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tv   [untitled]    December 20, 2011 8:01pm-8:31pm EST

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by the u.s. government. and syria is on the brink of a civil war the country's opposition now calling for military and foreign intervention so will it intervention only create more tension in that part of the world. it's tuesday december twentieth eight pm in washington d.c. i'm liz blow and you're watching r.t. . well from down drones to hack computers the u.s. had has suffered some major technological blows recently this one as the u.s. splurge is on military spending and often touted being the best when it comes to advanced technology but apparently or not it bans enough for other countries to prevent them from taking down our drones iran claims to have hijacked one of our
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most sophisticated spying tools as it was flying over the country the drone which iran says they intercepted was made by lockheed martin one of the world's largest defense contractors the company advertises being the best when it comes when it comes to combat and cyber threats take a look at their ad. greater . so they claim to protect national security by preventing cyber threats but somehow one of lockheed's drones ended up here in the hands of iran the country claims to have hijacked the drone by being technologically savvy hacking into its g.p.s.
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system and telling its own land exactly where they wanted it to and they apparently did such a good job the aircraft appears to be in pristine condition so how can the most militarily advanced country be vulnerable to such a cyber failure while to dig deeper into this earlier tonight i was joined by ivan eland senior fellow at the independent institute i asked him how can the u.s. invest so much under arms that can so easily be taken down here as this takes us always has it has a gold plated military and it gets in with technical fixes and gee whiz things whereas countries like iran or china that don't have as much money what they tend to do is try to focus on what the military calls asymmetrical threats in other words they don't they want to get our expensive systems and they want to find some easy way to get into them hack into them using cyber methods or you know find some other way to neutralize them that's cheap because they don't have
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a lot of money and sometimes i can be devastating like in iraq we had the roadside bomb. low tech grows. created hell out of havoc with that that's another example of asymmetric threats that the u.s. military faces in this drone was certainly an ace in the. through being hacked like that and i'm apparently the company at lockheed martin and they knew from the beginning that these drones were have the capability of being hacked that they have this gretsch that they still allow them to fly given their ability to be hacked that as we have seen and iran is a possible that these drones can can be can pose a danger to the u.s. well the problem with these drones is they're very good at preserving pilots lies in everything and they were also supposed to be if they got shot down you know you would have a captive pilot or a dead pilot or whatever which is good but we can still see there's a big ruckus especially when our high tech stealth drone goes down so there's still
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a political problem when these spy planes go down whether they're man or not and the law that always be a problem for the united states and you you can't have no risk and they do need to get intelligence from various countries so they're probably still keep using them even if one gets shot down what they're probably doing i think they have lockheed martin is now fixing the problem that is being paid to fix the problem that they knew was there the beginning was so all this happens a lot in american defense contracting that it's rather slipshod because there's not a whole lot of competition among the companies there are mostly monopolies and that sort of thing so you don't have the market it's not a traditionally market based business like you would see two cell phones companies competing with each other the defense department like certain contractors and lockheed martin is the one of the biggest ones and so it gets
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a little sloppy sometimes because there's no competition or not much competition on these contracts and you bring up another good point is that this company is going to have to fix these drones now that this glitch has been identified i mean is it possible that these glitches are there to keep on encouraging more. our military spending to upgrade this equipment and to our replace them well i don't think the company probably purposely put these glitches in there because this hurts their reputation that sort of thing but still they do get additional money in fixing them or adding to them a lot of times all identify other things they could add bells and whistles they could add so these could these weapon systems are often years behind and more expensive and there are a lot of technical glitches simply because you're. at the edge of technology and number two there's no competition as i mentioned so you do have a lot of problems in defense contractors things cost. time way behind schedule and
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these glitches that do come up and another point i want to bring up this is iran that supposedly hijacked this drone and iran is not considered to be technologically savvy so you know if iran can down one of our drones presumably other countries with more sophisticated cyber hacking abilities can do the same thing oh certainly certainly and i think that's a real worry here and i think that's what that's why this is getting so much attention because iran is known for its you know dazzling technical performance especially in nuclear weapons and that sort of thing they've been kind of ham handed in approaching that but i think you have to give the iranians more credit than a lot of people do for for what they have done and you know they haven't had much help and in fact the world is you know against them i'm not saying it's good that they're getting a nuclear weapon or even having these capabilities to down u.s. drones but i think they they do better than than most people think they do exactly
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i mean and if this is true that they were able to intercept one of our drones i mean it shows that they are technologically savvy and it may be more solid that than people would think right well you can see these stealth aircraft they down one in the kosovo war an f. one seventeen it was a man. lane and everyone was surprised that they could do it there's always some vulnerability that even these style systems have and we've seen that it's the g. global positioning system in this one i think so there may be other glitches in it too but there are vulnerabilities even with very sophisticated weapons and if the other side knows how to bring them down in this case they discovered how to do it of course you can have a real big problem on your hands ok i want to bring something else up perhaps another example of technology gone wrong or are not advanced enough this whole case of bradley manning he's accused of hacking into a computer and exposing hundreds of thousands of documents and cables and
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supposedly he did this by downloading these files or transferring these files on to lady gaga c.d.'s and i mean how is it possible that with our advanced technology that something like this hack you know a hacker can go into these computers and. get these documents of such of such important magnitude shouldn't there be protections in place to prevent something like that from happening in the first place well you do have protections i think in many cases the government's excess of security and in some cases impedes the technological solutions that the private computer companies could bring in to do some of this these things so actually their security requirements are kind of focused security requirements and if they would let the. competition i think among more competition among private companies and reducing some of these restrictions and everything would probably get them better systems than they're having so i
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think there is an opportunity for increased competition especially in computers you can make an argument in military aircraft that you can't get that many people that want to make it because of kind of an arcane thing but computers and that sort of thing. and safeguards computer security certain. many companies do that in the private sector and i think because the government needs to deregulate that and make it increase the competition i think they would have a lot better safeguards in the end if they had actually fewer security requirements and last i just want to ask you after looking at these examples i mean do you think that this exemplifies the fact that there are holes in u.s. security and despite spending all this money on this technology that there we all we are that this kind of reveals some of our vulnerability as well i think every country has vulnerabilities the iranians have vulnerabilities they had that computer virus that the u.s. and israel presumably put in there so all countries have vulnerabilities but i
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think the problem with the u.s. is we pay exorbitant prices for this equipment supposed to be the best in the world and you see these basic glitches and we just you know you can't have a perfect system but on the other hand we're paying so much for the stuff and they have such a poor performance and defense contracting on you know being delayed cost overrunning and then these problems that come up that we just. the v. twenty two aircraft which is the aircraft that goes up and down that had countless failures before they spent a lot of money that's another example of where they really you know that's why people get so disturbed about this because the u.s. has a cadillac military if you will or porsche or military even and compared to other militaries and the taxpayer expects to get for spending all this money expect to get system that works better on time and that don't cost a lot but it doesn't do that certainly raises
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a lot of questions ivan thank you so much for weighing in on this that was senior fellow at the end the pennant institute ivan eland. well when it comes to punishing whistleblowers president obama is proving to be more aggressive than all previous presidents combined pretrial hearings are under way for one. them wiki leaks whistleblower blower bradley manning the twenty four year old army private is accused of releasing a video which showed a u.s. apache helicopter shooting and killing iraqi civilians and two journalists manning faces a slew of charges including aiding the enemy if convicted he could face life behind bars meanwhile wiki leaks at or an editor in chief julian assange is fighting his extradition so when is a whistleblower a hero and when is he a criminal and with the man in case underway what is the future of whistleblowing in the federal government case madara is the author of this book the passion of bradley manning he joined me earlier tonight from our studio in new york and i asked him as whistleblowing being criminalized in the us. yes it is once again as
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we see in the case of bradley manning but i think the case of bradley manning will set a familiar historical pattern where whistleblowers are first. criminalized but then later seen as heroes this happened with dead ellsberg the sap that was karen silkwood that happened to a great many other patriotic whistleblowers in our history and what is happening now we mentioned a little earlier that the obama administration has been the most aggressive in prosecuting whistleblowers why are we seeing this this crackdown more so today. well it's certainly a cruel betrayal of barack obama's campaign promises he did campaign as the whistleblower his best friend and instead he has launched more prosecutions under the espionage act of one nine hundred seventeen against whistleblowers than all previous presidents combined. what does he have to gain from this. i
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think very little i think our country has a great deal to gain by welcoming whistleblowers and especially the revelations in weiqi leaks you know the idea that we should know what our government is doing both at home and abroad that's not something that was cooked up by weiqi leaks last year it's a very old idea it's a very good idea and it's been a central part of the american political tradition after all it was james madison who said that a popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a tragedy or a farce or perhaps both and i'll remind you that james madison was not some hippie at arcus from one thousand nine hundred sixty eighth he was the fourth president of the united states in the primary author of our constitution and you know the whistleblower protection enhancement act that is meant to protect whistleblowers so that they are they do feel comfortable coming forward with things to be being held
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up in congress to what extent do you think that the manning play if it's feeding best resistance. i think it's feeding it a great deal how much does that matter i don't really know i think this particular act is a very mild reform it's a cautious baby step forward it's a good thing but it's only when enough people in the united states are mobilized in the willing to be skeptical of the government's claims that every single whistle blowing revelation is somehow a grievous start to national security then whistleblowers will be safe and that we'll be safe overall as a nation. and when it comes to whistleblowing i mean how easy is it for someone to blow the whistle anonymously on the government these days i mean if somebody does know about wrongdoing how can they disclose that information and at the same time protect themselves or i mean is there even an outlet to do that or is wiki leaks and the media media are they the only alternatives. well
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unfortunately our media does not do a good job i think one of the reasons why bradley manning did not go say to the new york times or the washington post was that these mainstream media outlets had done such an incredibly shoddy job in the past ten years especially during the buildup to the iraq war when their coverage was uncritical and really nothing more than stenography of what the bush cheney administration was publicly saying so it would be nice if we had an active vigorous media as paul craig roberts was just say but i can't say that we really have it right no. we didn't alternative for a while it may well go under given the legal problems the infighting and perhaps even prosecutions from the u.s. government but even if we can leaks does go under there are many copycat sites and like minded groups that are springing up that are one step ahead of the government
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authorities in and are able to publicize important information relevant information that the public needs to know so even if we can least goes under that will by no means be the end of whistle blowing in america and what does this say about the media and the role of the media in the united states that so much more information is exposed exponentially more information is exposed through through bradley manning their wiki leaks. it's been really eye opening for to the public to see really what does go on i mean what does it say about the media because the media is supposed to be the government watchdog. well the role of the media as a government watchdog that's a cherished myth for many mainstream journalists that they are adversarial that they're tough on government i think the truth is that they are deeply embedded just
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like many miller reporters were embedded with military units in iraq and afghanistan and our media at home is deeply embedded in the culture of washington officialdom and they do the whole a pretty lousy job of holding up critically the official statements of our government you know it's very bizarre here in america there is a very healthy distrust of washington sometimes that more than healthy distrust of government in general and yet both the media and the public at large are weirdly acquiescent to whatever washington says about foreign policy about state craft and above all about national security i think the weekly leaks revelations have been an important breakthrough so people can see the raw information for themselves i think this adds to our national security by helping us make better informed decisions as a people as a public and helps us be more critical of the official statements of washington and
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of the media who are not reliable watchdogs and lastly when i ask you about the importance of whistleblowers in our society today and why you think it's important to have them on and along with that the future of whistle blowing and the u.s. . the whistleblower is a great american tradition and i have full confidence that even if bradley manning is put away for life god forbid it will continue i mean the our history is dead anywhere you look even in bradley manning's home state of oklahoma very close to where he grew up is the plutonium processing plant now closed where karen silkwood the trade union activist exposed cabot contamination and then died under fishy circumstances in one nine hundred seventy four under way to a meeting with the journalist even slightly farther away also in oklahoma you had the great historian edgy dobro who in the 1930's blew the whistle on how wealthy
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white led donors had swindled the indians out of their lands and territories in oklahoma she was blacklisted by the state barred from teaching in the state decades later she was rehabilitated it is now a hero and intellectual hero throughout the southwest even if. i'm starting to figure out where running out of time but they are weighing in on that that was mad are. the passion of bradley manning. well syria growing isolated under sanctions from arab states the us and e.u. the sanctions are response to syria's crackdown on anti-government protesters this crackdown has become increasingly violent over the last few days with some one hundred fifty protesters reportedly being killed over that time span this brings the death toll up to around five thousand people since the protests sparked back in march all of this happening at the assad regime prepares to allow foreign monitors from the arab league into the country to oversee the events as they happen but the
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opposition is now calling for arab military intervention to protect them and government security forces some of syria's fiercest fighting has broken out in the city of holmes described as being on the brink of civil war archy therapist is on the ground to bring us the latest. we're here in the embattled city of homs and you can hear heavy gunfire in the background but it's really hard to share insurance as the civilian population here lives here as we're called to wait a month after month they've had to endure this conflict. to deal going by is taking its toll to kiev and the there are neighborhoods that are being suffocated surrounded by armed groups there are many people who think could not have had enough what did we do to deserve this homs is being described as a city on the brink of civil war where some of the series this is fighting has broken out. driving through the streets there are clear signs of conflict bullet
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holes and when they paint and he was seen slogans on walls and as a heavy military presence we went able to visit some of the areas where concentrated fighting was continuing it would be empty dangerous to visit. us in other areas of the fifty day life struggles on. the backdrop. you can see the children playing here in the homes that this is day one of the major. others conflict continues for the safety of the civilians they continue living here and this is the situation in homes right now is far more complex than simply one of the opposition against the regime a deep seated sectarian conflicts with their heads. from the we're beginning home. because the numbers. are much more than. the military funeral held yesterday gets under way for five soldiers killed by what
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the government says increasing the militant movement and on the same day reports from the opposition the harrowing accounts is civilians around the country. make serious decision to allow the arab league to send observers the more important this is naturally will want to facilitate their visit to. and in the same time preserve our sovereignty so really it depends on the intention do they really want to help or of course. with the decision by the main opposition outside the country yes and see. a position inside the country has welcomed in the north. we hope it's going to be implemented on the ground as it stated in the protocol and we remain completely against international intervention it would lead the country into destruction. with a fractious opposition and rising. with facts and information still very hard to
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verify even on the ground that is a rival here in syria will be an important step but it's going to be just one of many more that we need to and the issue of the. city of homs. and to talk more about the developments in syria i was joined earlier by dr paul craig roberts a columnist and former reagan administration official with airports out this week of american involvement in training fighters on the border of turkey i asked paul if it's possible the u.s. is helping plot a civil war in the country take a listen. i would think that the united states is involved stirring up a solution and an arm and it's a way to justify intervention on humanitarian terms they use the cover of the arab spring. as they do in libya. so.
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these are not. spontaneous protest and certainly in a authoritarian state like there syria you wouldn't find people in opposition able to readily supply themselves with arms with military weapons and this is not any longer just protests it is an armed. rebellion army makes no sense it makes no sense for the syrians to themselves are up opportunity for the country to be destroyed when i say like libya or iraq or or afghanistan and i suspect that's what's coming to them you know many years ago the neo conservatives sent out their document calling for the u.s. to overthrow the regimes and syria iraq afghanistan and libya and i think even saudi arabia and we may simply be watching this as it works its way through
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it when syria is syria goes around is in the target sights and lebanon and so there will be knocking all of these countries one by one while they stand there and don't unite in fact they can't unite and that's why they're so vulnerable so you think that there is much more behind both than being a justification of going in there for humanitarian purposes what they stir up the uprising and that then becomes an excuse for saving the people of course who got saved in libya. and i think i think on the whole what what. what's involved here is the russians have a naval base in syria and the americans don't want a russian they will presence in the mediterranean. and just as in linear the
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problem was the chinese all investments. washington doesn't wall independent all supplies for china and so there are many deep feigns going on that don't get into the news they don't get to discuss. and want to ask you about that about. why isn't the us media reporting on this of this presence of u.s. troops on the ground there this is something that is being reported in turkey and other countries and why aren't we hearing about this u.s. troop presence here in the us in the media here well there's no longer an independent media. in the united states. it's. it was monopolized it's highly concentrated it's no longer run by journalists and they're very severely censored and. the media has become
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a propaganda ministry sexualizing to and for the corporations and so i think that's why people turn to our t.v.'s more reporting there and that's why they turn to internet sites because they can find out things they can get from what's called a mainstream print and t.v. media in the united states why keep this a secret. what is part of the agenda there to keep this a secret well they want them american people to see for it to support it and so it has to be presented as a humanitarian intervention not as something that we stir up as an excuse you see like with iraq they used nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and they concocted another argument in libya and so now there can concocting a humanitarian argument for syria that if the people know. yes then how is the
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government convinced. for the purpose of jacking siri. so as to keep them in the dark about it in order to achieve this goal. and that was dr paul craig roberts former reagan administration official economist and columnist well that does it for now but my interview with dr robert didn't end there he also gave me his thoughts on be down drone any ron and the possible consequences of this military fall pa to see the full interview or for more on the stories we covered go to r.t. dot com slash usa and check out our youtube page it youtube dot com slash r t america you can also follow me on twitter at liz wall the big picture with thom hartmann is coming up in just a half hour tonight tom will give his take on why every single american has the right to cry foul on the banks but that's going to do it for the news tonight i'll
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see you right back here tomorrow have a great night. sometimes you see a story and it seems so you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else you hear or see some other part of it and realized everything you thought. was a big. news today. these are the images the world has been seeing from the streets of canada.


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