US Should Not Condone Israeli Attack – By Michael Ratner
Mavi Marmara Survivors Have A Right To Be Heard
Last week, two eyewitnesses who were aboard the Turkish ship that was stormed by Israeli naval commandos told their stories at Brooklyn’s historic House of the Lord Church. As many listeners know, 9 unarmed passengers were murdered. The oldest, Ibrahim Bilgen, was 61; the youngest was 19, a U.S. citizen born in Troy, N.Y. This speaking event almost didn’t happen. Last Monday, June 14, City Council speaker Christine Quinn, Reps. Jerry Nadler, Anthony Weiner, Carolyn Mahoney, Charles Rangel and others, gathered in Times Square to demand the State Department investigate the invited speakers for “ties to terrorism.” They want to prevent or delay their entry the United States.
- U.S. filmmaker Iara Lee and British political organizer Kevin Ovenden, and Ahmet Unsal, a former Member of Turkey’s Parliament
- Their hands in my opinion are dripping with blood. Anthony Weiner actually called those on the ships “terrorists.”
- Every bullet fired by Israel is paid for by the United States.
Guest – Bill Doars with New York Labor Against the War / Al-Awda New York
24 Anti-Torture Activists Acquitted
Last week, 24 anti-torture activists were acquitted in trial for protesting at the US Capitol, calling for Guantanamo’s closure and an investigation of deaths at the prisoner detention camp. The activists were acquitted of charges of “unlawful entry with disorderly conduct,” which stemmed from demonstrations on January 21 of this year, the date President Obama promised to close Guantanamo prison. “With his decision, the judge validated the effort of the demonstrators to condemn the ongoing crime of indefinite detention at Guantanamo,” says Bill Quigley, legal adviser to the defendants and the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).
There was a big protest on the day that Guantanamo Bay prison was supposed to be closed, organized by Witness Against Torture.
Witness Against Torture started in 2005 by going to Cuba and marching to the gates of Guantanamo asking that the people there be released.
In January this year they had a number of people who did a water-only fast for 11 days. It ended on January 21, 2010. They put 20-something people on the steps of the Capitol who were in orange jumpsuits and black hoods, unfurled a banner with rose petals in the rotunda.
About 35 people were arrested that day. They were charged with unlawful assembly with intent to breach the peace. The trial was last week, and they were given the option of paying a $50 fine. Most wanted to go to court and put Guantanamo on trial in the superior court.
I prepared and argued for a necessity defense, an international law defense and the importance of the First Amendment to what they were doing. I analogized their conduct to the people who resisted in Germany, the illegal crimes of Hitler and the like, the responsibility of citizens to challenge the crimes of their government.
I think the judge didn’t want to get involved with this (activist work globally to shut down Guantanamo)
Maybe a sign for a chance to turn the tide.
Guest – Bill Quigley, Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). Bill joined CCR on sabbatical from his position as law professor and Director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University New Orleans. He has been an active public interest lawyer since 1977.
As the blood red crude oil continues to gush from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, many industries and communities are being hit hard economically and environmentally. Meanwhile British Petroleum, Halliburton and Trans-Ocean sidestep compensation and trade blame. Organizers of the Seize BP campaign say their demand is straightforward: “Seize assets of BP sufficient to compensate the people they harm.” There are several paths to compensation, says Carl Messineo, attorney with the Partnership for Civil Justice and organizer of the Seize BP group. First, the BP claims process whereby BP determines what to cover and how much to pay. On this road all power rests with BP. Second, through the courts, where people can file litigation and lawsuits against BP. Both BP and the Obama administration want to push everyone seeking compensation down these two paths, but these two paths lead nowhere.
Third, the seizure of BP’s assets in an amount commensurate with estimated damages and the delivery of immediate and ongoing compensation to all those who have suffered and will suffer lost jobs, wages and business for years to come.
- Seize BP is a campaign that was started a few weeks ago, around a single, simple demand, which is that the US government needs to seize assets of BP, place them in trust and make them immediately available for people in the Gulf Coast who are in severe desperation at this time.
- People can’t pay the mortgage with rhetoric, they can’t eat rhetoric. The Obama administration can choose to take action. They can seize assets of BP.
- The president of the United States needs to request that Tony Hayward please set aside some money? The president has legal authority, the Congress has legal authority. They can compel action.
- That’s their responsibility. Obama has acted like the calm captain of corporate interest within his presidency.
- He funneled health care through the corporations. Instead of serving the people, he’s really been subservient to corporate interest. This is a defining moment for his presidency.
- BP was the responsible party. This was avoidable. Why do we turn to BP and ask them “please?”
- Right now, we know that BP can put aside $20 billion. This is the same corporation that chose not to put in the $500,000 safety valve.
- The US government has decided over the years to be willingly incompetent. This is something that they admit. They are incompetent technologically and using government resources.
- Obama can’t say that this is inertia from the bad policy of George Bush. He made personal decisions to expand offshore oil drilling. His administration is no better than the others. There’s no change.
- Accidents happen; that’s why there needs to be independent redundant systems to respond to catastrophes.
- BP is a profit maximizer. It’s goal is to make as much money as possible, to limit its expenditures in order to maximize its profits.
- These handful of individuals hold in their hand the safety and the ecology of clearly between 5 and 10 coastal states. It can’t be left to the profit making decisions.
- The largest share and holder of BP is the Chase Bank.
Guest – Attorney Carl Messineo with the Partnership for Civil Justice and organizer of Seize BP