tv [untitled] December 5, 2012 8:00pm-8:30pm EST
well despite a host of criticism against the bill the u.s. senate unanimously passes the national defense authorization act but there is more to this legislation than meets the eye i will tell you five things you need to know about the n.d.a. and what's in a name no matter if you call this military contractor blackwater z. or even academy the fact is that this organization still plays a major role in the war in afghanistan and their camp integrity is gaining even more pentagon support we'll discuss the role of the private contractors in afghanistan coming up. and if you've got taxes on your income we're getting bad get ready for this uncle sam is looking for ways to fix the student debt crisis by taking money right out of borrowers paychecks a new solution to an old problem coming up.
good evening it's wednesday december fifth eight pm in washington d.c. i'm christine freeze out and you're watching our team let's begin this evening with what happened yesterday in a vote of ninety eight to zero the senate passed the national defense authorization act of two thousand and thirteen after five days of debate and hundreds of amendments considered many within the senate were proud of the progress made and of the bipartisan support the bill got something frankly that's been rather rare and capitol hill these days the bill now has to house senate conference committee where it will be discussed and differences between the house version of the bill hammered out however what exactly is within those six hundred sixty eight pages well some of it might surprise you archie's liz wahl explains. the national defense
authorization act or the n.p.a. as it's commonly known as salish is the budget for the u.s. military but the massive bill also has many other provisions with major implications for your freedom and last night the senate unanimously passed the defense spending bill and a ninety eight to zero vote now we have compiled the top five things you should know about this more than six hundred thirty one billion dollar bill in a number of five contractor agreements this is things to an amendment sponsored by senator ron wyden and what it does is require the pentagon to disclose when it enters into indemnification agreements and this is where one party agrees to protect another party from being sued an example is the k.b.r. the largest military contractor a portland jury ruled that it must pay one hundred million dollars in damages for exposing veterans to toxic chemicals but the company is now suing the u.s. army corps of engineers because it says it's protected by an agreement with the pens a god and a number for cyber combat command this would require the pentagon to consult
lawmakers if it wants to raise u.s. cyber command to an all out come back and command in other words congress needs to know when warfare is shifting from cyber war to actual war. and i number three embassy security this provision would also raise up to a thousand marine corps personnel to provide security adviser with embassies this of course is in the wake of the tragedy in benghazi where eight u.s. ambassador was among the americans killed in what was later determined to be a terrorist attack and number two veteran mental health the suicide rate among members of the military is skyrocketing this past year there were more veterans suicide than total soldiers killed in afghanistan and iraq since those wars started an amendment to the n.c.a.a. would create a comprehensive suicide prevention program that would increase accessibility to mental health counseling and the department of defense and help mental health care
providers get better training and then at number one a get mo detainee transfer ban now this one is raising the most concern in the white house this provision would permanently ban the transfer of detainees detainees from guantanamo bay to the u.s. now the white house has threatened to veto any restrictions on its ability to transfer prisoners to other countries and that is exactly what this bill does well now that the bill has passed the senate it goes to a joint conference between the house and senate before it had for the president's desk for his signature and as you've seen many aspects of it are controversial so it's likely its current form could change in washington liz wahl. so leading up to this passage of the n.g.a. there has been quite a bit of discussion and debate at least here at r t about two sections of it section ten twenty one and ten twenty two and how far the government can go in terms of detaining people indefinitely as of now anyone with the president
determines to have substantially supported the taliban al qaeda or associated forces may be designated as enemy combatants subject to indefinite detention that includes u.s. citizens and senator dianne feinstein a democrat from california tried to fix that getting what's now known as the feinstein amendment inserted into the bill now it states that it authorization to use military force a declaration of war or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the united states apprehended in the united states unless an act of congress expressly authorizes such detention now for those who have been fighting to get u.s. citizens removed from this indefinite detention clause this is like a victory but now several are coming forward and saying this doesn't not just not make things better it actually makes things worse i spoke earlier with karl mayer an attorney for the mayor group who has also been representing american journalist
chris hedges in the lawsuit over and da as a journalist who just was concerned that the n.d.a. could affect him directly since he's been in contact with people in the past considered to have. taliban ties and i asked karl if his client still has a case with the latest passage of the n.d.a. . and now his case is not closed at all the fight goes on the fight is. still before the second circuit court of appeals we won below in the u.s. district court the judge in that case in our case so far judge forces declared the two thousand and twelve and the a entirely unconstitutional east of the provision that relates to detention of americans. civilians and citizens including hedges in terms of whether chris hedges still has a case right now it's really unclear from the text of the feinstein amendment because there's nowhere in the feinstein amendment and i'm reading directly from a copy of it that says that chris hedges or any other journalist would be entitled
to a trial by jury in other words it could be it could be interpreted as simply a trial which could be a military trial a trial before a military tribunal which is not a jury trial and that would be unconstitutional secondly the to the extent that it gets to two thousand and thirteen n.b.a. is not law so the told the president signs it and he's threatened to veto it it is not law so the hedges case is still alive we are in the midst of writing every single second circuit. let's talk a little bigger picture here according to the a.c.l.u. the twenty third came and here i might look like a fax because of the fine stand on that but it breaks things up further talk about what this one change yes that's right this this legislation. gives with one hand and takes away with the other hand because what this legislation does is it even though it appears and there is
a lot of habeas that even though it appears to carve out u.s. citizens for protection and as well as green card holders it exempts everyone else from protection so really what this what all the civil liberties groups are complaining about and what we believe to be the. as well is that you would still have a definite detention by the military say illegally or aliens for the mesh nals who are in the united states let's say you're a journalist in the united states you're a russian citizen but you're in the united states then you could be indefinitely detained by the military under this suppose it fix which is why all the major civil liberties groups were against the feinstein amendment because it makes things worse in many respects them at least giving the military the power to sort of operate in this country you know the homeland battlefield idea is really interesting and it kind of put that put that in writing there's a lot of there's
a no karl because of the authorization for the use of military force which as we know that passed right after nine eleven and basically gives the president unlimited power inside and outside of the u.s. and if i'm not mistaken this is still in fact in effect can you unravel this for us and what it means and sort of normal language here yes. i will do my best but i think if it's an overstatement the administration wants to say this is a u m f it does give them unlimited power it does not the a u m f was only narrowly targeted to the people who are involved in planning nine eleven and executing nine eleven and al qaeda period that's all that's the only people who are targeted under the authorization of use for military force now the n.d.a. then expanded that everyone to journalists like yourself or to chris hedges or civilians or resident aliens or whomever any civilian in the united states and that is the problem with the n.d.a. if it goes way beyond the authorization for the use of the use of military force
and we're asking the courts to clarify all this you're right it's very difficult for the ordinary americans and your viewers worldwide to make sense of all this but we're we are we've been very clear from the beginning. we have a very clear principle that we're advocating for the courts which is the police the military does not police our streets in this country that's an inch of constitutional doctrine and the military cannot be used to detain whether it be citizens. illegal aliens any civilian in the united states period end of story any civilian cannot be detained in the united states of america and we think that is why even the new feinstein amendment is unconstitutional if we have to challenge that we will but it hasn't been enacted yet and even as a fix it makes things worse for a lot of people because because what it does is it authorizes by statute makes clear by statute that for the first time the president can use military the
military to detain people within the borders of the united states and that is un-american unconstitutional now as far as sort of the progression of what happens next the house and senate still need to go through and sort of find common ground before even sending the bill to the president so there will be a few differences they'll need to iron out but as you said you know the president has said he would veto that if language is left in the bill that prohibits him from transferring military prisoners held at guantanamo bay into civilian custody talk a little bit about why this is such a sticking point from some for both sides and why did the senate include this and why does the president say he would veto it if it's in the final bill. because again most of most of this legislation is all is all political posturing by people like lindsey graham who resembles more a rabid dog a reason constitutional scholar he was he actually said that the reason they can't close guantanamo is he doesn't want quote those crazy bastards and quote in the
united states in last year he was quoted on the floor is saying that anyone who is concerned about our civil liberties should shut up because they don't have a right to a lawyer if they're considered terrorists by senator lindsey graham so that's why graham put this want to put. this in the republicans put this in. saying that we should close guantanamo i think i'm going to know too regarding you know a lot of times when you know regular people think of guantanamo bay they do think you know the worst of the worst the terrorists are held there but let's not forget that that a large number of people at one hundred day right now have been cleared for release but just can't have not been released because of certain political situations in their countries you know their country of origin so i think it's important to note here that a lot of these i think you said crazy bastards using when the grahams words are not exactly that well that's right and that's and the same when lindsay graham says you
are terrorists shut up you don't get a lawyer who is deciding what people have done in these videos but that's what we have the courts for we have the courts so people can give due process in a fair trial so you know i think this is another terrible provision. i don't know whether it will cause the president to veto it i don't i don't think he will but whatever whatever he does it goes against obama's campaign promises to shut guantanamo one from a has been a shameful chapter in american history and it repeatedly been sanctioned and cited by the court for improper practices there so we are part of this process too as lawyers we are second circuit case where the government is appealing judge force ruling which says the n.b.a. is unconstitutional is coming up soon we might even have some more litigation surprises that will let our team know that. in the near future well we always appreciate that you know and let's not forget you know the president said he would
veto it last year and ended up signing it on new year's eve so of course we will keep our eyes on all of this carl mayor attorney at the mayor law group thanks so much. why are some food for thought more than two hundred u.s. special operations forces have moved into a new home in afghanistan but instead of being housed in military facilities of the as they have in the past this group was put up in a compound owned and operated by the security company formerly known as blackwater which then tailors its name to z. and is now called academy the base is called camp integrity and is a more than four hundred thirty five thousand square foot forward operating base located not far from the kabul international airport they say the reason for this new home is overcrowding that there just wasn't space at the existing facilities for the exit additional special ops forces that would be coming in but economy got more than twenty two million dollars a no bid contract which by the way apparently covers things like food services pest
control information technology and armed security services the contract runs through twenty fifteen and even though even though most u.s. forces are supposed to be out and home by the end of twenty fourteen to talk more about the various implications of this i was joined by michael o'brien the author of the book america's failure in iraq intervention to withdraw all and i first asked him how common it is for u.s. military forces to take up residence on a private compound in the best of my knowledge. not common at all it's not done i never heard of it i never heard of such a thing you know the the you're in a foreign country you've got an american company will. you know the fact of the matter is when i was in iraq we had forward operating bases but they were all operated by the u.s. government you had contractors that. provided. you know construction support and you know the food in all the things that you listed there but they
didn't you know and they built they might have built the bases and stuff like that but they didn't to the best of my knowledge this is a base that it's a black they own it it's their it's their base they probably have some kind of a land lease from the from the government of afghanistan i don't know the specifics of the deal but i've never heard of anything i've never heard of anything like this what about this aspect that it goes on that the contract the twenty three million dollar contract goes through may of two thousand and fifteen i mean do you think that tells us anything about what the future of this war with afghanistan will look like considering that we thought the majority of our forces would be home at the end of twenty fourteen well we're we're being told that all of our forces are going to be out of there by the end of twenty fourteen that's not going to happen i read in a recent article of that ten thousand that there's plans of keeping about ten thousand troops over there. you know indefinitely iraq same thing i mean we're.
all of our forces are not gone there are still a lot of them are there but it really. there's a couple of things first of all is. i mean really why is this company still in business after the new source square massacre in september of two thousand and seven in baghdad why is the company still in business number one yet certainly this is a company known for some of its contractors there shooting and killing multiple civilians oh yeah it's been known for stealing weapons where me why are they why are they still in business not only still in business but still trusted by the u.s. military and paid exorbitant amounts of money by the u.s. military actually so it's so that's one issue in the other issue is we or we are getting. into you know i talk about this extensively in my book and on my website but you know we're taken mercenary you know this is taking mercenary to another level it's a role reversal we have mercenaries operating on foreign soil out of american bases
or out of their own compounds and safe houses but now it's a role reversal we have u.s. forces occupying. you know being be housed on a in facilities on a mercenary own base so the mercy you know the tails waking the dog now and the mercenary company it's a mercenary company. you know it is what it is is now housing. u.s. forces and the whole thing about they do they ran out of room and all that will i mean that i don't i you know i've got a bridge to sell you i mean i don't personally i don't know why but i think you know the name of this compound forward operating base camp integrity and by the way michael you'll be pleased to know if you're interested you can actually buy a t. shirt there a t. shirt because i want to be on the screen here at camp integrity there it is. that is an oxymoron that's about as makes about as much sense as jumbo shrimp.
i mean it is interesting we talk a little bit more i mean you talk sort of about the reputation of this this company but but what's the bigger picture here in terms of as you said you know the tail wagging the dog but these two factions which are really are supposed to be kept a little more distant not only working together but living together well there's no far with you know i'm i'm very familiar with government contracting so first of all you know after the new source square massacre how come they still maintain a government contract how come they were not debord as the term is from future government contracts. then and now they're now there. there is no wall there's no farwell there's not even a pretense of a separate. of of. contractor or you know some supplier of services to us to the u.s. government it's you know there are all there are almost as close to the term being in bed together as you can get i mean they're living together on the contractors
compound yeah and not just that academy as it's now called gave the best deal this was a no bid contract and i've got a copy of it right here and basically according to the rules you know you have to have somebody go through and say. because this was a no bid contract we have to make sure that it was a fair price was offered and you know it was the deal with good so from what we understand these these trips started being housed there in may of two thousand and twelve well this contract read to me when this was signed doing ok thirty one august of two thousand and twelve right so that is three months after they were already there and so what do you think this says this after the fact well it's nice to say it's nice to see that they didn't you know backdate it or they actually you know put put the real date on it. but there's got to be. you know the i'm sure there's a contractor waltzer involve the u.s. u.s. army contracting officer with
a warrant to sign these things and. you know i can explain it i'd have to look at that if i were you but i also i return that the cost of this government contractor fair and reasonable based on price and aisles of not so much the wording but the fact that it was side after the decision was already not only made but after the consequences of this is were in play and how do they know if it's a fair or reasonable thing to they do what's called an independent government estimate to compare that were the justification that it had to be sole source or other than full open competition was it an emergency was that the only vendor that could do that. and the other thing is to if they started doing it back then you know in may and then signed it no. just you know where's the justification to be interesting to see where the justification was for the. for the need for to house the these soldiers in that location at that time right away and there wasn't anything else
that could be that could satisfy that requirement and and you'd have to you know that would be a foyer request freedom of information act request an interesting thing to find out if we actually got real quick run out of time do you have any idea michael of what these contractor bases are like as compared to what regular military bases fairly well i lived off ob like i said i was in the the international zone formerly called the green zone in baghdad but i was on many many fathers all around the country and i would venture to say they probably are very very much very much the same hesco barrier walls you know out in the middle of nowhere or on a piece of land i should say we are near the airport here in kabul probably but you have sco walls probably a bunch of t. walls probably didn't take much to build and then trailers prefab trailers with electrical and plumbing basic plumbing interest and internet cable yeah ok not a lot michael o'brien the author of the melt america's
a failure in iraq thanks as always for being here and sharing either insight great thanks for having. well the election may have just ended but several people in both parties already seem to have their sights set on twenty sixteen one of them kentucky senator rand paul has announced he'll be making an official trip to israel must visit place for those seeking the presidency as well as those who want to remain in the good graces of one of the most powerful lobbying firms in the country apac here's a list of just some of the lawmakers who travel to israel this year as part of the educational seminar in israel sponsored by the american israel education foundation which is part of a pac but back to rand paul one of many political pilgrims why is the senator from kentucky without a seat on any foreign policy committees going on a trip to the middle east where he's going with a prominent evangel evangelical activist jewish leaders and political operatives for those who follow the presidential runs of rand paul's father texas congressman ron paul here's proof that once in
a while the apple can fall far from the tree. why does it political suicide for anyone to criticize. israel who has two hundred three hundred nuclear missiles and they can take care of themselves. rand paul has also stakes his political career on decreasing foreign aid that same aid benefited israel to the tune of more than three million dollars last year this trip may help rand shake off fears from israel and its supporters that his policy ideas would cut off the country from american money but here's a question what will his dad ron say at christmas. now on to an issue that has more than five million americans in dire straits student loans there is now more student loan debt than credit card debt in this country and an entire cottage industry dedicated to collecting that debt the department of education pays about a billion dollars to debt collectors each year to track that money down now
a new bill from representative tom petrie a republican from wisconsin would make some key changes to the way government handles student debt it would bring automatic withdrawals from borrower paychecks so that some large of those who taxes the debt would be repaid straight from those paychecks but the payments would be capped at fifteen percent of a borrower's income after living expenses and also ties interest to treasury market rates it could eliminate low income subsidies and also loan forgiveness for public servants the strike that team has been vocal about eliminating all kinds of debt mccunn tree and replacing the collection agencies that harass people with forgiveness now earlier i spoke to an larsen i strike debt activist and i asked her for her take on this idea to use automatic withdrawals from borrowers paychecks to pay back those student loans. this plan is really nothing more than a band-aid on a bullet wound we have twenty seven percent of student debtors who are already in default in this country it's millions of people people are paying these bills
because they can't. this plan is not going to help them at all it doesn't do anything for the trillion dollars of student debt that we are already have on the books and perhaps more importantly it doesn't address the exploding cost of higher education so i think that families sitting around the table wondering how they're going to afford higher education are looking at this plan and thinking what don't our elected representatives get about this is a lot about i mean i haven't spoken to congressman petrie but the fact is he said i want to make it so this comes out of people's paychecks but it would be capped at fifteen percent of a person's income after living expenses you know it's not really. anyone's place to tell people how to spend their money but the fact is they borrowed this money they sent they signed a promissory note that they would pay it back so if they have a job and it's fifteen percent or less of their income why not start to pay this
back. well first of all this plan will not apply to current student debt or is it would only be for new student debtors that are just starting out in college and secondly we need to talk about the fundamental question here which is is student debt legitimate debt is funding higher education something that we should do as a society or is saddling young people with tens of thousands of dollars in many cases over one hundred thousand dollars in debt is this something that we should support and something that we should do i mean i find it interesting that republicans who oppose any kind of tax increase and are particularly opposed to tax increases on millionaires and billionaires have no problem with turning the i.r.s. and employers into collection agents garnishing wages of people who are in student debt i think it's really important what you said and that is that this is part of a larger discussion certainly there are specific components to it that should be discussed and debated as well but there are some people who believe that education in this country should be far less expensive or even free but how would that happen
i mean how would one be able to get a free education in this country. publically funding higher education in the united states would be very very inexpensive people don't realize how cheap it would be to do that we could fund all public two and four year colleges and universities for what the pentagon spends in about three months it would be about eighty billion dollars that is about what we're already losing in student debt defaults right now so this is not a matter of a lack of money this is a matter of political will it's a matter of how we fund public services i think it's interesting too when you sort of go through this and do some research the numbers and i think they tell an interesting story i want to go over since some system statistics this is according to bloomberg and the wall street journal on the cost of outstanding student loans has now reached more than a trillion dollars and it cost the government one hundred billion dollars a year ninety three percent of loans are made directly by the government another crazy number you mention the percentage of but it's actually five million borrowers
are in default this is a mess created by the government so do you think that it should in fact be fixed by the government well it's a mess created by the government in cahoots with wall street bankers are very much involved in the student debt business even though now the federal government issues all student loans there's still private student loan debt there's still for profit colleges that that issue that we're students are taking out a lot of debt and i think so the fundamental question is how are we going to fund higher education in america we're already losing a billion a billion dollars in student debt defaults we could fund higher education for that for about seventy billion dollars. that was and larson from the straight debt strike debt campaign and that's going to do it for now but for more on the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r t america or you can check out our website it's r t dot com slash usa and you can also follow me on twitter.