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Amy Goodman
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Thursday 24 January 2013
Scahill and Rowley, ventured beyond Kabul, Afghanistan, to investigate one of the thousands of night raids that typically go unreported.

Obama’s Dirty Wars Exposed at Sundance

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As President Barack Obama prepared to be sworn in for his second term as the 44th president of the United States, two courageous journalists premiered a documentary at the annual Sundance Film Festival. “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield” reaffirms the critical role played by independent journalists like the film’s director, Rick Rowley, and its narrator and central figure, Jeremy Scahill. The increasing pace of U.S. drone strikes, and the Obama administration’s reliance on shadowy special forces to conduct military raids beyond the reach of oversight and accountability, were summarily missed over the inaugural weekend by a U.S. press corps obsessed with first lady Michelle Obama’s new bangs. “Dirty Wars,” along with Scahill’s forthcoming book of the same title, is on target to break that silence ... with a bang that matters.

Scahill and Rowley, no strangers to war zones, ventured beyond Kabul, Afghanistan, south to Gardez, in Paktia province, a region dense with armed Taliban and their allies in the Haqqani network, to investigate one of the thousands of night raids that typically go unreported.

Scahill told me: “In Gardez, U.S. special operations forces had intelligence that a Taliban cell was having some sort of a meeting to prepare a suicide bomber. And they raid the house in the middle of the night, and they end up killing five people, including three women, two of whom were pregnant, and ... Mohammed Daoud, a senior Afghan police commander who had been trained by the U.S.”

Scahill and Rowley went to the heart of the story, to hear from people who live at the target end of U.S. foreign policy. In Gardez, they interviewed survivors of that violent raid on the night of Feb. 12, 2010. After watching his brother and his wife, his sister and his niece killed by U.S. special forces, Mohammed Sabir was handcuffed on the ground. He watched, helpless, as the U.S. soldiers dug the bullets out of his wife’s corpse with a knife. He and the other surviving men were then flown off by helicopter to another province.

Sabir recounted his ordeal for Rowley’s camera: “My hands and clothes were caked with blood. They didn’t give us water to wash the blood away. The American interrogators had beards and didn’t wear uniforms. They had big muscles and would fly into sudden rages. By the time I got home, all our dead had already been buried. Only my father and my brother were left at home. I didn’t want to live anymore. I wanted to wear a suicide jacket and blow myself up among the Americans. But my brother and my father wouldn’t let me. I wanted a jihad against the Americans.”

Before leaving, Scahill and Rowley made copies of videos from the cellphones of survivors. One demonstrated that it was not a Taliban meeting, but a lively celebration of the birth of a child that the raid interrupted. Rowley described another video: “You can hear voices come over it, and they’re American-accented voices speaking about piecing together their version of the night’s killings, getting their story straight. You hear them trying to concoct a story about how this was something other than a massacre.”

The film shows an image captured in Gardez, by photographer Jeremy Kelly, sometime after the massacre. It showed a U.S. admiral named McRaven, surrounded by Afghan soldiers, offering a sheep as a traditional gesture seeking forgiveness for the massacre. The cover-up had failed.

William McRaven headed the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC. Following the thread of JSOC, painstakingly probing scarcely reported night raids, traveling from Afghanistan to Yemen to Somalia, Scahill’s reporting, along with Rowley’s incredible camerawork, constructs for the first time a true, comprehensive picture of JSOC and Commander in Chief Obama’s not-so-brave new world.

The Inauguration Day drone strike in Yemen was the fourth in as many days, along with a similar increase in strikes in Pakistan. The Washington Post reported that Obama has a “playbook” that details when drone strikes are authorized, but it reportedly exempts those conducted by the CIA in Afghanistan and Pakistan. On Inauguration Day, Obama officially nominated John Brennan, a strong advocate for the “enhanced interrogation techniques” that many call torture, and architect of the drone program, to head the CIA.

With the film “Dirty Wars,” co-written with David Riker and directed by Rowley, Jeremy Scahill is pulling back the curtain on JSOC, which has lately exploded into the public eye with the torture-endorsing movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the killing of Osama bin Laden. When “Dirty Wars” comes to a theater near you, see it. Sadly, it proves the theater of war is everywhere, or, as its subtitle puts it: “The World Is a Battlefield.” As Scahill told me, “You’re going to see a very different reality, and you’re going to see the hellscape that has been built by a decade of covert war.”

© 2011 Amy Goodman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate

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ABOUT Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 900 stations in North America. She is the author of "Breaking the Sound Barrier," recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.

"Embedded journalists" are

"Embedded journalists" are ways of controlling reporters by nesting them into military units that are away from the dirty ops.

CIA and NATO have done some very dirty things, indeed. They armed, trained and sent in thousands of foreign fighters into Libya, early 2011, and Syria, since spring 2011 to the present day. See the Syria iBook at for the best source of information on that. Lately, the US has sent 100s of millions of dollars into Syria for foreign fighters - "al qaeda" (aka al CIAda) The White House doesn't say that's how the money is being used.

Libya was a real heart-breaker. Gaddafi was demonized, and branded as a terrorist. He provided the best quality of life on the African continent - free health care and education for all Libyans. He provided scholarship programs and $50,000 towards a young couple's first home. They had 30 cents/gallon gas. He built a $35 Billion aqueduct and exported bottled water - from the desert! When the foreign fighters first appeared, they strafed the streets of Tripoli and shot everything that moved. They killed 5000 civilians the first morning they were there. Out of 6.5 million people, 1.7 million publicly assembled to fight in support of Gaddafi. When NATO went in themselves (without any congressional approval), they conducted 42,000 indiscriminate air sorties. They leveled cities.

You see, the Libyan League for Human Rights, or LLHR, had gone to the UN to file allegations against Gaddafi, saying that he brutally killed hundreds of Libyans. There was never any proof, just allegations there. They got 70 NGO signatures, and then NATO was approved after being reviewed by the UN Security Council. Gaddafi was removed as the head of the UN Human Rights council. Later, he was assassinated, along with 150,000 other Libyans, and the members of the LLHR became the new Libyan government, which then flew the flag of al qaeda. There was so much in riots and civil unrest at that point the US sent in 12,000 troops to man the Libyan oil rigs.

Well, there's a few details to look for in your investigations. Gaddafi created a gold currency in January, 2011, bucking the US petrodollar, angering international bankers, which he did twice before. Saddam Hussein also tried to buck the US fiat currency with the "Iraqi Oil Dinar", in 1991 and 2000. I think you will find bankers wanting to set up in Syria and Iran, along with other parties who want political control, oil, and to build pipelines. Hugo Chavez gave free health care and education to all Venezuelans, and provided 40% discounts on winter heating oil to Americans who qualified for financial assistance - in the United States! You may note how oil-bearing nations tend to be demonized, like Chavez in Venezuela (now dead from cancer). The international banksters are also not currently operating in Venezuela ;-)

Video and transcripts for "The Money Masters" are available on-line, for a foundational history of who and what these international bankers are in the world we live in today. The US Federal Reserve (a private bank) is a part of that. Like they say about the Fed, "it aint in the blue pages".

As we started in Korea - I

As we started in Korea - I wonder who fired the first shot ???
After Korea 1953 Iran . We overthrew the Mosaddegh government
NEXT came VietNam....with little side trips to Cambodia
Now, we have Afghanistan..Iraq...and maybe un-reported Pakistan
>> Dirty Wars?? . . War on Drugs ??? Dirty Wars ??
> Shh, Secret. . . but is it really - - - This is not another Viet Nam ?? is it a continuation of Viet Nam - - WE now occupy the The Golden Triangle . . . .
A DIRTY WAR ??? Afghanistan increases poppy cultivation every year... We are giving them foreign aid to 2024 - - ENDURING PRESENCE..
funny - how the taliban did more to eradicate the poppy than we are doing .....
KOREA . . and we're still there
VietNam . . and we're still there ( Cambodia ???)
Afghanistan - the golden triangle - - "A DRUG LORD'S DREAM" and enduring presence........... Shh......secret.......Shhh.....
drones .. drones.. drones .. drones .. drones .. drones .. drones .. drones .. drones ..

I met Jeremy Scahill in

I met Jeremy Scahill in Sacramento, CA when he signed the four copies of Blackwater I had bought for donations to our libraries. Everyone can see he is brilliant; he is also self-effacing and a sweet young man. I am glad he is in a movie; it probably makes him safer from reprisals. I hope, like Michael Moore, he has a long career as a truth teller.

We will never hear the fact

We will never hear the fact of wars and anything else from the representatives of the elite unless we allow independent journalists into the battlegrounds and have transparent government decision-making. Secrecy is the hallmark of dictatorship. The more secretly a government functions, the more it is hiding the truth from the people who pay for the sustenance of such government at the expense of most of the taxpayers for the benefit of the few elites.

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