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tv   The Stream 2017 Ep 122  Al Jazeera  December 28, 2017 11:32am-12:00pm +03

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blatant disregard for international laws designed to protect. ukrainian troops have been welcomed home after the government in probe russia rebels completes a swap of one hundred prisoners hundreds of prisoners some two hundred thirty people were sent to rebel held areas in return for seventy four prisoners who've been held by probe russia rebels there was mediated by the orthodox church in moscow fighting in ukraine broke out more than three years ago after pro russian separatists took over parts of the east. we will put out all their greatest hits the maximum to point out a deal one's relatives or loved ones as soon as possible this is very important. aid workers have evacuated the second batch of critically ill patients from eastern that's a rebel held area near syria's capital damascus four people were taken from there on wednesday last month the u.n. called for five hundred people in need of urgent medical care to be allowed to leave but only twenty nine cases have been given approval at least eighteen people have died while waiting. the official results of liberia's presidential runoff vote
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could be announced as early as thursday general antonio terrace has praised the peaceful conduct of the election which is said to mark the first democratic transfer of power there in more than seventy years those are your headlines are back with another full news both in for you here on al-jazeera after the strain. as another year draws to an end we'll take you around the world to find out what's expected in twenty eight he. joins us for a series of special reports as we assess the potential global impact of what's to come. hi emily could be a year in the stream when missions metals plastics chemicals and corpses were burned by the u.s.
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military in iraq and afghanistan and massive craters known as burn pits open burn pits were outlawed in two thousand and ten so why are they still being used in the united states there was always a yellow haze over there. and everybody that you talked to had some type of response or you issues with. i had a titanium aluminum. chromium steel. silica and. there's no word that i could have got metals i've never worked in anything that would have exposed me to. millions of pounds of munitions and other way star burned by the pentagon in the united states every year there are nearly two hundred open air burn pits in the u.s. an investigation by the news website pro publica has revealed these sites have little to no oversight and residents living near the burn pits report respiratory by roid and other health problems health problems that more than one hundred
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thousand military veterans have also reported to a burn pits registry set up by the u.s. department of veterans affairs or v.a. it's not just u.s. veterans and citizens that say they're affected studies have shown a higher incidence of birth defects in iraqi children living near burn pits we might never know the full extent of how those populations are affected both the department of defense and department of veterans affairs declined to participate in the program but here to help us talk about open air burn pits we have. seen your environmental reporter with pro publica he's in san francisco california and texas a rosy torres's executive director of burn pits three sixty and the u.s. military spouse and wish. me is an environmental toxicologist in the u.s. state of michigan welcome to the stream everyone rosie want to start with your husband first started getting sick during his deployment in two thousand and seven at iraq's joint base you tell us about what happened when he returned.
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immediately upon right will he end to. experience research reduce stress. a lot of being alive is just debilitating in the body and it actually started when you lose that. and then just continue to worsen as time went by when he started reporting these effects first started feeling them when he talked to other service members what it based say and what did he think was happening. i don't think it was anything that was mentioned during his time in theater i don't think anyone thought or it didn't cross their mind that any of the. smoke plume from the burn pits would would pose a threat to their health so i don't think it's anything that was discussed a month i'm not soldiers i think it was you know they trusted whatever however
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they're in the way to manage with me and handle that it was done in a safe way. but but to come in and really. you know we didn't really connect to the letter in community until he returned back home. and he shared with our producers ahead of the show why your husband wouldn't be joining us today kyra share that with our audience sure since since returning from iraq he's experienced again the lung disease. we just returned from the doctor yesterday he suffers from severe swelling of the leg. they're trying to rule out in our immune disease he's pending a kidney biopsy in two weeks and its body just becomes so debilitated that you know to function believe the struggle for him. you know that must be hard for your family thank you for taking the time to share that and to be
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a part of this program you're nodding your head bare and of course we hear about the open air pit at a data base but we know that there were more. well. there research we have done has been done in cities that have multiple of these parents around them all research was done in best route and how we john up send you guys a map to chills how many military bases surrounded these cities. when she was telling me that's the map correctly so each american flag is actually the position of a military base with a burn pit in that military base these are located in highly populated cities in iraq including best. and not city year the very last study we are conducting right now. what i would like to
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emphasize is that what an american soldier experiences an american soldier is an adult a grown up that. is only there for a year or two people of iraq live there the population is a mixed population of young children pregnant mothers who are highly susceptible to talks exposure and they are exposed to the much longer period of time and these are things that have been flown in neglected by studies that have been. done and looks that have been made into a state of pollution and it causing health effects on human beings and institute of medicine released a study in two thousand and eleven and then later revived it reviewed it and republished it in two thousand and twelve basically talking about the fact that a combination of pollutants is likely to create all of the issues that rosie was
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just mentioning with her husband and therefore on the basis of that they were able to be under list of soldiers who have been in these areas and could have potentially been exposed and suffered what i'm seeing is that population in iraq and afghanistan are composed of women and children who are highly susceptible and are exposed for a much longer period of time so you can be sure of the studies that we've done it's only a glimpse at what is really happening around and it's very depressing. but i want to hold you there because i want to bring in our community who are listening to you explain that and this is the thought of one of them this is a mere sibby who says the u.s. never invaded any country militarily without causing environmental degradation vietnam afghanistan iraq it's a trademark of course that's one perspective but you know he mentions. i want to show you i want to share this this headline because this is what some people who are affected are likening this to burn pits are the new agent orange for cancer
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stricken veterans on rain from long beach says and this is the picture that about that marine who was suffering a back said he believes were caused by proximity to burn pits but brown before we get too much further i just want to make sure all of our audience is on the same page because this is an agent orange this isn't necessarily a chemical dropped on a population explain to us you know we did in the intro a little bit but what is a burn pit and this is waste removal pretty much this is for cocking about garbage but that's toxic. yeah the burn pits in iraq and afghanistan are just what they sound like they're a big hole that's bulldozed in the ground and everything that needed to be disposed of was thrown into it doused with fuel and lit on fire and that ranged from tires to cafeteria trays to garbage to medical waste even body parts and then most
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interesting to me included munitions. the metals for munitions bullets and the explosives that are inside them even in some cases unexploded devices or bombs all of this is incredibly toxic the list of contaminants heavy metals dioxins other poisons is enormous but it's also similar in some ways to what's happening in the united states and that's been my primary focus and that's really interesting to me because. the burn sites overseas are fairly famous for the harm that they've caused and it's really tragic harm and the united states domestically is at the same time held up as a kind of a model of environmental practice and what we discovered through my reporting is that burns not in pits but on pans it's a very similar kind of process are quite common in the united states as well it's the primary way that the u.s. department of defense gets rid of either the waste or manufacturing its weapons and
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munitions or old weapons and munitions or cleanup materials from from weapons and munitions and there are two hundred or so sites across the united states where this has happened for a very long time and fifty or so that we documented where it's still happening today and the pollution from these sites might be a little bit more mild than say what soldiers or the communities surrounding ballade are exposed to. both because there are the proximity is a little bit different and some of the substances are different but we do know that burning hazardous materials is extremely toxic and and. that's analogous to what's happening the united states and this best case scenario here in the united states has fifty odd sites with communities schools that i looked at that are a mile from burnside it's also similarly being exposed to these clouds of toxins and you know it was a long fight to bring attention to the issues of the burn pits overseas there's been no fight to do this similar so you know take any sort of action here in the
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united states no measurement of what is in the pollution that's you know dead. that's touching the school grounds or the residential areas around these bases no statement from the department of defense in my reporting that that was worthwhile or something that they should do and really i mean and that's with laws that are supposed to limit this and promise that it's not and say so i'm glad that you mentioned that the really lack of some might say accountability others might say recognition i do want to share this because as we mentioned the department of veterans affairs declined to join our show today but this is what it says on their website at this time research does not show evidence of long term health problems from exposure to burn pits the v.a. continues to study the health of deployed better and so as you mentioned there is a problem they are focusing particularly on u.s. military personnel and i know you want to get in but i want to direct this just quickly to rosie because rosie this clearly shows that in the struggle is on
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connecting those dots the challenge is making sure that you can condense those with the power to help your husband. why he got sick in the first place. sure and the most frustrating part for us as you know military families and service members is that the v.a. published a letter be a training environmental training letter site it can dash through two that actually list the dioxins that were detected in the air sampling and adblock and so i think it's sort of contradicts a statement that's online. what they've got to realize is that you know here we are really. denying service member the human right to life by denying them that special a tell period by denying them the benefits by their naing a connection. to
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a correlation to the. you leaving widows without benefit you need children without benefits we shouldn't have to fight you've already fought in the battlefield there's no it's there's no reason why this should be happening in america's backyard who shouldn't have to fight for benefits. well basically what i want to say is that i go beyond saying it's inaccurate i'm saying that it's a lie that there is clear evidence and the institute of medicine has published their big huge report which is like hundreds of pages and i've looked at it they are talking about how these burn pits cause and what kinds of illnesses they cause so therefore what they have put their putting on their website is a is a is a life because there is evidence that these things do cause health harm to human beings what i want to basically more sleep talk about and think about is now that we are at the point when we know citizens of the united states as well as people in
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iraq and afghanistan are suffering from the same thing which is in a big military created the pollution war created pollution or things that have relations with department of defense we need to take a step. to address it how we. think of this society what do we propose to do for my part i worked with the american public health association which is an organization of four thousand public health professionals and we actually wrote an undersea statement. we created we this is a statement that calls on u.s. officials u.s. . lawmakers and policymakers it calls on them to clean military related pollution in iraq and afghanistan specifically talks about burn pits and one time we even have been further than that based on that one is the
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statement of the american public health association and based on the studies that we've done in multiple cities in iraq we brought motions to the united kingdom parliament and we've got the support of over seventy parliamentarians in the united kingdom who said it is the responsibility of those who pollute. in war it is their responsibility to clean it so i am a partial outline there for how to move forward how to address this i'm glad that you brought that up this is a tweet i want to bring up for nestle han she says why is this happening in the backyard the usa is it ignorance or is it indifference and of course you mentioned that this is lesser known but it is happening here in the united states as lesser known take a look at pro publica reporting for our audience toxic fires across the country military sites burning hazardous waste into open air and so compiling these could
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be part of that first step to address that you see here sixty one sites active today it shows where they are scroll down a little bit further many sites closer abandoned but still potentially harmful we actually spoke to a resident of one of those towns she left us a video com and she's also featured in the pro publica report this is divine blood so this is what she told the story. it might be hard to believe that the us army whose job it is to protect and defend the homeland ignored this but it's true over three hundred people signed a petition asking our senators mark warner tim kaine and our congressman morgan griffith to test their wells people who live here who are concerned and they were ignored. and she lives in virginia near the radford arsenal which has an open burning permit why is it so hard to get just samples tested. well first i'm in just to say i mean there is a bigger picture here as part of our reporting in the us from future reports
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a common we're looking at thirty nine thousand sites across the united states that have some form of burden of military pollution that have already been identified by the department defense the total acreage for these sites adds up to some forty million acres the cost of cleaning them up can be as high depending on who you ask as three to four hundred billion dollars that lead to these wars these wars are common are not only murdering thousands and thousands of people they are creating messes that cannot be cleaned those trillions instead of going to chilling people can go into cleaning up and i assure you if people in the united states if my colleagues in the public health community fought for people of vietnam to have their environment cleaned up after the mess the united states left there had before it for that iraq and afghanistan would not have happened we would not have thousands of children in iraq with horrific levels of lead we would not have these
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epidemics of cancers and birth defects is the shortcoming of the academy and i challenge them it is the shortcoming of the academy in the united states that does not go to to see little cities where the u.s. military right now in the united states there is no study showing children who live near these these ammunition sites are sick and they are sick and no but you don't sit on your butt and disagree i don't i think i think my point is and yours as well and we're in agreement that any place that the department of defense has touched any place that war has touched has left an environmental harm you know and i'm afraid to say and what we're looking at in our reporting is that the cleanup here in our own communities in the united states with the. you know environmental laws and regulations and democratic oversight that we have is incomplete at best and it doesn't make one particularly optimistic about the possibility of us are startling and. i hear you my son and hear you know much about it but i want to bring in i
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want to bring in one more member of our community because she believes that her husband suffered the effects of proximity to a burn pit and passed away this is katie hubbard she says she believes that the government owes good health care to help those with quality of life insurance coverage for all elements death benefits any assistance available she went on to asked several questions that i'm going to post here in a minute but first i want to give you some background i want you to take a look at this twenty fifteen announcement and this is from the u.s. military urging better ends to report any health problems that soldiers may be having as a result of exposure to the burns look we're asking any veteran who may have been exposed to airborne hazards while serving in a southwest asia theater of operation to visit the department of veterans affairs airborne hazards in the open burn pit registry debbie debbie debbie a public health a go so rosie that's from several years ago katie here tweeting this today says
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i have so many thoughts why are service members still not informed of the risks or their registry rosie you have your own registry do you agree with what katie saying to you feel that there is enough information out there for service members or members of the general public as it's concerned with. no you know right i don't feel that there is enough outreach on behalf of the v.a. i think that they can do a better job in in in publicizing this issue the way they have many other very important issues such as t.b.i. and p.t.s.d. i'm not sure why there wasn't enough money allocated to conduct the outreach for this registry but you know we call on the v.a. to get the word out you know again for me my son was just just enlisted in the u.s. army and so you know this is not about a future chism this is about accountability and we know that there were government
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contractors mishandling the waste and so at the end of the day we just really want the v.a. to do to establish. a funder a system for benefits and compensation so no t.v. you know it's a bold start why and just like her and many others suffering they deserve the ages of the benefits and and health care they are entitled to claim and to just to go ahead and i want to take this into you know the civilian realm as well and there is a lack of transparency and a lack of information that's made available you know at dozens of these sites from people that i reported with were not necessarily even aware you know you you mentioned of on blood so she's a she's an activist and well informed in her community but most of the people that i talk to in places like rad per genya or colfax louisiana are not aware that there even is munitions waste being burned up there is hazardous waste being burned they might see the black clouds they don't know what they are and yet there can be
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health problems in these communities and the department offense isn't asking the questions about whether there might be a connection between the pollution or the health problems civilian people doctors are not informed about the burns to even bring them into their sort of frame of thinking about making a diagnosis i mean obviously you do need to be careful about cause and effect it's it's very difficult to say that a specific illness is from a specific. but there isn't even really a system of information sharing or just asking basic intellectual questions about the exposures that people have even here in the united states which again i consider best case to even you know ask those questions or consider the possible connections do you think this this very show could be the beginning of that because here we have someone studying this the effects on citizens in afghanistan and iraq the research you've done we have rosie and all of that the people who have signed up to your registry it looks like it's happening informally. well i mean we were the starting out of body of work that's going to be five or six stories over the coming year and they're all going to be looking at this issue and and yeah i hope
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that this show and those articles and the response that comes around and a growing awareness about the extent of you know of environmental consequences to military activity in the united states and abroad is there's a start of a conversation that changes that and i just want to say one thing may i please i want to say that it is it is not going to be useful if we don't show solidarity with each other the fact is that what pollutes the us citizens here and what pollutes people of iraq in iraq one and the same and that is the military posture and behavior of the united states specifically department of defense so the issue here is for us to inform the public and get support of the public in the united states to object to these kinds of environmentally toxic behavior which leaves the environment and people across the
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globe sick and the way we do it we must challenge our lawmakers we must go to public meetings and get people to understand what's going on which is what i have done to the best of my ability but see senators representatives in the congress and ask them to give us time to speak to the lawmakers and policymakers and push for this we need to to guarantee health of the people we cannot draw a line between the u.s. and iraq and afghanistan we are in solidarity in that this is one planet that we have and if we keep the postures the war across it continuously with this seven hundred billion dollars a year that u.s. department of defense has a budget for they will they will destroy the planet and all of us with it. we need to object challenge our lawmakers and force them to behave differently up like this
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is a conversation i'll continue online hash tag industry thanks to our guests thanks for watching. a certain. amount of wind maybe a road to depose the dictator the war drums struck an unlikely beat. up. down. south of the sun from britain's news it was the weapon of choice is stronger than bullets with this documentary but this time on al-jazeera january on al-jazeera african heads of states and governments will gather in at his ababa for the state's youth assembly of the african union where the goals set out see in twenty seventeen minutes rewind
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returns with brand new episodes updating some of the best al-jazeera documentaries from over the years the biggest names in politics in business will meet in the swiss alps for the world economic forum what will be talk of the agenda matter the asan engages in rigorous debate cutting through the headlines on up front and in a week our special coverage will be gauging reaction from around the world to america's most controversial president of modern times january on al-jazeera news has never been more available it's a constant barrage of it with every day but the message is a simplistic you have the frame good logical rational person crazy monster and misinformation is rife dismissal and denial of well documented accusations and evidence is part of genocide the listening post provides a critical counterpoint challenging mainstream media narratives at this time on
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al-jazeera. al-jazeera with every. at least forty people killed in the attack on a shia district of the afghan.

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