South Africa awards reparations to apartheid victims, some complain the payments of $3,900 are pitifully low : A discussion with Alex Boraine and Dumisa Ntsebeza formerly of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and apartheid victim Thando Shezi; Halliburton, Bechtel and URS profit from the privatization of the military: Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity examines who is making a killing on the killing
8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:10 Headlines 8:10-8:11 One Minute Music Break 8:11-8:30: South African President Thabo Mbeki has announced that his government will pay reparations totaling $85 million to more than 19,000 victims of apartheid crimes who testified about their suffering before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But Mbeki is being criticized for what campaigners called pitifully low compensation for the victims of gross human rights violations during the apartheid era. The family of each victim who appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will receive a one-time payment of 30,000 Rand, or about $3,900. Mbeki firmly rejected a recommendation from the chairman of the commission, Bishop Desmond Tutu, to impose a wealth tax on multi-national companies and individuals who thrived during white minority rule. The government also decided not to back a series of lawsuits against multinationals such as Anglo American and De Beers filed in US courts on behalf of apartheid victim groups. The reparation payments totaling $85 million fall far short of the $360 million requested by the commission. The issue of payments has become a political one because the vast majority of apartheid s perpetrators, from cabinet ministers down to police officers, have escaped unpunished. * Alex Boraine, former Deputy Chair of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and author of A Country Unmasked: Inside South Africa s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He now serves as the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice and is an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. * Dumisa Ntsebeza, former head of the investigative unit of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is now an acting judge in the labor court of South Africa. * Thandi Shezi, apartheid victim speaking from Cape Town. 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:30 SOUTH AFRICA cont d 8:30-8:50: Last week the San Francisco based engineering firm URS Corp. received its second major Army contract since February. All told the company could make $3.7 billion over the next eight years. URS is owned in part by Richard Blum the husband of California Senator Dianne Feinstein. URS joins Halliburton, Bechtel and other major U.S. corporations with close ties to Washington that has received major contracts. Halliburton is the company that Dick Cheney headed up until he ran for vice president. It recently won an exclusive no-bid contract from the Pentagon that could be worth as much as $7 billion over the next two years. In response, Rep. Henry Waxman of California has called for an investigation into every governmental contracts that Halliburton has received since Cheney took office. Bechtel meanwhile has received a government contract related to the rebuilding of Iraq that could be worth as much as $100 billion. Its ties to the Bush administration. Riley Bechtel serves as an advisor to Bush on the Export Council. And Bechtel board member and former CEO George Schultz served as Secretary of State for President Reagan. More recently Schutlz served as the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. And ties between military industrial complex and the Bush administration extend much deeper. A recent report by the Center for Public Integrity examined the makeup of the Defense Policy Board which advises the Pentagon. The board recently made headlines when its chair Richard Perle stepped down as chairman due to possible conflicts of interests. But Perle is not alone in possible conflict of interests. Nine of the 30 members of the Defense Policy Board have close ties to the arms industry. * Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity Link: http://www.publicintegrity.org 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:50:58 Listener Comments From Democracy Now! Listeners and Viewers Listeners and viewers have been flooding us with calls about what they are doing to protest. Call us at (212) 209-2999 and tell us what you are doing in your area. 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike DiFilippo is our music maestro and engineer.