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Oliver Stone Interviews Putin on US-Russia Relations, 2016 Election, Snowden, NATO and Nuclear Arms

Democracy Now! – By Amy Goodman/Juan Gonzales – June 14, 2017

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Photo: Vladimir Putin President of Russia and Oliver Stone Filmmaker and Director.

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, at this pivotal moment in U.S.-Russia relations, we’re joined now by the Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone, one of Hollywood’s best-known directors. His films have included Platoon, JFK, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July. Over the past two years, Stone conducted more than 20 hours of interviews with Russian President Vladimir Putin, covering issues from NATO to the nuclear arms race, the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the 2016 U.S. election. Showtime is airing a four-part special this week called The Putin Interviews. This is an excerpt.

OLIVER STONE: But you do realize how powerful your answer could be. If you said subtly that you prefer X candidate, he would go like that tomorrow. And if you say you didn’t like Trump or something—right?—what would happen? He’d be—he’d win, right? You have that amount of power in the U.S.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] Unlike many partners of ours, we never interfere with the domestic affairs of other countries. This is one of the principles we stick to in our work.

OLIVER STONE: Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: My pleasure.

OLIVER STONE: We’ll see you tomorrow, talk about some heavier stuff.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you, sir. [translated] Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED: Thank you.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you, sir. All the best. See you tomorrow.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s an excerpt from Oliver Stone’s new Showtime series The Putin Interviews. Oliver Stone is also releasing a companion book compiling the transcripts of his 20 hours of interviews with Vladimir Putin. Oliver Stone joins us here in studio for the rest of the hour.

Welcome back to Democracy Now!

OLIVER STONE: Thank you. Thank you, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us.

OLIVER STONE: Good to see you, Juan.

AMY GOODMAN: There is a lot to talk about here and a number of clips we want to play.

OLIVER STONE: Yeah. And—

AMY GOODMAN: But—

OLIVER STONE: Can I just say? That clip, by the way, is from before the election. It was shot on 2015. That was his attitude about the—and he said things before the election also, very polite and never anything bad-mouthing any of the candidates. He’s always been—and he made it very clear back then. I just want to—because we come back to see him after the election, in the fourth chapter.

AMY GOODMAN: And that’s very interesting. This series, the first two ran this week. They’ll continue to run.

OLIVER STONE: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: And then tonight the third, and tomorrow the fourth.

OLIVER STONE: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: And it’s in that fourth hour where you really get into, because you’ve returned February 2017, just a few months ago.

OLIVER STONE: That’s correct.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s after the election. It’s after Donald Trump becomes president.

OLIVER STONE: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: And you really move in on asking him about whether the Russian government hacked the 2016 election. Talk about his response.

OLIVER STONE: Oh, you want to cut right to that part of it, because it has to do with Washington today. Believe me, we didn’t see this coming, and we never expected we’d have to go back for a fourth trip, because we all thought Ms. Clinton was going to win. So, I’m sure he did, too. I’m sure he did, too. I think he was as surprised as anybody, any one of us. But as he says in the fourth version, he says, “We’ll work with anybody. We will work with anybody. It’s not our policy to intervene, certainly not a country as big as America.”

And, you know, it’s not influenceable in that sense. I think money influences elections. You could say Mr. Koch, the Koch brothers, perhaps—you could say Sheldon Adelson, people like this, do add up. You could say all these lobbies add up. AIPAC adds up. But, you know, Russia’s influence—I was wrong. You see, when I looked at that clip, I was thinking—you know, I’m saying—I don’t think he has that kind of influence. I think I was putting him on a bit and saying—I’m encouraging him to take a position. That’s sort of—that’s what an interviewer does sometimes. You exaggerate. But I don’t think he could make a difference if he said he hated Trump.

AMY GOODMAN: But you get into that issue of the elections and the hacking of the election.

OLIVER STONE: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Sure, all of the different forces—

OLIVER STONE: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —that you just described affect elections, but you drill down on this issue of did Putin, the Russian government, hack the elections.

OLIVER STONE: As I said, he denies it completely, I mean, without even—he thinks it’s a silly thing. It’s an internal American political struggle. And he has a point.

I also went into, extensively, if you remember, right after that, into cyberwarfare, because cyberwarfare is a new form of it. We talked about this when I was here for Snowden, in depth actually. Snowden revealed cyberwarfare to us. So much is happening on that front. And one thing he did express very strongly is, we have—the Russians have proposed a treaty, a cyber treaty, to the United States. It’s been in—on the desk for about a year now, and he has no response from the U.S. He would like one. I think we need one. And we can talk about that, too, if you want. It’s very dangerous, cyberwarfare, because of all the rumors and the easy—easy-to-mislead misinformation, fingerprints, thin—the thin evidence that’s presented. It’s very possible now, with the CIA and the—you know, Julian Assange, when he—the Vault 7 leaks a few weeks ago—you covered them, I believe—it was clear that a company like the CIA could in fact forge the footprints of any country onto any hack and make it look like they planted the malware.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you if you’ve been surprised by the level of animosity toward this project of yours by some of the media? And I saw the Colbert segment that was really an attempt to really go after you in an uncharacteristic way, even for Colbert. But because there’s a long history in the United States of journalists going—trying to get interviews. I think of Barbara Walters with Fidel Castro. I think of, going back, even Edgar Snow, Red Star Over China—

OLIVER STONE: Yeah, yeah.

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