U.S. To Continue Using Military Commission System
Segments This Week:
Cynthia McKinney and 20 Peace Activists Return From Israeli Prison
Cynthia McKinney and 20 Peace Activists Return From Israeli Prison
While hoping to deliver humanitarian supplies, a Free Gaza Delegation boat was stopped in International waters by the Israeli Navy earlier this month. Among the nearly 100 U.S. peace activists was former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Irish peace activist and Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire. McKinney and others had been in custody since Tuesday of last week, but could have been released earlier if they signed a document admitting they violated Israel’s blockade. McKinney – “It’s quite unusual for anyone to get a glimpse inside an Israeli prison.”
There were 21 of us on the Free Gaza Boat, they were also bringing boats for Palestinian fisherman in Gaza.
We embarked on our journey on the Spirit of Humanity boat. You can tell the folks put a lot of love in re-furbishing the boat, with the paint and making it a livable place for a 30 hour journey.
That boat was destroyed by the Israeli military. They took some kind of huge magnetic item that held the boat suspended and shook it violently.
It was an unusually calm day, it was absolutely beautiful. But it was 37 hours on the boat including the Israeli Navy intercept. It was nighttime, we were still in International waters and the Israelis threatened us.
Remember I was on the Dignity when the Israelis rammed it.
This time, they disabled the GPS, they tried to provide an escort to push us into Israeli waters.
That tactic didn’t work. They also utilized, something I haven’t seen before, a “wave making machine,” because they shook us up and down.
The GPS was turned off, communications were disrupted (small EMP weapon?) I think they were trying to get us into Israeli waters, to make it look like we were off course.
That did not happen, and they regrouped, and waited for us to enter Gaza territorial waters. That’s when these four speed boats came very quickly. Eight soldiers dressed like ninjas with the ski-mask, they commandeered the boat. Ejected the captain, and took over the steering.
They put into one room on the boat, told us to sit down and shut up. We were forced to leave the boat with our hands in the air, some were handcuffed.
The Israeli soldiers were rough with Mairead; she saw them take down one of the women, and she protested, and the soldiers roughed her up with bad language, it was a scene, and the men came to her rescue and those men got handcuffed.
We got a full body search, we were held by the military for several hours, they transferred us to a detention facility, then to a full prison. Ramle Prison. We were mixed in with the prison population. It was amazing, where we were there were young women of African and Asian descent.
The Israelis actively blocked our effort to meet with our attorneys. We were deported from a country we didn’t intend to enter. The Free Gaza Movement has no intention of stopping.
Guest – Cynthia McKinney, former United States Representative and the 2008 Green Party nominee for President of the United States. McKinney has served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993–2003 and 2005–2007, first representing Georgia’s 11th Congressional District and then Georgia’s 4th Congressional District. She is the first African-American woman to have represented Georgia in the House.
Private Contractors in Afghanistan/Pakistan
Since President Obama announced the strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan in late March of this year, news of troop deployment, drone attacks, and the killing of innocent Afghani and Pakistani civilians is heard nearly every week. Private contractors, mercenaries and the war profiteers in the region rarely make headlines, however. One study has concluded that private contractors and mercenaries outnumber US soldiers.
- President Obama has inherited long term contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, 5-10 year contracts.
- If canceled (contracts) the system will shut down. For every soldier in Iraq there is a contractor, for every soldier in Afghanistan, there are 2 contractors
- A lot of these people are cooks, janitors, builders, mostly from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Egypt, Bosnia. They do the dull and dirty work nobody else wants to do.
- There’s no draft, so in a volunteer army, the US employs Indians/Bangladeshis for 300 dollars a month, cooking, cleaning. You have contract interrogator types who are making 250 thousand a year.
- There are now 15 thousand prisoners in each country, Iraq, Afghanistan.
- When US goes to interrogate these prisoners, they need translators.
- L3, which is based in New York City, bought up Titan. Titan, under L3, subcontracts interrogators.
- Titan is gone now (by name, same people involved), but there’s a new company set up by Spider Marx, the guy in charge of intelligence during the invasion of Iraq: Global Linguist Solutions with Dyncorp.
- Contracts are designed to maximize profits. Company such as L3 is paid for 7000 translators, but penalized for having only 6000. 1000 unqualified translators are brought in to war zones.
- Interagency Roundtable Standards
Guest – Pratap Chatterjee, recently returned from Afghanistan. Pratap is a journalist and former executive director of Corpwatch, an Oakland based corporate accountability organization.
Honduran Coup Tries to Halt Advance of Latin American Left
Two weeks after the Honduran coup, ousted President Manuel Zelaya was prevented from returning to the country. Today we look deeper into the life of Manuel Zelaya, his background among the land-owning class, and his shift as a reform-minded leader, increasing wages for workers and teachers. Halfway through his term Zelaya was inspired by changes in Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba. He soon had the support of labor unions and social organizations that put him at odds with the corrupt social elite and drug mobsters. Today we talk with author Roger Burbach about how Zelaya enraged the Honduran elite, which led to up to the military coup.
Pictured Protest against the coup.
The news in the mainstream press about the coup was to stop Zelaya from re-election.
Zelaya was not seeking re-election but a constituent assembly on the ballot to draft a new constitution for the country. Similar to Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador.
Either way, Zelaya could not run for re-election as the media and Honduran elites are portraying.
The existing Honduran constitution was drafted in 1982, a very repressive constitution, back when John Negroponte was working with the death squads.
US Sec of State Hillary Clinton doesn’t like Zelaya; she didn’t like him when she met him in early June.
ALBA, an alternative free trade agreement that believes in solidarity measures and economic measures, led by Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.
The US has the strongest military presence in Honduras, more than any other Central American country. I would suggest that the US military intelligence knew about the impending coup and did nothing to stop it.
Why does the US care about Honduras? Strategic military point in Central America, amid three radical governments now rising.
New radical left leaders such as Chavez, Morales, Correia in Ecuador, reformist governments of Brazil, Uruguay, maybe El Salvador. The US wants to drive a wedge in there, as with the coup Zelaya was aligned with the radical countries.
The World Bank and the IMF have all suspended economic support except for the United States.
Guest – Roger Burbach, author of The Pinochet Affair and Director of the Center for the Study of the Americas, based in Berkeley, California.