Democracy Now! - September 8, 2015
Thirty years ago, French secret service blew up Greenpeace’s flagship Rainbow Warrior ship in Auckland, New Zealand, killing a Portuguese photographer, as the ship was preparing to head to sea to protest against French nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific. Now the French intelligence agent who led the deadly attack has come forward for the first time to apologize for his actions, breaking his silence after 30 years. On July 10, 1985, Jean-Luc Kister led the dive team that planted the bombs on the Rainbow Warrior that sunk the ship and killed Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira. TV New Zealand’s program "Sunday" recently tracked down Jean-Luc Kister in northern France and spoke to him about what happened that day. We air the TVNZ report.
In Guatemala, a television comedian has won the first round of the nation’s presidential elections. Sunday’s vote came just days after Guatemala’s President Otto Pérez Molina resigned and was jailed on corruption charges. Pérez Molina’s former vice president and several other close aides have also been jailed. Sunday’s previously scheduled election went ahead despite calls for postponement. The comic actor Jimmy Morales received about 24 percent of the vote, far short of the 50 percent needed for an outright victory. Sandra Torres, the ex-wife of former President Álvaro Colom, and conservative businessman Manuel Baldizón were virtually tied for second place. We speak to Allan Nairn in Guatemala City. He is a journalist and activist who has covered Guatemala since the 1980s.
On Thursday, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump held a press conference in Trump Tower in New York. While much was made of his announcement to refrain from considering a third-party run, little attention was given to Trump’s star guests at the event: members of Indonesia’s top political brass. Among the Indonesians who met with Donald Trump was Deputy Speaker of the House Fadli Zon. He is the right-hand man of the U.S.-trained Prabowo Subianto. Gen. Prabowo has been accused of extensive human rights abuses that took place in the 1990s when he was head of the country’s special forces. He was dismissed from the army in 1998 following accusations he was complicit in the abduction and torture of activists during political unrest in Jakarta that led to the ouster of longtime dictator Suharto, who killed as many as a million civilians. Prabowo was the son-in-law of Suharto. We speak to Allan Nairn about Trump’s meeting.
On September 26, 2014, a group of students from Ayotzinapa teachers’ college came under attack by police in the city of Iguala, in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. Six people were killed in a series of attacks that night, and 43 students were disappeared. The Mexican government has claimed the 43 students were killed by members of a local drug gang, and their bodies incinerated in a trash dump in the neighboring town of Cocula. But the students’ families have long rejected this account, and the phrase "fue el estado," or "it was the state," has become a rallying cry at mass protests across Mexico and around the world. Now, a new independent report commissioned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has dismissed the Mexican government’s version of the students’ disappearance. We speak with journalist John Gibler in Mexico City. He outlines the report’s key findings, including that municipal, state and federal police actively participated in attacks on the students and that military intelligence officers were present at at least two of the attack scenes.