BERNARDINE DOHRN :We're deeply involved because NATO is a global secret cabal. It is the military arm of the global 1 percent. And really, I think NATO has become background to how we hear the news: " NATO forces, NATO bombings." And when you try to find out what NATO is, you realize that it is the largest global military alliance in human history and that its key elements are that it is about permanent war, it is about dirty war, it is about nuclear war, and it is about hot wars--really four of them right now. So we don't really know what it is. They are secretive. And when I first went to look at a NATO website to see what it was, a dove floats across the screen on the first page of the official NATO website. By the end of the NATO website, it's helicopters, fighter planes and drones. So, we, I think, are not made safer by NATO . It is secretive. And it is opposed to peace and to our future.
So, a wide array of Chicagoans have come together in a coalition, meeting really
for nine months, to stand up and ask for peace, to really say, "We don't
need NATO . We need an end to the war in
NERMEEN SHAIKH :
So, Bernadine Dohrn, what are the activists who are gathering in
BERNARDINE DOHRN : Well, we think that NATO should be meeting, you know, in an underground bunker or on a remote island. The idea that NATO has been invited to Chicago to have the kind of war games that have been going on here for the last six months and now accelerated this week, so that we have restricted zones, and we have the shutdown of universities and colleges, the shutdown of businesses, the closings of the major museums here, it is being treated as really a practice military zone.
And we actually feel very strongly--I think the way Americans feel--that we want an end to these wars. These wars are hated by the American people. They don't make us safer in any way. In fact, they jeopardize our safety. Bombing foreign countries, occupying other countries in the world does not make us safer. Killing civilians without any accountability makes people angry.
And so, our resources, this enormous amount of money and resources, and
suddenly we don't have money here for mental--community mental health clinics.
We don't have money for public libraries or for schools. We don't have money
for public transportation. But somehow we have the millions of dollars
necessary, or the mayor accessed the money, to hold this event right here in
the city of
BILL AYERS : Yeah, we would like to see an end to NATO . And we would like to see--in every country, every member country of NATO , there's a popular movement to ask its government to leave NATO . We want NATO disbanded. NATO is an instrument of war. And after 9/11, it transformed itself. I mean, its name is historical, you know, anomaly, but it's the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But after 9/11, the Bush administration invoked Article 5, and it became the instrument of permanent war, pre-emptive war, and it really has no place in a free and peaceful and democratic world.
AMY GOODMAN : Well, then, Bill Ayers, let me get your comment on Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the secretary general of NATO , on why NATO continued to exist after the end of the Cold War. He recently wrote, quote, "NATO needed no external reasons to exist. Yet history would provide them soon enough.
Again, those are the comments of the head of NATO ; those are the comments of Secretary General of NATO , Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Bill Ayers, your response?
BILL AYERS :
Yeah, I mean, the problem with all of those is that they're rationales, and
they're self-affirming. They don't have any transparency in the sense that
people or governments can intervene and say, "No, this is wrong. We don't
want to be a part of that." In fact, I mean, Bernardine began by talking
about these kind of four aspects: permanent war, dirty war, nuclear war/nuclear
preparation, and then hot wars. What NATO does is it
allows every government deniability. So the
AMY GOODMAN : We're going to break and then come back--
BERNARDINE DOHRN : I want to emphasize its secrecy, because this is a meeting that is not open--
AMY GOODMAN :
Bernardine, we're going to break and then come back to this discussion. We are
joined by Bill Ayers, retired education professor at
AMY GOODMAN : Our guests in Chicago, who are preparing for mass NATO protests this weekend ahead of the largest-ever NATO summit--it's happening in Chicago starting on Sunday--our guests are Bill Ayers, retired education professor at University of Illinois, Chicago, author of many books, including Teaching Toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom, as well as Fugitive Days: A Memoir -- we are also joined by Bernardine Dohrn, clinical professor at Northwestern Law school, founded Northwestern's Children and Family Justice Center. They are two veteran activists, well known for their activism in the 1960s, from SDS to the Weather Underground, deeply involved in the NATO protests this weekend.
Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch accused NATO
of failing to properly investigate at least 72 civilian deaths in its bombing
FRED ABRAHAMS : We have questions that NATO has not yet answered, and we're calling for prompt, credible and thorough investigations to understand why these 72 civilians died. And until now, NATO has taken a position of denial. They refuse to acknowledge that civilians died. They refuse to give information about how they died. And they refuse to investigate. And it's this lack of transparency that's deeply troubling. And I think it will lead to unnecessary civilian deaths in the future, if NATO refuses to look at what went wrong and make corrections.
AMY GOODMAN :
As part of its investigation, Human Rights Watch interviewed survivors of the
August 2011 bombing that killed 30 civilians east of the capital
GAFEZ : [translated]
Why did they bomb me? The NATO forces came to fight in
order to protect civilians. Because