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Transcripts – 2013

Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Kathy Kelly
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

December 8, 2013

                                                                                                                     

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We are podcast and available 24/7 at kpfk.org where we are heard internationally.

Today I’m privileged to have Kathy Kelly as my guest on World Focus.  Kathy is a long-time peace activist and author.  Kathy was one of the founding members of Voices in the Wilderness and recently a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.  As part of peace team work in several countries, she’s traveled to Iraq many times, notably remaining in combat zones during the days of both US-Iraq wars, that’s two wars.  She’s been arrested more than sixty times at home and abroad.  She’s written her experiences as targets of US military bombardment and also with inmates of US prisons.  She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Nobel Laureate Mairead Maquire.

Welcome, Kathy Kelly.

Kathy:  Well hello, Blase.  Thanks so much for inviting me.

Blase:  Well, it’s just a pleasure to have you and I can’t help but think about the great legacy of Nelson Mandela today and his early reference to the phrase “apartheid has no future.”   And, I think that was prophetic and I think we have to see it as an international statement.  Apartheid has no future in Israel, in Gaza, no more ethnic highways for one ethnic group only, absolutely no future.  It has no future in an economic system that is apartheid in our own country, in a justice system that is two justice systems – one for the reach, one for the poor.  An economic system for the rich and the poor.  All of this is apartheid and I think Nelson’s message to us is apartheid has no future.

Any thoughts?

Kathy:  I’m so glad to hear you underscore what was so apparent throughout his life, that he wanted to educate people and do it through his own actions.  Sometimes I think people are maybe feeling vulnerable – I know I am – to saying “Well, this kind of inconvenience – if I get involved with this campaign or that campaign it might cost me some of my income or cost me my job or cost me time away, maybe to do an overnight in jail or longer, and then you think of Nelson Mandela and how his commitment to ending apartheid could survive all the long years in Robbins Island and another prison for 26 or 27 years.  And he emerged from that with his values intact.  He still remained, throughout his life, such a beacon for pointing to what could be possible, and I think you’re right about internationalizing that message and not accepting apartheid anywhere.

Read more…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

David Hartsough and David Swanson
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

November 24, 2013                  

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We are podcast and available 24/7 at kpfk.org where we are heard internationally.

Today I’m privileged to have two leaders in the international movement for justice and peace.  And how do we know who are the leaders?  Well, certainly not by purchased elections, rather by the fruits of their lives which produce a nonviolent peaceforce and a serious movement to end all war.  So, today I want to introduce the elder, David Hartsough, and David is the Executive Director of Peaceworkers based in San Francisco and Co-Founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce which has a mission to promote, develop and implement unarmed civilian peacekeeping as a tool for reducing violence and protecting civilians in situations of violent conflict.  David has been arrested for nonviolent action over a hundred times, most recently for protesting the build-up of war with Iran.

David Swanson is a long time activist, organizer, author and educator. His books include War Is A Lie (2010), When the World Outlawed War (2011), and The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2012). His most recent book is entitled, “War No More: The Case for Abolition” (2013). David is the host of Talk Nation Radio and blogs at www.davidswanson.org and www.warisacrime.org. David also works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization Roots Action and is on the communications committee of Veterans For Peace. I want to say that Veterans for Peace, of which I’m a member, is dedicated to abolishing war.  And also, David Swanson is currently Secretary of Peace in the Green Shadow Cabinet.

Welcome to both of you and David Hartsough, as the elder, would you like to tell us something about ending all war?  And this document, I must say David, has been read twice in its entirety on this program, following an interview with Oliver Stone where he expressed his thoughts on this matter, as well.

The listeners at this time should have this document memorized and we’ll have a test on that on Monday morning but in the meantime, would you care to comment on ending all wars?

David H:   Well, I think that the time has come to end all wars.  The world is suffering from wars, 180 million people died in the last century, and 80-90% of the people dying in wars are now civilians, including children.  We, in the United States, know the terrible cost of wars.  All our cities, states, counties as well as the federal government, are making horrendous cuts to social programs that meet human and environmental needs, so we can fight these wars and have military bases around the world and develop more nuclear weapons.  I think the immorality of war – I think wars are counter-productive.  We’ve been spending trillions of dollars on militarism and wars and we’re no safer than we were before.

Read More…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Oliver Stone
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

November 3, 2013                                                                                             

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We are podcast and available 24/7 at kpfk.org where we are heard internationally.

Today I’m privileged to have the acclaimed writer and director Oliver Stone as my guest.  Oliver Stone has written or directed over twenty full-length feature films earning a very well-respected place in the history of cinema.

Welcome Oliver, thank you for being with us.

Oliver:  Thank you, Blase, I’ve known you a long time.

Blase:  You know, Oliver, our young men and women, if they had studied history instead of triumphalism might not have died in places where they weren’t wanted.  I think your book is going to help save lives because it’s pointing up the areas that are not covered by triumphalistic high school and college history.  Would you care to comment on that?

Oliver:  Well, that’s part of the reason Peter Kuznick, the historian at American University,  and I did this was this – my three children, I’ve looked at their high school texts and they don’t get this.  They have a partial history but they don’t go indepth into the darker sides of American history, particularly since World War II.

Blase:  And the question is not asked, after we study, for example – the Revolutionary War, and Howard Zinn brought this out in one of his last talks before he passed away – we didn’t say, “How could that war have been avoided?”  We didn’t have the students answer that question.  Instead of that, they glorified the war and he asked the same question about the Civil War and about World War II, saying these are “holy wars”, also saying that they didn’t have to happen.  So, this is what we’re dealing with here.  Read More…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Colonel Ann Wright
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

September 8, 2013

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We are podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

I’m privileged today to have Colonel Ann Wright as my guest.   Colonel Wright served in the US Army for twenty-nine years and then as a diplomat in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.   She resigned from the Department of State on March 19, 2003, in opposition to the Iraq war.   She is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience” (http://www.voicesofconscience.com) which tells the stories of men and women who risked careers, reputations, and even freedom out of loyalty to the Constitution and the rule of law.   Colonel Wright was also a passenger on the Challenger 1, which along with the Mavi Marmara, was part of the Gaza freedom flotilla.   She is an active peace activist and a recipient of Truthout’s Freedom and Democracy Award.

Welcome, Ann Wright.

Ann:  Thank you, Blase.  It’s a pleasure to be with you.

Blase:   Well, you’ve had a very busy morning at the court and now at the White House.  Please tell us what’s happening today.

Ann:  Today in the morning was the continuation of the trial of Diane Wilson, a great activist from Texas who, along with many, many others have been on a long-term hunger strike.  She was on a water-only hunger strike for 58 days.  On the 58th day, which was on June 26th of this year she climbed the fence of the White House, to be a symbol, to draw media attention, to somebody climbing the fence to tell President Obama that we want Guantanamo closed, that we want people who have been cleared at Guantanamo to be allowed to go home, and in solidarity with the hunger strikers who have been on the hunger strike now for 106 days.   Read More…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Haskell Wexler and Daryl Hannah
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

July 28, 2013

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We are podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

I’m privileged today to have some very special guests.  Haskell Wexler is the only cinematographer with a star on Hollywood Boulevard.  He is probably the most famous cinematographer on the planet.  He is the winner of four Academy Awards, two  for documentaries and two for dramatic films.  The documentaries are “The Living City” and “Interviews with My-Lai Veterans.”  The dramatic films are “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Bound for Glory.”

In addition to this amazing history, one of Haskell Wexler’s films is a must-study for film students around the world.  That of course, is “Medium Cool” which takes us to the Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968.  John Casales, that’s Robert Forster, is a television news cameraman who finds out that his station has been providing the stories and information gathered by the news journalists to the FBI and he’s enraged.  The TV station then invents a reason to fire him.  Does that sound familiar?  Yes, there were whistle-blowers in 1968 as well.  After the bloodshed of that Democratic Convention, a congressional investigation concluded that the attack was a Chicago police riot based on massive evidence that the police moved with violence on a primarily legal demonstration.  But, of course my favorire film of Haskell Wexler’s is “Latino” which he made about the mercenary war in Nicaragua funded by the Iran-Contra scandal.  The use of mercenaries became so favored in the United States policy that we often find more mercenary contractors fighting our wars than members of the Armed forces.   Read More…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Jodie Evans
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

July 14, 2013

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We are podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

I’m privileged today to have Jodie Evans as a guest.  Jodie Evans is co-founder and co-director of CODEPINK and has served as a peace, environmental, women’s rights and social justice activist for forty years.  She’s traveled extensively to war zones promoting peaceful resolution to armed conflict.  Jodie served in the administration of Governor Jerry Brown and ran his campaign for the Presidency of the United States.  She’s the author of “Stop the Next War Now” and “The Twilight of Empire.”  Jodie Evans produced the Oscar-nominated documentary about Dan Ellsberg “The Most Dangerous Man in America.”  Also Howard Zinn’s “The People Speak.”  Jodie’s a board member of many key organizations and I must say, we are very proud to have her as a board member of the Office of the Americas.

Welcome Jodie Evans.

Jodie:  Thank you, Blase.  I’m very proud to be a part of the Office of the Americas, so thank you.

Blase:   How did you happen to come up with the concept of CODEPINK?

Jodie:  The day that Bush decided to put a resolution to Congress for preemptive strike on an innocent country, Iraq, Medea  Benjamin and Diane Wilson and I went to Washington to see what we could do and that day we called CODEPINK as a response to Bush frightening the American people with Code Red and Code Orange and Code Yellow.  So we called for CODEPINK for peace.

Blase:   Well, it’s been one of the most impressive and effective movements for peace that I have ever seen and now you have just returned from Yemen, the little country just south of Saudi Arabia, just west of the Arab Emirates.  What did you find in Yemen?

Read More…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Fred Branfman
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

June 30, 2013

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We’re podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

I’m privileged today to have Fred Branfman as a guest.  Fred Branfman is the author of a number of books on the Indochina War.  He served as Director of Project Air War and is an authority on the secret war conducted in Laos.  His articles have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Harper’s.  His latest article appears in Alternet this week and is titled, “The World’s Most Evil and Lawless Institution:  The Executive Branch of the United States Government.”

Welcome Fred Branfman.

Fred:  Thank you.

Blase:    How did you get this very good title, Fred?

Fred:  Well, personally I have never used the word “evil” in my life.  I think it gets over-used and when you over-use it, it loses its power.  But I also think that when a word is appropriate, it’s an act of moral cowardice not to use it and I think we all need to ask ourselves if killing innocent people is not evil, then what is evil?  In the case of the US Executive Branch, Democrats and Republicans, Johnson and Nixon, Bush and Obama, cumulatively – this is simple arithmetic from official sources which I list in my article – I try to link every single statistic used – they’ve killed, wounded, or made homeless, over 20 million human beings over the last 50 years, most of whom were civilians, 1.2 million civilians in Vietnam alone.  And what’s troubling about that is not only that act, the fact that they have killed, wounded or made homeless, far more people than any other government on earth in the last fifty years, but that it’s never discussed in our country.  It’s covered up.  It’s our silent shame.  We’re haunted by the ghosts of all the people we’ve killed all over the world but never talk about.  Read More…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Diane Wilson and Keith James

Also featuring Blase’s Commentary on the Syrian Disaster
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

June 23, 2013

 

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We’re podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

Well, we have another war brewing and we have some observations here from the quagmire in Afghanistan to the quagmire in Syria.  It states

Supporters of the United States’ twelve-year quagmire in Afghanistan cheered the news today that the U.S. would strive to achieve a seamless transfer of that quagmire to Syria, effective immediately.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sought to reassure those who were concerned that the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan signaled a wavering of the nation’s commitment to being mired in open-ended military muddles.

Read More…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Elizabeth McAlister; Blase’s Comments on Sister Megan Rice and the

Transform Now Plowshares Trial

Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

May 12, 2013

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We’re podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

I’m very privileged today to have Elizabeth McAlister as a guest.  Elizabeth McAlister is co-founder of Jonah House, a faith-based community center which is centered around nonviolence, resistance, and community.  The great and history-making actions for peace that have radiated from Jonah House over the past many decades will be remembered as a faithful defiance to the warfare state and hopefully, to saving the world from nuclear biocide.

Welcome, Elizabeth McAlister.

Elizabeth:  Thank you so much.  What an introduction.  Hard to live up to.

Blase:   Very well earned.  Could you tell us something about a certain trial that’s taking place in Knoxville, Tennessee today?

Elizabeth:  A beautiful, terrible trial.  And stunning human beings involved in it.  They’re in jail now.  This past summer, July I believe, they entered on the property of the Y-12 Nuclear facility in Oakridge, Tennessee, and this was an impenetrable facility, so-called.  This is where the Manhattan Project had the bombs made and it has continued since World War II to be the center for the development of the necessary fuels for thermonuclear weapons and it’s vast.  It’s so vast that it’s hard to believe and it’s so inserted into the population down there in Tennessee, almost everybody has some association with Oak Ridge.   Read More…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Stansfield Smith
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

April 14, 2013

Blase:  Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We are podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we are heard internationally.

I’m privileged today to have Stansfield Smith as guest.  Stansfield Smith is a longtime anti-war and solidarity activist.  He’s written for the Monthly Review and he recently returned from North Korea and has written about his experience in CounterPunch (www.counterpunch.org).

Welcome, Stansfield Smith.

Stansfield:  Thank you for having me on your show.

Blase:  Well, it’s a pleasure.  You ask a question here, “Does Obama Want More War,” and then you give us a little background on that war from 1950 to 1953.  I guess I just have to tell you my personal interest and that I received my honorable discharge from the United States Marine Corps Reserve in March of 1950 and the war started three months later and I can’t help but think of how many of the young people I knew who went over there didn’t come back.  And here I was resigned and retired at that time.  So it’s a very strong, personal interest to me.  Read more…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Robert Skeels
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

February 10, 2013

Blase:  Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We are podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

I am privileged today to have Robert Skeels as a guest.  Robert Skeels writes on issues of social justice.  He’s a US Navy veteran and a proud member of Veterans for Peace.  He’s an adherent of liberation theology and a member of the International Socialist Organization (ISO).  His volunteer work includes 12-step programs, the church, and homeless advocacy.  His articles and essays have been published in Counterpunch, Dissident Voices, the Los Angeles Daily News, and the Socialist Worker.  Robert is currently a candidate for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Trustees District 2.  Welcome, Robert Skeels.

Robert:  Thank you for having me.

Blase:  You’re more than welcome.  Why did you decide to run for the Los Angeles Unified School District?  Read more…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Kathy Kelly
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

February 3, 2013

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We are podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

Today, I am very privileged today to have Kathy Kelly as my guest.   Kathy is the founding member of Voices in the Wilderness, and currently co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and Kathy has just returned from Afghanistan.  She is a major leader of the international peace movement.  She spent eight months in prison for protesting the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Kathy’s trips to Iraq began back in 1991.  In spite of the US embargo, she brought food and medical supplies to Iraq on an endless number of delegations.  She’s also dedicated herself to the needs of the people of Afghanistan, especially the young and she has now just returned from that destroyed country.  Kathy has also been nominated for the Nobel Prize many times.

Welcome, Kathy Kelly.

Kathy:  Well, hello Blase.  Thank you so much for being in touch with me.

Blase:   It’s a pleasure.  You have been making duvets or comforters for people that are freezing, right?  Read more…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Dennis Kucinich
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

January 27, 2013

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We are podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

I’m very privileged today to have Congressman Dennis Kucinich as my guest.  Dennis Kucinich is a passionate and articulate leader for peace and disarmament.  He led an effort in Congress to establish a US Department of Peace.  He was also an early supporter of the nuclear abolition movement.  During his 16 years in Congress he was a spokesperson for US participation in many disarmament treaties, including the biological and chemical weapons conventions.  He was an advocate for the US joining the International Criminal Court and a driving force in the effort to stop the US from attacking Iraq.  He also led the efforts in Congress to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Welcome, Dennis Kucinich.  Read more…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Blase’s Commentary on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mali Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

January 20, 2013

 

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We are podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

Well, we think of Dr. Martin Luther King today and we remember him.  Bear with me if I remember a few things that might be on his mind if he were here to celebrate his 84th birthday.  I think he would be reading the New York Times and seeing on the very front page,

On Thursday, the United States became more deeply involved in the war, working with the French to determine how to best deploy American C-5 cargo planes to ferry French troops and equipment into Mali, according to an American military official.

Well, I think Dr. King would have a little flashback there.  Read more…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Medea Benjamin– Co-Founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK
Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

January 13, 2013

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We’re podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

Today I’m privileged to have Medea Benjamin as a guest.  Medea is co-founder, both of the international human rights organization Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org) and CODEPINK (www.codepink.org), a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement; and she’s been described by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement.”  Now Medea has a most recent book, “Drone Warfare:  Killing by Remote Control.”  Read more…

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Blase Bonpane on WORLD FOCUS,

Andy Griggs – Program Director of  Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; and Blase’s Commentary on Current Events

Aired on PACIFICA RADIO NETWORK by way of KPFK, Los Angeles

January 6, 2013

Hello, this is Blase Bonpane with World Focus coming to you from KPFK/ Los Angeles.  We’re podcast and available 24/7 on kpfk.org where we’re heard internationally.

Today I’m privileged to have Andy Griggs as my guest, a long-time peace and justice activist and educator.  Andy is currently the Program Director for the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace.  ICUJP, founded in Los Angeles after 9/11, supports the leaders of Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Jewish and other spiritual faiths and traditions  who say religious communities must stop blessing war and violence.  This is so important at this time because we look through the world and we’re seeing state-led religious conflicts throughout the world and making this statement that religion should stop blessing war and violence is a great step for the future of religion.  Read More…

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