Flashpoints producer Dennis Bernstein interviewed Professor
Elaine Hagopian, writer and investigative author Larry
Everest and A'sad
Abu-Khalil, professor of political science. They
discussed a variety of issues facing Iraq and the U.S. at the current stage of
the conflict. The Flashpoints
program summary for the day's program will give you some idea for the sweeping
scope of their analysis. It's worth
listening to in full, and this segment of the program is attached as a
standalone mp3 file.
stream mp3, click
At about the 8 minute, 49 second mark, A'sad Abu-Khalil
addresses Dennis Bernstein's questions about the scenes we are seeing in Western
TV reports in the last two days. While he acknowledges that his concern is
a conspiracy theory, he offers his analysis in the spirit of being skeptical of
what we are seeing:
"I think that a lot of people will disagree with me when I
say this, and I didn't see anybody saying that even in the Arabic media this
morning. And I usually do not resort
to conspiracy theorists. But let me
say this. Don't be surprised (that)
if in a year or two or three Bob Woodward comes out with a book in which we
learn that the scenes today -- as I was watching on Al-Jazeera this morning --
struck me as too theatrical, too orchestrated, and not really genuine.
And I really believe -- personally, I have no evidence of course -- I
would not be surprised if this was arranged by the CIA and some of the people
from the Iraqi national congress. Because
it's symbolic effect will be grave, to basically send a message that the regime
"And I also noted … how did this occur? People
were walking spontaneously, and there were in their back pockets had hammers and
sledge hammers because whenever they stroll down the street they do that.
And there were all these findings in Baghdad, and people saying let us
just gather … pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein. ... That's not to say
that there's not relief for people to get rid of a brutal dictatorship.
I'm not saying that. But I
also want to say that when people live under a brutal occupation like this one
is, after being bombed from the air and sea and everywhere else for 21 days, I
mean, of course they're going to be intimidated and
they're going to kiss the shoes -- literally -- of their occupiers.
I've seen those scenes myself in South Lebanon, when the Israelis came.
Within one year, instead of showering them with praise, they were tossing
grenades at their convoys.
"...one last point. As
I was watching interviews with people in Basra, for example, whenever they are
interviewed by Western journalists who are always embedded and surrounded by
heavily armed US troops they say rather cautious nice things like "really
happy, there's no problem." But
I notice when they speak to Abu Dhabi TV and Al-Jazeera TV, they are very
critical of the Americans and British. And
some of them… Just yesterday, I was watching this on Abu Dhabi TV … some of
the interviewed were saying this is getting worse than times under Saddam Hussein. … This is not to say
that we should go back to the kind of Saddam tyranny.
But I'm saying that I think -- very quickly -- the Iraqis will come the
realization, inevitable, that the United States absolutely doesn't have the true
interests of the Iraqi people at heart."
Program summary for April 9, 2003, lifted from the
Wednesday, Apr 9, 2003 stream
-00:00 Dennis Bernstein: introduction:
-00:50 Robert Knight and the Knight Report.. Robert:
Saddam Hussein to be denied medical care, says Rumsfeld.. hopes that the Iraqi
people have a happy life.. Palestine Hotel reports looting and vandalism.. as US
troops destroy statues and posters of Saddam Hussein.. snipers still active..
IRC suspends humanitarian aid to Baghdad because of chaos.. still no WMD found..
oil fields found.. US Senate resolution seeks to 'democratize' Iran.. US under
Sec of State, John Bolton issues warning to Iran and Syria against possessing
WMDs.. no mention of Israel's many WMDs.. Al Jazeera TV says Saddam may be under
protection of the Russians.
now to Amman, Jordan with Flashpoints special correspondent, Ziad
Abbas (link2) (link3)..
sadness around the killing of Tareq Ayoub.. Ziad: all the morning
newspapers have big pictures of Al-Jazeera reporter, Tareq.. articles about how
the US army targeting the Arab journalists.. in this war the Arab media become
more independent, more important.. people very angry, big march and rally.. many
journalists speaking.. Tareq's family said we reject the American message of
condolence.. the body on the way to Jordan, tomorrow the funeral.. Dennis: Ziad,
you are from Palestine, do you see parellels with how the Israelis target
journalists?.. Ziad: sure.. Tareq is from Palestine.. his uncle still lives
there.. more than 170 journalists have been (killed) in Palestine, some
international.. the Palestinian journalists do not have free movement.. about
the first intifada.. tens of us journalists were jailed, were tortured.. even in
this intifada, many of the Palestinian journalists.. shot and killed, injured,
jailed.. the Israeli journalists they have special passes.. not easy to be a
Palestinian journalists.. Dennis: even the Palestinian journalists working for
Reuters or AP?.. Ziad: absolutely, they are shot by the army or settlers.. they
even shoot now the international activists, the ISM members, like Rachel
Corrie in Gaza.. like in Jenin a few days ago (Brian Avery)..
how the US media plays with the facts to (justify the occupation).. about the
two times that Ziad was arrested and tortured.. first time in March 1988.. (he
describes).. two lines of soldiers from the bus to the jail, the prisoners had
to pass between the lines, each soldiers had a stick.. hit us, as we tried to
pass, I will never forget it.. this kind of torture.. try to hurt the dignity of
the people.. the second time.. we used the small cameras to take pictures of
what the soldiers were doing in the refugee camps..
-20:25 Dennis: US
media gushing over the fall of Iraq.. Bush hawks and Ariel Sharon calling for an
attack on Iran.. and Syria..