Michael Moore and Chris Hedges on the 'Corporate Coup d’État' and the Govt's Moves to Jail People without Charges or Trial
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So, I was very happy to hear about this lawsuit that these guys initiated. And Chris, of course, I’ve been a huge fan of his for a long time. Please read his books. Pass his books around. This man is our—he’s our 21st century Noam Chomsky, not that Noam isn’t still in the 21st century.
So—and, of course, an honor to sit here with Daniel Ellsberg, who I was thinking about the other day, Daniel. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the documentary Hearts and Minds about the Vietnam War. It’s a great documentary, if you have a chance to see it. And they won the Oscar for best documentary that year. And when they went up on the stage to collect it, they read from a telegram from the North Vietnamese, thanking Americans to, you know—which, of course, as we—in these days, we’d never even think of such a thing. It would be like, you know, in the way that things are conflated now, that you would be reading something from al-Qaeda or whatever. But in this movie, Daniel appears in this movie and provides some very important lessons about Vietnam, not only just what he went through personally, but what—what this country was led through in terms of the lies that were told. And by not having a press that was active at first to expose the lies, we lost a lot of lives, and we participated in the slaughter of anywhere from two to three million Southeast Asians. But he said—he said something, and I was thinking about this, because they’re—watching the news on Egypt today, and talking about whether the United States—you know, we were for Mubarak, then we were against Mubarak. You know, we were—and it’s like—and somebody asks, you know, "Which side is right? You know, are we on the right side?" And the same question was asked during Vietnam. You know, were we on the right side? Because this was a people’s uprising in South Vietnam. And Daniel said, "The question is not whether we’re on the right side. The only question or point is, is that we are the wrong side. That’s it." We are behind a lot of this madness. Our corporations are benefiting from it greatly. And people who live in the Flint, Michigans of this world are suffering considerably.
So, I’m proud to be part of this and be supportive of it. And I’m very—of course I’ve been very supportive of Bradley Manning, from the beginning, helping to fund the fight. And I put up some of Julian Assange’s bail money.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, Michael!
MATT SLEDGE: I think—we’ll get to, you know, WikiLeaks and whistleblowing in a minute, of course. Before we do that, I wanted to re-ask my question from the last panel about this drones memo. You know, what’s the end game with this—with the lawsuit here? You know, if you win the lawsuit and the administration retains the power to assassinate American citizens, you know, how—is that Pyrrhic victory?
CHRIS HEDGES: The memo is fascinating to read. It looks like it’s written—
MATT SLEDGE: Well, they won’t release the memos yet.
CHRIS HEDGES: Yes, well, the free white paper.
MATT SLEDGE: It’s a white paper, the pre-memo white paper.
CHRIS HEDGES: The white paper. Right, the pre-memo white paper. What is—because it’s so amateurish. It looks like it’s written by a first-year law student. I mean, you know, whatever you think of John Yoo—and I hope he burns in hell—he actually had a much more sophisticated legal argument to torture human beings. Look, the drone wars—this is—it’s not an example of—and I think this is true with the NDAA, I think it’s true with the FISA Amendment Act, I think—go all the way back. What they’re attempting to do is legally justify what they’re already doing. They have argued that under the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act they have a right to assassinate American citizens. I have read that act innumerable times, and Bruce and Carl did, and none of us find that in the act. That is, to be generous, a radical interpretation of the AUMF. And so, what they’re seeking to do is legally justify, in the same way that Yoo was attempting to legally justify torture. They’re essentially looking for kind of legal cover.