'America wages wars for profit'
Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:38PM
Interview with Stephen Lendman, writer and radio host from Chicago; Bill Jones with the Executive Intelligence Review from Washington; and Jeff Gates, US attorney and author from California
Former US President George W. Bush has in his book said that by going to war in Iraq, the US has saved British lives as it stopped possible terrorist attacks.
What he did not reveal was that the Iraq war created much terrorism inside the country as many sources say the war has led to the deaths of over a million Iraqi lives.
To discuss the issue, Press TV had an interview with Stephen Lendman, writer and radio host from Chicago, Bill Jones with the Executive Intelligence Review from Washington and Jeff Gates, US attorney and author from California. The following is the transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Mr. Lendman, Bush has boasted about giving the okay on water-boarding alleged terrorist suspects in American custody. Both the current president and attorney general have said that water-boarding is torture. Where exactly does that leave Bush?
Stephen Lendman: Well, water-boarding is absolutely torture. Torture is illegal under international law and the US law. All treaties, Geneva, the UN Convention against Torture 1984, the US War Crimes Act, and the international treaties that America has signed before Geneva treaties, under the supremacy cause of the US constitution. They are automatically US law. The UN charter I might add as well.
Torture is illegal. Unequivocally illegal at all times and under all circumstances with no allowed exceptions. Water-boarding is torture. I've written about it. I do a lot of writing. I've written about water-boarding. Water-boarding simulates drowning but it's worse than that. It literally endangers the lives of the people submitted to it. For example, I've written about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the supposed 9/11 mastermind who I think had nothing whatsoever to do with it. He was water-boarded 186 times. Now just imagine that. That means maybe 186 times he thought he was going to die. Besides all the other tortures inflicted on him for many years. 9/11, I have discussed it on my program, I have written about it. I don't have a smoking gun to prove it, but I think my own government is responsible for 9/11.
My own belief is that it literally was a co-effort between the CIA and the Israeli Mossad. It had nothing to do with the people they blamed it on.
Press TV: We definitely need to do a program looking into 9/11 again, but, getting back to the situation that we are looking at right now, you said in all cases that water-boarding is torture. Now George W. Bush has said that he would ask his legal advisers. And they said that it was absolutely no torture. Do you think he is lying or his advisers told him something wrong? What do you think is going on here?
Stephen Lendman: Well, his advisers told him what he wanted to hear. That's the way the system works. One of them was the infamous John Yoo. He wrote two torture memos authorizing torture which basically as Donald Rumsfeld, former Defense Secretary, put it, "We can do anything to anybody short of causing organ failure. In other words, if you don kill them, you can inflict anything on them, any amount of pain, any amount of discomfort. You can call it torture, you can call it whatever you want. As long as we don't kill them, it's legal. Well, sorry. International law says it's illegal.
Now lawyers like John Yoo [, he] absolutely knows that when he wrote torture memos authorizing these procedures to be committed. John Yoo is complicit with George Bush, Rumsfeld and everyone else in the administration, administering torture.
Press TV: Mr. Jones, Bush seems to have no remorse for the loss of lives which have taken place based on a fabrication of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. What do you think about this? He was not apologetic. He was basically not saying that he was sorry that he went to war, but said that he would do the same thing again.
Bill Jones: Well, I think basically Bush is a fool. He was placed into office because he was the son of a president by people who were more powerful and more intelligent than him. And he was basically a stooge for them. And he has proven that gross ignorance in the fact that he can come out and say the things he is saying now. I think he did it because of the tremendous defeat of the Obama administration in the latest elections. He probably thought time was right to stick his head up. He has been in hiding for quite a while, reviled by many people as the worst president we have ever had. But now he feels that he can come out and try and speak in his defense. The issue of the 9/11 is of course that he's tallying the whole time as the reason, I'm in agreement with the former speaker, although you have to look at the Saudi and British role in that development, but it was used in the same way that the Reich Stag fire was used by the Nazis. Whoever may have perpetrated it, it was used to turn up and down the thinking in the United States that these kinds of things that occurred post-9/11 would have been unthinkable, illegal and immoral prior to that period, but because of the so-called emergency laws that were put in, Bush was able, at the instigation of Cheney and other people in control, to move in the direction of what was really, what I would consider, a fascist policy.
Press TV: Mr. Gates, Under the international law, Bush's admission that he authorized acts that amount to torture are enough to trigger Washington's obligations to investigate his admissions and if substantiated, to prosecute him. Do you think that will happen?
Jeff Gates: Probably not, for the same reason that he became president to begin with. If you watch the president's election closely, in effect, he preempted that in the primary of 2000 when this syndicate raised about 50 million dollars in about a six week period. It then had a brand name of politicians to put into office, who a national security column says were a classic asset. An asset of someone with the profile of sufficient debts, but you know if you place them in a time and place and circumstance, by which you have considered an influx, the behavior consistent with that …he could be charged with war crimes …He could probably be charged with … we know that he had facts in front of him that he did not make his decision on instead based on his belief. He came to office as a Christian Zionist not unlike Harry Truman who recognized Israel over … one or two close advisors. You fast forward it to 2000 and you bring in another Christian Zionist into the Presidency, recovering alcoholic, out of source with his dad and a long range of dysfunctions and that's what made him a classic asset. No wonder you can blame him but you also blame a whole series of previous presidents that set this up. But I think this misses the point. The point is how do we continue to do this presidency after presidency. And how do we as Americans end up … called guilt by association. How destruction and self-deceit commit America to war, as we were truly deceived to go to war. If you look back at all that intelligence it doesn't go to Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld; those are faces on a far more systemic and frankly more sinister phenomenon.
All of this traces back to … notion of Zionism. I as a lawyer call it trans-generation organized crime…
The attitude in the US and the Middle East has not changed with the shift from the Republicans to the Democrats, it is only the same policies with a different face on the same problem.
Press TV: Mr. Lendman, the US is a signatory to the UN Convention against Torture. What exactly has happened? Why hasn't the UN gotten involved and do you expect that perhaps the UN would play a role in this and get involved, being that the US is a signatory to this [UN convention]?
Stephen Lendman: Not at all, the US was instrumental in setting up the UN in the 1940s after the World War II. And of course we have a Security Council with a veto. America can veto all the other countries of the world combined. It could be the whole world going one way and America going the other way. And as long as you have a UN run like that, the UN is literally a tool of US policy.
And the US is the only country that has egregiously used that veto. Once in a blue moon, another country does. Only four others can do it besides the US. But America has egregiously used the veto power. So the UN can do absolutely nothing to stop America. An important point for people to know is America may have two major parties but America is a one-party state. It doesn't matter whether Democrats are in power or the Republicans. It's referred to as the money party or the property party. And Barack Obama is merely George Bush's third term. Bill Clinton was worse than Ronald Reagan. George Bush was worse than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, believe it or not, is worse than George Bush. It's hard to believe. But he's worse than George Bush. He is smoother but before his term runs out, people will catch on. They are catching on now slowly. I think he'd be a one-term president. But the policies are seamless. The wars are planned in advance. The pretexts come about after the plans are made.
We went to war with Afghanistan four weeks after 9/11. It takes months to plan a war like that. The plan to go to war with Iraq was already conceived. The blueprint was written. It was on the shelf ready to take out. The only decision was which country we go to war with first. They picked Afghanistan. Iraq and Afghanistan of course had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. They didn't threaten the US. George Bush lied. Everybody else in the administration lied. I agree George Bush was a tool. Obama is a tool. And it doesn't matter whether it's Obama or whoever comes after him. It's the system that needs to be indicted.
Press TV: If what you are saying is true, where are the American people in the middle of this? If nothing really changes and it's the system that is consistent and as you said is getting worse. Are the American people not informed about this? Why isn't there a lot being said about this in general, this perspective that you have just brought out? Why no analyses are being made?
Stephen Lendman: It's such an important point. I have read about it and talked about it on my radio program. People get more informed all the time. The problem is even though the majority are not… the majority get the news and information from TV which means the cable channels, CNN, FOX, the broadcast channels; the CBS the NBC. They lie, they do not inform. They produce managed news not real news and information. They bring on a host, they bring on pundits and they lie. They misinform, they censor. But even people who do know what's going on, most of them are indifferent. They have their own lives. They worry about nonsensical things like shopping, like the latest films, the latest fashions. That's crazy but that's what they think about. And they say, "Well I need to go to work, I need to support my family." They worry about these things. So in France, you see strikes, a million, two or three million people come out on the streets day after day after day after day. None of us in America [is doing the same]. We are having our liberty stolen. We are having our wealth stolen. And people are just indifferent to the possibility that some day what they think is a country that is free will turn out to be … a police state. And all the benefits are gone, and when they finally awaken to that it will be too late.
Press TV: Mr. Jones, in the light of what Mr. Lendman has said, there are human rights organizations that try to keep a tab on things. For example, according to the Amnesty International, Bush's admittance to knowing and approving water-boarding makes him accountable. What would it take in the United States for someone like Bush to be held accountable?
Bill Jones: Well, it will probably take a general mass uprising which could indeed occur at certain points. The problem with the American people is that they are concerned about what's going on. They were concerned when they elected Barack Obama because they elected Barack Obama because he wasn't George Bush. But Barack Obama was much more George Bush than people thought, which is why his popularity now has gone down the tubes rapidly, putting him in a position, I think the latest polls proved it, that his popularity is worse than Bush's.
The real problem is the lack of leadership. I would say the cowardice of what leadership is in this country. I will give you an example. Barack Obama has basically through Nancy Pelosi horsewhipped the Congress into accepting a policy that most of them probably admitted was wrong. Namely, to spend over one trillion dollars in bailing out Wall Street when our cities were falling apart, when our bridges were coming down, when there are all kinds of infrastructures that needed money. This trillion dollars plus went to Wall Street to bail out the bankers and the people suffered. Most of the congressmen who were hearing from their districts on what the problems were knew that that was a wrong policy but they were too cowardly...
Press TV: Let me interrupt you there. If you say that basically the leaders in the US right now do not have the courage to do what they basically should do, they are cowards, then who is really running the show? If they are bowing obviously to some higher power, who do you think is behind the show in Washington?
Bill Jones: Well, primarily the ones who have been running the show during the Obama administration have been really the Wall Street banks. It's not just only the Wall Street banks. It's really the London banks, because Obama's policy has been to try and save the bankrupt financial system with the trillions and trillions of dollars of debt that cannot be paid instead of moving in the direction of, say, creating a new financial system and agreements between governments.
A lot of things could have been done to resolve this economic crisis. But the bankers were telling Geithner and Larry Summers "you've got to save Wall Street, whatever it's going to cost. Give them what they need." And then Bernanke and Geithner went to the president and said, "OK, give them what they want."
Press TV: Based on what you have said, would you say that it is not only Bush that is implicit in what he has said but the whole system has been implicit in basically allowing this to happen. Would you say that is true?
Bill Jones: It's fundamental corruption in the system which is ruled by the money that a lot of these people need in order to win their election. That is the case with Congress. The rule in Congress is "Go along to get along." That's once these guys get into the Congress and will see what happens to these Tea Party and all these other wild people who have been elected now... When word comes down, you want a position in the committee; you want a position in this and that. You have to follow the rules here.
And it's all about the money. Now if somebody opposes that… they could do it, if they mobilized the people, if they went to the people and said "we cannot allow this to happen." But nobody, up in to this point, in the US Congress, has shown the guts to try and do that. And that is, like I said, a problem of leadership. If anybody would do that, they would gain the immediate support from the American population who are totally disgusted with the way that Washington works.
Press TV: Being that you have said, that it is a corrupt system, where does it go from here? And, basically, what happened to the so-called justice that the US said it stood for?
Stephen Lendman: Well, America says a lot of things, but what it does and what it says go in two different paths. Who runs America? It is very clear who runs America. Corporate America runs the country. Bankers [are] in the lead [of] really what is called the fire sector, finance, real state, insurance led by the big Wall Street banks. And of course the Federal Reserve is not federal. It is owned by the banks. The Wall Street banks have a controlling interest. They decide the way the country will be run, including waging wars. One reason for waging wars is they are so profitable. Not just to the defense contractors, [but also] to the big banks, to technology companies, all companies that supply goods and services including private contractors that have every incentive to want America to be in war.
America has a prominent war agenda, we just need to find new enemies, and if they don't exist, we need to create them. It is the system that is broken and corrupted, and I agree. Unless there is a mass uprising, that is nowhere in sight, this will not change. It will only get worse.