Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  December 23, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

3:00 pm
12/23/14 12/23/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now. >> only much later did we learn that this information came from libi who was waterboarded, probably in cairo, with no u.s. personnel present. we also learned within days of his heaven given this information under torture, he recanted. >> as calls grow for bush administration officials to be prosecuted grow, we will look at how torture was used in an
3:01 pm
attempt to tie al-qaeda to saddam hussein, and justify the invasion of iraq. we will speak to retired colonel lawrence wilkerson who served as chief of staff to secretary of state colin powell. but first, do no harm? we will look at the central role the health professionals played in the cia torture program. ddid doctors violate the nuremberg code banning human experimentation? then to the 25th anniversary of the u.s. invasion of panama. >> clear this invasion was illegal. it is not debatable. >> the goals of the united states have been a safeguard the lives of americans, to defend democracy in panama. >> how in the world do restore that which has never existed? panama customer been a democracy since we created panama for own purposes in 1903. thiss did was go down american control and dominance in panama.
3:02 pm
>> we will speak with former panamanian diplomat humberto brown and latin american historian greg grandin. his latest piece, "how the iraq war began in panama." and colonel wilkerson. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. new york city mayor bill de blasio has called for a pause in demonstrations over police killings of unarmed african americans until after two slain new york city police officers are laid to rest. officers wanjian liu and rafael ramos were ambushed in their patrol car in brooklyn saturday by ismaaiyl brinsley, a man with a history of mental health issues and multiple arrests. speaking before a nonprofit police group, de blasio said political events should be
3:03 pm
delayed until after the funerals. >> i think it is a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put things that wee will talk about in due time. in the coming days, to families prepare for funerals. two families try to figure out how to peace or lives by together. that should be our only concern, how do we support them. i asked that any organizations that were planning events or gatherings that are about s, that cand protest be for another day. >> the sister of the police shooter set her brother received mental illness -- is mentally ill and should a perceived help. he greatly shot himself after killing the officers. earlier in the day, he had shot and killed his sister. -- earlier in the day come hitch
3:04 pm
up and killed his girlfriend. >> he was emotionally troubled. he was suicidal. clearly, something is wrong. he should have been offered help in the system, but he wasn't. >> mayor de blasio has visited the families of the slain officers and vowed to attend the funeral for officer ramos this weekend. the funeral for the second officer has not been scheduled. the move comes as de blasio faces animosity from officers over his response to police brutality and racial profiling, including his remarks about fearing for his biracial son, dante, and training him to take special care in police encounters. speaking at a news conference alongside the mayor monday, new york city police commissioner william bratton said the animosity is part of politics. >> some of you have been around this town for a while. can you point out one mayor that has not been battling with the police unions in the last 50 years? name one. name one.
3:05 pm
so the experience of this mayor in terms of some cops not liking them is nothing new. it is part of politics. it is what it is. we voice our concerns and we voice our opinions. >> the officers' murders have been soundly condemned by the families of unarmed african americans recently killed by police and the protest groups that have sprung up in response. on monday, emerald garner, the daughter of eric garner, visited a makeshift memorial for the slain officers in brooklyn. her father was killed when new york city police wrestled him to the ground in a banned chokehold and pinned him down while he repeatedly said he couldn't breathe. emerald garner called for protests over the death of her father and others to remain peaceful. keep message is to everything peaceful. we stand together as one. we're not divided. we're all standing together. i believe everyone will keep it peaceful and protest in the right manner.
3:06 pm
>> in wisconsin, a prosecutor has decided not to bring charges against a white police officer who fatally shot a mentally ill african american man. in april, milwaukee officer christopher manney responded to a call about a man sleeping in a park. before manney arrived, two other officers had already spoken to the man, dontre hamilton, and found he was not causing any problems. but manney said hamilton resisted when he tried to frisk him, sparking a confrontation, during which hamilton grabbed manney's baton and hit him. manney opened fire, shooting hamilton 14 times. the shooting led to manney's firing for violating department policy for handling people with mental illnesses. but on monday, milwaukee county district attorney john chisholm said he had found manney acted in self-defense. >> after carefully analyzing the investigation, the forensic evidence in the case, the law, and the conclusions about the local use of force experts and the report have come to the
3:07 pm
conclusion the criminal charges are not appropriate in this case. i am releasing all the information related to this investigation so that you, the public, can see all of the facts related to this decision. >> the shooting of dontre hamilton has sparked mass protests in milwaukee including a highway shutdown friday which resulted in 74 arrests. the justice department has announced a federal review of the case. the united states has rejected as absurd north korea's call for a joint investigation into the hack of sony pictures. the obama administration says the hack was carried out by north korea in retaliation for sony's comedy "the interview" about the assassination of north korean leader kim jong-un, a claim north korea denies. u.s. ambassador to the united nations samantha power spoke at the u.n. security council, which considered north korea's human rights record for the first time ever on monday. >> north korea also threatened the united states with serious
3:08 pm
consequences if our country did not conduct a joint investigation with the dprk into an attack that they carried out. this is absurd. yet it is exactly the kind of behavior we have come to expect from a regime that threatened to take "merciless countermeasures" against the u.s. over a hollywood comedy. and has no qualms about holding tens of thousands of people in harrowing kulaks. we cannot give in to threats or intimidation of any kind. >> north korea, meanwhile, lost its connection to the internet. the internet failure, which marked the country's worst in years, began just hours after obama threatened a "proportional response" to the hack of sony pictures. it's unclear if there is any connection. both the white house and state department declined to say whether the united states was involved in the outage. nicaragua has announced the start of construction related to a $50 billion canal project which has been fiercely opposed by indigenous groups and other local residents. the canal, which is being built by a hong kong-based firm, would cut through nicaragua, connecting the caribbean sea and
3:09 pm
pacific ocean, and passing through the region's largest freshwater source. protesters say it will displace tens of thousands of people and destroy huge swaths of the rainforest. in the united states, a federal judge has ruled oklahoma can resume executions following a botched killing in attorneys for april. death-row prisoners had objected to oklahoma's procedures, including its use of the sedative midazolam, following a botched execution in april, when clayton lockett writhed in apparent agony during a 43-minute ordeal. but a judge denied the attorneys' bid for an injunction, allowing oklahoma to move ahead with the executions of four prisoners planned for early next year. the state of arizona, meanwhile has said it will attempt to stop using midazolam as part of its execution cocktail, instead seeking out supplies of pentobarbital, which has been in short supply after its european manufacturer objected to its use in executions in july, arizona prisoner joseph wood received 15 doses of midazolam during a nearly
3:10 pm
two-hour-long botched execution which saw him repeatedly gasping for air. a federal judge has struck down a new regulation that would have increased wages for many home health care workers. industry groups had sued over rules set to go into effect next year extending overtime and minimum wage rights to workers employed by home care agencies and other third parties. the ruling follows a victory for low-wage workers in the fast-food sector. on friday, the national labor relations board announced 78 charges against mcdonald's and several of its franchise operators for illegally punishing and threatening workers who joined the nationwide movement for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. the move is particularly significant because it considers mcdonald's as a joint employer, which would make it responsible for labor violations at its franchise restaurants. new york republican congress member michael grimm has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to tax fraud in a move that could see him face at least two years in prison and placed
3:11 pm
him under pressure to resign. in april, he was accused of concealing more than $1 million in revenue and failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee pay at his fast food restaurant in new york city. news outlets are reporting he will plead guilty today to single count of aiding the preparation of a false tax return. the charges came as part of a wider probe into his campaign finances to which may national headlines when he threatened to throw in new york one reporter off a balcony for asking him about the investigation. and the wife of one of the members of the cuban five who was just released from prison after 16 years is expecting a baby, due just two weeks from now. gerardo hernandez, the baby's father, is one of the three former cuban intelligence agents released as part of a prisoner swap amidst thawing ties with cuba last week. while he was not allowed conjugal visits, hernandez was able to impregnate his wife by having his frozen sperm transferred to his wife in
3:12 pm
panama, a process authorized by u.s. officials, funded by the cuban government and facilitated by a staffer for vermont senator patrick leahy. the process reportedly helped set a softer tone between cuba and the united states which culminated in the resumption of diplomatic ties and the release of two u.s. prisoners, including usaid contractor alan gross. and gerardo hernandez and his wife, adriana perez, are now expecting a baby girl. and those are some of the headlines this is democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron mate. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. calls are increasing for the obama administration to prosecute bush administration officials connected to the cia torture program. on monday, the american civil liberties union and human rights watch sent a letter to attorney general eric holder urging him to appoint a special prosecutor to probe the crimes detailed in the senate intelligence committee's report on the cia's torture program. also on monday, the "new york times" editorial board called
3:13 pm
for a full and independent criminal investigation. meanwhile, physicians for human rights is calling for a federal commission to investigate, document, and hold accountable all health professionals who took part in the cia torture . >> last week the physicians for human rights released a report titled, "doing harm: health professionals' central role in the cia torture program." the report finds medical personnel connected to the torture program may have committed war crimes by conducting human experimentation on prisoners in violation of the nuremberg code that grew out of the trial of nazi officials and doctors after world war ii. joining us now is nathaniel raymond, a research ethics advisor for physicians for human rights who co-wrote the new report. he is also a researcher at the harvard school of public health. it is nice to have you back with us. about theby talking human experimentation. what came out of the cia documents? >> i would say their work to
3:14 pm
incidents in the senate select committee on executive summary that have been largely overlooked by the press. one is the office of medical services raising concerns to the thatctor general in 2005 were being asked to potentially commit human experimentation through the required monitoring role, to study the efficacy and the "safety" of the tactics. additionally, the report shows two senior former cia agents were asked to do an independent review of the cia interrogation program and declined to assess the efficacy because they said it would "violate federal policy on human subject research." what we see clearly in this report is that the office of medical services role evolved from the time of the memo in 2002 and 2003 in a something very different by the bradbury memo in 2005.
3:15 pm
they were actively engaged in collecting data, in assessing the potential impact, the harm, of these tactics. that role can't constitute research and a violation of international workrooms provisions on human subjects instrument tatian. because what they were doing was unrelated to the medical care of detainees and it had no clinical president. >> what does this evolution indicate to you? >> it indicates the u.s. government swallowed the spider to catch the fly of torture. they swallowed the spider of weaponize in health professionals to engage in a role that has been widely documented and prohibited but the number code and also by u.s. to mr. gore crimes law as constituting constitute -- essentially a crime against you minute he.
3:16 pm
i want to be clear. there's no hierarchy of harm between torture and alleged human subject extermination. both are illegal and both can constitute war crimes. but the fact here is we now see clear evidence of the essential a role health professionals played as the legal heatshield for the bush administration. there get out of jail free card. theet's talk about different professions. we have talked to a lot about psychologist and done several big segments in the last few weeks. we know about the psychologist bruce jessen and james mitchell, and their role in the torture. men --k eons these two talk beyond these two men as the attempt for them to be isolated, the role of the largest association of psychologists in the world, but then beyond that. psychiatrists, doctors, nurses. >> i think there's often been this narrative that mitchell and
3:17 pm
jessen were the lone gunmen of torture, that they were doing this out of their garage. they were operating inside the superstructure of medicalized torture. and what that means is that it wasn't just them alone. it was the office of medical services at cia, part of the office of technical service that allegedly employed mitchell and jessen, and entered alludes just looking -- and that includes just looking at the senate report, physicians assistants, doctors, and may include other professionals within oms. everything from "patient care" to actual monitoring calibration and design of the tactics with mitchell and jessen. >> explained. it traditionally has been said the american psychological association, despite a lot of resistance from a lot of psychologist within who are trying to change the rules, was resisting for years any kind
3:18 pm
moratorium or abandon on psychologist involvement in the so-called enhancement interrogations. but the ama and the little apa did pass bands, moratoriums. >> in 2006, the ama and the bans onpa past clear participation. those are now being echoed by "the new york times." the american psychological association's of the big three, the only association as to permit involvement in interrogations. where we have to go in the next encoded in u.s. law. it is time for no longer to be about the associations, but to be about u.s. code. health professionals have no role in interrogations. there is the line from the famous e-mail out of guantánamo, if a detainee dies, you're doing it wrong. right now, it is a time for the
3:19 pm
associations to step up and go, in the case of the ama, one step further and say, this means to be encoded in u.s. federal statute. >> you spoke to a contractor who was involved in the cia interrogations. who was he and what did he tell you? >> in 2006, received a phone call from scott identified himself as a cia contractor who said he was at guantánamo in the summer 2006 and was installing cameras as part of detecting deception during interrogations at guantánamo bay. he then proceeded to go into detail about the office of medical services evaluation. a ciad it was in inspector general report. i did not speak to him other than one or two times after that. i found out in 2009, he had passed away in a traffic
3:20 pm
accident. once i learned he had died, i groupnd contacted a through the department of justice and met with assistant . attorneys that he needed to look at any potential evidence that scott had left behind. subsequently, the department of justice obtained e-mails to that from scotts files. in those e-mails, which are 'sferenced in james risen recent book, we see a stunning tick-tock of the amerco psychological association's direct communication with the cia and white house officials related to its own ethics policy. right now, david hoffman at the law firm in chicago is conducting an independent probe of the apa, and i'm
3:21 pm
incorporating with them and i e-mails ated scott's the request of the public corruption unit of the fbi in 2012. in a analyzed in the context of rico violation potentially by the morgan psychological association related to this apparent collusion with the cia and the white house. >> are there grounds for charges do you think? >> in the memo i wrote for the fbi, i presented information that i felt had probative value, meaning there was grounds for an official investigation of the bureau. the issue that we encountered then is that the information i had, which was not only scots e-mails but other additional evidence in my possession, was outside the statute of code.tions of u.s. rico with davidre is that
3:22 pm
hoffman's investigation, new evidence can be unearthed and the hope is that if it falls within the statute of limitations, will defer to the department of justice. >> and you think it suggests that? >> definitely. >> what? >> i think the information i reviewed for the fbi in 2012 suggest the apa potentially was engaged for market touring related to its relationship with cia and white house officials and the construction of the truth thousand five presidents task force and psychological -- >> explain. >> the presidents task force on site eligible at the national security, which basically encoded in the apa policy the observations monitoring for the direct involvement role for psychologists in national security interrogations, which
3:23 pm
we now know involved at that time, torture. what we see from jim risen's report and e-mails i also reviewed, it is clear concealed contacts between officials who were directly in the policy chain of command and operational chain of command, the cia, related to this program were helping in one case to literally write the pens report. they were not just passing post-it notes. there were literally running the text of the document. was inad a guest on who report. she is an oral historian and she is sitting in this meeting and she starts to take notes. psychologists are known for taking notes. she is told to put her notes away. before she know it, she's handled the final report she's supposed to sign. >> if you're trying to cover something up, don't give jean
3:24 pm
maria a notebook. the fact of the matter is, this one conclusion that you can draw unlike the american medical association, the american psychiatric association, which had public processes on this issue, processes i was involved with that were public innings in chicago in 2006, not only did the apa do it given closed doors, they did it with direct contact and follow-up, it appears, with the very officials who were in the operational and policy chain of command. the question is, why? why did it have to go that way? i hope mr. hoffman's investigation can help answer that. >> on top of the policy part, can you talk about how a health professional would physically about the interrogation of her prisoner? >> it depends host up in the case of physicians, what we see in the now well-known heinous example of rectal feeding is
3:25 pm
physicians themselves in addition to the well-known psychologists mentioned before, appeared to have been involved in the designing of tactics that were intentionally inflicting harm. in the case of psychologists, there appears to be additional psychologists beyond mitchell and jessen who would be called operational for support psychologists who are conducting evaluation and serving elements. there's the mention of a physician's assistant who appears to have been involved in relay information back to headquarters about whether adt me was ready after an injury to be tortured again -- whether a detainee was ready after injury to be tortured again. we say them take the responsibility to do no harm into a mission to do harm to detainees with her health professionals. sayathaniel raymond, you the human rights committed he has done a disservice to itself. how? >> in many ways, we have buried
3:26 pm
the lead in the sense that we have seen the health professional issue as it relates to the interrogation scandal is seen as this boutique, sort of side narrative. kept to you, amy, you have this issue front and center for many years. now it is time to really see it as the central story. if you did not have the health professionals, you would not have had the office of legal counsel. it was the spark plug in that engine. >> how? >> the memos were based on a good faith interpretation of u.s. anti-churchill law, saying -- anti-torture law, saying if the u.s. did not cause a certain level of severe long-lasting pain, physical and mental pain and suffering, then we had not violated torture. how are you going to assess that in a good faith defense? you need to have health professionals to say this limbo stick of harm was not crossed. inherently, that is
3:27 pm
an experiment role. there's no clinical president. doctors are not trained in perspective torture technique. if you did not have the psychologist, the doctors in the room, oh well see, as we see in the bread very memo, would not have it the data to say we had .ot crossed the threshold >> your report calls for federal commission. what should commission look at and why is it important? twoo date, we have had reticle and courageous congressional investigations in terms of senate armed services and executive summary. right now we been working in compartments. the idea of professional health involvement is in nature disciplinary cross committee --
3:28 pm
is an intra-disciplinary cross committee problem. there needs to be a holistic approach. this is a five alarm fire in american medical ethics. this is not just about what was done before. it appears there were changes to both the interpretation of the code of federal regulations related to human subjects research, the willful ritz memorandum -- willful with bush andm, during the administration. we need to go back, find out what was done in literally six our code. >> i want to turn to the psychologist hymns mitchell who the cia's torture program. he was recently on fox news. >> was medical personnel in the room. >> there was always medical personnel.
3:29 pm
there were medical personnel there, psychologists there were independent of the interrogation was language experts -- always poking was pretty well. our language experts, subject matter experts. there were the people who of the command and control. >> all the people in the room. >> i think james mitchell said it better than i can say it this was a multiple department chain of command authorized operation. we have a responsibility underneath the presidents of nuremberg come under the tokyo trials, to hold the chain of command accountable. to date we have basically violated the bedrock principle of command accountability, which is the basis of international domestic war crimes law. it is been about to contract psychologists. who brought them in?
3:30 pm
who was the commander? who gave the order? we still don't know. senator feinstein, but we need to understand the chain of command about who gave the order to weaponize health professionals to inflict harm and to study it. >> the you think senator udall, what might gravel is calling for, should have the whole report put into the record? it doesn't have to be just beator udall, goo it could any senator. >> based on people that i have talked to over the 13 years i been working on detainee abuse, there is a lot that appears to have happened that we don't know. we shouldent has said look forward not backward. well, we should not look forward in blindness until we of the full accounting, that only a
3:31 pm
federal commission can provide, including the release of the full senate select committee on intelligence report, we don't actually know fully what we're talking about. should president bush, vice president cheney, donald rumsfeld, george tenet, do you think these men should be charged with crimes against humanity? >> i believe that the challenge of now, the challenge of the past decade is to resuscitate our institutions, for them to be able to do the accountability functions required by the law. of lawe restore the rule by holding those who gave the order accountable, not the people does not the burger flippers at the bottom, not middle-management, but the chain of command from the top. we have not done what the law requires. >> we want to thank you for being with us, nathaniel raymond, research ethics advisor for physicians for human rights. he is also a researcher at the
3:32 pm
harvard school of public health. we will link to his report, "doing harm: health professionals' central role in the cia torture program." go to when we come back, we will be joined by colonel wilkerson to talk about who should be held accountable. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
3:33 pm
>> "to the unknown man," , this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> since the release of senate findings this month, senior officials from the george w. bush administration have defended their global torture program. speaking to "meet the press" last week, former vice-president dick cheney said that with no major terror attack since 9/11, he wouldn't hesitate to use torture again. >> with respect to try to define that as torture, torture is what
3:34 pm
the al qaeda terrorists did to 3000 americans on 9/11. there is no comparison between that and what we did with respect to enhanced interrogation. it worked. it worked now for 13 years. we've avoided another mass casualty against the united states. we did capture bin laden and an awful lot of the senior guys of al qaeda who were responsible for the attack on 9/11. i would do it again in a minute. >> the obama administration and top democrats have contested cheney's claims the torture program was effective, as well as legal. but what has gone unchallenged is the assumption the torture program's sole motivation was post-9/11 self-defense. there's been a list of recognition of bush administration also used torture for a very different goal -- extract information that could tie al-qaeda to saddam hussein, and justify the invasion of iraq. >> instead, from president obama on down, it has been taken at face value that protecting the nation was the bush administration's sole motive. speaking to the network univision, president obama was asked if president bush had
3:35 pm
betrayed the country's values. this was his response. quick as i said before, after you can know think what it feels like to know that america has gone through the worst attack on the continent united states history and you are uncertain as to what is coming next. so there were a lot of people who did a lot of things right and worked very hard to keep us safe. but i think any fair-minded person looking at this would say that some terrible mistakes were made. >> obama's comments were echoed by cia director john brennan. in his first response to the senate report, brennan said those behind the torture program faced agonizing choices in their effort to protect the country after 9/11. >> the administration faced
3:36 pm
agonizing choices about how to pursue al qaeda and prevent additional terrorist attacks against our country. what facing fears of further attacks and caring out the responsibility to prevent more catastrophic loss of life. there were no easy answers. and whatever your views are on eit's, our nation, in particular this agency, did a lot of things right during this difficult time to keep this country strong and secure. >> though the white house has not questioned the bush administration's motives, there is no doubt torture played a major role in the push for invading iraq. and while the senate report and other critics say torture produced false information, that that could have been one of the program's goals. in 2009, mcclatchy reported that the -- "bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al qaida and... saddam hussein's regime." a former senior u.s. intelligence official said --
3:37 pm
"there was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had. when people kept coming up empty, they were told by cheney's and rumsfeld's people to push harder." >> the iraq-torture connection gets only bare mention in the senate report, but it's still significant. in a footnote, the report cites the case of ibn shaykh al-libi. after u.s. forces sent him for torture in egypt, libi made up the false claim that iraq provided training in chemical and biological weapons to al-qaeda. secretary of state colin powell then used libi's statements in that famous february 5, 2003 speech to the united nations falsely alleging iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. the senate report says -- "libi [later] recanted the claim... claiming that he had been tortured... and only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear." well, we are joined now by a guest with unique insight on the libi case and other bush-era uses of torture to justify the
3:38 pm
iraq war. retired colonel lawrence wilkerson served as chief of staff to secretary of state colin powell from 2002 to 2005. colonel wilkerson helped prepare that speech that general powell gave at the u.n., only to later renounce it. he is now a professor of government and public policy at william & mary. retired colonel lawrence wilkerson, welcome to democracy now. talk about the libi case and how seminal it was. >> amy, it is probably the most seminal moment in my memory of those five days and nights out at langley at the cia headquarters with george tenet and his deputy john mclachlan. powell had rarely in the some eight years or so i had worked for him to that point grown so angry with me that -- in this case, physically grabbed me and took me to the spaces that were empty in the room adjacent to
3:39 pm
the dci conference to set me down in a chair, and essentially lectured me on how he was dissatisfied with and very unhappy with the portions in his debt withon that terrorism, particularly, the connections with baghdad and al qaeda. i quickly apprised him of the fact that i was just as uneasy as he was. he called out of it and said, well, let's throw it out. we did. we threw it out. within about 30 to 45 minutes, we were back in the ci conference room to renew -- dci conference room. tenant laid a bombshell on the table. he essentially said, these are almost direct quotes, we have learned from the interrogation of a high-level al qaeda weretive that not only there substantial contacts between al qaeda and baghdad, that those contacts included
3:40 pm
secret police, saddam special people, training al qaeda operatives and how to use chemical and biological weapons. that is so must a direct quote. at that point, powell said, put it back in. from that point on, though i did take some of the stuff out as late as 2:00 a.m. in the morning and the waldorf-astoria are to the morning of the presentation and had film, george tenet's counterterrorism czar, standing behind me in the waldorf, trying to prevent me from taking things out until i finally told him i would physically remove him from the room if you did not leave of his own will, people were trying back intot portion the presentation. but the damage was done. the secretary, as you know, presented the information as if there were substantial contacts. >> colonel, in your judgment, how big of a motive was the iraq
3:41 pm
war and the torture program, and the torture of prisoners to get information that could tie al qaeda to saddam hussein? >> one of the things that i have to say rather stunned me was when powell in april but after the abu ghraib incident was made public or incidents were made public, asked me to look into it. ,o get a chronology essentially, to tell him how we got to that point. i began my investigation. i learned that there was as early as april, may 2002, efforts to use enhanced interrogation techniques come also to build a legal regime under which they could be conducted, and that those efforts were as much aimed at al qaeda and contacts between baghdad and no qaeda and corroboration thereof, as they were trying to ferret out whether or not there was another attack coming like 9/11. that was stunning to me to find out that was part -- i would say
3:42 pm
probably 50% of the impetus that i discovered in both the classified and unclassified material i looked into. we spoke to richard clarke, the nation's former top counterterrorism official. clarke served as national coordinator for security and counterterrorism during bush's first year in office. he resigned in 2003 following the iraq invasion. clarke said that after 9/11, right after, in the days after president george bush had wanted , him to place the blame on iraq. resigned, quit the government altogether, testified before congressional committees and the 9/11 commission, wrote a book revealing what the bush administration had and had not done to stop 9/11. and what they did after the fact. the president wanted me after the fact to blame iraq for the 9/11 attack. >> richard clarke also said he believes president george w. bush is guilty of war crimes for launching the 2003 invasion of
3:43 pm
iraq. >> i think things that may authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. whether that would be productive or not, i think is a discussion we could all have. but we have established procedures now with the international colonel court and -- where were people people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried. so the president is there -- precedent is there to do that sort of thing. . >> he said bush came up to him right after the 9/11 attacks to say, start linking this to iraq. colonel wilkerson, he is a bush administration official and you are a bush of administration official -- of course, the menu worked for, colin powell, was a
3:44 pm
bush administration official, secretary of state. do you think that president bush , vice president cheney, george tenet, head of the cia him and others, should be held accountable for war crimes, should be actually charged? >> i have to say after all of my investigations, my students looking into the episodes through case studies and so forth, my own personal experience in that administration, i can only give think answer that is i utopian. i think it is far too optimistic. yes. but i don't think for a moment that it is going to happen. >> colonel, the senate report says 26 innocent people were caught up in the program. vice president cheney speaking , to nbc's "meet the press" last week, former vice president dick cheney was also asked about the report's finding that 26 of the 119 prisoners in the torture program were innocent.
3:45 pm
quick i'm more concerned with bad guys that got out and released than those who were in fact innocent. have% turned out not to dust turned out to be innocent. >> where are you going to draw the line? >> you are ok with that margin for error? >> i have no problem as long as we achieve our objective. >> colonel wilkerson, can you address the issue of innocence? do you think the 26 figure is too low? >> definitely too low. as i said many times in the past, i am quite confident that probably half to two thirds, possibly even more, of those initially put in guantánamo, some 700 plus people, were just swept up on the battlefield and were basically innocent of anything other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. but let's look at what dick cheney said. this is pure cheney.
3:46 pm
this is cheney and rumsfeld's tactics. the medially deflect the question, which is a solid question which they simply cannot answer. they immediately deflected to the other side of the equation. whether it is the ticking time bomb argument, which is a stupid argument if you really parse it well, or whether it is, as cheney did here, that 75% were guilty and any one of those might have done something and so i was good at what i did. this is cheney. cheney. what i wish the interrogator of cheney had looked at is, we know positively that a minimum -- and i suspect it is higher -- of 39 people died in the interrogation process. why does no one ever mentioned that? we also know that in some of those cases, the military or civilian corner involved found the cause of that death to be homicide. the most famous case, alex
3:47 pm
"taxi in his documentary to the dark side" is known about, but even that has been forgotten about. we murdered people who we were interrogating. isn't that the ultimate torture? no one ever asks dick about that. >> that number, 39 people killed by torturers, where do you get that number and where were they killed? >> that number comes from human rights first initial report on command responsibility in the interrogation program, which i believe came out quite early, 2006-2007. it was 39 people who died in detention. now, some of them died of natural causes. they had a heart attack or whatever. of course, at the heart attack a have been brought on by the very strenuous process the going through, including hypothermic rooms and stress and so forth and so on. but nonetheless, several of those were just homicides. in other words, it of the contractor for the cia, the cia,
3:48 pm
or the military individual conducting the interrogation was responsible for the death of that person because of what they were doing to them. that is never talked about anymore. >> final question. that colin powell gave that speech, that infamous speech that he would later call a blog on his career, february 2003 at the u.n., there were many saying, including weapons inspectors in iraq, that the allegation of weapons of mass destruction was not true. what would have penetrated the bubble for you, colonel wilkerson? activistse, to peace and others, to be able to reach you, to reach colin powell, why could they continue to say this with lots of evidence behind it, yet you did not hear it? objection there was that made its way through to us. after all, we at the state and thent, inr,
3:49 pm
assistant secretary, objected brother strenuously to one third of the major elements of powell's presentation. the active nuclear program will stop we had opposition. but when you secretary of state sitting down with the representative of the 16 intelligence entities representing the military, representing nsa, representing dia, cia, and all of the other entities that we spent some $80 billion a year to keep up and working, and telling the secretary of state, who is not an intelligence professional, that this is the case and this is the proof, it is very difficult for the secretary of state to push back and say, no, i've got some element here that tells me you are not right. powell did that on a number of occasions. but in each case, with few exceptions that were reported,
3:50 pm
tenant and mclaughlin push back with the weight of the intelligence community. people forget. tenet was pushing back, as he said, quite frequently with the germans, israelis, the french and as he would put it, all the other countries in the world who have reasonably good intelligence and intelligence institutions and are collaborating -- corroborating what i'm saying. this is a very difficult situation for the secretary of state. >> do you think john brennan, the head of the cia, should medially be fired? >> i think he should've been fired a long time ago. >> colonel wilkerson, we have to wrap this up but we are going to ask you to stay with us. you served as chief of staff to secretary of state colin powell from 2002 to 2005. we -- it is the 25 anniversary of the invasion of panama all. at the time, colin powell was the chair of the joint chiefs of staff. we're going to have a discussion about this anniversary.
3:51 pm
stay with us. ♪ [music break]
3:52 pm
>> joe cocker in woodstock in 1969. he died yesterday at the age of 70. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> this month marks the 25th anniversary of the u.s.-led invasion of panama. early on the morning of december 20, 1989, president george h.w. bush launched operation just cause, sending tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of aircraft into panama to execute an arrest warrant against its
3:53 pm
leader, manuel noriega, on charges of drug trafficking. general manuel noriega was once a close ally to washington and on the cia payroll. after 1986, noriega's relationship with washington took a turn for the worse. during the attack, the u.s. unleashed a force of 24,000 troops equipped with highly sophisticated weaponry and aircraft against a country with an army smaller than the new york city police department. >> were joined now by three guests. humberto brown is a former panamanian diplomat and, currently, a researcher at suny downstate medical center. greg grandin s a professor of latin american history at new york university. his most recent book is titled, "the empire of necessity: slavery, freedom and deception in the new world." his new article for tomdispatch is called, "the war to start all wars: the 25th anniversary of the forgotten invasion of panama." and washington, d.c., retired colonel wilkerson. , why is this
3:54 pm
anniversary, why the 25th anniversary? what do you have to say going back 25 beers ago was the most important thing to understand about what happened? that the invasion of panama took place a month after the fall of the berlin wall and set the terms for the future interventions in a number of ways. one, it was unilateral, done without the sanction of the united nations, without the center of the organization of american states, which was a fairly risky thing for the united states. two, it was a violation of national sovereignty, which the u.s. often did during the cold war but it was a violation -- the terms of the violation changed. it was done in the name of democracy. it was overtly argued that national sovereignty is subordinated to democracy. preview toit was a the first gulf war. it was a massive coordination of awesome force that was done spectacularly for public
3:55 pm
consumption. it was about putting the vietnam syndrome to rest. >> talk about the effects, humberto brown. you are panamanian diplomat at the time. the effects of the invasion. the pentagon said hundreds of people., panamanians said something like thousands. how long did it last? >> this is the first hour, close to 400 bombs drop after midnight. .evastating poor neighborhoods it was devastating because, one, the majority of the people suffered consequences, poor people in the urban areas. and the elite, who was complicit in this, they were protected, saved, some of them were removed and placed elsewhere so it was two different approaches. one was intimidation and
3:56 pm
concerny expressing no for the poor. we think was very devastating and interesting that 25 years, it is the first time one of the presidents are talking about the need to answer questions about common people died, hammond people disappeared. -- how many people disappeared. illaaturday, president car said he wanted a special commission to investigate what happened. the attempted to get a national reconciliation. there's always a debate and panama if we celebrate this as a day of mourning a day of reflection, and some call it a day of deliberation. we still have completing reviews. >> colonel wilkerson, you were an eight to colin powell during this time. what is your understanding of why this attack took place? >> my understanding was the
3:57 pm
understanding of the press reported. it was everything from the tax on or threatened attacks on our officers and men and women in the military and panama to drug trafficking and extensive contacts with drug gangs that have grown much larger than the contacts with the cia had ever contemplated and so forth. that i have got to say, in what i teach, you can learn a lot about u.s. operations in its own hemisphere. this was an operation not so unique as one of the speakers just suggested. go back and look at marine general butler, his testimony to then armed forces committee in the congress or he essentially compared himself to al capone and said al capone operated on one continent, i operated on two. i was a criminal for american commercial interests. we have invaded someone interjected our military force into someone's territory in the
3:58 pm
sinceean about 35 times 1850. this is our hemisphere. the monroe doctrine is still operational. we seem to think we can interfere in anyone's country at any time. overthrowe tried to hugo chavez. this is nothing new. this is the way mac operates. >> we will continue this online. >> i agree completely. the cold war did operate under the legitimacy of multilateralism and that is what gets swept away with animal. it just set the terms for future invasions. but i agree completely. noriega was taken prisoner at the time and brought to the united states. in our post-show interview, we will continue that discussion about why the u.s. changed its view of him from the u.s.'s man to the u.s.'s prisoner. greg grandin and humberto brown
3:59 pm
and colonel wilkerson, thank for joining us. part two online at ." [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
4:00 pm


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on