tv Democracy Now LINKTV December 22, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
12/22/15 12/22/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! did u.s. military leaders undermine president obama's policy on syria? a new report by veteran journalist seymour hersh says the joint chiefs of staff has indirectly supported basher al-assad in an effort to help him defeat jihadist groups. hersh will join us to detail his claims and respond to his critics. then, spying on pete seeger. >> well, i assumed most of my
life that if it wasn't a microphone under the bed am a they were tapping the phone from time to time and opening my mail from time to time. who knows? amy: the late folk artist and activist pete seeger was a musical and political icon who helped create the modern american folk music movement. now there are some new pages to add to his songbook, the government has released nearly 1800 pages that reveal the fbi spied on him for almost 30 years. the surveillance began when seeger protested the targeting of japanese-americans during world war ii. it continued until the early 1970's as he wrote some of the most famous anti-war songs of the 20th century. don't be a nervous nelly, the captain said to him deep in the big
muddy ♪ amy: we will speak to peter seeger's biographer, david king dunaway about the more than 1700 pages the government has released. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the number of refugees that have entered europe this year has topped one million. international organization for migration says the tally marks fourfold increase over last your, the greatest accidents -- exodus of people since world war ii. nearly 3700 people have drowned or remained missing after attempted sea crossings. most are from syria, iraq, and afghanistan, countries ravaged by war. speaking before the un security council, the high commissioner for refugees antonio gutierrez said people who reject syrian refugees are the best allies of
extremists like the self-proclaimed islamic state. >> those that reject syrian refugees, especially if they're muslim, are the best allies of the propaganda and recruitment of extremist groups. we must not forget that despite firstetoric we are the such terror, not its source. for whicht be blamed they are risking their lives to escape. amy: in news from afghanistan, six u.s. soldiers have been alled by a suicide bomber at motorcycle and bagram. two other soldiers and u.s. contractor were wounded. afghan police may also have been injured. it was the deadliest attack on americans in afghanistan since august. it comes amidst fierce fighting in southern helmand province where the taliban has overrun a key district. in other news on afghanistan,
human rights watch has called for the u.s. military bombing of a doctors without borders hospital in kunduz to be investigated as a possible criminal act. human rights what says -- the attack killed 42 people. doctors without borders has called for independent probe. human rights watch has also accused united states of flouting the laws of war by failing to investigate unlawful strikes carried out by the u.s.-backed saudi led coalition rebels.g houthi human rights watch says the coalition carried out at least six apparently unlawful airstrikes in residential areas of the yemeni capital this fall, killing 60 civilians. directory middle east for human rights watch said --
despite a cease-fire, scores of people have been killed in yemen over the past week. report byocracy now! sharif abdel kouddous on what has been happening, just back from a few weeks there, go to democracynow.org. iraqi forces have reportedly stormed the center of the key city of ramadi, which fell to the self-proclaimed islamic state in may. the attempt to retake ramadi began in november will step iraqi officials have vowed to clear isil from the city within 72 hours. south carolina senator lindsey graham suspended his bid for the republican presidential nomination. he said his campaign had successfully increased support for raising up the war against isis. >> the very first debate, i said did not candidate who understand that we need more american troops on the ground in
iraq and syria to defeat isil was not ready to be commander in chief. at that time, no one stepped forward to join me. today, most of my fellow candidates have come to recognize this is what is needed to secure our homeland. amy: in texas, grand jury has failed to indict anyone in the death of sandra bland, the 28-year-old african-american woman found dead in her waller county jail cell in july. bland was arrested july 10 by texas state trooper brian encinia, who accused her of failing to signal a lane change. dash cam video of her arrest shows encinia forcibly removing bland from her car and threatening to "light her up" and she can later be heard accusing police of slamming her head into the ground and saying she has epilepsy, to which trooper encinia replies, "good." bland had recently moved to texas to start a job at prairie view a&m university. but she was found hanging from a
trash bag in her cell three days after her arrest. her family and supporters have disputed authorities' claim her death was a suicide. speaking monday, special prosecutor darrell jordan said the grand jury will reconvene next month. >> this has been a very, very long day for us as well as the grand jury. after presenting all of the evidence as it relates to the death of sandra bland, the grand jury did not return an indictment. the grand jury also considered things that occurred at the jail and did not return an indictment. there are other issues that the grand jury is still considering, and they will take up those issues when we return next month. amy: sandra bland's family says they have been shut out of the grand jury process and only learned of monday's decision from news reports. in a statement, democratic presidential candidate and vermont senator bernie sanders said -- "there's no doubt in my mind
that, like too many african-americans who die in police custody, would be alive today if she were a white woman. we need to reform a very broken criminal justice system." in maryland, a judge has scheduled the retrial of baltimore police officer william porter in the death of freddie gray for june 13. porter was the first of six officers to be tried over great's debt. his family said his spine was 80% severed at his neck when he died in police custody in april. officer porter's case ended in a mistrial last week after a jury deadlocked on charges including involuntary manslaughter. porter's new trial date is after those of other five officers, meaning he will likely decline to testify at those trials, presenting a hurdle for prosecutors who had hoped to call him as a key witness. in nevada, a 20 four-year-old woman is facing murder charges after police say she intentionally ran her car onto a sidewalk on the las vegas strip sunday, killing one person and
injuring dozens more. lakeisha holloway told authorities she was under extreme stress because she had been chased by security guards out of parking lots where she was trying to sleep in her car. she had been living in her car with her three-year-old daughter for about a week. the mall of america has sued eight activists with black lives matter minneapolis in an attempt to block a protest scheduled for wednesday over the fatal police shooting of jamar clark. part of the suit requests the activists delete social media post promoting the protest. last year, a black lives matter protest at the mall drew over 2000 people. police have said jamar clark was shot after a scuffle with officers who responded to a report of an assault, but multiple witnesses have said clark was shot while handcuffed. a manhunt is underway for an 18-year-old white texas teenager convicted of killing four people in a drunk driving crash in
2013. ethan couch was not sentenced to any time and joel after a trial where a psychologist claimed he a, is will the background for vented him from understanding the consequences of his actions. he was sent to an expensive rehab facility instead. after he missed a check in with his probation officer, officials are concerned he may have fled the country. they're also searching for his mother who may have led with him. in richmond, california, police have arrested a white man accused of building homemade explosive devices in order to bomb local muslims. william celli was arrested on sunday after police said he threatened members of the islamic society of west contra costa county. celli was a vocal supporter of republican presidential candidate donald trump, who has called for banning muslims from entering the united states. in october, celli posted on social media that he would
"follow trump to the end of the world." the council on american-islamic relations has released a new report finding a greater frequency of vandalism and other acts targeting mosques this year than in any other year on record. of 71 incidents reported this year, 29 occurred after the november 13 attacks in paris. meanwhile, president obama has accused donald trump of exploiting the anxieties of blue-collar men. in an interview with npr, obama said the common nation of demographic changes flatlining wages and other economic hurdles "mean that there is going to be potential anger, frustration, but, some of it justified, just misdirected. i think some elect mr. trump is taking advantage of that." filed a bill cosby has lawsuit against model beverly johnson, accusing her of falsifying her claim cosby drugged and tried to rape her in the 1980's. last week, cosby sued seven of his other accusers for defamation. cosby has a key -- has been
accused of drugging and raping more than 50 women coming forward with allegations against him. another high profile figure accused of sexual abuse, musician r kelly, walked out of a live interview monday after a host asked him about repeated accusations that he sexually abused minors. he was questioned about the claims. cooks what do you say to the multiple fans of the many fans who are watching and listening that are saying -- >> i love my fans. i love all of my fans. >> when they ask about your past -- >> i love them all. it doesn't matter who they are. if they hate me, they love me, they want to destroy, whatever, i love them all. and i love you, too. >> you don't need to give me any of your love will stop amy: the obama administration has lifted
its blanket ban on blood donations by gay men saying they can now donate blood but only if they haven't had sex with another man in the past 12 months. the food and drug administration said it made the decision in response to the latest science on hiv transmission. but critics say the ban is still biased. colorado congressmember jared polis, who co-chairs a caucus of openly gay congress members, told reuters -- "it is ridiculous and counter to the public health that a married gay man in a monogamous relationship can't give blood, but a promiscuous straight man who has had hundreds of opposite sex partners in the last year can." and in ohio, republican lawmakers have announced plans to introduce legislation requiring women who have miscarriages or abortions to specify burial or cremation arrangements for their fetal or embryonic tissue. indiana and arkansas have recently passed similar requirements. the move comes after ohio attorney general mike dewine spent months investigating planned parenthood following heavily edited, anti-choice
videos surrounding planned parenthood's donation of fetal tissue to medical researchers. as in multiple other investigations, ohio turned up nothing. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the united nations security council's passage of a peace plan for syria has been called perhaps the best chance yet to end the country's civil war. the measure, approved on friday, calls for a ceasefire, talks between the government and opposition, and a roughly two-year timeline to form a unity government and hold elections. secretary of state john kerry outlined the terms. the resolution approved today, the purpose of those negotiations between the responsible opposition and the government is to facilitate a transition within syria through a credible, inclusive, nonsectarian governance within six months. the process would lead to the drafting of a new constitution
and arrangements for internationally supervised election within 18 months. amy: the resolution is silent on the fate of syrian president bashar al-assad. the u.s. has insisted on excluding assad from a political transition, pointing to the mass killings of his own people throughout the more than four-year war. but russia and china have staunchly backed assad. the world powers impasse has fueled u.n. inaction amid a death toll of more than 250,000 and the world's worst refugee crisis. although the u.s. remains opposed to assad, his omission from the security council resolution signals a softening stance and a potential diplomatic turning point. the obama administration has quietly backed off its public insistence that assad must go, claiming it's no longer seeking regime change in syria. now an explosive new report says u.s. military leadership in the joint chiefs of staff has held that view all along and has taken secret steps to move u.s. policy in that direction.
according to award-winning veteran investigative reporter seymour hersh, the joint of chiefs of staff has tacitly aided the assad regime to help it defeat radical jihadists. hersh reports the joint chiefs sent intelligence via russia, germany, and israel on the understanding it would be transmitted to help assad push back jabhat al-nusra and the islamic state. hersh also claims the military even undermined a u.s. effort to arm syrian rebels in a bid to prove to assad it was serious about helping him fight their common enemies. at the joint chiefs behest a cia , weapons shipment to the syrian opposition was allegedly downgraded to include obsolete weapons. hersh says the joints chiefs' maneuvering was rooted in several concerns, including the u.s. arming of unvetted syrian rebels with jihadist ties, a belief the administration was overly focused on confronting assad's ally in moscow, and anger the white house was unwilling to confront turkey and saudi arabia over their support of extremist groups in syria.
hersh's report in the london review of books follows his controversial story in may challenging the obama administration's account of the killing of osama bin laden. like that story, his latest piece relies heavily on a single source, described as a "former senior adviser to the joint chiefs." and while critics have dismissed both stories as conspiracy theories, it turns out that key aspects of the bin laden report have since been corroborated. after the bin laden story came out, u.s. and pakistani intelligence sources confirmed hersh's reporting that the u.s. discovered bin laden's location when a pakistani officer told the cia, and that the pakistani government knew all along where bin laden was hiding. for more, we are joined by seymour hersh. he won the pulitzer prize for exposing the 1968 my lai massacre in vietnam, when u.s. forces killed hundreds of civilians. in 2004, seymour hersh broke the abu ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. his latest piece in the london review of books is, "military to military: u.s. intelligence sharing in the syrian war."
hersh is working on a study of dick cheney's vice presidency. we welcome you back to democracy now! why don't you lay out this very controversial report that you have just published in the london review of books. what did you find? >> it began, as i wrote, with a very serious extensive assessment of our policy that was completed by june, let's say by the middle of 2013, 2 .5 years ago, a study done by the joint chiefs and defense intelligence agency that came to three sort of conclusions that may seem obvious now that were pretty interesting then. one is that they said assad must stay, at least through the resolution of the war because, as we saw in libya, what you get rid of a leader like gadhafi, and you could argue the same in iraq with the demise of saddam hussein, chaos ensued. the second -- so that was an
issue. the point being, elections at some point must certainly, but for the short term, while we are still fighting, he asked to stay. that wasn't the american position in. theuld argue i still think american position is very muddled, although, they have seen to soften it. make, theirint they best ignition show this notion of a moderate force was a fantasy, that most of the free syrian army by the summer, by mid-2013, were in some sort of orunderstanding with nusra as you put it, isil, the islamic state. there was a lot of back-and-forth, arms going into the free syrian army and other moderates were being peddled, sold, or transferred to the more extremist groups. was aboutmajor claim turkey. is that we simply have to deal with the problem. the turkish government was -- had opened, basically, his borders were open, arms were flying. i had written about that earlier
for the london review. 2012,ere flying since covertly with the cia support in the support of the american government, arms coming from tripoli and other places in benghazi, libya going into turkey and then being moved across the line. another interesting point is a lot of chinese dissidents, the muslims, pretty much how to buy the chinese, were also does another redline existed that they were coming from china into turkey and syria. this was a serious finding. it was not the first time some of these points have been raised. .here was simply no go once you pass this off to the white house or to the other agencies, the defense department does this routinely. these are very highly secret -- the study was composed of overhead satellite intelligence, human intelligence, etc.. it did go to the state
department and to a lot of officers in the white house, national security council, no response, no change in policy. wrote, thent, as i joint chiefs, then headed by dempsey, martin dempsey, who since has retired, decided that there was a chance to do something about it without directly countervailing the policy. and that was simply that we were aware that germany, the german intelligence service, the staff had been involved pretty closely with bashar in terms of funneling intelligence. willa -- a lot of people find this surprising, but the united states military, the military has had a solid relationship with the leadership of the russian military since the fall of the soviet union in 1991. general dempsey in particular had a one-on-one relationship with the general now runs the military for the soviet union. and so we knew the russians and the israelis were also involved
in some back channel conversation with syria. with the idea being israel sort of on the margin on this, ,nderstood that if bashar went what comes next would not be healthy for israel. they share a border with -- you don't want the islamic state or nusra or in your business to be that close to the israelis. it would be a national security threat for them. a lot of other services communicating and so with the joint use did, they began to pass along some of this very good strategic intelligence and technical intelligence we have, where the bad guys are, you can put it, what they might be thinking, what information we had -- that was passed not directly to assad, but to the germans, the russians through the israelis, etc. beyond me,s is way but that is no question that was the transmission point. the point being, there is no direct contact, but information certainly got to him. it had an impact on the syrian army's ability to improve its
positions by the end of the year, 2013. source thatout the you used for this story and the criticism of your single source method. >> oh, my god. well, as you know, it is usually the anonymous sources you get criticized for. although come any day and "the new york times" and "washington post," they have anonymous sources. i haven't been relying on this particular person since 9/11, but i have -- i wish i could tell you i haven't been relying on this particular person since 9/11, but i have been. that there were no bombs inside iraq, the early stories, i was writing, all caps on one particularly well-informed , for a lot of reasons i connect public. one is the government would prosecute him. the idea there is one source -- i worked for "the new york times" for eight or nine years
old during watergate and the vietnam war years and i won many prizes based on stories based on one source. i don't know what the public thinks goes on, but if you get a very good source who over many years has been totally reliable, i'm not troubled by it at all. the london review, as many in america know, is a very, very seriously edited magazine who did the same amount of very intense fact checking as happened when i worked at "the new yorker" and the editing was certainly as confident and good as you get in "the new yorker." i'm very happy working for them. it is not as if i'm not put to the same question that you are putting, that critics may put by the editors of the magazine. they have direct contact. they know who the person is. they have discussions with him with me not present. all of the standards -- amy: let me share some of the criticism. like max fischer.
let me share it with your audience -- with the audience who talks about you relying entirely on one unnamed source for your principal allegation that u.s. defense officials bypassed the obama administration and shared intelligence with allies, who subsequently shared it with the assad regime. fischer goes on to conclude -- "we are required to believe that the senior-most leaders of our military one day in 2013 decided to completely transform how they behave and transgress every norm they have in a mass act of treason, despite never having done so before, and then promptly went back to normal this september when dempsey retired." can you respond to that? it's -- so many instances where the military disagreed with the president. we saw this and world war ii, macarthur, i mean, the idea the joint chiefs of staff -- let me just say in general, when you are at that level at the joint chiefs of staff, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, you make
up oath of office not to the president, but to the constitution. there's been many times the military objects. there were times in the last couple of years, congressional testimony, that general dempsey has made it clear he disagreed with the policy. specifically, about some of the matters that were raised in that article. and, for example, dempsey agreed in testimony that we should arm the moderates -- the opposition, rather. in fact what he agreed to, and this is with the head of the cia we on panetta at the time when this discussion came up of arming dissident groups and opposition groups inside syria, panetta and the chairman both made a point of saying, vetted groups and only those groups we really know are reliable and not ife goes or jihadist --
whackos or jihadists. there's a lot of contradictory evidence about it. there's a really can be more sophisticated arguments to make, and this is never happened before. this is certainly unusual that at a time like this, the military would give information to allies, our allies, at the request that differ from the official policy. sure, that is a very complicated thing and it was a tough thing to do, but it happen. amy: was there direct communication between the united states and syria? >> i'm going to stand by what i wrote in the article. amy: which was? >> i wrote in the article there was no direct contact, that the whole purpose was to use the cutouts, that there was no withpt to directly engage bashar al-assad or his regime. amy: and what did the u.s. get
in return? >> well, there was an understanding, obviously, conveyed by our allies and the understanding was we were going to give this and if a sharp would agree to an election, a monitored election once the war was over and presumably he had ar, there's abash lot of talk about the success of islamic groups. controlashar doesn't what hundred percent -- i'm not sure the number, but 50% less than the opposition groups, large swaths, 30%, 40%, but he does control as much as i've -- 86% of theent thatation and the notic notion most despise them is not true. many are very moderate people who believe they would be in trouble if islamic force -- the islamic groups came into power
because they would go and seek out those fellow muslims i don't agree with their extreme views. so he does have an awful lot of support, more than most people think will step this is not to say he is a good guy or bad guy, it is just reality. we are a country that in world or to, a year after -- world war ii, your after the russians were in a pact with hitler, we joined with them against hitler. you sometimes overlook -- one of the points also made in this article is this incredible hostility toward russia and these allegations time and again that russia is not really serious about going after the islamic state and just the debate at the u.n., a statistic suggesting 8% of the russian attacks have nothing to do with isis but they're attacking the isis opposition, the moderates. you have to say to your self, well, why then did isis bomb, as we all believe in the russians believe, destroy a russian airliner?
why was isis upset with russia if russia was basically bombing their enemy, the moderates? the logic in some of the american thinking and the thinking around the world, doesn't make much sense to me. amy: we are going to take a break and come back to this discussion, seymour hersh is our guest, his latest piece in the london review of books is, "military to military: u.s. intelligence sharing in the syrian war." back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
peace report. i'm amy goodman. our guest is seymour hersh, pulitzer prize-winning journalist. unit of a saturday night, the host as former secretary of state hillary clinton about senator bernie sanders plan for syria. >> we heard from the senator this week that we must put aside the issue of how quickly we get rid of assad and come together with countries including russia and iran to destroy isis first. is he wrong? >> i think we're missing the point here. we are doing both at the same time. >> that is what he is saying, we ship with that aside for now and go after isis. >> i don't agree. we will not get the support on the ground in syria to dislodge isis if the fighters there who are not associated with isis but whose principal goal is getting rid of assad, don't believe there is a political diplomatic channel that is ongoing. we now have that. >> secretary clinton is right, this is a complicated issue. i don't think anyone has a magical solution. yes, assad is a terrible
dictator, but i think we have to get our foreign policy and our priorities right. who is attacking the united states. it is isis. isis is attacking france and russian airliners. the major priority right now in terms of foreign and military policy should be the destruction of isis. >> we shouldn't be the ones declaring that assad must go. where did it ever say in the constitution, where is it written that it is the job of the united states of america or its secretary of state to determine when dictators have to go? with a rolled up in this world, but it is not the role of traveling the world looking for new monsters to destroy. amy: that is former governor martin o'malley, vermont senator bernie sanders, and hillary clinton all vying for the presidency. seymour hersh, your response and how these different views ally with either president obama or
the joint chiefs of staff, as you have laid out in your piece, "military to military"? >> clearly what mr. o'malley and what bernie sanders said would ring solidly with the joint chiefs. they would be in great distress about what hillary clinton said know,e, i think -- you the fact is that if you really stillo look at it, bashar the president of syria. the russians are bombing in syria at his invitation. we are bombing in syria without his invitation. so it is hard sometimes for americans to think we are not always on the side of the angels on legal issues, but we're certainly, benny normal standard if there was a normal standard of international conduct, we would be the bad guys in that just in terms of legalities. we not invited in. we're doing it. obviously, there's a lot of
agreement going on with all the bombing, much more than we know. the syrians are certainly correlated with the russians and we're core dating with everybody. -- coordinator with everybody. there's a much more cooperation going on even now then you can the. know, indea -- you your opening, you mentioned we seem to moderate our view. i think those are words that are being said, but the reality is, we say, well, we're not talking about regime change now -- amy: didn't jerry meet with putin and completely reverse it? >> not quite. he had a briefing after the meeting with the foreign minister of russia in which john kerry said, we don't think he can be and power while these negotiations can go on. you won't be able to preside over the negotiations. in other words, he is such a dissident force in this, that we
can't have a legitimate negotiation with various groups, some of which we believe are moderate, against all intelligence available. the united states, the president , still believes there are moderates there to work with. there -- the joint to stop think there's any intelligence fort neither does the dia. one thing i did in this article is i ended up talking to michael flynn who been director of the dia from 2012-2014 at the time of the assessment i wrote about came out. flynn was careful not to talk about a highly classified paper, but i can tell you, is that if the american public saw all of the papers that were going into the government and from the intelligence into the pentagon into the white house, they would be very upset. he also said in an interview with their spiegel maybe two or three weeks ago, published last week, didn't understand why we were fighting the russians, why not read -- let the russians come in?
the russian concern is not about establishing the new world order, their concern is terrorism, primarily. they have a big terrorism problem. there's no question the leadership, many of the leadership modes or groups inside the isil or the islamic state originated from the chechnya war. they had two wars. brutal wars, one which russia did horrible things come the same sort of stuff that bashar al-assad did and one could argue that same things we did to japan at the end of world war ii when you see your country is at stake. people do very rough things an all-out war. so all of these issues seem to by mrs.ully understood clinton, but it is early -- i guess she is obviously going to be the candidate and obviously, she is, you know, she is as smart as say, and i would think
willill maybe be -- i hope change her views as time goes on. amy: what is your assessment of her come as secretary of state, and dylan with? syria? she has laid out her views. she wants assad out. >> i think there should be learning curves with people with that kind of power. i think what happened in libya should have instructed anybody, including the president, we depose a dictator, you have to be aware of what is going to come next and think long and hard about what you're going to do. i think by any standard, the getting rid of gadhafi has proven to be a horrible event, increased the spread of the islamic state and africa, north africa, increased access to weapons and to money, etc. it has been a terrible -- it was a terrible decision. we seem not to have learned enough from it because, you know, if i am putin and i'm worried sick -- forget about what happened in ukraine.
it is terrible and i'm not defending him, but from his point of view about international terrorism, he is seen the u.s. attack one secular leader, could off the, destroy another secular leader, saddam hussein, the question he was not interested in the spread of international terrorism, bashar is the same like him always a secular state. there's a tremendous amount of freedom for all sorts of minority and sex and people don't understand -- people can only look to him for safety. they certainly can't look to the international islamic state for any sort of -- they went out to take over the country. and so if i am russia, i'm watching the destruction of three or attempted destruction of three secular states and wondering what the hell is america up to? they join us on terrorism. i can't to human people i know inside the military and intelligence community, as loyal
to america as you want to become a think our first move after 9/11 probably should have been to moscow and saint, what can you tell us about terrorism because we've got it right here and you had of her longtime. let's talk about it. we don't seem to be very good. was into live in a world of propaganda and likes and dislikes about her own national interests. amy: i want to go back to the key point you make in this policy, kind of coup the joint chiefs of staff conducting a very different wascy than president obama espousing, what has the white house, how have they responded to your piece, if they have? >> i don't think they want to hear about it. he is in hawaii. the mainstream press is sort of like, you know, what? this can be. this is an anonymous source. you know the drill. you and i have been talking since 9/11, every time i do a story and one of the things we talk about is the one of the reason i'm delighted to go on your show, at least i can have
more than three or four sentences. amy: and general dempsey leaving, what this means for the policy or as overall the policy shifted to what the joint chiefs of staff under dempsey wanted to begin with? >> there's a new leadership in the pentagon, and book the new chairman -- and both the new chairman has testified a couple of times -- i read about this at the end of my piece, and following the party line totally am a which is russia is not bombing any islamic states and that there are moderates and we can pull it out with the moderates. the new secretary of defense is on the same point, ash carter has said a few times in testimony and gave a speech at harvard the other week in which he basically said, follow the party or the presence line dutifully. i guess if you want to be in a job, you have to do so and it is sort of interesting to me that it some point, some other military leaders decided they could not follow the policy
because it was nonsensical, and did something about it. i don't think there was any attempt here to undermine the government. i think the attempt of everything that was done by the joint chiefs and other members of the military in terms of trying to do something -- really, an attempt to change from a make a midcourse sawection in a policy they that was deadly wrong. amy: last question about turkey, the role it has played. >> this is a national disgrace, that we are not able -- and this president -- i just don't know why he just in the last -- after the climate summit, he literally has had a private meeting with turkey, in france, and cannot and said, i'm with him all the way, etc., etc., etc., when all of the intelligence for a long time has been that he has, particularly
in a contested province syrian-controlled, the border has been opened for the islamic groups and he has not only been -- he is been funneling arms and money to the most extreme groups for years. we know about it. there is been a lot of intelligence reporting on it. his planes, when she began to allegedly join with us in flying combat missions, one of the first targets was the opposition kurds who have the best fighters inside syria against the islamic state, but he also bombed some of the syrian army's own specific units. contrary, opposite to what he said to do and what was being reported in the press. amy: and saudi arabia i's role? >> this is part of the great farce of our all-time. this u.n. meeting is going to take the views of saudi arabia and qatar very serious and when both of those countries have been the leading exporters of money come in the case of qatar,
people into the work on syria on behalf of the islamic groups. there is no question they're both so office states and so are areislamic states, which extreme radicals. if there is going to be a news area under these states, there will be no questions allowed, no muslims that disagreed with her point of view. it will be quite -- amy: thank you for being with us, seymour hersh, joining us from washington, d.c.. we will leak to the latest piece in the london review of books is titled, "military to military: u.s. intelligence sharing in the syrian war." seymour hersh is working on a study of dick cheney's vice presidency. when we come back, spying on pete seeger. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the laten now to musician pete seeger was a musical and political icon who helped create the modern american folk music. seeger wrote some of most the defining songs of the 20th century peace movement. "if i had a hammer," "where have all the flowers gone?," "turn! turn! turn!" and "this land is your land," expressed in melody the views of millions who opposed war and nuclear weapons, and yearned to create a better world. in the 1950's, he opposed to mccarthy's witch hunt. he was called before the house un-american activities committee, almost jailed for refusing to answer questions. he became a prominent civil rights activist, helped popularize the anthem "we shall overcome." it was a vocal critic of the vietnam war. as a rebel who challenge the status quo, he might not a surprise to his fans to learn was week that pete seeger
under government surveillance for nearly 30 years. it turns out it was not an antiwar anthem that caught the government i, but a letter. released documents show the fbi began spying on pete seeger as an army private in 1943 because he wrote a letter protesting a proposal to deport all japanese-american citizens at the end of world war ii. that same year, he merit his wife, toshi, who is japanese-american. he wrote -- "if you bar from citizenship descendants of japanese, why not descendants of english? after all, we once fought with them too. america is great and strong as she is because we have so far been a haven to all oppressed," he wrote. the disclosure is contained in the fbi's file on seeger, obtained by mother jones through a freedom of information act request. military intelligence agents visited his grade school and high school, investigated his father and his wife, toshi, who -- and interviewed fellow folk singer woody guthrie.
they wrote -- the document show the government continued to spy on pete seeger until the early 1970's. his file runs nearly 1800 pages with about 90 pages still , withheld. pete seeger died last year at the age of 94. david king dunaway is a historian and radio host who has spent 30 years writing about pete seeger. he is the author of, "how can i keep from singing? the ballad of pete seeger." david king dunaway joins us now. welcome to democracy now! can you talk about the significance of more than 1700 pages the national archives have released? >> well, you know, that is actually a drop in the bucket because i sued the fbi and cia decades ago and actually, right before he wrote that letter, he and woody guthrie were out here
in san francisco singing for a guy named jerry bridges who helped organize the longshore workers union. and the fbi thought they had figured out the secret of pete seeger's appeal to the audience. read from a document they declassified a long time ago, they said -- they characterized pete and woody as untimely, ragged, dirty and appearance. in the song leading technique that could not fool the fbi. the audience joined in not from their own desire, but let into it through mass psychology and apathy toward the other control of the meeting by communist officers and members. so the fbi has been hunting, ghost hunting you might say, a long time. amy: i want to turn to a clip from pete seeger on democracy
now! in 2004 the firehouse studios. i asked about his service as a soldier in world war ii. >> i first want to be a mechanic in the air force. i thought that would be an interesting thing. but then military intelligence got interested in my politics. my outfit went on to glory and death, and i stayed there in mississippi picking up cigarette butts for six months. finally, they let me know, yes, they been investigating me, opening my mail. amy: pete seeger, when you came back, they continued to investigate you. >> i assumed most of my life that if it wasn't a microphone under the bed, they were tapping the phone from time to time and opening my mail from time to time. who knows? amy: that is pete seeger in 2004. david king dunaway, you have about 1000 pages dr. another 1700 have been released.
back in 1943 when he nurses wife who is japanese-american, talk about why it was this letter that prompted the fbi to open a file, at least as far as we know. >> i think the file was opened earlier because pete seeger was a member of a very successful national group called the almanac singers. there were on all four radio networks at once, one point, before a harvard professor, ironically, since pete went to harvard for your and a half in the class of jfk, that is, actually blew the whistle on the fact that before pete seeger was songs hebeat hitler" was singing peace songs and union songs. a lot of people did not like unions in those days. ultimately, that quality in him, the quality of what i think of as new england patriotism, the sense that we have the right to speak our minds ,won out.
here is pete seeger investigated for 30 years by the fbi. they sent people out to boston, how to new york city, all over the country they were trying to find out -- they sent people to his elementary school and high school come all of this to find out what is this man who wrote a letter -- and after all, isn't it the right of a private citizen to write a letter expressing their feelings to the government about what it means? and what you read, amy, sounds an awful lot like donald trump today. amy: i want to go back to that same interview in 2004 with he's been the hour on democracy now! talking about his life and performing a few songs. i asked him about his father, who at one timed worked at the university of california at berkeley and was also once connected to the communist party. >> well, was originally in charge of the music department at the young age of 24 of the youngest full professor at the
university. along comes world war i and he have been radicalized, as people tend to go to berkeley, and he made speeches against imperialist war. i mother said, can't you keep your mouth shut? and he said, but something is wrong, you should speak out about it. .he whole new england idea it goes back to sam adams. and before that, i guess. well, he got fired. later on when the crash of 1929 came, the marriage of broken up, he married a young, extraordinary composer named ruth crawford and had four more children. but in those early days, he linked up with the communist movement, he and aaron copland and mark blitz, had a thing called the composers collective. in russia, they had collectives this and that.
and they decide a skilled musicians, they would compose the new music for the new society. well, their attempts were laughable. aaron copland put music to a poem by alfred hayes. into the streets may 1, but only a very expert singer could sing it. tremendous range currently a very expert canonist could accompany and it properly. amy: that was the seeger on democracy now! in two thousand four. he was called before the house un-american activities committee august 18, 1955. jim musselman was on the show with him, longtime friend and record producer for pete seeger. and he talked about pete seeger's defense before he left. >> i want to invoke one thing with the mccarthy area pete, he was basically one of the first people who invoked the first
amendment. most said the fifth amendment and were dismissed. what pete did and powerful andle who read the guts intestinal fortitude to stand up to the committee and say, i'm going to invoke the right of freedom of association, and i was actually in law school and i sead the case of segger vx united states and a change my log -- i like because i saw what he has done saying, we're all americans and we can associate with whoever we want to. and it doesn't matter who we associate, that is what the founding fathers set up democracy to be. i just really feel it is an important part of history that people need to remember. amy: that was jim musselman, longtime friend and record producer for pete seeger. david, if you can talk about the last 90 pages that we believe the government has -- apparently, there are 1800 pages in the file that they've released all but 90 of the pages.
i mean, pete has died, his wife has died. what could they possibly be hanging on to to keep secret? >> when i spoke to an attorney here in san francisco as part of my suit against the fbi and cia, i said, why are you caring so much about this material? and i think the real reason, amy, is there concerned maybe some of the statute of limitations has not yet expired on the crimes that were committed against american citizens as part of this, you know, cold war against the remnants of the roosevelt administration. so they may be worried about their own agents and what they did. amy: what could the fbi conversation have been like with woody guthrie, investigating pete seeger, david? woodyl, the fbi did go to and to ask them questions. according to the summary
released i their informant -- which is not always quite ofurate -- well, woody kind soft-pedal politics. said pete was a liberal who believed in the common man and doesn't i think what we can learn from all of this is, what right does the government have to working with or interfering with artistic production and artist themselves yocca what rolled we want the government to take? do they get to pick and choose which artist they like in which they follow down hallways and skulked around corners? i don't think so. and will take america's that way and i don't think pete seeger's tradition of intellectual and moral responsibility is appropriate here. you know, america needs heroes. we have lost a lot of them. pete seeger was one of those people who just never shut up. he felt like he had a world to
defend and he defended it. david, we wrap up, "knee-deep in the big muddy" we played on break, that was supposed to sing on smothers brothers for the networks stopped the song from being played. ultimately, he was able to sing it there. >> it took a while. what happened is they cut away from pete seeger playing the banjo and the next thing you knew, he came back with a 12 string guitar. does -- they wanted to know that there are been change. next time, yes, the times have changed, it was late in the 1960's, during a protest against the vietnam war, that , he was an obvious allegory got to sing the song. amy: we have to leave it there,