tv Democracy Now LINKTV August 1, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
08/01/12 08/01/12 08/01/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> colonel carozza describe the conditions as "auschwitz-like." there would demand bribes in exchange for care. those who cannot afford to do so, died in their hospital beds. >> an explosive congressional this division has revealed horrific new details about a u.s. funded military hospital in afghanistan decapitations and auschwitz-like conditions. we will share shocking photos from inside the hospital
and speak to reporter michael hastings. then the case of army private danny chen who took his life in afghanistan after his abused by his comrades on an almost daily basis and what has been described as racial hazing. the sergeant has been found not guilty of negligent homicide, but sentenced to 30 days in a military jail for lesser charges. >> the reputation of the army is definitely tarnished when they allow a convicted surgeon for racial treatment to remain in the army. >> we will look at the fight over the u.s. postal service as republicans push to privatize the post office, the agency is bracing for its first-ever default today. unlike every other governmental agency, the postal service is required to fund 75 years of retiree health benefits over just a 10-year span. we will speak with ohio congressman denis kucinich and chuck zlatkin of the postal union.
>> elderly people, disabled people, poor people and small business owners cannot afford the alternatives. >> novelist and playwright gore vidal has died at the age of 86. of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. syrian rebels are claiming to be in control of more than half of syria's largest city of aleppo after days of clashes with government troops. the regime of president bashar al-assad has offered competing claims saying in his forced opposition fighters to retreat from key areas. the fighting in aleppo has drawn tens of thousands -- sent tens of thousands from their homes. and the residents are trapped between dangerous conditions. >> we are concerned about the
continuous raging armed violence that is taking place in syria's most populous city, aleppo, where we are witnessing partners arer witnessing thousands are seeking shelters in schools, mosques, public buildings. these are the people who have not fled the city, have not had the means or feel is too dangerous to make that journey. we are getting indications the journey is wrought with armed gangs, and others blocking the way. >> syrian activists have announced an opposition groups seeking to form a transitional government. the council for the second revolution marks a challenge the larger syrian national council, which was for nearly a year ago. at least 19 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in iraq on tuesday when two car bombs
exploded in baghdad. the bombings were followed by a suicide attack on a police station in an attempt to free a cuddling prisoners. al qaeda is coming off one of its deadliest months since its withdrawal of u.s. combat troops with at least a 37 people killed and 603 wounded. a new government audit has found u.s. has wasted millions of dollars in poorly run reconstruction projects in afghanistan. a report from the u.s. inspector general for afghanistan says a significant portion of the $400 million in infrastructure spending last year may be wasted "due to weaknesses in planning, carnation, and executions crime the squandered products include u.s. funded bases for afghan border police, many of which have been left abandoned. afghan officers have left the base of one case because it had no water supply. the report says afghan projects will require years of increased funding, warning --
we'll have more on afghanistan after the headlines. the u.s. has imposed a new round of sanctions targeting iran. on tuesday, the white house said it would punish more foreign banks that helped sell iranian oil and would also extend penalties for those who buy iranian petrochemicals. speaking on a visit to egypt, leon panetta denied a research report the obama administration has shared contingency plans for military strike on iran with the israeli government. >> we continue to work together in the effort to ensure that iran does not reach that point of developing a nuclear weapon. as with regard to any specific plans, you know, i think it is the wrong characterization to say we're going to be discussing
potential attack plans. what we are discussing our various contingencies and how we would respond. >> a federal judge has dealt a blow to the obama administration's attempts to regulate the controversial practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. a judge will the environmental protection agency had exceeded its powers in a fringed on the authority of state regulators will strengthen guidelines for the industry's practice of dumping mining waste into appalachian waterways. the decision came after a coal mining industry coalition along with west virginia and kentucky sued the epa. illinois governor pat quinn has unveiled a proposal to ban assault weapons in his state. on tuesday, he used his amendatory veto power to propose banning the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and attachments. pat quinn is the first u.s. governor to formally put forward an assault weapons ban since the shooting massacre in aurora,
colorado last month. the former chair of the republican party in florida has claimed top party officials openly discussed suppressing the state's african-american vote. in a lengthy deposition submitted for his ongoing corruption case, jim greer says 2009 meeting -- 2000 meetin his comments come amidst florida's standoff with the justice department's civil rights groups over a voter purge the critics say particularly targets people of color. in recent weeks, at least two top republican state lawmakers -- state senator glenn grothmann and benson and house majority leader mike turzai -- have predicted that restrictive voter id laws will help republican candidate mitt romney win their states in november.
supporters of california's same- sex marriage ban have asked the supreme court to reverse a federal appeals court decision that declared the ban unconstitutional. california outlawed same-sex marriage in 2008 when voters passed the ban known as proposition 8. a three-judge panel struck down the measure earlier this year, ruling that prop. 8 "serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in california." the request of the supreme court means the four-year battle over prop. 8 will likely be resolved this year. congressional leaders have reached a bi-partisan deal on a budget to fund the government through march of next year. the more than $1 trillion- proposal averts a budget showdown before the november elections. the democratic national committee has announced san antonio mayor julian castro will give the keynote address of the party's september convention. he will be the first latino to keynote the dnc. india has restored power after a
massive outage that affected nearly half its population of 1.2 billion. more than a dozen states with about 670 million people were left without power tuesday. it was the worst energy crisis to hit india and more than a decade. or regional court for latin america and the caribbean has handed down what advocates are calling a milestone victory for indigenous peoples. the inter-american court of human rights has sided with ecuador's sarayaku indigenous community in a long-running dispute with the ecuadoran government and a former oil firm. in its ruling, the court found ecuador ignored these sarayaku's rights by failing to consult with them before approving a massive energy project on their ancestral land. in a statement, amnesty international said the ruling will have --
in russia, three members of a feminist punk band are on trial this week and could face up to seven years in prison for staging a church protest against russian leader vladimir putin. in february, five members of the group pussy riot rushed before the altar in one of russia's main orthodox cathedrals wearing dresses, tights, a burly colored balaclavas.. three had been in jail for five months and could face up to seven years on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility. to of the women have small children. in a rally outside the courtroom, a supporter of the band called for their immediate release. >> this is not a trial. this is revenge. you see the authorities have
reached a point where they do not abide by the law themselves. for a misdemeanor, let's face it, people are thrown into jail and have been held there, young mothers, for half a year already. >> the trial comes amidst fears of an increasing crackdown on dissent in russia. on tuesday, russian investigators charged anti- corruption blogger and activist aleksei navalny with embezzlement, a chronic care is a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. the author gore vidal has died at the age of 86. a national icon who authored more than 20 novels, five plays, he was one of the best and chroniclers of american history and politics. he dedicated his work to breaking and critiquing the injustices of u.s. society. in a 2004 appearance on "democracy now!", gore vidal talked about the role of democracy in the u.s. dating back to the constitution. >> the word democracy is that
only never mentioned in the constitution of the united states, but democracy was something the founding fathers hated. this is not generally known because it should not be known, but it is. i wrote a little book about a call "inventing a nation" that was published last year by yell. our founders feared the role of the people, which they thought would be a mess, and they feared tierney, which we got through king george iii. they wanted a republic, a safe place for men -- white and to properly do business in. this is not idea, but is better than what we have. so here we are bringing democracy to the afghans, but only real democracy is in the prisons, which we specialize in everywhere. what came out of all of that mess, and now the world knows
how we treat americans in american prisons. all that behavior, the humiliation and violence and so on, that is typical not so much federal prisons somewhat, but state prisons, municipal prisons, detention centers. this is the nation of torture. and those who disagree with me, you can write an angry letter at this very moment, if you can write at all proud sit down and write an angry letter to the commander in chief and have him examined prisons. >> on that note, thank you very much for being with us, gore vidal. >> i just barely started. >> those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. a congressional investigation
has revealed a top u.s. general in afghanistan sought to stall an investigation into abuse at a u.s.-funded hospital in kabul that kept patients in "auschwitz-like" conditions. army whistleblowers revealed photographs taken in 2010 which showed severely neglected, starving patients at down hospital, considered the crown jewel of the afghan medical system where the country's military personnel are treated. the photos show severely in a seated patients, some suffering from gangrene and maggot- infested wounds. for tv viewers, please be warned, these images are extremely graphic and may be disturbing. the accused general of the cover-up is william caldwell, one of the nation's highest- ranking commanders in afghanistan, who served as the commander of the $11.2 billion a year afghan training program. testifying last week, one of the whistleblowers, colonel mark
fassl, the former inspector general for the nato training mission in afghanistan, explained general caldwell's response to the initial call for an inquiry into what was happening at the hospital in kabul. >> his first response to me was, how could we do this or make this request? with elections coming. then he made a shocking comment that he calls me bill. >> what does that mean? >> i took that he was referring to the president of the united states. >> and he had a personal relationship? >> i don't know, chairman, if he had a personal relationship, but the political pressure there was such that he made those statements. >> according to the oversight committee, the u.s. has been over $180 million on operating medical sites in afghanistan, most of which is believed to have gone to doubt hospital, were made to personnel oversee
afghan medical staff. colonel mark fassl also gave testimony describing the conditions he was best at the hospital. >> as we further when into the hospital, we found not only was there no heat going into the winter, but there was a lack of hygiene, so, just basic things that you would expect a to hundred 50-bed hospital -- of course, it was a 500-bed hospital, but mainly being used with 250 beds -- again, the lack of hygiene and soap, and ranking member tierney read at a good description of what i saw with the open back of blood running out of soldiers wins, -- wounds, the feces on the floor. what also caught my attention is there were many family members taking care of their loved ones.
not hospital staff. >> the web site buzzfeed, which first published several of the hospital photos last three, revealed tuesday the pentagon has withheld key documents relating to abuses at the hospital. to talk more about the cover- up, we're joined by michael hastings, contracting editor at "rolling stone" and reporter for buzzfeed. his book is called, "the operators: the wild and terrifying inside story of america's war in afghanistan." it was published earlier this year. what them back to "democracy now!" tell us what has happened at the hospital, how you found out about it, and the cover. >> this was a hospital started in kabul in 2005 and funded almost exclusively by the u.s.. about a year ago, "wall street journal" did a story about how a lot of these patients at these costs -- afghan patients at the hospital were dying essentially from starvation, simple infections that should be treated very easily but instead
became more to wins. there were allegations that to get treatment you had to bribe the hospital officials. there were a number of americans who were advisers who thought this was horrible and took a lot of these pictures, brought them to the command of this general caldwell and general caldwell said, i don't want any of this bad news getting out of here. i don't want an investigation. let's try to sweep this under the rug. thankfully, the whistle blowers continue to ignore that and that is how we know about this because of this congressional investigation into it. >> but this has been going on for years. talk about who william caldwell is and now what is being done about this. it opened in 2005. >> we know for a fact, and it is well documented now that from 2010-2011, these abuses were certainly going on. from people we of spoken to, we
think this was happening before that as well. general caldwell is with the head of $11.2 billion afghan training mission. at one time he was the spokesperson for the u.s. in iraq. i spent many a day next to general caldwell in the green zone while he would tell us how great things were going in baghdad. and this was in 2006-2007. he is obsess with the idea of messaging and public affairs. one thing is wanted to do is tear down the traditional wall between public affairs and information operations. he was to combine it into a global strategic communication strategy. when he was presented with these allegations and abuses, these voters and testimony, his response was, "well, how to we message this? this is not the kind of news we want to get out of your." now is head of the u.s. army no.
back in the u.s. in charge of in case there is a catastrophe or martial law or whatever, he would be the guy that would be in charge from the army side. >> michael hastings, the spokesman from fort sam houston, in response to the inquiry has said -- "all allegations will be proven to be false." >> i believe that is colonel wayne shanks. i'm chinese a word that is not more on to use the word that is not more on. he is an attack dog. his history of same things that are not true. i think will be interesting to hear it general caldwell's side of the story. we have three u.s. army colonels, three military
colonels who have testified that general caldwell decided not or did not want to investigate because of political pressure. what is going to happen, i think, if and when general caldwell testifies, he will come out with a store that says, "look, i wanted to investigate this. here are some emails i sent saying this. but it will show the investigation already started and to cover his flight, he sent out these emails. >> is he likely to be called to testify? rex is a likely possibility. >> are there americans at wound hospital now? >> yes. throughout this entire time, there were about 20 to 25 different american advisers who bit the hospital at a regular basis. >> during a hearing last week,
democratic congress member john tierney asked schuyler geller about who saw the conditions in the hospital before those a decided to blow the whistle. >> all the years we've been in afghanistan before you arrived, how many people went through that hospital and saw those conditions and said nothing? >> scores of mentors and scores of general officers. >> michael hastings, your response? >> it is sad. it is tragic. we have $180 million going to this hospital system in a couple. it is one of the stops along the parade of one congressman or generals would come and toured the country. this is the hospital we would show off to them. it turns out what was going on here are the sort of abuses i have never seen, these horrific
pictures in my time covering issues. it just did not have that happen. the fact have afghan patients and soldiers who have been wounded and they cannot even get food? we're supplying gasoline, but it is being sold to the generators do not work. they're living in very, very cold temperatures. you go down the list. selling drugs. a patient having surgery without anesthesia? though we have provided anesthesia. it is quite disturbing these people could go through there and either not see it, or have it hidden from them. >> you said from what you have seen of the pictures -- have seen all 70 pictures? >> no, we have published 11 pictures that have not been put out there but there are much more to come. >> you said the conditions are so terrific that in fact daoud hospital is afghanistan's of the
grave. >> you could make an interesting case to say that. you have a situation where the native population, under our supervision, has been treated particularly were relieved. ghraib, in the pictures there doing horrible things, but to think about what the conditions were like for these patients. no real medical supervision. families were coming in and roaming the halls at all hours. if you wanted surgery, you had to pay a certain price. yet medical instruments that were left within wounds. maggots crawling out of bandages. stuff that is totally unacceptable. we're spending $11.2 billion and we cannot manage the one high- profile hospital in the city. it is pretty upsetting. >> does the u.s. and other
hospitals? >> they do. i don't to cast aspersions, but i think we know, and the other report about how much money we of the runway of a bear, one would assume these sorts of things are going on. >> i want to turn to other news. according to documents obtained by truthout under the freedom of information act, senior officials of the department of homeland security tried to have you remove report you published in "the rolling stone" website about the agency's role in monitoring occupy wall street. in an e-mail message on the day your piece was published, caitlin durkovich, chief of staff of dhs's national protection and program's director, i wrote -- the next day after other news outlets had picked up your story, durkovich wrote again to say --
explain what took place predicted they call you? >> i just found out about this yesterday. >> i guess they did not call critics i would have been happy to talk to them about this report. what i published online was an internal department homeland security document that revealed they had been paying close attention to wall street -- occupy wall street and media and explaining what occupy wall street was. it was a fairly benign report in a lot of ways, the raised questions about why is the department of homeland security analyzing occupy wall street? it turns out in these emails, dhs said, we should not have even done this report. they sort of agreed with me. at the same time, i guess there
were about 100 pages of emails deciding how to respond to the occupied or to our report. >> explain further what this report is and where you got the information. >> this came from the wikileaks stratfor files. the hacking group anonymous hacked into this private group strapped for and -- stratfor. assange and the crew gave me access. one of the people in stratfor have access to the homeland security documents. one of the leaks was this occupy wall street analysis or report on occupy wall street. i thought it was very odd to have a department of homeland security report about a peaceful protest movements. that raised normal alarm bells. that is why we did the report. but it was a credit to the wikileaks guys who put this stuff out there.
i always find it -- i guess as a journalist, i should be flattered by as much editor. yesterday, when they're trying to pad your file. that was certainly the case here. they brought their concerns to the white house when trying to come up with a statement. clearly, allegations the department of homeland security was spying were monitoring occupy wall street hit a nerve in washington. >> they said the stratfor document was not true. >> i think it was authentic as far as i can tell. they're not disputing the authenticity. what they're disputing is the should not have done it, as far as i can tell. they cannot even figure out how stratfor got the document to begin with. >> i want to ask you quickly about the three military personnel, to of of whom are retired, who talked about what happened that daoud hospital,
whether they are likely to face punitive charges as whistleblowers? >> i don't think so at this stage. there colonels but most of them have had pretty long stored careers are ready. one is a jag lawyer anyway. this simply protected from this retaliation we have seen in the past. but, look, it is not easy when you are in the army or military to go in front of congress and say, "looked from a three-star general is line." there is a lot of pressure for them not to. because of the hat.io there are investigations into general caldwell. >> thank you very much, michael hastings, for joining us. we will have a link to the reports and photos online at democracynow.org.
contributing writer to "rolling stone" magazine and buzzfeed on line. his book is called, "the operators: the wild and terrifying inside story of america's war in afghanistan." this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, we are talking mail -- the post office. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> for months, americans have heard dire warnings about the impending collapse of the u.s. postal service due to fiscal insolvency. now, and midnight today, the agency is bracing for its first- ever default on billions in payments due to the treasury. although the postal service's
inability to pay the five and a half billion dollar payment toward retiree health benefits won't immediately affect the postal service's day-to-day operations, it is likely to fuel a fresh round of demands to examine the agency's role in america today. first-class mail volume, which has fallen 25% since 2006, is projected to drop another 30% by 2016. the agency faces a cash shortage of $100 million this october, stemming from declining mail volume that could balloon to $1.2 billion next year. the u.s. postmaster general, patrick donahoe, has asked congress to reduce the financial burden on the agency and let it undergo significant cuts to address the decline in mail due to web transactions. those cuts include shedding some 150,000 jobs, the elimination of saturday delivery, and the closing of roughly half the agency's mail processing facilities -- measures largely opposed by postal unions.
earlier this year, donahoe said revamping and consolidating the agency is a natural outcome of changing times for the >> we have to start making some changes as the volume continues to get out. i was in rockford the other day and we had no volume. we have the bottom and work hours we use, the time we use our machines can easily be a sword and a facility at the line with no problem, no additional costs there, and we take the people who work in rockford and find jobs for them within our system. we have plenty of landing spots. it could be a fair outcome for both customers and employees, and allows us to get the finances in order. >> postal workers said they much touted crisis facing the u.s. postal service is not what it seems. they point to a 2006 law that forced the postal service to become the only agency required to fund 75 years of retiree health benefits over just a 10- year span. the american postal workers union says the law's
requirements account for 1% of the service's $20 billion in losses over the previous four years, without which the service would have turned a profit in late june, 10 current and former postal workers launched a hunger strike to protest the pre- funding requirement. >> the problem is not the mail a line going down or the internet, the problem is that even private competition. the problem is a pre-funding mandate that congress imposed in 2006 that the postal service pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance. >> the postal service had hoped congress would help defer the payment that is due today, but the house has taken no action. the senate passed a measure that provided incentives to retire about 100,000 postal workers, or 18% of its employees, and allow the post office to recoup more than $11 billion it overpaid into an employee pension fund. the senate declined after a stop
saturday deliveries. from washington, d.c., where it joined by democratic congressmember dennis kucinich. in new york, chuck zlatkin, legislative and political director of the new york metro area postal opinion. we welcome you both. congressmember dennis kucinich, explain how this happened and what you think needs to happen. >> congress passed a law in 2006 that mandated the postal service pre-fund its employees' health or retirees' health benefits for 75 years, but to do it within 10 years. so this $5.5 billion payment due today that the postal service will not made, that congress should correct, is a manufactured crisis. why would you interesdo this? who has lobbied against the post office?
banks, for one. they would love to crush the postal service because they would not have to process checks the way they do now. no. 2, banks would head off any attempt for postal services to go into certain banking functions such as they do right now in the u.k. the american people have to wake up about what is happening with the postal service. under the constitution, guess what? it is the responsibility of congress to establish a postal service. congress right now is working on this is doubt -- disestablishing the postal service. >> are there other groups that are exerting pressure on members of congress for the privatization of the postal service? >> i would say, let's look who wins if this happens. if you start to cut overnight deliveries, ups and fedex win.
i cannot say they have lobbied me on this, but you can see the winners and losers. who loses? the american people. the whole concept of the postal service, and that it did that is universal service. if your report, live in a rural area, you look is served just like someone who lives in the city and may be wealthy. but a bedrock principle of democracy is about to go the way of the dodo bird because congress has manufactured a crisis with the passing of the 2006 law, and wants to compound it with other bills that would break human contracts, restrict or move the five-day delivery and create other reductions. you have a downward spiral in the service model and would begin the disintegration of the u.s. postal service. it is wrong and has to be exposed for what it is -- fraud. >> chuck zlatkin, if your to watch the corporate networks, he
would have no idea about this, about funding the pensions for 75 years in a 10-year span, no idea the postal service would otherwise be in the black what you hear is, we had to say goodbye to the telegraph. email and social media, we just do not need the post office anymore. your response? >> it is an absurd argument anyo. anyone who orders something online, they have not figured out how to get the shirt through the phone. you still have to have it delivered. you may not write a letter to granma anymore, but you're getting mr. netflix, which are sent to the post office. even with the economic collapse of 2008 or businesses use the postal service less, the postal service would still be ok. it is the congressional
mandates. we're talking about 2006, but we're not going back to 1971 when the postal service was formed after the great postal strike of 1970, and postal workers got collective bargaining. what happened then is the postal service had to pay into the employee's a pension -- pay into the employees' pensions. there was a study done in 2009 service hadpostal overpaid 7 $5 billion. in 2010, the regulatory commission commissioned their own study that said, it was only between $50,000,000,000.59999847412 dollars. in addition to the overpayments since 2006 into the future retirees' health benefits, they have overpaid into the pension funds for decades. the postal service has been a cash cow for the government, not vice versa. >> last week, peter orszag, the
former obama administration, office of management and budget director, wrote an opinion piece for bloomberg news called "best fix for postal service is to take a private." he wrote -- congressman kucinich, could you respond to that? >> the last time he said, congress should now privatize? >> yes. >> what a revelation. this person worked inside the white house. think about it. we have a government that is going to the highest bidder who is all these private interest groups hovering i've vultures try to pick of the postal service -- which actually is one of the strongest services government provides the people
who are involved in delivering the mail. this really needs to be challenged. this is about privatization at its corporate thank you, peter orszag, for being so candid about things that i'm sure he supported when he was one of the president's top advisers. we need to stand up for the whole principle of government acting as a public service. government is not there to make a profit. they're there to provide a service. >> some people suggest that some reform of the postal service is necessary. do you agree with that? >> of course. every institution has to evolve. but to say there's a difference between allowing an institution to evolve and grow and destroying it. right now the attempt is being made to destroy the postal service. this would impact all americans and drive up the cost of mail. i want everyone watching to think. if the post office is destroyed, what you think is going to
happen when people who live in the inner city who may not have a job and may have difficulties being able to survive day to day, how are they going to communicate with each other? it is unfair. it will be a disaster for third class mailers because their costs will go through the roof. we have to have a civics lesson about the essential needs of the postal service delivery universally to people in the country and what it means to them. this is a good opportunity to teach that. >> fedex and ups must be excited. >> i don't have any problem with having alternatives, but you cannot use those alternatives to destroy what is the main service. that is what i take issue with. the idea to privatize everything? absolutely not. trying to privatize the military, other government sponsors. every time you privatize something, the cost goes up to the public. it may profit the private sector, but it certainly does
not benefit the public. it is the duty of congress but if congress cannot do it, they ought to get out of the way and help or permit those to come forward who support the postal service. >> your colleague republican congress member darrell issa has championed a bill that would allow the phasing out of around 150,000 jobs and facilitate a faster move to five-day delivery. last year, he explained the heritage foundation why he thinks revamping the post office makes sense. >> we would be doing ourselves a favor because we would be saving wages we don't need to be paying. yes, it does mean there'll be 200,000 people will either be retired or doing other work in addition to the retirement, but that is what americans are dealing with. americans do not get to keep a job just because they work for the government. the private sector does not have that. if there is a slowdown in
general motors, you are out on the street waiting to come back when times are better. in the case of the post office, the slowdown is permanent. >> that is republican congress member darrell issa. your response? >> he is a brilliant businessman. if we put darrell issa in charge of the his post office and had that as his charge to help the post of survive, he would find a way to do it. but he is on the other side. he is advocating the cost to private business. it is not his decision to make alone. we have to understand the principle of universal service goes beyond corporate profit. it goes to the essence of what democracy is about. why did the founders but the post office in the constitution? i mean, really? they were delivering mail by horseback and. there was the thought of being able to move the commerce of the country but not only that, to communicate.e
can the post office update itself? of course. but that is not the argument underpinning misprint it is, whether it is one to survive or thrown into a trash bin to be picked up by corporate interest who get it for essentially pennies on the dollar and recapitalize it to make hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars in the long run. we cannot let that happen. >> chuck zlatkin, i want to ask you, the post office is the second-largest employer in the u.s. after walmart. can you say a little bit about what communities would be the most greatly impacted by what happens tonight if there is a decision made? >> no one will be impacted by tonight, because it is just not making a payment they don't have to make in the first place. service will continue. but what will be used as excuses for privatization and those who want to destroy the postal service to move forward with that plan. the people who must depend upon
the service are the elderly, poor people, disabled, small- business owners who cannot afford the alternative. it is for them that we are finding. as far as the union is concerned, if the people get the service they deserve, there'll be plenty of jobs for us. the postal service is not going to make -- it is -- >> i want to ask about a couple of quick issues. in texas, the tea party-backed candidate ted cruz has defeated david dewhurst and a runoff for the republican senate nomination. he had once been considered a long-shot candidate, but surged in the polls to be out david dewhurst who had won the backing of texas governor rick perry. dewhurst was considered conservative and cruz, the tea party candidate. the significance of this? >> the tea party remains organized.
it has an advantage in that it is funded. the tea party is a powerful force that cannot be denied. >> and your plans, congressman kucinich? you will be leaving congress. what do you plan to do next? >> it is a range of things. accelerating for the finish line and doing everything i can to use the available time to keep championing the concerns of the american people. i have already established an organization called kucinich action, which will hold our political activity as a constant factor in helping people organized at all levels, but to keep our focus also trained on matters of war and peace, jobs, on the environment print kucinich isp's action.com will be part of my political activity. -- kucinichaction.com will be
part of my political activity. i will try to work with others to try to save the postal service critic rex congressman kucinich, thank you for being with us and chuck zlatkin of the postal union rick thank you for being with us. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, we will cover the court-martial of those involved with the death of private danny chen and also go inside a broward jail to speak with a young activist who is trying to find out about immigrants inside who should not be deported. stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> we turn now to a dreamer detained. in a democracy now exclusive, we go to a dream activist viridiana martinez who is calling us from a detention center and, in a beach, florida. >> viridiana martinez is a group of undocumented activists with a national democrat youth alliance to a simple trick of the board transitional center and found dozens of immigrants who should be released under obama's discretionary guidelines. of review of cases to remove immigrants without criminal records and strong family ties has so far stopped less than 2% of deportations. describe for you are right now
but we just have a minute. why were you willing to be arrested and deported to find out what was happening inside this jail? >> good morning, i am at broward detention center right now talking to you on the fund. basically, i allowed myself to be detained because we knew we are getting phone calls, emails from family members of people who had been picked up. for months and months were being held here. we were taking their cases from afar, crating online petitions for them to stop deportations. -- creating online petition for them to stop deportations. what we found, like expected, the majority of cases here are low priority cases that according to president obama's
announcement last year, he was not going to be departing. yet, they're all being held here. >> viridiana martinez, are you going to be deported? >> [unintelligible] based on the deferred action announcement, i am pretty safe, i would say. the people that came in here, the cases i came to expose are those who do not have the spotlight. if they're not dreamers. they're the people that have been detained for two and a half years, over eight months now, that are suffering with medical conditions. they clearly should be released, and they are not. they are being held here. this place is owned by [unintelligible]
there is money being made at the expense of the suffering of these people. >> viridiana martinez, thank you for being with us, a dream activist with the niya who got arrested on purpose so she could find out if others are there who should be released. this is a private telephone or run by geo. for a full interview with her, go to democracynow.org. renee veltz does a half our interview to find out what is happening in the jail. we turn now to a major development in the case of army private danny chen allegedly took its own life just weeks after he was deployed to afghanistan last october. he was 19 years old. his family says he was abused by his comrades and superiors on almost daily basis, including racist hazing with soldiers throwing rocks at him, calling him ethnic slurs, and forcing him to do pushups or hang upside down with his mouth full of water. on tuesday, the first of eight
u.s. soldiers court-martialed in chen's death was sentenced to just 30 days in a military jail. sergeant adam holcomb will also be allowed to remain in the service. on friday, he was found not guilty on the most serious offense of negligent homicide -- but was convicted on lesser charges. this is major josh thompson, spokesperson for the 18th airborne corps. >> he was a sergeant, so he has been reduced out of the ninth commissioner ranks and a fine was imposed of $1,181.55 per month for one month and 30 days of confinement that was -- they have discretion anything from no punishment up to the maximum, a dishonorable discharge and two years and confine it with total forfeiture is. that is what the panel arrived that. >> during the court-martial, the prosecutor showed pictures of private to the bruised lower back and a number of scratches
from when he was pulled off the top bunk bed and fell to the floor. holcomb have been accused of dragging him outside over rocks. for more, we're joined by two people who just returned from washinwatching a court-martial. the elizabeth ouyang has served as a spokesperson for danny chen's parents. she advocates for victims of hate crimes and fair media representation for asian- americans. also with this is julia chung, a volunteer working on justice for private danny chen. welcome to "democracy now!" elizabeth ouyang, can you talk about the significance of the acquittal on the most serious charge of negligent homicide? >> i think it shows that they're trying to separate what they did to him from him taking his life when what they did to him very much contributed to his taking his life.
>> what is happening with the others? how many people have been charged? holcomb is 30 days in jail? >> an he is allowed to remain in the military, more egregiously. asian american parents are going to be petrified to send their sons and daughters to serve in the army with a sergeant who has been convicted of racial treatment. there were eight soldiers charged in connection with his death. we still have four more soldiers to have been charged with negligent homicide, plus two of the high-ranking officers who were aware of what happened to danny chen and did nothing to stop it. >> julia chung, what we must struck by as you watch the court-martial? >> the lack of awareness about asian american issues.
even the defense attorneys had and the lower ranking officers had. when the witness was testifying, one said, "gook, that is a common term for asian-american." >> who was it? >> he was a medic who treated any chance back. he said, "that is a common and, right?" he agreed to saying "chink" was inappropriate hossein "dragon lady" and "fortune cookie and ed raúl" was ok. they said it was just a nickname. i was surprised by the fact while he himself never called him that, because he realized it was wrong, but the higher level ngo's they were ok with calling it. it was just surprising to hear that. >> elizabeth ouyang, do you
believe danny chen committed suicide? >> is still unclear. we have a world-renowned usensic ask beexperts to help progress former medical examiner. >> yes. in our minds in the minds of the parents, we're not sure. >> we will continue to follow this story. >> thank you, elizabeth ouyang, president of oca and thank you to julia chung for being with us. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]