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tv   RT News  PBS  September 4, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT

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>> coming up, the debate on capitol hill continues over a potential u.s. strike on syria while syria remains in a growing state of chaos. for the latest updates, and head. the california state senate votes to reject -- the highest court is considering hearing a lawsuit challenging them. it has been months since the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in west, texas. five other facilities storing the same chemical have turned
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away the state fire marshal. the state fire marshal himself joins us later in the show. it is wednesday, september 4. i am sam sachsen you're watching "rt." we begin in sweden. asking again to make the stakes for serial. >> can you explain the dilemma of a nobel peace prize winner getting ready to attack syria? >> i will refer you to the speech i gave one and gave the nobel prize.+ i think i started by saying that compared to previous recipients, i was unworthy. the question all of us face, not
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just me, is at what point do we say we need to confront actions that are violating our common humanity. >> the president pots pans for congress to improve -- approve strikes are unraveling. the released its shaft of an authorization for force. it narrows the much broader authorization submitted by the white house over the weekend. the plan imposes a 60 day limit on any military operations and explicitly forbids deployment of u.s. troops on the ground in syria. the s -- senate foreign relations committee passed the resolution. the next step is to piece together 60 votes to move the resolution forward and hold a
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vote on it next week. but then it goes to the house of but epresentatives where itse of prospects are dimmer. today the house foreign relations committee staged hearing 2 on syria. john kerry, chuck hagel, and martin dempsey took to the hill to make the case for u.s. intervention and they faced off against skeptical lawmakers. this will not stop the butchering and the killing that takes place over there. what is the purpose? what is the endgame? where is the imminent danger to the united states? >> i have spoken to hundreds of constituents. not a one, not a one member in my district or the e-mails of people that have contacted my fsa -- office say go to syria.
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>> most members of the house are opposed to military strikes. "rt" caught up with some members of the house foreign relations committee. this is what they had to say. >> on the rebel side you have hezbollah, which is a rebel group. you have groups fighting each other and we want to get involved? >> every time i hear this administration say this is going to be clear and concise and brief, the conversation tends to steer into, in some way we are going to support opposition. what that signifies is we are going to get dragged into a civil war. >> the when charter is clear about this. it for bids one country attacking another country -- or because of a treaty. either one of which applies. >> where is all of us headed? our military strikes the appropriate response?
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i was joined earlier to discuss this by stephen/and your -- sle singer. i started off by playing a clip of what rand paul said to "rt" yesterday about congress getting duped by the white house. >> art of the problem, my biggest complaint is i want to be out of the president to bringing this forward but then they say they won't adamantly say they're going to adhere to the congressional verdict. is it just theater, is a pretend? that is an important thing. if the president wants credit for coming forward, and he needs to say yes it is binding. i would never go to war if i lose the vote. it is telling they are not willing to say that. >> i asked stephen if he agrees this is all theater. >> no, i think the president wants the support of congress. the american people do not
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support action on syria. he does not have the support of the united nations. nato has been silent. congress is the only stable institution which could give him some kind of legal authority for what he is doing. but there will be a dilemma if he does not get the congressional vote in support of his action. >> the president said he did not come up with the red line the world came up with it when it signed on to the chemical weapons convention and other treaties. what is an appropriate response when nations violate these conventions? is it a military strike? >> i think he is genuine in being concerned about enforcing the issue of chemical weapons, the so-called international norm. this is the wrong place and the wrong time to enforce it. we do not want to get involved in a civil war which has no
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relationship to our national security. this is not the right place to do it. the middle east is a tinderbox. it is already exploding. if americans endorse a missile strike, in a way that the president has outlined, we are going to have tremendous outburst of anti-americanism. we can't afford any more turmoil that is going to inflict that area and also our foreign policy. >> what do you make of arguments that have been made by secretary of state kerry that if we do not respond to these actions, it will embolden future bad actors to use similar weapons which will threaten the national security interest of the united states and other allies? >> when ronald reagan lost marines in lebanon back in 1982, he went through them right away.
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he did not talk about enforcing norms of that sort because he did not see that as an act of weakness on the side of the american presidency. he saw that as a tactical measure to sustain our national interest. if the president changes his mind or says the so-called red line no longer applies today because circumstances have changed, people will accept that. i do not think that will will be held against him. >> given the administration has previously demanded assad must go, plus the initial broad authorization they submitted over the weekend, and if you include the calls form summoner -- from senator mckay -- mccain, does this go beyond chemical weapons? is this about tilting the balance in the civil war in
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favor of the opposition? >> not according to the president. he says this is going to be a neutral strike to punish the searing government for the use of chemical weapons. this is the danger. once you send those missiles in, let's say the effect is immediate and it does incur a lot of activity, you then have voices saying, let's complete the job. let's wipe the regime out. or on the contrary, if it does not work, if it does not stop aside from using chemical weapons, you can have further demand to send more missiles and finally send ground troops in order to enforce the norm. either way it is a loser, in my estimation. >> it is a precarious situation we are moving into, trying to walk that line of punishing the
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assad government for using this and not getting involved in the civil war and toppling the government. we are out of time. thank you. one word we have used by the president when discussing lee terry options is the word proportional. there needs to be a proportional response to bashar al-assad's use of chemical weapons. what does a proportional response mean when syria has not attacked the u.s.? >> over 100,000 dead in the bloodiest of award. a chemical attack blamed on the assad government appears to be a red line. >> the military plan that has been developed by our joint chiefs that i believe is appropriate is proportional, limited. >> in this case they see
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proportional as limited intervention. no boots on the ground with the goal of deterring assad from using chemical weapons. regime change is not the goal. >> if assad is arrogant enough, and foolish enough to retaliate to the consequences of his own criminal activity, the united states and our allies have ample ways to make him regret that decision. >> the call for action comes two years after a multistate military intervention in libya. the ad states fired dozens of cruise missiles at the north african country. coalition forces and forced a no-fly zone. this in an effort to crack down on muammar gaddafi. >> in terms of air traffic, and things they can't do in terms of
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low-flying helicopters, for example. >> the operation destroyed key targets. international intervention lasted until the gruesome death of the long-time libyan leader. >> nobody wants cruise missiles. the american people do not want this. >> in addition to libya, the calls for involvement in serious have prompted fears of another ordeal like i rock. a full-fledged -- like iraq. a full-fledged attack resulted in over 4000 american deaths. past conflict shows military intervention is not a guarantee. the world has seen that when intervention ends, violence remains a part of daily life as the country struggles to pick up
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the pieces. it is why most u.s. citizens now are weary of getting involved in another conflict. >> now onto news regarding indefinite detention. the state senate voted 37-0 to reject the government's attention powers as proscribed by the national defense authorization act two years ago. the california measure reads it is the policy of the state to refuse to provide material support for or participate in with the implementation within the state of any federal law that authorizes indefinite detention of a person within california. the measure was previously passed by the state assembly. if the measure is signed into law by jerry brown it would make it difficult for the federal government to use its powers in the state of california.
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else where the main plaintiffs in a long battle against the ndaa's provision of planning to file paperwork to have their case heard before the u.s. supreme court. this would be the last remaining legal challenge to critics of indefinite detention after a court of appeals ruled the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the law. for the latest i was joined earlier by the founder of revolution truth and a plaintiff in this ndaa case. i started by asking how effective this measure could be if signed into law at curtailing the indefinite detention powers. >> it is a great question. it is all of these groups coming together and congress is taking it seriously. i think that helps move us down to the end goal a little closer to nullifying the ndaa.
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it is also full of loopholes. the most significant one was an overreliance on habeas corpus. it is a measure of last resort. somebody could be held a long time before the government actually honors habeas corpus. 10, 20 years. it is kind of meaningless. the suspension of due process, all of our rights. it is good and bad. >> let's move on to the other avenue. asking the supreme court, what are you hoping to hear in response? >> they don't have to. it is a little bit worries some. the judiciary, all the way to the supreme court has tended to deferred to the executives in this endless war on terror. they do not have to take the case. this is what congress decided.
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we hope they do take the case. there were two issues we brought forward, the first and fifth amendment, freedom of association and due process. we had written in questions, we won and even the appeals court agreed we raised very tricky questions. the supreme court should take the case. >> many lawsuits against the government spying on americans have been tossed out after courts ruled that could not prove they were spied on. that has changed and we will probably see more lawsuits come out. what information will come to light? what action could help your case and give plaintiffs standing that they did not have? >> that is a great question. as you know, one of the journalists that filed lost on
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standing grounds, precisely what you described. they could not prove they were being spied on. now we can. it is a roundabout thing but this can affect our case positively. the government can't squirm out and say you can prove anything. in our case it is absurd. we were denied standing because you have to be detained before you could have standing. when they are secretly arrested and held somewhere, we don't know where. they are denied access to an attorney. and now it is legal to hold them for as long as the government wishes. there is no way to find those people. absurdities abound and hopefully we will continue to get judges like this one who really can see this all in within the constitution. >> moving on to the supreme court and now congress, which is working on a new ndaa.
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is there an opportunity to rein in these powers, what should people know? >> you know, there are several senators and congressmen and women who are really fighting to roll this back. their efforts are being hit at every turn. people in the parties are halting them in their tracks and rejecting the amendment. i applaud my friends and colleagues just like they do those in california. i think what needs to happen is everyone of us has an achilles' heel achilles' heel we need to deal with. broken institutions, what not. and politics. we need to fight on every front and the congressional fight matters but right now is looking pessimistic. >> should be an interesting few months.
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thank you. moving on to the latest leak from edward snowden. according to a top-secret report outlined by the washington post, al qaeda is trying to deploy a counter drone strategy. the report includes dozens of assessments dating back to 2006 exposing a number of methods used by al qaeda to down u.s. jones including jamming gps signals, blocking tags, using observation balloons and even airplanes. it also describes al qaeda attempts to recruit more engineers and technicians to focus on counter drone operations. the intelligence community noted they are confident al qaeda lacks the technical knowledge to deploy a counter drone strike. they cautioned should al qaeda
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effectively create a strategy, it would be disruptive for u.s. operations in afghanistan and pakistan. the report noted al qaeda is also focused on taking advantage of growing public outrage toward drone warfare. the intelligence community wondered whether they are losing them battle of public opinion. one suggestion to turn the tide was to stop using the term drone strike and instead lethal uav operations. who can forget that powerful plant explosion in west, texas? the fire marshal wants to prevent similar tragedies but there are major hurdles in the way. we will talk to him after the break.
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>> after the massive explosion you would think it would be a
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top priority of texas to make sure something similar does not happen at getting. five different facilities storing large quantities of the same fertilizer that sparked an explosion at the west facility have turned away the state fire marshal inspector. in texas there is no state fire code and marshall's lack the ability to force inspections on businesses that refuse to cooperate. is this environment putting the safety of many at-risk? joining me now is the state fire marshal chris connealy. welcome to the show. just so we are clear, you are the state fire marshal. you have job to inspect these facilities but you are being turned away. is that correct? >> of the 62 inspections, these are voluntary. i want to make that clear. we are requesting permission to do a code inspection to see how
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the facility compares to the fire code. of those, five did not want us. since then, one of them has changed their mind. we were supposed to inspect them today. >> the majority are being inspected, just these five and now four. what might be a reason for the plant to turn you away that would not be a safety issue? >> we are hoping it is not a safety issue. it begs the question. was a miscommunication on our part, whatever it was we want to make sure we clear it up. we sent them a letter stating the best practices for storing ammonium nitrate and we want to make sure they are aware of that . we are not forcing the issue. we do not have any authority to force the issue. we encourage them and there has
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been a lot of media coverage on these five facilities. one has already changed their mind and i have a meeting on friday with another entity as well. >> are you concerned by your lack of authority to force these inspections and if there are these plants that are refusing these inspections, can you say with confidence what happened at west won't happen again? >> i can't say that with confidence. we have not seen their facilities. it is a policy issue with the legislature. that is a statute that would have to be facilitated, that is not in the present state law currently. we will see what the legislature is reviewing all of the issues with the investigation as well
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as the aftermath and to their credit they want to make sure these businesses are aware of the best practices and the various regulatory issues as well as federal are being reviewed simultaneous the. the president has executive -- issued an executive order to review how west occurred and if there are any gaps. we are working together. certainly the texas legislature, the house, has us looking at a number of things. we are creating a map to help citizens know where these facilities are. all of that will be completed by november. there is a lot of activity going on. certainly this will help the policy determination where we go forward. certainly i would give credit to the committee for these various
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charges we are working on right now at the state fire marshal's office because certainly we do not want another west to occur. it is too tragic. lives lost. millions in property. no doubt things can be done better. we are working to achieve that. >> after west, we learned of these major gaps in the federal regulation framework. i think the plant was not inspected until the 1980's. it is not possible for federal inspectors to look at every plant given the staffing and funding issues. it relies on these state inspectors. until there is a legislative fix that allows these facilities to be inspected, is this a public safety issue? >> we are working to minimize
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that right now. the fire marshal says they agreed to do voluntary inspections to provide feedback to these various entities that have 10,000 pounds or more of ammonium nitrate. if there is violations of the fire code, we alert them to that and encourage them to make those fixes simultaneously. and there are other things we are looking at during the interim study of this review before we go into the 20 15th session. we will have a lot of answers and feedback of what should be done to determine -- >> we will keep an eye on what goes on. chris connealy, thank you.
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and finally, exploding whales in the atlantic ocean. that was the scene 30 years ago as the british navy turned his torpedoes on whales mistaking them f -- for severance. diaries shed light on this untold story. according to the herald, two of the casualties came by way of missiles. for peter was fired from an anti-submarine with the name of the hms really and. the third whale was taken by helicopter. the british ministry explained what the mistake was saying the sonar equipment was not very advanced and was often mistaken by will signals. captain ahab, eat your heart out. that'll do it. see you back here at 8:00 p.m.
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hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's thursday, september 5th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. u.s. president barack obama has called on the international community to support military action against syria. obama made the request in a meeting with swedish prime minister fredrik reinfeldt in stockholm. the u.s. president is to attend the g-20 summit in russi >> the prime minister anar


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