The Tragedy of Iraq

In this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan is joined by Iraq-born writer, Sami Ramadani, to discuss important questions regarding Iraq and the Middle East. What is happening now in Iraq? We are now 14 years on from the controversial invasion, yet Iraq is not at peace, not least because of an ongoing battle with ISIS. Sami provides a whistle-stop history of the struggle of the Iraqi people, from imperial oppression from the United Kingdom up to the occupation of US-led forces in 2003. Sami also discusses US foreign policy under the Trump administration, speculating on a potential showdown with Iran. Sami grew up in Baghdad, but departed as a political exile during Saddam Hussein’s reign. However, despite his objections to Saddam’s government, Sami argued against US-led sanctions and opposed the 2003 invasion and occupation. A semi-retired lecturer in sociology, Sami writes on Middle Eastern affairs and sits on the Stop the War Coalition’s steering committee. For more information on Sami, you can find him on Twitter (@SamiRamidani1) and the Guardian web site (https://www.theguardian.com/profile/samiramadani).

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The Fake News Agenda

In this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan is joined by Gary Herman to discuss press freedom, fake news, citizen journalism and the future of a free press in a digital age. Also discussed on this show is Donald Trump’s scheduled autumn visit to the United Kingdom, why journalists often refrain from pressing public figures on evaded questions, ‘Stop Funding Hate’, the lack of trust of the public in the media, Facebook as a news source, Leveson, and much more. Gary is a member of the British National Union of Journalists and has been campaigning for press and broadcasting freedom for 37 years. Gary sits on the National Council of The Campaign for Press & Broadcasting Freedom (http://www.cpbf.org.uk/), which is funded by membership and trade unions. Established in 1979, the CPBF strives for a more accountable, freer and diverse media. Gary has a background in journalism and writing, beginning his career as a freelance journalist and author, specialising in film and popular music and authoring or co-authoring a number of books. If you would like to find out more information about Gary, you can visit http://www.keywordsassociates.com/.

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Western Downfall: Why Trump Won

On this edition of The Aidan Project Podcast, Aidan is joined on the line from New York City by philosopher, Dr. Benedict Beckeld. In this episode, Aidan and Dr. Beckeld discuss a number of important issues, most notably Dr. Beckeld’s explanation of Donald Trump’s electoral success. Dr. Beckeld argues that oikophobia – a repudiation of one’s own culture – led to the rise of Trump. The good news is that ‘Western Decline’ is cyclical; the bad news is that there is no immediate sign of a reversal. Also discussed on the show: the ‘Regressive Left’, immigration, Islam, free speech, race riots in Sweden, Brexit, Milo, atheism, bodybuilding, and much more. Dr. Beckeld was born in Sweden to Brazilian and Jewish parents, but emigrated with his family to New York City as a teenager. Dr. Beckeld’s philosophy has thus far focused primarily on matters of aesthetics, ethics, contemporary culture, political philosophy and the philosophy of history. For more information on Dr. Beckeld, you can find him online at www.benedictbeckeld.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/benedictbeckeld

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George Orwell Versus Alternative Facts

In this edition of the Aidan Project Podcast, Aidan is joined by Richard Keeble, who is none other than the Chairman of the Orwell Society. Richard is a retired Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln and has written extensively about Orwell, including a critical assessment of Orwell’s war reporting, and also wrote a chapter in the 2012 book, Orwell Today, which he also edited, looking at Orwell’s complex relationship with the intelligence services. Richard and Aidan look at Orwell’s two most famous works, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four (and the latter’s huge spike in sales), and discuss what Orwell would have made of “alternative facts” in the new media age. Would Orwell be blogging online, attacking Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer for their doublethink with his unique command of language? We also discuss Orwell’s life, his schooling, the shooting of an elephant in Burma, being wounded in Spain, his tremendous wit and his untimely death, in addition to discussing separating fact from fiction in his work, and much more besides. He (or she) who listens to this podcast will know the future. But you might not be able to control the past. For more information on The Orwell Society, please visit http://www.orwellsociety.com/

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The Art of Terror

In this episode, The Art of Terror, I will be looking at the War on Terror, in addition to Edmund Clark’s thought-provoking exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London, entitled War *of* Terror. This adapted name is quite deliberate, as will become clear within this episode. The artist-photographer, Clark, has visited Guantanamo Bay, along with the homes of persons who have been held under house arrest here in the United Kingdom. In a world in which ISIS and other groups sympathetic to the Jihadist cause are committing regular atrocities in the Middle East and, indeed, much closer to ‘home’, Western-speaking, we must surely offer strong support for robust governmental action to tackle terrorism. But – and this is the key – it needs to be effective and proportionate. Is it really a case of no pain, no gain? Is torture ever morally acceptable? Indeed, can the War on Terror ever be fought with our morals intact? This episode also looks at the West’s best options for tackling extremism; options which, frustratingly, are being suffocated by the ‘regressive left’. Furthermore, and very much linked to the work of would-be reformers, the power of belief in the supernatural is a significant factor in the War on Terror, which this episode explores in detail. Did George W. Bush’s belief in God lead to the invasion of Iraq? Thank you for tuning in. You can follow my work on Twitter @theaidanproject.