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.
: “An internal CIA investigation confirmed allegations that agency personnel improperly intruded into a protected database used by Senate Intelligence Committee staff to compile a scathing report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program, prompting bipartisan outrage and at least two calls for spy chief John Brennan to resign.”
“It is inconceivable that the spying on the Senate committee happened without authorization by Director Brennan, so the question is why he did so. Easy answer: it has been established that Brennan had, at the very least, guilty knowledge of the torture, so the stakes for him personally could not be higher. He simply had to find out how damning the Senate report is about his own role. Brennan’s nominal boss, National Intelligence Director James Clapper is still in place after confessing to giving the same committee on March 12, 2013 sworn testimony (about NSA collection programs) that was in Clapper’s words, “clearly erroneous.” If President Obama does not fire Brennan, this will demonstrate that the President himself is afraid of our intelligence services – what blackmail material they may have on him and even whether they will target him, as they did John Kennedy.”
Ray McGovern leads the “Speaking Truth to Power” section of Tell the Word, an expression of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. A former co-director of the Servant Leadership School (1998-2004), he has been teaching there for 15 years.Ray came from his native New York to Washington in the early Sixties as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then served as a CIA analyst from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. Ray’s duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, which he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985.In January 2003, Ray helped create Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to expose the way intelligence was being falsified to “justify” war on Iraq. On the afternoon of the day (Feb. 5, 2003) Secretary of State Colin Powell misled the UN Security Council on Iraq, VIPS sent a blunt memorandum to President George W. Bush, in which VIPS gave Powell a C minus for content. They ended the memo with this:
“No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is irrefutable or undeniable [as Powell had claimed]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion beyond … the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”
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.