Hello, friends. I’m privileged today to have Alan Nairn as a guest. Alan Nairn is one of our great truth-telling journalists. He has received many awards. He began working with Ralph Nader, and gave us an amazing book, “The Reign,” about the Educational Testing Service, or ”the corporation that makes up minds.” This was 35 years ago. He identified the horrors of too much testing and the fact that testing doesn’t identify imagination or creativity.
He also investigated the death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala, and I believe he saved the life of one of our great journalists, Amy Goodman. He was badly beaten with M16 rifles at the site of the Santa Cruz Massacre. His reports are unique, and extremely helpful for all of us. He received, together with Amy Goodman, the Robert F Kennedy Memorial First Prize for International Radio for their reporting on East Timor. He also won the 1994 George Polk Award. Welcome, Alan.
Allan: Thank you, Blase. Good to be with you.
Blase: Well, it’s been quite a while since we last spoke. Now you had a suicide bomber attack in Jakarta, right? At Starbucks?
Allan: Yes, a couple of days ago there was an attack claimed by ISIS, and apparently two civilians were killed, and about five of the attackers were killed.
Blase: We’re talking about the world’s most populous Muslim country. What was the impact, the response?
Allan: Well, it was interesting. I was in Indonesia when it happened, and the response was more from the public and the press. The response was less hysterical and more mature than the response of the American press and public to terrorist attacks. People have not gone crazy about it. The press is not agitating about it 24 hours a day. But, as in the US, the security agencies are trying to use it as an excuse to increase their power. There’s an intelligence service called BIM in Indonesia, a kind of combined equivalent of the FBI and CIA, and they, in the wake of this attack, are now demanding the power of arrest and detention. It would be especially alarming if they get it, because BIM itself is a state terrorist, just as ISIS is a non-state terrorist. BIM was implicated a number of years ago in the assassination of Indonesia’s leading human rights activists, who died vomiting to death on a plane after her had been slipped a massive dose of arsenic. Things like these ISIS attacks are really a godsend to the secret police around the world. It gives them a chance to try to do more spying, catch more people and kill more people without pressure from the public. Read More