Skip to main content

tv   News  Al Jazeera  January 28, 2015 8:00pm-9:01pm EST

8:00 pm
he answer going forward. prevention is always cheaper than cure. >> and starting monday this show moves to a new time, 10:30 p.m. eastern, 7:30 7:30 7:30 p.m. pacific. i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining us. . >> hi everyone, this is al jazeera america. i'm john seigenthaler in new york. exchange of fire, three dead as hezbollah and israel trade fire. about face, images of mohammed sensorred censored in turkey. . and civil rights pioneer finaling getting justice in the deep south. and candid and compelling, a
8:01 pm
former navy seal talks about the secret he was forced to keep. >> it's the most serious escalation of violence between israel and hezbollah in a decade. earlier today hezbollah missiles killed two israeli soldiers, injured seven. israel followed with its own strikes. it's happening on a small strip of disputed land between lebanon and syria and the israeli occupied golan heights. nick schifrin is in golan heights. nick? >> john, good evening. i'm on that disputed spot right here. this is the occupied golan heights where i'm standing. that way is lebanon and that is syria. you can see the area between me and the board is actually a
8:02 pm
minefield. the incident happened a mile behind me, and israeli officials have given the indication, sorry, i'm losing my voice. they're giving indication that they don't want this to escalate. but the fact is that this area is the highest state of alert since the 2004. >> from two miles away hezbollah fighters fired six rockets two of them scored direct hits. in the first vehicle killed instantly, company commander, 25 years old and a 20-year-old staff sergeant. and in southern lebanon residents wave flags honk horns in celebration. the israeli response was swift. israel fired 100 artillery shells into southern lebanon.
8:03 pm
the targets near the small lebanese village sites the hezbollah firing points. and they search for hezbollah tunnels. israel is worried that hezbollah fighters could sneak under the border to launch attacks. >> whoever is behind today's attacks will pay the full prize. >> across the area near the board police set up check points. all evening residents have been stopped from crossing the point. you can see hundreds of cars trying to get buy here. the police and you can see right here soldiers as well are blocking every from going by, everything beyond me is only a mile from the attack is a closed military zone. by late evening israel's message calmed. officials here do not seem to want another war. >> i call on all israelis, we're here. you can return to your routine lives. i call everyone to return to your routines. >> the times are tense and a border that is always volatile
8:04 pm
tonight is at its highest alert. and tonight is not only israeli officials that are indicating they don't want another war both hezbollah officials and israeli officials have telling local media tonight that they see this attack as as a response to what u.s. officials told me was an israeli drone strike just under two weeks ago that killed six hezbollah officials and a senior iranian germ. hezbollah officials saying this is the kind of tit for tat strike and israelis are seeing proportional because this was against the military target, and and, indeed, in this disputed land but this border is always volatile and the area is in high alert in case there is more attacks. >> nick schifrin, thank you. i talked to lieutenant colonel peter learner of the israeli defense force and asked him about the israeli casualties. >> light to moderate, it varies.
8:05 pm
they were lucky. when they saw the impact on the first car they just jumped out of their car and laid on the ground and they took cover. this is the current situation. they're still in hospital. we're hoping for a quick recovery. as we take the necessary steps to be prepared for what is ahead. >> do you have some sense of what hezbollah is trying to do here other than do damage to the israeli soldiers? >> well, hezbollah is a terrorist organization that has a huge weaponry capability from, as we saw anti-take missiles today, they have rockets and missiles that can cover the entire state of israel. so they have these only for israel. this is a concern that we have. what are they trying to do? i think they're operating on their side trying to take a toll and we need to be prepared for that. >> are they trying to bring israel into a larger battle? >> well, i certainly hope not.
8:06 pm
we've seen, and it has been quiet for almost 12 hours now and we are watching the border closely. we've increased our force and there are, indeed substantial forces on the ground to be prepared for another potential attack and escalation. we've carried out searches. we're looking for tunnels that could potentially be infiltrated into israel across the border, so we're taking the necessary precautions. i can't say if they're interested in an escalation. i certainly hope not. but in the military, hope is not a method. we need to be prepared with the tools, with the intelligence, with the air force prepared--yes, we need to be prepared for that potential escalation further and increasing violence. >> colonel learner, you know that hezbollah said today's attack was in retaliation for what they said was israel's attack ten days ago in syria. what do you say to that?
8:07 pm
>> yesterday and what we've seen recently is iran with its proxy hezbollah are attempting to establish a second front for israel in the syrian golan heights. this for us is something that is unacceptable and just yesterday we had two rockets launched. we had to affect a thousand people off of a ski resort. this is a concern for us. we need to be prepared to act against that. the reality here is hezbollah or al-qaeda or the al nusra front. these people are around our borders, on our northern front and it is something that is of grave concern. it is a grave reality of instability, and this instability means its jeopardizing israeli lives. this is a threat. we need to be prepared to act upon it. we need to be able to contain it and we need to be able to
8:08 pm
defend israel. i would say though, you know, what we're looking forward to, and how we're addressing the situation currently is basically we need to be well-thought through. we need to be ready to act. we need to have the tools and basically we have to have everything at hand in order to address those threats. >> colonel learner, it's good to have you on the program. thank you very much for talking with us today. >> thank you. have a good day. >> now to our other stop story. the senate nomination hearing for loretta lynch. today she was on the offensive as republicans took aim at her predecessor and the president. libby casey with more. >> reporter: john, loretta lynch is the first obama administration nominee to face a republican-led senate panel in this congress, and she went through six hours of testimony and she was cool under pressure,
8:09 pm
steel and velvet as one democrat described her. that's despite intense questioning from republicans who were concerned about the direction of the justice department. >> the whole truth and nothing but the truth. >> loretta lynch was under oath and under scrutiny, but many republicans focused on the attorney general. >> let me stipulate that you're not eric holder. >> no, i'm not sir. >> an attorney general who clashed with republicans and called himself the president's wing man. g.o.p. senators want to see daylight between mr. obama and his new nominee. >> you wouldn't consider yourself to be a political arm of the white house as attorney general? >> no, that would be an inappropriate view. >> the republican's biggest concern, president obama's recent executive action halting the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants. >> not only is this action contrary to our laws, it's a
8:10 pm
dangerous abuse of executive authority. >> but democrats urge the committee to focus on the nominee. >> the president's immigration policies are not seeking confirmation today. loretta lynch is. >> lynch defended the president's legal standing against some of his fiercist critics saying he followed the law. >> do you agree with that analysis or not. >> senator i told you that i did find the analysis to be reasonable. i did find it to recognize the issues and it did provide a reasonable basis. >> one area of agreement between both democrats and republicans concerns about cyber security and terrorism. >> in a world of complex and evolving threats protecting the american people from terrorism must remain the primary mission of today's department of justice. >> if confirmed lynch would be the first african-american female attorney general, and she's promising members of congress a fresh start. >> senator, if confirmed as attorney general, i will be
8:11 pm
myself. i will be loretta lynch. >> and lynch needs to get three republicans on board in order to advance her name to the full senate. that is looking likely, john, after today's testimony. now the events continue tomorrow as witnesses take the stand and talk to this senate judiciary committee. some who support link, and horse who are republicans who have held up because they have problems with the justice department. tomorrow probably won't have much impact on lynch's confirmation. instead, it's just political theater. >> libby, thank you. jason johnson al jazeera's political contributor in atlanta tonight. jason, how did she do today? >> she did fantastic for something that is essentially a forgone conclusion. loretta lynch is going to go confirmed. the republicans will huff and puff and beat their chests for a while, and eventually she'll have the job. this will not go past the super
8:12 pm
bowl. >> there were lots of questions about the president's policies, and the previous justice department and the attorney general eric holder. what are her biggest challenges? >> well, john, her biggest challenges is something that they answered several times "i'm not eric holder." she's coming under the shadow of an attorney general who many feel pulled the wool over their eyes. he came in and spoke very softly and then had a big stick. they are angry about that, and they want to make sure that they're not fooled again. she's not going to be the crusader that eric holder was. loretta lynch was to bring in against impeachments over the last two years. >> that's interesting. you suggest that there will be an impeachment investigation over the last two years? >> definitely. you have republicans controlling the house the senate, loretta
8:13 pm
lynch, she specialize in prosecuting politicians in corruption charges. she is someone who can protect this administration in case the republicans decide to get extra aggressive, and i would not put that beyond the house or senate at any tonight in the next two years. >> she did well today. there is still more to come tomorrow. any chance that she won't be confirmed? >> i don't think there is a chance. the biggest question she had to answer what do you feel about immigration policy? what do you feel about security? she gave the kind of nuance answers that you have to give, which is i have my own opinions but at the end of the day as the attorney general, it's my job to tell the president how he can get away legally what he wants to do. that's all the republicans could get out of her. >> the republicans pushed this to january. >> can you imagine what the terrible optics would have been for an confirmation attorney
8:14 pm
general when ferguson was going on? when the nation was overtaken by images of burning buildings and people blooding looting. this would have been a huge political stake to do this last fall. >> a little political prediction here. other than predicting, protecting the president of the united states in the last two years, what else do you think this new attorney general if she is approved by the congress, what will be her--what are some of her priorities? >> one of her main priorities will be protecting the affordable care act. she'll be looking at this case the supreme court will be ruling on. she's going to be making sure that the president's immigration policy that the president's wall street policies, she's the rear guard. she's the wartime--it is her responsibility to make sure that everything the president has done over his previous six years
8:15 pm
of office does not get undone. whether that's immigration affordable care act or wall street it will be her job to make sure that those things are air tight so president obama feels comfortable about his legacy when he leaves office. >> thank you very much. >> thanks, john. >> if loretta lynch is confirm confirmed, the doj investigated misconduct of law enforcement across this country including the police officers of cleveland, that's where bisi onile-ere is tonight. bsis. >> reporter: good evening john. it was last month when the u.s. department of justice released a report saying that the cleveland police department had a history of using excessive force. that report has shaken up a community that has waited years for reform. the mayor of cleveland reluctant to talk to us. >> we contacted your office, each time we hear nothing.
8:16 pm
and here again an opportunity to talk. >> well actually it's an opportunity to listen. >> that's what we're told just moments before mayor frank jackson is to take the stage. he's here for a town hall meeting with community leaders. the focus the u.s. adjust department's scathing report on police. we were allowed to ask the mayor one question about whether the city has acted on the report fast enough. >> what is your response to that criticism? >> well, criticism is what it is. but what we're currently doing is we're entering negotiations with the department of justice. >> reporter: a city divided. that's how naacp's michael nelson describes the situation with the police and the blacks community. it's been over a month since the doj has released its report. have you seen any progress since
8:17 pm
then from the police department? >> no, all we've seen is push back denial. on justs toobjections to the report. >> reporter: the investigation uncovered years of wrongdoing, a systemic pattern of reckless behavior that has left innocent people dead. the most recent incident involved 12-year-old tamir rice. he was carrying a pellet gun when police shot and killed him last year. >> do you think there is more that you can do? >> well, we have to raise the level of community consciousness. we have to make sure that people are accountable. >> reporter: and nearly two months after u.s. attorney general eric holder visited cleveland and called for sweeping changes he's on his way out and the monitor to oversee the cleveland police department has yet to be named. >> do you think more can be done on the dojs part? >> i think they have to hold the city to the fire, bring the
8:18 pm
monitor in here, and empower that monitor with absolute power to make sure that the police department poes the line, takes a hard look at the decisions and policies that governor this police department. >> reporter: but the mayor said change won't come overnight. >> when this is over with, this process, that there will be substantive changes that will be measurable that does not come from a political agenda. it does come from a timetable of somebody. it really comes from doing the work. >> reporter: and in a city that says its pushing for transparency some leaders say the residents are being left in the dark. >> the solutions should be coming from the community. this should have been scheduled on a saturday so the community could be here so we could hear their voices. >> as the city negotiates with the justice department residents say they've seen small thanks. hundreds of police officers will soon be equipped with body
8:19 pm
cameras. for many it's one small step in bridging the divide. body cameras will begin rolling on dozens of officers this week. i'm told that all uniform patrol officers will be equipped with these devices by this summer. >> bisi thank you. coming up next. just weeks after declaring his support of free speech. why mark zuckerberg's facebook is blocking content. and an ebola vaccine passes a critical test.
8:20 pm
8:21 pm
>> tonight there is new hope in the fight against the ebola outbreak in west africa. researchers say a promising new vaccine has passed a crucial milestone. jay? >> john, the break through here which is reported in the new englandthe new england journal of medicine today is that researchers are taking a common cold virus found in chimpanzees and burned it into ebola. inject a tiny bit of ebola into it and the milestone was that it seems to be utterly safe in humans. 60 participants in the u.k. showed no adverse effects from it. more exciting, they produced the antibodies that you want to see when you administer a vaccine. that means that there is a good chance that they could actually
8:22 pm
have an immune response to ebola when this gets tested further. >> what are the next steps in developing the vaccine? >> this is really just a first step. it's a major one. an idea that you can put ebola into a person without it reproducing. that's an extraordinary thing. now it needs to be tested in the wild. it needs to be introduced in an area where people are widely affected by ebola. that is the next step, and that's another year out maybe more. >> and we've heard that the real concern is that ebola could change over time. how difficult is it to develop a vaccine for ebola? >> well, we've definitely--we're up against a certain sort of lack of ebola. it's not something that has been widely studied in the past 30 or more years. but it has not mutated much in that time. it's very easy to create a
8:23 pm
vaccine in theory. >> jake ward. thank you. facebook has grayed to censor a tight for turkey. roxana saberi is here with more. >> a site has blocked turkish users were one page, it's one of many instances where facebook has complied with requests from the turkish government. critics say that facebook is sacrificing freedom of speech for its business interest. the day after the attack of charlie hebdo's attack in paris facebook's ceo mark zuckerberg posted this message: he signed off, je suis charlie, or i am
8:24 pm
charlie. two weeks later facebook has agreed to censor one page in turkey in response to a turkish court order. it is seen as insulting to the prophet muhammad. that left zuckerberg with a painful choice. comply with the order or block access to tens of millions of user. >> he has to at this about how he's going to expand his business abroad. turkey is one of the most connected nations in the middle east. he definitely wants to keep a future for his company there. >> it's just a the latest move on what is called a crackdown on freedom of expression.
8:25 pm
>> the newspaper's editor said he was careful not to offend people's beliefs. >> we made sure that we would respect our society's religious beliefs and religious freedom as much as possible. >> last year turkey temporarily blocked twitter and youtube during a political scandal. >> people should be free to express whether it's internet or out in open areas they should be free to express their opinions in a peaceful way, of course not causing violence. >> reporter: turkey is one of facebook's more challenging countries. if the first six months of last year the company said that it agreed to the country's request to block content. the second highest number of any country. >> they're practicing against freedom of speech and criticism against the government. >> activists say that users can still access the page by using special software or proxies but
8:26 pm
they're calling on companies like facebook to be more transparent about the content that they censor. >> looking at kobane. and a threat of drones and a security system that could make things safer. at us... emmy award winning investigative series... fault lines no refuge: children at the border only on al jazeera america
8:27 pm
>> because i was african american i was trying to fit in >> misty copleland's journey wasn't easy >> dancing gave me the opportunity to grow into the person... i don't think i could be without it
8:28 pm
>> now, this trailblazer is opening the door for others >> i wanna give back to ballet what it's done for me... >> every sunday, join us for exclusive... revealing... and surprising talks with the most interesting people of our time... talk to al jazeera only on al jazeera america >> on techknow cars... the science behind keeping us safe on the road >> oh... >> oh my god... >> the driving force behind these new innovations >> i did not see that one coming >> techknow's team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> this is my selfie... what can you tell me about my future? >> can effect and surprise us... >> sharks like affection >> techknow... where technology meets humanity... only on al jazeera america >> this is al jazeera america. i'm john seigenthaler.
8:29 pm
>> the return to kobane. jordan offers to release a convicted bombers in exchange for an isil hostage. and this secret long hidden. a navy seal opens up about his fight on and off the field of battle. >> the u.s. and allyies have launched a ears launch series against fighters in kobane. kurdish forces say the group has been beaten bag but when residents return it's a home forever changed by war. >> four months of battle have left kobane in ruins.
8:30 pm
it was fierce fighting. street by street, house by house. here in the north of the town there is not one building that was not destroyed. some burned out. many reduced to a pile of rubble. >> the airstrikes have helped us the fighters stood their grounds. airstrikes would not have been enough. our presence was key. >> apart from the fighters there is barely anyone. there used to be 200,000 people living here. >> civilians won't be able to return here any time soon. there is no infrastructure. this for example is what left is left of the hospital. the main priority for the kurdish fighters at this point is to clear the town of the mines and boobie traps that the isil fighters may have left behind. they will also have to comb the town for unexploded ordinance that lay rusting on the ground.
8:31 pm
fighters are patrolling the empty streets. on monday the kurdish people's protection unit declare victory after capturing the town from isil fight percent. the fighting and airstrikes are ongoing around kobane. >> it's going on around the countryside. they'll try to bombshell attack again. now that the second stage is resisting for freeing kobane. >> kobane's recapture is a similar bombing blow symbolic blow against isil. but it will take many more battles before the threat of isil is completely gone.
8:32 pm
>> now to ongoing hostage negotiations with isil, entering a critical phase. jordan is offering a prisoner swap in exchange for a jordanian air pilot captured by isil, and his life is not the only one who would depend on the deal. john terrett reports. >> reporter: anger outside of the palace of jordan's king abdullah. moments later the sister of the captured jordanian pilot breaks down. family and friends demanding their government act faster to secure the release of of the pilot. his plane crashed last month as part of the coalition fighting isil. but leaders in jordan's capitol said that they heard nothing from isil as to whether he is safe. foreign minister saying on his official twitter account that the request for proof of life has gone unanswered. this is the woman jordan is willing to hand over if the pilot's life is spared.
8:33 pm
44-year-old al rashawi is on death role row for her role in a suicide-bombing. 60 people died in the attack jordanneden government spokesman saiding it's not true she has been released. her release is tied to freeing our pilot. the faith is also tied to japanese hostage kenji goto. a video released online show that he and the pilot has 24 hours to live unless jordan releases the prisoner. >> i'll tell the jordanian government that they have put the blood on hour shoulders. >> reporter: they're asking jordan to cooperate in working for goto's quick release. dozens of people rallied outside
8:34 pm
of the residence in tokyo holding up signs in english and arabic saying "free kenji"." >> the senate arms committee is taking a look at the mandatory spending cuts imposed on the pentagon. the commander say that the cuts have taken their toll on everything from troop levels to training to the equipment u.s. armed forces have taken into combat. we have more from washington. >> the new chairman of the senate armed senate committee has made it clear that he will use his new position as a bully pulpit to breach the gospel of more military spending. his prime targets sequestration across the board budget cuts that have the pentagon complaining it can't defend the nation. >> here we go again. if we in wrong don't act
8:35 pm
sequestration will return in full in fiscal year 2011 setting our military on a far more dangerous course. the top generals and admiral in the person of the republic in the senate armed services committee. culling the budgets senseless in the face of russia, al-qaeda, and isil. mccain called up the chiefs who one by one cried the dangerous situation of. >> this is the lowest i've seen in my 40 years of service. >> further reduce readiness for contingency response services. we have 12 fleets of airplanes in the state of virginia. >> they've already down sized dramatically and now have fewer troops ships and planes. >> we're now the smallest air
8:36 pm
force we've ever been. >> it was a brief discussion of how the pentagon spends what it gets. the f-35 fighter is the most expensive jet in history. six years late and a lifetime price tag estimated at 1 trillion-dollar. >> can we do it better? can we make it more efficient? democratic joe mansion ordered the compromise budget bill was loaded with $5 billion of new equipment nobody asked for. >> we force stuff upon you such as the $120 million for m-1 abrahams tanks. the chief had to admit he doesn't need. >> excess tanks in the army. hundreds of millions of dollars spent on tanks that we don't have the structure for any more. >> it was also no discussion of another pentagon priority that would save billions that could be used for defense. the obama administration is expected to ask for the authority to close unneeded bases and reduce excess
8:37 pm
infrastructure, and the congress is expected once again to say no because of the political difficulties of closing a base in anyone's congressional district. >> thank you. outcould go defense secretary chuck hagel is a true american patriot. there was a farewell ceremony for hagel in virginia. it's been a short tenure for chuck hagel from nebraska who took over the department of defense in 2013. president obama had nominated ashton carter to succeed hagel. the drone that crashed on the white house lawn this week is prompting new security questions. one idea being proposed is an alert system that will keep the remote control vehicles out of restricted areas. lisa stark reports. >> this is the same model of drone that went down at the white house. a device about two feet in dime meter.
8:38 pm
raising questions about safety and security. >> there have been a number of troubling incidents worldwide. close calls with airports. attempts to drop drugs into prisons. and just this month a drone carrying drugs from mexico to the u.s. crashed just short of the border. even a drone as small as then one is very sophisticated. it can be outfitted with cameras for surveillance and much worse. >> they can get very large. they can have explosives biological or chemical agents on them. and in places of large
8:39 pm
gatherings of people. >> while most drones are used by hobbiests or a few businesses there are concerns that they're too small and fly too low to be picked up by radar. brian hearing and his business partner john franklin say they have an answer, a way to detect drones by listening for their unique sound. >> drones really don't sound like anything else in the world. we've heard them compared to an angry beehive. >> if a drone goes by an alert goes out. there are sophisticated systems that can pick up a drone two-thirds of a mile away. this is proving popular by celebrities worried about paparazzi. >> this is good. it gives you a heads up to run inside maybe shut the blinds if you want to protect your privacy. clear a prison yard if it's coming into the prison. you can get a v.i.p. into a
8:40 pm
bunker or divert planes to other airports. >> detecting drones is one thing. intercepting them and bringing them down safety is much tougher. the government is scrambling to come up with solutions but the ability to identify and take out drones especially small ones is years away. lisa stark al jazeera, washington. >> the supreme court stayed three executions in oklahoma. the court set to review the method of lethal injection for later this year. the inmates are challenging the drug protocol used in a botched execution in oklahoma last year. the justices will rule on whether that protocol violates the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. it's a health risk few people talk about. someone commits suicide every 12 seconds in america. according to the latest numbers. now new research reveals how an where you live can raise your chances of losing a loved one. more from adam may in the
8:41 pm
nation's suicide company salt city. >> you like this picture of him. >> it's one of my favorite. >> she lost her son in what can be only described as a mother's worst nightmare. >> i watched my son die. he shot himself in front of me. >> jordan was 18 when he committed suicide suffering from mental illness a and severe depression. >> we just came back from a business trip. he was laying down, and just then he lifted up his head and said mom please, leave me alone. and then shot himself. >> jordan's suicide is one of hundreds every year in utah. this beautiful state with sweeping landscapes will has the dubious distinction of being ground zero of america's suicide belt. >> what's the real term and real phenomenon the rocky mountain states have the highest suicide
8:42 pm
rates in the country. >> what is behind this? >> the first theory is that we in the west love our guns and gun ownership is associated with the elevated rates of suicide in other parts of the country. >> but perry renshaw was not convinced. they analyzed four types of mental health data and came up with an depression index. utah ranked number one almost 500 suicides. 900,000 insurance claims for anti-depressants a year. now at the university of utah doctor renshaw's quest for answers revealed a surprising discovery. altitude can dramatically affect the chemistry of the brain. >> well, we think it does several things. one is we know that there are changes in energy containing compounds in two critical neurotransmitters.
8:43 pm
one is satan anyone, and one sarotonin, and the other is dopamine. >> what are the take aways from the research so far? >> dr. renshah found that high altitudes can narrow the amount of sa rotonin. >> for some, it could make them happy. for others, it doesn't. >> this stimulates sea level. this one high altitude. the results were astonishing. >> the findings are almost too good to be true in that they look like they're drawn with crayons or something because the effects are so clear and strong. the further you go up in altitude starting at 2,000 feet, the more depression-like behavior you have. >> al jazeera, salt lake city, utah. >> you can watch the full report
8:44 pm
on "america tonight" coming up at the top of the hour. coming up on this broadcast courtroom apology to a group demanding equal rights to the heightrights in the height of the equal rights movement.
8:45 pm
8:46 pm
>> 54 years ago nine black men sat down at a whites' only lunch counter in south carolina. their actions became a key moment in the civil rights movement. today another chapter was written, a judge cleared them of
8:47 pm
a conviction five decades old. randall pinkston is here with month. >> reporter: john a young south carolina attorney represented those students back in the 1906s. thanks in part to that non-violent protest he became the first south carolina supreme court, now retired. now he's back for clients he represented so long ago. >> may it please the court. today i'm honored and proud to move this court to vacate the convictions of my clients now known as the rock hill nine. >> the wheels of justice it is said grind slowly. for nine black men in south carolina it took 54 years. tuesday their records from final finally wiped clean, cleared of
8:48 pm
breaking the law in 1961 by sitting a the a department store lunch counter designated as whites only. >> they did this for the sole purpose of laying themselves before the conscious of the community and putting their very freedom at stake to make a point that the segregated lunch courts in rock hill and across the south were wrong. >> offense trespassing disposition, going. 100 a dollars, 30 days. >> one by one the bailiff read the men and the conviction, and they refused to pay fine. the jail no bail movement inspireed other students to travel from georgia to join them. he recalled a song that helped them cope. ♪ working on the chain gang ♪ ♪ oh don't you know ♪.
8:49 pm
the friendship nine named for the college they attendanted became part of the non-violent movement that swept the south focusing the world's attention on the system of apartheid. a south carolina judge addressed that legacy with his ruling. >> we cannot rewrite history but we can right history. the defendant's conviction fortress passing in january 1961 are vacateed null, void, and now set aside. i'm signing the order and. that is done. [applause] but the memories of those days linger more than five decades later. last geek clarence graham met a white woman who was at the lunch counter when he and his friends were dragged away. >> she said, i was there that night.
8:50 pm
she said, i was there. >> graham's emotional encounter is a reminder that while many people didn't want to do anything about racial injustice others just didn't know what to do. fortunately thousands of others like the freedom nine did know, and that has made all the difference. john? >> randall, thank you very much. larue lewis mccoy is professor of sociology in black study at city college in new york. welcome. >> thank you for having me. >> give me your reaction to that story. >> i think its important and it's powerful. it's taken 54 years for these men's lives who were shifted irreparable while they made a great sacrifice for history we know that the convictions stayed on their record, and for many of them that meant they had to change lives course. they have to move away to get jobs and they were impacted. this is an important moment.
8:51 pm
>> it strikes me that there were many like them. they were among the first but there were so many arrested at lunch counters all over the south, and not all of their records were expunged or not all of those records from not clear. does the country need to wipe the slate clear for those people and say not just to these nine, but to so many others we were wrong, and we shouldn't have done that to you? >> i think more than wiping the record clear. it's important that they're visible and part of the history but it's important that the country wrestle with a recent history. eight of the nine men were still alive which means that the laws that were unjust are still here today. and when they decided to go to jail instead of taking bail trying to stand up. folks thought that the student sit-in was dead at that moment. but they need to know that that
8:52 pm
struggle is pro tracted. >> i remember a documentary and a woman whose son was in jail, and how she cried over the fact that he was going to spend the night in jail even though she knew what the movement was about and how important it was. this went--this went--for them--in some ways this has changed now but for those people, this was not just being arrested and put in jail. this was challenging white authority. >> absolutely. this was a larger program of civil disobedience who made people stand up saying, i'll sacrifice my life for hope of a change. when these men were arrested, they had no idea what would come come. >> they were not just arrested and put in jail. many were beaten and humiliated as they sat at those lunch
8:53 pm
counters over the years. how significant were those protests at that time? >> the lunch counters sit-ins were hugely significant because they allowed people in college around the country to participate. there was an unjust that many people thought had already passed. it forced the nation to react. it forced the nation to look at its conscience and look at whether we're leaving up to the american creed. >> what does it mean for people in ferguson? >> they had to recognize that they were in it for the long run. it was not five months but many years from 1954 to 1961 demonstrates that a movement does not happen overnight. even when the cameras disappear your fire can't. >> thank you for joining us. we appreciate it. >> still ahead on this broadcast, a navy seal talks about his personal secret. being gay and discovered the
8:54 pm
support within the military.
8:55 pm
8:56 pm
>> it's been a long day of digging out in parts of new england. up to three feet of snow fell in some areas. even the youngest had to help clear the steps. power crews were working through the day to get power on. and there is more snow in the forecast for this weekend. coming up at 11:00 eastern time on this broadcast controversy at the university of virginia, why women and sororities are being told to avoid fraternity parties. and cuba and u.s.. the mormon church has announced it will back lgbt anti-discrimination laws. as the debate goes on, we want to bring you the story of brett jones. the first openly gay navy seal while serving under don't ask
8:57 pm
don't tell. he shares his experience with us. >> i joined the navy in 1993. as a navy seal i did two deployments over he seas. it was the best job i ever had. i had known i was gay since i was six years old. i was out of the closet before i joined the navy but under the don't ask/don't tell policy i had to keep that a secret while in the military. i wouldn't talk about my sexuality at work, which proved difficult at time. because the seal community is a close knit one, i feel that it's generally homophobic, i was terrified that my seal brothers would find out and when they did it would be really bad. there would be times when i had to do quite a bit of lying especially when it came to the girlfriend department. the military found out that i was gay when i left a message on my boyfriend--at the
8:58 pm
time--answering machine. he was in the navy, and he had somebody that worked for him that was listening into his messages. she heard it. she reported it. the navy then launched an investigation into my sexuality that lasted several months. during the investigation i certainly felt that i was sort of bullied. it was such a horrible time. once my brothers found out i was gay, they were amazing. they would come by my house with pizza and beer and do little things to try to cheer me up during the investigation. i'd worked so hard to become a navy seal, and i was a good one. it hurt. it felt as if it was my family being ripped away from me. the investigation entailed them discovering that we had bought a house together, we had bought a car together. that we had gone on vacations together. they did everything they could to get us to admit it. we didn't, but eventually we decided that we needed to get out of the military, and we
8:59 pm
received an honorable discharge. i would like to live to the day where it's not a front-page news when somebody comes out when a gay ceo or athlete or navy seal comes out. it's okay, he's gay. nobody really cares about that. they care about more important things. >> you can read more of brett jones' book "pride." the story of the first openly guy navy seal. now to our picture of the day. front and center, attorney general nominee loretta lynch appears before the senate judicial committee. if confirmed she'll become the first black female attorney general. "america tonight" is joie chen is coming up next.
9:00 pm
>> on america tonight. our one of the most feared organizations became a financial powerhouse. >> isil took over factories. they needed civilians not connected to them. i help them sell the product. >> nick schifrin with how isil fuels the money and how the west aims to stop them. also tonight swimming against the tide. what the life or death struggle of these rodents tell us about