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tv   Ali Velshi on Target  Al Jazeera  November 5, 2015 6:30am-7:01am EST

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images taken by the solar dynamics observatory. the state of the art telescope orbits like we do, only closer. the result is this beautiful depiction. i'm looking at the real reason america is putting 50 special forces trooms on th troops on t. how the styles of george w. bush an barack obama led to infringements on your civil liberties. >> syria's war lays bare, a small contingent of u.s.
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special special forces to back democrat forces on the ground fighting i.s.i.l. defense secretary ash carter says it's to take raqqa. if you ask what can 50 force he do to turn an already messy conflict, the answer is nothing. but the real reason for u.s. announcement, the answer is debatable. a lot has changed in just one month and the violence is growing. russia is now bombing the rebels. the u.s. is still bombing i.s.i.l. and turkey is bombing the kurds. the kurds have gained ground against i.s.i.l. i.s.i.l. has gan gauged ground against syrian government forces. into this mess the u.s. is sending special forces to assist a select group of rebels.
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u.s. insists these forces will help the rebels against i.s.i.l, if you need proof that syria's civil war has already turned into a proxy war you need only look at the list of countries participating in last week's syrian peace talks in vienna. representatives from the united states, russia, turkey, saudi arabia and the big news iran for first time ever all got together to debate syria's future in vienna. but the bigger influences nobody cared the highlight the fact that the syrians themselves were not invited to their own peace talks. meanwhile, president obama still subscribes the twin pillar, defeat i.s.i.l. and continue to underpipeline bashar al-assad. but russian military is revealing how contradictory obama's policy is. either way, america is involved
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in syria's war and the president needs to come up with a more realistic policy for solving syria. while we wait for that to happen, russia is taking the initiative and proposing its own diplomatic solution. barnaby phillips last this report. >> reporter: on state television in syria president assad's soldiers were celebrating. they've apparently regained control of a vital route into the city of aleppo. pushing back i.s.i.l. fighters, that captured it last month. meanwhile, in moscow, more clarity on where russia, president assad's most important ally would like the diplomacy to go from here. >> translator: we need to agree on two lists. the first list of the terrorist organizations which will not be covered by a ceasefire which we hope will be agreed upon at some point and the second list is the opposition group that will negotiate with the government under the
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auspices of the u.n. >> in london i complete the leader of the syrian national coalition, which is backed by the west, several arab countries and turkey. he said he knew flog about a meeting in mostly cloudy -- knew knowinnothing about a meeting in moscow. >> in order to relaunch a political process with russia or other sides they have to end their occupation with syria, stop killing the innocent people in syria and commit to geneva communique. >> there's no dialogue no contact between you and the russians? >> after the intervention the only communication with the russians is fighting in order to liberate our country. >> the vienna talks have brought together the most important powers involved in the syrian conflict.
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so is the syrians confident that support its demand that president assad should step down immediately? >> all of our allies have the same position. they did not change their position. >> you sure about that? >> i'm sure about that. we are talking with with our our allies. i'm here with turkey, france, u.k, united states, their position is very clear that assad has to step down. and he has no role in the future of syria. >> reporter: back in syria more bloodshed. this was duma, attacked by national forces, local forces say at least 12 people killed dozens injured. wig diplomati big diplomatic issues remain, barnaby phillips
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>> president obama has been a major disappointment to many civil liberties advocates. they expected his election would mean an end to policies launched during george w. bush's war on terror. and dick cheney's assertion of executive power, justified many of their policies. they include warrantless phone and internet surveillance, drone strikes, indefinitely detention at guantanamo bay. but aside from ending torture president obama did not significantly change the course set by bush and cheney. as edward snoa edward snowden proved, the obama administration didn't justify its actions by claiming
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that a president during war time has the right to act like a king and do whatever necessary to protect his people. instead the obama team relied on sophisticated legal arguments to continue bush-era policies with only slight changes. don't forget that obama is a lawyer while bush and cheney were ceos and the role of lawyers shaping national security policy helps explain a man that helped personal privacy protection took a turn that many are deeply troubled by. power wars, charlie savage, i asked him whether it's fair to say obama broke a campaign promise. >> as obama started to gofn, he wagovern,he was going
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to close gitmo, we know after edward snowden he kept a surveillance that was vast. in some ways he betrayed the promises of his campaign rhetoric that he was going to change the war on terrorism. his people though would push back against that. part of what i'm doing in this book is going behind the scenes to one of these legal dilemmas after another after another. what is happening to this world that people are talking about. why it's important to pay attention to the lawyering and when we know about obama from that perspective. one of the things that arises this is an extremely lawyerly administration, putting constraints and recognizing source he of power, power that they're going to exercise. and in hindsight now we see something that was not as clear at the time during the bush years ago. that there were two different strands of criticism among the left and some on the right of
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what bush and dick cheney were doing after 9/11. there was a civil liberties critique and one of law. the civil liberties said the state shouldn't have the right to put someone on trial in the military court without the associated rights. >> and the legal argument says you don't have the right to as opposed to you shouldn't be. >> maybe this is is the right policy but, on the rule of law critique, when congress passes statutes in the second term of the bush administration and early obama to authorize rather than forbid these things, i'm not acting like bush. aacting like bush means breaking the law. this is now law. >> the net effect for every american may not be any different. some of the surveillance takes place, some of the national security activities take place but this administration, this
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lawyerly administration of obama has created a construct within which it's legal. that was arguable about the bush administration. >> i mean, it's a sort of striking way to put it. i think they would argue well, there's more oversight now, you have judges looking what's going on, there's not going to be abuses. but in some essential way what you're saying is correct. this disconnect arises, aclu, and -- >> you are a civil libertarian, these are bad in both ways but both bad. >> you find a lot to criticize. part of the great question was people expected obama to change these things and they maybe overthought what was going to change. they thought we weren't going to do military commissions at all anymore, we weren't going to have warrantless surveillance at all anymore. >> what they got was they were not going to do these things without a completely airtight construction around them.
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>> a conservative republican administration who both say the post-9/11 world needs this stuff. drained the controversy, normalized them, entrenched them, this is what it's like diagnose forward. part of what i did with this book is sort of figure out how we got here. we are talking in generalities here. it is your responsibility now and you're dealing with this, one after another after although you see why this added up to what became the obama administration. >> you build a thorough book tharnd detroit around that detroit bomber who tried to blow up his underpants. the idea that dick cheney was really into gathering and preserving some of the authority of the president, he had been into this for many years as a white house staffer, congressman
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and the bush cheney administration felt they wanted to possess certain executive officer authority that had been drained from the executive office. the obama administration didn't see things that way. so it wasn't about the net result about whether somebody can gather information from my phone. it's who has the authority to make the decision and under what legal authority do they collect this information. >> i think that's right. i mean i would be even more charitable to dick cheney, it wasn't just that they wanted that power for themselves. they wanted that power for white house going forward for all future presidents, for future president barack obama it opportunity out because they felt the executive in the modern world needed more authority to protect ourselves in a complicated dangerous world. coming out of the '70s part of the history there's nothing like that in barack obama, joe biden, hillary clinton, they weren't coming out of the postwater gate
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church era, and yet they end up entrenching some of those things, not the notion that the president as commander in chief can routinely violate statutes. we are not acting like them -- >> joe biden barack obama, hillary clinton all lawyers. >> indeed. >> compared to an administration of ceos. one of the interesting undercurrents in your book is the laws that we have to deal with terrorism, to deal with national security threats were written at a time when there were state conflicts. conflicts between states. we now have stateless actors, we now have countries that are ungoverned or with very, very weak central governments. and that poses a whole set of challenges that our laws are really not up to date enough to handle. >> you're hitting on something that is one of the reasons i wanted to write this book and one of the reasons i hoped the readers will find fascinating the stuff i find fascinating. even when you have an administration that takes the
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law serials, justifies what they're doing, they will disagree with themselves about what is the correct legal interpretation all the time. and the reason for that is that over and over again, we see right now the rules that the society has built for sphainlts fo surveillance, for war, were not written for this time, it has nothing to do with the internet yet they are trying to apply what the government can do under the system to this new technology. they're applying to a nonstate actor that goes around to bad lands with there are no governments and no hot beds. if there are fascinating puz fascinating puzzles about this. >> for all the criticism of
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president bush, president bush has not authorized the killing of an american without due processing. this has now happened four times in the obama administration. how do they defend that? >> i want to correct two things. i'm not a lawyer. i don't want to represent something i'm not. they authorize the killing of one american, anwar alalaki. the strike in september of 2011 that is the fascinating one. you're right george w. bush never as far as we know, his administration never deliberately set out to hunt down and kill an american abroad. this is a response to the administration, when they had an incredible dilemma, an american hiding in a place where there was no government, coming up with the december underwear bombing in 2009, what do you do in that circumstance?
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it is one of the most fraught chapters i have. the fallout and the secrecy that they continued to impose over this incredibly interesting precedent that they had set for years not wanting to talk about it even though they were holding themselves to be the most transparent in history. that is clearly going to be one of the core legacies of the obama administration, and this fraught era in which it governed. it doesn't mean though that necessarily what it did was wrong but it certainly is worthy of great scrutiny. >> power wars. that's the book. the news continues on al jazeera america.
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