Wednesday, October 31, 2007


As the Iraq war stumbles into bloody nowhere, who - just what kind of madmen - could ramp up for yet another war, this time against Iran?

Seasoned journalist Seymour Hersh attempts to answer this question, in the Amnesty International 2007 Lecture, delivered in Dublin, Ireland on October 24th of this year. It is one of the most compelling speeches I've heard in months.

For those who've been away in outer space: Seymour Hersh has been reporting for 40 years. He exposed the 1968 massacre of Vietnamese villagers, mostly women and children, in My Lai, during the Vietnam War. More recently, it was Hersh and the New Yorker magazine, who revealed the torture of prisoners by the Americans, at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. In this speech, you will hear how those pictures were found. And the terrible price returning Iraq vetrans are paying. America will suffer with them.

The attached speech has been edited for radio - to bring a 76 minute speech down to 58 minutes. The main item removed is a detailed description of the My Lai massacre. That is available in the historical record, thanks to Seymour Hersh. I kept this version of the speech to more recent events. You can find the full speech, plus another 40 minutes of Q & A at: (You may have to "browse" the pages there to find it).

The 68% (or more) of Americans who totally oppose starting another war, with Iran, are wondering - who could do this? With his years of experience, Seymour Hersh gives us a compelling portrait of President Bush, as a captive to a cabal of Neo-Cons, who have gained control of the world's most powerful military power. Mere facts, Hersh says, have no impact on this President (and Vice-President). Their fixed world-view is made up. Bush, Hersh says, is "un-educatable."

But many of the professional diplomats, bureaucrats, and military people are opposed to an attack on Iran, and the occupation of Iraq. Knowing Hersh's record, they keep sending him insider tips, copies of documents, and frank assessments. Out of all those deep sources, Hersh takes us inside, for this Amnesty International Annual Lecture for 2007, at Dublin.

Listen to the speech by clicking the title above (wait a minute or two for the download), or get it anytime from our website:

Maybe I've used "must-listen" radio too often. But this really is required listening, for de-programming yourself from the mass media drumbeat for war. Then, you can act. Show up at the next anti-war demonstration!

One winter evening, I stood on a street corner, listening to an Iranian woman describe her life during the Iran-Iraq war, in the 1980's. How she listened for the whistle of the shells, and judged the pattern of explosions in her border town, before running with her kids to get them to school. They lived and slept in terror. Now in Canada, she is still afraid.

If you and I can do something, anything, to stop another generation from living under the fear of bombing and attacks, we deserve to live another day.

This radio-ready version of Hersh's speech has already been broadcast on dozens of alternative college and community radio stations. Ask you local station to play it. Get it on college radio, too!

I've re-sampled the original speech into a format that you can burn directly to a CD. Burn a stack of them, hand them out, DO SOMETHING! - before these madmen bomb again.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Derrick Jensen's End Game

What ever label humans give their system - Capitalism, Socialism, any-ism - the name of the game is consume the planet as fast as we can.

That's what deep green author and activist Derrick Jensen tells me in this first Ecoshock interview with the radical philosopher. The problem? Call it civilization.

The occasion for our call is an impending visit to Vancouver and Victoria, for speeches about his new book. Hear Derrick October 19th at the Ukrainian Hall in Vancouver (8 pm), October 20th at the David Lam auditorium (6 pm) Actually, the book is a duet, with photographs, about zoos, called "Thought to Exist in the Wild".

But, as often happens, Derrick and I wander off to look at the big, dark picture of the day: the human situation, and what to do. I ask him why people resist his message.

Sorry, no time to wrap it all up in print, and maybe it should stay in audio anyway, beyond the great search engines in the sky. Give this interview a listen. It comes from the Radio Ecoshock Show for October 12th, 2007.

Making radio seems to have soaked up most of my time lately. We've been broadcasting way more than I can get into this podcast. Check out our weekly listing of downloadable shows.
The Ecoshock program is picking up steam, with over a dozen college and community stations syndicated now. If you local non-profit station doesn't have it, ask for it. Anyone writing from their station call letter email box gets the address of a new web page just for radio stations.
That includes a handy podcast and show notes.

Also in that October 12th show is a conference call recorded by RAN, the Rainforest Action Network people. Rebecca Tarbotton explains how America's two largest banks, Citi and Bank of America, are set to finance a whole new wave of dirty coal plant construction. Damn global warming (87 degrees in New York in October, records set all over Canada...) - let's make money building new coal plants!

Stop these madmen from wrecking the climate. Tune in to RAN's "Coal Call" for journalists - with author Bill McKibben, Judy Bonds from Appalachia, and a church and corporate responsibility representative. It was intended as a phone call, but makes for moving radio.

Judy Bonds says America is under attack, being bombed every day. Gazillions of tons of explosions are blowing up American mountains - to get coal. They blow the tops right off the mountains, poisoning land, water, and air. The "hill-billy's" are losing their hills, in the poorest part of the country.

RAN sets out to embarass these huge banks into acting responsibly. But hey, who cares, we all love this fabulous hot weather! Thank you, banks, for making more coal plants!

As though the Arctic sea ice isn't melting away.

Meanwhile, climate curmudgeon Alexander Cockburn is comparing Al Gore to Hitler's PR man Goebbels. Cockburn has lost his mind. He really has.

Check this out, from Cockburn's latest rant at Counterpunch:

"The specific reason why this man of blood shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the IPCC is for their joint agitprop on the supposed threat of anthropogenic global warming. Bogus science topped off with toxic alarmism. It's as ridiculous as as if Goebbels got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1938, sharing it with the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for his work in publicizing the threat to race purity posed by Jews, Slavs and gypsies."

Worse: Cockburn threatens, he is going to publish a book on all this garbage. So sad.

What will he say ten years from now, as the Big Heat and storms make parts of America difficult to inhabit? All his good work on the Left, now goes down the tubes. History will only remember him as the crank who was so very wrong.

Radio Ecoshock

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Does capitalism have to fall - to save the Earth?

Dr. Joel Kovel thinks so. He's the influential lefty academic who wrote "Enemy of Nature." The subtitle was "The End of Capitalism, or the End of the World."

Kovel was in Vancouver to promote his new book on Zionism, as well as an upcoming new edition of "Enemy of Nature." He's also promising a DVD criticizing Al Gore as a Capitalism substitute for real action to save the planet.

Al Gore? Kovel explains that Gore, and the Kyoto Protocol, aim to extend the role of Capitalism, making sure lots of people at the top make money, from the problem of climate change. But in fact, Kovel argues, the economics of Capitalism MUST always expand, always consume more, to survive. There can be no sustainable Capitalism on a single planet, with limited life resources. The form of ever-expansion (more sales!!) will just eventually eat the Earth. Without more consumption, capitalism collapses.

And what comes next? Some kind of organization of human beings that can co-exist with Nature, with the actual physics and life forms of the Earth. Kovel believes that Marxism still holds some promise for that new social life. That people will organize communally, or fall into hopeless, warring chaos. He's one of a number of people promoting ecosocialism.

Joel has alienated some of the old-time hard-line Marxists, because he no longer believes such a revolution depends upon industrialism (which Soviet-style Marxism promoted rabidly) - or even on "the workers of the world." There is no "privileged agent" he says, and likely new social forms will look different in different parts of the world. (See my post on Hugo Blanco, for example.)

Kovel was a nominee for the Green Party Presidential run in the year 2000 - losing out to Ralph Nader. Now he quips that if only Kovel had won the Green Party nomination, Al Gore would have been President for sure.

I've attached the audio of an interview I did with him, where I pressed Joel about the issue of global warming, and how ecosocialism might help solve our problems. We also discussed the contentious issue of population, and over-population.

That was just before a full-evening panel on Ecosocialism, in Vancouver September 21st, 2007, presented by Seven Oaks online magazine. At the panel, Joel presented a paper on the new ecosocialism. He sees signs of people moving toward a different form of economic and social organization. You can download his whole 32 minute speech at:

Meanwhile, George Monbiot, definitely a Leftist at heart as well, has said we don't have time to wait for the revolution. The climate will get us first.

But Kovel argues that carbon dioxide is caused by Capitalism. There is no tech fix, without a broad social change. The Wall Street wizards, with their government bureaucrats, can cook up a thousand schemes to trade carbon - but it won't work as long as greed is our basic operating principle.

Personally, I think Marxism is dead. But Capitalism is obviously dying too. I just hope it doesn't take the whole natural world, and all the hopes of our youth, down with it.

Radio Ecoshock

P.S. I have a new site for non-profit radio stations, Low Power FM and pirate broadcasters, or re-podcasters. Drop me a line at radio [at] from your station box, and I'll get you the details. We now have at least 12 confirmed college and community stations running our weekly one hour program - join us, for big picture environmentalism, science, and interviews.

Stations get our "show notes" with details on where to insert Station ID, etc. Plus a helpful fast way to download each program.

Anyone can download all our past programs from the radio archive at