The news commanding attention is the Nevada caucuses in the Democratic presidential primary, and the South Carolina Republican primary. Donald Trump won. Hillary Clinton eked out a victory over Bernie Sanders. Jeb Bush dropped out of the presidential race. But there are other significant stories besides the 2016 Election that deserve attention too.
On this week’s “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast, hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola discuss the use of U.S.-manufactured cluster bombs in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition. The conversation also addresses: the case of Palestinian hunger striker and journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq, who is close to death in an Israeli prison, the case of Younous Chekkouri, a former Guantanamo prisoner who was released only to find himself imprisoned in a notorious jail in Morocco, and a George Washington University professor who called for Israel to “flatten” Beirut with explosive weapons.
In the second part of the show, following coverage of other important stories, Khalek and Gosztola respond to the results of the Nevada Caucuses in the Democratic presidential primary. They address the manufactured controversy, which spread around Dolores Huerta offering to translate for one of the precincts as well, and how the reaction to it fits a pattern, which has become a hallmark of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
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Below are a few highlights from this week’s episode.
“The U.S. is directly responsible for what is happening in Yemen. The U.S. hold an enormous amount of leverage over the country of Saudi Arabia. So, it’s not only that the U.S. is sitting by and just allowing Saudi Arabia to this. It’s actively giving Saudi Arabia the tools to kill children and coordinating with Saudi Arabia.
It’s utterly shocking and remarkable how little attention this is getting because Saudi Arabia is everything that people in the U.S like to hate on. It’s a country of the most extreme strain of political Islam. They practice their warped version with Wahhabism. So it is so bizarre to me that Saudi Arabia gets away with so much. They behead people. They kill children with cluster bombs. All of these things just goes to show you if you’re the right side that’s doing it, it’s okay even if you’re a bunch of murderous extremists who chop off people’s heads.” (Rania Khalek)
“[Former Guantanamo prisoenr Younous Chekkouri] gave this tear-jerker of an interview to Associated Press reporters, where he described how he was subject to all sorts of “dark torture and sexual abuse” while at Guantanamo and in a prison Kandahar. While he’s recounting this horror, he’s got tears streaming down his face. The thing that’s really terrible is it’s not over. On February 23, he still has this hearing, where he might be charged with conspiring against national security if the judge thinks there is reasonable evidence to back up this charge. And this charge, that evidence only exists because of what the United States said to Morocco. But the United States government has not been willing to defend Chekkouri to the Morocco government.” (Kevin Gosztola)
“In this case, Al Qeeq launched a hunger strike because, according to him, his Israeli interrogators threatened to rape him and his family. So, he launched his hunger strike and he’s been on a hunger strike for 86 days. Israel will not release him to the hospital to the hospital he is asking to go to and so he’s staying steadfast. And it’s a huge issue in Palestine right now.
Everything in the U.S. right now, as it is every four years, is dominated by news related to the election. A lot of these significant stories that are taking place in different parts of the world are just not receiving any attention. But what’s really, really remarkable, this week a few western journalists were harassed by Israeli security forces. In one case, it was the Jerusalem bureau chief at the Washington Post.” (Rania Khalek)
“I understand a lot of older woman want to see a woman in power. I’m not saying everyone who supports Hillary is supporting her because they are imperialists or that they are actually conservative and hate poor people. But I am suggesting that there is I think a split, even among Democrats, that’s really coming to light because of this election that really shows that the Democratic Party, half of it is really fucking conservative in their economics. Their just pure capitalists. I mean, we know the Democratic leadership is, but at the end of the day, the Democrats in general is just this umbrella for everyone who does not like Republicans because Republicans hate women, minorities, and gay people. But that’s really the only thing I think that connects the Democratic Party.” (Rania Khalek)
“This is how politics works in our country. Unfortunately, every four years, people who run for president, they talk about their issues in a standard way. That standard is apparently aimed at white voters. Then they have to tailor their message for the African-American demographic. Then they have to tailor it for the Latino demographic. Then there is apparently issues for women, but those aren’t really just issues for women. They are usually issues for people who have money and are women—white establishment feminist issues. That’s the way we allow our elections to work, and I don’t think that the compartmentalization is actually something that’s a good feature of our politics.” (Kevin Gosztola)