Via America’s Lawyer: RT Correspondent Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to discuss what Biden’s latest nomination of Antony Blinken to Secretary of State means for U.S. foreign policy. Then, Mike Papantonio is joined by attorney Steve Babin to explain how the Boy Scouts of America is handling over 90,000 claims of sexual abuse after the organization declared bankruptcy earlier this year.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             President elect Joe Biden has nominated Tony Blinken for secretary of state. Much of the media is chanting out with the old and in with the new when it comes to Biden’s cabinet picks. But how much of a difference we’re going to see? Almost none. I have Brigida Santos to talk to me about this war hawk, this awful war hawk who helped get us involved in Iraq. Brigida, for those who don’t know who this character is, let’s talk about him because most people aren’t even paying attention to him. He is a flying monkey war hawk, any other way to describe him?

Brigida Santos:                   Absolutely, that’s accurate. Now, Anthony Blinken has worked with president elect Joe Biden for two decades. He previously served under president Barack Obama and then vice president Joe Biden as the deputy secretary of state and deputy national security advisor. He played a key role in the Obama/Biden foreign policy team. So it’s really no surprise that the president elect has nominated him for secretary of state. Now with Tony Blinken, we can expect to see a return to the policies and militarism of the Obama era. Now people tend to forget, but US interventions under the Obama administration include toppling the government in Libya, bombing and droning civilians in Yemen, launching airstrikes in Syria and of course prolonging the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, this is a, to be real, I mean, it let’s take it down to the facts. This is a guy who, who, who fought for us to invade Iraq, knowing that it was all based on a lie. He had to know it just like everybody else had to know it. Then he wants to go to Libya. He wants to invade Libya. Then he wants to invade Syria. He Opposed withdrawal from, for, for any soldiers in Afghanistan. He opposed withdrawal there. He didn’t want them coming out of Germany. Why? Because he is nothing more than a go-to boy for the arms industry. And Biden knows that, and he’s going to appoint him anyway. How might his secretary of state Blinken differ from Mike Pompeo who, you know wasn’t, I mean, this guy wasn’t a superstar either, but at least he wasn’t a damn war hawk. What’s your take?

Brigida Santos:                   Well, I think Pompeo absolutely is a war hawk, but these leaders are United on militarism. So we really haven’t seen much change in that department from administration to administration, as you’ve already pointed out in the open. Now they’re also unified on their alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia and on their differences with Iran and China, even though their approaches might be different. Now, for example, Blinken says that he wants the US to rejoin the joint comprehensive plan of action with Iran, aka the Iran nuclear deal, which the Trump administration abandoned. And they want to compete with China through multilateral agreements rather than forcing countries to choose doing business with Beijing or Washington. But like the Trump administration, the incoming Biden administration will likely continue sanctioning Iran and Russia and China also, as it sees fit to accomplish certain goals. Now, there is one interesting thing that we should all be paying attention to over the next four years and that’s Washington’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. The president elect has vowed to stop selling weapons of war to Riyadh. We’ll see if Tony Blinken helps carry out that campaign prime, promise. But where Blinken truly differs from secretary of state Mike Pompeo, is on climate and health related diplomacy. The Biden administration of course plans to rejoin the Paris climate accord and the world health organization as soon as possible.

Mike Papantonio:             But how does that help us if we’re picking fights all over the, all over the world, gone to war? Killing our young people in this country simply so the weapons industry, so Blinken can diff, can deliver on the weapons industry. Now you differed with me on Pompeo, you, he’s not your, and I, and I respect that. You don’t think he’s as much of, you think he’s the same war hawk that Blinken is. But at least Pompeo support, supported the idea, let’s get out of Afghanistan, let’s end the war. Let’s take some troops back out of Europe to where the EU understands that they have to stand on their, they have stand on their own feet. We’re not going to be the rattles, there to rattle sabers. Blinken isn’t as hawkish as Susan Rice, which Biden also reportedly considered for the job. But aren’t these people that have just been up there, they’re like, they’re like gimps. Take them out of the box when you need them. These guys, these people have been there forever. And don’t we, don’t we say there is a new notion about how we ought to engage in, in world affairs? This guy doesn’t do that for us at all. What’s your take?

Brigida Santos:                   No. No, of course he doesn’t. And as I said before, you know, Blinken made a mistake when voting to authorize the invasion of Iraq. He now admits that it was a mistake, but he hasn’t said he would now support withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. And he hasn’t shown any interest in closing the revolving door between the defense industry and the public sector. Blinken will merely restore US foreign policy to what it was prior to the election of Donald Trump, which is arguably something that got Donald Trump elected in the first place. And Blinken will also resume his role of pushing Biden in a more aggressive direction, which is exactly what he did on Iraq and Libya.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. I mean, yeah, I’m sorry. I made a mistake. Oh, I’m sorry, your, your, your daughter or your child came home in a box out of a war that never should have taken place. I’m sorry. I just, it’s just it’s, it’s disgusting to me. And the fact is nothing ever changes and that’s what we’re going to see with this administration. I’m very afraid of that. Brigida, thank you for joining me.

Mike Papantonio:             The Boy Scouts of America has been inundated with more than 90,000 claims of sexual abuse and time’s running out for the organization to answer those claims. I have Steve Babin with me who was smart enough to get out in front of this, who figured out that something was way wrong with the scout organization. Steve, can you explain what these claims are alleging and how far back do they go?

Steve Babin:                         Yeah, Mike, these claims are alleging the most egregious thing there is it’s child sex abuse, and they go back to the 1950s or the 1940s. This is one of the most trusted American institutions that we’ve ever had and we trusted this institution with our kids. And what we have found out is this has gone on for decades and decades and decades at numbers that are, well, large enough to have the biggest sex abuse case in history with over 90,000 victims filing claims in the Boy Scouts bankruptcy.

Mike Papantonio:             What caused this? I mean, it seems like a sudden flood of new allegations that nobody’s talked about. Course. We’ve seen it again and again, with the media, you know, it was like with the Catholic church for so long, the media, corporate media would not take on the Catholic church. Same way with, you know, the whole Weinstein kind of stories. The media was terrified by it because the media, the corporate media will never stand up on issues that they should stand up on if there’s any pushback. So I’m wondering, is it part of that that caused this sudden flood of new allegations? Was it just the media again, not doing their job?

Steve Babin:                         I mean, I think it’s a number of things. I think, yeah, the media was not doing their job. That’s one thing. I think that this is a case where it’s young boys that were abused and it’s a case that, you know, I’ve got over a thousand clients and this is a case that my clients didn’t want to talk about. And what happened is there were sufficient cases filed. There were enough cases filed across the country where victims saw others stand up and have the courage to speak out against what happened. And, you know, when there’s more than one and there are many, it’s easier for those victims to stand up. And that’s what we had here, I think, is we had, you know, a lot of, a lot of men with, with the courage and women, with the courage to stand up about what happened to them and to speak the truth and to, you know, explain that the Boy Scouts didn’t, didn’t do what they were supposed to do. They didn’t take care of our children. And, and it was, it was a result of a, of a, of an epidemic failure from the top down without having proper policies or procedures in place or safety procedures or really anything. For many, many years, they had really nothing in place to safeguard our children’s lives when they, when they went with Boy Scouts camping and on trips that were overnight.

Mike Papantonio:             You know, no, what, what I wanted to get at Steve is I, I think back and when we analyzed the whole Weinstein awful story, we’ve found out that for example, MSNBC was even un, NBC unwilling to do a story when there was overwhelming for years overwhelming information, and they refused to do it because of their political contacts and because of the financial involvement. How, how was this one of the most prom, one of the most prominent organizations in the country, how did they manage to get by without having anybody looking at them seriously for so long? What happened here?

Steve Babin:                         I mean, I think that it most certainly was swept under the rug. I know that I had clients that told members outside of their house about what happened, and there was no, there was no media on it. There were no court cases on it. Somehow there was that, you know, the political power behind the Boy Scouts that enabled this to stay swept under the rug and, and to be kept quiet for decades.

Mike Papantonio:             So you’re heading up Anne Andrews that by the way, I will tell you that the team that you’ve put together, Anne Andrews, superb lawyer out on, out on the West coast. She’s put together a program in bankruptcy, even though the Scouts is, they’re trying to hide behind bankruptcy, Anne Andrews figured out a way to make these people responsible anyway. What you’re trying to do in bankruptcy court, that’s kind of a new thing the way you’re trying to handle this, isn’t, isn’t it? It isn’t it something going forward could be important to all claimants, not just in, not just in the Boy Scouts case? What’s your take?

Steve Babin:                         I think, I agree. I think it is. I think Anne Andrews is a brilliant lawyer. I think we’ve got a great team that she’s put together with Adam Slater. It’s the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice, and that’s essentially the leadership group in this bankruptcy. And those are the lawyers that are going to get this case settled and get equitable just compensation for all of the victims. But, what, what she has put together and the team that she’s assembled, who sit in a leadership position in this case, there’s really a lot of deep knowledge and wisdom and skill sets there that come to the table to hopefully get some compensation on a quick timeline for our clients.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. I’m afraid people might hear about this case and say, well, it’s in bankruptcy. I can’t do anything. With what you’re doing and Adam Slater and Anne Andrews, and it really a great leadership team that you have there. You’re changing the way, I mean, look, you’ve got Lloyd’s of London, you’ve got the, you’ve got some of the biggest insurance companies in the world that have insured the Boy Scouts all the way back to the seventies. So just because the boy Scouts said, okay, we’re going to move into, in, into bankruptcy court, that doesn’t mean the fight is over. It means it’s just really started isn’t, isn’t that what’s happening here? The fight has really just started.

Steve Babin:                         I mean,tThe fight is really just started. I think the Boy Scouts have made clear that they know they mistakes, but everyone’s got to come to the table to make this settlement happen. That means the insurers. That means the local councils who have billions of dollars in assets that need to help fund this victim’s compensation fund. But, yeah, the, this has just started and there are many parties that need to come to the table in order for us to get our clients just compensation.

Mike Papantonio:             Steve, thank you for joining me. Put your team make, make sure they stay with this. I’m very optimistic you’re going to get a good result. Thank you for joining me.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.