Posted on Categories PBC Comments, Podcast Info

Mike Farrell on Illinois Abolishing Death Penalty; One American’s Perspective on Saudi Arabia; Your Tax Dollars Fund Crackdown in Bahrain

Mike Farrell, actor/activist on the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois; John Paul Jones, author of If Olaya Street Could Talk: Saudi Arabia, the Heartland of Oil and Islam. Farrell, best known for his role as B.J. Honeycutt in the MASH TV show, more recently had a role on Desperate Housewives. He is a founder and president of Death Penalty Focus and has spent 30 years advocating for the end of capital punishment in the US. Illinois just became the 15th state to ban the death penalty and close its death row, and Farrell talks about how Gov. Quinn–historically a supporter of executions– signed the law after consulting Desmond Tutu and Sister Helen Prejean. He also talks about the court-ordered moratorium in California, and other states where a ban may soon be enacted. At 27:15, John Paul Jones joins us to talk about his 20 years in Saudi Arabia. Jones challenges some of the American stereotypes of Saudi life. He talks about the morality cops (mutawaa, formally known as the Society for the Preservation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice), Osama bin Laden’s objections to the presence of Americans in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and the threat of a Saudi co-worker to bring a machine gun to work if the US invaded Iraq. We begin the conversation with Jones’ comments on the current protests in Barhrain and Saudi Arabia, and the March 14 deployment of Saudi troops and police in Bahrain. Jones flatly predicts that the Royal family will maintain control in Saudi Arabia. In his postscript, PBC cites information from this article by Nick Turse that shows US military support for Bahrain, and argues that any crackdown on the protesters will involve US tanks, weapons and bullets.