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tv   Breaking the Set  RT  May 25, 2013 2:29am-3:01am EDT

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you live on one hundred thirty three bucks a month for food i should try it because you know how fabulous i had luck i got so many i mean. i think that i'm seeing the same thing really messed up. in the very slow motion the. worst you could only see the white house or the. radio for a minute for a. while because you've never seen anything like this i'm told. hey guys welcome to break in the set i'm abby martin and environment where real investigative journalism is in serious decline it's important to recognize those who go to great lengths to uncover the uncomfortable truths and that's why jeremy
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scahill that work is so crucial is the same journalist who blew open blackwater's criminal. and now he's delving into even more dangerous territory to expose the scope of u.s. covert wars with his new book an upcoming documentary film called dirty wars take a look. it's hard to say when the story began greetings from kabul afghanistan this was supposed to be the frontline in the war on terror listening to this military but i knew i was missing the story there was another war in the shadows. and i agreed. to see the two men in the guest house for the first people could. have been in other words and on the other you saw the u.s. forces take the bullets out of the body. pretty telling me were these men that stormed into those homes and why would they go to such horrifying likes to cover up their actions so to talk about the evolution of u.s. foreign policy in the mindset that the world is a battlefield i was joined earlier for an in-depth interview investigative journal . author of blackwater and dirty wars jeremy scahill. so yes i'm on the street if
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the u.s. that were they'd probably say no obama ended the war as he drew down the troops but your book and film dirty wars clearly show that that is very far from the truth to talk about the concept of dirty wars and how expansive the shadow war program is across the world are part of the reason why i call the dirty wars is because the obama administration has really tried to give the impression that it's waging a clean war and of course there's no such thing as a clean war but also this idea that the only people are being that are being killed are members of al qaeda or terrorists that want to do harm to the united states and that the drone strikes are surgical and clean and that the number of civilians killed is actually very small but the other reason i call the dirty wars is because i feel like we're moving back to an era like the one nine hundred eighty s. when the u.s. was fueling all of these dirty wars in central america in nicaragua honduras el salvador and elsewhere i mean the under the obama administration we have kind of full spectrum covert war you have the drone strikes continuation of the use of mercenaries use of special operations forces cruise missile strikes proxy warlords
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in somalia so it's all very very dirty right now and while people pale a lot of attention to drones right now this is really full spectrum and so i want to try to tell this whole story of all the players that operate in the sort of shadows of this new world and of course the effect of these wars is kind of facilitating this anti-american sentiment this hostility toward american interests and and this country causing blowback i mean it seems like such an obvious concept yet when you go on the corporate media it's ridiculed i mean they literally do ridicule and scoff the idea just like when you're on m s n b c n. do you really believe this i mean why is it that this obvious reality is either framed as friends or completely omitted from the discussion and i mean part of it is because we you know we don't have a lot of journalists that are going to these countries and talking to the people who have been declared as enemies by the united states government i mean what i found when i went to be on province in yemen and met with tribal people who are too . believers who are rather receiving end of the drone strikes these are people that
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level these are people that want osama bin laden to with you know in the terms of lindsey graham and all these other people they have every reason to be against al qaeda but we're giving them every reason to say well enemy of my enemy is my friend and you know blowback is i think inevitable you can't conduct these kinds of wars around the world killing innocent people in the pursuit of a few bad guys and pretend that it's not going to come back to hurt you i can't tell you the number of people that i've met abbie when i've gone to afghanistan or yemen or somalia who said you know we had a positive view of the united states but then when this night raid happened that killed my wife or this drone strike happened that way out forty six people in this village i decided that i'm against you i had one guy in afghanistan whose family were not even posh to him they're fighting against the taliban one of them was a senior police commander after a night raid he said i want to put on a suicide vest and blow myself up among the americans i want jihad against the americans this is these are very real stories and you know for me it was really all
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brought to a head with the boston bombing happened and we're watching the hunt for the support of the suspects in the bombing and at the very bottom of the screen and i might get microscopic you know lettering twenty seven people killed in a baghdad bombing of a cafe i mean that's a lot about our media culture that it's like an afterthought of history we destroyed iraq we created this sort of hell scape that is there right now and it barely registers a blip on our own radar why is that why do we see this one sided coverage and this kind of this is zero in on one tragedy when it's on the domestic you know on the soil of this country living in infotainment society i mean what you know the show that ramona or whoever is drinking in the real housewives of new york is reality t.v. and then what happens to the real widows of baghdad is barely even mention you know if it even makes it into the newspaper on t.v. part of it has to do with the role of advertising driving what's news you know part of it has to do with the fact that uninvented journalism is becoming sort of extinct in many in much of the coverage and part of it just. you know americans
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don't want to see a dead body on their screen with their cheerios in the morning and so you know the institution of old school muckraking on the ground journalism is very much in the crosshairs it's not say it's gone but particularly the case of cable television it's all driven by infotainment and there's very little news to be found on all of these cable news networks and as you said these tragedies occur daily in somalia pakistan afghanistan they are almost a direct result of u.s. foreign policy in those regions so really to admit that and also the roots of radicalization is really omitted from the conversation we just hear the superficial addressing of terrorism in the corporate media and of course it's really driving our foreign policy right now so it is damaging and as we know the joint and why you stanford study really blew apart the myth of drones working as a counter terrorism to i mean the most glaring fact from that ninety eight percent failure rate it killing these high level targets or suspected militants yet eighty three percent of american support drones jeremy why do so many people support an
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ineffective strategy well i mean first of all i don't i don't think that most americans even think about the drone war at all you know there are the people in this country that are paying attention to the wars are people who have family members deployed for the most part in afghanistan for the most part this is not is a non-story is not an issue what i think though is the most devastating aspect of what's happened under the obama administration on a foreign policy level is that he has normalized assassination as a central component of what's called u.s. national security policy and has legitimized it for his base for liberals i don't believe for a moment that if mccain had won in a way or romney had won in two thousand and twelve that you would see statistics of self identified liberals saying we love drone strikes i mean for me that's a damning sort of commentary on the state of political discourse in our country so many people have ceded their principle or their conscience to a politician because they like them or they think that he's better than the other guy i mean that's not a principle then viewer. in the service of some kind of
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a political party and part of it also is that journalists are not reporting on the ground on these issues most of the best journalist in the world reporting on this day their articles don't appear in the powerful newspapers the united states they're not reporting in english their own famous journalists they're the ones that care about it because they have a stake in it because it's their country being so we have a really bankrupt media culture when it comes to covering the impact of our wars and it's going to come back to haunt us you know we we don't study history at our own peril and you know i so i think it's a very real threat that we're going to be facing nothing more powerful than someone that has a legitimate grievance against you and a will to fight you and we're giving people that that grievance said well absolutely and also just obama's caught a fine of these kind of illegality during the bush administration i can't imagine if bush was doing these extra judicial assassinations based on speech alone which is why not what i want to ask you about even really vocal about the assassination of a u.s. citizen and we're all in a sixteen year old i find it interesting that he was killed for his sermons
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inciting violence i mean what kind of precedent does it set to be targeting people based on speech alone well i mean part of what i found fascinating about the story is that you know there's a lot of smoke around a lot of he did have something to do with the underwear bomber you know he had written articles for inspire magazine which was this the journal of in the arabian peninsula and we don't know whether he was operationally involved with anything what we know is what we've seen on you tube of him speaking and what he's written in inspire but his case was completely litigated through leaks he was never charged with a crime no evidence was ever publicly presented against him even if even if anwar lucky is guilty of every leak that john brennan and harold koh and all these people cooked up even if he's guilty of every single thing. prosecuted charged with a crime demands extradition we don't judge who we are as a society and how we treat the popular the rich the powerful how do you treat the least of your people the poor and the most reprehensible of your citizens so for me it's not about you know a lockie is some kind of a noble character he said things i found. downright offensive and reprehensible he
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probably could have been indicted for something why not indict him so the question is when you have a president who won the nobel peace prize is a constitutional law expert by trade and is very popular among the liberal base saying we have the right to kill american citizens without due process or without even charging them with a crime we've crossed a line that you can't just walk back from after you've crossed it and the killing of a sixteen year old son this was a kid who i know that family very well who had a huge head of hair like an afro and his grandfather and his mother were constantly time to cut it he liked hip hop music he hung out at change square with the nonviolent revolutionaries he was not his father at all he wasn't killed with his father he was killed two weeks later while having dinner with his teenage cousins this administration has never had to explain to the american people or to that family why they killed the sixteen year old boy that's shameful with the one time that someone high up in the obama apparatus was asked about it robert robert gibbs his response to reporters here adamson was to say he should have had
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a more responsible father harry reid the senate majority leader powerful democrat in the senate was asked about it on c.n.n. and he said of any americans deserve to die those three did and when i hounded his office to say why did the rockman a lucky deserve to die they they refused to answer the question the only thing they'll say is oh no it was an outrageous mistake well that shouldn't be acceptable president obama should be asked about it the next time they're all boarding at their little white house correspondents dinner part of the problem yes well the problem media journalists are hanging out with the powerful their kids go to school together there they go to supersoaker fights at george joe biden's house on the weekends journalist shouldn't be having super soaker fights with joe biden that is you know ed is mansion in washington d.c. they should be having journalistic fights where they're demanding answers from the powerful you know and we need a media culture that says we are not friends of those who are reporting on we are people that are going to do our job and that is to provide information that.
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actionable intelligence for ordinary folks in this country to make decisions on what they think is right and wrong in terms of the policies of the government. and i have to bring in rand paul's filibuster of course as important as the issue was he never once mentioned people who were non americans you know killed in this way i mean how much is thinking in terms of nation states this jean-louis take nationalism preventing people from caring about these covert wars i mean i think it's unfortunate that it was left to someone like rand paul to be the only person raising the stuff on the senate floor and he entered into the record a tremendous amount of important information he read into the record accounts from great journalists who covered this issue but what you know where are the democrats on this issue well they're either silent or they're in lockstep with the white house on this policy and you know one thing that i have that many friends of mine have said to me is why do you always talk about american citizens most of my book is about not american citizens is about people that are pakistani or yemeni or rocky i believe at a moral level there should be no difference between the our level of concern about
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what's happening in these strikes on a legal level there are there are serious issues that it comes to american citizens but our media culture if you watch the conventions the republican and democratic conventions or the launch of the bush library or the death of margaret thatcher it's like you know the way that our media culture just celebrates power no matter who those people were what their records were it's a love fest with the powerful and in the west we break that that that sort of chain that we're sort of doomed to keep going down this path where we're all going to become like bravo network show instead of having actual reporters it's going to be you know that they're going to probably end up with a reality show or something instead of actually trying to figure out what the truth is and that story. guys stay tuned because there's much more coming up at my interview with jeremy scahill next.
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here's the rest of my interview with jeremy scahill response to the media coverage of the boston bombing take a look. you know one thing that i thought has been wonderful about the media coverage out of the boston bombing is how we know the stories of the victims about bombing you know the all of us saw the picture of the eight year old kid holding up the sign for peace that he had tried. and the woman from china who was a graduate student it was interesting i was with a friend who's from china the other day and she told me that after the boston bombing when president obama mentioned that graduate student by name that there was it would viral this blog post went viral in china that said where you met where you died matters and their point was president obama never would have said the name of a person from china was the victim of that kind of a crime had it not been in boston and it sort of profound if you think about it but the point i'm getting at is that that's journalist should be doing that because it
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it shows the humanity of the victims i believe we should apply that same standard to people in yemen or pakistan if we knew the names of the victims of the bombing twelve fourteen women twenty one children killed in a strike authorized by obama or any number of drone strikes then i think people would have to face that not as statistics or suspected militants but as the human beings that they are were and until we empathize with other people and break our sort of nationalistic perspective on the world and sort of take everyone as one part of the human family then you know we're just going to keep doing these things and it's very easy to to dehumanize the enemy and then justify anything you want to do to them which is why these perpetual wars are perpetual in your book you write about how the clandestine operations have evolved then your talk about iran contra the bay of pigs passionately supported by cheney and rumsfeld they did not regard the operation itself as a scandal but rather as a model for how the u.s. should conduct these wars and take it as a framework how has the u.s.
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government taken what they learned from these covert operations in the eighty's and really apply them to the strategy of the current war on terror i mean it's funny because cheney was in congress at the time of iran contra and actually authored a minority report enthusiastically backing iran contra at the time it was big sort of viewed as this epic scandal i mean obama like cheney before him believes in this idea of the unitary executive that the executive branch should be a dictatorship when it comes to counterterrorism policy and that congress should play a minimal. if role if any in overseeing anything and just on the operations that the white house determines should be done in secret around the world so you have this covert action being done by jason by the cia director orders from the white house no embedded journalist going on these things congress people who want to know about it have to go into the padded room can't bring a writing utensil can't talk to anyone about what they've seen that's the state of oversight under a constitutional law professor nobel peace prize winning president and it looks very similar to what cheney and rumsfeld envisioned for how things should be done
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when they first started off in their career these guys worked in the nixon white house the ford white house then reagan was their epic hero and obama is getting away with things i'm sure cheney sits in his ranch sometimes in wyoming and says obama's a pretty pretty bad do you know he's able to do and say things that i don't think the democrats will let me do so once again that normalize you know kind of these cases and i want to talk about the bin laden raid which i've heard you speak about i mean i have my own questions because once again i've never really seen much evidence and there's been so many things that have been debunked that they claim happened it began and now we have the movie zero dark thirty not only glorifies all the assertions but it also glorifies these covert operations that really brings those into the forefront why is that we're letting the hollywood participate in historical revisionism of these events i mean there's been a there's a there's an epic story of hollywood colluding with the u.s. military with the cia i mean there's a whole division at the pentagon that was set up just to liaise with hollywood movies to give them access to the technology and it's all you know it's all kind of
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. you know it's it's celebration of of sort of war and warriors and you know i don't i don't know anyone in that community in the special ops community or the cia that things anything highly of zero dark thirty which is which is interesting but on the raid itself i mean we know that there was this dog that was you know belgian malinois and we know what kind of guns they supposedly had and we know sort of everything that's been leaked we know very little about the thousands of other raids that that happened. here in afghanistan or elsewhere around the world who are the targets of those raids who are who is being killed almost everything john brennan said in the aftermath of the killing of osama bin laden turned out to be false as you point out he didn't use his wife as a human shield he wasn't reaching for a gun this was the killing of an unarmed man in the middle of the night who had just been sleeping in his bed and you know the fact that he's a bit when it comes to the law or basic principles shouldn't actually matter i mean
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this was a guy who was notorious and was wanted. to shoot him in that manner when he's on armed that should raise questions it's unpopular say that but again that's how we define who we are how do we treat those people the final thing i'll say and it is that i tell the story my book when the seals were preparing for that operation a lawyer from the white house went out to watch them on a training exercise and one of the guys asked him you know is are we supposed to just take him out and he was oh no no this isn't an assassination operation if he's lying naked on the floor on armed don't shoot him i mean that's a total wink wink moment where you know it's like i said it's pretty clear that they went in there and they. killed osama bin laden i mean that's what they wanted to do hillary clinton the wake of that also said this happens regularly you know which is kind of who are these other people that are the targets of these raids and also just the fact that we assassinated the most wanted terrorist in the world for a decade i mean we go in and assassinate him any intel i mean it's just amazing i never really understood why people were so excited about clinton got they they
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claim to have taken a huge duffle bags of stuff out and then the west point military academy translated all of these documents that they said that they found and some of them are are on line but i mean there's a lot of questions that are unresolved about what went on in that house that night what we actually gain from it one outcome of this of course the global war on terror is these forgotten prisoners in guantanamo bay sitting there half a greater now on a hunger strike and of course the rhetoric we hear is we can't trust the many government to take the prisoners so why is it the u.s. government trusts the yemeni governor. carry out help carry out drone strikes and not take the prisoners from get now i mean that's a that's a very interesting point because the yemeni government has for a decade taken hundreds of millions of dollars from the united states that supposed to be used to fight al qaeda quote unquote and instead has redirected it to repressing its own people trying to tamp down the revolution against the u.s. back to cater ship i think that the issue of guantanamo remains this epic stain. on
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our nation and you know the fact is they they put these guys in saudi arabia they won't put them into yemen i think part of it is that is that they're afraid that they've created people that will have a legitimate reason to want to fight the u.s. one of the heads of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula is a former guantanamo prisoner how was he radicalized where you know where did that transformation of him happen that's the story about how lucky he he wasn't made into the guy you see on you tube it was some powder poured in his drink he was radicalized by u.s. wars i know his parents his parents are nothing like him they didn't raise him to be who he became in the youtube videos so we ask questions how do people become the people on the you tube video or the people calling for the downing of american airliners unless we ask how that happened then we're just doomed to keep repeating this cycle i mean it's the so-called war on terror is has become a self-fulfilling prophecy you know we're just we're it's a flywheel we're just regenerating enemies creating new enemies everywhere we go with these policies and of course those questions aren't addressed and so it's to
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have painted with a brush of i get e-mail every day saying i coddle terrorists or terrorist supporter i like to hang out with terrorists i'm sure if journalists don't go and interview the person that their nation says is the enemy then we're bankrupt media culture i mean how are we supposed to understand who we've been fighting because the media becomes the nodder for as they just repeated government press releases and they don't actually talk to these people and find out what's going on of course that's when this how many journalists is in prison and all the well who's it was it was a great independent journalist in yemen exposed us. missile strikes was interviewing anwar a lockie and al qaeda leaders we would have been a great source of information for the cia and the obama administration has him rotting away in a yemeni prison he was going to be pardoned by the president of yemen and obama personally called and intervened to make sure that the pardon was ripped up this journalist is in prison to this day and his real crime was exposing u.s. missile strikes and interviewing the people the u.s. says are terrorists so what happens i mean i've interviewed people that are attached to al qaeda does that mean that what i should be in jail you know i've
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been reporting on these missile strikes i mean where do we stop where is the line drawn when when journalists can be put in prison i don't believe for a minute it was richard engle who had done that stuff that he'd be rotting in a yemeni prison right now it's because no one cares about. he's not speaking english he's reporting in arabic much of his work no one ever hears about here well especially with things like the n.d.a. in effect that actually does say if you are coordinating with tears if you just are in contact with tears i mean this of course it's a very glaring problem for a journalist such as yourself chris hedges other people who have talked to what this government considers terrorists i mean also obama's war on whistleblowers i mean is this all being done in part to crush this type of investigative journalism well i don't know but it's being done across investigative journalism i think it's being done to it's a chilling message to anyone who works in the national security state that if you expose this stuff if you talk about it we will come after you and we will ruin your life so the people who started the torture program implemented it and continue to defend it are public figures that are somehow accepted at capital grille are all
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these restaurants talking to the powerful and those that spoke about it or tried to stop or it was wiretapping lose their career lose their livelihood or go to prison it's chills through the journalistic community but i think it was ultimately aimed at anyone who would dare to speak out of school about things that are being done in the name of americans that's chilling and it is true they are well in this society that we live in when the bush criminals are walking free gallivanting. around the world attending book signings and you have the people who are speaking out against these programs of course in prison paul wolfowitz and david addington you know wolfowitz was one of the chief neo cons they were invited to ask questions at one of the republican debates during the last election cycle that was sponsored by the american enterprise institute they were actually included as though they should be a legitimate part of a national debate paul paul wolfowitz. people responsible for the utter destruction of iraq and he is on national television asking questions of republican candidates
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as though he's like some think tank or not the guy who said iraq will pay for itself with the oil revenue and they'll welcome us with flowers i mean these guys should not be accepted in society this way they have to answer these questions karl rove's on five minutes on the fox beat just chime in with his two cents like you are a criminal but let's talk about lastly this i mean this country runs on global war fare america's largest export has guns to put an end to these dirty wars with essentially mean an end to the way america operates so how do we end something that we do not know how to function without i mean i don't i don't see this ending anytime soon i think it's just going to intensify next time there's a republican office i mean they've been given they've been given carte blanche to continue the expansion of this program and legitimacy because of what president obama has done but it would require a almost entirely different group of individuals to assume seats in the halls of congress right now because democrats fall into two camps on these issues for the most part silence or enthusiastic support for the white house agenda and i don't
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think for a minute republicans who have criticized this stuff are engaged in much of anything other than political opportunism i mean the reality is that we we would need to totally transform the way the u.s. views national security to even begin to have that dialogue i mean the reason i wrote this book is because i think we we are long overdue to start having a conversation that should have happened within months of nine eleven but you know that's out there has a story about where you want to thank you so much every scale investigative reporter author of dirty wars the world is a battlefield everyone check it out thanks so much good to be. jeremy's right the conversation should have started long ago we can't afford another ten years of night raids drone assassinations and shadow wars in our name every hellfire missile that launched creates a new cycle of vengeance and hatred against this country terror get. terror so let's acknowledge that reality and demand that it stops us.
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