tv Democracy Now PBS November 13, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
11/13/15 11/13/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! i was standing and suddenly saw an explosion, then i could not feel an glass was falling on me. but what exploded, i don't know. afterwards, another explosion happened. amy: the islamic state has claimed responsibility for a double suicide attack in lebanon that killed 43 people. we will speak with rami khouri and with journalist nick turse on your special operations from syria to africa. his new book, "tomorrow's battlefield: u.s. proxy wars and secret ops in africa." then, in a week that began with a victorious revolt by african-american students at the
university of missouri and brought solidarity protests on campuses around the country, a similar protest has erupted at ithaca college in upstate new york. >> all over the nation, both on and off college campuses, we have seen young and old fighting against injustice. we stand here in solidarity stop our hearts are heavy with the pain of mizzou and yale in every person on college canvases simply because of the color of their skin, the texture of their hair. however, how can a cap is dedicated to preparing us for the real world not actively foster growth? amy: on wednesday, thousands of faculty, students and staff staged a walkout to call for the resignation of president tom rochon. the protesters, led by students of color, lay down on the rainy walkways in a mass die-in. we'll get an update from ithaca college student body president dominick recckio, and peyi
shoyinka ira-wele, professor of international and african politics at ithaca college. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. student protests are sweeping the nation. on thursday, students on more than 100 college campuses rallied from coast to coast as campuses railed against institutional racism, as well as against mounting student debt. students gathered at columbia university in new york city, smith college in massachusetts, ithaca college in upstate new york, and the university of kansas, among others, declaring solidarity with the university of missouri students and demanding their own campuses address racism. this comes as students on more than campuses also rallied for a 100 day of protest called the million student march. the demonstrations took place at rutgers university in new jersey, university of texas in austin, university of utah in salt lake city, portland state university in oregon, and
campuses across the university of california system. the students demands include the cancellation of all student debt, tuition-free public college and a $15 minimum wage , for campus workers. this comes as the university of missouri has named a black law professor to serve as interim president of the university system, following the resignation of former president tim wolfe earlier this week amid massive protests over racism on campus. the new president, michael middleton, spoke about the need to learn the nation's history of racism. >> i don't blame white people who don't understand. i blame our ugly history and i think it is important that we learn that history and understand it so that we can get the on that history. and build the institution in the country that we imagine -- and the country that we imagine, rather than the institution or
country that is. amy: meanwhile, in california, the dean of claremont mckenna college has also resigned amid protests over racism on campus. dean mary spellman stepped down thursday after two students declared hunger strikes. tensions over racism on campus have been rising for months. in april, 30 students of color wrote to the president claremont mckenna, saying they felt excluded, isolated and intimidated. last month, a student wrote an op-ed describing her discomfort as a low-income latina student at claremont. the former dean responded by saying she would help students who don't "fit the cmc mold," a response which trigger protests and calls for her ouster. the students' demands include funding for multicultural clubs, more diverse hiring, a mentoring program and an administrator to , oversee diversity. meanwhile, some professors have canceled classes at the historically black college of howard university in washington, d.c., thursday, after someone claiming to be a university of
missouri student made a violent threat against howard students . the author said on an online comment board he would kill any , black students on howard's campus thursday, writing, "after all, it's not murder if they're black." in an email to students, howard university president wayne frederick said the university is aware of the threat and that security has been increased around campus. the threats came one day after two white college students were arrested for allegedly posting social media threats against students of color at the university of missouri. the threats included, "i'm going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person i see" and "i'm gonna shoot any black people tomorrow, so be ready," they wrote. in lebanon, the islamic state has claimed responsibility for one of the worst attacks to hit beirut in years. on thursday, at least 43 people were killed and more than 200 wounded in a double suicide attack on a stronghold of the lebanese political movement hezbollah. the bombers struck during rush hour in an apparent bid to maximize the civilian death toll. we'll have more on the beirut
bombings later in the broadcast. the pentagon says it is assessing whether a u.s. airstrike killed mohammed emwazi, a prominent british-kuwaiti member of isil who is often called "jihadi john." an unnamed official told fox news he was "99% sure" the airstrike near raqqa, syria, killed emwazi. a former it student in london, emwazi is believed to have appeared in the videos showing the killing of u.s. journalists james foley and steven sotloff, in burma the pro-democracy party , of nobel peace laureate aung san suu kyi has won 348 seats in parliament, giving her democracy movement a majority and the power to select the country's next president. sunday's national election ousted myanmar's military-backed ruling party, which won a mere 40 seats. when the new parliament meets in january, it will mark the first time since 1962 that the military establishment does not control burma's government.
university of illinois has agreed to an $875,000 financial settlement with professor steven salaita, whose job offer for a tenured position at the campus at urbana-champaign was withdrawn last year after he posted tweets harshly critical of the 2014 israeli assault on gaza. salaita's case caused a firestorm, with thousands of academics signing petitions calling for salaita's reinstatement and the american association of university professors calling the school's actions "inimical to academic freedom and due process." in august, university of illinois at urbana-champaign chancellor phyllis wise resigned after she was implicated in a scandal that involved attempting to hide emails detailing salaita's ouster. in a statement, salaita said -- "this settlement is a vindication for me, but more importantly, it is a victory for academic freedom and the first amendment." amnesty international is calling
for a probe of the killing of a palestinian man by undercover israeli agents during a raid on a hospital in hebron thursday, saying the killing may amount to an extrajudicial execution. the palestinian ministry of health said undercover commandos shot abdullah al-shalaldeh five times after he allegedly attempted to stop them from questioning his cousin, who was receiving treatment after being injured by israeli security forces. philip luther of amnesty international said -- "the fact that abdullah shalaldah was shot in the head and upper body suggests this was an extrajudicial execution, adding to a disturbing pattern of similar recent incidents by israeli forces in the west bank which warrant urgent investigation," he said. in palm beach gardens, florida, a police officer who shot and killed a local musician after his car broke down along interstate 95 has been fired. on october 18, plainclothes officer nouman raja was driving
an unmarked van when he stopped by the car of 31-year-old corey jones, who was waiting for a tow truck at about 3:00 in the morning. his r had brok down. the palm beach gardens police chief says jones confronted officer raja, who was not in uniform. the officer then fired six shots, killing jones. police say jones had a registered gun, which was never fired. city officials say a criminal investigation is ongoing. in news from the campaign trail, republican presidential candidate donald trump has issued a scathing 95-minute critique of his rival ben carson during a speech in iowa. trump seized on passages from carson's autobiography, in which the retired neurosurgeon describes himself as pathological. >> if you are pathological, there is no cure for that, folks. ok? there is no cure for that. one of the shows today, and i don't want to say
what i said, but i will tell you anyway. if you are a child molester, a sick puppy, you are a child molester, there's no cure for that. there's only one cure. we don't want to talk about that cure. that is the ultimate cure. well, there is death and the other thing. molester, are a child there's no cure. they can't stop you. pathological, there's no cure. now, he said was pathological. amy: president obama has criticized republican presidential candidate donald trump's plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, and spoke to george stephanopoulos on abc. >> wants to bring back operation went back from president eisenhower and a deportation force. >> i think the name of the operation tells you something
about the dangers of looking backwards. imagine the images on the screen flashed around the world as we were driving parents away from their children and putting them in detention centers and then systematically sending them out. nobody thinks that that is real estate, but more important, that is not who we are as americans. amy: president obama's criticism of trump comes despite the fact that obama has overseen the deportation of more than 4 million people during his presidency -- more than any other president in u.s. history. democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders has secured the backing of the american postal workers union. it's the second national union to back sanders, after national nurses united also came out in support of sanders. his main rival, former secretary of state hillary clinton, has won endorsements from the major public-sector unions the american federation of teachers, the national education association, and the american federation of state, county and municipal employees.
and those are me 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 cntry and around the world. we begin in lebanon, where the islamic state has claimed responsibility for one of the worst attacks to hit beirut in years. on thursday, at least 43eople were killed d more than 200 wounded in a double suicide attack on a stronghold of the lebanese political movement hezbollah. the bombers struck during rush hour in an apparent bid to maximize the death toll. amy: this marks the second time in two weeks the islamic state has taken credit for targeting its enemies outside syria with deadly attacks on civilians. isil's egypt affiliate says it was behind the downing of a russian passenger plane that killed over 224 people in the sinai last month. both russia and hezbollah back syrian dictator bashar al-assad,
who counts the islamic state among his many foes. for more on the beirut bombings we are joined by rami khouri, founding director and senior policy fellow of the issam fares institute for public policy and international affairs at the american university of beirut. he's also a syndicated columnist at the beirut-based daily star newspaper and a senior fellow at harvard kennedy school's belfer center. welcome back to democracy now! can you talk about what took place yesterday? >> what took place is a continuation of a trend or process that has been going on for some years now, and it has several different concentric circles, the most immediate one is the fighting in syria between the syrian government of us are al-assad and his foes were trying to bring them down, including islamist groups like isis or al-nusra and dozens and dozens of militants, many of whom are islamists and some are nationalists and secular in
syrians. hezbollah has joined the fight and so have the iranians. your singer continuation of battles between hezbollah and lebanon and also hezbollah in syria against some of these islamist groups like isis, al-nusra, and others. and there have been tit-for-tat bombings and killings going on between these two groups for about the last two years, maybe more. the troubling thing is, this is now coming back into the center of beirut. and in the area that is heavily shiite in the southern suburbs of beirut, which is very have been traditionally a red zone come off limits for people to attack hezbollah. but that was shattered about two years ago when several bombings in that area took place, including an attack on the irian embassy. there were tit-for-tat attacks then, people killed the lebanese
former minister, an ally of another group in lebanon. the killing was done in the heart of western beirut. the symbolism two years ago was very clear that no area in lebanon is out of bounds, nobody is safe. then there was an agreement in lebanon which pretty much called things down from the last year and a half. this is a resumption of that process. the immediate issue is hezbollah versus the militant islamist isis and others, but there are other concentric circles, wider syrian conflicts, many different conflicts that converge in syria and the most troubling, the third one, how isis apparently -- targetseting outside of syria and iraq, whether they brought down the russian airplane and sinai is possibly one issue we have to look at now this bombing in lebanon. it is possible that isis is looking to carry out more such
attacks against targets. they threatened to go after russia now and communicate -- and acumen a k a few days ago. rejuvenated al qaeda and isis, the two fastest-growing brand names and islamic -- islamist militancy and terror in the region. allr growing with groups over the place, pledging allegiance to them, granting more territory. isis has established in iraq and syria. you have to look at all of these things together. the russian involvement in syria opens up new dimensions of isi'' retaliation against the russians, against the americans and french and british and others for their attacks against isis, against hezbollah for its attacks against isis. what we're getting is more widespread warfare using terror
tactics, but this is targeted warfare so people are bombing each other -- it is like mafia warfare in chicago years ago when some it would take out somebody in some deals would take them out and revenge. they had not reached the stage debt were there indiscriminately arming hotels and beaches and places all over lebanon, but that is a fear that people have. , what you makeri of the increasing involvement of russia in the region and in these conflicts? what has been the reaction, among the lebanese, but also across the arab world from what you have been able to see? >> lebanon and the entire airborne, they are very pluralistic societies with a wide range of views. there's no single view. people have very ideological views, political views that are linked to their positions within their own country or regionally and globally. so you have some people who are very happy that russia is involved in supporting the al-assad regime in syria, and
other people are much more critical of that. but the fascinating thing is even traditional foes of russia and the soviet union before, like for instance, to saudi arabians are the iranians or the egyptians, are getting closer toputin [captioning made possible by democracy now!] . ist was announced thatutin going to make a visit to iran. the saudi's and egyptians have been meeting regularly with russian officials, high-level foreign ministers and others. the russians clearly are prime to use syria to expand their contacts, their leverage, the relationships all around the middle east in political, military, and nuclear energy terms. and they are using syria because that is the place where they have already a small foothold. they have been allies of the syrians for 30 or 40 years or so. and they want to leverage that.
some people think the russians want to maintain the military ine on the mediterranean syria. i think that is pretty nonsensical, because i don't see there withs fighting anybody. i think what the russians one is to show they are good allies, al-assad stay in power, maintain a foothold in syria from which they can develop greater ties with other people, and basically, possibly have some trade-offs with other issues in the region or international, for instance in the ukraine, and finally, there are trying -- the russians are trying to present themselves as effective leaders in fighting terror, unlike the united states, which has for the global war on terror now for the last and i don't know, 12, 15 years or something. as the global war on terror continues, we have only seen the
expansion and the birth and expansion of isis. there's something wrong with the american-led global war on terror, which is being fought with autocratic arab allies in the russians are trying to present an alternative. not many people take them seriously, but this is an interesting political avenue that the russians are opening in the region. amy: rami khouri camila me ask about the syrian talks that are supposed be taking in vienna this week and. russian documents circulated at the u.n. proposed a constitutional reform process in syria lasting 18 months to be followed by presidential elections. it is unclear what that would mean for al-assad. in your view, does a long-term resolution to the syria conflict involved assad stepping down? >> i would not take russian suggestions of constitutional reform very seriously. they don't have a great track record of constitutionalism that is very respected around the world, unfortunately. have a good track record on
other things, but not constitutionalism. i don't think it is realistic to expect the vienna talks or any political discussions that come out of it to move ahead with an stepping on assad down. it is just impossible for him to do that. i don't think the iranians and russians were strongest allies would except that. i think there has to be some change in the balance of power on the ground with the military forces fighting against assad and the supporting him. he is supported by russia, they been making some gains recently. they just liberated and air base in north of syria, regained territory around aleppo. but isis has also made gains in the north as well. the movement on the ground is moving back-and-forth. different people are gaining ground and losing ground. if there is no change in the balance of power on the military
battleground, i don't see any chance of a real political breakthrough in the negotiations. the external drawable's -- drivers of the war, u.s., iran, saudi arabia primarily, seem more willing to keep pumping money and guns and diplomatic support to their allies and proxies than they are willing to actually force their proxies to come to some kind of agreement. outlook not a very good for the resolution of the syria conflicts in a peaceful manner. and i say conflicts, because there are about eight or 10 different battles going on in syria between local, regional, and international protagonists. juan: what you make of the continued growing influence of isis, especially in view of the fact that you have got these powers that normally would be or our competitors or antagonist of each other -- russia, iran, and the united states -- all attempting to join with other local governments to squash
isis? >> well, this is the critical step that has to be taken to defeat isis, which is collaboration and cooperation on the ground as well as from the air between the many different local forces in the region, whether they are governments like syria, iraq, turkey, iran or nongovernmental forces like the various kurdish -- three or four major kurdish military, the iran supported popular forces in iraq, hezbollah. so most of the fighting going on now is actually between nongovernmental military forces. so when isis and the peshmerga -- well, the peshmerga is kurdish, but the other kurdish forces, the pkk and the wiping g arehy pg and hezbollah fighting, these are nongovernmental groups and their the major protagonists now. i don't see any possibility of
formal public collaboration green iran, russia, the u.s., and others to fight isis, but i think we absolutely will see informal, indirect cooperation. because everybody realizes now, especially with the downing of the plane and sinai and the beirut awnings, this is a serious threat that has to be addressed. it is not an exit sensual -- existential threat. isis is a nuisance more than anything. these guys are pretty much a bunch of amateurs and not very effective political governors, either. they own the government by military force and threatening people and terrorizing them, but they have been able to gain ground mainly because of the weakness of the syrian government, the iraqi government, and the lack of will among all of the other governments in the region to the point where nobody is able to do anything when they started moving north a year and a half ago until the americans came in with their air force.
i think the real story of isis is the incompetence, corruption, mismanagement, and all must universal lack of political legitimacy among most of the political leadership's in the arab countries who are totally unable to do anything unless washington comes in and does it for them. so that is really the long-term issue in the region, which is reform of arab political structures and power systems as well as defeating isis militarily. the military defeat of isis is the easiest thing to do if the local forces on the ground and the foreign air forces work together. we saw it in kobani and we saw sinjar in the north. when they were together, isis pulls back and goes away because these guys are a bunch of amateurs running around in toyota pickup trucks. they just don't have any serious military capability if they are confronted. amy: rami khouri, thank you for
being with us, founding director and senior policy fellow of the issam fares institute for public policy and international affairs at the american university of beirut. also a syndicated columnist at the beirut-based daily star newspaper and a senior fellow at harvard kennedy school's belfer center. when we come back, we speak with nick turse about special operations around the world from syria to africa. his new book, "tomorrow's battlefield." stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. after announcing the deployment of special operation forces to syria earlier this month, president obama denied he had broken his vow not to put u.s. troops on the ground. quit we have run special ops already, and really, this is just an extension of what we are continuing to do. we're not putting u.s. troops on
the front lines fighting firefights with isil. i have been consistent throughout that we are not going to be fighting like we did in iraq with of italians and occupations -- battalions and occupations. that doesn't solve the problem. juan: the white house says a team of special operations forces numbering less than 50 are being sent to kurdish-controlled territory in syria to help fight the islamic state. it's the first sustained u.s. troop presence in syria since president obama launched a bombing campaign against the self-proclaimed islamic state in september 2014. although 50 might seem like a small number, the deployment adds syria to a global global u.s. battlefield that is at a record high. this year, u.s. special operations forces have been deployed to a record 147 countries -- that's 75% of the nations on the planet. it's a 145% increase from the days of george w. bush. and it means that on any given
day, elite u.s. forces are on the ground in 70 to 90 countries. amy: those shocking numbers were revealed last month by our guest, the journalist nick turse. for years, nick has been tracking the quiet expansion of u.s. militarism the website tom dispatch and other outlets. is latest book focuses on one particular american military battlefield that often goes unnoticed -- africa. since 2007, the u.s. has operated africom, the united states africa command. u.s. generals have maintained africom leaves only a "small footprint" on the continent, with just one official base in djibouti. but nick turse says the u.s. military now has operations with more than 90% of africa's 54 nations. the u.s. presence includes "construction, military exercises, advisory assignments, security cooperation, or training missions." according to turse, africom carried out 674 missions across the african continent last year -- an average of nearly two a day, and a 300% jump from previous years.
nick turse's book is called, "tomorrow's battlefield: u.s. proxy wars and secret ops in africa." he joins us right now. welcome back to democracy now! announcemente new of special ops forces on the ground in syria and then we will move on to the rest of the world. >> as we heard from president obama, he sees this as a continuation of u.s. special operations in syria, but i think that is basically spin. he said unequivocally, no boots on the ground. he is right there were some short-term missions, night raids that went on, but i think this is the get departure, talking about -- significant the parter, talking about 50 boots on the ground and special operations diplomacy generally don't end there. americans know about our government's activities in africa might be from the tom hanks movie
"captain phillips" but what about the expansion throughout the region of what is happening there? >> as a reported at tomdispatch, we're talking about exponential increase in u.s. ops on the continent. 674 missions. that was in 2014. these are anything from night raids that have been launched recently in libya and somalia, a drone campaign -- i worked on a series of the intercept called "the drone papers [captioning made possible by democracy now!] there's a shadow war going on in somalia. and we also see it elsewhere. there is been an announcement of a new drone base being set up in cameroon to go after militants from boko haram because that force is also spreading across the continent. and the u.s. has seen this i think as in many ways a growth area for special ops and for u.s. military missions at large. amy: tell us where else these
drone bases are in africa. >> sure. i should say first off that africom claims come as you said, there's only one based on the continent. amy: djibouti. >> yes. they have recently set up a new drone base in djibouti at the airfield. i did a report on that. they are running at least -- takeoffs and landings of say 16 drones per day from djibouti right now, perhaps more. amy: where are they attacking? >> many of these are surveillance drones, but the ones that are armed are generally conducting the war in yemen and somalia. these attacks avenue and flow over time, but that is where the armed attacks are. there are also drone bases that are supposedly set up in somalia now, two of them. niger, and inpia,
the process right now of setting up a new drone base. this expansion is happening all across the country, east and west. juan: i want to turn to africom commander general david rodriguez speaking to gail mccabe of soldiers broadcasting news. when asked about the effects of u.s. training on african militaries, rodriguez says african partners now better serve their governments and their people. >> you can look at all of the effectiveness that has been increased in the african partners so the truth concerning countries, desk country meeting countries, which we support the department of state as they prepared us forces, have had significant success over al-shabaab and they have performed well. >> as i understand it, the idea was to help the african military's established themselves as they could take care of crisis on the african
continent without our help. >> right. it is about being a professional force in a democracy. many of our african partners have increased their abilities as militaries, but also and probably more important, deserve the governments and the people. juan: what about this issue these -- this training is hoping the modernize and professionalize the military force? >> it sounds very good when general rodriguez says it, but unfortunately, she look at the effects on the ground in the continent, it has been rather dismaying. one example is the case of mali. the restaurant officer who overthrew the democratically elected government there just two years ago. mali was supposed to be a bulwark against terrorism, a stable success story. instead you have that occurrence. in last year, a u.s. trained officer overthrew the government
elsewhere. i think it is troubling. you hear the talk about professionalism of the military and they are i rights. in reality what we're seeing on the continent is very different. if you look at the groups we're training on the continent, the militaries we are training, and then you compare them to the state department's own list of militaries that are carrying up human rights abuses, that are acting in undemocratic ways, ecb's are the same forces that u.s. is linked up with, forces that are generally seen as repressive, even by their own government. amy: what is the u.s. interest? >> it is difficult to say for sure. i think the u.s. has viewed africa as a place up week governance. that is prone to terrorism and that there can be
the spread of terror groups on the continent the u.s. doesn't intervene. so there's generally only one tool in the u.s. toolkit, and that is a hammer. unfortunately, everywhere they see nails. amy: what were you must surprised by an "the drone papers" that you got a hold of is what has been described as perhaps a second edward snowden, this project of the intercept at you wrote about particularly when it came to africa? far think it is just how the proliferation of drone bases has spread on the continent. i have been looking at this for years, but "the drone papers" drove home to me how integral drones have become too u.s. way of warfare -- have become to the u.s. way of warfare on the continent. i think this fees into president obama's strategy trying to get away from large footprint
interventions, you know, that we as seen in iraq and afghanistan. he has leaned heavily now on special operations forces and on drones. so i think that is probably the most surprising aspect. juan: in terms of the reports we get here, you basically -- there is either news about boko haram orrell shabbat or the disintegration of libya. to what extent have these special operations focused on these areas and to what extent has there been any success? >> i think libya is a great example of the best intentions gone awry for the u.s.. the u.s. joined a coalition war to oust dictator moammar could opt the. i think it was seen as a great success. mo market off the cell and it seem like u.s. policies have played out as if it was drawn up in washington. instead, we saw libya descended
into chaos and it is been a nightmare for the libyan people ever since. the complete catastrophe. gadaffi, elite troops worked for him. as his regime was falling, his stores were -- weapon stores were rated. they moved in to carve out their own nation. when they did that, the u.s.-backed military and mali that we have been training for years began to disintegrate. that is when the u.s. trained officers decided he could do a better job in overthrew the democratically elected government. but he proved no better at them than the government he overthrew. as a result, islamist rebels pushed out his forces and the torres were making great gains in the country. poised to take it over. the u.s. decided to intervene again. another military intervention,
we backed the french in an african force to go in and stop the islamists. we were able, with these proxies, which is the preferred method of warfare on the african continent, arrest the islamist'' advance, but now mali has fallen into level of insurgency. haveeapons the toureges have spread across the continent. you can find them in the hands -- boko wrong, even as haram, even as far away as sinai in egypt. the u.s. has seen this as a way to stop the spread of militancy, but i think when you look, you see it just as -- amy: last month during the first democratic presidential debate, hillary clinton defended the u.s. military intervention in libya. >> i think president obama made the right decision at the time, and the libyan people had a free election the first time since 1951. you know what?
they voted for moderates. they voted with the hope of democracy because of the arab spring, because of a lot of other things, there was turmoil to be followed. but unless you believe the united states should not send diplomats to any place that is dangerous, which i do not, then when we send them forth, there is always the potential for danger and risk. amy: if you could respond to what hillary clinton said and then talk about how benghazi birth the new normal in africa, the secret african mission in the african mission that is no secret. >> sure. was the best of intentions in libya, but the things just haven't worked out that way. it is been the case again and again on the african continental that u.s. has thought fighting wars on the cheap, you know, would work forces out for them, but again and
again, just hasn't. you talk about the new normal concept. because of the tragedy of benghazi, the loss of life there, the u.s. has used that as , some i say, in excuse to expand around the continent. as a result, there now in -- they are now a weapon of contingency security locations, csl's, basically austere bases that can be ramped up in very -- very quickly. the u.s. maintains rapid response forces in spain and in italy. and these forces are designed to deploy to these 11 csl's across the continent's of the u.s. can respond in the event of another because i does benghazi-type crisis. whenever u.s. boots on the ground, whenever it builds bases, these things have a tendency to more beyond their
original -- what they were originally set up to do. i think in the future, you will probably see them as launching pad for other types of missions. juan: and the situation in the horn of africa, specifically somalia, which for years has source of problems and concerns for the united states? what is going on there? , notst this morning something of reported on just something i've been following on the news, we see kenyan forces that we have been backing have been set up -- set up smuggling, seeming to put down roots themselves in basis. i noticed one is where the u.s. is supposedly flying drones out of and has a special operates in space. that apparently is now a smuggling hub for the kenya military, in lead with our to bob, seem to be working in concert -- -- of bob seemed to be working in concert to smuggle
sugar. this is a force that the u.s. has been backing and the u.s. has funded the canyons so we would not have large numbers of troops on the ground. amy: we have not even gotten to the u.s. chinese competition over control in africa. i would like to ask you to stay after the show and we will do opposed to show after and posted on democracynow.org as you cover a little covered story in this country. nick turse's latest book is called, "tomorrow's battlefield: u.s. proxy wars and secret ops in africa." we will bring you part two at democracynow.org. when we come back, we had upstate new york to ithaca college were thousands of students and faculty and staff have been protesting, calling for the ouster of ithaca college's president. we will find out why. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: "lean on me," by bill withers. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. colleges across the country are seeing a wave of protests. on thursday, students at more than 100 schools coast-to-coast rallied against institutional racism and mounting student debt. witheek began african-american students forcing the ouster of two top officials at the university of missouri over a latch response to racist incident. on thursday, student protesters in california one another victory when dean mary spellman resigned amidst similar protest. two claremont students had declared hunger strikes just as student jonathan butler had at the university of missouri. amy: not ithaca college has
joined the list of campuses in revolt. on wednesday, up to faculty, 2000 students, and staff staged a walkout to call for the resignation of president tom rochon. the protesters, led by students of color, lay down on the rainy walkways in a mass die-in. they expressed solidarity with students on other campuses across the country. >> all over the nation, both on and off college campuses, we have seen young and old fighting against injustice. we stand here in solidarity. our hearts are heavy with the pain of missou and yell and every person of color on a college campus of the because of the color of their skin, the texture of their here or their ancestry. this is a problem of the nation. however, how can a canvas dedicated to preparing us for the real world not actively foster growth through consciousness of oppression. amy: the ithaca college protesters accuse president tom rochon of responding inadequately to racist incidents, including one where an african-american graduate was repeatedly called a savage by two white male fellow alumni.
on the ithaca college faculty thursday, council announced it will hold a no-confidence on rochon later this month. rochon has rejected the protesters' demands, saying he will not step down. for more we are joined from ithaca by two guests. peyi soyinka-airewele, is professor of international and african politics at ithaca college. and dominick recckio is the ithaca college student body president. welcome both of you to democracy now! dominick, what are your demands? >> i think our demands are certainly that the students vote no-confidence and president tom rochon and the students express what we think we was really like tom rochon to resign, but i think going through a democratic process of no-confidence is our goal right now. juan: and your decision to link those demands also with the issue of the pay of college workers as well? >> yeah, i think that everyone deserves higher pay, a living wage and that is very important.
amy: what sparked this is specifically this week, dominick recckio? was it university of missouri, feeling their power? >> yet, the university of missouri students certainly empowered and inspired the at ithaca college. it shows this is an issue where we have students all across the nation that stand by us. juan: professor peyi soyinka-airewele, can i also ask you about the historical situation at the college or what has been the attitude of administrators historically to racial issues there? >> thank you, juan. i think the crisis we have at ithaca college is definitely long-standing historical struggle with presidential does president rochon whose faculty, student, and staff have found to be unaccountable, unresponsive and alienated leadership and so this has been a long-standing
struggle with the administration to create a community that is inclusive, not only of race, but of students voices, faculty input, and staff input. and so we have had many incidents over the past two years since rochon has been in office, that describe and show eloquently that he has absolutely no regard the contributions of members of the community. but it is simply not about racism. what we're seeing here is the crisis of lack of governance, lack of leadership, and lack of vision. president rochon was the first president inic's history to convey -- to create a ban on media freedom. he listed about 84 administrators in 2012. students would have no access to dean's and administrators without permission from an
office that he set up. this has been a long, drawnout struggle. to re-create the kind of leadership that we need at ithaca college. amy: i want to turn to a clip from a panel discussion in october, one of a few incidents that have come under scrutiny. ithaca college alumna tatiana sy said she had a savage hunger to succeed. j. christopher burch, chief executive of the investment firm burch creative capital, then repeatedly called her a savage, saying, "i love what the savage here said." in this clip, you also hear the panel moderator, former nbc news correspondent bob kur, pointing to burch and saying, "you are driven," then telling sy, "you're the savage." the clip starts with tatiana sy. had thisecause i savage hunger to make it happen, but it wasn't without learning the risky lesson of balance. >> look, we have a girl here used the word savage hunger.
so we are not -- we have to understand actually that two people sitting here, we are driven, internally driven by a message which says, don't stop, one we have to continue at the university or an organization to bring in kids with savage hunger. i love what the savage here said. >> you are driven and having driven since college. you're the savage, and you are driven. >> what empathy means is actually caring deeply for other people's personal pain. as the savage center -- >> all right. >> it is a compliment. i am consummating you. i think she is an amazing young woman. amy: there you have this clip, discussing the blue sky come the future of ithaca college, quite amazing. professor peyi soyinka-airewele, can you respond? >> i look at that program, and like many other faculty and
students there, we were distressed not only by the way in which miss sy was treated, both during the program and afterwards. the administration refused to speak to her, to apologize. it was quite clear to the faculty and to the entire community that this was another civilization of president rochon 's disregard for minority members of the community. it was as a result of protest and repeated agitation that he finally begrudgingly would call ms. sy days after the incident, days after faculty had written a letter of protest. many of us spoke to him privately. method of was -- imagining diversity as a way of pandering, the sense of institution where minority members are brought in as a way of enhancing the competitiveness
and the need for big donors and students who are the majority population. in some ways i think this incident and the reaction of the administration really represented what we have been living with for many years at ithaca college. you talkfessor, could about the coming together of the various student groups, the new people of color coalition that developed and then the faculty aligned with them, the process that has occurred over the last several weeks? >> i am intensely proud of our students at ithaca college and also students of leadership. these different groups involved in the groups like the african association, the latino and latina association, csa, they had fought over the past few years to get the a administration to respond to their needs. they began to form a more united voice.
i think what you're seeing is very representative body. the students are trying to create for us a model of what is representative of what students would look like. what they have done is that only to come together as students of color, but they have hundreds of students who have joined them as white allies. are embraced and welcomed in this body that is talking about shared governance, talking about social justice, talking about a society that could well represent the beloved community of which martin luther king jr. spoke. i feel they have created for us kind of access, pushed faculty to look back at the grievances they have had over time, and to begin to create a new network. speakthink it could well to the future of ithaca college
camino, as one of a new model for an invigorated society. that is what we're really excited about with the students are doing at the moment. amy: professor, you mentioned the people of color at ithaca college. i want to turn to a clip from the interview that ithaca college president tom rochon had on thursday with staff from the student-run newspaper, the ithacan. he was asked why his removal as president is being suggested as a significant step to addressing issues on campus. >> i don't know the answer to that question, and wish i understood it better. i do want to say, i just couldn't disagree more with that part of the analysis. our culture is composed of every interaction among students and faculty -- millions of interactions that happen every single day. the assumption and the biases that underlie those interactions. one person does not change that. leadership has responsibilities, and leadership has ultimate accountability, but it would
change so little, in my view, to change to the president is without changing anything else. far more powerful to change a lot of other things, which is why my sole focus right now is, what can we do to take advantage of this moment and make a real difference? amy: that is ithaca college president tom rochon. dominick recckio, you're the president of the student body. as one president to another, what would you say to the president right now? how do you respond? and is your movement around racial insensitivity merging with his other mass protests across the country that we reported on in headlines around student debt and other financial issues? part, ourthe most movement has stayed out of student debt. specifically to that. what i was a to the president, he is showing myself another student government leaders, other student and faculty
members, a complete disregard and a complete misunderstanding understanding of what happens each and everyday on campus. he cites those every directions starting to build our culture. most of the culture has been created of fear and a college of fear because of what he has done. it is a culture of fear because he is corporatized our board of trustees. it is because he has not listened to student voices, because he allows events like the blue sky initiative to happen with no input. juan: dominick recckio, were you surprised by the faculty support that you have gotten? >> i am. at first i was very invigorated by the faculty support i have gotten. it is been pretty spectacular so far. and the student government build a call for no-confidence, i asked the faculty to do the same and they have and i'm really proud of that. amy: and across racial organizing that is going on at ithaca college, dominic? organizing is amazing. i'm single a lot of allies stand
up and i'm single a lot of people become allies and become truly educated in the classroom and outside of the classroom because of it. movement has taken over the complete educational landscape of the entire institution. at ithacaed everyone college educational expense and will continue to do so. amy: we will continue to take doesn't follow what takes place. we want to thank you both for being with us, professor peyi soyinka-airewele, professor of international and african politics at ithaca college. and i have ad, the daughter of the great nobel literature laureate, the first african to win the nobel prize for literature. and thank you so much to dominick recckio ithaca college , student body president senior , majoring in communication management and design. that does it for our broadcast. democracy now! is hiring a development director to lead our fundraising efforts and an on-air graphics operator. we're also accepting applications for our internship program. find out more at democracynow.org.
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