Reliance on Military Strategies Alone Cannot Defeat ISIS
Interview with Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies, conducted by Scott Harris
After the multiple terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that killed 130 and wounded 350 more, French President François Hollande declared war on ISIS, the group which claimed responsibility for the massacre of Parisians at a stadium, concert hall, restaurants and cafes. Before a joint session of parliament, Hollande said, “The coordinated terrorist assault was an attack against our country, against its values, against its youth, against its way of life.” Amid fear of new attacks, France and Belgium launched dozens of raids on the homes of suspected terrorists and their accomplices.

In retaliation for the carnage in Paris, President Hollande ordered the French Air Force to increase airstrikes against ISIS targets in the group’s self-declared capital in Raqqa, Syria, bombing command and recruitment centers, as well as an ammunition storage base and a training camp. The French president, vowing to destroy ISIS, called on Russia and America to “unite our forces” in a coalition to defeat the terrorist group. A goal made more difficult by Turkey’s recent shooting down of a Russian fighter jet engaged in combat near the Syrian-Turkish border.

In a recent article, published in The Nation magazine titled, “After The Paris Attacks, a Call for Justice – Not Vengeance,” Phyllis Bennis, recounts how 14 years of war after the 9/11 attacks against the U.S. have failed to defeat terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Bennis, director of the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies, about her view that reliance on military strategies alone cannot defeat ISIS and the domestic backlash against Syrian war refugees.

For more analysis and commentary on the response to the ISIS attacks in Paris, visit the New Internationalism Project at IPS at ips-dc.org/authors/phyllis-bennis.

CIA, FBI Launch Opportunistic Call to Expand Surveillance After Paris Attacks
Interview with Nate Cardozo, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, conducted by Scott Harris
After the tragic terrorist attacks that killed scores of Parisians across the City of Light, there have been calls by some U.S. politicians, government officials and conservative pundits to reverse reforms that have recently been enacted to rein in America’s mass surveillance programs initiated under the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act. CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey and New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton have been critical of the reforms initiated after former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed to the world the extent of warrantless surveillance targeting millions of Americans.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has introduced legislation that would delay implementation of restrictions on bulk collection of phone metadata that were included in the USA Freedom Act passed with overwhelming bipartisan support last June. Under that legislation, the government’s authority to collect telephone metadata will end this year on Nov. 29.

Another area of controversy that’s come into focus after the Paris attacks is the easy access consumers now have to encryption programs from companies including Apple and Google. Law enforcement officials want these companies to build in a back door to their programs that would allow intelligence agencies to decode encrypted messages. But critics contend that such a back door would make those devices and software more vulnerable to hacking by criminals and spies. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Nate Cardozo, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who criticizes officials now calling for expanded surveillance in the aftermath of the Paris attacks as “cynical politics at their absolute worst.”

For more information, visit the Electronic Frontier

Connecticut Capitol Rally Rejects Fracked Gas as Bridge Fuel to Low-Carbon Future
Excerpts of speeches by Desmond Batts, a member of the Sierra Club of Connecticut’s Executive Committee, and Bernardo McLaughlin of the group, Capitalism vs. the Climate, at the “100% Renewable Energy for 100% of the People” rally in Hartford, CT on Nov. 21, recorded and produced by Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus
A coalition of activist groups rallied at the Capitol building in Hartford, Connecticut on Nov. 21, calling for “100% Renewable Energy for 100% of the People.” Organizers, including the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club, 350CT.org, and more than two dozen faith-based, local governmental, anti-nuclear and other groups oppose Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy’s plan to vastly increase the use of fracked “natural” gas in the state, which he claims is a bridge to a clean energy future.

While natural gas burns more cleanly than other fossil fuels, studies show the leaks of methane – the main component of gas – from pipes and other infrastructure can make it more damaging to the climate than coal. Speakers at the rally addressed the health impacts of fossil fuels, and called for the closure of the state’s last remaining coal plant in Bridgeport. They also addressed the disproportionate negative effects on people of color, as well as labor concerns.

Connecticut currently depends on nuclear power from the Millstone reactor complex in Waterford for almost half its electricity. Critics say the goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewables powered by sun, wind and small hydroelectric without natural gas cannot be accomplished by 2030 or even 2050 as some advocates claim. But climate activists say with the political will it is possible, citing examples of several U.S. cities and nations such as Germany, that have made significant strides toward transitioning to renewable energy. Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus was at the rally and recorded the speakers. We hear first from Desmond Batts, a member of the Sierra Club of Connecticut’s Executive Committee followed by Bernardo McLaughlin of the group Capitalism vs. the Climate.

DESMOND BATTS: Thank you. My name is Desmond Batts. I’m a masters of environmental science candidate at the University of New Haven. I sit on the executive committee of the Sierra Club. I’m an activist and an organizer and a card-carrying member of the black community since 1977 (yays!). I’d like to thank everyone for coming out here. I’d like to thank the Sierra Club and 350 for having me.

And today, I want to talk to you a little bit about environmental justice. For those of you who don’t know what environmental justice is, it goes a little something like this: Environmental justice means no community should be over-burdened with environmental burdens and not receive the environmental benefits. But those of us who live in [impacted] communities, we see first-hand that we are on the front lines. We are the canaries in the coal mines and we are disproportionately affected by climate change. When people in Hartford look out their front doors, they don’t see beautiful scenery and parks. They don’t see happy families playing. They don’t see self-actualized, self-aware people planning their future. But I tell you what they do see: they see garbage; they see abandoned buildings; they see cold, hard streets; colder politics and colder policies. They don’t see open spaces. They see cracks in sidewalks where green grass fights in vain to be noticed. They see empty dope bags. They see crack vials, instead of smiles and dreams being fulfilled. They see violence, unemployment, suffering and chaos. So why would they step out of their homes to take a walk or play a game when that walk or that game could very well end in harm for them?

You know, there’s a big misconception about the black community that we don’t care about the environment, we don’t care about climate change. And that couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is that we do care about climate change, but we care about feeding our kids; we care about having a place to live; we care about having clothes on our backs, and maybe a few more concerns, and then comes climate change. But I tell you what: When we look at the communities of color, climate change is a very small fish, but when the effects of climate change come back around, it is a shark. It is a ravenous beast that will devour not only our neighborhoods but yours as well. (Whoops.) Thank you. I tell you today is not a time for talk, it is a time for change. It is a time for action. And I leave it up to you. It is a time for action. And I’ll be very brief. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. He says that “A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Let’s stay in the fight!

BERNARDO MCLAUGHLIN: My name is Bernardo McLaughlin. I’m a member of a group here in Connecticut called Capitalism versus the Climate (applause). On Monday, I locked myself to a piece of equipment in eastern Connecticut at a worksite of Spectra Energy, which is expanding their gas pipeline in order to transfer more fracking-extracted gas through our backyards. I did it because I was inspired by the strategy that led to the victory against the Keystone XL pipeline – one of the first victories we’ve had recently against climate chaos. And that strategy has to be adopted and repeated. And I came here today to do my part to upset the “land of steady habits.” Earlier, this year Connecticut had one of its first really significant days of direct action in recent memory. Here, in my city of Hartford, those of us who are part of the Hartford 17 shut down one of the main traffic arteries that’s used by corporate commuters to flee our city before the sun goes down. And we did it to send a message: that if the wealthy and the powerful don’t think that black lives don’t matter, then we’ll assert that business as usual doesn’t matter. What we accomplished that day was that the elite of greater Hartford were put on notice that our neighbors will not be brutalized without consequences. And we showed that Connecticut is not immune from the radical powerful spirit that’s sweeping the globe today. We can take direct action and make our power felt if we so choose. And I’ll take it another step further and argue that we don’t have a choice – that the political establishment has already made that choice for us, when it demonstrated to us that flooded neighborhoods in New York and New Orleans were acceptable losses as long as their penthouses stayed above water. That choice was made for us as Obama signed off on the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, and as he presided over a large-scale federal campaign of undermining climate justice through the state repression of our fellow activists around the country. It is clear where the line has been drawn, and we have not been the ones to draw it.

BERNARDO MCLAUGHLIN: I really hate going to jail, a lot, and I hate being on the receiving end of the police state that black and brown communities endure on a much greater scale. But most of all, I hate feeling powerless while the world goes to hell. And what I learned on Monday is that you have as much power as you’re willing to exercise. When we’re told to work inside the system to cultivate good relationships with politicians who are bought and sold by the fossil fuel industry to be respectable and law-abiding, we’re being convinced that we’re powerless. And what I can tell you for sure, not only as a student of history but as a labor movement activist and a steward with my union, is that when we’re organized and brought to the point we’ve been pushed to, people like us are the most powerful force on the planet.

If there are any other union people here, or in your circles, we’ve got to do better, because not only were the Spectra workers at the site I was arrested at union members, they also helped the cops cut me out of my lock and that’s unacceptable. We need to work together to turn the labor movement around, and put it on the side of history it ought to be on, so please come and talk to us at Capitalism versus the Climate over here.

I also want you to consider what it means for us to take care of each other while we’re fighting, ‘cause next week we’re going to be dealing with the consequences of another climate catastrophe that has in part to do with the Syrian civil war and its consequences there, and we’re going to be back here at the Capitol at 10 a.m. next week to demonstrate our solidarity against xenophobia and hatred against Syrian refugees, so please come back here at 10 a.m. next week. Thank you.

Find more information on the groups organizing against expansion of fracked natural gas infrastructure in Connecticut and across New England by visiting 100% Renewable Energy for 100% of the People Rally; 350 Connecticut at 350ct.org; Connecticut Chapter of the Sierra Club at connecticut.sierraclub.org.

This week’s summary of under-reported news

Compiled by Bob Nixon
A few days after the terror attacks in Paris, suicide bombers in northeast Nigeria detonated two explosions that killed 49 people and injured over a 100 civilians. The attacks were blamed on Boko Haram, the long running Islamist insurgency responsible for killing over 17,000 people and forcing over 2.5 million people to flee their homes in Africa’s Lake Chad region. The attacks came after the Nigerian Army had pressed an offensive into Boko Haram-held territory.( “Boko Haram Kills 49 In Suicide Bombings In Nigeria,” The World Post, Nov. 18, 2015; “Boko Haram Ranked Ahead of ISIS for Deadliest Terror Group,” New York Times, Nov. 18, 2015; “Nigerians welcome Facebook’s Safety Check feature after terror attacks,” Guardian, Nov. 19, 2015)
For thousands of years, the Western Shoshone tribal community has gathered at the Tosawihi Quarries in Elk County, Nevada to collect flint stones and practice spiritual rituals. The word Tosawihi means “White Knives” an ancient ancestral name that ties the Shoshone to the land and its cultural identity.(“Eve of Destruction: Bureau of Land Management Sacrifices Native Site to Mining Group,” In These Times, Sept. 30, 2015)
Public images of poverty in America are mostly portrayed in urban scenes of black and Hispanic destitution, often linked to drugs and gangs. But the flipside of poverty found in rural America is often associated with small towns inhabited by whites in Appalachia, the Ozarks and the Dakotas.(“Why the Left Isn’t Talking About Rural American Poverty,” In These Times, Oct. 22, 2015)

Susan and Russ cover an English-language remake of an Argentinian Oscar-winner.

Russ fills us in on the “Rocky” franchise revival, an old-fashioned romantic drama and a biopic about a blacklisted screenwriter.

Democracy Now!’s own Juan Gonzalez on Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis.


Puerto Rican Debt Crisis
Episode date : November 26, 2015
On Democracy Now!

Maria talks with artists, Melanie Sherman, Peregrine Honig, and by phone from New York, Christopher Kurtz, about their current work at Belger Gallery along with Michael Baxley-Belger Gallery manager/curator.


Musician/singer/radio host, Jason Vivone with The Billy Bats, talks about their new CD release, “The Avenue” with songs inspired the Northeast neighborhood. Release party is scheduled for Friday, Dec.4 at Coda Bar & Grill 1744 Broadway KCMO


Later in the program, Maria welcomes Poet and co-host of Speak Easy Poets, Topeka KS in the studio.

Patrick Quinn, musician/songwriter performs in the 2nd half of the program.

You can find many propaganda and news footage tapes of Osama bin Laden on the internet and many experts have studied them. Very few people have heard the 1500 audio tapes that tell the story of Al-Qa’ida’s formation, motivation and the internal struggles for power. These tapes cover the years from the 1960s up to 2001 and were originally obtained by CNN who offered them to the FBI and CIA after 9/11. Many of these same tapes were again obtained by the US Military in a 2002 raid in Kandahar, Afghanistan. These tapes explain that the real leadership of Al-Qa’ida did not trust “Gulfies” like bin Laden whose monetary support came with the caveat that the revolution not be brought back home and were seen as a corrupting influence.

On this edition of Tell Somebody Margot Patterson talks with Flagg Miller, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis and author of the new book The Audacious Ascetic: What the bin Laden Tapes Reveal about Al-Qa’ida. He may be the only person that has seen all of the tapes that were confiscated. The US Government studied the tapes and then gave them to CNN who asked Professor Miller to review and translate them. He discovered a very different story than the one we were told.

Flagg Miller
Professor of Religious Studies
Director of the Graduate Group in
the Study of Religion
University of California, Davis

John Kurmann of 350KC (and former EcoRadio KC host) lets us know about the November 29th rally and forum planned for the day before the Paris Climate Summit begins. Eric Person returns to the program to update us on his recent trip to Oakland for the BUG (Black Urban Growers) Conference.

On this week’s edition of Arts Magazine, Artistic Director Valerie Mackey from Theatre For Young America will join host Michael Hogge to chat about their current Christmas offering, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Later, Karen Paisley, Artistic Director with the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, will discuss their new show, The Night Thoreau Spent In Jail.

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