On The Monitor this week:
- Victor Wallis on Harvard rescinding Chelsea Manning’s visiting fellowship after CIA director cancels event calling Manning a “traitor”
- Jon Schwarz on North Korea, how the media is covering the story and the things we are not being told
More about this week’s guests:
Victor Wallis, is professor of liberal arts at Berklee College of Music (Boston) and managing editor of Socialism and Democracy. He is a member of the Harvard College class of 1959 and was among several Harvard graduates who presented a petition in Cambridge at the office of the Kennedy School’s dean, Douglas Elmendorf. The Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics cancelled the invitation to Manning after intense pressure from top CIA officials. The cancellation came shortly after the acting director of the Institute, Bill Delahunt, had publicly declared: “We welcome the breadth of thought-provoking viewpoints on race, gender, politics and the media.” The RootsAction petition presented on Friday says: “By revoking Chelsea Manning’s fellowship, you have disgraced the Harvard Kennedy School. By caving in to pressure from present and former top officials of the CIA, you have jettisoned academic freedom. By deciding that it is appropriate for Sean Spicer but not Chelsea Manning to retain a fellowship, you have failed to fulfill Harvard’s responsibility to be independent of government power and coercion. During his stint at the Trump White House, Mr. Spicer earned a reputation for lying. As a whistleblower, Ms. Manning earned a reputation for truth-telling. It is a sad day when a record of facile mendacity is more revered at Harvard than a record of revealing difficult truths.”
Before joining First Look, Jon Schwarz worked for Michael Moore’s Dog Eat Dog Films and was Research Producer for Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.” He’s contributed to many publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, and Slate, as well as NPR and “Saturday Night Live.”In 2003 he collected on a $1,000 bet that Iraq would have no weapons of mass destruction.
Recent articles on North Korea:
On The Monitor this week:
- The Abortion Rights Freedom Ride comes to Texas – an interview with Alexandria Petersburg
- CIA Spies on Investigation of CIA Torture – an interview with Ray McGovern
- Israeli Hannibal Directive: “A Breach of Democracy and Morality” – an interview with Richard Silverstein
More about this week’s guests:
Alexandria Petersburg is “a revolutionary, organizer for Stop Patriarchy in the Bay Area, and Abortion Rights Freedom Rider.”
In 2011, Texas had 46 clinics; by September 1st there are likely to be only six left. Nation-wide, hundreds of laws restricting abortion have been passed in recent years. Six states have only one abortion clinic left.
From the StopPatriarchy website:
In August (dates to be announced soon) the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride will caravan though Texas, stopping in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and then down to the Rio Grande Valley near the Mexican border. People from around the country and around Texas will politically confront and protest those behind the anti-abortion attacks and laws, rally support for those on the front lines providing abortions, fight to change the way people think about abortion by raising the slogans: Abortion On Demand and Without Apology, and Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement — and wake people up nationwide to this emergency.
One of our main goals of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride is to change the terms of the fight around abortion. It has NEVER been about babies, it has always been about women’s enslavement or women’s liberation.
Ray McGovern is a former CIA analyst whose responsibilities included chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He just wrote the piece “Will Obama Fire CIA Director John Brennan?” available at his website: raymcgovern.com.
Richard Silverstein has been writing Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, since February, 2003. It focuses on exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state at Tikun Olam. He has written on security and other issues for a number of outlets and blog
Quote: “According to my highly-placed Israeli source, during Operation Protective Edge, Hannibal was invoked twice, in the cases of Sgt. Guy Levy and Lt. Hadar Goldin. In both cases, they were killed after their unit was ambushed by Gaza militants. As they were being dragged away by Hamas fighters the remaining Israeli soldiers fired on them. In the case of Goldin, the IDF wounded him and killed the militant who was taking him away. But other fighters retreated with Goldin through a tunnel to Rafah.
The IDF proceeded to inundate Rafah with heavy artillery fire and air strikes which destroyed all ambulances and vehicles approaching the nearest hospital (where presumably the Palestinian fighters might take Goldin to treat his wounds). In this fashion, 60 Palestinians were killed in indiscriminate fire designed to kill Goldin (and his captors). At first, the IDF said Goldin may have been captured. Later they said he appeared to have been killed by examination of ‘trace amounts of DNA’ found in the tunnel. Later still, the IDF announced they’d recovered his body. He was buried the next day and no one in the media except for me asked for an autopsy to be performed to determine how he died. The IDF did not want such an examination.
The history behind Hannibal is that it was written to address the political and social trauma created when Israeli soldiers were captured by the enemy. In order to gain their freedom, Israel had to negotiate with either Hezbollah or Hamas to gain the release of their personnel. In the case of Gilad Shalit, who was held in captivity for five years, Israel released 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. The extreme Israeli right-wing complained bitterly at the ‘price’ the country had to pay for Shalit’s return, saying the freeing of ‘terrorists’ with ‘blood on their hands’ was an unforgivable act. The current right-wing government would prefer not to be seen as ‘weak’ on terror, so it accedes to a police which essentially eliminates any chance there will be future Gilad Shalits.
The IDF military censor invoked an unprecedented demand on the New York Times when it demanded that the newspaper’s reporters pre-clear any reporting on the case of Lt. Goldin. The excuse they offered was that a distant familial relation between the dead soldier and Defense Minister Bogie Yaalon might provide a security weakness for Hamas to exploit. This was a smokescreen to conceal the censor’s need to suppress any discussion of Hannibal that might expose the real events involved in Goldin’s death.
There is an unspoken agreement among the Israeli government, Israeli citizens, and even the surviving family of victims, that IDF victims under Hannibal will be treated as war heroes in return for concealing the true circumstances of their death. Only a few days ago, Gili Cohen of Haaretz described Hannibal as an attempt to free Goldin from his captors. The Israeli media knows, but cannot say, that Hannibal is invoked to eliminate captured soldiers, not to free them. It is only invoked once it is impossible to free the captive, not before. This conspiracy of silence relieves Israeli citizens of having to think about the moral issues of killing one of their own soldiers in an attempt to relieve society of the burden of negotiating with the enemy over their return. It is an unpardonable breach of democracy and morality.”
The Hannibal Directive is a secret procedure that is invoked when an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier is captured by enemy forces. The Directive is portrayed by the Israeli media and officials in one fashion but implemented on the ground quite differently. The official version is that Hannibal allows Israeli forces to take enhanced measures to prevent the capture of its soldiers, including endangering the lives of those engaged in the capture by firing at a getaway vehicle, etc.
In practice, Hannibal is a shoot to kill order designed either to prevent abduction or to kill the abductors and IDF soldier who’s been apprehended. It was implemented during Operation Cast Lead in 2009 when a soldier was captured in a home in Gaza. Israel media reported that the IDF shelled the building, killing both the soldiers and his captors. Apparently the Hannibal Directive was invoked twice in the recent conflict, in the cases of Sgt. Guy Levy and Lt. Hadar Goldin.
Following up on last week’s show, this week The Monitor is all about whistleblowers and the need for them to be able to report violations. Both guests are connected to the newly launched ExposeFacts.org.
First up is William Binney and rounding out the hour is Matthew Hoh.
Newsweek just published “The Website That Wants the Next Snowden to Leak” about the newly launched ExposeFacts.org. The lengthy article includes discussion of the legality of exposing classified documents. At the news conference launching ExposeFacts.org, former NSA official William Binney, who is now on the advisory board of ExposeFacts.org, noted that classifying documents to cover up wrongdoing violates the Executive Order on classification. [video at 1:01:00]
More about this week’s guests:
William Binney is a former high-level National Security Agency intelligence official who, after his 2001 retirement after 30 years, blew the whistle on NSA surveillance programs. His outspoken criticism of the NSA during the George W. Bush administration made him the subject of FBI investigations that included a raid on his home in 2007. Even before Edward Snowden’s NSA whistleblowing, Binney publicly revealed that NSA had access to telecommunications companies’ domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted some 15 to 20 trillion communications. The Snowden disclosures confirmed many of the surveillance dangers Binney — without the benefit of documents — had been warning about under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Binney has been singled out for praise by Snowden, who told the Wall Street Journal: “I have tremendous respect for Binney, who did everything he could according to the rules. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for highlighting how the Intelligence Community punishes reporting abuses within the system.”
Quote: “Not too many people are paying too much attention to this, but under Executive Order 13526, sec 1.7 — this is the executive order that governs classification for the U.S. government — you cannot use classification to cover up a crime, illegality, abuse of any form, or fraud, corruption, waste or embarrassment and a number of other things. And a lot of these things that Snowden exposed were in fact evidence of crimes against the constitution or other laws that existed, statutes in the country. So those things [documents] cannot legitimately be classified under that executive order.
Matthew Hoh is the Former director of the Afghanistan Study Group, Hoh is a former Marine and State Department official. In 2009 he resigned from his post with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of U.S. strategic policy and goals in Afghanistan (Washington Post, front page, “U.S. Official Resigns Over Afghan War,” October 27, 2009). Hoh discussed the launch of ExposeFacts.org when he appeared on Huffington Post Live yesterday, interviewed on “Free Speech Zone with @AlyonaMink.”
Quote: “I am very much honored and more than a bit humbled to be included in the launch of such a worthy and necessary effort, particularly one bearing the name of Daniel Ellsberg. After over eleven continuous years of service with the U.S. military and U.S. government, nearly six of those years overseas, including service in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as positions within the Secretary of the Navy’s Office as a White House Liaison, and as a consultant for the State Department’s Iraq Desk, I resigned from my position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of war in 2009. It took years of involvement with a mendacious war policy, evidence of which was apparent to me as early as 2003, before I found the courage to follow my conscience. It is not an easy or light decision for anyone to make, but we need members of our military, development, diplomatic, and intelligence community to speak out if we are ever to have a just and sound foreign policy. I trust ExposeFacts and its efforts will encourage others to follow their conscience and do what is right.”
The ExposeFacts organization is part of the nonprofit Institute for Public Accuracy, founded in 1997. See text of Executive Order 13526, sec 1.7:
(a) In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to:
(1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;
(2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;
(3) restrain competition; or
(4) prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.
- How the Security-Industrial Complex is tracking your data and what that means for you – an interview with Richard Stallman
- The president should fire James Clapper and Keith Alexander over domestic spying revealed by Edward Snowden – an interview with Ray McGovern
More about this week’s guests:
As an act of conscience, on March 2, 2006 Ray returned the Intelligence Commendation Medallion given him at retirement for “especially meritorious service,” explaining, “I do not want to be associated, however remotely, with an agency engaged in torture.” He returned it to Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R, Michigan), then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman.
Recent Op-Ed: Obama needs to take charge on NSA spying scandal
Visit Ray’s Website for more.
This week’s show:
During the past week, more than 30,000 Americans have signed a petition urging a Nobel Peace Prize for U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, the whistleblower who was arrested nearly three years ago on charges that he provided an enormous quantity of classified documents to WikiLeaks. The petition, addressed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee and posted online, already includes several thousand comments from signers who explain why they want a Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to Manning. Joining us to talk about this is Jeff Cohen.
As the pressure continues towards possible armed conflict with Iran, we talk with Flynt Leverett about his new book, written with Hillary Mann Leverett, called Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
More about this week’s guests:
Jeff Cohen is Co-founder of the online group RootsAction.org, which launched the petition for a Nobel Peace Prize for Manning on March 25.
Quote: “If we begin from the original intentions for the Nobel Peace Prize, then an obvious top candidate is Bradley Manning, a young soldier and whistleblower who risked life in prison to inform Americans and the world about U.S. execution of, and preparation for, seemingly endless war. It’s not mere rhetoric to suggest that Private Manning has been — in the words of Alfred Nobel’s will — ‘the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies . . .’”
Jeff Cohen is founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, where he is an associate professor of journalism. He is a former political pundit on national TV and the author of “Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media.”
Flynt Leverett is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. and a professor at the Pennsylvania State University School of International Affairs. From March 2002 to March 2003, he served as the senior director for Middle East affairs on the National Security Council. Prior to serving on the NSC, he was a counterterrorism expert on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, and before that he served as a CIA senior analyst for eight years. Since leaving government service, Leverett served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy before becoming the director of the Geopolitics of Energy Initiative in the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. He has published opinion pieces in many high-profile venues, including The New York Times, POLITICO, and CNN, and contributes frequently to Foreign Policy. He has been interviewed about Iran and its geopolitics on leading public affairs programs around the world, includingCharlie Rose, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Empire and Riz Khan (Al Jazeera English), Viewpoint(Abu Dhabi Television), Spotlight (Russia Today) and Washington Journal (C-Span), as well as in leading publications such as Der Spiegel and Le Monde. Along with Hillary Mann Leverett, he was featured in the PBS Frontline documentary, “Showdown With Iran”, and profiled in Esquiremagazine.
You can read a detailed review of the book here
- Bradley Manning takes the stand – an interview with Kevin Gosztola
- The State of Palestine, can it take Israel to the ICC? – an interview with John Quigley
More about our guests:
ABC News reports: “Private First Class Bradley Manning, the American soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified and confidential military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, took the stand in a military court [Thursday] to make his first public statements since his arrest in 2010.”
Kevin Gosztola is the co-author of “Truth & Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning,” Gosztola is covering the Manning trial at Firedoglake.com.
Quote: “Bradley Manning has been in pretrial confinement for over 900 days and, in this current hearing, his defense is arguing he was ‘unlawfully punished’ while imprisoned at the Quantico Marine Brig for nine months. They hope to have the charges dismissed or be awarded credit for time served and are putting key commanding officers on the witness stand to show how the Brig was more concerned with media attention and scrutiny from senior officials in the Pentagon and Washington than they were with Manning’s health.”
Reuters reports: “The U.N. General Assembly is set to implicitly recognize a sovereign state of Palestine on Thursday despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinian Authority by withholding much-needed funds for the West Bank government.”
AFP reports: “Britain threatened Wednesday to abstain from a vote for enhanced Palestinian status at the United Nations. … British Foreign Secretary William Hague … said to win Britain’s vote, the Palestinians would also have to pledge not to sue Israel for war crimes through the International Criminal Court … If the request is approved, it will give the Palestinians access to a range of UN agencies and also potentially to the ICC, where they could accuse Israel of war crimes.”
Legal analysts note that if the Palestinian Authority has the political will it could do a wide range of things.
John Quigley is Professor of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley’s books include “The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict.”