Home » QUESTIONS FOR JEREMY SCAHILL, AUTHOR OF “DIRTY WARS, The World is a Battlefield”

QUESTIONS FOR JEREMY SCAHILL, AUTHOR OF “DIRTY WARS, The World is a Battlefield”

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Above: All the images have been taken since the beginning of the crisis in Syria. Most of these images are of people in Syria taken from Syrian satellite TV or are screenshots from Youtube videos. One is a screenshot of Sheik Adnan Arour, based in Saudi Arabia, and another of Sheik Yousef Qaradawi, the unofficial spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood; Sheik Qaradawi was based in Qatar and had a weekly program on Al-Jazeera.  
QUESTIONS FOR JEREMY SCAHILL
Most people in Syria would believe that the US has been waging a dirty war against Syria for some years now and is using similar tactics to those used to destroy the Afghani government and society – the use of so-called Islamist freedom fighters as well as the stirring up of sectarian hatred and divisions.  One US official actively involved on the ground in this dirty war has been former US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford.  His role in the crisis in Syria has been explored by different writers and deserves attention.  For example, in September 2011, there was a report in Opinion Maker that Ford had been organising Death Squads in Syria, much like those used in Latin America to destabilise countries.  Quoting from the September 2011 article by Wayne Madsen,

Ford served as the Political Officer at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad from 2004 to 2006 under Ambassador John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. Negroponte was a key figure in the covert U.S. program to arm the Nicaraguan contras and his support for vicious paramilitary units in El Salvador and Honduras earned him the nickname of “Mr. Death Squad.”

Another element of the dirty war against Syria has been the co-opting of NGOs to support the established narrative on the crisis in Syria. So, for example, Amnesty International from almost the beginning of the crisis focused on condemning the government of Syria based on the claims of activists who supported a violent insurgency and refused to report on the killings of civilians by armed gangs early in the crisis, a key aspect of the escalating violence.  From Jan 2012 – Jan 2013, Amnesty International USA was headed by Suzanne Nossel, a former State Department official and author of “Smart Power”.  Robert Ford reportedly gave the key note address at an Amnesty International General Meeting in Colorado in early 2012.
For the people of Syria and the wider region, America’s dirty war against their countries is much dirtier than you present it, and for the wars to be successfully pursued many in the administration, media, NGOs, academia, diplomatic corps must be complicit to some extent or other in order for there to be a very muted response to the wars.
Your book was published in 2013.  Could you please explain why you have given no attention at all to the role of Robert Ford in Syria’s crisis? (He is not listed in the index at all.)  There are two brief references to John Negroponte in your book, on pages 186 and 207.  They are both relatively benign and forgettable, despite Negroponte’s being the US director of national intelligence and his earlier suspect diplomatic service in Honduras.  One would expect him to figure largely in the US dirty war.  Why is Negroponte almost invisible in your book?
There is also only a passing reference (on page 186)  to Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, someone known to have very close connections with the Bush family, something you mention in your book. In any serious discussion of the US dirty wars in the Middle East, one would expect much more attention given Prince Bandar.  Like Negroponte, Prince Bandar has links to the dirty wars in Central America, since he arranged financial support for the Nicaraguan Contras. Bandar more recently has been an intelligence chief in Saudi Arabia and more recently an adviser to the King on ISIS. Prince Bandar is reported to have said to the head of M16 in 2001,
Why do you give such a brief, innocuous mention to Prince Bandar in “Dirty Wars” when he has been so closely connected to US administrations and US dirty wars for decades?
 
How can your book, “Dirty Wars” contribute to a clean peace in the Middle East if major players and key aspects of the dirty wars are not exposed? 

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