Summary: Moderate Rebels is a political podcast hosted by journalists Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton. We regularly report on America's bellicose foreign policy and the deceptions deployed to sell it to the public. We also connect the dots to show how the state of perpetual war fuels dangerous right-wing politics back home. Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton created this podcast to help provide a platform to the dissident journalists and activists challenging US empire. We hope to show listeners what’s behind the endless war propaganda that is sold to us each day in the corporate media.
Moderate Rebels episode 18 - Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton continue the discussion with Rania Khalek. We explain how our erroneous views on the war in Syria evolved. Max apologizes for his Al Akhbar resignation, and Rania discusses the destructive sectarianism in prominent Arab/Muslim-American groups, which get Gulf funding. We detail Israel's support for the Syrian opposition, and show how dishonest the attempts are to liken Salafi rebels to the Palestinians. Part 2 of our 3-part interview
Moderate Rebels episode 17 – Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton are joined by Rania Khalek to discuss the war in Syria. We dissect misleading media narratives about the conflict and the extremist Salafi-Takfiri rebel forces, and we analyze the various foreign powers involved. Rania also speaks about her reporting on the ground in Syria, and how the war is perceived in neighboring Lebanon. This is part 1 of our 3-part interview with Rania Khalek.
Moderate Rebels episode 16 - Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton are joined by Yemeni-American scholar and activist Shireen al-Adeimi to discuss the joint US-Saudi war on Yemen, on its third anniversary. This war has unleashed the largest humanitarian catastrophe in the world. We discuss the historical context; the political actors on the ground, including the Houthis (Ansar Allah); the depth of the humanitarian crisis; and the crucial role of the West in facilitating the Saudi bombing campaign and blockade.
Moderate Rebels episode 15 – Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton are joined by veteran Middle East reporter Patrick Cockburn to discuss the war in Syria. We analyze key cities and battles in the conflict, including Afrin, Eastern Ghouta, Idlib, Aleppo, and Raqqa, along with Mosul and other areas in neighboring Iraq. Cockburn says the Western media reporting on Syria is the worst he has ever seen. We address the extreme pro-opposition bias in the press corps and dispel prevalent myths and talking points.
Moderate Rebels episode 14 – Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton report on Vice Media's transformation into a mouthpiece for American foreign policy. With filmmaker Robbie Martin, we look at "A World in Disarray," a documentary film VICE co-produced with Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, which glorifies US imperialism and brings together notorious neoconservatives and neoliberals. We also analyze VICE's propaganda on Venezuela and its whitewashing of US-backed neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
Moderate Rebels episode 13 (Part 1 of 2) - Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton are joined by filmmaker Robbie Martin to discuss how VICE transformed from a nihilistic hipster magazine into a media empire that propagandizes on behalf of the US empire, dutifully promoting hawkish American foreign policy with an edgy aesthetic. We address the hundreds of millions of dollars of investment Vice Media received from corporate media conglomerates, along with the coterie of regime change trolls who emerged from VICE.
Moderate Rebels episode 12 - Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton discuss the protests in Iran with Mazda Majidi. We analyze the reasons behind them, including neoliberal economic policies, internal political contradictions, and US sanctions. This episode details the Reformist and Principlist factions and looks at reactionary opposition forces like the MEK and pro-shah monarchists. We address attempts by foreign powers to exploit the unrest for regime change, and hypocrisy of US, Israeli, and Saudi rhetoric.
Moderate Rebels episode 11 - Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton are joined by journalist Ali Abunimah to discuss Trump's recognition of illegally occupied Jerusalem as the supposed capital of Israel. We also address the situation on the ground in Palestine, and the complicity of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, and Egypt. We highlight Israelgate: the actual scandal featuring Jared Kushner and Russia. And Ali likewise stresses the importance of independent media in this increasingly restricted political climate.
Moderate Rebels episode 10 - Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton are joined by Indian activist Shehla Rashid Shora. Shehla discusses the growing influence of Hindutva, the far-right Hindu nationalist movement, under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP, and the Nazi-inspired RSS. We analyze the alliance between the US, India, and Israel and the global anti-Muslim "war on terror". And we address Palestine, Kashmir, how neoliberal capitalism has fueled the far right, and the specter of fascism.
Moderate Rebels episode 9 - Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton are joined by Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad, a leading expert on Israel-Palestine and Arab politics and intellectual history. Massad details the long history of collaboration between anti-Semites and Zionists. We discuss how Zionism was promoted by Western imperialist governments as a bulwark against socialism, communism, and other leftist movements, and how far-right racist movements look to the Israeli ethnostate as a model today.
Moderate Rebels episode 8 - Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal discuss how the narrative of Russian "hacking" of US politics has gone off the deep end, with supposedly serious news reports on how the Kremlin purportedly used puppy memes and Pokemon to undermine American democracy. We are joined by journalist Aaron Maté to discuss the madness. This episode also features an ad for an upcoming documentary film series, "Russia's Plot to Make America Racist."
Moderate Rebels episode 7 - Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton discuss Donald Trump's genocidal threats against North Korea and the anti-war protests in the South against the THAAD system and presence of 28,000 US troops. Max reports on the ground from South Korea capital Seoul, where he interviews activists from People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy. They detail how the US militarized the Korean peninsula, the damage this militarization does to Korean society, and prospects for peace with the DPRK.
Moderate Rebels episode 6 - Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton discuss North Korea, the Trump administration's genocidal threats, the bloody history of the "forgotten" Korean War, and how the US has militarized South Korea. Blumenthal reports on-the-ground in Seoul, where he interviews labor organizer Wol-san Liem on anti-war activism, THAAD protests, government repression, and the potential for peace and reunification in the Korean peninsula.
Moderate Rebels episode 5 - Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton discuss how Saudi Arabia is at the heart of Donald Trump's Middle East policy. We're joined by activist Mohammed al-Nimr, the son of the executed dissident Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, to discuss the Saudi regime's attack on the Shia community of Awamiya. Blumenthal and Norton also introduce the segment Thought Loser, starring Brookings Institution senior fellow Shadi Hamid, a staunch supporter of NATO and its catastrophic 2011 regime change war in Libya.
Moderate Rebels episode 4 - Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton are joined by activist and author Eugene Puryear. We discuss the white supremacist fascist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and terror attack on antiracist protesters. Blumenthal, Norton, and Puryear detail what the alt-right is, how it originates in neo-Confederate politics, what fuels it, and how it ultimately serves powerful billionaire interests. We also debunk neoliberal centrist Democrat talking points on the "alt-left" and horseshoe theory.