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Scahill in Berkeley-9-may-2016LUMPENPROLETARIAT—Award-winning investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, the author of Blackwater (a 2007 George Polk Award winner) and Dirty Wars, has graced his loyal Berkeley/San Francisco Bay Area/northern California audience with his consistently earnest appraisals of the state of the nation, the state of the empire.  Jeremy Scahill has earned loads of awards, including the Izzy Award, Project Censored Awards, and the Windham–Campbell Literature Prize, one of the richest literary awards in the world.

Hosted by free speech radio’s Brian Edwards-Tiekert earlier this evening at the First Congregational Church of  Berkeley, Jeremy Scahill discussed the USA’s imperial “assassination complex”.  Your Lumpenproletariat correspondent was in attendance and filed the following notes. [1]

UPDATE [9 MAY 2016]  Free speech radio’s UpFront, in anticipation of Jeremy Scahill’s presentation at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 9 MAY 2016, broadcast a discussion with the author.  Listen (or download) here. [2]

UPDATE [11 MAY 2016]  Free speech radio’s Letters and Politics has decided to broadcast excerpts from Jeremy Scahill‘s speech from Monday, 9 MAY 2016, at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley.  Listen (or download) here. [3]



[Working draft transcript of actual event by Messina for Lumpenproletariat, Jeremy Scahill, and KPFA; apologies for gaps at the outset.  I was visiting with a KPFA friend, Perrine Kelly, tabling for KPFA in the lobby, when I heard BET begin and I had to scramble for a seat.  So, I failed to capture clearly the complete event.  N.B.:  The annotated time-stamps correspond to my personal audio recording digital file.]

FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF BERKELEY, Berkeley, California; Monday, 9 MAY 2016, 19:30 PDT

BRIAN EDWARDS-TIEKERT:  “[SNIP] (c. 0:01)  [inaudible]  The culmination of that work is gathered together in this book, that Jeremy has kindly joined us to present tonight.  It’s entitled The Assassination Complex:  Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program.  I’d like you to join me in giving a very warm welcome to Jeremy Scahill. [audience/congregation applause]

JEREMY SCAHILL:  “Well, it’s really great to see so many of you here tonight.  I know you’d rather be at the [inaudible] or a Bernie rally.  But you came here.  [SNIP]  So, I really appreciate it.

“It really is always a treat to come to Berkeley and to be around friends from KPFA.

“In many ways, I grew up at Pacifica Radio.  [I’m trying to say] I started off by working an [inaudible].  I was more of a [inaudible].  [audience laughter]

[inaudible] volunteer.  But, over the years, I participated at all of the Pacifica stations many times.

[inaudible]  And there was nothing I would rather be doing than working in radio.  [inaudible]  And Democracy Now! was very much my university.  And I learned journalism, like so many people who had gone through KPFA or KPFK or WBAI or KPFT or WPFW.  And that was learning journalism as a trade, like a plumber, or an electrician, or their trade.  And I think, if you come at it that way, you’re much more inclined to embrace the key principles of good journalism, or responsible journalism, that you hold those in power accountable, regardless of what political party they’re from, that you give voice to the voiceless, and that you provide people with information, that is actionable, that they can translate into action, help them make informed decisions on what policies to support or oppose and how to shape different ways of seeing the world, than those in power would have us believe is the truth and nothing but the truth.  (c. 3:19)

So, I feel at home among the community at KPFA.  And I commend this radio station for giving so many young people an opportunity to study journalism and study rebel journalism.  So—” [strong, sudden, audience applause]

“As we’re speaking today on May 9th [2016], it would have been the 95th birthday of Father Daniel Berrigan, the amazing Jesuit priest, antiwar activist, poet, author.  I would say that the four people who’ve had the greatest impact on my life as a young person trying to figure out what I wanted to do were David Dellinger, the great pacifist who was most known for being one of the Chicago Eight, also a fierce and tireless advocate for political prisoners, particularly Leonard Peltier, who was once again just passed over for clemency by President Obama.

“David Dellinger was not just an activist, but he was also a journalist.  And I always tell young people that if you wanna read one busy, excellent collection of essays from someone who really didn’t give a shit if someone called him an activist journalist or not—oh, we’re in church; [audience laughs] sorry God [audience laughs]—read Dave Dellinger’s collection of essays called Revolutionary Nonviolence.  You can find copies of it online.  But it was really a book, that changed my life.

“And, then, of course, Amy Goodman is still to this day my mentor and one of my greatest friends. [audience applause]

“But through a sort of twist of personal fate, I ended up living with Phil Berrigan for over a year painting houses with him in Baltimore.  I had left the University of Wisconsin before it [inaudible].  And I hitched a ride out to Washington, D.C.  And I moved into a homeless shelter called the Community for Creative Nonviolence.  And some of you may remember Mitch Snyder, who was—throughout the Reagan era—he was on hunger strike and doing creative actions, and releasing rats onto the lawn of the White House [inaudible]

“And I was there in the summer of 1995.  It was the fiftieth anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasake.  The whole peace movement really descended on Washington that summer.  And there were people getting arrested everyday.  And every night there would be speakers in church.  And everyone from the Berrigans to Daniel Ellsberg and so many that it was really like a [inaudible] crash course in alternative history of the United States, or the real history of the United States.  [inaudible] like listening to KPFA.

“And one day I was approached by Phil Berrigan.  And he said:  You know, we could use a [inaudible] like you [inaudible] in Baltimore. [audience laughs]

“Anyway, it was Phil Berrigan.  So, what was I gonna say?  No?  He said: Come over for a weekend.  And I ended up staying for a year and a half. (c. 6:55)

“I would get up really early in the morning.  I would go [inaudible] just make up a series of numbers as a social security number, [audience laughs] which I always thought at some point [inaudible].  But the way that they supported their community was out of the industry of painting houses.  And it was all [inaudible] of the payroll, no taxes, legally, in Livingston.

“And, so, I would get up early in the morning.  And we’d load the truck.  And Phil and myself and others would go and paint houses.  And that’s how that community supported itself.

“And, through that, I met Dan BerriganAnd the Berrigan brothers had a profound impact on me and what I wanted to do with my life.

“And Dan Berrigan authored the statement of the Catonsville Nine, which was in May of 1968, where Dan and Phil Berrigan, both of whom were at the time priests in good standing, went to a draft house, a customs house, in Catonsville, Maryland and in broad daylight entered the building and began to open the file cabinets where the draft files were being held for people of that area and put them into metal waste bins.  And, then, they took them out into the parking lot; and they piled them up.  And they had created their own napalm from a U.S. Army field manual, that they had gotten.  And they made napalm.  And they burned the draft files with homemade napalm.

“And the statement that the Catonsville Nine hand-wrote, one line of it I always remember because it’s, it—it chokes me up, but it also gives me chills.  It’s about the responsibility we all have, people around the world who live on the other side of the barrel of the gun that is U.S. foreign policy.  And it began:

Our apologies good friends for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper, instead of children…

“And I remember that.  And I remember that the—[inaudible]—Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, when he was asked about the war in Vietnam.  Are you on the side of the Việt Cộng?  Are you on America’s side?  Whose side are you on?  He said:  I’m on the side of the people, that are being burned, which is really the only answer you have in war, that you’re on the side of the people, that are being burned. [4]

“And, so, I just wanted to bring Dan into this room with us because he was such a profound resistance figure in this country and, I think, someone whose legacy and work we cannot let die. [audience applause]  (c. 9:53)

“We are gathered here at a moment when all three of the major candidates seeking the presidency, the Republican Donald Trump, and then Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, all three of the major party candidates seeking the presidency, support the kill list. [5]  Yes, Bernie Sanders supports the kill list.

“Bernie Sanders says he supports the kill list, as it’s being administered by President Obama.  Bernie Sanders says he supports drone strikes.

“You see; Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, those are easy targets.  We know Hillary Clinton’s record very, very well.  Hillary has not met a war she hasn’t loved.  And she was a part of regime change.  And she is an empire politician.

“But, as journalists, we also have to hold those accountable, that may be popular with progressives.  Our conscience doesn’t stop at the entrance to Bernie Sanders’ rallies. [audience applause]

“Now, I could give a speech all night to tell you about everything, that Hillary Clinton has done.  Now, I’ll touch on some of that.  But I just wanna shed a bit of light on Bernie Sanders right now.

“In 1998, the Project for the New American Century, which was the neocon cabal, that later would serve as the heart of the Bush administration’s imperial wars and agenda, they signed a letter—and it was the all-star cast.  It was Donald Rumsfeld.  It was William Kristol, and Paul Wolfowitz, and on and on and on.  They wrote a letter to President Clinton, that called for Clinton to sign into law legislation, that would make regime change in Iraq the law of the land.

“And, ultimately, the neocons’ letter served as the basis for legislation, that would become the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.  Bernie Sanders supported that legislation, which laid the groundwork for the later invasion of Iraq because it meant that there could be no negotiated solution in Iraq because the U.S. law was that the regime had to fall.

“This wasn’t just about the pretext of 9/11 for invading Iraq.  The groundwork had already been laid in 1998. [6]

“And, then, Bernie Sanders followed up that vote by supporting the longest sustained bombing campaign since Vietnam, at the time, under the guise of the so-called No Fly Zones in the north and south of Iraq, that the Clinton administration claimed were protecting the Shia in the south and the Kurds in the north.  But, as I travelled around Iraq in that period, you would see Shia and Kurds being killed in record numbers in U.S. airstrikes, and not being protected.  Bernie Sanders supported that policy.

Bernie Sanders supported the most brutal regime of economic sanctions in modern history, that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis by depriving them of basic foodstuff and medicine and medical supplies.

“When you would travel around Iraq in the 1990s and go into hospitals, they were like, it was like going to death row for infants.  Bernie Sanders supported that policy.

“So, when Bernie Sanders rightly goes after Hillary Clinton for her love of regime change—and I think he should; and I wish that he was hitting harder on those issues.  You know, occasionally, we’ll see Bernie catch the fire; and he’ll go after her for Henry Kissinger.  And he’s the only candidate, that I’ve ever heard since the time, since the 1950s, who has brought up the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, which was one of the CIA’s first acts, the overthrow of Mosaddegg in Iran, the dirty business of the United States supporting dictators and death squads throughout Central and Latin America, and Bernie has rightly linked Hillary to that legacy because of who she has around her, in the form of Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, and then the permanent Democratic power structure.

“But Bernie Sanders‘ record is not clean on regime change.  And he can harp on Hillary Clinton‘s vote in favour of the Iraq Invasion all he wants; but, when the groundwork was being laid, Bernie said:  Yes.  Let’s do it.  Let’s target the Iraqi people in an effort to starve them and deprive them of medicine, so that they will rise up and overthrow their government.

“It was a bankrupt policy.  It didn’t harm Saddam Hussein anymore than the embargo on Cuba harmed Fidel Castro, personally. [audience applause]

“This is U.S. policy, starving people into submission.  So, it’s unfortunate that we don’t, actually, on foreign policy, have a radical difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, except in some of the rhetoric, because when it comes down to it—and I don’t know who Bernie is listening to on a foreign policy level—but, when he is ever pressed on it, he comes off as an apologist for militarism.  His own track record is not some kind of an anti-interventionist, anti-imperialist foreign policy.  No, no, no.

“Berniewhen Hillary wasn’t even in the Senate yet—was supporting the war in Iraq.  That has been consistent from the 1991 Gulf War until the present.  It’s been consistently anti-Iraqi people.  This is all the same war.  You know; all of this attention right now is being paid to ISIS.

ISIS is a brutal, murderous force, no doubt about it.  I knew James Longley(sp?), who was beheaded by ISIS, several journalists were beheaded by ISIS, aid workers, people were set on fire. [7]  They’re pushing gay people off of buildings.  They’re pushing stone walls onto adulterers.  All of that is a horrid atrocity, that we watch, played out on television.

But no one asks the question:  Who is ISIS?  Where did they come from?  Did ISIS just appear out of nowhere and some guy named Baghdadi—who, by the way, had been in a U.S. prison in Iraq—that Baghdadi, somehow, appeared out of nowhere and declared that he was the caliph?  And that they were gonna establish the caliphate?

“No.  The propagandists from ISIS, they appeared.  Many of them from the west, some of them, that grew out of what was called Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, or Al Qaeda in Iraq.  But that’s not where they get their military know-how.  That’s not the military strength of ISIS.  The military strength of ISIS is made up of former Ba’athists, some of whom were trained by the United States when the U.S. was backing Iran and Iraq in an effort to try to have them kill each other off.

“One of the top military commanders in the early stages of ISIS was the king of clubs on the U.S. deck of cards, when they were going after Saddam Hussein, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri al-Tikriti.  He’s no radical jihadist.  The military core were largely secular members of Saddam Hussein’s military, who were fired by Paul Bremer when the United States invaded Iraq because they were obsessed with equating Saddam with Hitler, the Ba’ath Party with the Nazi Party.

“Do you think that Jihad John, from Britain, knows how to operate a U.S. tank?  No.  Who knows how to operate a U.S. tank?  They were people, that had been in Saddam’s military.  Are they fighting for the caliphate?  No.  They’re fighting the same war, that they have been fighting for a very long time.  It’s about tribes.  It’s about territory.  And it’s about a marriage of convenience.  It is enemy of my enemy is my friend.

“When the United States came into Iraq and fired 250,000 Iraqi soldiers, many of them Sunnis, and then the Shia death squads were built up by David Petraeus and the people, that implemented what they called the Salvador Option.  They started massacring people in the western parts of the country, in the Sunni parts of the country.

The United States wanted to destroy any attempt at a unified resistance.  So, they opened a two-front war against the Sunnis in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Anbar, and against Muqtadā al-Ṣadr‘s forces in the south, in Najaf, Karbala, and also in Sadr City.  And, in the process, they unleashed a cage of horrors, that no one could shut. (c. 18:37)

“And, so, what happened was that the United States, realising that they had allowed Iran to gain incredible, unprecedented, influence in Iraq, as a result of the invasion, began panicking.  And they ran back to the Sunnis, who they had backed in the form of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party.  And they created what they called the Awakening Councils.  And they started funneling money to the Sunnis.  And they were actually paying them not to kill U.S. troops.  That was the strategy for a while.

“And, then, the U.S. decided that that wasn’t worth it anymore.  So, then, they just pulled out.  And, then, bloodbath occurred between the pop-up militias, that the United States had created on the Shia side and, then, the Awakening Councils, that they had created on the Sunni side. (c. 19:25)

“So, then, when Iraq became a free-for-all and Iran started becoming more and more in control of the country, the Sunnis started to unite again.  And they got into a marriage of convenience with these wackos from ISIS, that you see on the videos because it aided their propaganda attempt.  It gave some meaning and an internationalism, albeit a twisted internationalism, to their struggle.

We can’t talk about ISIS without talking about how the United States played a central, if not the central, role in creating the conditions, that made a group like ISIS viable in the parts of Syria and Iraq, that they now control. [audience applause]  (c. 21:05)

“And, then, to talk about Hillary Clinton, when you look at what’s happened under the Obama administration, they were clinging for dear life under Hosni Mubarak, when the uprising began in Egypt.  And you could go back and read the statements about Hillary Clinton talking about: How wonderful Mubarak’s wife is. And Mubarak is our ally.  And they were on the wrong side of that until the eleventh hour.  And, then, there actually was an election.  But the wrong person won the election, which is also what happened in Gaza.  And, when the wrong people win a democratic election, then, it doesn’t count.  You know? We will tell you who the candidate you can vote for isAnd that’s been the way the U.S. has done it for a very, very long time.

“So, when the wrong candidate won in Egypt and, then, there was a coup against Mohamed Morsi, who also, by the way, was a terrible president; but that’s a whole other discussion.  And then Morsi gets imprisoned and is going to, either, die in that prison cell or eventually be executed.  There was a coup by General Sisi.  General Sisi is like Mubarak after Mubarak.  It’s like the difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke.  There’s a little bit of a flavour change.  Maybe there’s a different chemical in it, that makes you think you’re not gonna get fat from drinking it.  But it’s largely the same end-product.  That’s the same thing with Sisi and Mubarak. (c. 21:32)

“The United States, now, is fully backing Sisi.  And the fact that there had been a coup of the first democratically-elected president of Egypt in—ever—is like off the map now.  No one talks about it.

“And you look at what the U.S. has done in Libya.  They overthrew GaddafiThe idea that that was a popular uprising, that brought down Gaddafi is one of the biggest lies of the Obama administration.  That was a regime change by air power. [audience applause]

“Now, the Republicans, the only deaths, that they ever will recognise in Libya are the deaths, that happened in Benghazi.  And the thing is:  Because there’s such a carnival of bat-shit craziness coming from the Republicans about Benghazi, we can’t talk about the real issue.  The real issue there:  This wasn’t about a Muḥammad movie.  This wasn’t about an anniversary of 9/11.  This was the fact that the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command [JSOC] were running a little mini-covert assassination campaign inside of Libya.  And that was blowback.

The attack that happened on the annex and on the compound, where Ambassador Stevens was, that wasn’t angry locals responding to a video some wacko in California made about the Prophet Muḥammad.

This was part of an ongoing war where the U.S. was killing people, that were important to tribesAnd there was an uprising against the United States there.  (c. 42:37)

Hillary Clinton should be answering for thatHillary Clinton should be answering for the deaths of those Americans, but in that context. [audience applause]

“This isn’t just about:  Oh, they failed to send the right backup to the Navy SEALs and the CIA contractors, that were protecting Ambassador Stevens that day.  Why did those people attack the compound?

“But no one wants to talk about that.  No one wants to talk about the fact that when you overthrow people, like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, you’re gonna have to face the consequences.  And the U.S. never wants to take responsibility for that.

“I spent much time in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  That was a brutal dictatorship.  I met people who had their tongues cut out because their children had told their teachers that their dad was smarter than Saddam Hussein.  The Ba’ath Party then comes.  They take you out of your home.  And you have your tongue surgically removed.  I have no doubt in my mind about who Saddam Hussein was.  But you could walk down the street without getting murdered in Saddam’s Iraq, as long as you kept your mouth shut.

“You can’t walk anywhere now.  The sectarianism, that has been fueled in Iraq is largely a modern creation.  You had so much intermarrying.  You had a secular strand, that ran strong through that society.  And that’s all been obliterated.  It forced people into a Balkanisation, that they didn’t want, but now is there.  And now it’s become a breeding ground for terrorism. (c. 24:24)

“You know; there was no Al Qaeda presence in Iraq prior to 9/11, except in the northern parts of Iraq, which the U.S. and its allies controlled.  [inaudible] , who was in northern Iraq, had regularly engaged in firefights with Saddam Hussein’s forces.  After the invasion of Iraq, all of a sudden, it became like fly paper with jihadists around the world, who wanted to come and fight the United States.  It was an open front.  The same thing is happening in Libya.  The same thing is happening in Syria.  (c. 24:56)

“You know; the book, that we’re gonna discuss tonight is about secret and top-secret, classified documents on the drone programme.  And we are waiting, any day now, for President Obama to release their official statistics on how many people have been killed outside of Iraq and Afghanistan in drone strikes, including, you understand, civilians that have been killed.

“Now, I’m not privy to that.  I don’t hang out with the journalists, that would get those kinds of leaks from the White House.  But I would imagine that the numbers, that they are going to provide are going to be shockingly low for anyone who’s been paying even a minute bit of attention to the deaths, that have been caused by drone strikes.

“But I’ll share something with you that the White House doesn’t wanna talk about, that the military and CIA don’t want to talk about.  The reason that President Obama can get on television and give speeches where he says that the number of civilians, that have been killed in drone strikes is minimal is because they have created a mathematical formula, that will almost always produce the number zero when the question is:  How many civilians have been killed?

“Let me tell you what I mean by that.  Every drone strike, that is a so-called personality strike, involving one target, one objective, that person has their selectors, that are put into the kill database, their SIM cards, their handset numbers of the actual phones, that they have, if they have email addresses, if they have other digital fingerprints of who they are in touch with and their assigned numbers, sometimes they’re assigned numbers, sometimes they are assigned nicknames.  But each strike is intended to kill one individual, unless it’s a signature strike, which I’ll talk about in a second.

“But most strikes are what are called personality strikes.  So, they are going after one person.  Now, in many cases, they kill that person, or don’t kill that person but a lot of other people are killed.  And sometimes they may be armed associates of the individual that the United States is hunting and that they’ve ordered, through a whole process with the individuals involved in the drone programme, to hit.  (c. 27:09)

When they kill those people, if they’re not clearly identifiable as women or children, they automatically categorise them as EKIAenemies killed in action.  And, only if you are posthumously proven to have not been a militant—which they never define—a terrorist, or an associate of a terrorist, you shall remain an enemy killed in action.

“So, when they kill someone in a drone strike and the president says how many people were killed.  They’ll say: Well, we got a jackpot—which is the intended target.  And, then, they’ll report the EKIA, four enemies killed in action.

“But if the president wanted to dig a little bit deeper and say:  Well, how do you know those people were enemies [inaudible]?  Now, that would be an interesting question.

“But if you don’t ask that question, then you don’t have to take on the moral burden of what the answer might be.  So, you can say:  Well, our reports from the agencies, from the military, is that we killed this bad guy and there were five other enemies killed in action.

“That’s why the president can say: Well, the number of civilians killed is minimal.  Unless journalists were on the scene, or human rights workers were on the scene, or people survived—you know; some of the documents, that have been published also show the kill chain, how it makes its way all the way up to the president’s desk.  And it’s, actually, an incredible bureaucracy, if you look at it.  And a lot of it originates with intelligence given by foreign governments to the United States.  (c. 28:42)

“So, in Yemen, for instance, much of the information, that is used to target people, is given to the U.S. by Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis have their own war, which is a horrifying crime playing out now in Yemen.

“But they also have their own internal struggles, beyond a war, that—most wars you can see in some reality around the world.

“The Saudis have their own agenda.  And they keep telling the United States:  This person’s a terrorist.  That person’s a terrorist.  This person’s a terrorist.  The former dictator of Yemen would also be giving names to the Americans.  And on multiple occasions, the United States killed individuals in Yemen, who were not Al Qaeda, but instead were domestic opponents of the regime in Yemen.  (c. 29:25)

“The same happens with the Kenyans and the Ugandans giving information about the numbers that the United States has killed in Somalia.  And, so, that intelligence gets piped into the system.  And it goes through the military commanders, task forces; and there’s nominations, then, that are presented to a committee made up of the top deputies to senior cabinet officials.

“And those people would usually gather on Tuesdays.  I don’t know if they still do it.  But they would have Terror Tuesdays, where they would go through what they actually call baseball cardsBBCs.  And it’s just like baseball cards when you were a kid, if you collected baseball cards.  They have a picture.  They have stats. (c. 29:53) [SNIP]


“And let me say something about Trump.  I do think that Donald Trump is espousing overtly fascist ideas.  But I don’t think that this is somehow unique to Trump.  What I think Trump is doing is bringing to the surface a fascism, that already existed. [audience applause]  He’s making it more visible. [applause continues]

“And this is tough to say in some circles.  I’m not convinced that Trump’s foreign policy would somehow be categorically different from Hillary Clinton‘s. [audience applause]  I’m not convinced of that. [applause continues]

“I’m not saying anyone should vote for Donald Trump by any stretch of the imagination.  But I’m also saying: Don’t just assume that Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy is going to be less belligerent or less dangerousShe is a politician of empire.  There are big risks in this no matter which of those candidates win.

“I think that if Trump wins there’s a greater likelihood that strong neocon voices may get him to do the insane, which would be to do some sort of overt military action against Iran, which would have extraordinarily grave consequences.

“But, at the same time, Hillary Clinton is going to continue to widen the sandbox of all these little wars, that are just destabilising huge swaths of territory around the world.

“And the message, that the United States has been sending to Muslim countries everywhere is that: There is a war against your religion.  The secularism of some of those societies, particularly Iraq, where you had western educated engineers and doctors and lawyers.  That’s done.  It’s overwhelmingly, it’s finished.

“And when the people fall, who is there to catch them?  In societies where we’ve destroyed the civil infrastructure, where we’ve destroyed secular educational institutions, where we’ve pushed people into looking for some meaning in life, a lot of people are caught by religion.  It’s the same in this country, too, with radical right-wing Christians.  It’s the same kind of mentality.

“But we are creating a condition where there are generations of young people growing up with a perception that, in their eyes, is the only reality.  And that is that who they are is being attacked.  And we can talk about whether or not they should view it that way; it’s irrelevant because that’s the way that so many young people view it.

“You know they talk about homegrown terrorism in this country.  Well, what are these young people watching?  What are the videos, that they’re watching?  They’re watching Guantánamo.  They’re watching the drone strikes.  They’re watching bodies being pulled from rubble.  They’re watching invasions and overthrows.

“You know; it’s like we erase all the context from all of this.  History is irrelevant.  It’s just:  We’re going to kill the bad guys.  That is the entire philosophy right now.  We’re going to kill our way to victory.  And, if that continues to be the policy, then we are going to get hit so hard in this country, beyond anything that we can imagine right now.

We are creating the conditions for a very serious war against American civilians because the perception is that the United States is a gratuitous enemy, that kills civilians.

[SNIP]    (c. 1:35:00)

[This transcript will be expanded as time constraints, and/or demand or resources, allow.  Apologies for gaps in text; we must invest in a better quality audio recorder, which can better deal with recording in such rooms with echo.]



  • “The Assassination Complex: Inside Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program by Jeremy Scahill”, Lumpenproletariat, 3 MAY 2016
  • “Thích Nhất Hạnh, Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, and peace activist on Being Peace”, Lumpenproletariat, 8 JUN 2015


[1]  KPFA Benefit organised by free speech radio KPFA (Berkeley, CA) and held at First Congregational Church, Channing Way, Berkeley, California, on Monday, 9 MAY 2016 at 19:30 PDT.  Advance tickets were sold through Brown Paper Tickets at $12 per general admission ticket plus $1.41 online ticket service fee.

Jeremy Scahill was introduced by Brian Edwards-Tiekert.  Scahill critiqued Bernie Sanders and his poor foreign policy.  But the sad fact is that Sanders’ domestic policy could be better, too.  Even though Bernie Sanders has hired one of my UMKC professors, as his Chief Economist, Dr. Stephanie Kelton, he doesn’t seem willing to fully present all of her ideas.  For example, if Sanders had more grit, he would communicate to the American people some of the basics of Modern Money Theory (MMT) and how modern money can be employed for public purpose.  This would include a study of the Job Guarantee, how the USA, being the sovereign currency issuer of the US dollar, can afford to always make good on its financial obligations.  Sadly, Sanders has failed to mention to the American people how the government with a sovereign currency can always afford to hire all the unemployed people.

Scahill in Berkeley May 2016, IMG_20160509_195607

BET vs Scahill Berkeley, May 2016, IMG_20160509_204358

Free speech radio’s Brian Edwards-Tiekert filtered/whittled audience questions.

Jeremy Scahill & Messina May 2016, IMG_20160509_221214

Jeremy Scahill and Messina, First Congregational Church of Berkeley,     9 MAY 2016, Berkeley, California

Scahill in Berkeley MAY 2016 poster, IMG_20160509_194332

[2]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  UpFront, hosted by Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Monday, 9 MAY 2016, 07:00 PDT.

[3]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  Letters and Politics, hosted by Mitch Jeserich, Wednesday, 11 MAY 2016, 10:00 PDT.

[4]  We recall Steve Albini‘s eternal primal scream on behalf of all underdogs:  I side with the defenders!

[5]  On the USA’s illegal state-engineered kill list, see:

  • “I’m on the Kill List. This is what it feels like to be hunted by drones” by Malik Jala, The Independent, 12 APR 2016
  • “”Where Does This End?”: After Drone Papers Leaks, U.K. Gov’t Has a Kill List of Its Own”, Democracy Now!, 22 OCT 2015
  • “JSoc: Obama’s secret assassins” by Naomi Wolf, The Guardian, 3 FEB 2013
  • “Kill List (Episode #93 – Jeremy Scahill, Jung & Naiv)”, 21 OCT 2013:

  • Obama’s Kill List: Silence Is Not an Option” by the Editors of The NationThe Nation, 6 JUN 2012  [This article cites, among others, an article by Jeremy Scahill entitled “Target: Yemen”, 5 MAR 2012]

[6]  Free speech radio’s Project Censored (and, perhaps, Flashpoints and Guns and Butter) is one of the few news organisations, which I’ve heard discussing this fact over the years, that is the role of the Project for the New American Century manufacturing a pretext for endless war being projected everywhere by US imperial hegemony for the perpetual enrichment of war profiteers.  It’s good that Jeremy Scahill talks about this.  Perhaps, then, the less radical broadcasters at KPFA and Pacifica Radio (e.g., Brian Edwards-Tiekert, and his faction, SaveKPFA) will gather the courage to speak more honestly and frankly in future.

I’ll have to dig through KPFA’s archives (or my personal archives, if KPFA has deleted from public access) and find past Project Censored broadcasts, particularly during the now-defunct KPFA radio morning show The Morning Mix with Project Censored.  I remember some excellent broadcasts there on the Project for the New American Century.  Such analyses obliterate any remaining shreds of credibility of the official state narratives used to justify U.S. military aggression in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, particularly following the attacks of 9/11.

[7]  See the following:

  • “Still In Motion Interview with Laura Poitras, Director of My Country, My Country“, 19 APR 2008.


[10 MAY 2016]

[Last modified 05:48 PDT  19 MAY 2016]