Law and Disorder Radio – Hosts Discuss Snowden and Manning Cases – William Blum on America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – Rick Rowley on Documentary Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio


Hosts Discuss Snowden and Manning Cases

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • There’s a lot of support out there for what Snowden revealed.
  • This big program of massive surveillance against all of us, internet surveillance, cyber wars…there’s a tremendous amount of support for him. Editorials in the times basically saying it’s not treason.
  • NYTimes: Snowden not nearly as reckless as Bradley Manning (same position as Faiza Patel at Brennan Center)
  • Protecting Snowden and throwing Bradley Manning and the war crimes he revealed under the bus.
  • This whole claim that it was a data dump by Bradley Manning, that he went into the documents and dumped everything not knowing what was in them, is false. I know it’s false from sitting at the trial.
  • I heard Bradley Manning testify as to why he leaked each set of documents. The Iraq war logs, the Afghanistan war logs, the collateral murder video, the State Department cables.
  • In each case he had a clear moral and political reason for doing so.
  • The fact that people are still accusing Bradley Manning of a data dump is outrageous and actually the prosecutors’ position.
  • Snowden did something really important. We’ve all known or suspected we’re under massive surveillance. We now have it confirmed and it’s as bad or worse as we could imagine. It’s every phone call we make, every one, every single phone call in this United States. It’s a surveillance program against us.
  • What Bradley Manning revealed was the U.S. committing war crimes against others.
  • I think it’s easier for American people to hear, “we’re being surveilled,” then to care about the fact that America is committing war crimes all over the world, because that actually goes to the heart of an imperialist country.
  • Cypherpunks predicted exactly what happened: Surveillance is now cheap. You get decent quality storage of all German telephone calls on a certain type of computer for 30 million Euros, including administrative overhead for pure storage.

Attorney Heidi Boghosian:

  • It really does away with the standards of reasonable suspicion or probable cause to open an investigation.
  • It’s saying that we’ll open an investigation and this will be on information that hasn’t even happened.
  • Stored data: The government has access to that. There’s data out there that you can never really get rid of. Corporate intelligence firms or military contractors working with the government account for about 70 percent of the intelligence budget.
  • The government has to hire out contractors because they’re the only ones able to use this sophisticated technology. The data that is collected, stored and resold contains a high rate of inaccuracy.

Attorney Michael Smith:

  • Booz Allen, which is the private contractor that Snowden worked for, is part of the Carlyle Group.
  • The Carlyle group is a private equity firm that’s worth $158 billion. The ruling class in this country own a chunk of the Carlyle Group.
  • Clapper, who’s now the head of national intelligence, used to be a big executive with Booz Allen.
  • The head of Booz Allen used to be one of the main guys at the National Security Agency.
  • Privatizing intelligence…the private sector has a duty to its share holders.

Pardon Ed Snowden
Pardon or Free Bradley Manning

America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy

The United States war machine has been on autopilot for the past 65 years, says our guest William Blum. He’s author of the recently published America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About U.S. Foreign Policy and Everything ElseThis provocative book exposes the true motives of America’s foreign policy and outlines steps to take action.

William Blum:

  • All this while I was looking to find reasons for it, to explain this weird record.
  • What I was left with was to believe that it’s world domination that the U.S. wants for various reasons.
  • Once you understand that, many things become clearer, much less confusing.
  • We’re dealing with a lifetime of indoctrination. It starts in kindergarten. People like you and I have a long battle on our hands to overcome this.
  • We’re subjected to the indoctrination that the US means well and it’s the most honorable and liberal government in the world.
  • It’s reinforced in high school and college, on television, in the print media. It’s a major task for the likes of you and I to overcome this upbringing.
  • It’s amazing the number of Americans that have seen through this upbringing despite everything.
  • I think the main thing to understand with Barack Obama is that there’s nothing that he strongly believes in except being President of the United States.
  • The man doesn’t have any core beliefs. He’s not anti-empire, he’s not pro-empire. He likes being President.
  • He’ll do and say whatever it takes to remain in that office. In my opinion, in Europe he’d be regarded as center-right.
  • Look at the atrocities we carry out.
  • Samantha Power is the author of a book on humanitarian intervention. Obama appointing these two women with that philosophy, which shows that he supports that philosophy. We have to assume they’re believers in humanitarian intervention.

Guest – William Blum has been a freelance journalist in the United States, Europe and South America. His stay in Chile in 1972-3, writing about the Allende government’s “socialist experiment” and its tragic overthrow in a CIA-designed coup, instilled in him a personal involvement and an even more heightened interest in what his government was doing in various parts of the world. In the mid-1970’s, he worked in London with former CIA officer Philip Agee and his associates on their project of exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds. His book on U.S. foreign policy, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, first published in 1995 and updated since, has received international acclaim.

 Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield

The new documentary Dirty Wars is an unique look into the covert wars brought by the United States. The film follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill into Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen and analyzes expanded US drone warfare and the foreign policy that has allowed this destruction to take place. The film’s director Rick Rowley and Scahill went into these covert war zones to speak with families about the what they’ve seen and bring those stories back.  As we’ve reported on Law and Disorder, the Obama administration has continued to normalize the Bush administration’s policies by empowering the Joint Special Operations Command and increasing the use of drones.

Rick Rowley:

The film is about the global covert war on terror.

Jeremy and I have been war reporters for over a decade. I became a war reporter because I thought the global war on terror was the most important story of our generation. It killed hundreds of thousands of people, cost untold billions, yet most of it was unfolding in the shadows.

Around the world today there are dozens of wars being fought in our name but without our knowledge and meaningful oversight.

When we started shooting this film we thought it was a film just about Afghanistan. What we were seeing is the covert war in Afghanistan was eclipsing the conventional war.

More Afghans are killed and captured by covert units than by the entire 100,000-strong NATO force that’s there.

So we began to film to see what was up behind that.

JSOC is a unit that initially amounted to a few hundred guys who are supposed to handle the most high-level strategic missions. Hostage rescue missions. If a nuclear weapon is stolen from the Ukraine they’d go and recapture it. That’s what they’re supposed to do.

They’re doing 15-20 raids a night across Afghanistan, thousands of raids a year, going after mid-level Taliban field commanders.

The entire war is being fought by this clandestine group that wasn’t really built for this operation.

We started to trace where JSOC was operating. That brought us to Yemen and Somalia. Under the AQNX order, JSOC was authorized to operate in 26 countries clandestinely. Now, under Obama, it’s 78 countries.

I was staggered by the massive scale of this, the wholesale assassination machine.

Current kill lists: It’s a permanent cycle of violence that’s being managed around the world.

We interview Ron Wyden from the Senate Intelligence Committee. He’s a guy who’s trying to push for more disclosure and transparency in the Senate, but the entire time there’s a lawyer inside the office who has to keep stopping him.

There are secret interpretations of laws that exist on the books but would be shocking to the American people if they knew about them.

We knocked on so many doors of night raids in Afghanistan. Families shared stories with us of the most painful time in their life.

They think that if the American people could only hear their story and their story were proven to be true, that somehow it would matter and make a difference.

When we started this film 3 years ago, WBAI was talking about drones and kill lists, but it took until 6 months ago for that to work its way to editorial page of the Times and the Post.

I’ve been a war reporter for more than a decade.

Jeremy got on camera a number of whistleblowers who are former operators or parts of JSOC, CIA people who are saying these kinds of discussion about blowback are happening inside their institutions.

A lot of them talk about this as “mowing the lawn.” The jihadists, the insurgency will rise up and you go and chop it off but the grass will rise again.

That’s permanently managing a level of acceptable chaos and violence. This war remains secret for a reason. If everyone knew about it there would be a popular outrage.

Guest — Rick Rowley is a director, cinematographer, and co-founder of Big Noise Films. Over the course of fifteen years, Rowley has made multiple award-winning documentary features including Fourth World War and This Is What Democracy Looks Like. His shorts and news reports are also regularly featured on and commissioned by leading outlets including Al Jazeera, BBC, CBC, CNN International, Democracy Now!, and PBS. Rowley is a co-founder of the Independent Media Center. He has been a Pulitzer Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow, a Jerome Foundation Fellow, and a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow.