CO050 John Kiriakou on The West and the Islamic World

John Kiriakou is a former CIA spy who was jailed following his public statements about the the CIA’s use of torture. He is the author of Doing Time Like A Spy: How the CIA Taught Me to Survive and Thrive in Prison and Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror.

In our discussion, I mentioned predictions ascribed to the CIA that Pakistan would fail as a state by 2015.

CO049 John Kiriakou on Going from the CIA to Federal Prison

John Kiriakou is a former CIA spy who was jailed following his public statements about the the CIA’s use of torture. He is the author of Doing Time Like A Spy: How the CIA Taught Me to Survive and Thrive in Prison and Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror.

CO048 Hayley Jones on News in the Age of Social Media

I talked to Hayley Jones who writes for The Daily Beast and I mentioned this story run by Rachel Maddow about Russian military intelligency figures boasting about their reach and ability to influence social media.

Hayley mentioned that The Daily Beast had also run elements of this story.


CO047 Bill Tatro on Finance and Millennials

Bill Tatro is an economist, writer and broadcaster who studied under John Kenneth Galbraith, who has been entertaining audiences on the radio and in seminars for over 30 years.

We spoke about his article Those Damn Millennials.

I mentioned When China Rules the World by Martin Jacques, but I made a mistake when I said Jacques is American, in fact he is British.

CO046 Alex Nowrasteh on the Conservative Case for Immigration

Alex Nowrasteh is an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

In our discussion, we mentioned the Chinese Exculsion Act and the Irish Americans who are descendants of people who immigrated to the US over several centuries.

CO045 Heather Jones on the Alt-Right and Accuracy

Black Pigeon Speaks is a popular Alt-Right YouTube channel and associated websiteBlack Pigeon is the voice of the many videos on the channel. He is noted for his anti-immigrant, anti-Islam, racist, sexist and anti-trans views.

Heather Jones is the Editor-in-Chief of, She self-identifies as ‘New-Right’ or as a ‘Traditionalist’ rather than ‘Alt-Right’.

Below are videos from the Black Pigeon Speaks channel where certain claims were made, along with some sourced information I found while fact-checking.

In this video Black Pigeon claims that average IQ in western countries is falling. This Wikipedia article explains ‘The Flynn Effect’, a substantial and long-sustained increase in both fluid and crystallized intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present day. The effect has been found in tests replicated in dozens of academic studies, and proposed explanations from psychologists include improved education, improved nutrition, a generally more stimulating intellecutal environment, reduction in infectious diseases, and heterosis, the increase in marriage to people who are not related.

In this video Black Pigeon claims that ‘studies’ exist which indicate that a large majority of women orgasm during rape. This claim seems to be based on an internet hoax which is outlined here.

Heather wrote an article based on a fabricated quotation attributed to the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, which was also the subject of a Black Pigeon Speaks video. The inaccurate quotation seems to have originated with a tweet from Donald Trump Jr, and has been modified and widely circulated on alt-right websites in various forms, usually claiming that Khan claimed that people ‘should accept terrorism‘. Heather wrote:

‘’Terror attacks are ‘part and parcel’ of living in a major city’’ – Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

What Khan actually said in September was:

“Part and parcel of living in a great global city is you’ve got to be prepared for these things, you’ve got to be vigilant, you’ve got to support the police doing an incredibly hard job. We must never accept terrorists being successful, we must never accept that terrorists can destroy our life or destroy the way we lead our lives.”

Snopes: Sadiq Khan statements about London terror attack

We also discussed Heather’s article Dear Feminists: Your ‘Multiculturalism’ is Taking Away Your Rights.

CO044 Darius McCullough on What is MGTOW?

Darius McCullough runs the YouTube channel MGTOW Knowledge – Darius.

MGTOW is a subculture that is particularly active on YouTube, there are literally thousands of channels devoted to it.

CO043 Jonathan Wood on Libertarian Environmentalism

Jonathan Wood is the author of FREEcology a blog on libertarian environmentalism. In addition he is also an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), an adjunct fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) and a member of the executive committee for the Federalist Society’s Environmental Law and Property Rights Practice Group.

According to Jonathan’s blog Libertarian environmentalism has three key facets which he outlines as follows.

“First, incentives matter. The knee jerk impulse to treat regulation as the solution to every environmental problem often backfires, by punishing behavior that benefits the environment. Second, secure property rights are a necessary, if not always sufficient, condition for responsible resource use and conservation. And, finally, where environmental regulation is appropriate, the best system will ensure that whoever benefits from the regulation also bears the costs. Internalizing those costs prevents regulations from being more burdensome than necessary.”

You can connect with Jonathan through FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and SSRN.

CO042 Aaron Bandler on Russia & WWII

Aaron Bandler is a staff writer with The Wire. We talked about his article about the Russian foreign ministry tweet taking credit for defeating the nazis.

Aaron (and others) commented that this tweet was sent on the anniversary of the of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the 1939 deal between Hitler and Stalin which promised peace between the two, and carved up Eastern Europe between the two powers.

Historians are divided as to the degree to which the Soviets believed in the pact, or used it as cynical move to delay the war, giving them time to prepare, particularly moving industry beyond the Urals into Siberia; however there is absolutely no doubt that the bulk of nazi forces were ranged against – and defeated by – the Soviet Union.

Of all nazi forces, 80 per cent were on the Eastern Front, and 95 per cent of all Allied casualties were suffered by the Soviet Union. The Battle of Stalingrad began almost two years before D-Day, on August 23, 1942, and lasted until February 1943. There is no doubt that this was the fulcrum of the war; it was the beginning of the Soviets’ advance towards Berlin.

CO041 Fr John Peck on Replacements for Religion

Fr John Peck is a priest in the American Orthodox Church, an Eastern Rite church which has strong links to the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches. He writes the blog The Orthodox Church of Tomorrow, and featured this article on his blog.

In the conversation, I mentioned Sathya Sai Baba, an Indian guru who claimed to have performed a variety of miracles, including raising people from the dead. He has a large following, including Uri Geller and Alice (wife of John) Coltraine, and some of his devotees say that they have witnessed him perform miracles such as healings, raising people from the dead, clairvoyance, bilocation.

Many of the miracles seem to have a distinct echo of the miracles attributed to Jesus in the Bible, though in the case of Sathya Sai Baba there are many people available to give apparently sincere testimony of the miracles.

CO040 Sharyl Attkisson on Manipulating the News

Sharyl Attkisson is the presenter of Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson, and a former news anchor for CBS and CNN. She has won Emmy awards for Investigative Journalism and Business and Financial Reporting.

HarperCollins recently published her book The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote.  

CO039 Peter Balint on Tolerance

Dr Peter Balint is a senior lecturer in International & Political Studies at the
School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia. His book, Respecting Toleration Traditional Liberalism and Contemporary Diversity was published recently by Oxford University Press.

In our discussion, I mentioned Pastafarianism, the parody religion that purports to worship Flying Spaghetti Monster, whose supposed adherents sometimes insist on accommodations that parody those of real religions, such as demanding the right to wear religious head-coverings – a colander – in photos government IDs where authorities allow that exception for other belief systems. 

CO038 Ryan Alford on The Rule of Law

Ryan Alford is an associate professor at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University, Ontario, and he’s also a US-qualified lawyer.

He recently published the book Permanent State of Emergency; Unchecked Executive Power and the Demise of the Rule of Law.

CO037 Jerry Newcombe on America as a Christian Nation

Jerry Newcombe is an author and pastor, who has written The Unstoppbable Jesus Christ and The Book that Made America.

In our conversation I mentioned Thomas Paine’s, The Age of Reason and Reason, the Only Oracle of Man by Ethan Allen, both Founding Fathers, and I drew from the more modern book The Faiths of the Founding Fathers by David L. Holmes.

CO036 Michael Huttner on how to Resist Trump

Michael Huttner is the co-author of The Resistance Handbook: 45 Ways to Fight Trump with Markos Moulitsas, published by Disruption Books. 

I mentioned Nate Silver’s article Donald Trump Is Making Europe Liberal Again, which has noted that association with Trump, particularly by the European far-right parties, seems to be hurting them politically.

CO035 Dan Kovalik on the Vilification of Russia

Dan Kovalik is a human rights, labor rights lawyer and council for United Steelworkers Union. 

His new book is called, The Plot to Scapegoat Russia,  (How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Russia). We also spoke about Dan’s related article, Listen liberals Russia is not our enemy.

There is a list of the journalists killed in Russia under Putin on Wikipedia; without exception .

CO034 Richard Stratton on Being a Major Criminal

Richard Stratton is the author of Kingpin: Prisoner of the War on Drugs, and previously wrote Smuggler’s Blues: A True Story of the Hippie Mafia. both published by Arcade Publishing.

CO033 Tarek Fatah on Liberal Islam

Tarek Fatah was born in Pakistan, he lives in Canadian now where he is a writer, broadcaster, activist, and writes a weekly column for the Toronto Sun. In our conversation, he mentioned some Muslims naming their children after Timur.


There’s a video that you should see.

It’s a drama made by the BBC, the British national broadcaster. I’m not sure how or when it will be shown outside the UK, but there are loads of clips online, I’ve even seen that on YouTube there are the whole of the three hour-long episodes, I’m not sure how legal that is, or how long they will stay up, but I’m sure you can find it on some service or other.

Another challenge, if you’re not from the UK, you might find some of the accents a bit of a challenge, so maybe try with subtitles; the reason for that is that it’s set in the northern English town of Rochdale.

Rochdale is a town close to Manchester, it’s got a population of about 100,000, and about a quarter of its population is of Asian origin, although measuring that is a bit tricky, it depends on whether you count just the town or the wider metro area, since Asians tend to live more centrally in the town.

And Rochdale is poor. And that is central to the video you should see. The video is a drama, it’s in three hour-long episodes, it’s called Three Girls, and the title characters are three young teenagers from Rochdale. They represent, according to the British government enquiry, more than 1,400 girls – I’m going to pause for you to take that number in, more than 1,400 girls who were sexually abused by men who chatted them up, gave them fast food, alcohol, sometimes drugs, and gained influence over them – what is called grooming. And having gained influence, they sexually abused the girls, raped them, and in some cases rented them out to be raped by other men.

This went on for years, and as well as the abuse on the girls, the drama looks at how the authorities reacted to what was going on. Most, but not all of the girls, came from quite poor backgrounds, some of them had chaotic lives, were alienated from their parents, in other words they didn’t have a strong adult presence protecting them.

The drama follows one community health worker who repeatedly reported the child abuse and rapes to the police, but they took little effective action, and the scandal, since exposed in a government report, was that two attitudes let this go on for years, although many men have now been convicted in relation to the case.

The first is that all of the perpetrators were Muslim men from a Pakistani or Afghan background and all the victims that we know of were white.

The second is that the girls didn’t look like middle class, well-spoken A-students. Some of them drank, had sex, stayed out late.

The combination of these two factors, it seems, paralyzed the authorities. They were so afraid of being seen to be racist, that they were walking on eggshells any time they dealt with ethnic minorities. They were anxious to find any other explanation than the obvious one, that hundreds of girls were being abused and raped. And there was one explanation that suited them. Many of the girls were not perfect candidates to be seen as blameless victims by a jury.

One scene in the film shows a police officer referring to the girls as underage prostitutes. The health worker replies that there is no such thing as an underage prostitute, she says that they are abuse victims.

There are two things to take away from this. The first is that victims are not always perfect. In this case, I would guess, the abusers targeted them for that exact reason. But they are still victims, and they still deserve justice. Justice is not justice if it’s not justice for all.

The second is that being against racism can’t mean being against reality. Some crimes are prosecuted in a racist way, there is no doubt about it. White and Black Americans use and sell marijuana in much the same proportions, but blacks are vastly more likely to be arrested for it.

But where crimes do follow a racial pattern there is nothing wrong with talking about that, and nothing wrong with acting on it.

And the third point is that some racial or cultural or religious practices – whatever you want to call it – are just disgusting and should be simply rejected. I don’t think you can get away from the fact that aspects of Islam are misogynistic, and that is connected with the abuse of women and girls, and that can be seen in many Islamic countries, and in the pattern of crimes that are committed by some immigrants from those countries.

Anyone who thinks that respecting diversity should mean not prosecuting those crimes to the full should take a long look at themselves.


One last thing, it’s notable that the prosecutor who overturned the original decision not to prosecute these rapists was a guy called Nazir Afzal, a first generation Pakistani immigrant, and I take two things away from that. First that not all Pakistani men are bad, and secondly, that there is no excuse for the ones who are.

Anyway go and look it up and watch the drama, it’s called Three girls.

CO032 Rebecca Lemke on Purity Culture, Part 2

There are show notes from my interview with Rebecca Lemke with Part 1 of this interview.


I don’t like Julian Assange. I don’t know Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, and I probably shouldn’t make a judgment on him as a person based on what I see of him through the media, but my impression is that I wouldn’t like him as a person.

I get the impression that he is too self-important, too convinced of his own centrality to the story; I feel like he would be the sort of person who just talk about himself all the time. I don’t have any evidence for that, I suppose I’m the sort of person a defense lawyer should exclude from a jury for not coming with an open mind.

I shouldn’t have that impression, I shouldn’t have any impression given that you can never know  somebody through their media persona, so I’m probably wrong to feel it, I’m probably wrong to feel anything, however I don’t feel like I like Julian Assange. That’s just it.

But. I really like the idea of Julian Assange. I like the way that he has exposed so many people’s hypocrisy.

If you remember back when he first became prominent, he was publishing anything that seemed like it was relevant to shining a light where democracy needed it. In 2007 – a decade ago, now – Wikileaks published a huge archive of evidence of corruption in Kenya, where the government was stealing billions from the people of that poor African country. The result was major political change there. Sunshine really was disinfectant.

Then Wikileaks published first the collateral murder video, and later the Afghan and Iraqi War logs, Diplomatic cables, Guantanamo Bay files and more, that we now know was passed on by Chelsea, then Bradley Manning. Anti-war people were delighted.

Conservatives, not so much. People who thought they loved freedom of speech suddenly weren’t so concerned with constitutional rights. Time magazine writer Michael Grunwald tweeted “I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange

Sarah Palin called Assange “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands“, which was of course nothing to do with her illegal use of a Yahoo mail account, the contents of which Assange published when it inevitably got hacked.

Then, in mysterious circumstances, Assange was put under investigation for an alleged rape in Sweden. He wasn’t charged or even formally accused, but Swedish authorities wanted to question him; he was already back in Britain, and despite offering to submit to questioning by the UK police, or even by Swedish police at the Swedish embassy in London, both the Swedish police and the British courts have insisted that he should be extradited to Sweden; just to be questioned, not even to be charged.

Assange said that this was a ruse to get him somewhere from where he could be extradited to the US. Neither the UK nor the Swedish governments would specifically deny this. And then there was the question of the strange way in which he was supposed to have raped the women. The rape consisted of not wearing a condom when he had agreed to do so, rather than having sex without consent, and there seemed to be evidence that the alleged victims were happy to socialize with Assange after the incident.

Men’s rights advocates forcefully made the point that Sweden defines and categorizes and counts rape in a very way different to most countries, this is down to pressure from feminists. The Assange case, they say, proves that innocent men are being accused of rapes that didn’t happen.

But that was way back in 2012. How times have changed.

Last year, somebody hacked the DNC email servers and somebody – somebody whose name begins with P and ends with utin – gave all that information, or as much of it as suited him, to Assange who published it on Wikileaks.

This did the Clinton campaign no end of harm, and all of a sudden the right in the US thought that publishing hacked emails was a fine thing to do. No more talk of drone strikes, Sarah Palin even publicly apologized to Assange and praised him for doing to Hillary Clinton what she had called for him to be murdered for when he did it to her, to Palin.

And the left is now curiously silent about their former hero, they’re not nearly such enthusiastic supporters now that it seems that Assange played a part in putting Trump in the White House.

But the biggest hypocrites of all are the Men’s Rights advocates who five years ago raged against the Swedish justice system. Five years later Europe has had the refugee crisis, and it has become an article of faith amongst the MRA, which has morphed into the alt-right, that refugees are responsible for a hugely disproportionate number of rapes and sexual assaults, and that because Sweden accepted a relatively large number of refugees, that must be causing an epidemic of rape there.

First, there is clear evidence that that’s untrue. But secondly, I just love how they’ve flipped from saying that Sweden enforces rapes laws far too strictly, to saying that they are far too lax.

So that’s the Julian Assange that I like. Not the person Julian Assange. The Julian Assange who exposes the hypocrisy of so many people right across the political spectrum.

CO031 Christopher Snowdon on Fighting Obesity

Christopher Snowdon is the Head of Lifestyle Economics for the right-leaning Institute of Economic Affairs; he also writes for Spectator Health.

I mentioned obesity statistics from the Centres for Disease Control:

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.
  • In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

The Harvard School of Public Health says that young people are getting up to 30 per cent of their daily calories requirement from soft drinks. Beverage companies in the US spent roughly $3.2 billion marketing carbonated beverages in 2006, with nearly a half billion dollars of that marketing aimed directly at children.

Since the 1970s the proportion of calories from sugary drinks more than doubled from 4 per cent to 9 per cent.

Economics push food companies to include more sugar in products to increase profits. Since the 1980s, the price of supermarket sugar has doubled, the price of candy bars have quadrupled, but the price of raw sugar has declined, and is set to decline further.

A literature review by the National Institutes of Health indicates that sugary drinks are particularly problematic because the body doesn’t register their calories the way it does for calories eaten, so despite the sugar intake, people still feel hungry.

The British Medical Association’s study in the BMJ reported that purchases of taxed beverages decreased by an average of 6%, and decreased at an increasing rate up to a 12% decline by December 2014, comparted to what they would otherwise have been. Reductions were higher among the households of low socioeconomic status, averaging a 9% decline during 2014, and up to a 17% decrease by December 2014 compared with pretax trends.