tv Democracy Now PBS June 10, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
06/10/15 06/10/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica this is democracy now! >> i am confident although it will take time and there will be setbacks and lessons learned that we are going to be successful. isil will be driven out of iraq and ultimately, it is going to be defeated. amy: a year after the islamic state seized mosul, president obama is poised to send another 500 u.s. military personnel to iraq and set up a new military base. this is on top of 3000 other soldiers. we will speak with longtime at least correspondent patrick cockburn just back from iraq and syria, as well as retired u.s. counterterrorism officer malcolm nance.
>> people did understand about isis, we have been fighting this group since 2003. this is not a new group. that is just a narrative the media has caught on to because they forgot former regime loyalists, al qaeda in iraq them all have come together and they now are isis. amy: then to louisiana where a federal judge has ordered the release of albert woodfox of the angola three. he is the longest serving u.s. prisoner in solitary confinement. will he actually be freed? we will speak with his attorney george kendall, as well as robert king, who spent 29 years in solitary confinement. he was released in 2001. and we will hear albert woodfox in his own words. >> i thought that my cause, then and now, was noble therefore they could never break me. they might end me a little bit and caused me a lot of pain, and
even take my life, but there will never be able to break me. amy: all of that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the obama administration is considering a plan to increase u.s. presence in iraq is sending up to 500 more military personnel and establishing a new military base in anbar province. the new forces would help train iraqi forces and retake the city of vermont, which fell to the self described islamic state last month. we will have more on iraq after headlines. a federal appeals court has upheld harsh antitrust provisions in texas, threatening to leave texas with fewer than 10 abortion clinics. when the sweeping anti-choice law passed, despite the people's filibuster at the state legislature in 2013 texas had
more than 40 clinics. since then, more than half of them have closed. now a panel of the fifth court of appeals has ruled texas can enforce revisions requiring abortion facilities to meet the standards of hospital style surgery centers and forcing providers to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. the ruling exams the clinic in the south texas city of mcallen on the ground that forcing women to travel 235 miles to the nearest clinic would be an undue burden. it remains i gripped the clinic can stay open if the law takes effect, an estimated 900,000 reproductive aged women live more than 150 miles for the nearest open abortion facility. abortion providers plan to appeal before the decision takes effect in about 22 days. in a statement, nancy northrup at the center for reproductive rights said --
a texas police officer caught on video aggressi african-american teens at a pool party has resigned. widely viewed footage shows eric casebolt wrestling an african-american teenage girl in a bikini to the ground, pulling her hair, and sitting on top of her. officer casebolt also pulled his gun on other teens. on tuesday, mckinney chief greg conley apologized for casebolt's actions and said he had stepped down. >> eric casebolt has resigned from the mckinney police department. as the chief of police, i want to say to our community that the actions of casebolt is seen on the video of the disturbance at the community pool are indefensible. our policies, our training, our practice do not support his actions. he came into the call out of control. and as the video shows, was out of control during the incident. amy: the incident remains under police investigation, meaning casebolt could still face
charges. a los angeles police oversight board has issued a mixed ruling on the fatal police shooting of an unarmed african-american man last august. police claim ezell ford, who suffered from mental illness, tried to grab an officer's gun during a confrontation. but his family members and at least one eyewitness say he was complying with the officers and lying on the ground when he was shot. on tuesday, the lapd's civilian oversight committee faulted one of the two officers for deadly forst, -- force but cleared the , other. steve soboroff of the los angeles board of police commissioners announced the decision. >> regarding the use of force or firing of the weapon, the police commission unanimously found that the use of force by one police officer was a minister at of disapproval and two -- the determination as criminal
culpability for the involved officers is the responsibility of the los angeles county da and that within the authority of the chief of police or this commission. amy: the findings will be referred to prosecutors. during the hearing ezell ford's , mother, tritobia ford, pleaded for justice. >> we deserve fairness. i am begging you please, please, my son would never grab for no gun. he wanted to live. that is all he wanted to do was live. he walked the streets. i did not want him to walk the streets around there, because i know it was unsafe. but that was his right. and he did not deserve to die for it. amy: ford's family has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the lapd. outside the hearing, protesters voiced anger that one officer was cleared. >> frustrated, upset confused,
wondering why the system still exists that unarmed people of color are still being gunned down. and mentally ill people of color still being gunned down. it doesn't make sense. >> ford was gunned down, charlie africa gunned down. one after the other. omar beat to death for blocks away from where ezell ford was killed. this has to stop. amy: community leaders in cleveland have ten legal action to bring charges against the officers involved in the fatal shooting of tamir rice last november. 12-year-old tamir rice was playing with a toy gun when police pulled up and fatally shot him within two seconds of their arrival at the park. they failed to provide medical help and tackled tamir's sister to the ground as she tried to help him. investigators submitted their findings in the case last week. but after more than six months
community leaders said tuesday they are tired of waiting. in a court filing, they invoked a rare ohio law that allows citizens to ask judges for charges, bypassing police and prosecutors. church pastor said civilian citizens are seeking justice themselves. >> we believe officers involved caused the death of tamir rice indeed's that were reprehensible , and yes, criminal. so today as citizens, we're taking this matter in the matter of justice into our hands, using the tools of democracy as an instrument to ensure that every person, regardless of the race, religion, sex, orientation social class or profession, is insured the righteous victims were citizens, and human beings are respected in the courts and throughout society. amy: last month, cleveland
agreed to increased racial bias training and tough limits on the use of police force after a federal probe uncovered a pattern of unlawful abuses. a two -- a cleveland judge also acquitted a white police officer who fired 49 shots at two unarmed african-americans in their vehicle. louisiana has delayed the release of former black panther albert woodfox. he is the longest-serving u.s. prisoner in solitary confinement . after appealing a judge's order for his freedom, earlier this year, louisiana grand jury reindicted woodfox for the 1972 murder of a prison guard, a crime for which he and his late fellow angola three member herman wallace maintained they were framed for their political activism. they started a chapter of the black panther party in prison. wallace died october 1, ordered he be immediately released from prison. on monday, another federal judge, james brady, not only called for woodfox's release,
but also barred a retrial. woodfox's two previous convictions have both been overturned but on tuesday, louisiana filed an appeal to the fifth circuit and that court issued a stay on judge brady's order until 1:00 a.m. this friday woodfox's lawyers have until 5:00 p.m. today to file a response. he will speak with woodfox's attorney george kendall along with freed angola three member robert king. albert woodfox has been in solitary confinement for 42 years. a state judge has ordered arkansas to recognize same-sex marriages performed during a brief window a year ago. some 500 lgbt couples obtained licenses in the days after a state judge struck down a ban on marriage equality. but arkansas justices then put those unions on hold pending the outcome of a state appeal. in a new ruling, judge wendell griffen of little rock ordered officials to accept the tax filings and spousal health
coverage applications of lgbt married couples. the island of gusaam has become you the first u.s. territory to recognize same-sex marriages. the weddings can begin five days after the license application. the pentagon has updated internal policies to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation. defense secretary ash carter announced the change. >> i am proud to announce the department of defense has completed the process for updating its military equal opportunity policy to include sexual orientation. ensuring the department, like the rest of the federal government him a treat sexual orientation-based dissemination the same way it treats its termination based on race, religion, color, sex, age, and national origin. and i'm very proud the military
services work has been -- the work the military services has put into this because discrimination of any kind has no place in america's armed forces. amy: former house speaker dennis hastert has pleaded not guilty to charges of hiding large cash withdrawals and lying about it to the fbi. hastert was allegedly making payments to a former student to conceal sexual abuse that occurred during hastert's previous career as a high school teacher and coach in illinois. appearing in a chicago court hastert was ordered to surrender his passport as part of his conditions for pre-trial release. it was his first public appearance since being indicted last month. dennis hastert was the longest republican serving house speaker in history. and mississippi authorities have dropped charges against three people who faced prosecution for cheering at a high school graduation. the defendants had been accused of disturbing the peace for yelling out as their loved ones walked the stage. but the charges were dropped
tuesday following a national outcry. some critics had argued prosecutors had pursued the case because the two adult defendants are african-american. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. the obama administration is considering a plan to increase the u.s. presence in iraq by sending 400 to 500 more military personnel as well as establishing a new military base in anbar province. the united states already has about 3000 troops, including trainers and advisers, in iraq. the administration is describing the military personnel as advisors who will help train iraqi forces in an attempt to retake the city of ramadi, which fell to the self-described islamic state last month. plans to retake muzzle may be
pushed off until next year. the move comes just days after president obama acknowledged the u.s. does not yet have a "complete strategy" to deal with isil which has seized large swaths of iraq and syria. it was a year ago this week when islamic state fighters seized mosul, iraq's second largest city. today the city remains in isil's hands. advisers close to the white house say it could take decades to defeat isil. at the recent u.s.-islamic world forum in qatar, retired marine general john allen said "this will be a long campaign. defeating daesh's ideology will likely take a generation or more," he said, using the arabic name for isil. amy: meanwhile, doctors without borders is reporting iraq is now facing its biggest humanitarian emergency in a generation. almost three million people have fled war-torn areas of the country controlled by the islamic state. the united nations estimates 8.2 million iraqis, nearly 25% of the population, will need some
kind of humanitarian help this year. to talk more about the fight against the islamic state in iraq and syria, we are joined by two guests. with us here in new york is malcolm nance, a retired arabic speaking u.s. counterterrorism intelligence officer and combat veteran who first worked in iraq in 1987. he is the author of several books, including, "the terrorists of iraq: inside the strategy and tactics of the iraq insurgency 2003-2014." his new piece for the intercept is called, "isis forces that now control ramadi are ex-baathist saddam loyalists." and joining us from london is patrick cockburn, middle east correspondent for the independent. he's just back from reporting in iraq and syria. his latest book is titled, "the rise of islamic state: isis and the new sunni revolution." his most recent article on iraq is headlined, "war with isis: as the militant threat grows, so does the west's self-deception." let's go first to malcolm nance.
welcome to democracy now! talk about this latest piece you have written. talk about the political context for the rise and the power of isis today. >> the biggest misperception now, we're on the first anniversary of isis taking the city of mosul, and the make is -- biggest misperception is that isis is this new group which has appeared out of nowhere lidster across the middle east, they have managed to take large swaths of iraq and syria. in fact, isis is the same group and a conglomeration of groups we have been fighting since the day we invaded iraq in 2003. the piece i wrote in the intercept, which was taken from parts of my book, based on my book is that the former regime loyalists come almost 100,000 of them, who were all taken away from their jobs by order number
two, have been underground and fighting is for the last 13 years nonstop. however, al qaeda in iraq, which started in 2003 as well, has taken over the upper level management of these groups. and so what we have is we have, technically, the mega group of all the former regime loyalists iraq is surging groups, and the foreign fighters who have used syria as a base camp and they now are called isis. juan: how do you reconcile the fact the baathists were largely similar socialist party when they started, reconciling their ideology in our approach to the world with that of jihadists? >> the jihadists would not have even been in iraq until the u.s. invasion when the communities that were former baathists --and they were secularists, not a conglomeration of socialism and secular government that formed into a dictatorship under saddam hussein. and also under al-assad in
syria. the people in iraq who were baathists were still muslims. in the later years after the u.s. sanctions when into place and after the iran-iraq war started become more islamic in name, that is to co-opt his own form the people on the streets the jihadist who came in just after the invasion of u.s. invasion of iraq in 2003 came in with their own ideology which is radical extremist almost cultish to islam. but the baathists understood these people had the combat capacity to do things the baathist forces did not have to do, as a matter of fact. you had al qaeda in iraq would carry out all the suicide bombings they wanted. the baathists would facilitate their entry from syria, build car bombs for them, gather all of the intelligence against u.s. forces, direct them to it, and they would drive their car bomb into a target. hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them over the 12
years that iraq has been in this turmoil. but it is a marriage of convenience, to a certain extent. mosul was a baathist city. tikrit was a baathist. they ruled with an iron fist. they're the people living there. isis is just the spearhead of the forces that have now joined them who are baathists as well. but ex-baathists. they have sworn the royalties but they are the 7 million person population that owns the place. amy: patrick cockburn, you are just back from iraq and syria. do you share this assessment of malcolm nance? >> no. i think there's a big is connect between what is happening now and what happened when iraq was ruled by the baath party.
they were supremely unsuccessful militarily in 2003, 1991, and before. and while islamic state is very successful, both come out of the sunni community at all, but i don't think the islamic state is the baath party and a new guise. one thing that does strike me as her important at the moment, and i have just been in northern iraq and northern syria, talking to people who have come from islamic state, is that it is recruiting people all the time. it has introduced constriction. it is calling up tens of thousands of young men. it is an expanding organization. i don't think the outside world in america or anywhere else in the world has quite taken on
board how to have this organization is and how quickly it is growing. and every so often, we hear accounts that, you know, it has gotten weaker and so forth, then it takes another affiliate. it took mosul. it has taken ramadi and palmyra and now it is getting close to aleppo. once the biggest city in syria. and it is threatening western syria. so people talk about it is going to take some of the decades to get rid of this organization. but the problem is much more immediate. this is an expanding organization. it is a military machine that combines religious fanaticism with military expertise. it is growing all the time. juan: patrick cockburn, how do you account for this such a fast growth of the organization especially evan the years when there did not seem to be in expansion of the jihadist,
especially in iraq? >> well, it looks to the sunni community in iraq and syria the sunni arabs about 20% of iraq about 60% of syrians. the syrian uprising took place in 2011, there was a hold big new constituency for them. and militarily, they're much better organized and much more effective than the other groups in syria. and although they have expanded they still seem to be able to create a real state. that is one thing that struck me talking to people from there. they've introduced taxation. they have introduced conscription horrible laws restricting women from leaving home without a male relative. you get beaten if you don't do
that. you have to cover the whole face. if you are a woman. anybody who opposes them, ins of dead very fast. we were talking to the leader of one tribe in iraq, and 864 of them have been killed since last october. this is a savage organization. but it is a pretty effective one. and it and everything. it controls ecation even fiing rights in the euphrates river. they have a whole series of instructions, what you can and cannot do. you cannot use explosives or reason. it really does control the area into which it has expanded, which is greater than the size of great britain. amy: your main point of disagreement with malcolm nance is simply that, well, it may have started with different groups, but it is for larr than the baathist of the st? >> it is far larger than a
qaeda was during the 10 years ago or since it has gotten much bigger. you know, if you were a baathist back then -- most of these people are pretty young. if you have to go back to baathist-iraq, these guys -- if all of the militants came from there, it would be quite an aging organization. but i don't think that is true. i think there's a connection in the leadership. some of these people come out of the iraqi security forces. but i think it has developed into a very different type of organization. a far more effective one, and forcefully. amy: let's get the response from malcolm nance. >> in some respect he is right. it is a different organization. it has developed in a different way, and it has a large quantity of young man. but let's not forget history here. if you were a member of the saddam at age 20 when the united states invaded, you would be 35 years old right now. and you would be a mid-level commander with 13 years of
extraordinary combat experience under your belt. there were 100,000 iraqis that we fought when we invaded iraq. we only killed 6000 of them in the invasion. that is a lot and it is horrific we even did it, but the very fact is, that left almost 90,000 people who were there to fight us during the eight years that we were in combat with tm. al qaedan iraq. all of the news during the time we were fighting. e uned states lieved al qaeda-aq was everyone we were fighting. but in fact, we were fighting 30,000 and 6000 senior that this commander's who had iran-iraq war streets. these are the men and their children who are the people who own northern and western iraq. isis is just al qaeda in iraq evolved. once in 201yria fell, that gave them a comple playground, gave them all of the lines of communications weapons, they could take and use it as a sanction wary to start carving out -- sanctuary to start
carving out -- you cannot carve out an province and others withoutbar co-opting the communities that are in their who turned against them in 2007 during the iraq awakening campaign. it is just in 2011 they turned back to the people who are going to give them the autonomy they weren't getting with thell maliki government. yes, it is a young organization. i have thought disorganization. it has tried to kill me. i take it very personally. i see how they operate and i derstand their blitz tactics are very effective against the iraqi army that really doesn't want to be wherthey are. but as they take these communities like mosul, the community of mosul are those who have always been there and have ruled iraq and there are allowing them to come in. amy: we will come back to this conversation after break. our guest are malcolm nance, a retired u.s. counterterrorism intelligence officer and combat veteran. he is here with us in new york and has a piece in the intercept. and patrick cockburn is with us just back from iraq and syria
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. our guests are patrick cockburn in london, just back from iraq and syria, middle east correspondent for the independent. malcolm nance, retired u.s. intelligence officer and, veteran who spent many yearsn iraq. juan: malcolm nance, you alluded to your experience in iraq. i want to go back to some of that experience because you are in iraq as far back as 1987, before the persian gulf war even. could you talk about your experiences, your earliest experiences there? also your assessment of the shia militias and their role in the continuing battle with isil? >> the missions in the 1980's were in support of the iran-iraq war. we at a decent which an problem after iranian aircraft accidentally struck a u.s. navy warship. so their work de-confliction missions. juan: de confliction?
>> we assess them in misidentifying our warships as iranian navy ships. the recurring up airstrikes in the persian gulf and restraining -- iranian tankers. amy: the u.s. was supporting both sides. >> the united states at that time was technically neutral but it was in the interest of the united states to facilitate the saudi and kuwaiti activities in support of iraq. juan: and the shia, and york springs with the shia militias as well? >> i got involved with the shia very early on. after operation desert storm, i operated in southern iraq around the areas south of basra, all of these areas down there. this is where the shia uprising took place. the iraqis, they know their people. they managed to court and eight and trick general schwarzkopf into allowing them to use helicopters as the shia of basra rose up.
they use the terms of our peace treaty to carry out attacks on them. i spent quite a bit of time in basra. right now what you're seeing with the iraqi have a shia militias these popular mobilization units they call themselves, is are interesting because throughout my entire time in iraq, we fought the shia. u.s. army shot -- fought the shia and i would have people say to me, if the shaikh tells me to attack the americans i have to i'm obligated to do that. right now, because of the failure of the iraq he army, that is how the southern -- shia of iraq, who i believe are about 80% of the population of iraq, are mobilizing now in a capacity they would not do if they were an iraqi movement. and just coming in and giving large quantities of manpower to take cities like tikrit, will refinery, and believe they're
going to ramadi. but when they go there, they are in it for punishment. they are not in this in order to maintain the stability of the shia and sunni dialogue within iraq. they're going there to understood committee for bringing isis. amy: i want to go to comets of your former boss, former defense secretary donald rumsfeld, who told the times of london -- several commentators have challenged his recent comments. rumsfeld said -- "if iraq -- with its size, capabilities, resources and its history -- is able to move to the path of representative democracy, however bumpy the road, then the impact in the region and the world could be dramatic iraq could conceivably become a model." i want to get patrick cockburn's response to this. rumsfeld basically limning bush, saying bush was wrong. -- blaming bush, saying bush was
wrong. >> you have to separate two things, the invasion and the occupation. a lot of iraqis wanted to get rid of saddam hussein. including the sunni as well as the shia and the kurds. but occupation, whichever way they try to play it, was never going to work. the sunnis were not going to accept it because they had been the dominant community. the shia wanted to be the dominant community. and they did not want the u.s. to be the dominant part. these were connected got support from iran and syria because at that time various people in washington were saying baghdad today, tehran and damascus tomorrow. the occupation was always going to cap size whatever way they played it. simpson, people are saying, if we had done something a bit different, we could have worked. but all this talk about nation doesn't build another. occupying powers normally after their own interest, which is what happened this time around. amy: what is the self-deception
here and what needs to be happening? >> at the present moment, i think in syria and iraq, the self-deception about the strength of islamic state and thinking is somehow going to implode or you leave it alone it will not expand, i don't that is true, and that is proven by events. i think also the attempt to rebrand various organizations like the al qaeda affiliate which has been advancing in northern syria and other al qaeda to organizations in the south. and the idea is that somehow this will weaken al-assad. what really happens in syria is that syrians and damascus may not much like assad, but if they're connected to the government -- not just christians and shia, but ordinary sunni, they're terrified of the islamic state oror a-nusra taking over, so
they support al-assad because they have no alternative. if there was an alternative, then things might change. but excepting -- now that the whole syrian opposition is basically dominated by jihadi and al qaeda-type organizations then this means that assad will continue to get support. they are to bomb atomic state and others in all circumstances should get priority to fighting atomic state in iraq and syria and they're not quite doing that. this idea of arming the sunni tribe has been around for a long time. maybe you could do that when al qaeda and iraq was powerful in two thousand 6, 2007, but it was never as powerful as the islamic state, never a state organization. so i don't -- you can meet these tribal leaders in erbil, but
there isn't much resistance locally in mozilla --mosul and ramadi and these other cities. you don't see assassinations and bombings on a wide scale. so i think that is really just a diversionary policy. what i think washington and its allies should do is give priority, complete party to fighting the islamic state, and they haven't really done that yet. juan: patrick cockburn, yet chronicled the little noted successes of kurdish forces and battling against isil. could you talk about that and also whether you think the map of that region of the world has essentially been reach ron criminally as a result of the continuing conflicts between f that, political, and religious forces over the last 12 years? >> i was in northern syria where three big kurdish enclaves,
about 2.2 million syrian kurds, about 10% of the population, that organize themselves pretty well and they're fighting islamic state while i was there and they want a victory. they were pretty efficient compared to the iraq he army or russia's or indeed the syrian army -- militias or indeed, the syrian army. so they are rejoined for the moment but they have -- they are redrawing it for the moment but they have benefited from the groups fighting each other. neither of them particularly want the kurds to have high autonomy there. so in the long term, if either side in syria wins, with islamic state or the damascus government, that is bad news for the kurds. but actually, the state they have created their is perhaps the only successful so far of the 2011 uprising in syria in that it has gotten rid of the
dictatorial regime of assad, but it hasn't been taken over by extreme islamists. units of their army are made up of women. women get 40% of the jobs in government. that it is a secular society. so it's long-term future is debatable. it will come under a lot of pressure. at the kurds have a lot of achievements to be proud of. amy: patrick, last month the daily beast had an article criticizing you, alleging you discount any syrian national opposition to the al-assad regime and your positions -- position is that -- "bashar al-assad is at war with jihadi terrorism; the west has erred in supporting his opponents; and to support the opposition is to support isis." ahmad goes on to say -- for cockburn, the situation in syria is stark -- you are with the regime or you are with the terrorists. he is an enthusiast for the war on terror -- bashar al-assad's war on terror.
he criticizes the u.s. for excluding from its anti-isis coalition "almost all those actually fighting isis including iran, the syrian army, the syrian kurds and the shia militias in iraq." ahmad later accuses you of -- "turning a blind eye to the regime's ongoing slaughter of civilians. he is helped in this by the obtrusive barbarism of isis, which uses spectacle in the place of scale to force media attention. isis has been a godsend for the regime. it has helped divert attention from its crimes -- and regime-friendly journalists have obliged in the deflection." patrick cockburn, your response? >> i get a lot of this. anybody who's gonna report the civil war is going to be accused by one set of the other of being -- what happens the middle east has always happened, but is happening worse now, is when you analyze something and you say
this is the situation, but i don't think assad is going to go down, both sides are incredibly brittle in the civil war, the people think you're justifying it. they mistake analysis for justification. i have had that, really, since 2011. i remember a rather nice syrian in lebanon i knew, i had just been in syria and i had reported that assad, for various reasons, was not going to collapse as the media was saying. as i came back into syria, i switched on my telephone and there was the same guy shouting at me, shouting, shame on the independent, shame on you. it was just that i had reported the situation as i saw it. objectively. but he sort of wished reality was different, and that is why he was shouting at me. and this is the same sort of stuff. i can understand the passions
involved, that both sides commit appalling atrocities using maximum violence, whatever they have against civilians. this is true. the assad government dropping barrel bombs on civilians 500 600 members of another tried in syria were massacred. so i can understand how people feel like that. it is part of the war so i get attacked like that. i'm sure i will be attacked again. there's nothing much i can really do about that. amyjuan: malcolm nance here we are 12 years after the invasion in iraq, and you were involved in much of the regime change that occurred there. what is your assessment of the failures of the united states in iraq and its responsibility for the current situation? >> to take nothing away from the people who fought that war, that
war should never have been fought. i'm saying this not as someone who writes books, i'm saying this as an intelligence professional. invading iraq after 2003 would have been akin to invading mexico after pearl harbor. it had nothing to do with 9/11. the intelligence did not support it. i had an incident -- not an incident, putting the event about six months before the invasion and i met a very high-level intelligence person who was a personal friend of: powell and he said, what is your assessment of this? they're talking about the communications intercept that we got from the iraqis, that the president had put out to justify part of the war. i said, i have been doing this for decades. i just don't see it. the intelligence is not there. we don't have direct links to 9/11. afghanistan, where i've just come back from, is full of al qaeda. they had gone over the mountain to pakistan. this is a strategic stake. and what we need to do now is we
have fostered the iraqi government, we have tried to help them facilitate their growth, we have tried to help democracy -- despite what donald rumsfeld says. however, we are at the point now where the pandora's box is open and we have unleashed a group which has taken al qaeda ideology to its exact extreme. they have carved out exactly what osama bin laden had been saying from his three decades that he wanted. he wanted an islamic caliphate in the heart of the middle east. they have achieved that nominally. they control the roads, they control the few cities. the right now we're doing a linear battle using forces we know that can't fight or won't fight. some iraqi units are brilliant like the golden division, the iraqi special forces. but we have to take them on. does it require u.s. troops? i don't think it does. will it require training? yes. we have to develop forces that
can go after ices were isis lives. isis doesn't live on every road in between there. you have to cut them off and isolate them. a strategic policy at the pentagon is due up from the air. it cannot be done from the air. we're going to have to get a lot more air power and people who will go in there and confront them and cut them off. amy: were you talking about anything that happened 12 years ago, if you're talking about reengage thousands of troops are there, now president obama is announcing another 500 troops. >> the president is in damage control mode. we have flooding, uncontrollable flooding in a situation that did not need to be underwater. what is try to do is incrementally do this so that he doesn't have to introduce large forces that will get attacked. if we had stayed in iraq after 2011, we would be well past the 4600 dead that we had in that war. we would be pushing 6000 dead troops at this point. i says, and all these other groups, would be attacking us on
a minute to minute basis, and that is all you would be hearing about is the failure of us not to get out of iraq. now we have to the iraqis and where we can in syria and work with our air partners -- arab partners to try to degrade this organization to the point where they will lose their mobility. this interesting, patrick cockburn, had just mentioned about supporting everyone in syria now is rallying around the assad government. a government we wanted to see gone two years ago. at the alternative other than the free syrian army groups and al-nusra is ices. there are absolute is. they will eliminate anyone in their path. now we have a completely different dynamic than we had 12 years ago. amy: this is a discussion we will certainly continue on democracy now! i want to thank patrick cockburn, just back from the middle east, and malcolm nance retired intelligence officer and
amy: gil scott-heron, "angola, louisiana." this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we end today's show looking at the pending release of the longest-serving u.s. prisoner in solitary confinement. on monday, federal judge james brady ordered the immediate release of louisiana prisoner and former black panther albert woodfox. earlier this year, a louisiana grand jury re-indicted woodfox for the 1972 murder of a prison guard, a crime for which he and
his late fellow angola 3 member herman wallace maintained they were framed for their political activism. wallace died on october 1, 2013 just three days after he was released from prison. on monday, federal judge james brady not only called for woodfox's release, but also barred a retrial. woodfox's two previous convictions in the case were both overturned. amy: for the past four decades albert woodfox has been kept in a 16 by 9 cell for 23 hours each day. at the facility where he is currently housed, he is only allowed out of his cell three days a week. judge brady said his order to release woodfox was based on five factors. "mr. woodfox's age and poor health, his limited ability to present a defense at a third trial in light of the unavailability of witnesses, this court's lack of confidence in the state to provide a fair third trial, the prejudice done onto mr. woodfox by spending over 40 years in solitary confinement, and finally the very fact that mr. woodfox has already been tried twice and would otherwise face his third trial for a crime that occurred
over forty years ago." well, louisiana has now filed an appeal to the fifth circuit court of appeals, and that court has issued a stay on judge brady's order until 1:00 p.m. this friday. it gave woodfox's lawyers until 5:00 p.m. today to file a response to the state's appeal. in a minute, we'll get the latest news from his lawyer. but first, this is a clip of albert woodfox speaking in his own words on a prison payphone in the 2010 documentary, "in the land of the free." >> i thought that my cause, then and now, was noble. therefore, they could never break me. they might bend a little bit, they may cause me pain, they may even take my life, but they will never be able to break me. amy: the words of albert woodfox. for more, we are joined by two guests. in new orleans, louisiana, george kendall is albert woodfox's defense attorney. and in austin, texas, we are joined by robert king, member of the angola three who spent 29 years in solitary confinement for a murder he did not commit. he was released in 2001 after
his conviction was overturned. he's written a book about his experience, "from the bottom of the heap: the autobiography of black panther robert hillary king." welcome both of you back to democracy now! george kendall, what is going on? the judge demanded that albert woodfox be immediately released but that is not happening as of this moment. >> judge brady issued a very thoughtful opinion that looked at all of the circumstances in this case, and using the power he has as a federal judge, said, enough is enough. mr. woodfox needs to be released. the state of louisiana is unwilling to let this case go. it filed an immediate appeal in the fifth circuit court of appeals. as you reported, that court has issued a temporary stay until friday at 1:00 p.m. it has given us until 5:00 p.m. today to file our brief. we were up all night and we will file a very good, strong briefed
by 5:00. we're hopeful that court will dissolve the station mr. woodfox can come home. juan: robert king, your reaction, more than a decade after you were released in your conviction overturned, your fellow angola three member still in prison, and your reaction to the latest developments? >> well, we think it is a pretty astounding decision by the judge to take that position. but, you know, i spoke with albert recently. we're still cautiously optimistic about what could happen, the process that still needed -- that we still need to go through. i am elated that the judge made that decision. it is long overdue.
the judge brady decided that albert should be freed. he spent 40 years in solitary confinement, 43 years and counting. he is still in solitary confinement. he is isolated, even though he is no longer in prison. i think the judge made the right decision. it, we're cautiously optimistic. i hate use that term. we should not have to be. and knowing this case, this case has had many ups and downs and hoops to jump and there still may be a couple more. but we're hoping that by friday this is indeed this temporary stay that was granted and that albert would be released. amy: george kendall, teenie verret the widow of the officer that was killed, she was just 17
when her husband brent miller was stabbed to death in 1972, the prison guard. she said a few years ago, she did not believe that woodfox and wallace were guilty. she said at that time that they should be released. george kendall, described -- robert king just said woodfox is not in prison, he is in jail. but how he's being treated, even now -- body cavity searches in the civil lawsuit that has been filed. >> he was moved in february of this year from the louisiana prison system to a parish detention center to await his retrial. he was very quickly reindicted, but he remains, as robert king just told you, he is in a cell 23 hours a day, three days a week, and 24 hours a day the
other four days a week. and unlike in angola were at least was behind bars or the concert -- correctional center were he's been the last for years without any disciplinary charges whatsoever, he currently is house behind a steel door. so this really is -- his ability to have contact with neighbors is virtually nonexistent. so he is under even more harsh conditions awaiting this new trial than he was in the louisiana prison system. juan: how do prison authorities justify 40 years of isolation? forget about the injustice of the actual case itself, but the solitary confinement? >> they have long said that the only reason they give is that he will remain there because of the original reason for his placement there and that was the suspicion he was involved in the murder of mr. miller. what these units are supposed to
be for our temporary housing that of 70 misbehaves in a significant way, they go to one of these tiers where they spent 23 hours a day for months or sometimes years, but when you demonstrate good behavior, as mr. woodfox did and herman wallace did and mr. king did, he has remained in 23 hours day lock down. there's no justification whatsoever. the reason is because no warden in the system wanted to be the one who released, who many correction officers feel were the killer separate miller act in the general population. -- killers of officer miller back in the general population. and because federal judge had to threaten the warden if you did not release henry wallace, he would be held responsible. you served solitary confinement for 29 years, robert king.
this is 42 years. you all try to form a chapter of the black have the party, which is the reason you felt -- like panther party, which is the reason he felt they were charged with the prison guards murder. can you wrap up by saying your thoughts on him in solitary confinement, albert woodfox? >> it is unjustified. albert woodfox, 43 years and counting in solitary confinement. he is still in solitary confinement. there is no been a logical justification -- no justification for keeping him there. i did only 29 years in solitary confinement. amy: only. >> either now 14 years, going on 15. albert has done for 10 years. amy: i want to end with our
woodfox's words back in 2010. >> our primary objective [indiscernible] that is what we are struggling for. we are actually fighting for our freedom. we are fighting for people to understand -- amy: that was albert woodfox from the 2010 documentary "in the land of the free." george kendall and robert king thank you for being with us. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]