tv [untitled] December 28, 2011 10:00pm-10:30pm EST
north korea is bidding up final farewell to its late leader hundreds of thousands have gathered in pyongyang central square to pay their last respects this is the second day of him jong il's funeral died twelve days ago of a heart attack in. syria released seven hundred fifty five people detained during the uprising against president assad while the head of the arab league mission finds nothing frightening in the rest of the city of. egypt's new leaders try to build ties with russia at talks in moscow while back home the president's trial resumes after a three month break. those were the headlines and now let's cross over to our washington studio for the alyona show that's up next.
welcome to the lone a show where we get the real headlines with none of the mersey we can continue looking at the top stories of two thousand and eleven and specifically tonight we're going to focus on the latest developments as well as the lingering effects of the now ten years of the war on terror on september thirtieth of two thousand and eleven the united states assassinated an american citizen without any trial or due process by launching a drone strike in yemen that man was american born muslim cleric anwar all along and we spoke to jeremy scahill national security reporter for the nation magazine about the consequences of this unprecedented move. now aside from the glaring legal concerns of the u.s. government assassinating one of its own citizens without any means of due process we have to examine some of the other claims that have been made about on while
locky and his role in al qaeda here's what president obama had to say about it today. the death of a lock is a major blow to al qaeda as most active operational affiliate alok he was the leader of external operations for al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. in that role he took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent americans. now in the past the government is using state secrets privilege to hide any real evidence that they may have about a lock is alleged operational role so why now is it being true to this fact our earlier i caught up with jeremy scahill national security reporter for the nation magazine and author of the book blackwater the rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army i first asked him if you have the same reaction that i did to the media coverage today about the lack of questioning about the due process for the killing of an american citizen. right i mean for there are there are two sort of glaring media errors here in my view one is anwar locky was not the leader of al
qaeda in the arabian peninsula most yemen experts people that have spent much time there have reviewed it including former u.s. officials say that he is barely mid-level management with al qaeda he's far more important to the u.s. counterterrorism community than he is to anyone in yemen or anyone in the arab world for that matter secondly though we have an almost an utter lack of discussion in this country to date of the fact that president obama has served as judge jury and executioner of a u.s. citizen i'm not here to defend moral locky or anything that that man did with his life but i am here to say that we should be a nation that follows its own laws and subscribes to the rule of law and we can have our own government assassinate our own citizen on a non declared battlefield where he's not directly engaging with american forces in hostilities that's a sad day for america when we don't have a very rigorous debate about that ideally before we kill our own citizens well i couldn't agree with you more there now when it comes to you know what you say is
a glaring media error in terms of overestimating the lock ease influence how high up he is in al qaeda in the arabian peninsula is also something that we hear coming from the president himself who comes out and says that we have just dealt a decisive blow to al qaeda you know who else is responsible for some of the misinformation. well i mean first of all so the president used the title for lockey that i haven't found anyone in the counterterrorism community that has ever heard him labeled with such an official position within a q a p but it's you know i would say that part of it is the u.s. media system that relies on anonymous officials who never have to be held accountable for the statements that they make of the propaganda that they feed to c.n.n. or other networks on the one hand on the other hand though it's lazy journalism it's you know if i had a dollar for every time somebody sent me a tweet today trying to proclaim their vast expertise on adora locky because they read something on wikipedia. i would be a millionaire but i maybe would have twenty thirty bucks you know the fact is that
most of the people yapping about anwar locky had never heard of him or if they did they probably knew something that was factually incorrect you know the reality is that most credible sources say that this was a guy whose primary threat to the united states was his ability to go on youtube and preach his message of hatred and let's also remember and no one wants to talk about this on moral locky after nine eleven it was a mainstay in the news hour with jim lehrer he was in the washington post as a voice of moderation condemning nine eleven but also condemning u.s. policy so it's quite likely that anwar lock himself was radicalized as a result of what was perceived widely in the muslim world to be a war against islam we don't spend a lot of time studying or talking about blowback in this country but we should because you could make a reasonable case that he was a product of u.s. policy he seemed to be a guy that was very much critical of nine eleven up to the u.s.
invasion of iraq and now aside from the fact that of course there are a lot of you tube videos out there that the u.s. government tried to get taken down and some of which they did speaking in very good english and of course you know preaching his philosophy is there ever any direct proof will we ever seen the government disclose any direct proof that he's. actually been behind any plot society and maybe being an inspirational people like . the fort hood shooter is there any direct proof that he was involved with a christmas tree or excuse me a with a shoe bomber or with any other plot or a bomb or underwear bomber thank you well let me just take these in part because you asked a couple questions here first on the issue of major nidal hasan who is the alleged fort hood shooter he hasn't been prosecuted yet so you know we have to be careful about that because we do have a system of justice in this country that's supposed to be respected as far as the communications between a lockie and his son go they took place before he was the this incident took place
in fort hood and investigators that reviewed those e-mails said that there was nothing indicating that a lockie had directed him to take part in that action and that their discussions were of a more spiritual nature about the koran a lockie did praise major nidal hasan after the fort hood shootings but again that's not any evidence that he was involved that the most serious allegation against he is that he provided operational support to the alleged underwear bomber that you were referring to earlier but there has been no evidence certainly no evidence that would stand up in a court of law other than hearsay to indicate that that's true that's why it would have been important to have a trial or an indictment but the obama administration is hiding behind state secrets much like the bush administration did when the center for constitutional rights in the a.c.l.u. represented on his father in a u.s. court the prime motivation for them representing him was to say to the government if you're going to assert the right to kill one of your own citizens we demand to see the evidence against him and that case was dismissed on state secret grounds
and so the obama administration saying we have this evidence we just can't show it to you because it's too sensitive do you think that there's any chance that they might release that information now or that you know if there were another law if they were to take place they won't be able to claim state secrets anymore because let's face it they already went and killed them. i you know i wouldn't expect to see any sort of mug. a load of proof against anwar a lockie i mean the fact is that president obama is not going to be under any pressure from anyone that matters to his administration to produce such evidence he has normalized policies that would have been the source of scorn and denunciation from liberals the nation policy the bombing multiple countries the intervening around the world he's normalized it in a way that a president mccain would not have been able to do so i think that short of the usual suspects who do horrible things like defend prisoners at guantanamo stand up against warrantless wiretapping that supported by the democrats and the republicans short of that clik of uncouth people no one is going to be raising any ruckus about
this capitol hill only six members to rep who said it was bill last year attempting to just say that the u.s. should not assassinate its own citizens without due process i mean that gives you a sense of where things are in this country a half a dozen members of the u.s. congress dared to sign a piece of paper that said we don't believe in assassinating our own citizens without due process and you know i'm happy that you brought that up because yesterday on our show we were discussing an op ed by legal scholar john terry who not only talked about obama's horrible civil liberties record but he actually said that obama just may have killed the civil liberties movement here you know something that we saw a lot of organization for a lot of passion for towards the end of the bush administration there was help obama ran as a presidential candidate and promised to abide by the rule of law and i wonder if you agree with that that he's killed the civil liberties movement that no one ever is going to really stand up and away the finger anymore. i don't know that i would go as far as to say that he's killed the civil liberties movement i do think though that given that he is
a constitutional law expert his policies have been shockingly terrible you know given what we've seen unfold and both domestically and internationally but i the reason that i say i disagree with that is because i know those are very brave people from these legal organizations that have been fighting for so long and they are not going to be giving up. anytime soon and they get hammered for it all the time at times accused of being terrorists or operatives for the republican party i was accused today repeatedly of being a g.o.p. troll because i had the audacity to have the exact same position on president obama's targeted killing that i had a president bush's so i mean i think that those people that believe in the rule of law and due process as a matter of principle are going to hold it under both the democratic and republican administrations so whether or not a president obama completely killed that movement. i think that's a debatable question i like to believe though that there are people that believe so deeply in this country they're going to continue to fight even if it becomes politically unpopular as it as it has under president obama now some people tried
to argue that legally under the authorization of the use of military force it may have been ok for after president obama to go after iran locky because he was fighting for a foreign power here i'm wondering what your take is on that i mean define fighting for a foreign power do they have evidence do they have evidence that anwar locky was himself in gauged in hostilities against the united states he was not on a battlefield of course under various rules of law combatants have a right to kill other combatants the united states i think is on very shaky legal grounds with that congressional authorization for the use of military force and applying it to al qaeda in the arabian peninsula an organization that did not exist in eleven and was very much an outgrowth of u.s. policy attacking afghanistan and other countries around the world muslim countries around the world so i mean it's a subject of much hot debate in a way it's irrelevant because this president has solidified it as a bipartisan right of both democratic and republican presidents to kill whoever
they want with whatever legal justification they choose to to apply and i you know unfortunately the obama administration is also playing legal acrobatics much the way the bush administration did in defending these policies so you know the legal argument at the end of the day is we're not going to win that one because there are . the ones in control of writing the laws and manipulating the law to fit their missions it should be the other way around where you have a principle and then you see how it applies to the actions you want to take what we just apply the law retroactively to the actions you want to take and argue that that's the way it should be i think there's a very serious case to be made even under their law or their interpretation of the authorization for the use of military force that are lucky was not a legitimate target and that's what the a.c.l.u. have tried to argue and i think that they're right i don't believe as horrible of a person as anwar a lockie was i don't believe that the authorization was legitimate to kill him i just want to ask you one last thing to do you think that this changes the relationship with yemen at all and then of course when people protesting in other
countries say libya we decided to go and stage a humanitarian intervention and yet may not so much because of course even depending on help work with us to help get information on the ground now might that change. i think that the vast majority of yemenis would say that the you know the greatest threat that they face is ali abdullah saleh the u.s. backed president. was barely known to anyone if you if you look at the reporting of laura kasnoff of the new york times or other reporters that are in yemen today there's some hilarious tweets coming out of that where people are saying was he was a lock he was he that used car salesman was he the refrigerator repair guy people not knowing who he was so what i think this solidifies in the eyes of many in yemen is that the u.s. is firmly in bed and remains firmly in bed with ali abdullah saleh who just returned from from exile in saudi arabia where he was getting medical treatment after he was very nearly killed the u.s.
sends a message in its statement thanking the yemenis to that they remain with this utterly despised dictator that's ruled yemen for thirty years and i jam and i thank you so much for joining us tonight. thank you. i have time for a quick break but when we return you can have an interview on vice president cheney's the latest media blitz and my fly. on the nine eleven generation. this is. just history in the making. testability. ten stories that shapes two thousand and eleven.
former vice president dick cheney is known throughout the world as many things perhaps most infamously as a war criminal yet here in the united states he's treated like a media star so i spoke with colonel lawrence wilkerson the former chief of staff to colin powell to get his take on the fruits of the lead in the unity. of the wars in afghanistan and iraq go on and as our military operations have spread from pakistan to yemen and somalia dick cheney is on a media blitz promoting his memoir entitled in my time a personal and political memoir and although it didn't hit shelves until today we've already heard a lot about it thanks to cheney himself saying that heads will explode upon reading it and because of the tit for tat that's now exploded between cheney and former secretary of state colin powell who basically called the book gossip but there is more than just gossip here we see now a notorious former vice president vehemently defend the policies of administration
including some of those gruesome of torture a defense that he repeated in a recent interview. in your view we should still be using enhanced interrogation yes should we still be waterboarding terror suspects i would strongly support using it again if circumstances are gross where we had a high value detainee and that was the only way we're getting to talk people call it torture you think it should still be a tool yes. i think we have to really ask is if cheney should be allowed to parade around do a media blitz be treated like any other statesman rather than somebody who helped lied to the american people and break our laws and what does that say about our media and our political culture here to discuss this with me is lawrence wilkerson retired united states army colonel and former chief of staff to colin powell lawrence thanks so much for being here tonight thanks for having me now i think that one of the questions that people could ask is obviously as i mentioned we have
war in afghanistan and iraq libya somalia yemen and pakistan why do we care about just some book that might get released today but i think if there is a lot to be looked at in terms of this book in terms of the media blitz as i call that that's going on around it i mean would you call this as glenn greenwald called it the fruits of elite immunity that we're seeing i think that's a good way to look at it agree with you though that in the face of hurricane irene and sixty six carries through these like as yesterday u.s. alone in afghanistan and the war of afghanistan in iraq. cheney's book is singularly and significant. but the fact that dick cheney is perhaps i mean a lot of people out there would say that former vice president dick cheney and former president george w. bush should be right now on trial that they should be prosecuted for your card and say his potential crimes are insignificant but sort of but the fact that he isn't being asked about many of those crimes or that somebody asked them and he says i fully defended and there's not a whole lot of kickback not
a whole lot of pushback there i don't think that you can if i can you describe our culture you described our political culture in particular we do not a whole elitist and anyone who achieves the oval office or thereabouts is an elitist by definition responsible we say something like this at least since world war two we've said something like this they help our they do the best they could they raped pillaged and plundered everything else but they did the best they could let's don't go there because if we go there in the future people will want to serve well my counter to that is my students will be married george washington and everywhere else i go good students do that and we might serve we see the impunity of these people we see the crimes they commit we see the degradations of our republic that they leave when they leave office and we're appalled we don't vote for that reason we are not interested in our country for that reason so i say we should be taking some accountability with these kinds of cars but one of the people
who isn't taking accountability here aside from of course dick cheney who is defending all of his actions and says that he would do it again we believe that what's happened is our current president barack obama and so i'm just wondering who is it exactly that normalized you could say and hands to interrogation techniques now we know that of course in somalia and other countries were using proxy detention and that's the new policy of the obama administration that we're still launching drone strikes what you call shadow wars there's a lot of surveillance increasingly upon american citizens so he's continued bush policies that's very obvious to everybody but it did. he actually normalise those policies because my holding of them i hope the president has put a more sophisticated age on what cheney and bush seem to not be able to articulate in any way other than as cheney did in that interview showed oh you know waterboarding spawn i mean that's an admission of the war crime it's a straight out admission of a war crime i think that explains some of his aggressiveness and his statements
that come out of the grocery store tabloid exploding heads in washington because he's scared he's frightened this is a man after all we've got five deferments for vietnam he's attacking a man colin powell who served not one but two tours in vietnam a man who wore the uniform for thirty five years cheney never had the balls to wear that uniform so he's scared in the scared ultimately of the possibility of there being some accountability not necessarily from washington but from an international criminal court but in the meantime we've seen every attempt for some kind of accountability by international criminal court to be stopped right to been stopped in its tracks also we want to pressure coming from the obama administration to stop that i feel like he doesn't have anything to be scared of at this point i feel like he's getting off scot free and i can't i can't explain his aggressiveness any other way except maybe cycle magic or psychological or whatever. i do think there's some fear there are i actually think there's some fear among some other people in the administration too and i think that's one reason why they don't speak out more
forcefully about some of the things that happened because the truth of the matter is they were in the complicit by omission or in some cases coordination so you get this group think about it in the administration you get this group think around president obama and you don't want to do anything about it because if you get that guy that god might eventually get you and so there's this kind of protective theory that goes along with the oval office want to talk about that there of course you were on t.v. staff to colin powell when he was the secretary of state during the charge of the bush administration and it you actually were on democracy now this morning and you said that if they were put on trial he would testify and that you would take punishment do you think there's something that you deserve punishment for well i was pretty stupid actually i don't know if that's in the lexicon of jurisprudence stupidity but i had an opportunity when i was out at the sea probably to push a lot harder than i did i got caught up in the same movement that cheney had
started by his constant visits to the cia i got caught up in the same. surrounds george tenet and his deputies in the hand selected team he had of analysts to brief me and i should have known better i should have been able to break out of that and i should have at least resigned and as i said this morning i regret that to the grave that i didn't resign why didn't he i mean i thought i would you were the toughest guy getting your news on the people who won at that point that when you decided not to resign why do you make that decision i made the decision principally because i'd been with colin powell for a long time and i felt like i was doing him a service and i want to continue doing that service he needed he needed what i was doing for him and we all tell ourselves that we all rationalize our performance so i was speaking of colin powell of course dick cheney also admitted that he tried to have called paul removed for expressing doubts about the iraq war. and he thinks that the state department didn't serve the administration and you know our subserve colin powell called me into his office in august of two thousand and two to ask me
if i'd be used to staff and i was working for a master richard boss on the polls supplying staff and i was enjoying it and he said remember if you come in here if you say take few hours and think about this if you come in here and join me as chief of staff you're leaving you're leaving when i leave so you're absolutely leaving at the end of two thousand and four because that's what i've told the president you may leave earlier if i decide to leave or if the president decides to remove me because you're my man when you come in to be chief of staff and therefore you can't stay any longer than my departure so he was very honest with me and he had told the president the same thing as early as december the transition process december two thousand going to be a one term secretary so whatever sick the vice president cheney thinks he did was absolutely ineffectual in that respect because pollard already said he was going to do it i guess if he thinks that he did it to make them feel that he's had it and now i want to contrast and we were there wasn't typically powell gracious gentleman that he is on face the nation on sunday did not except maybe about body language
events this kind of it did and typically but there was there there was an antipathy between cheney and powell and i will tell you that the conversation of the deputy secretary of state's office and others office often went like this those nazis and vice president cheney's office because stop zero in vice president cheney's office because that's kind of the way by two thousand and three in two thousand and four we've come to look at scooter libby david addington and other people including the vice president himself in that office we're running out of times i just want to ask you one quick story here talking about today dick cheney's book coming out today of let's talk about the books that are being banned right now this is something that we covered on the show former f.b.i. agent. is a man who right is trying to document the connections the evidence that the cia had about nine eleven and perhaps some of the ways that they could have stopped it but that is being. and so how does that affect the way that we write history and what the government wants put out there and look at the way going calls book the
interrogator was heavily redacted although blum through some very sophisticated footnoting took care of some of that yes it's a problem we we can't ever we as americans basic fundamental american citizens can't get at the heart of these crimes we can't get to the heart of these misdemeanors because they're hidden by a government and as you just pointed out the government that comes in after the government replaces continues the hiding because it does not want these things to be aired in the public venue it simply doesn't it feels like that that would somehow impact their ability to govern which i think is poppycock. and instead this is the version that we do get put out there is only dick cheney's version lawrence i want to thank you so much for joining us let's hope to be people don't we. thank you on the tenth anniversary of the september eleventh attacks i spoke about how a decade of the u.s. war on terror has affected not just americans a whole but specifically my generation. to tonight's fireside your.
cops. this sunday is going to mark the tenth anniversary of nine eleven the largest terrorist attack on u.s. soil now we talk constantly on this program about the numbers the lives lost in our war since then the doubling costs of defense spending the expansion of our surveillance state the roshan of our civil liberties but this sunday at least for a moment probably just about everyone out there is going to try to remember where they were that specific day what they were doing how they heard the news of her silence can be more painful for others as they are member lost family members or friends who were there and survived are going to recollect those horrible memories now i don't have a deeply personal experience to offer like those who sacrificed their survived or whose loved ones died but i do want to speak about people like myself in terms of my generation the ones that have grown up in the aftermath of that attack during this war on terror on the day of september eleventh of two thousand and one i was fifteen years old i was a sophomore in high school i was learning about modern european history studying
shakespeare was a learning about current affairs not about al-qaeda or the taliban not even the gulf war or the soviet war in afghanistan i was a learning about the middle east or the countries in which soon enough america would be a war and our soldiers that would be dying where history in some way would be made public opinion changed forever so you can say that that's normal you were fifteen you didn't need to know about that stuff yet but now for so many people my age and those even younger than me that's become a really big problem since i was fifteen years old we've been a country at war. globally most of us know far too little about where and why it's happening about the region the history the culture now it started of course with afghanistan with this notion of revenge that it drifted into iraq based on lies but now it's pakistan it's yemen somalia for other purposes it's also libya and for those who are younger than i am they might not even remember a time when their country was in
a war these days most people probably don't even feel it either we're so far removed from the battles that are going on we're using more sophisticated weaponry the casualty rates are much lower and let's not forget of course the media coverage of what's going on is sparse the most gruesome stories of what happens covered up by the government the everything is peachy keen speed spin that our military generals try to sell to congress to the media that goes a largely unquestioned and for both fear of looking soft on terrorism and national security and fear of disrupting the business flow for military contractors who line their pockets and bring factories to their districts our politicians let these wars go on so if you're my age especially if you're younger chances are you might think that all of this is normal it's just how the world works it's just how things go and most everything around you reaffirms that if that's the case why would anybody go out in protest call for any of this to end and that makes me want to tear my
hair out it makes me angry it makes me scared constant global war is not and should not be the norm neither is being told you should live in constant fear or give up all of your rights for surveillance except of the government can skirt the rule of law and make exceptions can torture indefinitely detain and put citizens on assassination lists we should not and we cannot just accept any of that we need to bring it to an end and that starts by having open honest conversations about it about the cost in lives and dollars and perceptions in values not by letting an entire generation growing up thinking that this is the way. it has to be our it's time for a short break but when we return a look at newt gingrich's fears for the future of the united states which make no sense at an interview with the most famous whistleblower and u.s. history.