The untold truth about the US foreign policy with Stephen Gowans (ep6)

The untold truth about the US foreign policy with Stephen Gowans (ep6)

I studied filmmaking in the US during the 70s recently abandoned talk shows of the voiceless dissidents those that deserve to be hurt by her silence by the corporate media the Treasury Department of the present Trump administration sanctioned me and my colleagues must have harassed them continued the show right here from my home I am now the Arabs OD on their show on your show greetings it is my great pleasure to interview an activist insightful author that deciphers very well the hypocrisy of our time Stefan Goins the Canadian author and thinker is our next guest watch this interview that has been conducted from my home in Tehran Stephen Gowans is a Canadian independent political analyst whose principal interest is in who influences the formulation of foreign policy in the United States he used to write a regular column for Canadian content and is a frequent contributor to the media monitors Network his writings which appear on his Watts left blog have been reproduced widely in online and print media in many languages and have been cited in academic journals and other scholarly works Gowans has consistently been an invaluable chronicler of contemporary events and history he also has made curiously reactionary arguments on topics like immigration Gowens is the author of three acclaimed books Washington's long war on Syria 2017 Patriots traitors and empires the story of Korea's struggle for freedom 2018 and his most recent one Israel a beachhead in the Middle East 2019 all of these books have been published by Baraka books okay thank you so much for the opportunity mr. Gowens and I've been reading your articles and your books basically your book reviews let me begin with this question you're now in Canada where did your activism start where did you think that somebody has to start speaking up and this is not only you there's a very large an increasing number of intellectuals like yourself were activists actually trying to inform the the larger population about what is really going on whether with a mass propaganda against the reality of what's going on let me just begin we're in your process did you realize that you have to speak out and just the beginning of that and what incident sparked that I suppose the major incident that sparked it that precipitated my activism in my intense interest and I've always been interested in foreign affairs but my intense interest was sparked by the NATO war in Yugoslavia in 1999 a war in which Canada participated robustly and boasted about boasted about his participation boasted about the number of air missions that it's long then essentially boasted about the number of people it had killed this was an unprovoked aggression that was contravention of international law and I found that well I mean that galvanized me to look more closely into the kinds of aggressions and that the United States the Canada that the Western world was undertaking and it spurred a more intense study of u.s. foreign policy in particular and what drives it so that was it go ahead yes and and you've dealt with a different different subjects and different different topics in your books but what was the next step okay after this revelation and I was in Bosnia in 92 at I did a documentary about the siege of garage there so I was a little familiar and also the fact that the entire UN force surrounded garage there but never entered it never helped the people there the UN was very well aware of the catastrophe of the siege by the Serbs and did nothing about it it was a very clear scenario you could see it on the grounds and I I saw it and I recorded it so I understand that and I think that it was a very naked scene of what the whole thing is about and what how the UN is more a show than a force for for the righteous were for justice I resaw that but I will continue just by what was next on your agenda that pushed you into writing and informing or informing there the white public I suppose anyone with the modicum of intelligence who is interested in international affairs and follows Western media well very quickly discovered that what they're being told just doesn't make sense and perhaps that was what galvanized me the most try and make sense of what was actually going on because the world which was being presented to me was not a world that made sense I mean just to use a current example I was reading the The Wall Street Journal this morning or you read any Western media this morning about what's happening with the u.s. relationship with Iran I mean this relationship is depicted as one in which the United States is being threatened by Iran and yet anyone with any modicum of intelligence who's followed this would see that the story is completely turned on its head so it's that kind of thing that really stimulated me and got me interested so principally I'm interested in foreign policy from the perspective of the United States not only in opposing that foreign policy simply for the sake of opposing it but also understanding where it comes from what its origins are what drives of what factors shape it because if you're opposed to it if you find it morally reprehensible and if you want to put an end to it you have to understand what drives it in order to effectively oppose it in your book which is interesting you write a book about Israel it's called Israel a beachhead in the Middle East I looked up the word beachhead in the dictionary because I hadn't quite understood the meaning and it's a military strategic meaning about the beachhead and you focus on Israel tell me tell me about that that angle that you take which is sort of brave that people don't talk about Israel that fluidly right now is brave actually in two respects there are people who talk about Israel and this book is kind of replied to them there are people in fact you had a guest on your show not too long ago who was talking about Israel as trying to explain the relationship between the United States and Iran and suggesting that the only reason the United States has a hostile relationship with lovren or an attitude tauren is because of Israel my book is a reply to that kind of argument said it has nothing to do it Israel u.s. foreign policy isn't driven by Israel there's a view that the Israelis are somehow manipulating Washington you know and they're running US foreign policy from behind the scenes that's not my argument I make in fact I argue against that point when I talk about a beachhead in the u.s. in the Middle East Israel has from its inception and in fact the Zionist movement the political Zionist movement has presented itself as a platform by which West power could be projected into the Middle East by which you know the oxidant could be projected into the Orient they deliberately the Zionists like or the political scientists in originally and deliberately sought an alliance with some kind of Western power that would sponsor its settler colonial project in Palestine and in return for that sponsorship it would look after Western interests well over time I mean the initial sponsor of the the Zionist political Zionist movement was Britain and then France became a sponsor and then in 1967 and since 1967 the United States has sponsored this settler colonial project and has used Israel as a platform to project US influence into the Middle East so that someone said reviewing the book their description of the theme of the book was that the tale does not lag the dog that Israelis do not control the u.s. foreign policy the United States controls its own foreign policy and uses is real as an instrument of that policy – you know project its own influence and to pursue its own goals and u.s. goals are of course expansion expansion across the world expansion of the u.s. frontier projection of US political economic ideological influence around the world what is this just continuing that same line what is this obsession about Iran being an exact existential threat through almost everyone yes and I there are various ways to thinking about that but I mean one of the ways I found that really kind of encapsulates or summarizes why it's seen as a threat Jim mattis the former US Secretary of Defense was said to believe well first of all maddest was of the belief that the biggest threat to US national security said the three biggest threats are Iran Iran and Iran well why was that well he explained one of the advantages of listening to mattis was that he could is sometimes quite honest he said that the United States believes it needs to have a strong hegemonic position in the Middle East and if your aim is hegemony in the Middle East then Iran will be your number one foe because Iran insists on its independence and it's a large well large country within the context of the Middle East a country which rejects the idea of the US and Germany rejects the idea of what you might call the international dictatorship of the United States or which the United States you from Isis as world leadership so it's in that sense that Iran is a threat to the United States as a threat to the United States is a threat to the US Empire simply because it asserts its own sovereignty and insists on independence the United States is allergic to it's a nimac 'el two countries or any kind of movement that insists on self-directed development and independence and sovereignty I'm so you know the United States is not only hostile to Iran it's been hostile to any country that's tried to assert independence and today that would be Venezuela it would be North Korea there another of Libya the countries that were on the the axis of evil list you know North Korea Iran Iraq and then there was Libya and Cuba added to the list in Syria and when you look at the hostility of the United States I mean the hostility of the United States who Iran originally I mean originates in 1979 is from that point that we see a very hostile policy toward Iran and this is attributed to the fact that in 1979 Iran extricated itself from the US orbit and achieved sovereignty and independence from the United States from that point forward the United States has been trying to reabsorb Iran into its orbit into its empire and it's from that point forward that many policies of the United States toward Iran shift radically for example on nuclear energy prior to 1979 the United States was facilitating the development of a nuclear energy industry in Iran in 1979 that starts in the United States attempts to hinder iran's acquisition of nuclear or a nuclear energy industry so it's often said that there are some people in the in the West believe mainly because this is the way in which Western media portray that that the conflict between Iran in the United States is one that centers on Iran's attempt to acquire nuclear energy or to enrich uranium when indeed that's really not the center of the conflict the center of the conflict is Iran's insistence on sovereignty in attendance and enriching uranium on one's own soil is also an expression of independence it's a way of becoming economically independent for example not depending on other countries to provide you with enriched uranium for nuclear power plants for example right you know you have you have a very interesting article whole article u.s.a me for more than nuclear deal in Iran which I think was very pertinent to many different points but I want to bring attention to this one thing that you know why should I Iran prove I'm asking your opinion why doesn't you want to have to prove that is not a nuclear threat I think this this whole paranoia is a fake paranoid that they've developed to cover up that attack they have on the sovereignty of Iran which began in 1979 this whole thing is a quagmire and we've been sucked into it into the nuclear deal we have to prove that no we're not acquiring a nuclear weapon although we have a religious fatwa against nuclear weapons by Imam Khomeini and Imam Khamenei against this with it's it's like getting up and at dawn and doing a prayer it's as stringent as as doing that why do we have to prove to the West that we are good people we're good guys and that you know be at peace don't be paranoid why do we have to prove that why why this who came up with this concoction of paranoia about Iran being a nuclear threat I mean we're in heaven how could even be a nuclear threat where it it doesn't make sense because it was never in our agenda to be a nuclear that but they came up with it and they pushed us into a nuclear deal table and we obeyed during the Obama era we came our people came why do we have to prove that we're good guys yeah so the United States has a number of issues with Iran and they're not legitimate issues at all the issues are Iran asserting its sovereignty and its independence so the United States from 1979 has had these problems Iran support for Hezbollah for Hamas for Islamic Jihad for Syria development of ballistic missiles essentially development of the means of self-defense somehow Iran is supposed to be denied the means of self-defense because self-defense is then you know portrayed as being aggressive rather than self-defensive so uniquely Iran cannot have self-defense brenn cannot have ballistic missiles but these are these issues that the United States has with Iran it's asserting its independence it has an independent foreign policy and these have always been at the heart of u.s. hostility toward Iran and the u.s. project war durán is eventually to change the government to change the government to one that will essentially do the bidding of the United States and the way to achieve that is through intimidation but also mainly through economic strangulation so the United States has imposed upon Iran sanctions since 1979 now the joint comprehensive plan of action I mean this is now becoming widely misunderstood it everywhere I mean this was presented and understood by people as some the United States arriving at some kind of modus vivendi with Iran and this certainly hasn't been the case even if you read some news reports now they talked about well you know under the joint comprehensive plan of action the sanctions were lifted well some sanctions were listed lifted the UN sanctions were lifted but the United States continued to maintain its sanctions on the grounds that there were other issues that the United States had with with Iran with ballistic missiles with support for Syria with support for Hezbollah so they're going to continue to maintain the sanctions plus there are going to continue to financially isolate Iran and as a result of that financial isolation despite the fact that the UN and Security Council sanctions were lifted the United States essentially continued to disrupt the flow of trade and economic activity or were Iran's economic connections with the outside world so since 1979 the United States has been strangling Iran economically in the same way it strangles Venezuela economically in Cuba economically in North Korea with the intention of the web with multiple attentions the intention eventually of trying to change the government the intention of hobbling its development and keeping it weak and the intention of making an example of it to other countries that might want to express their own sovereignty if you want to express your sovereignty little this is what happens to you we're gonna put our foots on your feet on your your windpipe and we're going to strangle you but how do you justify that how do you mobilize public support for this kind of hostile and aggressive policy well the only way to do that is to depict the victim as an aggressor so now we talk about or ran this is trying to develop nuclear weapons or it can never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons well you can interrogate that and say what yeah I mean how do you justify your aggressive policy toward the victim is by portraying the victim as the aggressor so Iran has to be portrayed as being uniquely threatening to the United States and the whole idea that Iran would threaten the United States is completely absurd anyone who believes that can't be at the right mind then we have but of course there's the possibility that people might find that argument to be untenable so then you have to invoke the idea that Iran is a unique threat to is real in the United States uses Israel a lot to do that I mean to justify its intervention in the United States it will invoke threats to Israel as you know motivating or necessitating a US supervision of regions so we have to depict Iran as being a threat to Israel and if it's not a threat to Israel then it's a threat perhaps to Europe and can't have ballistic missiles because it's going to put nuclear weapons on top of ballistic missiles and send them a link to Europe why it would do that who knows I mean that you just have to present Tiran or the victim it's not only Iran but I mean Venezuela North Korea and Cuba they all get treated and in Syria and treated in the same way as some kind of threats to the physical safety of the people in the West of course none of these countries are threats to the physical safety of people in the West but they are threats to perhaps the economic interests of certain elite groups within the United States and their threats to those economic interest because they also insist on economic sovereignty and economic independence and the why is the public as a whole and forget the public even these different governments that have companies in the u.s. show so short-sighted I have the answer to that and I'm just asking how can they not forget that during these past four decades one of the first things they did after 1979 was support Saddam Hussein wasn't isn't that clear enough evidence of the fact that everything is off track and when it comes to foreign policy towards Iran as the American public so short minded short short sighted in memory that they forget that the the US was full fledge behind Saddam Hussein all those eight years and that where was where was the conscious at that time and say then also we've had the same pattern until right now as we talking where's where's the conscious of the public or the administration's I mean where are the people where the good ole Americans who use you know you in the schools you were taught about democracy and Thomas Jefferson and you know the whole myth about what made America great and what Trump is after let let's make him make America great again where's why is that memory faded away so quickly about how the whole thing started with Iran in the first place the first decade was the US administration full-fledged behind Saddam was saying I mean this Sarah think mister goin I'm just saying where is where is the where is that justice where is the conscious how can people be so so shallow in thinking and and portray Iran as an eminent friend as an existential threat because the public awareness and knowledge of this is very slight and the public's manipulated its manipulated and politicians and and figures of statement if you lend the media and manipulate public perception quite easily if you follow critically media reports you can start to see the hypocrisy very easily and the inconsistencies very easily but if a person is because most people aren't really paying that much attention so for example I mean if we want to talk about Syria for example let me talk about Western intervention as Syria's inspired by some kind of democratic values and liberal democracy well at the same time robustly supporting a country like Saudi Arabia people don't seem to see the disconnect I mean you can't support Saudi Arabia unconditionally and then at the same time saying that you are promoting values of democracy and liberal democracy around the world and that's the reason why you're intervening in Syria or in Canada for example the Canadian government is engaged in a campaign to essentially overthrow the elected president of Venezuela Maduro and the Canadian government presents itself as a great champion of liberal democratic values and justifies its intervention in Venezuela on those grounds well at the same time selling billions of dollars of you know armored vehicles to the internal security services of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia so that it can crack down on internal dissent and particularly on the Shia population so this is entirely inconsistent but most people don't really follow these issues very closely or notice the inconsistencies or if they do notice the inconsistencies they don't really know what to do about it let me fast-forward to the recent incident with a drone Iran bringing down the u.s. sophisticated drone what was in your opinion the significance of that incident what became more apparent after that do you think what became more apparent yes so I noticed that purple of what we're talking about Iran being presented as the aggressor in The Wall Street Journal this morning there is an article talking about how the shooting down of the drone was an expression of Iranian aggression despite the fact I mean is we can lay aside the question of I mean there's a dispute about whether the drone actually violated Iranian airspace or not if it did obviously Iran is within its rights to shoot down a drone I mean the United States cannot fly drones anywhere it wants but it claims the right to be able to do that it claims the right to be able to occupy one third of Syria contrary to international law for example no one seems to be raising much objection about that so it probably claimed the right to be able to violate Iranian airspace I mean Israel routinely violates the airspace of Lebanon we don't hear much complaint about that and Israel is an extension of the United States apparently claims the right to be able to do that if the drone hadn't actually violated Iranian airspace but it had been shot down well this is predictable what would happen if the hostile hedge Amman mam ajam are the hostile power was flying drones along the periphery of the US airspace well you might predict at some point that one of them is going to get shot down and Iran is you know completely surrounded by a hostile US forces I mean we have the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain not too far away from Iran we have US warships within the Persian Gulf so the fact that there should be some kind of every once in a while these kinds of encounters is really not that surprising but the US view will still be in the US view presented in the media presented by the state that the United States somehow has a right to be present there in fact there was another article in The New York Times a Wall Street Journal this morning about how it is that the United States should assume the leadership role to provide protection for the free flow of oil through the Persian Gulf that it ought to accept that leadership role is that the world is begging it to do so and the numerating all of the reasons why the United States has to accept their leadership role and at the end what were the reasons the reasons were so that the United States can control the world economy so that the United States can superintend the order and if you don't want to be part of the United States global order well we'll do see you what we're doing to Iran and what we're doing to Venezuela and what we're doing to North Korea we've been watching the reflections of it worldwide and at the same time we seem to everybody's in anticipation of the next havoc that might unfold and no one knows recently the British held a ship with Iranian oil in it do you have any yourself any predictions about what might unfold yes but just before we go there go to the the incident of the British inter interdicting the ship in this corner by the Strait of Gibraltar this one seems really extraordinary to me because this is an instance of piracy that's what it is and yet it's interesting the way it's presented in Western media is just kind of passed over a some kind of inconsequential event and the argument the British are making which is that they're simply enforcing EU sanctions is also extraordinary since since when do you use sanctions apply to red this is just extraordinary if it's an instance of international piracy if any other country foreign did something like that we'd hear no end of it and this would be grounds for some kind of punishment to be meted out against Iran so where is this going I think if you look at this in a broader perspective in a longer term perspective it'll just continue the way it always has the United States goal is to deny or Iran its sovereignty to deny its independence and to do so by changing its government and I don't think that the United States is going to undertake a full-scale military assault on Iran the way it did against Iraq because Iran isn't weak enough but it'll continue to try to weaken Iran to its ongoing program of economic warfare or economic terrorism as it's called by the Iranian Foreign Minister which some might see as being perhaps hyperbolic but I don't think so I mean it is economic terrorism if you define terrorism and it is defined as harm – or threat of harm to civilians for political ends then that's precisely what the economic sanctions are that the United States is imposed on Iran since 1979 it is an economic terrorism because the intention is to harm civilians and it does harm civilians and harm civilians with the intention of bringing about a change in government so as a political purpose so that will continue and the United States will continue to do tempt to weaken Iran to weaken it to the extent that it'll eventually top holder that will be able to intervene militarily to topple the government this this is my last question and if I have left out something which you wanted to pronounce if there's an issue could you contribute that in thinking about some of the about Iran over the last few days I one of the things that struck me that I'd kind of missed and that maybe many people have missed is the continuity of US foreign policy because there's a lot of talk now about how Trump's policy is different from Obama's because Trump has rejected the joint comprehensive plan of action and he's thrown it out and this is a different approach but I don't think it is a different approach it's just a difference in degree you can think about the Trump approach as one of maximal pressure which is the way in which they describe it the Obama approach wasn't radically different the Obama approach was an approach of pressure perhaps not as much pressure as the Trump administration is imposing but pressure nonetheless despite the fact that there was a joint comprehensive plan of action as I mentioned previously most of the US sanctions continued to apply and the u.s. goal still was to strangle Iran to pressure it until it essentially accepted a US leadership over the region or an international dictatorship of the United States so the only thing I would emphasize is to look at US policy over the longer term rather than you know what's happening this month versus what happened six months ago the policy doesn't change radically even though we have a change in government had change in administration maybe a change in emphasis here and there the policy remains the same interesting that Michael Moore said on the University of September 11th he said that probably he speculated that Trump might be the last president of the u.s. how wild is that [Laughter] one can only hold okay thank you so much mr. Gowens it was a pleasure talking to you and God bless you hope to speak to you in the future again thank you very much bye bye bye thank you thank you for watching the show see you next time and God bless you

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