Dr. Ken Alibek – “Soviet Germ Warfare Part 1″

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Bio-Hazard: The Chilling Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World — Told From Inside by the Man Who Ran it

Biological warfare is the use of weapons that cause death by disease. The largest and most sophisticated biological weapons program in the world, which cultivated and stockpiled anthrax virus, brucellosis, the plague and genetically altered strains of small pox, employed more than 6000 people at over 100 facilities in the former Soviet Union. For 15 years, ending in 1992, Dr. Ken Alibek, a doctor of medicine and a Ph.D. in microbiology, was the scientific leader of Bio-Preparat, the civilian branch of that secret biological weapons program, masquerading as a pharmaceutical company. In 1992, Dr. Alibek defected to the United States. Several years later, he wrote “Bio-Hazard,” a book detailing the development of biological weapons, the horrors of his former life and why he chose to defect. This is a two-part program with Dr. Ken Alibek, recorded in 1999.

Dr. Ken Alibek recommends “Prevent,” by Richard Preston & “Vector,” by Robin Cook.

Originally Broadcast: May 11, 1999

Frost, Mike: You Can’t Hide Part One

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Spy World: Inside the Canadian and American Intelligence Establishments

The fact that governments spy on each other is no secret. The fact that they also collect data about lives of millions of innocent citizens worldwide may be unknown to many people. Mike Frost, the author of “Spy World: Inside the Canadian and American Intelligence Establishments,” worked as a spy for over 30 years. Mike traveled worldwide, setting up devices to intercept what were thought to be secret international communications. Mike Frost has since retired as a spy and has many thoughts and considerations about his former job. Our discussion led to a two-part program, originally broadcast in April of 1999.

Mike Frost recommends the movie, October Sky.

Originally Broadcast: April 6, 1999 & April 13, 1999

Potok, Chaim: Escaping Communism

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Chaim Potok, the author of “The Chosen,” “The Gift of Asher Lev,”Davida’s Heart,” and many other novels, chronicled the life of a Russian Jewish family in the non-fictions story, “The Gates of November.” This true story of the Slapeck family, Solomon Slapek, his son Valodya, and daughter-in-law Masha, spans 100 years. Beginning with Solomon’s childhood at turn of the 20th century, his escape to America and return to Russia, it eventually describes Valodya and Masha’s life after they apply for an exit visa to leave Russia in 1968, in order to emigrate to Israel. Chaim Potok died July 23, 2002, at his suburban Philadelphia home of brain cancer at the age of 73.

The book Chaim Potok recommends is “The English Patient,” by Michael Ondaatje.

This program was Originally Broadcast: January 8, 1997

Hilario, Manenima: Born into the Stone Age

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A generally accepted theory about human migration tells us that people crossed the landmass that once connected Siberia to Alaska. Some of those people continued walking south and many generations later settled on the western edge of the Amazon Basin in South America in what is now eastern Peru. One of those groups is called Shapibo. Manenima Hilario, who is now 26 yeas old, was born Shapibo, into his tribe which lived in the Stone Age traditional fashion. At age 11, he went to secondary school in the Hispanic Amazon jungle town of Pucallpa. Later, from Lima, Peru he found his way to Taylor, Texas, and on to Sonoma State University, in Northern CA, where he graduated in June of 1997. Since that time he was enrolled at Stanford University to work on his Ph.D.

Manenima Hilario recommends the biography of General Colin Powell.

Originally Broadcast: January 22, 1997

Dick Johnson as Alexis de Tocqueville: A Visit With Alexis de Tocqueville

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Democracy in America

In 1831, a 25 year-old Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, trained as a lawyer, and preoccupied with democracy, came to the US to study this new political scheme. Alexis de Tocqueville and his traveling companion, Gustave de Beaumont, arrived at Newport, RI, in an America comprised, then, of 23 states and 13 million people. They stayed for nine months, and then returned to France at which time de Tocqueville began his epic poem entitled “Democracy in America.” At a time then when slavery was an economic base in the South, and abolitionism was beginning to thrive in the North, America had three frontiers: geography, industry, and democracy. In this program of Radio Curious, we’ll be talking with Alexis De Tocqueville, through the person of Chautauqua scholar, Dick Johnson.

Alexis de Tocqueville recommends “Democracy in America,” by Alexis de Tocqueville.

Originally Broadcast: July 17, 1996

Darnton, John: The Galapagos Islands and Charles Darwin

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Who was Charles Darwin and what led him to describe what we now call the theory of evolution? These curious questions are ones that I have been following since I was about ten years old. In 1978 I had the good fortune of visiting the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1831 for month as part of a five-year voyage around the world. There he saw birds and animals that helped him formulate some of his ideas about evolution he published The Origin of the Species, 22 years later in 1853. Since then the world, science and religion has not been the same.
Now, at a time when concepts of evolution and natural selection are attacked from certain theological and political perspectives, “The Darwin Conspiracy,” a novel has been written by John Darnton, a writer and editor for the New York Times. “The Darwin Conspiracy,” although fiction, is said by John Darnton to be 90% accurate. It covers Darwin’s life and thinking before and after his publication of “The Origin of the Species.”

I spoke with John Darnton from his home in New York City at the end of October 2005. He began by describing who Charles Darwin was, in his time and place.

The book John Darnton recommends is “Snow,” by Orhan Pamuk.

Totten, Dr Samuel: Genocide in South Sudan

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Once again we focus on the continuing genocide in the northeast African countries of Sudan and South Sudan. When the nation of South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, the hopes for peace and safety of its citizens were high. That reality however has not come to be. The people of this area, especially those from the Nuba Mountains, continue to flee for their lives amidst an ongoing deadly famine.

Professor Emeritus, Samuel Totten, Ph.D., a genocide scholar, now retired from the University of Arkansas, is our guest for the fifth time on Radio Curious. Professor Totten, who has visited Sudan and South Sudan multiple times in the past decade, hopes to visit there again the end of July, 2018. In this program, he describes recent conditions in this remote part of Africa; the heroic efforts of others who have devoted their lives to the betterment of the people of South Sudan—told in the book he edited in 2017, “Sudan’s Nuba Mountains People: Accounts by Humanitarians in the Battle Zone”—and the plans for his pending trip there. He also explains what motivates him to risk his life by doing this work.
When Dr. Sam Totten and I visited by phone from his home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on July 9, 2018, we began when I asked him to describe the location of Sudan and South Sudan on the African continent.

The book Sam Totten recommends is “The Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency,” by Barton Gellman.

Ron Gross as Socrates: Socrates in Athens, in Conversation

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Socrates of Athens, who lived before the Common Era, is respected as one of the greatest independent thinkers of all time. Socrates himself refused to be recognized as a teacher. Instead, Plato, his well-known student and reporter of Socrates’ dialogues, tells us he asked to be seen as a “midwife of ideas.” Socrates’ passion to achieve self-understanding, and the proper ways to live, continues to be studied and emulated to this day.

Chataquan scholar Ron Gross portrays Socrates in this archived interview, recorded in January 2003. We began our conversation when I asked him to describe the process of self understanding.

The book Socrates recommends is “The Trojan Women,” by Euripides. Ron Gross recommends “The Clouds,” by Aristophanes.

Appelbaum, Ralph: Holocaust Remembrance and the Responsibility of Bystanders

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To create thought around Yom Hashoah, known in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day I offer you an archive interview with Ralph Appelbaum, the designer the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington D.C., which opened in April 1993, when this interview was recorded.

When Ralph Appelbaum and I were Peace Corp Volunteers in the mid 1960s, living in nearby towns in southern Peru, we often shared our future plans.  This interview shares the story of one of Ralph’s plans which he manifested on a material plane, about 30 years later.

Appelbaum says that a museum’s architecture should focus on the experience by creating time and space events. In the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Appelbuam’s design depicts the suffering, torture and death of millions of people during World War II in Europe, on land controlled by fascist Nazis.  He also directs attention to the responsibility of bystanders.

Please keep in mind that this interview was recorded in April 1993.  That was when Ralph Appelbaum and I visited by phone from his loft in New York City.  We began when I asked him to describe his vision of a museum designer.

The audio of this program was enhanced by Gregg McVicer of UnderCurrentsradio.net, who was our guest in 2013.

Komar, Stefan: Concentration Death Camps

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You may remember the Radio Curious interview with Bernard Offen, recorded in May 2005, and re-boradcast the end of May 2017.  In telling the story of his youth in Poland during World War II, being forced into four different concentration camps established and controlled by the Nazis, Bernard Offen characterized those camps as “Polish concentration camps.”

Soon after the 2017 re-broadcast, I received an email from Stefan Komar, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious.  Komar pointed out that calling any German concentration camp in German occupied Poland “Polish,” or referring to a German concentration camp in occupied Poland as “in Poland”, “of Poland,” or “Poland’s,” is insensitive to the families of the millions of ethnic Poles who were killed, forced into slave labor, tortured, maimed, terrorized and starved during the brutal and inhuman German occupation of Poland in the name of “Deuthschland, Deutschland Uber Alles.”

Komar, who was born in Queens, New York, lived in Warsaw, Poland, for about 10 years beginning when he was 12 years old. Currently he’s a Captain in the New York Police Department, after serving with the NYPD for 37 years.

A few days before Stefan Komar, and I visited by phone from his home in Queens, New York, on January  28, 2018, many newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-israel-poland-nazis-20180128-story.html) reported a “bill passed by the lower house of Poland’s parliament”  would make it illegal to utter the phrase “Polish concentration camp” or to assign Poland culpability for Nazi crimes committed on its soil.  The Israeli government was Infuriated, as reported in Reuters, (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-poland/israel-and-poland-clash-over-proposed-holocaust-law-idUSKBN1FH0S3), among other news outlets, and called the Polish law revisionary history.
This is clearly a curious issue to follow.  In doing so Komar provided a link to “A Platform for Polish Jewish Dialogue,” (http://www.dialog.org/) which may be found at Dialog.org, and a youtube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SztV961KKhA&t=58s, on Polish history including a discussion on how the Nazi occupation of Poland may be characterized.  These links may be found on radiocurious.org.

Stefan Komar and I unfortunately did not directly discuss this new law or the Israeli reaction.  We did however put the topic in context from his point of view.  We began our visit when I asked him to discuss the characterization of these concentration camps.

The books Stefan Komar recommends are “Hollywood’s War with Poland, 1939-1945” by M.B.B. Biskupski; and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century,” by Paul Kengor.