Tuesday, May 22, 2012

  • Should NATO Exist? Phyllis Bennis vs. Ex-CIAer Stan Sloan on Alliance’s Purpose, Afghan War’s Future

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    As NATO concludes its largest-ever summit in Chicago, we host a debate on whether the trans-Atlantic military alliance should exist at all and its new agreement to hand over control to Afghan forces next year. "When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you’re a military alliance, every problem looks like it requires a military solution," argues Phyllis Bennis, an author and fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. "NATO is a giant, big hammer. The problem is, Afghanistan is not a nail, Libya is not a nail. These are political problems that need to be dealt with politically. And by empowering ... a military alliance, NATO is really serving to undermine the goal of the United Nations Charter, which speaks of the importance of regional organizations, in political terms, for nonviolent resolution of disputes, not to put such a primacy and privilege on military regional institutions that really reflect the most powerful parts of the world." Speaking in support of NATO, Stan Sloan, a 30-year security analyst at the CIA and former senior specialist at the Congressional Research Service, counters: "I believe that having allies in this alliance for the United States serves our interests, serves our national interests. ... [NATO] has always been a political alliance. ... I think as long as the member states regard cooperation among them as valuable and even necessary if they have to use military force, they will continue to judge that we need the alliance." [includes rush transcript]

  • Attorney: "NATO 3" Activists Detained on Terror Charges in Chicago Are Victims of Police Entrapment

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    Following a weekend that saw nearly 100 arrests of protesters at the NATO summit in Chicago, we speak with National Lawyers Guild attorney Sarah Gelsomino, who represents one of the five activists charged with terror-related crimes. Two are accused of attempted possession of explosives or incendiary devices, and three more are accused of conspiracy to commit terrorism, material support for terrorism and possession of explosives. Gelsomino says the so-called "NATO Three" were set up by government informants who planted the explosives. "Our clients who are facing the most serious charges of terrorism are actually in solitary confinement right now, we just learned," Gelsomino says. "A very top priority this week is to get them out of that extremely punitive and extremely dangerous condition that they’re in right now." [includes rush transcript]

  • Sea Shepherd Founder Paul Watson Fights Extradition to Costa Rica for 2002 Shark Defense

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    Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has been released on bail in Germany following his arrest for possible extradition to Costa Rica on decade-old charges stemming from a confrontation between a Sea Shepherd vessel with shark fin poachers off the coast of Guatemala. Sea Shepherd is known for using nonviolent direct action to enforce international fishing and conservation laws and has been highly recognized for its anti-whaling efforts. Sea Shepherd continues to maintain that Watson’s arrest was politically motivated and is calling on its supporters to come together in a day of action on Wednesday when Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla visits Germany. Watson joins us from Frankfurt. "We’ve never injured anybody," Watson says. "The most powerful weapon in the world, as far as I’m concerned, is the camera. So, we go into battle armed with cameras. … Right now 90 million sharks a year are being destroyed to feed the shark fin industry in Asia. And that means the fins are cut off of these animals, and they’re thrown back into the ocean. And this is what we filmed off of Guatemala, and this is what we intervened against: a highly illegal operation." [includes rush transcript]