The President's Private Army: Interview with Jeremy Scahill ("Blackwater") on his Latest Book "Dirty Wars. The World Is a Battlefield"
Jeremy Scahill: National Security correspondent of "The Nation", author of the New York Times best-selling book "Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army", won the Georg Polk Award
Richard Rowley: War correspondent, director of "Dirty Wars", won award at Sundance Film Festival 2013 for "Dirty Wars"
Noam Chomsky: Linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US critic, author of several books including "Hegemony or Survival" and "Manufacturing Consent"
Amy Goodman: Founder and host of "Democracy Now", first journalist to have received the Alternative Nobel Prize ("Right Livelihood Award")
In the interview with Kontext TV investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill talks about his latest book "Dirty Wars. The World Is a Battlefield". After his best-selling book "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" Scahill again presents a ground breaking investigation about US warfare. This time Scahill sheds light on the hidden operations of the Joint Special Operation Command (JSOC). JSOC elite forces are directly subordinated to the White House and are not effectively controlled by US Congress. Around the world JSOC is undertaking night raids, targeted killing, acts of sabotage or drone attacks. It is also commanding warlord militias with assassinations like in Somalia. Targets of these operations are "suspected militants" who are often not even charged with crimes like the American Imam Anwar al-Awlaki. The killings of innocents like in the Afghan village of Gardez where pregnant women were shot or the case of the 16 year old American teenager Abdulrahman are quickly covered up, says Scahill. After 9/11 and especially under president Obama the dirty wars have even been expanded to a global killing program that is now under way in over 70 countries. "We are becomming the force that we seek to destroy. We run the risk of looking like we have no morality at all".
War for Terror: Director Richard Rowley about his Documentary "Dirty Wars" and Obama's Global Assassination Program
The book "Dirty Wars" is also topic of a documentary film. It received the award for best cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival this year. The Film follows Scahill to Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia where he gets in contact with victims of US attacks and night raids and to Washington where he talks to former JSOC members and Whistleblowers. The director of the film is the war correspondent Richard Rowley. While reporting about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars he and Scahill became aware of the hidden wars. "Today more Afghans are killed and captured by covered units that no one knows anything about than by the entire 200.000 men strong Nato forces", says Rowley. Everybody knows about the killing of Osama bin Laden. But in the same year 20.000 other night raids took place that nobody is aware of. Obama has expanded the ostensibly cleaner secret wars of his predecessor Bush and made it the new norm. But the killing programs rely on incredibly flawed intelligence, says Rowley. Again and again innocents are killed. In Afghanistan JSOC ist fighting de facto "against farmer who in many cases even if they are actually members of the Talibans are only fighting Americans because the Americans are in their valley and they want them out." Rowley: "There is no endpoint. Some guys on the inside are talking about this as 'mowing the lawn'. The grass grown up, pops up a little higher and you cut it off. They are not taking out the roots so it's going to grow back. It's growing back faster than you can mow it."
Discussion Chomsky-Scahill: The Perverse Logic of US Warfare Technology from Laos to "dirty wars" and the Crimes of the White House
Warfare Technology has a self generating capacity, says US critic Noam Chomsky. For instance, Laos was massively bombed in the Indochina war because the US had all these planes in North Vietnam that they couldn't use during a cessation period. This would be the lesson from history: "These resources are there, they are growing, (...) they want to have more and more to do and when one target disappears the next comes up somewhere else." Furthermore these technologies are used as surveillance technology in the occupied countries like in the US war against the Philippines and as such even imported domestically. That can also be seen now, Chomsky points out. The concept of dirty wars is not new ideas, says Scahill. The special forces JSOC were founded after the failed hostage rescue mission in Iran in 1980. But it were Cheney and Rumsfeld who gave the JSOC real life. Regarding National Security they saw the White House essentially as a dictatorship. Obama then expanded the executive power even further, began chasing whistleblowers and critical journalists like Abdulelah Haider Shaya who had exposed a US missle attack. Shaya was thrown back in prison by the Yemeni dictator Saleh after a phone call by Obama. Chomsky: "If we can't bring them to some kind of judgment if not at the courts at least in public opinion then as Jeremy said we are not doing our duty just as responsible people."