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tv   [untitled]    April 1, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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mission street. i don't really remember her everybody that it's blowback with deadly consequences but these seven were killed today in these worst ever attack on u.n. workers in afghanistan by demonstrators protesting the burning of a career on in a ford church so is it all fun and games until somebody pays with their life. and the war in libya continues to dominate news headlines but is our focus there misplaced thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets in yemen today demanding an end to that president's thirty two year rule as
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a state is more than just that regime we're going to discuss america's covert war on yemen soil. let's get a good look at all of these robots let's give them a chance to fight and when the country goes to war so does the media we're going to take a look at how this conflict seems to be good for business when it comes to cable news and how journalists may be leading the march to war. it's friday april first a proposed seven pm here in washington d.c. and i'm lucy captain of any watching our team now it's easy to forget how our actions can have consequences unintended consequences until events like today's come along now back on march twentieth a florida evangelical preacher decided to make a political statement of sorts but burning a koran at a service in his church today several people paid with their a lot of support that action. afghan protesters furious over the burning stormed
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a u.n. compound in the usually peaceful city of mazar al-sharif killing at least sudden employees in the worst ever attack on u.n. workers in that country for a look at the global effects of our actions here at home as well as our policies abroad i'm joined by our team blogger and member everything this time kate thank you so much for being here now and to be here thank you the united nations security council held a meeting i believe about an hour ago i think they're expected to issue a statement no word yet on whether they can appeal out but i have to ask the area where this attack took place not really known for for this kind of action talk about the significance or the most important the most important thing you highlighted the most important thing to note about today's attacks in specifically mazar e sharif this is the home the heart of the northern alliance the entitled beyond movement within afghanistan and you see the the locals coming against foreign forces now granted it was not targeted against large military but civilian forces
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what it means is that our ability to win over the hearts and minds that's going to stand as a result of the shootings the other day with the afghan kill squad and then with this mindless behavior from terry jones is shows that our ability our ability to win over the hearts and minds has been fractured it has been sobered severely and i don't think that you're going to see a. vent. maybe there's bad as this can come outside of thousands of afghans dying or something like this but this is really and you were referring to the kill team the shocking photograph that looks around so the question to you is how do you it seems to me that the u.s. military is almost over or the united states in general is going on two parallel tracks that are contradicting each other on one hand we're trying to you know implement this kind of insurgency strategy these you know great new plans for winning over the people and getting getting our strategic efforts taken care of on the other hand we have you know a few rogue elements here at home like a pastor doing these actions and also our own troops essentially counter contradicting their mission there. i would think you know one of the things about
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wars there's opposing sides and in battles each pose inside has a has a general goal to fulfill and the problem with war in the twenty first century that the that the twentieth century previous wars didn't deal with is that now there are all sorts of other means of which public perception can be influenced new media. twitter facebook all these sorts of things and so now there's all sorts of unintended consequences that happen or is a result and you're dealing specifically with the islamic world that prizes cultural things like the koran or. pictures small things that the smallest thing can fracture site progresses and like general petraeus said just a week or two ago and capitol hill he said that whatever progress remain we made quote our fragile well this event shows how fragile that they are just incredibly fragile and you know perception is everything it could be one small event that set off the entire middle east that's on fire and so i wonder how what lessons can we
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learn about the sort of blowback effect in our military actions in other countries kind of for example the war in libya have unintended consequences that are in that country in afghanistan as other parts of i think i think the biggest component of this of blowback effect in other nations would be yemen we've been supporting a president there who now is who has been going after al qaeda in that area and now al qaeda has to go after a late end of a role in the meanwhile right rein killing civilians in the meantime and now that same present its been overthrown so now whatever efforts we have there is running a blowback i mean we have a serious fundamental problem within the pentagon and the u.s. congress today because we don't have a twenty first century policy to deal with the greater islamic world north east north africa the middle east and south asia and very quickly we're almost out of time do you think that there's any chance that this might change with this president in the white house changing their thinking in the counted on i think the . the pentagon the president are far more stupid than they they lead to portray so
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i don't know what to say but if they were smart if they were to make a fundamental change that they would see that this event is emblematic of the problems that happen in twenty first century battle and that we need to fundamentally change what we do inside of afghanistan libya yemen and syria and that would be slow withdrawal and use our military efforts to aid crisis is like in japan and other efforts no longer do we need to see military interventions to fix political problems that military simply can't solve strong words i hope that the powers that be are listening thank you so much thank you. now in this country there are some wars that do make the headlines iraq afghanistan the kinetic military action humanitarian intervention war that is libya but then there are the others the quiet and declared wars that reached safely and yet the radar of the mainstream press and while the u.s. media was busy debating the latest antics of charlie sheen and just one day before
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our missiles rained over libya this scene unfolded in the capital of yemen. unarmed demonstrators who had gathered as they have for weeks to protest the rule of president ali abdullah saleh were slaughtered in cold blood killed by yemeni forces with weapons paid for in part by you and now with the backing of the united states all his regime has lasted more than three decades first as an ally in the cold war and now is our partner in the war on terror and the growing civil unrest that rages as we speak today and that country cannot be separated from america's secret war on yemeni soil a close relationship between the smaller regime and the united states is the subject of a major new investigation by journalist journalist james germy scahill in the nation magazine he's also the author of this book here blackwater the rise of the
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world's most powerful mercenary army and he spoke to us earlier today from new york and i asked jeremy to break down the secret war in yemen and exactly why americans need to be paying attention to this conflict. but we're seeing unfold in the middle east with what appears to be a contradiction in the way that the u.s. is approaching libya versus. rainer syria or yemen is actually a consistent u.s. policy of supporting ruthless and brutal dictators as long as they are doing the bidding of the united states and so while we see this military action that actually is a war against libya unfolding what we're seeing just a few hundred miles away across the red sea in yemen is that ali abdullah saleh is allowed to snipe or shoot his protesters in the head and is allowed to use u.s. weapons and training to fight his domestic political opponents aid and training that's been given to him sensibly to fight al qaeda forces in that country and you see the defense secretary robert gates saying that it's not the business of the
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united states to intervene in the internal affairs of yemen the fact is that the united states has been waging a covert war inside of yemen for the past ten years and it has been ratcheted up dramatically by the obama administration in december of two thousand and nine president obama authorized two very deadly airstrikes against yemen. in tomahawk cruise missiles with cluster bombs that can shred human beings and the alleged target of those air strikes in december of zero nine were members of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula in reality though one of the strikes killed twenty one children and scores of others civilians and another strike the u.s. did killed an important tribal leader in yemen who in fact was trying to work out a mediation program with the members of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula so as long as ali abdullah saleh the president of yemen allows the united states to his country to kill people inside of yemen and he himself will take responsibility for those actions as has been revealed by the wiki leaks cables showing that he
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conspired with david petraeus and other u.s. officials to cover up the u.s. role the united states isn't going to say much about the widespread human rights violations taking place there or the killing of protesters if you. you reference the sort of ideology or their reality of the enemy of our enemy is our friend but the fact of the matter when it comes to yemen is that you can't undo history you can't and you know the cold war and our support of this regime during the cold war and now that. they're arabian peninsula is establishing and then it seems that we can't simply pull out and just hope for the best so what could the possible outcome . well i mean i think part of what you have to understand here is that americans are very afraid of the power of nightmares you know if individuals have the ability to take down an airplane certainly something that's frightening and it's scary but it doesn't represent an existential threat to the united states and so what the obama administration has done is really use a hammer in these operations when they probably called for
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a scalpel and the reality is that there are really only by most estimates three hundred to six hundred who are members of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula so defense analysts that i've talked to people with from within the cia the. and the special operations community all question the wisdom of approaching yemen strictly through a military strategy the fact is this is the poorest country in the arab world it's going to actually run out of water in the near future much of the country is choose this drug caught there was very little opportunity for employment and so instead of the on the targeted killings some would say that the united states has an obligation to try to support the building up of civil society and. some of the intelligence committee call that draining the swamp taking away his reason for being there the fact is that ali abdullah saleh corruption his relationship with the u.s. allowing the u.s. to bomb his country using u.s. weapons and train forces to kill domestic political opponents has contributed
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greatly to this destabilization there so the united states may have to withdraw its forces from yemen if the next government is not client as has been and relocate them to djibouti in north africa which is really becoming the hub for. u.s. military operations throughout the middle east but you're me if you look at the trouble areas like yemen for example i mean if you build up civil society you're still essentially you know promoting a perilous policies but more humane ones and you're involving yourself. i'm not saying you but i mean that thinking so what what's the endgame for the united states when it comes to these unstable regimes that obviously do have terrorist implications but we can't necessarily afford to you know intervene in all of these countries that have potential threats well i mean look the fact is that one of the main motivators for all is the fact that the united states has supported the corrupt monarchy and saudi arabia brutally ruthless regime there. as well all throughout the gulf supporting these dictatorships either through civil aid or more
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commonly through military aid so i mean i think that the whole industry that's been built up the counterinsurgency counterterrorism industry thrives on this much in the same way that these sort of cold warriors were probably depressed when they saw the berlin wall came down because their relevance was going to be thrown out the door and no more books no more contracts no more think tanks and i think that you know there's a lot of vested interest in keeping these conflicts going for the coin industry well let me moving on to the broader middle east i want to ask. if you look at all of these different things and obviously the american people may not know all that much about our involvement and specifically but this is ministration does so what do you think goes into the thinking in these people's minds when you make a decision to go to war in libya at a time when the outcome in iraq remains uncertain afghanistan remains uncertain and they know what's going on in yemen and the instability there what do you think goes through their minds when they make this decision to get involved militarily in
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a hot war in another country. well i mean i think in the in the case of the obama administration they've really doubled down on some of the worst bush administration policies. our addicted to this notion in the u.s. counterterrorism world that we can kill our way out of a problem and we see this war of attrition happening in afghanistan and i was just there recently where the u.s. forces are doing all these night raids and killing their way through the command structure of the taliban and they think that they're going to just be able to kill everyone and eventually that's going to bring peace well it's not going to bring peace it's only giving further motivation for more people to join with resistance groups or insurgent movements you know in the case of libya i think that we saw an incredible reactionary policy put into place by the obama administration i think there was a lot of blackmailing and cajoling that went on at the u.n. security council and the fact is that as much as people in the united states talk about how obama got this legitimacy from the u.n. security council five of the major powers in the world russia china brazil and
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india and germany abstained in those votes and they represent a majority of the citizens who are represented on the security council so you know this is a part of u.s. policy when it's convenient to use the u.n. security council the u.s. government will use it in the case of the kosovo bombing in ninety nine russia and china vetoed the resolution and said no you can't go to war against kosovo are going to serbia over kosovo and so what could administration did was to go to nato and use that for quote unquote legitimacy fact is these are all sort of rogue operations does moammar gadhafi need to be stopped yes he needs to be stopped i oppose what the u.s. is doing not on moral grounds but on strategic grounds i think we're going to make it worse and we're getting involved in a civil war and unfortunately it seems like robert gates the defense secretary is probably the most same voice in the administration right now he's he's sort of openly saying he didn't think this was a good idea to get involved in libya this way that's fascinating he's on his way out the door but he's been around for a long time he was
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a gunner during the mujahideen wars in. afghanistan has a cia background a special forces background and is the defense secretary but that's a pretty big split i think within the administration and a lot of people are saying that robert gates is actually the most on his voice in this debate right now within the the discussion say compose the white house but i have to say i found it said a musing that hillary clinton was almost acting as the babysitter when he did the media blitz on the sunday shows but we've been to a lot of these countries you've been to afghanistan you've reported widely in iraq you've been to yemen for this story talk about the blowback factor how are we hurting our policies our image abroad with the kinds of covert and overt wars that are taking place in these lands right now. well i mean i think that you know the biggest blow back that we saw that's taken place against the united states for a long time was of course nine eleven where we had a very similar situation where we went in and we funded people that we didn't do a lot of research on we didn't know what their world view was because we wanted the soviet union out of afghanistan in the puppet regime there overthrowing once again
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the united states is getting itself into bed with the rebels quote unquote on the ground in libya that are not known quantities i mean i think it's sort of hilarious that the cia has to deploy to go ahead and figure out who the rebels are it's like a sort of you know covert world on line dating service or something where the cia goes into libya to find out who the rebels are wouldn't have been a good idea to find out who they were before you started spending one point four million dollars per tomahawk cruise missile that you launched at yemen five hundred million dollars already spent and reports that the rebels themselves have been committing war crimes so the potential for blowback from all of these things killing of civilians in yemen with tomahawk cruise missiles running covert operations in somalia the philippines and then elsewhere in the horn of africa getting involved in a civil war with libya and then continuing to back up dictatorships like the saudis the eighty's and others i think it gives a great recruitment tool to those who want to do harm to americans and i think that we need to take a sober look at that in this country our own actions are actually responsible for
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creating new generations of people we care we categorized as terrorists now jeremy we're almost out of time but i want to end this interview on a more personal note a huge fan of your work and you've done so much to bring to light the various injustices that have pockets ace that we've seen in our in our military and foreign policy and in your book blackwater one on the bestseller list i think your time is and your work both in terms of blackwater yemen and other pieces separate and you countless interviews and some of the most watched news programs but at the end of the day it seems that the tough questions are still not being asked and the broader system remains more or less unchanged how do you deal with that. well you know i think that i want to say in response to what you were appreciate your kind words about me but i think the real heroes of the past ten years of this permanent state of war are journalists and no one's heard of the on embedded journalists the iraqi journalists the arab journalists who really are the ones risking their lives and we hear about it when american journalists are killed or captured or tortured as was
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the case of the four new york times journalists in libya but we very seldom hear about the reuters cameraman who were killed particular when they're killed by the united by u.s. forces so i view the future and the hope i have in my heart regarding journalism comes from this new generation of young arab journalists that are very bravely telling the story of rebellion and repression every single day with very little fanfare or attention paid to them those are the real heroes of of our society when it comes to bringing the truth to the united states and elsewhere and they never get the credit for it and they are absolutely thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today really appreciate it. i think in a pivot from the war itself to the way that war is covered by the mainstream media right here at home of course it's no big secret cable channels come with the bias something to the right others to the left and even one means zero or whatever that means but it turns out most cable networks do share one thing in common their love
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of war and as archie's christian friends al found out one that work in particular not only fights for war but fires and fires those who speak out against it. see it's believed by many to be the most liberal or of all on cable network and this n.b.c. pro obama it is clear that it matches what he said about that issue at the very start of his presidency pro-union conservative right this country that is so you're nothing but a bunch of pretty roads. that's what they say and also understatedly pro-war. blogger filmmaker and former journalist danny schechter says television makes were possible we couldn't have wars in america if t.v. networks didn't glorify them in some way and make them exciting and they were action oriented coverage what i call a meal eat a mint. iraq. afghanistan
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and now. guess the u.s. involvement in libya let's get it done over these rebels let's give them a chance to fight a sentiment also supported by m.s.n. dc's most liberal talk show host rachel maddow and lawrence o'donnell it seems to me there's a practical war making tactical success that they believe they could have in this particular country exactly he kept describing himself as sort of acutely aware of the risks and the costs of america doing any sort of military intervention and so you're exactly right. i think we have to do it it is a moral decision at this point so you might be thinking well that's just because the u.s. involvement in libya falls under a democratic president but as it turns out and s n b c has had a longstanding love affair with war remember astley banfield oh my god look behind
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us she became a star reporter covering the world trade center attacks but in two thousand and three she made a speech at kansas state university just as the war in iraq was getting started she said about the coverage what didn't you see you didn't see where those bullets landed you didn't see what happened when the mortar landed a puff of smoke is not what a mortar looks like when it explodes believe me there are horrors that were completely left out of this war and that's n.b.c. refused to let her out of her contract but kept her off air muzzling her having to do with former independent governor jesse ventura. you want than a phone call asking if it was true that he didn't support the war in iraq well you're about. are you for all three years.
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anything because my contract. cable already knew shows for three years so too did pulitzer prize winning journalist peter arnett after giving this interview on iraqi t.v. and it was really. the last. week. in really really. the first week. because of the iraqi resistance when as n.b.c. was still up and coming its highest rated show was hosted by this man phil donahue an outspoken critic of the war so you know i think you know we're all now everybody's right just got a terrible example of this is we were when he was doing. he was are are so great i'd absolutely no more sending our sons and brothers to war to fix that as i don't does it wasn't fair to me that show was cancelled a few weeks before the war started phil donahue was an anti-war voices on m.s.n. b.c. one of the cable news channels and a memo that was leaked as the donahue show was cancelled is very explicit it said
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we don't want this to be a face of n.b.c. as united states goes into war looks like to stay on board you need to sound more like well look i am a liberal i am a progressive what that means that we need to stand behind people who want freedom this isn't bush talk and this is totally different from the rackets totally different from any other situation christine freeze out r t. and that was that she felt and how earlier i discussed this issue with jeff cohen he is a journalism professor at ithaca college and also the author of this book here it is confidential my misadventure in corporate media and i asked him if some of the networks have a vested financial interest in covering conflict there's a stake. so most networks in this country seem to be very quick to support military intervention what's funny is watching c.n.n.
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and some of the pundits this time this last couple of weeks they want so much to support the military action but it's been so poorly explained and they pointed out time and time again. i think when you you know in your setup piece which had some great stuff in it when you talk about m.s.m. b.c. being the most liberal channel well it's owned by comcast and general electric general electric and some major war profiteering nuclear power profiteer that's. what you get in the us media isn't so much a full spectrum what you get in us corporate media is a corporate spectrum that goes from g.e. to g.m. general electric to general motors to general dynamics and it doesn't surprise me what you really have is the sort of echoes of the two major corporate political parties you know m s n b c is supporting this intervention because it's a democrat in the white house you know fox news o'reilly will support any military
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intervention but some of them like an idiot are questioning that fox news this same exact thing happened when the united states was bombing serbia and it was under bill clinton and all of the sudden fox became dobbs and they were questioning in there saying where is the congressional authorization and you know it's really silly we have a very narrow spectrum on american t.v. and i'm a fan b. c. by their boosterism of obama in the last couple weeks with the military intervention it's hardly explained really shows how narrow the spectrum. and just to talk more about the financial incentive to have any talk about the the genie connection etc but it's not just that when we also have the human factor having journalists kept get excited you know they get embedded with the troops and they develop relationships with the troops they get you know information from their sources in the pentagon and so there's this desire to sort of maintain that relationship that's that's sort of self a feeling it's a feeding cycle that keeps. suffer the consequences like that the suffering of the
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past there's no doubt about it the the main instinct and remember i worked emma said the the during the time i was a senior producer in the field dani what they expect from you is raw raw for the home team when you know when donahue was the only place on american television questioning bush's nies and all the exaggerations and deceptions coming out of the white house why we had to invade iraq and invade now and they had this one voice and they kept squeezing him and they kept demanding that he cone it down and they gave us who were producers on the donahue show at m s n b c orders if we booked one guest who was anti-war we had booked two that were pro-war if we booked two guests on the last we have three on the right one meaning when a producer said she was thinking of booking michael moore she was told she'd have to rewrite lingers for balance so you know they ruin the show then they cancelled
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the show and it was the top rated show i mean when you talk about m s n b c i remember older men who sort of replaced what he was pro-war oh and when he started over time coming out against the bush administration was very much a fluke the fact that olbermann ended up liking is or was is very much not what management expected or wanted and while he was doing so great with ratings because there was no place for a progressive to go but to show it on american television there was no r t a few years ago or any some of these other options the overman went through the roof in terms of ratings and then he opened the door for matta but i think we're really seeing you pointed out the limits of this sense if m.s.n. b. c it's not really a progressive channel it's more like a democratic channel with a democratic right house authorizing a rear unexplainable military action you see so many people at m s n b c saying. ru
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group are the home to all the limits of dissent and unfortunately it is the american people that but suffer as a consequence jeff cohen media critic and journalism professor thank you so much all right that does it for now for more on the stories we've covered he's got a party dot com slash usa and check out our you tube page it's you tube dot com slash r.t. america as always feel free to follow me on twitter as well it's lucy tough enough we'll see you right back here and a half an hour. we . will. see you ready.


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