Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald talk about their new must-read book, Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire; Greg Mitchell of The Nation blogs daily on WikiLeaks and Manning. Gould & Fitzgerald are a husband/wife journalism team, and have covered Afghanistan since the Soviet occupation of the 1980’s. Their new book is powerful and concise on the history of the “graveyard of empires”; it also details the origins of the Taliban (created in Pakistan) and the array of armed groups in AfPak that are lumped together as “Taliban” by US media and politicians. Topics include the history of democracy in Afghanistan, and a detailed recounting of the US support for the mujahaddin during the 1980’s Soviet occupation, creating some of the “blowback” seen in the current US occupation. They detail how Pakistan plays both sides, and the struggle for oil and gas that is the basis for the conflict. They explain their 8-point plan for ending the US occupation, and give direct answers to the question posed in John Niems’ song that opens the segment, “Why Are We There”. I highly recommend their book–it provides the history and context that is sorely missing from most coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
At 1:04:47, Greg Mitchell from The Nation joins us to talk about the daily blog he has written for 17 weeks now about WikiLeaks, Assange and Manning. We talk about the first case of deaths indirectly linked to WikiLeaks’ exposure of diplomatic cables, about the PBS Frontline coverage of Bradley Manning–which Mitchell says incorrectly suggests that personal problems led Manning to leak the secret materials–about the chat logs that reveal his true intentions and motivation, and about the harsh treatment of Manning at the Quantico brig. We end by noting that Obama was secretly given an award for his administration’s transparency, which is about as ridiculous as his Nobel Peace Prize.