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Dear Friends, If you still believe Obama is somehow a good president, please listen to Jeremy Scahill & Rick Rowley as they talk with Amy Goodman about their new film: "DIRTY WARS: The World Is A Battlefield".

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  • Frank Dorrel
    Dear Friends, If you still believe Obama is somehow a good president, please listen to Jeremy Scahill & Rick Rowley as they talk with Amy Goodman about their
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 19, 2013
      Dear Friends,
      If you still believe Obama is somehow a good president, please listen to
      Jeremy Scahill & Rick Rowley as they talk with Amy Goodman about their new

      "DIRTY WARS: The World Is A Battlefield"
      Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

      Scahill & Rowley's New Film Exposes Hidden Truths of Covert U.S. Warfare

      "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.
      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."
      Jeremy Scahill <http://www.democracynow.org/appearances/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 <http://www.democracynow.org/appearances/richard_rowley> ,
      Director of the documentary film "Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield",
      which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. An independent journalist
      with Big Noise Films.

      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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 recapture 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
      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
      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
      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.

      In Peace,

      Frank Dorrel
      Addicted To War
      P.O. Box 3261
      Culver City, CA 90231-3261


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