Wednesday, August 25, 2010

CNI - listen and talk to important voices

My first exposure to the problem of the power of the Israel lobby in the United States was in the early 1980's with a book by a Congressman from my state, Paul Findlay, in his They Dare to Speak Out. This was the first crack in the silence that has now become a flood.

Findlay was instrumental in creating the Council for the National Interest, or CNI. In the decades since, CNI has been conducting pilgrimages to the Middle East and doing its best to "advocate Middle East policies that serve the American national interest".

The leadership has just changed over to younger people and one of them Philip Giraldi, with this impressive CV (boldface is mine).

(Giraldi) an undergraduate degree with honors from the University of Chicago; a PhD from the University of London; speaks five languages; is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served eighteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain; was Chief of Base in Barcelona from 1989 to 1992 designated as the Agency's senior officer for Olympic Games support; upon retirement was a security consultant for a number of Fortune 500 corporate clients; and has been interviewed widely by such media as "Good Morning America," MSNBC, National Public Radio, BBC and others as a counter-terrorism expert.

Giraldi is the new Executive Director at CNI. This is clearly a man who can speak with some authority on many issues, which brings me to the reason for this can hear Giraldi being interviewed on a wonderful audio resource, an audio streaming program from CNI called Jerusalem Calling. There is a new edition of the program each Thursday, live at 12PM to 1PM Eastern time in the U.S.

Fortunately, an archive is kept and it is a gold mine for those interested in hearing some important voices from both America and the Middle East speaking their minds over the issues. You can hear from John Mearsheimer, Noam Chomsky, Jeffrey Blankfort, Jeff Halper, Laila el-Haddad, Mark Perry and many more.

Before I give you the links, a word of warning. In order to provide Jerusalem Calling, CNI uses a commercial web radio service called WSRadio. Unfortunately but understandably WSRadio inserts intro music and commercial breaks. Each weekly edition of Jerusalem Calling is broken up into four 15 minute segments - so you have to stream these segments one after another to hear an entire show.

Here's what I do to avoid all but the interview - click on each segment and, when it starts to play, move the time slider to the right just a bit to skip the noisy intro music - then listen to the segment. As soon as the host says "we have to take a break" get the next segment and repeat the process. Yes, it's an inconvenience to do this but I find it's worth it.

The interview with Phil Giraldi would be a good place to start, but you can also find John Mearsheimer, Noam Chomsky, Greta Berlin (who organized the Gaza Flotilla), Uri Avnery and Paul Findlay among many others. There is even an interview with a survivor of the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty.

You can browse through all of the archived programs by clicking on the DATE button under "Listen to the Archives 24/7" and selecting a date from the drop-down list of all show dates. Alternatively, CNI has its own archive page listed by name of person interviewed, but not every program is listed.

Again, the show is live from 12PM to 1PM Eastern time in the U.S. each Thursday and call-ins are invited. To hear it, at air time go to any of the interview links above and click on the flashing ON AIR box at the upper left of the page, NOT the flashing box at upper right - that's for a different program.

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