hello, everybody this is al jazeera america. i'm david shuster in new york. taken. isil captures a major city in iraq sending hundreds of thousands of people fleeing, and underscoring the limitations of u.s.-lead air strikes. limited force. [ gunfire ] local police will now have less of that heavy military hardware from the pentagon will the change improve community relations. gang violence. >> it was just a very violent
crime scene. >> in the wake of the deadly biker battle in texas, we'll take a look at these groups and the threats they pose. plus peril or promise for the humpback whale. the new debate over their status on the endangered species list. ♪ we begin tonight with a major set-back for the united states and iraq in the battle against isil. in swift and stunning fashion, ramadi one of iraq's largest cities has now fallen into isil hands. reports of indiscriminate killings of civilians, and a mass exodus of tens of thousands of people. it's a significant defeat for iraq's government and a problem for the obama administration.
jamie macintyre can live at the pentagon with the latest. jamie? >> reporter: david the pentagon is insisting the fall of ramadi is a temporary set back and there is no need to change the strategy or to consider sending in u.s. ground troops but david there is no sugar coating the stinging battlefield defeat that raises serious questions about the fighting ability of u.s.-trained iraqi forces. >> reporter: video posted on social media showed black flags of isil flying over the deserted streets of ramadi. the republicaning chairman of the senate arms services committee was quick to declare the loss of the capitol of the province the result of a flawed strategy. >> though fall of ramadi is huge. >> reporter: senator mccain and lindsay graham issued a
statement saying quote: but administration officials including secretary of state john kerry speaking in soul south korea insisted ramadi would be quickly retaken. >> it's possible to have the kind of attack we have seen in ramadi. but i'm absolutely confident in the days ahead that will be reversed. >> reporter: that's small comfort to the estimated 25,000 who fled the fighting and packed the road to baghdad amid reports isil fighters were executing government sympathizers. the pentagon says there's no reason to change u.s. strategy, which is to pound isil from the air, while relying on u.s.-trained iraqi forces to do the dirty, dangerous, close combat on the ground and a spokesman argued this was not a
case where poorly motivated iraqi troops cut and ran, noting that isil surrounded ramadi a year ago, and the iraqi forces fought to the end. the coalition conducted 32 air strikes over the past three weeks like this one last friday on isil fightered holed up in the building. eight air strikes were carried out in the last day as the city was falling. but air strikes have limited utility in urban context. the u.s. says it has trained 7,000 iraqi troops with another 3,000 in the pipeline but it's unknown how many have been involved in the defense of ramadi, and their combat capability remains in question. several thousand shia militiamen have moved towards an air base
in ramadi. the questions are many for example, will the iranian-backed shia fighters simply inflame ethnic tensions in the sunni anbar area? are the iraqi troops the equal of isil fighters? and david perhaps the biggest question, will the obama administration have to reconsider itself opposition to putting more american boots on the ground? >> jamie we are going to ask that question in just a second. jamie thank you. u.s. military officials are confirming that a special forces raid over the weekend did in fact kill a high-ranking isil commander. he was killed in eastern syria. he was believed to be the organization's top financial officer and the man who directed the group's oil and gas
bracings. we are joined by a colonel who served as an advisor in baghdad. how significant is this death? >> pretty significant, but i don't want to overstate that. obviously he was a senior member of the organization any time you take someone out like that that's good for the good side. however, all of these people are irreplaceable. the best part is we have his cell phone data his computer data. we have his wife that will help us find connections that we otherwise might not see. so while it is important, i would say it is strategically significant, because he will be replaced. >> tell us about the significance of the fall of ramadi and do you buy that this
was not the case of iraq forces cutting and running? >> they are probably saying that ramadi is not what we might consider key terrain. it is not necessarily going to lead to the fall of baghdad or the destruction of iraqi forces at large, however, in a way it is significant because of the psychological impact. we have two things going on here number one the physical portion, and the psychological impact which at times can get people to quit a fight. the fact that we have lost ramadi is going to weaken the resolve of iraqi forces in a way, and call into question the u.s. and coalition strategy in the fight against isis. i have always said that mentored
forces are probably the best solution here. you don't need a 10,000 man division to come in and support the iraqi forces. what you probably need is mentors and advisors, like the green berets to come in stiffen the spine of the iraqis bring in intelligence, air strikes, logistical support, give a little advice on how to actually fight the war. you could probably sprinkle some advisors, and that would probably help the iraqis immensely. and by the way, they don't have to be americans. you can use the special operations forces from the united arab emirates, for example, to give you a slight overmatch against isis. >> roger thanks for joining us. in waco texas tonight, 170 people are facing organized crime charges as the result of a
massive shootout involving rival motorcycle gangs and police. sunday's battle at a restaurant left nine dead and 18 others wounded. jonathan betz joins us with more. >> reporter: police say they knew trouble was brewing among rifl biker gangs before this alleged turf war turned into a gruesome crime scene. local authorities said they had never seen anything like it. a shootout in a suburban shopping center. >> i saw everything from psi toll casings to rifle casings, i saw knives i saw a club. there were pools of blood. there were streams of blood. probably one of the most violent scenes i have seen in 35 years of service. >> reporter: police say the fight began just before noon in a restaurant bathroom. it then spread outside to the parking lot, where police having been warned of the gathering
were standing by in case of trouble. >> we had wounded inside. we had people stabbed. we had people shot and we had people beat. >> reporter: police say officers and gang members were all firing. restaurant workers and families having lunch ran for cover. >> i crawled back towards the freezer with a lot of the waitresses and some other people that were there. it was really really scary. they said people outside of the doors had guns. >> reporter: the only victims in the gun fight were gang members. officials blame the dispute between two rival biker gangs. >> a bunch of dead bodies and people being arrested. and then i start looking at my phone getting the texts from my friends. >> reporter: the restaurant's liquor license has been suspended for seven days, and
the owner has revoked the franchise's license. >> the gun battle is just the latest chapter in a long history of violence involving u.s. motorcycle gangs. richelle carey has more. >> reporter: most are harmless with hundreds of thousands of hard-working weekend warriors finding camaraderie on the road. the justice department has identified 300 of what it calls out law motorcycle gangs, defined as groups who use the clubs as conduit for criminal enterprises. the government says five pose a serious national domestic threat. they are:
the bandidos which were involved in the deading shooting in texas, have according to the justice department between 2,000 and 2500 members operating in the u.s. and 13 other countries. that are accused of being involved in drug smuggling, and the distribution of methamphetamine. it's motto embases the culture of menace. the hells angels have approximately 2500 members and operate in 27 countries. the government says they are involved in much more than drugs. richelle carey, al jazeera. >> we are joined with a former special agent who infiltrated the hell's angel's biker club for two years. jay, first of all, were you surprised that a peace summit
with these five gangs would turn violent seemingly so quickly? >> not at all. i wasn't one bit surprised. i think, you know, society in general may have been even elements of law enforcement may have been. but i have gotten to know these guys fairly intimately well and it was no shock to me. >> an argument over something said in a bathroom that can quickly turn into fisticuffs which turns into knives which turns into essentially 50 different people firing weapons. >> yeah, i think it goes much deeper than that. it goes much deeper than that. it goes much further than that. there's a bigger history to it but sometimes that's all it takes to set it off. >> given that there were some people there who wanted to settle scores why would they pick a restaurant like twin peaks? why wouldn't they try to have
this meeting someplace away from the public as they normally do? >> you are applying logic and reason and common sense to this world, and these guys don't always have that. they are very spontaneous. sometimes their violence is planned. other times it's people being at the wrong place at the wrong time and the wrong chemistry of personalities there, and then the next thing you know there's nine men dead and dozens more in the hospital. >> is it typical for people to arrive at these meetings high on meth or some other drugs? can that contribute to the unstable atmosphere? >> yeah i think narcotics and alcohol, obviously impair people's judgment but these guys, they have a love for their club and for their patch. it's their religion. it's the bible they live by. and if someone insults it or offends it they are willing to
fight for it and kill for it and as we have seen die for it. >> the group that seems to be the most violent are the bandidos. you have had some run ins with them. what can you tell us about this particular gang? >> well the bandidos are an international ore niced crime sent indicate they have an old-school mentality towards the biker culture, thousands of members worldwide, and they are dangerous boys there's no doubt. >> and the police knew all about the bandidos, do they deserve some of the blame for the fact that there were reports that as many as 12 different cops were outside this restaurant before the shooting started? >> in my mind no the police presence was intended to dissuade the violence. a uniform presence was hoping to discourage what might happen. i think the cops there minimized
like how far it could have expanded, and, you know, there's hundreds of bikers there who are firing guns at each other, sdab -- stabbing each other, and you have ten uniformed officers who are supposed to be in the middle of that and make sure it doesn't happen. in that world with those people with those bikers it doesn't work that way. >> how common is the mind set of most bikers to simply ignore what the police might be doing, and focus instead on their endmys in front of them for whatever think mission is at the time. >> when you say bikers there's a lot of people out there that ride motorcycles, and then joy it for the freedom of it. there's other people that join clubs, put patches on their back to signify their membership.
they are not the problem. it's the gangsters that are out there acting like this in public and they can't care if the police are there. they don't care if people are watching. they don't care what the venue is. when it's time to go these guys are ready to fight. and they won't hesitate. >> jay thanks for joining us tonight. we appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. there is one community in the united states where lawlessness is a way of life and crime is not a problem. it's in the desert of southeastern california where a u.s. military base once stood and people have been living rent free for 50 years. some of the residents like it so much that they talking about buying the property. jennifer london reports. >> reporter: 140 miles east of san diego, there is a place you won't find on any map. >> slab city is the only place
that i know of where a person can come and stand on the planet without owing, paying offending. >> reporter: william and hundreds of others call slab city the last free place in america. >> i think i have the right to stand on the planet and have a drink of water and breathe the air without owing somebody and as far as i know there's one place on the planet where that can happen. >> reporter: but what if everybody thought about that? >> well first of all, slab city isn't where you go if you are having a good life. >> reporter: in some ways it's like a refugee camp for people who hit bottom. >> reporter: -- >> when i came here i was running from imminent incarceration. >> reporter: are you a fugitive?
is that what you are calling me? >> at the time i had a significant amount of money of traffic fines over my head that would have put me in jail. >> reporter: others came to escape the confines of society. here they don't pay taxes or rent. they are squatters on state-owned land shunning the outside land. >> reporter: are there rules here? do the residents abide by certain rules that are set in slab city? >> well the first rule is you don't go imposing rules on anybody. [ laughter ] >> there's a reference that we often use about the outside world being the beast or babylon. >> reporter: lynn moved to slab city from canada six years ago. >> what they mean by that is all of the people on the grid or connected to electricity and water and power and all of the services that you get in civilization, versus this which is there's nothing here. so the magic is caught up with that ideology of being off of
the grid and not being influenced by outside forces. >> reporter: these 600-plus acres used to be camp dunlap a military training base. when the marines left in the 50s, they took everything with them except for the concrete slabs. soon after the squatters, who call themselves slabbers moved in. today it's a community of 300 or so permanent residents. a lawless outpost that somehow works. rampant crime isn't a problem here, and slabbers have learned to survive with very little. >> that's 300 gallons, and lasts me about three months. >> reporter: there's no running water, electricity or sewer system. the waist gets dumped right into the ground the trash is wherever. but there is a church a cafe
and a concert stage. and there is this massive art installation. it's a sacred place among many of the slabbers. it's also a tourist attraction. but there is also trouble in slab city. a group of slabbers are worried the state might sell the land. so they want to buy it. >> if the slabbers are suddenly think landowners can you stay off of the gridings? >> i think we can. i think we can be a beacon for other communities to do the same thing. >> reporter: gary brown is part of a growing fraction who say buying the land is a bad idea. >> this is a live and let live and a lot of these people self profess to be getting away from society. why would you want to own the land and now be subject to regulations.
california is being gracious enough to allow us to stay and too many people are claiming this land is their own. they put up fences and build gigantic structures. >> reporter: why do you have a problem with that? >> because it's not my land. it's the state land. >> reporter: leaving the future of slab city is up in the air. what is clear, the growing feud is proving to be a steep price to pay to live in the last free place in america. up next the politics of frac-ing, a texas city banned the practice but now the state is stepping in to get the gas flowing again. and shutting down a seattle port terminal. activists in kayaks are trying to stop an oil rig from reading north to the arctic.
explain. >> reporter: hi, david, last november the city of denton just north of dallas became the first city in texas to ban frac-ing within its limits. that was the result of a hard-fought voter referendum. but today the voice of those voters was silenced. >> you cannot stop these people. you know, they have more money and time and lawyers. you just don't amount to anything. >> reporter: the prediction of this long-time denton resident made shortly after his north texas community voted to ban frac-ing within city limits has come true. frac-ing is again legal in denton effective immediately now that the governor has signed a law that blocks local efforts to regulate oil and gas production. the measure sailed through texas's republican controlled legislature. it says a municipality:
as long as the operation is loosely defined as commercially reasonable. the law does allow cities to regulate fire and emergency response traffic, lights and noise as they relate to frac-ing. but in denton where three wells exist for every square mile of land, opponents say texas has signed with big oil at the cost of their citizens health. >> there are too many of us getting cancer right at the same time as these wells. >> reporter: the oil and gas industry is applauding the law. a group headed to denton within hours of the bill passage. >> we have been using frac-ing for more than 60 years, and there is no evidence of rising
morbidity or higher mortality rates. >> reporter: despite statements like that, and promises that fracing is good for the local economy, three out of five denton voters had voted to ban frac-ing. opponents say most of the mineral wells belong to out of towners, yet denton residents have to live with frac-ing behind hospitals, next to parks, and steps from their backyard. >> i may be an old silly lady but this is kind of scary going to bed knowing there is a gas rig on fire in my backyard. i guess i can only go to bed and know if it explodes i'll never feel anything. >> reporter: now frac-ing is set to resume and denton is the first texas city to ban frac-ing looks to be also the last. and so where does that lead denton today? a spokeswoman for the city says the ordinance banning frac-ing
is immediately unenforceable. and just to give you an idea of how widespread the support was for the state law that prohibits the bans five out of six delegations voted in favor of this ban. heidi thank you. up next demilitarizing the police. president obama announced new steps to rebuild relationships from the police and the communities they serve. and the humpback whale could be removed from the endangered species list.
military-style firearms and equipment sent to local departments. standoff in seattle. >> there is only one solution! >> at the port that could serve as a launch point for arctic oil drilling it is now a flash point in the battle over the environment. adrift the fate of the humpback whale many types could soon be taken off the endangered species list. plus desert dancer the inspiring true story from iran defying repression and risking it all for a dream. ♪ the obama administration is taking steps to stop what critics have called the militarization of police departments. the debate got a lot of attention last summer when police used armored vehicles to face off with protesters. mike what changes are being
proposed here? >> reporter: david you are absolutely right, you invoke those images of the streets of ferguson last august those heavily armord vehicles. police clad in military-grade body armor, and military camouflage. it lead to wide-spread concerns that the federal program that provides excess gear from the department of defense had out lived his usefulness. this program known as the 30 --30 -- 30 -- 1033 program, just in the last year alone transferred over a billion dollars in armor. the president said banned certain parts -- certain pieces of equipment including:
he also restricted the transfer -- tighter controls requiring the approval of a governing body and a written explanation of why you need that, some of the items on that list include: again, this follows the recommendations of his task force, the final version of that report he received just today. there is one thing the white house wants to give law enforcement more of and that is body cameras. the president alindicated -- -- alindicate more money from that. >> reporter: this announcement came as the president visited camden new jersey. why camden?
>> reporter: camden is a suburb of philadelphia. it's known for its improve -- improve richment. about three years ago they disbanded the cities force and brought in a county police department. and the president held it up as a model of police reform. >> when communities aren't vibrant, where people don't feel a sense of hope and opportunity, then a lot of times that can fuel crime and that can fuel unrest. we have seen in places like baltimore and ferguson and new york. and it has many causes from a basic lack of opportunity to come groups feeling unfairly targeted by their police forces. >> not everyone is praising the changes in camden. the aclu of new jersey is one of those groups.
they say the new rules of engagement have lead for more arrests, citations and tickets for lower-level offenses. >> mike thank you. the white house ban is part of the president's effort to ease tensions and restore trust between police and the communities they serve, but the images from ferguson and from around the country may be hard to erase. ♪
>> dante joins us now, he is the executive director of the million hoodies. those pictures it's pretty intimidating when you see a photo. it's even more intimidating when you are on the streets and you see an officer with it. is this ban announced by the president going to help? >> we commemorated the anniversary of the 7-year-old black girl who was killed when the police raided her grandparent's home as she was sleeping. 35% of s.w.a.t. teams across the
country, are actually found with any sense of drugs or weapons. so when we look at this -- this ban, it's actually incomplete. and -- and i think -- when we also look at this ban, it is because of the folks on the ground in ferguson who risked their lives to get tear gassed to have bullets pushed out at them. or have grenade launchers everywhere. that's is where we're at this moment, so this ban is actually a little bit moret row active right. in the sense it took people risking their lives while on the ground. i had four officers pointing four puns at the back of my head. for i think when we look at police militarization we didn't just think of it in the sense of
military equipment, but also equipment, and surveillance technologies that are being used, or even body cameras, there's a crux on that of who owns that data to even also looking at militarized policing culture and practice like in baltimore you saw just a kid get snatched up, that's a military style tactic. >> is there something that police departments could be doing to help restore the trust? >> i don't think trust is what people are really on the streets for. this is -- one, first of all is trying to stop killing black and brown people. but also when we look at the conditions that have got us there, there has been a complete divestment from black and brown communities since day one, right? so when we think about what does it mean to be safe in this is a
fundamental question about what does it mean to be safe in our communities. and having more police and surveillance cameras and more prisons, doesn't make us feel safe. so this is ultimately a question about how do we create a culture where our communities feel safe and that means good jobs affordable health care having quality education. there's some stuff happening in new york city that is really looking at how do we refrain that conversation. >> dante thanks for coming in. we appreciate it. >> thank you so much. hundreds of protesters blocked the entry to a shell oil rig in seattle today. they want to prevent the rig from heading to the arctic where it will drill for oil and gas preserves. environments and and -- environmentalists say a spill there could be impossible to clean up.
allan schauffler is in seattle with the latest. >> reporter: we just confirmed a couple of minutes ago that the city planning department has found shell the working for shell, in violation. and there are fines on the way. meanwhile it has been three days, a weekend full of protests here anti-drilling, anti-shell anti-capitalism, and today on monday morning protesters wanted one more chance to make their point. >> shell get out the way! >> reporter: protesters started the workweek early. they walked on the port of seattle's terminal 5. that's where shell oil's huge drilling rig is moored. being prepped for oil exploration off of the coast of alaska. protesters want to stop that work. >> and we need to stop it for
the generations to come. if we do not stop this today, we will be extinct, like so many species already are. >> reporter: plenty of music and dancing keep the mood light here but the pushback against shell is happening in otherless cheerful arenas as well. >> these are complicated vessels. >> reporter: the water quality watchdog group has challenged the contract process in court, saying more environmental review is required. >> they have to conduct an environmental review any time they change a use of a shoreline, and they skipped that process and just went ahead and negotiated the lease essentially in secret. the drilling rig drew a huge crowd out on to the water this weekend. and has always drawn criticism from city government. the planning department and
major have ruled shell and the company doing the work don't have the right permits and have to reapply. shell and fos have appealed the ruling and are pushing forward. but the high-profile squabble has others questions their contracts? >> will the next push be to stop schumakers? >> reporter: while the legal and regulatory battles play out, protests like this are likely to continue. >> we're going to put the message out that we need to take care of ourselves. >> how long are you prepared to stay? >> as long vaz to. i have two depends on. >> reporter: as shell continues to stock the polar pioneer with
supplies. i mentioned that fines were on the way here. we understand those fines will be $150 a day for ten days all the way up to 500 a day after that. this is a $13 million, two-year contract to have work done here at the port of seattle, and the shell oil company has invested about 6 billion so far. david? >> alan thank you. after four decades on the endangered species list the humpback whale is making a comeback. the worldwide population is on the rise but now a federal agency is trying to remove about two thirds of the world's humpbacks from the endangered list. jake ward is in san francisco. jake? >> reporter: david the question here really is sort of a
philosophical one how much protection is enough for an animal that has made an incredible rebound. so the question really here is -- is -- has it been enough or should the whale continue to be protected? there's something about humpback whales that humans just can't get enough of. their haunting song. their acrobatics. their sheer size. captain nancy black, grew up near san francisco. >> turn to the right a little bit. >> reporter: after a career as a marine biologist, she opened her own while-watching outfit 25 years ago. >> when i first started there was thought to about 400 in california. and now there's close to 3,000. so big noticeable difference. >> reporter: hunted almost to the point of extinction in the 1960s, they wound up on the
endangered species list. and now they are back. >> they were definitely on the road to extinction and it was due to the one factor commercial whaling, and once that factor was removed we started to immediately see recoveries recoveriesover the populations. and since the mid-60s, the populations have doubled almost every decade and there has been four decades since then. so that's a lot of increase. >> reporter: there are now an estimated 91,320 humpbacks in the world. now the united states is considering subdividing the global population into 14 subgroups. only those in the arabian see and northwest africa would remain endangered. humpbacks in america would become downgraded to threatened.
the population numbers of these animals like the mother and calf you see behind me here seem to suggest they are doing pretty well, the trouble is when they come off of the list they will have even less protection and already these animals regularly swim through the crab traps here. >> reporter: this is a temperature back caught in a fishing trap. if they are delisted as endangered species they will still be protected in the u.s. but whale conservations like colleen worry it won't be enough. the act offers a lot of protection protections. why do we need this extra layer? >> the esa will offer protection against current and future projects such as oil and gas exploration. under the marine protection act,
if they weren't endangered they can apply for permits to harm or harass a number of whales. >> reporter: they have petitioned to take the humpback off of the endangered species act. >> our goal was to get it off of the list. >> reporter: so is this about the science or about protecting economic interests? in alaska delisting the humpback would make things easier on the oil and maritime industries. so it may be a bit of both. >> it's supposed to be a strictly biological opinion or biological analysis not really considering the economics. and -- but -- but there are economic concerns that bring the humpback population into focus. >> reporter: for captain black, the endangered species act has
given here a lifelong relationship with individual whales. >> some of them we know, you know, by name because we recognize them and i have seen them over 20 years, the same animal. so i hope to keep doing it for a lot longer and help with the research and conservation and make sure they do stay a healthy population here. >> reporter: the about has by all accounts saved the humpback whales, now we'll see whether it has done enough to let them survive on their own. the act truly makes this sort of like a wholly animal you are not allowed as an industry to get anywhere near the humpback whales. under the lesser protections that would apply to them then industry is allowed to do things like seismic exploration, that would sort of drive off whales
sort of harass them not quite harm them but you would in theory be able to disturb them enough that they might be able to chose to go somewhere else. that's the objection that critics have. they have done really really well being totally protected and undistesh -- undisturbed, and they would be subject to a lot more harassment. >> jacob is this a forgone conclusion? what is the next step? >> the national oceanic and atmospheric organization is offering a 90-day period to submit comments and scientific findings. but it does seem clear it's because it is about preventing existential threats to the
whale, they do say it meets that standard, it no longer needs to be protected in the same way, so it seems likely they are going to take this whale off of the list sdmrchl >> jake thank you. this week ireland will become the first country to every hold a nation-wide referendum on same-sex marriage. roxana saberi reports. >> reporter: voters in the republic of ireland will soon decide whether it's time to amend their constitution to legalize gay marriage. >> did you vote? >> of course i voted. >> reporter: gay righter campaigners say that would give same couples wider social acceptance. polls suggest the majority of voters are in favor. but they are facing opposition. >> you should be able to have
reservations without being called a homophobe. >> reporter: the leader of the catholic church argues. >> of people of faith, we believe a man and woman united in marriage for the purpose of creation of a child is a gift from god. >> reporter: ireland decriminalized homosexuality in 1993 and began allowing civil partnerships four years ago. same-sex marriage become legal in england, whales and scotland last year. if ireland votes yes on friday it will join 18 countries and some states in the u.s. and mexico that allow same-sex marriage. support for the catholic church has declined drastically in ireland for the last few years. >> by votingy, we can change forever, what it means to grow
up lbgt in ireland. >> reporter: and a vote for same-sex marriage would be another blow to the church. mexico's military is now fully involved in that country's fight against drug cartels and the cartels are firing back. antonio mora is here with more. >> as many as 10,000 heavily armed troops are trying to take control of a state where the new generation drug cartel is operating. the group has flourished as mexican authorities gain control on other gangs. they are heavily armed, but some say the new generation cartel is not that new at all. >> translator: there's an organized structure directly tied to the disappearances. it is gaining attention now.
but this goes way back. this is not new. this is just the tip of the iceberg. >> reporter: the state is home to mexico's second-largest city. in our next hour al jazeera will ride along with mexico's military. david we're going to get an up close look at how the military is trying to fight the drug cartels. up next desert dancer talks about young iranians who are risking their freedom to live out their dreams. ♪
desert dancer is the true story of an iranian man who dreamed of being a dancer only to be stopped by iran's morality police. we talked with the director in tonight's first person report. ♪ >> hi i'm the director of the film desert dancer. >> what did you do? >> i danced in class. >> it's the true story about a young man that had the simple dream of becoming a dancer but in iran where he lives, dance is forbidden. >> they are the morality police if they catch you dancing, they will do worse than this. >> so he started an underground dance count -- community.
and they would watch all of the greats. and using youtube as their teacher, they went out to become a dance company. they ended up becoming very big, they put on a performance in the only place they felt they were free to do so which was in the desert 100 miles south of tehran. when the revolution happened one of the first things that was closed down was the national ballet in tehran. we're looking at a situation where dance is looked at as western and vulgar. i remember only last year in may, you had a small group of young teenagers, and some in their early 20s were arrested for dancing to "happy," they got 91 lashes and a year in jail and a suspended sentence after there was an outcry from the world. these people are living under
restrictions but it is not emulate the feeling of the entire country. we're all the same connected through humanity people in iran, people in the middle east they are not so different to us. we have the same hopes, dreams, and aspirations, and we should be able to have the opportunities to fulfill our potential. >> desert dancer can be seen around the united states. we end with president obama who is finally embracing social media. today came this announcement from at potus which stands for president of the united states. the white house says only mr. obama will tweet from that account. prompting this question from bill clinton: