In episode 70 David talks to former soldier John Dowe whether the drug Mefloquine (see Episode 67’s interview with Dr. Remington Nevin) could have played a role in the so-called Somalia Affair. In 1993, the same year as the Battle of Mogadishu and Black Hawk Down, soldiers from the elite Canadian Airborne Regiment were also in a restless and violent part of Somalia. Frustrated with locals sneaking in to steal and sabotage, someone ordered them to start “roughing up” anyone they caught. One group of soldiers interpreted this as setting up a trap. When the searchlight was suddenly turned on the soldiers literally blew one Somali into pieces, and severely injured another. In a second incident, a Somali was captured and beaten to death by two other soldiers.
When photos were released, a public inquiry and criminal investigation were launched, resulting in one soldier trying to commit suicide, one being sentenced to five years, and several others disciplined. The head of the military was forced to resign due to the scandal, and his successor. The Minister of Defence also resigned. Most significantly of all the entire Canadian Airborne Regiment was disbanded.
John Dowe, like many others, has noticed severe personality changes after taking the weekly malaria drug Mefloquine, and he believes that this, along with other factors such as stress, alcohol, boredom and poor leadership, allowed this scandal to occur. In fact, when he walked into the bunker where the Somali was being beaten to death, one of the soldiers doing the beating came up to him and said that “This is not who I am, John”.
John became an activist only in 2014, when he discovered that this drug is still in use by Canadian and other militaries. He is part of a small group of Canadians trying to raise awareness, in cooperation with similar groups around the world.
Although there is no website yet, John can be reached via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636190328 and Twitter: @johndowe49.
For more information on the Somalia affair, please see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somalia_Affair
In the American police state, you’re either a prisoner (shackled, controlled, monitored, ordered about, limited in what you can do and say, your life not your own) or a prison bureaucrat (police officer, judge, jailer, spy, profiteer, etc.). When you’re a child in the American police state, life is that much worse. Microcosms of the police state, America’s public schools contain almost every aspect of the militarized, intolerant, senseless, overcriminalized, legalistic, surveillance-riddled, totalitarian landscape that plagues those of us on the “outside.” Read
We turn our attention to Europe, compelled by shocking images of refugees’ deaths. To the stories of the stateless having identification numbers written on them and told their trains are headed to a safety, rather than camps. Eerie reminders from the past merge with disturbing pictures of the present. What will be the refugees’ future? War has uprooted half of Syria’s population, creating 4 million international refugees, with tens of thousands more fleeing to Europe to escape humanitarian crisis or armed conflict from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan and Sudan. Inspiringly, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica is opening his summer home to 100 children, while Pope Francis calls on parishes and religious communities to provide shelter. Yet globally few nations are doing enough. The US has accepted less than 1500 Syrians, although President Obama has pledged to increase it to a nominal 10,000. A European Commission plan advances to settle 160,000 in the European Union. Many European nations, including Germany, are pledging to do much more, yet others insist the migrants apply for asylum in the first safe country they reach (often an overloaded Greece), pushing back on proposed mandatory quotas. (There is something absurd in watching countries who colonized or
This week's program offers two perspectives on global capitalism and permanent war. Sociologist William Robinson makes the case that the present state of capitalism may be a "systemic crisis," something not seen in centuries. Then peace advocate Kathy Kelly relates her experiences from Afghanistan to US prisons, and refutes the notion of"humanitarian war."
William Robinson teaches Sociology at UC Santa Barbara. Kathy Kelly is the founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
UNITED NATIONS – As tens of thousands of refugees continue to flee conflict-ridden countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, Western European governments and international humanitarian organisations are struggling to cope with a snowballing humanitarian crisis threatening to explode. Hungary is building a fence to ward off refugees. Slovakia says it will accept only Christian refugees, triggering a condemnation by the United Nations. “We have to remember [refugees] are human beings. Often they have no choice but to leave their homes. And they must have unhindered access to basic human rights, in particular the right to protection and health care.” —Francesco Rocca, President of the Italian Red Cross Read
Since the end of World War Two the Central Intelligence Agency has been a major force in US and foreign news media, exerting considerable influence over what the public sees, hears and reads on a regular basis. CIA publicists and journalists alike will assert they have few, if any, relationships, yet the seldom acknowledged history of their intimate collaboration indicates a far different story–indeed, one that media historians are reluctant to examine. When seriously practiced, the journalistic profession involves gathering information concerning individuals, locales, events, and issues. In theory such information informs people about their world, thereby strengthening “democracy.” This is exactly the reason why news organizations and individual journalists are tapped as assets by intelligence agencies and, as the experiences of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte (entry 47 below) suggest, this practice is at least as widespread today as it was at the height of the Cold War. Read
The ideological and physical hold of American imperial power, buttressed by the utopian ideology of neoliberalismand global capitalism, is unraveling. Most, including many of those at the heart of the American empire, recognize that every promise made by the proponents of neoliberalism is a lie. Global wealth, rather than being spread equitably, as neoliberal proponents promised, has been funneled upward into the hands of a rapacious, oligarchic elite, creating vast economic inequality. The working poor, whose unions and rights have been taken from them and whose wages have stagnated or declined over the past 40 years, have been thrust into chronic poverty and underemployment, making their lives one long, stress-ridden emergency. The middle class is evaporating. Cities that once manufactured products and offered factory jobs are boarded up-wastelands. Prisons are overflowing. Corporations have orchestrated the destruction of trade barriers, allowing them to stash $2.1 trillion in profits in overseas banks to avoid paying taxes. And the neoliberal order, despite its promise to build and spread democracy, has hollowed out democratic systems to turn them into corporate leviathans. Read
The nature of the war in Afghanistan has shifted dramatically in recent months. While the US and NATO continue to be actively involved in the country – their strategic objectives having changed very little since the Bush administration launched the war nearly a decade and a half ago – the complexion of the battlefield, and the parties actively engaged in the war, has changed significantly. The emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan, along with the impending withdrawal of US-NATO troops from the country, has driven the Taliban into a marriage of convenience, if not an outright alliance, with Iran. What seemed like an unfathomable scenario just a few years ago, Shia Iran’s support for the hardline Sunni Taliban has become a reality due to the changing circumstances of the war. Though it may be hard to believe, such an alliance is now a critical element of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. But its significance is far larger than just shifting the balance of power within the country. Read
The 2013 death of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, confirmed this week, should have marked the end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. But the fates of the two main leaders identified as responsible for the 9/11 attacks—Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar—are only milestones. Thanks to the destructive nature of the U.S. war, many newer and more formidable enemies have emerged. America’s first post-9/11 war, launched in Afghanistan in October 2001, is a grand symbol of our foreign policy failure. Fourteen years ago, Afghans were caught between two brutal and fundamentalist factions: the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. Today they are caught between four: the Taliban, government warlords who morphed from the Northern Alliance, U.S. forces and Islamic State. Read
Magicians wield secrecy on the theater stage in the service of illusions. Spies likewise wield illusion on the world stage in the service of secrecy. So it is with the events behind the attacks of 9/11 where those who question the official story are derided as conspiracy theorists. Thanks to the investigative digging of reporter James Bamford, with the assistance of NSA whistleblowers like Thomas Drake and Kirk Wiebe, the 9/11 crowd can now point to a conspiracy fact: an incredible cover-up that goes all the way to the top of the American intelligence community. In a recent piece published by Foreign Policy Bamford examines a phone call to a clandestine operations center run by Osama bin Laden in Yemen during March of 2000. The phone call was dialed by one of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar, from his apartment in San Diego. In fact, there were a number of such phone calls made by 9/11 hijackers living in San Diego. Why didn’t our security services immediately launch investigations? Read