi province https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-58866854

Joe Manchin’s Climate Objections Opposed by BP and Shell https://www.newsweek.com/joe-manchin-build-back-better-clean-energy-joe-biden-bp-shell-1640230

As Manchin Blocks Climate Plan, His State Can’t Hold Back Floods https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/17/climate/manchin-west-virginia-flooding.html

It’s easy to feel pessimistic about the climate. But we’ve got two big things on our side https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/15/climate-crisis-cop26-bill-mckibben

The Climate Disaster Is Here https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2021/oct/14/climate-change-happening-now-stats-graphs-maps-cop26

Corporations are pledging to be ‘water positive’. What does that mean? https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/14/water-positive-pledge-corporations

The Lost Canyon Under Lake Powell https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/08/16/the-lost-canyon-under-lake-powell

Ecotones: Kay Roseen – Gallatin Valley Packathon for Haiti

Kay Roseen is the guiding light behind Gallatin Valley Packathon for Haiti., which is a free, inter-generational, fun work event to relieve hunger for Haitian children. She explains how listeners can help pack 6 tons – yes, tons – of rice, beans, dehydrated vegetables and vitamins into 7,500 school lunches for children whose families cannot afford to feed them every day.

If you want to join other Gallatin Valley volunteers you can find out more, or register, at GallatinValleyPackathon.org and sign up. There are 2 hour time slots on Friday evening October 15 from 6 to 8, and then on Saturday, October 16 beginning at 9a.m., noon, 3 or 6pm at Hope Lutheran Church.

You can find out more about this work here: https://www.futureforwardforhaiti.org/

Andrew Cockburn The Spoils of War: Power, Profit and the American War Machine

Award winning journalist, documentary film producer and Harper’s Washington, DC editor, Andrew Cockburn, comes from an illustrious family of British journalists. In addition, he has been married to American journalist and documentarian, Leslie Cockburn, since 1977.

For more than four decades, he has focused on national security not just of the United States, but of the Soviet Union as well. Beginning with his Peabody Award winning 1981 PBS film, THE RED ARMY, which was the first in-depth study of deficiencies in the Soviet military, he has covered the wars in Afghanistan since the 1980s with his wife, Leslie Cockburn. In 2009, they produced the film AMERICAN CASINO on the financial collapse of 2007. His 8th book, THE SPOILS OF WAR: POWER, PROFIT and the AMERICAN WAR MACHINE, has just been published by Verso.

In it he asserts that “The record shows America’s Afghan War was nothing other than a prolonged and entirely successful operation – to loot the US Taxpayer. At least a quarter of a million Afghans, not to mention 3,500 US & allied troops paid a heavier price.”

He is proud to be descended from Sir George Cockburn, 10th Baronet, who ordered the burning of Washington in 1814, as he recounts in this interview.

We spoke with Andrew Cockburn on Sept. 29, 2021, as the Senate Armed Services Committee was grilling Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, about the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years and trillions of dollars spent, which they characterized as “a logistical success but a strategic failure.”

Articles referred to or pertinent to this interview:

War in Afghanistan Isn’t Over — It’s Taking the Form of Illegal Drone Strikes https://truthout.org/articles/war-in-afghanistan-isnt-over-its-taking-the-form-of-illegal-drone-strikes/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=85e66ca2-fcf5-49a4-a3d3-bbcfa2db97a9

IN RE TERRORIST ATTACKS ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 https://www.leagle.com/decision/infdco20210920a80

Second Circuit Reinstates Insurers’ Suit Against Saudi Bank Stemming from 9/11 Terrorist Attacks https://www.law.com/insurance-coverage-law-center/2020/09/11/second-circuit-reinstates-insurers-suit-against-saudi-bank-stemming-from-911-terrorist-attacks/?slreturn=20210826182432

My father was brutally killed by the Taliban. The US ignored his pleas for help https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/27/father-killed-taliban-us-ignored-pleas-daughter-afghan-president

Support for Nuclear Ban Treaty Is Rising. Nuclear Nations Are on the Defensive. https://truthout.org/articles/support-for-nuclear-ban-treaty-is-rising-nuclear-nations-are-on-the-defensive/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=4ed37bf3-fa8f-40c4-94b4-932aea3990de

Stop Calling the Military Budget a ‘Defense’ Budget https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/10/05/stop-calling-military-budget-defense-budget?utm_term=AO&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_content=email&utm_source=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Email

Fewer Democrats This Year Supported a 10 Percent Cut to the Defense Budget https://truthout.org/articles/fewer-democrats-this-year-supported-a-10-percent-cut-to-the-defense-budget/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=85e66ca2-fcf5-49a4-a3d3-bbcfa2db97a9

Are the Motives of War Profiteers Driving Us to the Brink of a New Cold War? https://truthout.org/articles/are-the-motives-of-war-profiteers-driving-us-to-the-brink-of-a-new-cold-war/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=4ed37bf3-fa8f-40c4-94b4-932aea3990de

Why are Americans paying $32m every hour for wars since 9/11? https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/09/afghanistan-us-foreign-wars-congresswoman-barbara-lee

Barbara Lee Offers Amendment to Reduce Pentagon Budget by $25 Billion https://truthout.org/articles/barbara-lee-offers-amendment-to-reduce-pentagon-budget-by-25-billion/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=9dd7dc3c-f6d6-4669-87fd-a5b2f6b00948

Nearly 50 Groups Demand Passage of Amendments to Cut Pentagon Budget https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/09/22/nearly-50-groups-demand-passage-amendments-cut-pentagon-budget?utm_term=AO&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_content=email&utm_source=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Email

Carrie Krause – Baroque Music Montana

Carrie Krause is the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra’s Concert Master, as well as the Founder/Director of Baroque Music Montana.

She founded The Second String Orchestra in 2010 for amateur musicians.

She teaches young people in her studio of about 25 students.

We spoke with Carrie on September 30, 2021 about Baroque Music Montana’s historic performance at Gallatin High School’s Auditorium on October 9, 2021, which is the first public performance there. This event, “Amadeus: The Concert,” also features our wonderful high school chamber ensemble, Kamarata.