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- As the war rages on in Afghanistan and—despite spin to the contrary—in Iraq as well, US Special Operations Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency are engaged in parallel, covert, shadow wars that are waged in near total darkness and largely away from effective or meaningful Congressional oversight or journalistic scrutiny. The actions and consequences of these wars is seldom discussed in public or investigated by the Congress. The current US strategy can be summed up as follows: We are trying to kill our way to peace. And the killing fields are growing in number.
- Jeremy Scahill Testifies Before Congress on America's Secret Wars (December 9, 2010).
- Fifteen years ago this week, on April 9, 2003, television networks across the globe cut to a live scene unfolding in Baghdad’s Firdos Square. A motley hybrid of what appeared to be ordinary Iraqis and uniformed U.S. troops — who had begun to occupy Baghdad — pulled down a massive statue of Saddam Hussein. It was a brilliant, semi-staged propaganda exercise meant to reinforce the neoconservative promise that ordinary Iraqis would be exuberant over the fall of the regime and welcome the U.S. troops as liberators. It was with this image firmly tattooed on the public consciousness of the war that George W. Bush stepped off a fighter plane onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, ridiculously dressed in a flight suit, and told the world that the American mission was accomplished. There was a massive banner with that message created just for that moment. In reality, this particular war was just beginning and it continues on to this day. It is important to examine what happened in this war and how it happened: the lies, the crimes, the mass killings, the destruction — all of it. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the neoconservatives should all hold a special place in the hall of shame for mass killers for what they did to Iraq. But they did it with the support of many in Congress, including some of the most prominent and elite Democrats, including the 2016 nominee for president, Hillary Clinton.
- The main Victims are, as they’ve always been: ordinary Iraqis.
- The U.S. policy on Iraq, not just from Bill Clinton to Bush to Obama and beyond, has been consistent but that it's been consistent for six decades through eleven presidents. That included covert CIA operations, regime change, support for Saddam Hussein and a merciless policy of targeting the Iraqi civilian population.
- The White House is openly plotting to bring down the government of Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. It is being openly promoted as a campaign to steal Venezuelan oil for the benefit of U.S. corporations, and some powerful Democrats are cheering Trump on and joining the conspiracy. Elliott Abrams, one of the premiere butchers of the U.S. dirty wars in Central America in the 1980s, has been named the point man in the effort to bring regime change to Venezuela. Let’s be clear here, Elliott Abrams is an unrepentant war criminal. He played a central role in the mass-slaughter of tens of thousands of people across Central and Latin America in the dirty wars of the 1980s. He was a player in the Iran-Contra scandal. It’s sickening. This administration brought in Abrams because of his immorality and his willingness to support mass murder. It’s the only reason he is there and no one with even a flimsy grasp of morality should be welcoming his appointment as special envoy on Venezuela.
- All across the so-called liberal media, the reporting and analysis on Venezuela the past weeks has been atrocious. And actually, it has been this way for a long time. We should remember that The New York Times actually openly supported the 2002 coup against Hugo Chávez. But in the wake of the recent Venezuelan elections, there has been a total uniformity to the characterization of Venezuela’s suffering and chaos as the sole fault of Nicolás Maduro. The elections are being denounced by anchors as though it’s just accepted fact that Maduro is only president because of corruption. Almost never mentioned prominently is the fact that Venezuela has been systematically targeted by the United States and its allies and its puppets in Latin America or the impact the economic sanctions have had on the country or the fact that there was an attempt to kill Nicolás Maduro with a drone packed with explosives. The story is just “Maduro is a corrupt Socialist dictator. He needs to be taken out so that Venezuela can be free.” The central role that the U.S. has played under Bush, under Obama, and now, under Trump in destabilizing Venezuela
- The Intercept conducted an exhaustive analysis of Biden’s political career with a focus on his positions on dozens of U.S. wars and military campaigns, CIA covert actions, and abuses of power; his views on whistleblowers and leakers; and his shifting stance on the often contentious relationship between the executive and legislative branches over war powers.
The picture that emerges is of a man who is dedicated to the U.S. as an empire, who believes that preserving U.S. national interests and “prestige” on the global stage outweigh considerations of morality or even at times the deaths of innocent people. It also reveals a politician who consistently claims to hold bedrock principles but who often strays from those positions in support of a partisan agenda or because he wants a policy adopted regardless of the hypocrisy or contradictions. Nowhere is this dynamic more pronounced than on U.S. wars.
- “Empire Politician”: Joe Biden’s Half-Century Record on Foreign Policy, War, Militarism & the CIA, by Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept, (28 April 2021)
- As Biden is agitating for the United States to be militarily involved in the former Yugoslavia, Haitians in the United States are watching as a brutal junta, death squads, overthrow the democratically elected government of the leftist President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. And Biden gives an interview on Charlie Rose in which he basically says nobody cares about Haiti... the Clinton administration... starts a series of wars and military actions. So Biden supports all of them. He supports the bombing of a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. He supports bombing some farm in Afghanistan where maybe Osama bin Laden had been recently. And when the FBI director comes to testify in front of Congress, Joe Biden is one of the senators who starts saying, “Can you clarify for me: What’s the legality of assassination?” Biden seems to get this — the problem with the idea that America can kill whomever it wants, wherever it wants, however it wants.
Then the 9/11 attacks happen. And the simplest way to put it is that Joe Biden just supports almost everything that the Bush administration wants in the immediate aftermath. Biden not only votes in favor of the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, he plays a key role in facilitating a war based on lies.
- the person who has been convicted of leaking top-secret documents and secret documents on the drone program, Daniel Hale, who is serving almost four years... in federal prison, one of the revelations that Daniel Hale was convicted of making that was published by The Intercept stated that at a certain period of time, U.S. so-called targeted killing operations in Afghanistan, as many as nine of ten people killed in the strikes were not the intended target... ten of ten were civilians. The one name that everyone knows is the individual who worked for a U.S. aid organization was one of the people killed in this strike... What happened after that is that the Pentagon did its own investigation of itself and exonerated itself of any crimes. This is the bipartisan self-exoneration machine that has long fueled U.S. military operations around the world. Joe Biden was part of the Obama administration, of course, which operated as a global octopus with lethal tentacles that could strike anywhere. Daniel Hale should be freed. He is an American hero for revealing what we now see continuing under Joe Biden.
- Regarding China...you have both the Democrats and Republicans taking an increasingly hostile posture... if you look at the recent comments of Xi Jinping, particularly after his virtual summit with Joe Biden, he has been really hitting the talking point that what is happening is that the United States is taking this neo-Cold War posture. I think he is entirely right. But I sort of see it in the same vein as you. China, the United States and Russia in particular are engaged in a classic capitalist battle for control of natural resources all throughout the world.
What I think is happening as a result of NATO expansion, of Biden being a tremendously hawkish figure on Ukraine and basically daring Vladimir Putin to stand up to NATO expansion, is that you run the risk of what is ultimately the elite business class of the world having their battles spilling over into overt military conflict. I think China in particular is very concerned about the aggressive U.S. stance because I think China would be very happy to find a way to just sort of divvy up the world for domination in various regions. The United States is not going to accept that. The U.S. posture is pushing China and Russia into an even closer alliance akin to the relationship during the Cold War.
- Many democrats, liberals, traditional conservatives, and even some leftists continue to tell themselves that the election of Joe Biden was the first step toward restoring U.S. standing in the world after the damage caused by Donald Trump. And in a variety of ways — many stylistic and some substantive — that perspective has merit. But when it comes to national security policy, the U.S. has been on a steady, hypermilitarized arc for decades. Taken broadly, U.S. policy has been largely consistent on “national security” and “counterterrorism” matters from 9/11 to the present....
Biden’s election slogan was “America is back.” The truth is that “America” never left. There will be no major departures from the imperial course under Biden. While the drone wars continue, and the shift back to Cold War posturing in Europe and Asia accelerates, Biden will maintain the hostile stance toward left movements and governments throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. On climate change, Biden will reverse some of Trump’s most extreme stances, while still placing the profits of major corporations and the military industry over the health of the planet. The militarization of the borders and the maltreatment of refugees will remain, and the vast domestic surveillance apparatus will endure. The stark truth is this: The interests of the War Party trump any political disputes between the Democrats and the Republicans.
Quotes about Scahill
- A new project created by Jeremy Scahill, award-winning journalist and senior correspondent at The Intercept, examines Biden’s stances on war, militarism and the CIA going back to the early 1970s, when he was first elected as a senator in Delaware. We air a video discussing the project, titled “Empire Politician,” featuring Scahill... The project is called “Empire Politician.” It was created by the award-winning journalist Jeremy Scahill, senior correspondent and editor-at-large at The Intercept, which he helped found. Later in the show, Jeremy will join us, but first we turn to a new video featuring Jeremy Scahill...
- “Democrats have to engage in theater about human rights and international law and due process, but they ultimately, at the end of the day, are just as aggressive as Republicans,” says investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill of the Intercept. We end today’s show with investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept. His latest article is headlined The War Party: From Bush to Obama, and Trump to Biden, U.S. Militarism Is the Great Unifier.
- The Nation Institute
- Dirty Wars
- Jeremy Scahill's appearances on Democracy Now!
- Jeremy Scahill's reports at The Guardian
- Jeremy Scahill's reports at The Huffington Post
- Jeremy Scahill's reports at AlterNet
- Jeremy Scahill's reports at The Nation
- Interview about Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, online at CBC Words at Large (audio)
- Jeremy Scahill, "Bush's Shadow Army"—from The Nation: March 15, 2007
- Metaphoria. "Cuba". August 1997, 4:12, 48