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BREAKING THE ” BIG LIE”- AMERICA AND THE FAKE WAR ON TERROR

osama

The following text was presented to the Public Forum on:  

America’s War on Terror and the Urgency of World Peace: Its Ramification in the Philippines.

Social Sciences, University of the Philippines (UP-Cebu),  March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015 

Introduction

The United States and its allies have launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. U.S. and NATO forces are deployed in Eastern Europe including Ukraine. U.S. military intervention under a humanitarian mandate is proceeding in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. and its allies are threatening China under President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”.

America’s “war on terrorism” is a hegemonic project, under a fake counter-terrrorism agenda which consists in going after al Qaeda entities which “threaten Western civilization”.

Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

Under a global military agenda, the actions undertaken by the Western military alliance (U.S.-NATO-Israel) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq are coordinated at the highest levels of the military hierarchy.  

We are not dealing with piecemeal military and intelligence operations. The July-August 2014 attack on Gaza by Israeli forces was undertaken in close consultation with the United States and NATO. The actions in Ukraine and their timing coincided with the onslaught of the attack on Gaza, Syria and Iraq.

In turn, military undertakings are closely coordinated with a process of economic warfare which consists not only in imposing sanctions on sovereign countries but also in deliberate acts of destabilization of financial and currencies markets, with a view to undermining the enemies’ national economies.

Our analysis in this article will largely be geared towards refuting the myth that the United States is waging “a Global War on Terrorism”.  originalThe evidence amply confirms that the the United States of America is a “State Sponsor of Terrorism” and that the campaign against the Islamic State is a smokescreen used by the US and its allies to justify in the eyes of public opinion its global war of conquest.  

The Global War on Terrorism has become a consensus. It is part of war propaganda. It is also used by Western governments to justify and implement “anti-terrorist” legislation. It is the cornerstone of the West’s demonization campaign directed against Muslims. 

It should also be understood that the “Global War on Terrorism”  supports a process of “economic conquest”, whereby countries forego their sovereignty.

Their national economies are “taken over by foreign investors”.

Their assets are confiscated, austerity measures are imposed and a process of macro-economic restructuring under the helm of Wall Street and the Bretton Woods institutions are implemented.  

US sponsored terrorism creates factional divisions within national societies. 

Countries are impoverished and destabilized. National institutions are undermined as part of  a US led war of conquest.

The evidence presented in this article, including the historical review, is intended to fully reveal the “Big Lie”.

Beyond doubt, the “Global War on Terrorism” is a fabrication. The United States of America is the “Number One” State Sponsor of Terrorism.

Michel Chossudovsky, University of the Philippines, UP-Cebu, March 1st 2015

The Global War on Terrorism: Obama’s Crusade against the Islamic State (ISIS)

The U.S. airstrikes initiated in September 2014 directed against Iraq and Syria under the pretext of going after the Islamic State are part of a scenario of military escalation extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to Central and South Asia.

Since August 2014, the US Air Force with the support of a coalition of more than twenty countries has relentlessly waged an intensified air campaign against Syria and Iraq allegedly targeting  the Islamic State brigades.

According to Defense News, over 16,000 airstrikes were carried out from August 2014 to mid January 2015.  Sixty percent of the air strikes were conducted by the US Air Force using advanced jet fighter and bombing capabilities  (Aaron Mehta, “A-10 Performing 11 Percent of Anti-ISIS Sorties”. Defense News, January 19, 2015.)

The airstrikes have been casually described by the media as part of  a “soft” counter-terrorism operation, rather than an act of all out war directed against Syria and Iraq.

Aerial view of jet aircraft, carrying cylindrical fuel tanks and ordnance, overflying desert

This large scale air campaign which has resulted in countless civilian casualties has been routinely misreported by the mainstream media. According to  Max Boot, senior fellow in national security at the Council on Foreign Relations. ”Obama’s strategy in Syria and Iraq is not working… [ because] the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS has been remarkably restrained”.  (Newsweek, February 17, 2015, emphasis added).

Americans are led to believe that the Islamic State constitutes a formidable force confronting the US military and threatening Western Civilization. The thrust of media reporting is that the US Air Force has failed and that “Obama should get his act together” in effectively confronting this  ”Outside Enemy” of America.

According to CFR Max Boot, military escalation is the answer: what is required is for the president “to dispatch more aircraft, military advisers, and special operations forces, while loosening the restrictions under which they operate.” (Ibid)

What kind of aircraft are involved in the air campaign? The F-16 Fighting Falcon,(above right),  The F-15E Strike Eagle (image below) , The A-10 Warthog, not to mention Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor stealth tactical fighter aircraft.

Why has the US Air Force not been able to wipe out the Islamic State which at the outset was largely equipped with conventional small arms not to mention state of the art Toyota pickup trucks?

F-15E Strike Eagle.jpgFrom the very outset, this air campaign has NOT been directed against ISIS.  The evidence confirms that the Islamic State is not the target. Quite the opposite.

The air raids are intended to destroy the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria.

The USAF-15E Strike Eagle

We call on our readers to carefully reflect on the following image, which describes the Islamic State convoy of pickup trucks entering Iraq and crossing a 200 km span of open desert which separates the two countries.

This convoy entered Iraq in June 2014.

What would have been required from a military standpoint to wipe out a ISIS convoy with no effective anti-aircraft capabilities?

Without an understanding of military issues, common sense prevails.

If they had wanted to eliminate the Islamic State brigades, they could have “carpet” bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June. 

The answer is pretty obvious, yet not a single mainstream media has acknowledged it.

The  Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory (see map right). With state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, F16) it would have been  –from a military standpoint–  ”a piece of cake”, a rapid and expedient surgical operation, which would have decimated the Islamic State convoys in a matter of hours.

Instead what we have witnessed is an ongoing drawn out six months of relentless  air raids and bombings, and the terrorist enemy is apparently still intact.

(In comparison, the NATO bombing raids of Yugoslavia in 1999 lasted about three months (March 24-June 10, 1999).

And we are led to believe that the Islamic State cannot be defeated by a powerful US led military coalition of more than 20 countries.

The air campaign was not intended to decimate the Islamic State.

The counter-terrorism mandate is a fiction. America is the Number One “State Sponsor of Terrorism”.   

The Islamic State is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies. 

Al Qaeda Afiliated Entities are “Intelligence Assets. Instruments of US Intelligence

The Global War on Terrorism is a Fabrication used to justify a war of conquest. The Jihadist terrorists are “Made in America”. They are instruments of US intelligence, yet they are presented to public opinion as “enemies of America”.

The Islamic State (IS) militia, which is currently the alleged target of  a US-NATO bombing campaign under a “counter-terrorism” mandate, continues to be supported covertly by the US.  Washington and its allies continue to provide military aid to the Islamic State.

US and allied bombings are not targeting the ISIL, they are bombing the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria including factories and oil refineries.

The IS caliphate project is part of a longstanding US foreign policy agenda to carve up Iraq and Syria into separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shia Republic, a Republic of Kurdistan.

These various affiliated Al Qaeda entities in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa  and Asia are CIA sponsored “intelligence assets”. They are used by Washington to wreck havoc,  create internal conflicts and destabilize sovereign countries.

Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) (supported by NATO in 2011),  Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM),  Jemaah Islamiah (JI) in Indonesia,  among other Al Qaeda affiliated groups are supported covertly by Western intelligence.

The US is also supporting Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region of China. The underlying objective is to trigger political instability in Western China.

Chinese jihadists are reported to have received “terrorist training” from the Islamic State “in order to conduct attacks in China”. The declared objective of these Chinese-based jihadist entities (which serves the interests of the US)  is to establish a Islamic caliphate extending into Western China.  (Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, Chapter 2).

Flashback to 1979: The History of Al Qaeda

 The US has supported Al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations for more than thirty years: since the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war.

CIA training camps were set up in Pakistan,  in liaison with Pakistan’s Inter-Services-Intelligence (ISI). In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 jihadists from 43 Islamic countries were recruited by the CIA to fight in the Afghan jihad.

“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad.”

Lest we forget, Osama bin Laden, America’s bogyman and founder of Al Qaeda was recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored jihadist war against Afghanistan . He was 22 years old and was indoctrinated in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp. Al Qaeda was a creation of US intelligence, which was put together with the support of Pakistani and Saudi intelligence:

“[I]t was the government of the United States which supported Pakistani dictator General Zia-ul Haq in creating thousands of religious schools from which the germs of Taliban emerged.” (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), RAWA Statement on the Terrorist Attacks In the US, Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RAW109A.html , 16 September 2001)

Since the Carter Administration, Washington has supported the Islamic terror network 

Ronald Reagan called the terrorists “freedom fighters”. The US supplied weapons to the Islamic brigades.  It was all for “a good cause”: fighting the Soviet Union and regime change, leading to the demise of a secular government in Afghanistan.

Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)

isi and cia directors in mujahideen camp1987 Sleeping With the Devil: How U.S. and Saudi Backing of Al Qaeda Led to 9/11
Front row, from left: Major Gen. Hamid Gul, director general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Willian WebsterDeputy Director for Operations Clair George; an ISI colonel; and senior CIA official, Milt Bearden at a Mujahideen training camp in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1987. (source RAWA)

“We Created Al Qaeda to Fight the Soviets in Afghanistan”

In 1979, President Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski confirmed on CNN that the U.S. organized and supported Bin Laden and the other originators of “Al Qaeda” in the 1970s to fight the Soviets:

“We know of their deep belief in god – that they’re confident that their struggle will succeed. – That land over-there is yours – and you’ll go back to it some day, because your fight will prevail, and you’ll have your homes, your mosques, back again, because your cause is right, and god is on your side.”

“CIA director and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates confirmed in his memoir that the U.S. backed the Mujahideen in the 1970s.” (See Washington Blog, Sleeping With the Devil: How U.S. and Saudi Backing of Al Qaeda Led to 9/11, September 5, 2012).

Under Reagan’s NSDD 166, US assistance to the Islamic brigades channelled through Pakistan was not limited to bona fide military aid. Washington also contributed –through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)– to financing the process of religious indoctrination, largely to secure the demise of secular institutions. (Michel Chossudovsky, 9/11 ANALYSIS: From Ronald Reagan and the Soviet-Afghan War to George W Bush and September 11, 2001, Global Research, September 09, 2010)

Religious schools were generously funded by the US. Jihadist textbooks  were  published by the University of Nebraska. According to the The Washington Post (2002 reported):

… the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books…

The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books “are fully in compliance with US law and policy.” Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.

… AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.

“It’s not AID’s policy to support religious instruction,” Stratos said. “But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.”

… Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtun, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska -Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $ 51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.” (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)

afgh-Textbook jihad

Picture above is translated as follows: “Jihad – Often many different wars and conflicts arise among people, which cause material damages and loss of human life. If these wars and disputes occur among people for the sake of community, nation, territory, or even because of verbal differences, and for the sake of progress…”

This page is from a third-grade language arts textbook dating from the mujahidin period. A copy of the book was purchased new in Kabul in May 2000.

According to the  Council on Foreign Relations  in the wake of the US 2001 invasion,”New madrassas sprouted, funded and supported by Saudi Arabia and U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, where students were encouraged to join the Afghan resistance.

Washington’s Agenda: Destabilize Secular Institutions. Install an Islamic State in Afghanistan. The Role of the Wahhabi Missions

US military intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s was supported by the Wahhabi missionaries out of Saudi Arabia, which trained the Taliban (‘graduates”) in the US sponsored madrassas in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Wahhabi doctrine would not have spread in the way it did without the support of US intelligence.

Saudi Arabia worked closely with Washington in recruiting the Mujahideen (holy warriors) to fight against the Soviet Union. The Saudi monarchy enlisted the support of the religious authorities. Fatwas were issued;

 ”urging Saudi and non-Saudi youths to go to Afghanistan and carry out jihad there. And it praised those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Islamic nation’s causes.” (Al-Quds al-Arabi, op cit)

Confirmed by the Afghan Project (http://nsarchive.chadwyck.com/afintro.htm ), which has collected hundreds of CIA and State Department documents, cables and memoranda, the CIA developed from the late 1970s, ties with a number of Islamic organizations. The objective was to use “Islamic fundamentalist” doctrine to unseat the secular pro-Soviet People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government as well as unleash a war with the Soviet Union. The same strategy of supporting Islamic political movements was used by Washington in the post-Cold War era in the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union as well in Bosnia and Kosovo.

The CIA led war on Afghanistan largely contributed to destroying secular education. The number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrassas) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000 [in 2001].  (Michel Chossudovsky, 9/11 ANALYSIS: From Ronald Reagan and the Soviet-Afghan War to George W Bush and September 11, 2001, Global Research, September 09, 2010)

Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

The CIA-led war on Afghanistan was largely conducive to the derogation of Women’s Rights.

Before the Taliban came to power, Afghan women lived a life in many ways similar to that of Western women (see pictures below):

In the 1980s, Kabul was “a cosmopolitan city. Artists and hippies flocked to the capital. Women studied agriculture, engineering and business at the city’s university. Afghan women held government jobs.”  There were female members of parliament, and women drove cars, and travelled and went on dates, without needing to ask a male guardian for permission. (Julie Levesque,   Women Rights: From Afghanistan to Syria: Women’s Rights, War Propaganda and the CIA,  Global Research, April 2014)

Kabul University 1980s

Kabul University 1980s

Kabul University 1980s

 Afghan women.(AFP Photo / Shah Marai)

Women in Kabul today

Al Qaeda and The Islamic State 

“The Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) is presented as a “Clash of Civilizations”, a war between competing values and religions, when in reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic objectives.

U.S. sponsored Al Qaeda terror brigades (covertly supported by Western intelligence since the 1980s) have been deployed in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Somalia and Yemen. Al Qaeda affiliated organizations have also been deployed in several Asian countries including China and Indonesia.

The Islamic State (ISIS) was originally an Al Qaeda affiliated entity created by US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-’Āmah ( رئاسة الاستخبارات العامة‎).

In relation to the Syrian insurgency, the Islamic State  fighters together with the Al Qaeda affiliated jihadist forces of the Al Nusrah Front are the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance. They are covertly supported by US-NATO-Israel. Their  mandate is to wage a terrorist insurgency against the government of Bashar al-Assad. The atrocities committed by Islamic State fighters in Iraq are similar to those committed in Syria. Their unspoken mandate is to wreck havoc and destruction in Syria and Iraq, acting on behalf of their US sponsors.

China unlikely to join Obama's anti-ISIS coalition: Report

The ISIS brigades were involved in the US-NATO supported insurgency in Syria directed against the government of  Bashar al Assad.  NATO and the Turkish High Command were responsible for the recruitment of ISIL and Al Nusrah mercenaries from the outset of the Syrian insurgency in March 2011.

According to Israeli intelligence sources, this initiative consisted in:

“a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011.)

There are Western Special Forces and Western intelligence operatives within the ranks of the ISIL. British Special Forces and MI6 have been involved in training jihadist rebels in Syria.

Western military specialists on contract to the Pentagon have trained the ISIS and Al Nusrah terrorists in the use of chemical weapons.

“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

The ISIS’s practice of beheadings is part of the US sponsored terrorist training programs implemented in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Recruited by America’s ally, a large number of ISIS mercenaries are convicted criminals released from Saudi prisons on condition they join the ISILSaudi death row inmates were recruited to join the terror brigades. 

The Islamic State is routinely funded by the US, invariably through indirect sources. According to a recent (January 28, 2015) report by Pakistan’s Express Tribune (affiliated to the international Herald Tribune)

Yousaf al Salafi – allegedly the Pakistan commander of Islamic State (IS) or Daish – has confessed during investigations that he has been receiving funds through the United States.

Law enforcing agencies on January 22 claimed that they arrested al Salafi, along with his two companions, during a joint raid in Lahore. However, sources revealed that al Salafi was actually arrested sometimes in December last year and it was only disclosed on January 22.

“During the investigations, Yousaf al Salafi revealed that he was getting funding – routed through America – to run the organisation in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria,” a source privy to the investigations revealed to Daily Express on the condition of anonymity.

According to Tony Cartalucci;

…[F]rom 2007 where the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel openly conspired to stand up, fund, and arm a terrorist army to fight a proxy war against Syria and Iran, to 2015 where this army has finally manifested itself as the “Islamic State” complete with funding, arms, and fighters streaming in from NATO members, the source cited by the Tribune claiming that “the US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests,” and thus must now feign to be interested in stopping the organization in Syria, is the most compelling and logical explanation available.

The State Sponsors of Terrorism: Who’s Who

George W. Bush and the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

The late Saudi King Abdullah was known to have supported and financed Al Qaeda in liaison with the Washington. Saudi intelligence played a key role in this regard.

The House of Saud provides financial aid to the terrorists. And so does the bin Laden family. According to The Washington based CATO Institute (November 2001) Saudi Arabia is a “prime sponsor of terrorism”

The U.S. government has warned that it will treat regimes that harbor or assist terrorist organizations the same way that it treats the organizations themselves. Yet if Washington is serious about that policy, it ought to regard Saudi Arabia as a State sponsor of international terrorism. Indeed, that country should have been included for years on the U.S. State Department’s annual list of governments guilty of sponsoring terrorism.

We recall that in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush stated in no uncertain terms that  “State sponsors of terrorism” would be considered as “terrorists”.

“We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”. 

But there is always an “Exception that the Proves the Rule”  and that is George W. Bush himself.

When George W. Bush respectfully kisses King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, does this mean that Dubya could –by some stretch of the imagination– be considered a “suspected terrorist”, who should never have been elected president of the United States of America?

The answer is negative: Kissing  “State sponsors of terrorism” on the mouth is not defined by the FBI as “suspicious behavior”.

The Insidious Relationship between the Bush and bin Laden Families

Now let us turn our attention to the relationship between the Bush and bin Laden families.

The Bushes and bin Ladens are long-time friends. This relationship goes back to George H. W. Bush, who served as head of the CIA in the Ford administration, before becoming Vice President under the Reagan administration and President of the United States (1989-1993).

George W. Bush Junior had business dealings in the oil industry dating back to the late 1970s, at the time when his father Bush Senior was head of the CIA:

The wider bin Laden clan [was] closely tied to the Saudi royal family. According to Seymour Hersh … it is far from clear that the royal family, … has forsaken Muslim extremists. Indeed, some members of the royal family itself are said to bankroll Osama bin Laden. … The Saudi monarchy, Hersh reports, has also quietly resisted U.S. efforts to conduct background checks of Saudi suspects in the wake of September 11. While much remains to be learned about these shadowy connections, it is clear that any investigation of the bin Laden’s family’s U.S. investments will lead to some well-placed Texans.

Like George W. Bush, the fortune of Osama bin Laden is rooted in oil and his family’s government connections. Before his death in a 1968 plane crash, Osama’s father, Mohammed bin Laden, made a fortune off construction contracts awarded by the Saudi royal family. The $5 billion per year construction conglomerate, known as the Binladin Group (the company uses another spelling of the name) remains closely tied to the Saudi royal family.

After the death of Mohammed bin Laden, control of the company passed to Salem bin Laden, Osama’s half brother. The roots of the first known Bush-bin Laden convergence date back to the mid-1970s, when the two clans were linked by a Houston businessman named James R. Bath. … By 1976, when Gerald Ford appointed the elder George Bush as CIA director, Bath was acting as a business agent for Salem bin Laden’s interests in Texas. …

After W. lost a bid for Congress, he decided to launch an oil company in Midland in 1979. For $50,000, Bath bought a 5 percent stake in W.’s Arbusto (Spanish for “Bush”) partnerships. At the time, Bath also served as business agent for several prominent Saudis, including Salem bin Laden. In exchange for a percentage of the deals, Bath made U.S. investments for these clients in his own name, according to Time. Although Bath has said that he invested his own money in Arbusto, not Saudi money, the fact that he was Salem’s agent at the time has fueled speculation that Osama bin Laden’s eldest brother was an early investor in W.’s first oil venture. It was around the time of this investment, incidentally, that Osama bin Laden made his first trip to the Khyber Pass, where he would soon join the Mujaheddin and the CIA in the holy war that expelled the Soviets from Afghanistan. (Salem, for his part, owned a house in Marble Falls, and died in a 1988 plane crash near San Antonio.) Andrew Wheat, The Bush-bin Laden Connection, Texas Observer, November 9, 2001)

The Bush-bin Laden Relationship: Flash Forward to September 10, 2001

Despite his family ties and links to the Royal Saudi household, Osama bin Laden was officially considered  ”a disgrace” to members of the bin Laden family, who reluctantly provided him with “pocket money”, which was used to develop Al Qaeda (The Base).  He was referred to as a “Black Sheep”.

Its all part of a “good guys project” of going after Osama,  the “Black Sheep”,  and waging the “Global War on Terrorism”.

There is nothing wrong, therefore, in socializing and doing business with family members of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, including the late Salem bin Laden and Shafiq bin Laden of the Carlyle Group.

Flash Forward to September 10, 2001. The Bush-bin Laden Relationship prevails. Confirmed by the Washington Post, “fellow investors” of the Carlyle Group Osama’s brother Shafiq bin Laden and former President H.G.W. Bush met at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on September 10, 2001, one day before 9/11, (see image below):

It didn’t help that as the World Trade Center burned on Sept. 11, 2001, the news interrupted a Carlyle business conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here attended by a brother of Osama bin Laden [Shafiq bin Laden]. Former president Bush [senior, see image below], a fellow investor, had been with him at the conference the previous day. (Greg Schneider, Pairing the Powerful With the Rich, Washington Post, March 16, 2003)

Shafiq bin Laden, Osama’s  brother and member of the Carlyle Group meets George H. W. Bush at Ritz Carlton on September 10, 2001  (Source: Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 911)

Lest we forget, Osama bin Laden was the alleged architect of the 9/11 attacks, yet his brother Shafiq bin Laden was meeting up with the presidents’s dad, former president George H. W. Bush on September 10, 2001.

A day later, on the evening of September 11, 2001, president George W. Bush pronounced a historic speech in which he defined the relationship between “terrorists’ and “state sponsors of terrorism”:

The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I’ve directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. 

Needless to say Osama’s brother Shafiq and members of the bin Laden family were flown out of Washington in government planes in the immediate wake of 9/11.

Where was Osama bin Laden on September 10, 2001

Ironically, on September 10th while brother Shafiq bin Laden and George Bush Senior were meeting at the Ritz Carleton, the alleged 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden was undergoing treatment for his kidney condition at the Urology War of Pakistan’s military hospital in Rawalpindi. (according to Dan Rather, CBS News Report).

 Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.

Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into this military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment. On that night, says this medical worker who wanted her identity protected, they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them. She says it was treatment for a very special person. The special team was obviously up to no good.

“The military had him surrounded,” says this hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he says, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.” Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments, back and stomach problems. Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, says the military was often there to help before 9/11.

AHMED RASHID, TALIBAN EXPERT: There were reports that Pakistani intelligence had helped the Taliban buy dialysis machines. And the rumor was that these were wanted for Osama bin Laden.

PETERSEN (on camera): Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they refused our request to see any records. Government officials tonight denied that bin Laden had any medical treatment on that night.

PETERSEN: The United States has no way of knowing who in Pakistan`s military or intelligence supported the Taliban or Osama bin Laden maybe up to the night before 9/11 by arranging dialysis to keep him alive. So the United States may not know if those same people might help him again perhaps to freedom.

Barry Petersen, CBS News, Islamabad.  (CBS News quoted in Michel Chossudovsky,  Where was bin Laden on 9/11, Global Research, November 16, 2003)

What this CBS report, which has largely been overlooked by analysts, suggests is that:

1) Pakistan’s Military Intelligence (ISI), which is in permanent liaison with the CIA,  was complicit in protecting Osama bin Laden.

2)  If the CBS report by Dan Rather is accurate and Osama had indeed been admitted to the Pakistani military hospital on September 10, 2001,  courtesy of America’s ally, in all probability, his whereabouts were known to US officials.

3) The hospital was  directly under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Military, which has close links to the Pentagon. U.S. military advisers based in Rawalpindi. work closely with the Pakistani Armed Forces. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive, but then maybe bin Laden was serving another “better purpose”. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld claimed at the time that Osama’s whereabout were unknown: “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.

Needless to say, the CBS report was a crucial piece of information in the 9/11 jigsaw. It refuted the administration’s claim that the whereabouts of bin Laden were unknown. It pointed to a Pakistan connection, it also suggested a cover-up at the highest levels of the Bush administration.

Bush and the “State Sponsors of Terrorism”

Ironically, in a subsequent address to the joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate on September 20, 2001, president George W. Bush stated unequivocally his administration’s intent to “pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism”, with no exceptions (e.g. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan)

Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make.

“We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make.

Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.)

From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime [state sponsor of terrorism].  President George W. Bush, 20 September 2001 (emphasis added)

What both presidents Bush and Obama have failed to acknowledge is that America’s staunched ally Saudi Arabia, not to mention Turkey and Israel are financing and supporting the terrorists, in liaison with Washington.

Both Bush and Obama seem to be caught up in the contradictions of their own political rhetoric, the  “either you are with us or you are with the terrorists” conundrum:

“I am with myself and I am also with the terrorists”

Flash Forward to March 2011: “New Normal” and the War on Syria: Supporting “Moderate Terrorists”

With the war on Syria (2011- ), establishing political ties with “State sponsors of terrorism”  is considered to be part of a “New Normal”, a humanitarian endeavor intent upon unseating the secular government of Bashar al Assad and spreading  American democracy throughout the Middle East.

John Kerry concurs:  financial aid to Syria’s Al Nusrah, an affiliate of Al Qaeda is part of an R2P mandate.

There are now “‘good guy terrorists” and “bad guy terrorists”.  Financial aid is channeled to Al Qaeda “good guy terrorists” to protect Syrians against the terrorists  (New York Times,  April 20, 2013)

Barack Obama, John Kerry, John McCain: Are They “Terror Suspects”?

Now let us examine in more detail the Al Nusrah Front, which constitutes the main rebel fighting force in Syria. Al Nusrah is affiliated to Al Qaeda. The leader of Al Nusrah, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, has pledged his allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced Osama bin Laden after his death.

According to the State Department Bureau of Counter-terrorism, Jabhat al Nusrah, the main rebel force in Syria is a terrorist organization, an affiliate of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

The State Department has issued a “prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with, al-Nusrah Front, and
the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of U.S. persons.” (emphasis added). It is understood  that US State Department Counter-terrorism policy also applies to “state sponsors of terrorism”.

Al Nusrah is financed by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel in close consultation with NATO and the Pentagon.

The Obama administration has openly confirmed its support for the Syrian rebels with most of this aid channeled to Al Nusrah.

US Senator John McCain is reported to have met up with jihadist terrorist leaders in Syria. (see picture right)

The Role of Israel: State Sponsor of  Al Nusrah and the Islamic State (ISIS)

While theoretically committed to the US-led war on terrorism, the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu quite openly supports al Qaeda.  The Al Nusrah and ISIS  terror brigades operate out of the occupied Golan Heights. 

Inline images 1

Jihadist fighters have met Israeli IDF officers as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu. The IDF top brass acknowledges that “global jihad elements inside Syria” [ISIL and Al Nusrah] are supported by State of Israel. See  image below:

image. “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon next to a wounded mercenary, Israeli

military field hospital at the occupied Golan Heights’ border with Syria, 18 February 2014″.

Xenophobia: The Demonization of Muslims

The US president and his NATO allies, not to mention Bejamin Netanyahu, “R the Terrorists”, they are the “state sponsors of terrorism.”.

Obama’s “counter-terrorism” campaign against the Islamic State has contributed to the demonization of Muslims, who in the eyes of Western public opinion are increasingly  associated with the jihadists.

Anybody who dares to question the validity of the “Global War on Terrorism” is branded a terrorist and subjected to the anti-terrorist laws.

The ultimate objective of the “Global War on Terrorism” is to subdue the citizens, totally depoliticize social life in America, prevent people from thinking and conceptualizing, from analyzing facts and challenging the legitimacy of the inquisitorial social order which rules America.

The Obama Administration has imposed a diabolical consensus with the support of its allies, not to mention the complicit role of the United Nations Security Council.  The Western media has embraced the consensus; it has described the Islamic State as an independent entity, an outside enemy which threatens the Western World.

France has initiated a hate campaign against French Muslims, who represent approximately ten percent of France’s population.

While  France mourns the victims of the Charlie Hebdo January 2015 attacks, the French government under the helm of president Francois Hollande is supporting as well as funding Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists in the Middle East and North Africa in liaison with the US, NATO and Israel:

France, as part of a NATO-led coalition, has been arming, funding, aiding, and otherwise perpetuating Al Qaeda terrorists for years, beginning, on record in Libya with the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and continuing until today with NATO’s arming, harboring, and backing of Al Qaeda terrorists including the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) within and along Syria’s borders.

With the recent attack in Paris likely the work of the very terrorists France has been arming and backing across North Africa and the Middle East, the French government itself stands responsible, guilty of the continued material support of a terrorist organization that has now killed French citizens, including two police officers, not only on French soil, but within the French capital itself. (Tony Cartalucci, Global Research, January 8, 2015)

Ironically, while the French media in chorus point to “Freedom of Expression” in journalism, not a single French media has had the courage of pointing to the issue of State sponsorship of terrorism by the French Republic.  

The Urgency of World Peace

The antiwar movement in several Western countries is in crisis. Some of America’s wars are condemned outright, while others are heralded as “humanitarian interventions”. A significant segment of the US antiwar movement condemns the war but endorses the campaign against international terrorism, which constitutes the backbone of US military doctrine.

Historically, progressive social movements in Western countries (including the World  Social Forum) have been infiltrated, their leaders co-opted and manipulated, through the corporate funding of non-governmental organizations, trade unions and political parties. The ultimate purpose of “funding dissent” is to prevent the protest movement from challenging the legitimacy of the capitalist elites.

The “Just War” theory (Jus Ad Bellum) has served to camouflage the nature of US foreign policy, while providing a human face to the invaders. The logic behind the “Global War on Terrorism” is that of a Just War. It is portrayed as a counter-terrorism initiative rather than outright military operation.

A large segment of “progressive” opinion in the US and Western Europe is supportive of NATO’s R2P “humanitarian” mandate (Responsibility to Protect) to the extent that these war plans are being carried out with the “rubber stamp” of civil society.

Prominent “progressive” authors as well independent media outlets have supported regime change and NATO sponsored humanitarian intervention in Libya. Similarly, many “progressive voices” rallied in support of the US-NATO sponsored opposition in Syria.

Let us be under no illusions:  This pseudo-progressive  discourse is an instrument of propaganda. Several prominent “left” intellectuals –who claim to be opposed to US imperialism– have supported the imposition of “no fly zones” and “humanitarian interventions” against sovereign countries.

“Progressives” are funded and co-opted by elite foundations including Ford, Rockefeller, et al. The corporate elites have sought to fragment the people’s movement into a vast “do it yourself” mosaic. War and globalization are no longer in the forefront of civil society activism. Activism tends to be piecemeal. There is no integrated anti-globalization anti-war movement. The economic crisis is not seen as having a relationship to the US led war.

Dissent has been compartmentalized. Separate “issue oriented” protest movements (e.g. environment, anti-globalization, peace, women’s rights, climate change) are encouraged and generously funded as opposed to a cohesive mass movement. This mosaic was already prevalent in the counter G7 summits and People’s Summits of the 1990s.

In numerous organizations including the trade union movement, the grassroots is betrayed by their leaders who are co-opted. The money trickles down from the corporate foundations, setting constraints on grassroots actions. Its called “manufacturing dissent”. Many of these NGO leaders are committed and well meaning individuals acting within a framework which sets the boundaries of dissent. The leaders of these movements are often co-opted, without even realizing that as a result of corporate funding their hands are tied.

In recent history, with the exception of Iraq, the so-called Western left namely “Progressives” have paid lip service to US-NATO military interventions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.  “Progressives” also support the official  9/11 version of events. They deny 9/11 Truth.

“Progressives” acknowledge that the US was under attack on 9/11 and that the war on Afghanistan  was a “Just War”. In the case of Afghanistan, the “self-defense” argument was accepted at face value as a legitimate response to the 9/11 attacks, without examining the fact that the US administration had not only supported the “Islamic terror network”, it was also instrumental in the installation of the Taliban government in 1995-96. It was tacitly implied that by supporting al Qaeda, Afghanistan had attacked America on September 11, 2001.

In 2001, when Afghanistan was bombed and later invaded, “progressive” organizations largely upheld the administration’s “just cause” military doctrine. In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement against the illegal invasion of Afghanistan was isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Media disinformation prevailed. People were misled as to the nature and objectives underlying the invasion of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and the Taliban were identified as the prime suspects of the 9/11 attacks, without a shred of evidence and without addressing  the historical relationship between Al Qaeda and the US intelligence apparatus (as outlined above). In this regard, understanding 9/11 is crucial in formulating a consistent antiwar position. 9/11 is the pillar of US war propaganda; it sustains the illusion of an outside enemy, it justifies pre-emptive military intervention, it is the cornerstone of xenophobia and the hate campaign directed against Muslims.

With regard to Syria, from the outset in 2011, “progressives” and mainstream “antiwar” organizations have supported so-called opposition forces without acknowledging that the mainstay of these forces is composed of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists, recruited, trained and financed by US-NATO and their allies including Israel, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

These antiwar groups, which previously supported NATO intervention in Libya, blame the Syrian government for the atrocities committed by the US sponsored Al Qaeda rebels.

Rebuilding the Antiwar Movement

What is required is to rebuild a mass movement. And this cannot be undertaken by organizations which are supported of  corporate foundations and charities.

The social base as well as the organizational structure of the antiwar movement must be transformed. America’s “Long War” is an imperialist project which sustains the financial structures and institutional foundations of the capitalist World Order. Behind this military agenda are powerful corporate interests including an extensive propaganda apparatus.

War and the Economic Crisis are intimately related. The Worldwide imposition of neoliberal macro-economic policy measures is part of the broader imperial agenda. And consequently, the broader movement against neoliberalism must be integrated into the anti-war movement.

Breaking the BIG LIE, which presents war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force. This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.

The holding of mass demonstrations and antiwar protests is not enough. What is required is the development of a broad and well-organized grassroots antiwar network, across the land, nationally and internationally, which challenges the structures of power and authority as well as the nature of the capitalist World order. People must mobilize not only against the military agenda – the authority of the state and its officials must also be challenged.

A meaningful anti-war movement requires breaking the “war on terrorism” consensus and upholding 9/11 Truth. To reverse the tide of war and globalization requires a massive campaign of networking and outreach to inform people across the land, nationally and internationally, in neighborhoods, workplaces, parishes, schools, universities and municipalities, on the nature of the imperial project, its military and economic dimensions, not to mention the dangers of a US sponsored nuclear war. This movement must also occur within the Armed Forces (including NATO) with a view to challenging the legitimacy of the military agenda.

The message should be loud and clear:

The US and its allies are behind the Al Qaeda and Islamic State terrorists who have committed countless atrocities against civilians on the specific instructions of the Western military alliance,

China and Russia are not a threat to Global Security. Neither are Syria, Iran or North Korea a threat to World Peace. Quite the opposite. The threat to Global Security emanates from the Pentagon and the US State Department.

What has to be achieved:

Reveal the criminal nature of this military project. War is a criminal undertaking under Nuremberg. It is the ultimate “Crime against the Peace”.

Undermine war propaganda, reveal the media lies, reverse the tide of disinformation, wage a consistent campaign against the corporate media. Bear in mind war propaganda is also considered a criminal act under the Nuremberg protocol

Break the legitimacy of the warmongers in high office. Indict political leaders for war crimes.

Dismantle the multibillion dollar national intelligence apparatus.

Dismantle the US-sponsored military adventure and its corporate sponsors. Bring home the troops.

Repeal the illusion that the state is committed to protecting its citizens.

Uphold 9/11 Truth. Reveal the falsehoods behind 9/11 which are used to justify the Middle East/Central Asian war under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT).

Expose how a profit-driven war serves the vested interests of the banks, the defense contractors, the oil giants, the media giants and the biotech conglomerates.

Challenge the corporate media which deliberately obfuscates the causes and consequences of this war.

Reveal and take cognizance of the unspoken and tragic outcome of a war waged with nuclear weapons.

Call for the Dismantling of NATO.

Reorganize the system of international justice which protects the war criminals. Implement the prosecution of war criminals in high office.

Close down the weapons assembly plants and implement the foreclosure of major weapons producers.

Close down all US military bases in the US and around the world.

Develop an antiwar movement within the armed forces and establish bridges between the armed forces and the civilian antiwar movement.

Forcefully pressure governments of both NATO and non-NATO countries to withdraw from the US-led global military agenda.

Develop a consistent antiwar movement in Israel. Inform the citizens of Israel of the likely consequences of a US-NATO-Israeli attack on Iran.

Target the pro-war lobby groups including the pro-Israeli groups in the US.

Dismantle the homeland security state. Repeal the legitimacy of Obama’s extrajudicial assassinations. Repeal the drone wars directed against civilians.

Undermine the “militarization of law enforcement”.

Reverse the gamut of anti-terrorist legislation in Western countries which is intended to repeal fundamental civil rights.

These are no easy tasks. They require an understanding of the power structure, of hegemonic relations between the military, intelligence, the state structures and corporate powers which are promoting this destructive agenda.

Ultimately these power relations must be undermined with a view to changing the course of World history.

Without war propaganda and media disinformation, war criminals in high office do not have leg to stand on. Without the mainstream media’s lies and fabrications, the legitimacy of the “Global War on Terrorism” would collapse like a deck of cards.

This text was presented to the Forum on America’s War on Terror and the Urgency of World Peace: Its Ramification in the Philippines.

Social Sciences, University of the Philippines (UP-Cebu), in cooperation with Cebu Educators Forum (CEF), National Union of Students of the Philippines, (NUSP), National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, Visayas (NUSP), NUJP, Cebu Archdiocese, Peace Solidarity Movement,  Cebu. 

March 2, 2015 

DIRTY WARS-AMERICA’S #1 EXPORT

Dirty Wars: Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley’s New Film Exposes Hidden Truths of Covert U.S. Warfare

 
 

 
 
 
 
 

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Guests

Jeremy Scahill, producer and writer of the documentary film Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, which just premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival. He is national security correspondent for The Nation, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

Richard Rowley, director of the documentary film Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, which just premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival. He is an independent journalist with Big Noise Films.

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Premiering this week at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, the new documentary “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield” follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill to Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen as he chases down the hidden truths behind America’s expanding covert wars. We’re joined by Scahill and the film’s director, Rick Rowley, an independent journalist with Big Noise Films. “We’re looking right now at a reality that President Obama has essentially extended the very policies that many of his supporters once opposed under President Bush,” says Scahill, author of the bestseller “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” and a forthcoming book named after his film. “One of the things that humbles both of us is that when you arrive in a village in Afghanistan and knock on someone’s door, you’re the first American they’ve seen since the Americans that kicked that door in and killed half their family,” Rowley says. “We promised them that we would do everything we could to make their stories be heard in the U.S. … Finally we’re able to keep those promises.” [includes rush transcript]

 

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We have flown from Washington, D.C., from the inauguration, to Park City, Utah, to cover the Sundance Film Festival. It’s the 10th anniversary of the documentary track. And we’re going to start off by getting response to President Obama’s inaugural address. On Monday, President Obama declared a decade of war is now ending and that lasting peace does not require perpetual war. But he never mentioned the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan by name.

There was also no mention about the secret drone war that’s vastly expanded under President Obama. On the same day he gave his inaugural address, a U.S. drone strike killed three people in Yemen east of the capital, Sana’a. Also Monday, President Obama officially nominated John Brennan to be director of the CIA, succeeding retired Army General David Petraeus, who resigned. Nicknamed the “assassination czar” by some, Brennan was the first Obama administration official to publicly confirm drone attacks overseas and to defend their legality. Four years ago, John Brennan was a rumored pick for the CIA job when Obama was first elected but was forced to withdraw from consideration amidst protests over his role at the CIA under the Bush administration. Obama also officially nominated Chuck Hagel to head defense and John Kerry to become secretary of state on Monday.

Well, joining us here in Park City, Utah, is Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for The Nation magazine. He is featured in and co-wrote the new documentary Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. Jeremy’s latest book, with the same title, is due out in April.

We’re also joined by Dirty Wars director Richard Rowley, independent journalist with Big Noise Films. The film premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. documentary competition section. And when we flew into Salt Lake City last night, we went directly to the Salt Lake City Library, where there was a packed, sold-out crowd to see the—a showing of Dirty Wars. We want to congratulate you, Jeremy and Rick, on this absolutely remarkable film.

RICK ROWLEY: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: And I think it’s very appropriate to begin our four days of broadcasting here at Park City, on this day after the inauguration of President Obama, to begin with Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield.

Jeremy, talk about President Obama’s first four years and where we’re going now. You got a chance to hear his inaugural address; what you thought of it?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, you know, I think if we look back at the—at the first term of the Obama administration, what we saw was you had this very popular Democratic president that had—who had campaigned, in terms of his broader rhetoric during the presidential campaign against John McCain, on the notion that he was going to transform the way that the U.S. conducted its foreign policy around the world. And, you know, he then proceeded to double down on some of the greatest excesses of the Bush administration. If you look at the use of the state secrets privilege; if you look at the way the Obama administration has expanded the drone wars; has empowered special operations forces, including from JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command, to operate in countries where the United States is not at war; if you look at the way in which the Obama administration has essentially boxed Congress out of any effective oversight role of the covert aspects of U.S. foreign policy, what we really have is a president who has normalized, for many, many liberals in the United States, the policies that they once opposed under the Bush administration. And, you know, this really has been a war presidency.

And, you know, yesterday, as the—as President Obama’s talking about how we don’t need a state of perpetual war, multiple U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, a country that we’re not at war with, where the U.S. has killed a tremendous number of civilians. Rick and I have spent a lot of time on the ground in Yemen. And, you know, to me, most disturbing about this is John Brennan, who really was the architect of this drone program and the expansion of the drone program—these guys are sitting around on Tuesdays at the White House in “Terror Tuesday” meetings, discussing who’s going to live and who’s going to die across the world. These guys have decided—

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “Terror Tuesday” meetings?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, that’s what they’re referred to. You know, senior—when this first came out, senior White House officials said that they internally refer to them as “Terror Tuesdays,” where they meet and they go over the list of potential targets. And they have them, you know, on baseball cards in some cases. And they’re identifying people that they want to take out and that are on the U.S. kill list. And we have an ever-expanding kill list. You know, after 9/11, there were seven people on the U.S. kill list, and then we had the deck of cards in Iraq and Saddam and his top people. I mean, now there are thousands; it’s unknown how many people are on this kill list. And U.S. citizens—three U.S. citizens were killed in operations ordered by the president in late 2011, including, you know, as we reported on Democracy Now! before, the 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.

And, you know, so the appointment of Brennan to CIA, to me, is the greatest symbol of how deeply invested in covert war and an expansion of wars around the world and the notion that was popularized under the neocons of “the world is a battlefield,” that notion that the United States can strike in any country across the world, wherever it determines that terrorists or suspected militants may reside. The most disturbing part of this policy, to me—and I think also to people within the intelligence community who are looking at this—is that there are regions of Yemen or Pakistan where President Obama has authorized the U.S. to strike, even if they don’t know the identities of the people that they’re striking, the so-called “signature strike” policy. The idea that being a military-aged male in a certain region of a particular country around the world, that those people become legitimate targets based on their gender and their age and their geographic presence, that those are going to be legitimate targets is—

AMY GOODMAN: Explain that.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I mean, this was something that started under the Bush administration, and when President Obama first took office, he was briefed on this by the then-director—the outgoing director of the CIA, Michael Hayden. And he described to him this policy that they had developed called “signature strikes,” where they were looking at patterns of life. If an individual had contact with certain other individuals, if they were traveling in a certain area at certain times, if they were gathering with a certain number of people, that there was a presumption that they must be up to no good, that they are suspected militants or suspected terrorists and that the U.S. could take preemptive action against those people—and by “preemptive action,” I mean killing them with a missile—that there was authorization to do that. In some cases, the president has actually pre-cleared the CIA to authorize these strikes without being directly notified.

But President Obama, my understanding from sources, you know, within the intelligence and military world, has really sort of micromanaged this process. And, you know, Brennan has been—Brennan is basically the hit man of this administration, except he never has to go out and do the hitting himself. He orders, you know, planes and missile strikes and AC-130 strikes to, you know, hit in Somalia, in Yemen, in Pakistan. You know, we’re looking right now at a reality that President Obama has essentially extended the very policies that many of his supporters once opposed under President Bush. And I think it says something about the bankrupt nature of partisan politics in this country that the way we feel about life-or-death policies around the world is determined by who happens to be in office. I mean, that’s—that, to me, is a very sobering reality.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to a first clip of your film, Jeremy and Rick. The story of Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki features prominently in Dirty Wars. His 16-year-old son became the third U.S. citizen to be killed in a drone strike in Yemen in October 2011. President Obama called the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki a, quote, “milestone.”

JEREMY SCAHILL: Aden—Yemen’s ancient port city was nothing like Kabul. In Afghanistan, life was defined by the war. Everything revolved around it. But in Yemen, there was no war, at least not officially. The strikes seem to have come out of the blue, and most Yemenis were going about life as usual. It was difficult to know where to start. The Yemeni government claimed responsibility for the strikes, saying they had killed dozens of al-Qaeda operatives. But it was unclear who the targets really were or who was even responsible.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Jeremy Scahill in Yemen in the film that has just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival called Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. Jeremy?

JEREMY SCAHILL: So what we were seeing there was a scene where we’re first getting into what’s happening on the ground in Yemen, and we learn about these—this series of missile strikes, cruise missile strikes, that had happened in December of 2009, the first time that Yemen had been bombed by the United States in seven years. And in the process of looking at who the targets were, we understood that Anwar al-Awlaki, that there had been an attempt to kill him, and in fact that the—that it had been announced that Awlaki had been killed. And that’s how we discovered that Anwar Awlaki was in fact on the kill list. And, of course, Anwar Awlaki is a U.S. citizen.

The first bombing that happened, on December 17th, 2009, where President Obama directly authorized the strike, was on this village of al-Majalah in southern Yemen, and 46 people were killed, including two dozen women and children, in that strike. And so, what Rick and I did is we went down to the heart of where these strikes were happening, and we met with people on the ground, and we interviewed survivors of these—of these missile strikes. And we gathered evidence, and we actually filmed the cruise missile parts. And the U.S. had—did not claim responsibility for those strikes; in fact, the Yemeni government claimed responsibility for the strikes. And we know from the WikiLeaks cables that were released that General David Petraeus essentially conspired with senior Yemeni officials, including the former president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to cover up the U.S. role in what would become a rapidly expanding U.S. bombing campaign inside of Yemen. And, you know, this administration has continued to pummel Yemen.

Today or—I think today, they claimed for probably the dozenth time in the past couple of years to have killed Said al-Shihri, one of the leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. And, you know, maybe he has been killed this time; maybe he hasn’t. But what we saw on the ground is that the United States and Yemen claim to be killing al-Qaeda leadership—and they’ve killed a handful of them in Yemen—but for the most part, it seems that the drone strikes are hitting in areas where they’re killing civilians. And what it’s doing is it’s turning people in Yemen that might not be disposed, have anything against the United States, into potential enemies that have a legitimate grudge against America. And that’s—we saw that repeatedly.

AMY GOODMAN: Rick Rowley, your filmmaking is truly remarkable, and you’ve shown that in your previous films, for example, Fourth World War. But in Dirty Wars, that you take this one camera, and you and Jeremy travel the world, as you’ve been covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for years, going to places that the entire U.S. press corps—I mean, with their armed guards—has rarely been, if ever at all, to track what has been secret until now. Talk about that journey through Yemen.

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah, I—the global war on terror is the most important story of our generation, you know, and it’s a story that’s been completely not covered. It remains invisible and hidden from most Americans. I mean, this is a war—this is the longest war in American history. It’s a war in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. But it’s happening in the shadows. And so, Dirty Wars — in Dirty Wars, Jeremy and I are trying to make this invisible war that’s being fought in our name, but without our knowledge, visible to the American people. And in order to do that, we had to leave the safety of the Green Zone and go out to where—where the war takes place, talk to the civilians on the ground in places like Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen about how this war is affecting their lives.

So, in Yemen, as a result of the—all these drone strikes, as the backlash against these drone strikes in the south was huge, when we arrived in Yemen, an entire province in the south had been taken over by an al-Qaeda-affiliated organization because of the massive popular anger over the drone strikes and the government’s complicity in the strikes, which, you know, turned the south of Yemen into a terrifying place. I mean, these missile strikes, these night raids destabilize the countries that they happen in, and they turn them into places where it becomes very dangerous to move and to operate. So, in Yemen—I mean, in Afghanistan, as well, Jeremy and I had to travel—it was only possible for us to work as a crew of two, because we had to keep a low profile and try to travel under the radar. We couldn’t roll—I mean, rolling around with security would only make it more dangerous for us.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Rick had to actually—he had to train one of the—our Afghan colleagues in how to use a second camera, so that we could have someone filming me while Rick was filming, you know, the people that we were interviewing, because we wouldn’t have been safe to bring more people than that. So Rick actually was training people on the fly in multiple countries on how to do other things, because of some of the limitations, for security purposes, of having to travel very lightly.

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah. I mean, one of the things that humbles both of us is that, you know, when you arrive in a village in Afghanistan and knock on someone’s door, you’re the first American they’ve seen since the Americans that kicked that door in and killed half their family. And yet, time and time again, those families invited us in, welcomed us and shared their stories with us, based on—you know, we promised them that we would do everything we could to make their stories be heard in the U.S. And so, it’s actually really—it’s amazing to be here at Sundance, because finally we’re able to keep those promises.

AMY GOODMAN: Afghanistan, Gardez, Jeremy, talk about one of the central focuses of Dirty Wars.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, you know, we—when we began working on this film, it was a very different film. And, you know, I mean, Amy, we—both Rick and I have been on Democracy Now! I mean, I feel like I grew up at Democracy Now! On my Facebook page, I list Democracy Now! as my university, and really, really view it that way. And you know, because we were talking to you at the time, that we had started on a very different journey. And we had read about this raid that happened in Gardez, in Paktia province, because a very, very brave reporter named Jerome Starkey, who’s a correspondent for The Times of London, who now is in Africa covering the latest sort of expansion of the not-so-covert war in Mali—

AMY GOODMAN: And we’ll talk about that in a minute.

JEREMY SCAHILL: And we’ll talk about that, yeah. So we had read about this night raid that took place, and it was a horrible massacre. And what happened in Gardez was that U.S. special operations forces had intelligence that there were—you know, a Taliban cell was in a—was having some sort of a meeting to prepare a suicide bomber. And they raid this house in the middle of the night, and they end up killing five people, including three women, two of whom were pregnant, and another person that they killed in the house, Mohammed Daoud, turned out to be a senior Afghan police commander who had been trained by the U.S., including by the mercenary—or the private security company MPRI, Military Professional Resources Incorporated. They weren’t even Pashtun, the dominant—the almost exclusive ethnicity of the Taliban. They spoke Dari. And they’re—and what was happening that night was not preparing a suicide bomber; they were celebrating the birth of a child. And they were dancing and had music, and they had women without head covers on.

And they—and so the soldiers raid this house, and they kill these people. And instead of realizing that they had made a horrible mistake and that the intelligence was wrong and it resulted in these people being killed, they actually covered up the killings. And we interview the survivors of this raid, including a man who watched, while he was zip-cuffed, soldiers, American soldiers, digging bullets out of his wife’s dead body. And they then tried to—

AMY GOODMAN: And they did that because?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, so just to finish this part of it, they kill the people, they dig the bullets our of the bodies, then they take into custody all of the men of the house, including a man who has just watched his sister and his wife and his niece killed, and they fly them to a different province, and they’re interrogating them, trying to get them to give up some information that would indicate that the Taliban had a connection to that family. I mean, it shows you how horrid the intelligence is. I mean, these people weren’t even Pashtun. You have a senior police commander. They’re dancing, playing loud music, and they have women without head cover in the house. And what happened is that NATO then issues a press release and made statements anonymously in the media where they said that the U.S. forces had stumbled upon the aftermath of a Taliban honor killing, and they implied that the family—that the women were killed by their own murderous families.

And so, in the course of the film, we investigate that night raid, and we learn that the individuals who did that raid were members of the Joint Special Operations Command. And we know that because the then-head of the Joint Special Operations Command, Vice Admiral William McRaven, showed up in this village with scores of Afghan soldiers and U.S. forces. And they—there’s a scene, and we show this in the film, where they offload a sheep, and they offer to sacrifice the sheep to say—you know, ask for forgiveness. It’s an Afghan cultural tradition, and it was meant to be a gesture of reconciliation. And they offload the sheep, and they’re offering to sacrifice it in the very place where the raid had taken place. And then Admiral McRaven goes into the home and says his men were responsible for killing the women and the police commander, and he asks for forgiveness from the head of the family, Haji Sharabuddin. Had a brave photographer named Jeremy Kelly not been there to snap the photographs that you see in our film of Admiral McRaven in Gardez, we may never have known who the actual killers were that day.

And both Jerome Starkey and I have filed Freedom of Information Act requests. We’ve tried to get information out of the U.S. military. My requests have been bounced all around the military. And the most current update I have is months old from them. They said that it’s in an unnamed agency awaiting review. We don’t know if anyone was disciplined for the action. We don’t know if anyone was ever held accountable for the action. All we know is that Admiral McRaven and a bunch of soldiers showed up with a sheep and said, “We did this, and we’re sorry.”

AMY GOODMAN: And tried to destroy Jerome Starkey’s reputation, meanwhile, back in Kabul in a news conference.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, I mean, Jerome Starkey—there’s a couple of journalists in our film who really emerge as the heroes of the story that we’re telling. Another one is currently in jail in Yemen right now, and we can maybe talk about him, named Abdulelah Haider Shaye—and we’ve talked about him on the show before—in jail because President Obama intervened, when he was about to be pardoned, to keep him in jail after he exposed the role, U.S. role, in certain missile strikes.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean he intervened, if you could just say for a moment?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I mean, there was—the journalist who first exposed the missile strike I was talking about earlier in al-Majalah, Yemen, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, had taken photographs of the U.S. missile parts, and that’s how we first learned that it was in fact U.S. cruise missiles. And Yemen doesn’t have cruise missiles. And so, after he did his reporting and continued to report on the expanding U.S. air war in Yemen, he was snatched from his home by the U.S.-backed Yemeni counterterrorism units and then was put on trial for allegedly being an al-Qaeda facilitator or propagandist and was sentenced to five years in prison. There was huge protests as his trial was denounced as a sham by international human rights and media organizations. And he was about to be pardoned by the Yemeni president, because there was tremendous pressure in the country, and then President Obama called President Ali Abdullah Saleh and expressed his concern over the release of Abdulelah Haider Shaye.

AMY GOODMAN: The reporter.

JEREMY SCAHILL: The reporter. And then the pardon was ripped up after that. And his lawyers say, clearly, that he’s in jail because of Obama’s intervention, that he would have been released. And lest you think this is some kind of a conspiracy theory, you can hop onto the White House website and see the readout of the phone call from that day. The White House put it openly. When I called the State Department to ask them about the case, they said, “We stand by President Obama’s position on—initial position on this,” regarding this journalist. They don’t even refer to him as a journalist, “regarding this individual.” He had worked with ABC News, The Washington Post — you know, very small, unknown media outlets. And I heard from a very—someone inside of a very prominent news organization in the U.S. told me that they had been called by the administration when they were working with Abdulelah Haider Shaye and told that “You should stop working with him, because he takes his paychecks and gives them to al-Qaeda.” I mean, they tried to slander this journalist behind the scenes and in front.

But you asked about Jerome Starkey. When Jerome Starkey first exposed the cover-up of Gardez, NATO publicly attacked him by name and accused him of lying. And then, when more information started to come out about who did it, then they changed their story, but they never apologized to Jerome Starkey.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Rick Rowley, you have this remarkable footage. Aside from you both going to Gardez and interviewing survivors, talk about the video footage you retrieve there and the hands of the U.S. soldiers that you see.

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah, one of incredible things in Gardez, the family gave us cellphone videos that they had taken the night of the raid. And there was one clip in particular. It was early in the morning. It’s a shaky video. And we just thought it was just another sort of shaky video of the bodies. But then you can hear voices come over it, and they’re American-accented voices speaking about piecing together their version of the night’s killings, getting their story straight. And, I mean, you hear them trying to concoct a story about how this was something other than a massacre.

AMY GOODMAN: And you see their hands.

RICK ROWLEY: And you see their hands moving the corpses around and photographing the bullet holes. But we never get to see their faces. All we have are their voices. We spent a long time actually trying to analyze the audio to figure out, because a name is mentioned in one part of it, but it’s too thin and distorted on the cellphone to find out. I mean, these are the—these are the scraps and pieces that we have to use to reconstruct the story of these wars, because everything is systematically hidden from us. I mean, all we had to go on were these pictures that Jeremy Kelly took, this cellphone video, and that—

AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Kelly is the photographer, videographer for Jerome Starkey.

RICK ROWLEY: For Jerome, yes, who is now the Kabul bureau chief—

JEREMY SCAHILL: Afghan correspondent.

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah. All we had were these tiny little scraps of clues that weren’t even supposed to exist, and pictures of a person who was unknown at the time. I mean, Admiral William McRaven, you know, no one knew who he was. I mean, that was the first sort of shock here—looked at him, see his rank, read his name. But he’s not—he wasn’t from the NATO command. He wasn’t from the Eastern Regional Command that owns that battle space. He was not even—I mean, why was this elite force operating, kicking in the doors on farmers? I mean, that is the sort of the—the mystery that begins the investigation.

AMY GOODMAN: And then you take this forward, Jeremy, back to the United States and show McRaven a photograph.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. And so, you know, after—after we learn that this figure, William McRaven, was the leader of this raid, it sort of—our film was sort of in the—this journey was sort of like pulling on the tail of an elephant that’s behind a hidden wall. And you’re pulling on it, and you’re pulling on it, and the cracks start to show this behemoth that’s behind a wall, and you realize that this is part of a much bigger story. And really, that kicked off a journey that took us to Yemen and Somalia and elsewhere.

And, you know, for us, I mean, the sort of—just this incredible looking-glass moment happened when Osama bin Laden was killed. And all of a sudden, everyone is talking about JSOC. It’s everywhere. I mean, we had spent so much time embedded in this story, where there was very little being written about it, except for a small circle of journalists. And all of a sudden, the people that—whose journey we’d been tracking had become national heroes. And Disney tried to trademark SEAL Team 6, and, you know, the Hollywood producers got in bed with the CIA to make their version of the—you know, the events, the sort of official history.

AMY GOODMAN: And you’re saying that’s the film…?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Oh, Zero Dark Thirty. I mean, it’s—and we can talk about that film later. But, I mean, the relationship between the CIA and Hollywood over this issue is one that I think needs to be very, very thoroughly debated. And I’m thankful that we are debating it. And, you know, one great thing that has happened as a result of Zero Dark Thirty is that people are actually talking about torture and what has happened in the past. But for us to see, you know, McRaven sitting in front of Congress and JSOC being talked about publicly was really an incredible experience, because we had seen this other side. Our film is about all these things that these same units did that almost never get talked about. What Americans know about JSOC is overwhelmingly limited to what happened in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. And, you know, Rick often points out sort of the irony of the way that that’s covered versus the role these forces play around the world.

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah, I mean, we’re flooded with details about one raid, the—on May 2nd, 2011. We know everything about it. We know how many SEALs were in the helicopters. We know what kind of helicopters they were. We know what kind of rifles they were carrying. We know that they had a dog with them that was a Belgian Malinois named Cairo. We know everything about this raid. But that same year, there were 30,000 other night raids in Afghanistan. So, we know everything about this, but those—those are all hidden from us.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and then come back to a pair of remarkable investigative journalists, whose investigations are now a film, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, that has just premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival in its 10th year. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: The great Somali Canadian, K’naan, singing “Somalia,” his home country. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, and we’re with two great journalists: Rick Rowley and Jeremy Scahill. Jeremy, a longtime Democracy Now! correspondent and national security correspondent for The Nation. Rick Rowley, videographer, filmmaker, who has been in Iraq and Afghanistan for many years. They have now put together this film, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. And it has premiered here. In fact, K’naan was here celebrating the first night. And I want to talk about Somalia and Mali, but let’s start with a clip of this film in Somalia. Jeremy, can you introduce it?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, we—what we discovered in Somalia was that the U.S. had been for years outsourcing its kill list in Somalia to local warlords. And in our film, you meet two of those warlords: Mohamed Qanyare and Indha Adde. And Indha Adde at one time was protecting people who were on the U.S. kill list, and he was an ally of the al-Qaeda and al-Shabab figures within Somalia. And he has been flipped and is now working with the U.S. So, here we meet Indha Adde, this notorious warlord who’s working on the side of the U.S.

JEREMY SCAHILL: In an earlier life, Indha Adde had been America’s enemy, offering protection to people on the U.S. kill list. But the warlord had since changed sides. He was now on the U.S. payroll and assumed the title of general.

So he’s saying that the fiercest fighting that they’re doing right now is happening right here.

The men fired across the rooftops, but it didn’t make sense to me what we were doing here—or what the Americans were doing here in Somalia, arming this warlord-turned-general for what seemed like a senseless war.

UNIDENTIFIED: We’ve got to move.

JEREMY SCAHILL: So these were Shabab fighters you buried here.

GEN. INDHA ADDE: [translated] If we capture fighters alive, we give them medical care, unless they are foreigners. The foreigners, we execute.

JEREMY SCAHILL: If you capture a foreigner alive, you execute them on the battlefield?

GEN. INDHA ADDE: [translated] Yes. The others should feel no mercy.

AMY GOODMAN: The U.S.-backed Somali warlord Indha Adde. Journalist Jeremy Scahill there in Somalia, Rick Rowley filming. Jeremy, talk about Somalia and Mali, as we—the world learns about Mali now, with the French attacks on Mali and what’s happened in Algeria, and how that ties into the central theme of your film about JSOC.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. I mean, one thing that’s interesting, you know, we have some people from within the JSOC community whose identities we protect in the film, and we’re talking to them. And we actually, you know, two years ago, were considering going to Mali, because we were hearing from our sources that there were covert operations that were happening inside of Mali tracking these—the spread of these al-Qaeda affiliates. And, you know, this is something that we’re seeing throughout the Horn of Africa and in places throughout the Sahel and North Africa, where these groups are getting stronger and stronger. And so, you know, the U.S. is increasingly getting itself involved in these dirty wars in Africa. And, you know, we could have easily gone to Uganda or Somalia or Mali and reported on this, but there’s—you know, since AFRICOM was created as a full free-standing command, like Southern Command and Central Command, AFRICOM has been expanding these wars.

AMY GOODMAN: And McRaven, where he is now?

JEREMY SCAHILL: McRaven is the commander of the Special Operations Command. He is—William McRaven is the most powerful figure in the United States military. He is an incredibly brilliant man. He is very shrewd. He understands media. And he is in charge of the most elite force the U.S. has ever produced, and he has been given carte blanche to do what he believes is right around the world, empowered much more under President Obama than they were under President Bush. In fact, you see someone who has worked within JSOC saying that to us in our film. And out of Camp Lemonnier, which is in Djibouti, the U.S. has been expanding these covert wars in Africa. And most of what—most Americans, what they know about Somalia is Black Hawk Down. And I think in our film you’re going to see a very different reality, and you’re going to see the hellscape that has been built by a decade of covert war.

AMY GOODMAN: Is it too cynical to say—I mean, this is the fourth anniversary of President Obama promising to close Guantánamo. It hasn’t happened. There’s still scores of men there, 166 men. Something—more than 80 of them have been cleared, yet they’re still there. Is it too cynical to say that this “dirty war,” as you call it, the targeted killings, are a way to end all of these prisons? Because you don’t detain prisoners, you simply kill them.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, that’s what people like Jack Goldsmith and other, you know, former Bush legal advisers and national security team—I mean, the irony of these guys, who have no moral standing to talk about these issues, are saying, “Well, Obama is just killing these people. At least we stuck them in some sort of a prison.” I mean, it’s devastating that this is what these Bush people are saying about Obama. That’s what they’re alleging.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, devastating is your film, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. It has premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival, has just been picked up IFC, Sundance Selects, which means it will go out to scores of movie theaters around the country. This is just the beginning. And I congratulate you both, Jeremy Scahill, Rick Rowley, of Big Noise Films and The Nation magazine and Democracy Now! What an amazing film. This is our first day at the Sundance Film Festival. I thank all for all the work they’ve done.