Background Briefing: October 6, 2021


The Lawyer for Abu Zubaydah Whose Case Was Heard Today by the Supreme Court

We begin with today’s oral arguments in the Supreme Court in the case of Abu Zubaydah in what is seen as a test case on state secrets since Zubaydah has tried to subpoena two CIA contractors in a Polish case investigating CIA black sites. The U.S. government has blocked the subpoenas based on the claim that information could be released that would harm national security, an argument the justices did not seem to buy since the sites are public knowledge and have been closed down. The lawyer representing Abu Zubaydah, Joe Margulies, Professor of Law and Government at Cornell University, a civil rights attorney and critic of the national security state and the author of What Changed When Everything Changed: 9/11 and the Making of National Identity and Guantánamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power, joins us. Having been in limbo at Guantanamo for decades, Abu Zubaydah was held in CIA black sites and his interrogation in 2002 and 2003 prompted the Bush Administration to draft the infamous “torture memos.” We discuss the frustration the Supreme Court justices expressed at the U.S. government’s lawyer today for not letting Zubaydah testify in person, and how the two CIA contractors in the case have agreed to testify but are not allowed to.


Lessons From Previous Coastal Oil Spills Have Not Been Learned

Then we examine the on-going ecological damage from the devastating oil spill on the Southern California coast and speak with Michael Hiltzik, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and columnist at The Los Angeles Times whose latest column is “We learned nothing from previous oil spills. Will we learn from this one?” He joins us to discuss how lessons have not been learned from the oldest major coastal disaster in modern history, the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969, which prompted the formation of “Earth Day”, and how government regulators only inspect the 18,000 miles of abandoned pipelines, not the ones operating today.


How Fight Clubs and MMA Are Incubators For Far Right Hypermasculinity

Then finally we speak with Karim Zidan, an investigative journalist who covers the intersection of sports and politics. He has written for The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Deadspin, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation and has an article at Right Wing Watch, “Neo-Nazis Train for Combat in Growing ‘Active Club’ Movement.” We discuss how angry young white men and boys are being attracted to Mixed Martial Arts and Fight Clubs which have become incubators for far right hypermasculinity.