Candidates of both Parties infected by clique-linked advisors


2008-01-06

Richard Moore

Original source URL:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info:80/article18991.htm
[audio and vido in original]

NEWS YOU WON'T FIND ON CNN

Atrocity-Linked U.S. Officials Advising Democratic, GOP Presidential 
Frontrunners:

Independent journalist Allan Nairn and American Conservative correspondent 
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos discuss a little-addressed facet of the 2008 campaign: 
many of the top advisers to leading presidential candidates are ex-U.S. 
officials involved in atrocities around the world

Democracy Now! - 01/03/08
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AMY GOODMAN: Presidential candidates are scrambling to win last-minute support 
in Iowa ahead of tonight¹s caucus. Thousands of reporters have also descended on
Iowa this week, covering everything from Mike Huckabee¹s haircut to John 
Edwards¹s rally with singer John Mellencamp.

But little attention has been paid to perhaps one of the most important aspects 
of the candidates: their advisers, the men and women who likely form the 
backbone of the candidate¹s future cabinet if elected president. Many of the 
names will be familiar.

Advisers to Hillary Rodham Clinton include many former top officials in 
President Clinton¹s administration: former Secretary of State Madeleine 
Albright, former National Security Adviser Samuel Berger, former UN Ambassador 
Richard Holbrooke. Senator Barack Obama¹s list includes President Carter¹s 
National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, former counterterrorism czar 
Richard Clarke, former Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross.

Rudolph Giuliani¹s advisers include Norman Podhoretz, one of the fathers of the 
neoconservative movement. John McCain¹s list of official and formal policy 
advisers includes former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, General Colin 
Powell, William Kristol of The Weekly Standard, and former CIA Director James 
Woolsey. One of Mitt Romney¹s top advisers is Cofer Black, the former CIA 
official who now serves as vice chair of Blackwater Worldwide. Vice President 
Dick Cheney¹s daughter Elizabeth is advising Fred Thompson.

As for Mike Huckabee, it¹s not clear. In December, Huckabee listed former UN 
Ambassador John Bolton as someone with whom he either has ³spoken or will 
continue to speak,² but Bolton then revealed the two had never spoken. Huckabee 
also named Richard Allen, but the former National Security Adviser also admitted
he had never spoken to Huckabee.

To talk more about the advisers behind the presidential campaigns, I¹m joined by
two guests. Kelley Vlahos is a freelance journalist in Washington. Her article 
on presidential advisers called ³War Whisperers² appeared in The American 
Conservative in October. Investigative journalist Allan Nairn joins us here in 
the firehouse studio. We welcome you both to Democracy Now!

I want to begin by going to Washington, D.C., to our guest there, to the author 
of ³War Whisperers.² Talk about why you focused, Kelley, on the advisers of the 
presidential candidates.

KELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS: Well, it was becoming clear to me and to others here in 
Washington in certain circles that the advisers that were emerging for the 
campaigns, whether it be Democratic or Republican, were part of some seriously 
pro-establishment cliques. And I say ³cliques,² because there is really no other
way to describe it. But these cliques generally can be categorized as not only 
pro-establishment, but more pro-interventionist, whether it be the so-called 
liberal interventionists on the Democratic side or your war hawks on the 
Republican side.

But what became clear is that the candidates weren¹t reaching outside of these 
establishment cliques and that they were getting no fresh ideas, no vision 
outside of these pretty standard parameters. And we thought‹me and the editors 
thought it might be a good idea to explore a little bit under the surface about 
where these of advisers were coming from, in hopes of maybe deciphering where 
foreign policy might be going in the future.

AMY GOODMAN: Let¹s begin with Hillary Clinton, Kelley Vlahos.

KELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS: OK. Well, Hillary Clinton¹s‹her foreign policy team can 
be best described as‹and I hate to use this word so casually, but‹³throwbacks² 
of her husband¹s administration. We have, you know, Richard Holbrooke, Madeleine
Albright, you have Sandy Berger as your sort of top-tier advisers, your key 
advisers, the most recognized faces. And then, beyond that, as I say in the 
article, you have this newer generation‹I want to say newer generation, but a 
generation of former Clinton types who you might not recognize their names, but 
they¹ve been around for a long time and are seriously scrambling for position in
what they see as a new Clinton administration. So you¹re seeing a lot of old 
faces, old names, who haven¹t really changed their ideas from, you know, what I 
and others can see, in terms of doing the research, haven¹t changed their real 
vision of the world and foreign policy since the 1990s.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me bring Allan Nairn into this conversation. You have just 
written about the advisers, as well, on your blog, newsc.blogspot.com. Elaborate
further on Hillary Clinton¹s advisers.

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, I think one thing you could say about the advisers for all 
the candidates who have a chance is that the presence of these advisers makes it
clear that these candidates aren¹t serious about enforcing the murder laws and 
that they¹re willing to kill civilians, foreign civilians, en masse in order to 
advance US policy. And they¹re not serious about law and order. They¹re soft on 
crime.

And start with Clinton. Madeleine Albright, she was the main force behind the 
Iraq sanctions that killed more than 400,000 Iraqi civilians. General Wesley 
Clark, he was the one who ran the bombing of Serbia in the former Yugoslavia, 
came out and publicly said that he was going after civilian targets, like 
electrical plants, like the TV station there. Richard Holbrooke, in the Carter 
administration he was the one who oversaw the shipment of weapons to the 
Indonesian military as they were invading‹illegally invading East Timor and 
killing a third of the population there, and he was the one who kept the UN 
Security Council from enforcing its resolution against that invasion. Strobe 
Talbott, he was the one who, during the Clinton administration, oversaw Russia 
policy, a backing of Yeltsin, which resulted in turning over the national wealth
to the oligarchs and a drop in life expectancy in much of Russia of about 
fifteen years‹massive, massive death. And you have various backers of the Iraq 
invasion and occupation and the recent escalation, people like General Jack 
Keane, Michael O¹Hanlon and others. That¹s just Clinton.

AMY GOODMAN: Barack Obama?

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, Obama¹s top adviser is Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski gave 
an interview to the French press a number of years ago where he boasted about 
the fact that it was he who created the whole Afghan jihadi movement, the 
movement that produced Osama bin Laden. And he was asked by the interviewer, 
³Well, don¹t you think this might have had some bad consequences?² And 
Brzezinski replied, ³Absolutely not. It was definitely worth it, because we were
going after the Soviets. We were getting the Soviets.² Another top Obama person‹

AMY GOODMAN: I think his comment actually was, ³What¹s a few riled-up Muslims?² 
And this, that whole idea of blowback, the idea of arming, financing, training 
the Mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, including Osama bin Laden, 
and then when they¹re done with the Soviets, they set their sights, well, on the
United States.

ALLAN NAIRN: Right. And later, during Bill Clinton¹s administration, during the 
Bosnia killing, the US actually flew some of the Afghan Mujahideen, the early 
al-Qaeda people‹the US actually arranged for them to be flown from there to 
Bosnia to fight on the Muslim/NATO side.

Another key Obama adviser, Anthony Lake, he was the main force behind the US 
invasion of Haiti in the mid-Clinton years during which they brought back 
Aristide essentially in political chains, pledged to support a World Bank/IMF 
overhaul of the economy, which resulted in an increase in malnutrition deaths 
among Haitians and set the stage for the current ongoing political disaster in 
Haiti.

Another Obama adviser, General Merrill McPeak, an Air Force man, who not long 
after the Dili massacre in East Timor in ¹91 that you and I survived, he was‹I 
happened to see on Indonesian TV shortly after that‹there was General McPeak 
overseeing the delivery to Indonesia of US fighter planes.

Another key Obama adviser, Dennis Ross. Ross, for many years under both Clinton 
and Bush 2, a key‹he has advised Clinton and both Bushes. He oversaw US policy 
toward Israel/Palestine. He pushed the principle that the legal rights of the 
Palestinians, the rights recognized under international law, must be 
subordinated to the needs of the Israeli government‹in other words, their 
desires, their desires to expand to do whatever they want in the Occupied 
Territories. And Ross was one of the people who, interestingly, led the 
political assault on former Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Carter, no 
peacenik‹I mean, Carter is the one who bears ultimate responsibility for that 
Timor terror that Holbrooke was involved in. But Ross led an assault on him, 
because, regarding Palestine, Carter was so bold as to agree with Bishop Desmond
Tutu of South Africa that what Israel was doing in the Occupied Territories was 
tantamount to apartheid. And so, Ross was one of those who fiercely attacked 
him.

Another Obama adviser, Sarah Sewall, who heads a human rights center at Harvard 
and is a former Defense official, she wrote the introduction to General 
Petraeus¹s Marine Corps/Army counterinsurgency handbook, the handbook that is 
now being used worldwide by US troops in various killing operations. That¹s the 
Obama team.

AMY GOODMAN: John Edwards?

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, Edwards is a little different. The list of his foreign 
advisers is not as complete, so it¹s not as clear exactly where they may be 
coming from, but it¹s interesting. Last night on TV, one of the top Edwards 
advisers, ³Mudcat² Saunders, was complaining about the fact that there are 
35,000 lobbyists in Washington. And it appears, from the Edwards list, that many
of the military lobbyists are working on the Edwards foreign policy team, 
because the names that‹the Edwards names that are out there mainly come from the
Army and the Air Force and the Navy Material Command. Those are the portions of 
the Pentagon that do the Defense contracts, that do the deals with the big 
companies like Raytheon and Boeing, etc. One of those listed on the Edwards team
is the lobbyist for the big military contractor EADS. So, although Edwards talks
about going after lobbyists, if he tries to go after the military lobbyists, he 
may get a little blowback from his own advisers.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you saying that there¹s no difference between these candidates?

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, fundamentally, there¹s no difference on the basic principle 
of, are you against the killing of civilians and are you willing to enforce the 
murder laws. If we were willing to enforce the murder laws, the headquarters of 
each of these candidates could be raided, and various advisers and many 
candidates could be hauled away by the cops, because they have backed various 
actions that, under established principles like the Nuremberg Principles, like 
the principles set up in the Rwanda tribunals, the Bosnia tribunals, things that
are unacceptable, like aggressive war, like the killing of civilians for 
political purposes. So, in a basic sense, there is no choice.

But there is a difference in this sense: the US is so vastly powerful, the US 
influences and has the potential to end so many millions of lives around the 
world, that if, let¹s say, you have two candidates that are 99% the same‹there¹s
only 1% difference between them‹if you¹re talking about decisions that affect a 
million lives‹1% of a million is 10,000‹that¹s 10,000 lives. So, even though 
it¹s a bitter choice, if you choose the one who is going to kill 10,000 fewer 
people, well, then you¹ve saved 10,000 lives. We shouldn¹t be limited to that 
choice. It¹s unacceptable. And Americans should start to realize that it¹s 
unacceptable.

But that¹s the choice we have at the moment. In Iowa, I think there are steps 
people could take to start to challenge that system, if they wanted to.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we¹ll talk about that in a minute, and we¹ll continue to talk
about the advisers. Our guests are Allan Nairn and Kelley Beaucar Vlahos. We¹ll 
be back with them both in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We continue this discussion about the advisers to the presidential 
candidates, the men and women behind the men and women who are running today. 
Our guests are Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, a freelance journalist in Washington, 
wrote a piece in The American Conservative called ³War Whisperers: The 2008 
Hopefuls Promised a Change in Foreign Policy Then Hired the Old Guard.² We are 
also joined by independent investigative journalist Allan Nairn. He writes a 
blog called newsc.blogspot.com. His piece today on this issue is called ³The US 
Election is Already Over. Murder and Preventable Death Have Won.²

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, would you like to add to any of the advisers Allan just 
talked about? And then we¹ll move on to the Republicans.

KELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS: Well, I think Allan has covered most of it and pretty 
thoroughly. I agree with him that there is very little difference among these 
people, and I think what he said really speaks to the idea and the challenge 
that there is no incentive for these candidates to reach out beyond any of this 
orbit or galaxy of foreign policy advisers who have been linked in, you know, 
we¹re talking decades of war and events and actions and operations. And there 
seems, whether it be John Edwards reaching out to the Defense contracting 
community or Hillary Clinton reaching out to her husband¹s former security 
advisers and operatives or whether it¹s Obama reaching out to former Clinton 
types, there doesn¹t seem to be any incentive to reach out beyond that. It seems
like there is a stranglehold in this town on the kind of advisers that one is 
supposed to be linked with.

And I think a lot of that is linked to money, where, you know, the candidates 
have big names, big lobbyists; that in turn brings them in more funders, more 
bundlers. And it¹s sort of like this hand-in-glove symbiotic relationship, where
the bigger names you have, the more familiar names, the more entrenched you have
in these cliques I spoke to previously, the more money you¹re bringing into your
campaign. So there¹s no incentive to go beyond that, unless you¹re ready for 
some amount of rebuke and some of the spigot being turned off.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, actually, in terms of money, Allan Nairn, someone like 
Obama raises an enormous amount of money from just the grassroots.

ALLAN NAIRN: Yeah, Obama‹that¹s a very telling example. Like Dean in the last 
campaign, Obama has the ability to get all the money he needs from the middle 
class through the internet, through $50, $80, $100 contributions. He actually 
doesn¹t need to finance his campaign, to go to the hedge funds, to go to Wall 
Street. But he does anyway. And he does, I think, because if he doesn¹t, they 
wouldn¹t trust him. They might think that he¹s on the wrong team, and they might
start attacking him. He is someone who, in terms of the money he needs for his 
campaign, he could afford to come out for single-payer healthcare, for example, 
but he doesn¹t. He doesn¹t need money from the health insurance industry, that¹s
wasting several percentage points of the American GDP in a way that no other 
industrial rich country in the world does, yet he chooses not to do that, 
because he doesn¹t want to be attacked by those corporations.

AMY GOODMAN: And is Edwards and Clinton any different on those issues?

ALLAN NAIRN: Not as far as I can tell. None of them have come out for single 
payer. The only one who came out for single payer was Kucinich. Campaign 
contributions is just one of many tools that rich people have to get their way. 
There are basically two parallel factors in any democracy. One is one person, 
one vote. The other is one dollar, one vote. And those two are mixed together. 
So, although the people do have some say, there are usually a lot more dollars 
out there than people, and they find ways of prevailing in the end, unless the 
people become aggressive and disruptive and demanding and threaten to shake the 
system so that big concessions are made.

AMY GOODMAN: Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, let¹s go to the Republicans: Giuliani, Mitt 
Romney, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, John McCain. Give us a few of their 
advisers.

KELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS: Well, Giuliani, as you had mentioned, and you had a 
pretty thorough list of people, but Giuliani is probably strikingly‹strikingly 
is reaching out to the most strident neoconservatives on the scene today. He has
familiar neoconservatives on his team, like you said: Norman Podhoretz, also 
Daniel Pipes, who‹and I don¹t remember if you had mentioned, but‹has been 
leading the charge against ³Islamofascism² on college campuses, has put out his 
Campus Watch, in terms of going after professors that he deems are not 
pro-Israel enough. He has other less familiar names, like Martin Kramer, Stephen
Rosen, Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution. He has basically a small 
galaxy of neoconservatives from familiar think tanks as the American Enterprise 
Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Hoover, the Hudson.

And basically, I mean, just to start, you know, with Giuliani, because I think 
he has the most poignant list of people in terms of where you would think that 
his foreign policy strategy is moving, he has basically‹and I said this in my 
article‹has taken the Bush Doctrine, has just pumped it up with steroids. He is 
fully on board‹he always has been‹with the Bush Doctrine. His people behind him 
are. We¹re talking about no-holds-barred forward with the war on terror, the war
against ³Islamofascism.² He believes that the war on terror is a grand war 
versus good and evil. He is not shy to say that, his people aren¹t shy to say 
that. He¹s fully in grip of these people and the Bush Doctrine.

And, you know, if you want to see where the Rudy Giuliani‹President Rudy 
Giuliani will take us, you just look at the Bush Doctrine as if the Iraq war 
never happened or, better yet, the problems that have arisen from the Iraq war 
have never happened, because Rudy Giuliani doesn¹t seem to acknowledge any of 
that. Any issues before the surge are incidental. You know, everything is moving
forward, and his policy team is right there backing him.

AMY GOODMAN: Allan Nairn, more on Rudolph Giuliani, and then to Mitt Romney.

ALLAN NAIRN: Giuliani, as was mentioned, his big adviser is Norman Podhoretz. 
Podhoretz¹s new book is World War IV, which he seems to like. Podhoretz says, 
bomb the Iranians. And he¹s not just talking about pinpoint Iranian nuclear 
installations; he¹s saying bomb the Iranians. And he says he prays that this 
will happen. Ex-Senator Robert Kasten, an old major backer of the Pakistani 
military dictatorships and the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia, he¹s another 
key Giuliani adviser.

McCain has General Alexander Haig, who oversaw the US policy of mass terror 
killings of civilians in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras, when 
American nuns and religious workers were abducted, raped and murdered by the 
Salvadoran National Guard. General Haig said those nuns died in an exchange of 
gunfire, the pistol-packing nuns. He has a younger‹McCain has a younger adviser,
Max Boot, who now points to El Salvador, where 70,000 civilians were killed by 
American-backed death squads, as a model counterinsurgency, a model for what the
US should be doing today. Henry Kissinger advises McCain, as he advises many 
others. And Kissinger, of course, was responsible for mass death in Cambodia, 
Vietnam, Chile, countless other places. Bud McFarlane from the Reagan 
administration, who was a key backer of the Contras. Brent Scowcroft, who these 
days is popular with some liberals because he opposes‹he opposed the Iraq 
invasion, who is a leader of the realist school‹the realist school basically 
says, yes, kill civilians, but make sure you win the war, as opposed to the 
Bush-Cheney school, which has been killing civilians but losing the war, as the 
US has been doing until recently in Iraq and is now starting to do in 
Afghanistan‹Scowcroft was the one who, during the Bush 1 administration, went to
China right after the Tiananmen Square massacre and reassured the Chinese 
leadership, ³Don¹t worry about it, we¹re still behind you.²

Romney, as you mentioned, Romney has Cofer Black, a longtime CIA operative who 
was one of the key people behind the invasion of Afghanistan. During the course 
of that, according to Bob Woodward, he went in and said, ³We¹re going to go into
Afghanistan. We¹re going to cut their heads off.² He¹s the one who organized 
Detachment 88 in Indonesia just recently, the supposed antiterrorist outfit that
recently went after a Papuan human rights lawyer. Two key figures in backing the
old US policy in Central America, Mark Falcoff and Roger Noriega, are also on 
the Romney team. And Dan Senor, who viewers probably remember as the voice of 
the early invasion and occupation of Iraq, he¹s one of the Romney guys. Now, as 
you mentioned‹

AMY GOODMAN: Dan Senor is one of the spokespeople in Iraq, is married to, I 
think it is, Campbell Brown, who¹s just been hired by CNN to replace Paula Zahn.

ALLAN NAIRN: Huckabee, who you mentioned, it¹s not clear who his advisers are. 
Huckabee recently was attacked by Romney for being soft on crime. So Huckabee 
responded, ³Soft on crime? I executed sixteen people in Arkansas. How many 
people did you execute in Massachusetts?² Well, Massachusetts didn¹t have the 
death penalty. But if Huckabee were really tough on crime, he would have used 
his post as governor of Arkansas to extradite Bill Clinton to Arkansas to stand 
trial before the courts there, as is permissible under international law, for 
the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths brought on by the Iraqi sanctions 
during the Clinton administration. But that¹s unthinkable in American politics. 
It probably didn¹t even occur to Huckabee. But if we had a civilized political 
order and we defined crime and murder objectively, something like that would 
have been on the table, and Huckabee would have been challenged on it.

Bloomberg, who may step in as the independent, using his money, he¹s an 
interesting example of another aspect.

AMY GOODMAN: The current mayor of New York.

ALLAN NAIRN: Yes. One is, we ought to be enforcing the murder laws evenhandedly,
so that anyone who facilitates the killing of civilians faces trial and jail, 
just like any street criminal, even if they¹re a CIA operative, even if they¹re 
an American general, even if they¹re American president.

Two, we ought to be preventing preventable death if we can. Kids who are 
defecating to death, kids who are dying from malnutrition for the lack of a 
couple of dollars, we should be stopping that every single time it can be 
stopped in the world. Last year in the world, there were anywhere from three to 
five million deaths of children under the age of five, children who were 
suffering from malnutrition. If he had so chosen‹and he chose not to‹Bloomberg 
could have personally prevented those deaths, because according to Forbes 
magazine, he¹s worth $11.5 billion, and that¹s more than enough money, if 
distributed properly, to prevent that many deaths, millions of one year¹s deaths
of entirely preventable, entirely inexcusable malnutrition deaths. But it 
probably never even occurred to him, and he was certainly never challenged on it
politically.

But we can start to challenge people on this politically. For example, in the 
Iowa caucuses, we¹re now in a situation where, you know, we have very bitter 
choices. So what are you going to do? I mean, Kucinich, who has good positions 
on many of these issues, he¹s decided to throw in his lot with Obama. Ralph 
Nader, who has good positions, he¹s implying support for Edwards. OK, these are 
tactical choices. But one thing that people can do in the Iowa caucuses tonight,
they can go in there and say, OK, I¹m caucusing for whomever, but I am making my
support conditional on you renouncing support for the murder of civilians, on 
you firing all of your advisers who have been involved in the killing of 
civilians in the past, you turning them over to the International Criminal Court
if you can get the International Criminal Court to accept it, you signing a 
pledge that says no more killing of civilians, you signing a pledge that says we
will prevent preventable death.

You know, the right wing has been doing this for years on the issue of taxes. 
They make‹they go around, they make all the Republican candidates sign a no-tax 
pledge. That¹s been somewhat effective. A very similar thing could be done, and 
I think it could have appeal, left and right, to anyone who is decent to have 
candidates pledge no more support for killing civilians, tough on crime, enforce
the murder laws, prevent preventable deaths. Let¹s not have kids dying of 
diarrhea. If we have spare dollars floating around that people only want, give 
them to people whose bodies need them.

AMY GOODMAN: You know, it¹s interesting, there is an Occupation Project, and a 
group of people were just arrested in Huckabee¹s offices, among them the 
longtime peace activist, Nobel Peace Prize nominee several times over, Kathy 
Kelly, who founded Voices in the Wilderness.

ALLAN NAIRN: Right. That¹s a good tactic. I think we have to try many tactics 
from many directions. And one possible one is, you know, getting inside things 
like the Iowa caucus, getting inside things like the conventions of both parties
and threaten to create a disturbance on the floor, ruckus on the floor, if the 
candidate for whom you are there as a delegate doesn¹t back these simple things 
that should be the basis of any civilization: no murder, save someone if you can
save them.

AMY GOODMAN: Final question, this is on a totally different issue, Allan Nairn, 
our top headline, the Justice Department launching a formal criminal 
investigation to the destruction of the videotapes documenting the interrogation
of two prisoners. You have long been writing about investigating the CIA and US 
policy, whether it¹s in Central America or Asia. What are your thoughts on the 
destruction of these videotapes?

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, one‹and who knows?‹I¹m skeptical that they¹ve actually been 
destroyed. I mean, anyone, you know, who works with computers knows that it¹s 
almost impossible to truly eliminate something from a hard disk and also that 
when there¹s a document, there are always multiple copies made, especially when 
you¹re in a network system. So I¹d be surprised if this thing was really 
destroyed.

But, anyway, it¹s unfortunate that the issue of torture‹I mean, it¹s good that 
the issue of torture has finally been put on the table of American politics and 
people talk about it to some extent, but it¹s unfortunate that it¹s been put on 
the table in the context of the torture of these al-Qaeda people, these people 
who were openly proud killers, mass murderers of civilians. In that context, a 
lot of people look at it and say, ³Well, yeah, look at these lowlifes. Maybe 
they should be tortured.²

But the fact of the matter is, 90% , at least, worldwide of cases of torture are
not of people like this who are open mass murderers. They are usually of 
dissidents, of rebels, or of common criminals. And often, it is done by regimes 
that are armed, trained or financed by the United States. This was the case in 
El Salvador. In El Salvador, I interviewed Salvadoran military people who told 
of torture training classes they got from CIA officials, and they talked about 
how the CIA people would be in the room as the torture sessions were going on. 
And these were not al-Qaeda types that they were torturing; these were labor 
organizers, these were people who were speaking for justice, these were 
peasants.

That¹s what most torture is in the world, and it should be completely banned and
abolished, not in the soft rhetorical way that McCain is talking about it, but 
actually stopping it by stopping support for all the forces that make a practice
of torture. And that would involve completely rewriting the Foreign Operations 
Appropriations Bill, the Defense Appropriations Bill, and it would also involve 
calling in the authorities and carrying out many US officials in chains, because
they¹ve been backing this illegal stuff for years.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we¹re going to leave it there. In talking about, by the way, 
the occupation of offices, it was not only Huckabee¹s office, it was also Barack
Obama¹s Iowa office, as well as Mitt Romney¹s Iowa office, people occupied 
yesterday. Allan Nairn, I want to thank you for being with us. Your blog at 
³newsc² for ³News and Comment,² newsc.blogspot.com. And Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, 
thank you for joining us from Washington, D.C. Her article appeared in The 
American Conservative. The piece was called ³War Whisperers.²

Alan Nairn's Blog "News and Comment"
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