tv Democracy Now PBS September 26, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
09/26/16 09/26/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> don't you do it. don't you do it. [cleep] did you shoot him? did you shoot him? debt.ter not be [bleep] i know that much. amy: after the release of the gutwrenching cell phone video of the wife of keith lamont scott witnessing her husband shot and killed by charlotte mecklenburg police, the charlotte police thef has vowed to demand
days of protests and release to police videos, dashcam and body cam footage, of scott's killing. we will get response from journalists marc lamont hill co-author of, -- author of, "nobody: casualties of america's war on the vulnerable, from ferguson to flint and beyond." then tonight, 100 million people are expected to watch the first presidential debate. among the topics, foreign policy and terrorism. today in a democracy now! exclusive, we speak with the former guantanamo prisoner who was cleared to leave under president bush and obama, but remained at guantanamo for over 12 years. his name is jihad abu wa'el dhiab. states saysunited in the media, human rights, human rights, human rights. i never had human rights. never, never, never. amy: released to uruguay, he is currently on a hunger strike to
push for his demand to be allowed to leave uruguay in order to reunite with his family. we will also speak with his lawyer, with a lawyer, ramzi kassem, who helped negotiate the deal to get dhiab and others released to uruguay. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in north carolina, charlotte-mecklenburg police have released two videos of tuesday's police shooting of 43-year-old african-american keith lamont scott. one of the videos is from a police dashboard camera and the other from an officer's body camera. the dashboard camera video shows scott exiting his vehicle and taking steps backwards with his arms at his sides. police fire four shots at scott and he falls to the ground. the body camera video shows scott on the ground after being shot.
the charlotte police have also released pictures of a handgun , marijuana cigarette, and an ankle holster they say was in scott's possession. it does the police say not show he is clearly holding a gun. north carolina is an open -carry state. scott's family responded to the footage sunday. >> what we see will we look at the video, mr. scott steps out of the vehicle. he doesn't appear to be acting aggressive towards any of the law enforcement officers on the scene. he doesn't appear to be making gestures or motions as though he is arguing with anybody. he doesn't want at the officers -- lunge at the officers. it appears he has his hands by his side. amy: on friday, nbc news obtained cell phone video capturing the shooting, filmed
and narrated by scott's wife rakeyia scott. in the video, she tells officers that her husband is unarmed and suffers from a traumatic brain injury, or tbi. >> he doesn't have a gun. he has a tbi. he is not going to do anything. he just took his medicine. quite drop the gun! >> keith, get out of the car. don't you do it. don't you do it. keep. don't you do it. did you shoot him? did you shoot him? amy: that was cell phone video filmed and narrated by scott's wife rakeyia scott. meanwhile, charlotte police have arrested a man they accused of shooting and killing a protester during demonstrations over keith lamont scott step. 26 are all justin carr was apparently shot in the head near a line of riot police during
protests wednesday in uptown charlotte. he died in the hospital on thursday. on friday, officers arrested rayquan borum and charged him with carr's murder. charlotte police chief kerr putney said extensive video evidence was used to identify borum, though the department has not made those videos public. several eyewitnesses dispute the police's explanation. charlotte public defender eddie thomas told the guardian he believes the protester was shot by a tear gas canister, pepper ball or other police projectile , that caused him to stumble back and hit his head on the brick sidewalk. but daily beast reporter ryan james says he witnessed a civilian firing a pistol into a crowd leaving carr laying on the , ground in a pool of blood. meanwhile, hundreds continued to protest for a sixth straight day in charlotte. uniformed national guard soldiers carrying rifles were deployed outside a carolina panthers football game, while police in riot gear surrounded about 100 demonstrators who were chanting "black lives matter." on sunday evening, charlotte
mayor jennifer roberts lifted the curfew that had been in place since thursday. in tulsa, oklahoma, hundreds packed the antioch baptist church saturday for the funeral of terence crutcher, a 40-year-old african american man shot dead by police on september 16. crutcher was remembered by his cousin, shea seals. >>'s death is being mourned by an entire city. he was that special. that terencee is loved everyone. he had the incredible gift of putting others before himself. amy: police video showed crutcher and shot dead while his hands were in the air. his family says his suv stalled as he was driving home from a music appreciation class. the killing sparked protests across the country. officer betty shelby was booked and released last week on felony manslaughter charges for crutcher's death. if convicted, shelby faces beeen four years and life in
prison. we will have a discussion on the videos of keith lamont plus killing after headlines. in washington, d.c., thousands gathered on the national mall saturday as the country's first black president helped dedicate the national museum of african american history and culture. president barack obama and first lady michelle obama joined the daughter of a slave, 99-year-old ruth bonner, ringing a bell to signal the opening of the museum. [bell tolls] the 400,000 square-foot museum will house some 37,000 artifacts, including relics from a slave ship, a shawl owned by harriet tubman, emmett till's casket, shards of glass from the 1963 birmingham church bombing, a dress owned by rosa parks, louis armstrong's trumpet, and
muhammad ali's boxing gloves. president obama said the museum helps to teach a richer and fuller story of who americans are. pres. obama: by knowing this bettertory, we understand ourselves and each other. it binds us together. it reaffirms that all of us are americans, that african-american history is not somehow separate from our larger american story -- it is not the underside of the american story. it is central to the american story. amy: in news from the campaign trail, donald trump and hillary clinton are set to face off tonight in what's expected to be the most-watched presidential debate in u.s. history. some tv network executives predict as many as 100 million people will tune in.
third party candidates, including libertarian gary johnson and the green party's dr. jill stein, will be excluded under stringent rules set by the commission on presidential debates, which is controlled by the democratic and republican parties. tonight's 90-minute debate will be held at hofstra university on long island. nbc nightly news anchor lester holt will serve as moderator. ahead of the debate, hillary clinton's campaign said holt should act as a fact-checker and call out trump's lies and false statements. this is clinton campaign manager, robby mook, speaking sunday on abc's "the week." ifall that we are asking is donald trump lies, that it is pointed out. it is unfair to ask for hillary both to play traffic cop with trump, make sure his lies are corrected, and for her also to present her vision. amy: trump campaign manager kellyanne conway fired back, telling abc -- "i really don't appreciate campaigns thinking it is the job of the media to go and be these
virtual fact-checkers and that these debate moderators should somehow do their bidding." the head of the commission on presidential debates later agreed that moderators should not fact-check during debates. this is the commission's executive director, janet brown, speaking on cnn. >> if you start getting into fat checking, i'm not sure -- what is a big fact? what is a little fact? if you and i have different sources of information, does your source about the unemployed it rate agree with my source? i don't think it is a great idea to get the moderator into essentially serving as the encyclopaedia britannica. saiddonald trump had lester holt is a democrat and in fact he is a registered republican. meanwhile, donald trump said on saturday he might bring gennifer flowers to sit in the front row of tonight's debate. flowers had an affair with bill clinton in the 1970's.
the trump campaign later said it had not extended an invitation to flowers and that she would not attend. democracy now! will have -- be broadcasting the debate with, to her afterwards. you can tune in tonight from 8:30 to 11:30 eastern standard time. texas senator ted cruz has endorsed donald trump for president. friday's endorsement came despite a bitter primary season that saw the pair hurl invective at one another. during the campaign, trump suggested cruz's wife was not as attractive as his own, and linked ted cruz's father to the plot to assassinate president john f. kennedy. cruz previously called trump a " pathological liar, a narcissist, a bully, utterly amoral, and someone who lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth care go in july, cruz was booed off the stage after telling delegates to the republican national convention to vote your conscience rather than voice support for trump.
but on friday, senator cruz said prayer and careful consideration led him to an endorsement, citing trump's likely supreme court nominees. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu met with hillary clinton and donald trump on sunday in closed-door meetings. trump hosted netanyahu at his new york penthouse, where his campaign said trump compared israel's separation wall favorably with his proposed wall along the mexican border. netanyahu met with the clinton who said -- whose campaign said she expressed support for a new u.s. military aid package to israel of $38 billion over 10 years. new york governor andrew cuomo seeking to distance himself from a corruption scandal backs all two of his closest eight indicted last week on federal corruption charges. prosecutors say they took bribes using the positions to help companies received hundreds of millions of dollars in new york state contracts and other official state benefits. both are claiming their innocent not in cuomo said he was
charge of the contracts involved and that he at no idea about the alleged bribery and contract reading laid out by prosecutors. brazil's supreme court has opened a corruption investigation into newly installed president michel temer. the inquiry stems from allegations that temer solicited bribes in return for contracts with the brazilian oil company petrobras. temer was sworn in just three weeks ago after lawmakers voted to impeach his predecessor, president dilma rousseff. on thursday, temer told business and foreign policy leaders in new york that he worked to impeach rousseff after she refused to implement his party's economic plan, which included cuts to health, education and welfare spending. that contradicts the official reason for her impeachment -- accusations she tampered with government accounts to hide a budget deficit. in britain, jeremy corbyn will remain head of the labour party after winning 62% of the vote in a leadership contest. the win strengthens corbyn's position as head of labour, which has grown dramatically under his leadership to more than 500,000 members.
in washington state, 20-year-old arkan cetin will be arraigned on murder charges today after a shooting spree in a burlington shopping mall friday left five people dead. cetin used a rifle to fatally shoot four women and a man at a macy's department store, leaving the weapon at the crime scene. he was arrested on saturday after police identified him from surveillance video. there's no known motive for the killings. in southeastern iowa, twelve activists were arrested saturday as they disrupted efforts by the dakota access pipeline company to drill under the mississippi river, fearing a possible oil spill could contaminate the water. three of the protesters chained themselves to a backhoe just before the start of the work day, delaying construction at the site for several hours. they were charged with criminal trespass and interference with official acts. and in news from the berks family detention center in pennsylvania, a woman from el salvador who has been detained for over 400 days reportedly
fainted last week after she suffered headaches, dizziness, and vomiting. she was taken to a hospital thursday to undergo gall bladder surgery, only to be returned to detention on friday. her fellow berks detainees issued a statement saturday that the woman had no nurse to tend to her in her room, and was relying on her two teenage daughters who are detained with her. they say the woman's prescribed medical diet has yet to be approved and that she wasn't allowed a visit with her sister because she was in too much pain to walk down stairs to the visiting room. women at the berks jail have called for the mother to be "immediately let go so that she can be taken care of by actual trained and professional staff." officials have so far refused to release the mother and the two girls while their asylum claim is being appealed in federal court. to see all of our coverage of the berks jail, go to democracynow.org. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report.
i'm amy goodman. we begin today's show in north carolina, where charlotte-mecklenburg police have yielded to pressure and released two videos of last tuesday's fatal police shooting of 43-year-old african-american, keith lamont scott. one video is from a police dashboard camera and the other from an officer's body camera. police say they also have more video that they have not released. the scott family is asking the police to release all of the videos. the dashboard camera video shows scott exiting his vehicle and taking steps backwards with his arms at his sides. police fire four shots at scott and he falls to the ground. the body camera video shows scott on the ground after being shot. scott family attorney justin bamberg responded to the footage on sunday. >> what we see will we look at
this dashcam video is mr. scott steps out of the vehicle, he doesn't appear to be acting aggressive towards any of the law enforcement officers on the scene. he doesn't appear to be making gestures emotions as though he is arguing with anybody. he doesn't lunch at the officers . it appears he has his hands by his side. again, there is no definitive evidence in this video as to whether or not there is an object in his hand. and if there is, what that object is. that question still remains. but what we do know is the moment mr. scott is shot, it appears as though he is not aggressively moving toward law enforcement. he is actually doing the opposite. he is passably stepping back. amy: the charlotte police have also released pictures of a
handgun as well as an ankle holster and a marijuana joint they say was in scott's possession. they did not say where they found the gun. north carolina is an open carry state. this came after nbc news obtained gutwrenching cell phone video capturing the shooting, filmed and narrated by scott's wife rakeyia scott. nbc released the video on friday. in it, scott tells officers her husband is unarmed and suffers from a somatic brain injury, or. >> don't shoot him. he has no weapon. yes no weapon. don't shoot him. don't shoot him. don't shoot him. he did not do anything. >> drop the gun. >> he doesn't have a gun. he has a tbi. he just took his medicine. >> drop the gun.
keith,, on out the car. >> drop the gun. >> keith, don't do it. keith, get out of the car. keep, don't you do it. don't you do it. keith. keith. don't you do it. [gun shots] did you shoot him? did you shoot him? he better not be [bleep] dead. he better not be [bleep] dead. i know that [bleep] much. i'm going to record you. i'm not coming near you. he better be alive. he better be alive. and 9450 three lexington court. these are the police officers that shot my husband. he better live. he didn't do nothing to them. make nobody touched anybody, so
they all good. i know he better live. i know he better live. how about that? i'm not coming to you guys. but he better live. he better live. y'all hear this? you see this, right? he better live. he better live. i swear he better live. yeo. he better live. he better [bleep] live. he better -- where is -- he better [bleep] live. i eat going nowhere. i am in the same damn spot. did you call the police? i mean, did you call the ambulance? amy: that was cell phone video filmed and narrated by keith wife. plus police claim they tased and then shot scott because he was armed, but scott's family says he was not armed -- except with a book
in hand. they say scott, the father of seven children, had been sitting in his car, waiting to pick up his son after school. meanwhile, on sunday, hundreds continued to protest for a sixth straight day in charlotte. uniformed national guard soldiers carrying rifles deployed outside a carolina panthers football game, while police in riot gear surrounded about 100 demonstrators chanting, "black lives matter." inside, carolina panthers quarterback cam newton signaled his support during his pre-game workout by wearing a t-shirt with a martin luther king, quote "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." also on sunday, charlotte mayor jennifer roberts lifted the curfew that had been in place since thursday. well, for more, we are joined by marc lamont hill, journalist and distinguished professor of african american studies at morehouse college. his book has just been published titled, "nobody: casualties of america's war on the vulnerable, from ferguson to flint and beyond."
welcome back to democracy now! a lot has happened since our show on friday. these three videotapes released. the shocking, horrifying video of a wife watching as her husband is shot by police. respond to that. quite it is heart-wrenching. we saw the same thing with philando castile a few months ago where a wife has to watch state violence take place in real time against their spouse. she was trying to explain to the police that he had traumatic brain injury. she was saying he did not have a weapon. she was trying to do what police somehow could not do, de-escalate the situation, offer information that would get them to back off. was trying time, she to encourage her husband as they were he was supposed to be in the car so he would not be -- it was remarkable clear headedness
by his wife. police and the be completely unresponsive to her instruction, to her insight. amy: they would not even let her near him as he lay dying and they are handcuffing him. >> that was the other part. we watched this over and over again. throughout history, black women in history watching her spouses killed at the state and then been thoroughly disrespected even in real time. she could not talk to him. they're more worried about telling her to stay away. the same thing happen with full end of castile. itt kind of attitude makes difficult to believe the police were invested in de-escalation at any point that day. amy: unlike in tulsa where they released, to say the least, actually damming footage, damning to the tulsa police, of the police shooting, here in charlotte, it took days of protests and then finally, it seemed that the release of definitelytt's video
force the hand of the police chief and releasing, i don't know why they have released all because you assume they're going to release the videotape that vindicates them the most, but they released to videotapes. one a body cam and one dashcam. >> the lesson is, organizing works. too often people say, why are they out there? if there weren't a spectacle, if there weren't dramatic protests, we won't see the video come out. the state was committed to not releasing the video. they said it obstructs and undermines the process of justice. that is unimaginable to me how that could be possible. that was their argument. they also said once you see this tape -- i spoke to police officers in the police department. they said, when you see this tape, you will completely understand the protesters were
wrong and we were completely in the right. to your point, amy, if they had anything exculpatory, they would have offered it. they would have offered the most positive representations of themselves on tape. at best, they could offer a tape that was widely inconclusive. thisis an just an issue particular case. the state legislature is putting for legislation to stop these tapes from being released. they have no commitment to doing this. amy: i heard on the networks repeatedly wrong last week saying a law is right now in place that prevents the police chief from releasing the video. in fact, it is going into effect -- it was signed into law by the governor on october 1. it is not in place right now. what they could release this video right now. the fact they have one in the future suggest they have no intention of releasing such a video but they do not leave that is the right thing to do. amy: it is frightening this law that is going into effect
because the point of the body cam and the dashcam that the police departments have gotten millions of dollars to equip themselves with is to make them more publicly accountable. but now if that information is kept by the police, it only empowers the police further. they are the only ones that will have this information. >> that is exactly right. again, that law would presume police always act in the public interest, that there's a level and lack ofncy corruption. we see repeatedly that is not the case. often times when you follow report against bullies, whether there is a citizen complaint review board or go through a normal internal affairs process, the police take your report and look at it and then right there report in response to what you wrote. if the video comes in and they're able to re-watched the video, they can construct a narrative to respond to what they saw as opposed to what happened. amy: and the fact that along
with the video cam and body cam tape, they released these three pictures. thata gun that they say scott had in his possession -- they're not saying how and it is an open carry state. the other an ankle holster. could it have been an ankle holster? and the other is a marijuana blunt. i mean, showing the marijuana cigarette seems to show howdespo implicate them in any way they could. what does that have to do with anything? >> did is a bizarre thing. they're trying to shape public opinion. there is the idea there's a thatnal class out there deserves to be imprisonment deserves to be on the other end of state violence. if we can show this is a guy with a criminal record who is smoking weed in a car that he
must've done something wrong. the idea he was in his car rolling a blunt and still somehow holding a weapon is somewhat implausible to me anyway. amy: let's talk about the statement the police put out saying they had come to execute an arrest warrant, not for him, but for someone else. here is this man in his car privately and they say they see him rolling a marijuana cigarette and they see that he has a gun. so they leave this aim, decide not to execute the arrest warrant at that moment was that they dress themselves up -- i don't know if it is putting on the bullet-proof vest -- >> in identifying best. amy: so now they must be talking to a supervisor, not doing what we plan to do, we're going to do this other thing, not clear what was wrong, even if he had a gun. they come back and then they go after mr. scott. you have, interestingly, though the dashcam and the body cam
tape does not show the moment he , his you do here rakeyia wife, so that means they can hear her because it is on their bodies. you hear her shouting not to shoot her husband. >> of course an officer with that, just because she tells us not to shoot, we cannot shoot if there is a threat. but when you look at the video, it is hard to root -- to imagine there is a legal threat. it opening the door with his right hand, and he is right-handed. he is backing away and there's so indication he is making an aggressive move. we watched white citizens with guns be subdued and arrested without any gunfire, yet somehow a black person with or without a gun always seems to end up -- amy: you have the charlotte protester who said, you have a man who set off a bomb in new york who you call a terrorist.
he then is caught by police in new jersey and he shoots two of them. and even him they do not kill. they bring in for questioning. and she says, we're not worth even asking a question of? >> this is where we have to get into a deeper level of analysis. a simple response from some people is, these cops did not put on their vest this morning, get dressed and say we're going to go execute some guy. i agree. that is that the issue. the issue is, there's something about black audience, particularly in public phase, that make them viewed as more violence, that make them more prone to violence, a heightened threat than other people. the police officer intuitively thinks this person needs a greater level of aggressiveness. even as you said in an open carry state, they see a guy with the gun -- they did not see a guy with a gun, they saw black person with a gun. with a holster,
you have it legally, simply caring of. maybe this is a citizen that has a gun. they say, this must be a criminal. that have a presumption goes to a psychological level of racism. it may not be at the level of intent, we're going to go arrest or suit of black guy, but it is a level of racism that says would we see this person, we presume their violent and criminal and we cannot see any other way out of this than lethal force. the dangerous thing is, they will then go into courtroom at some point and a jury of cures will invoke a reasonable man's dan or even a statute now, reasonable officer statute -- standard and say, what would i do under the same circumstance? because so many of us have a kind of narrative of your black bodies and our psyche, we will say, you know what gecko i would have done the same thing. not because it is ethical or moral or because it is the only way out, but we have codified in a rational and unacceptable fear of black bodies. that is what is so terrifying.
that is why they keep eating off. amy: i want to bring in what republican presidential candidate donald trump responded to a question about violence in the black community during a townhall meeting in a black church in cleveland hosted by fox news. >> i want to know what would you do to help stop that violence, black on black crime? and trump: i would do stop frisk. i think you have to. we did it in new york. it worked incredibly well. you have to be proactive. amy: there you have donald trump's response. before we wrap up tonight, 100 million people are expected to watch the first presidential debate. can you talk about, first his response and what you want to hear him and hillary have to say on these issues? >> i think donald trump has made his position clear. at the convention in july and also last week, he repeatedly
has said more police officers were, stop and frisk works. broken windows policing works. that is his approach. -- i'mhillary clinton hoping hillary clinton can say, look, this is not true. stop and frisk did not work unless your goal is to stop like people from smoking weed. most people who stopped were black. most did not have drones or go -- guns or joints. we just keep adding more people to find nothing. still managed to have crime reductions. a messy mixture of things from the rise of const that in new expandedh is a more investe -- all of these things,
environment of factors, there are a range of things that cause crime to go down, not stop and frisk and not broken windows policing. i think donald trump's narrative is wrong and his approach is wrong. we cannot arrest our way out of the problem of state violence. amy: north carolina's an open carry state. who does it apply to? >> not to the vulnerable, black people, latinos. maybe on paper. wereon as black people freed, there's been an attempt to disarm them. as soon as black people were freed from the sort of legal restrictions and places like illinois and in the south as well, there are then attempts to say, hey, we need to keep a grip on these people in terms of gun access. we have always try to disarm black people. as a practical matter going through the world, because black people are read as criminal, the assumption is if a black person as a gun, they probably don't have a legal weapon. they are a felon. they are about to demand a
crime. people will say, this guy did lose his right to access a weapon because in 2005 yet a felony conviction. that is true. however, the police did not know that. they had no idea who this man was. they assumed who and what he was because that plays into the mix with alton sterling, philando castile. after the fact they say, this person had a permit, this person was a criminal. and the moment, police do nothing except this was a man in his own car mining his own business, not bothering anyone -- armed, that we know for sure, with some weed. weed forg i know about my empirical investigation and from reading about it is weed doesn't charge people up and make them want to go shoe police. if anything, it makes them want to ease some nachos. we have to have a different tactical approach. if this guys really sitting in a car with a gun, why do want to bash the window in? the same thing with tamir rise in cleveland.
if the kid is allegedly holding a gun, why do you jump out and start shooting within seconds? and they thought it was 20, even though he was 12. there is this narrative that the police did all they could to protect themselves but tactically, it doesn't make sense. recently, doesn't make sense. yet we keep believing it because it is black bodies. we have to have a different approach. amy: marc lamont hill, thank you for being with us journalist and , distinguished professor of african american studies at morehouse college. this book "nobody: casualties of , america's war on the vulnerable, from ferguson to flint and beyond." when we come back, a democracy now! exclusive. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
among the topics, foreign-policy and terrorism. was not expected to still be an issue with these debates, but eight years after president obama vowed to close the prison during his first term in office, a remains open. meanwhile, republican presidential candidate donald trump has called for expansion of guantanamo. today was big with a former guantanamo prisoner who was cleared under president bush and obama but remained at guantanamo for over 12 years. his name is jihad abu wa'el dhiab. he has never been charged with a crime. at guantanamo, he launched a series of hunger strikes to demand his freedom. he was among a group of prisoners subjected to force-feeding. the obama administration is refusing to release video of the force-feeding to the public. but after a judge ordered it, the obama administration did give the redacted videotape to the court, which reportedly shows graphic images of guards restraining dhiab and feeding him against his will. the case is currently on appeal. human rights groups have long said the force-feeding of guantanamo prisoners amounts to torture.
dhiab is currently on a hunger strike to push for his demand to be allowed to leave uruguay in order to reunite with his family in turkey or in an arabic-speaking country. dhiab's supporters say he has temporarily resumed drinking liquids and is gaining strength, but he plans to return to a thirst and hunger strike as soon as tsday if there is no solution to his longstanding request to rejoin he family. earlier this month, dhiab slipped into a coma for nine hours while he was on a hunger and thirst fast, revived only by a hydrating iv while he was in that coma. a few hours after he came out of the coma, i was able to speak to him in an exclusive democracy now! interview. he was exhausted. he was lying on his bed in montevideo, uruguay. i asked him to begin by talking about how he felt. really worse.ly, all of my body hurts me.
my kidney, my headache, my stomach, my right side really bad. many things. but i feel all my body hurt me. amy: there's a battle in court in the united states to release the videotape of your force-feeding in guantanamo. can you describe what that force-feeding was like for you? >> like the united states always say in the media, "human rights, human rights, human rights." there's never in guantanamo, don't have any human rights. never, never, never. he took the video from first time go to me in my cell to move me to chair and give me the tube for give me forced feeding. but if you see this video and see the guard, how treatment with me, how beat me, how make with me, that's not human.
amy: dhiab, in guantanamo, one nurse refused to force-feed the prisoners. can you talk about that nurse? >> this nurse, from first time come into guantanamo, me and my brother spoke with him many time. "why you come in here? this your job, this human right job, a good job. why come in here for torture the person, the detainee?" he think, think, think too much. after that, he said, "give me couple days. i take decision for that." he, after two days or three days, come and tell me, "jihad, there i don't leave anyone tell me my number, because i am not number, i have name." he tell me, "jihad, i take decision." i tell him, "what?" he said, "now i stop give any force-feed for anyone. i refuse to give any.
and i spoke with the government in the guantanamo about this." i tell him, "me and all my brothers said for you, thank you very much for that," because i respect this person very -- he helped me, and he a gentle man. he treatment with us there -- only him, treatment with us from first day coming there. i see him always, he not all right. and he treatment with us very, very well. and after that, i tell him, "thank you very much about this." he said, "what's happened after that, i don't care, but i don't -- i refuse give any force-feeding." and after that, he move from there. and i hear after that in the news they want to take him to court about he refused -- because he refused the army order. but i respect this person.
i need all the person make like him and treatment like him, because this all right idea. amy: president obama says he wants to close guantanamo. do you believe that will happen? >> if he wants to close guantanamo, he can. he can now. now. he can give order, close guantanamo. he can close guantanamo. but he coward. he can't take this decision, because he scared. but guantanamo supposed to close, should be closed, guantanamo, because guantanamo, that's not good for the united states. never. amy: that's jihad abu wa'el dhiab syrian prisoner at guantanamo for more than 12 years. he was released to uruguay speaking to us in english from .is bed, on a hunger strike
at the time of our interview, he just come out of a nine-hour coma after refusing water as well. throughout our interview, which we did just after he revived, he was very tired and weak. he would sometimes switch to arabic from the english, the language of course he felt were comfortable in. this is dhiab speaking about why the u.s. wouldn't want to release the video of his force-feeding at guantanamo and more. courts the u.s. does not want the world to see the truth about what happens in guantanamo. they want to keep the black box closed and to show instead that the black box is full. but it is indeed actually empty and a lie. they can't let the world see the video and know the truth, because the truth will contradict the reasons the u.s. is holding the prisoners. for example, i have papers showing to be innocent since 2006, since the time of george bush, yet they kept me in guantanamo.
and again, i had papers proving my innocence in 2009 with obama now president, but they still kept me in guantanamo. i ended up staying until december 2014. and even the media started to report on me, saying that i was a victim and that i was an innocent man that didn't do anything wrong. in guantanamo, they said i will not get out until i admit a crime. this is the fact of america. you have to admit to any crime. why? i said i will not admit to anything. i didn't do anything. that is number one. but they will not say up front to their people, "we caught innocent people who didn't commit any crime." they had to create anything. they must force us to admit anything. they offered multiple choices for us to admit something. is that justice? the issue is, the united states knows it's wrong and implicated in guantanamo, but the u.s. does not want to apologize and go back and stop this injustice and solve this problem. with this, i want to send a message to the american people
about the american government's policy, with muslims and non-muslims, because their policies with muslims will bring a lot of problems. america is who creates enemies for themselves. america is who creates terrorism and hostility toward themselves. amy: dhiab, are you willing to die on this hunger strike? >> i can only see two solutions: either i am reunited with my family or i will have to pay with my life. i want to reach my family, that i have not seen for 15 years. i didn't see any of them -- my mother, father or brothers and sisters. i lost my son in war in syria, and 28 others of my family died, as well. my entire family is spread out in different countries, leaving no one with my parents. this is a very complicated issue. i want my right to live a good life and to be free. amy: that's jihad abu wa'el
dhiab. he was held at guantanamo for more than 12 years, has not seen his family for between 15 and 20 years, speaking to us exhausted from his bed and uruguay. he a just come out of a coma after refusing water and had been hydrated through an iv. less than a week ago, he lifted his dry fast at the behest of his support group. he says he will go back to a thirst and hunger strike if he cannot reunite with his family. all we come back, we will speak with one of the lawyers who helped negotiate his release tou. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. just right you are exclusive interview with former guantanamo prisoner who was cleared to leave under both presidents bush and obama, but remained at guantanamo for over 12 years. his name, jihad abu wa'el dhiab he has never been charged with a crime. last week, democracy now! spoke to ramzi kassem, professor of law at city university of new york school of law -- that's the cuny law school -- where he directs the immigrant & non-citizen rights clinic, has represented many guantanamo prisoners. he has been to guantanamo about 50 times and was one of the lawyers who represented the six guantanamo prisoners who the u.s. government released to uruguay.
i began by asking ramzi kassem to tell us about dhiab's case, why he hasn't been able to see his family, what he is asking for, what he was promised, and what the situation is overall at guantanamo. >> i'm among the people who negotiated obviously, there were . u.s. government officials involved, uruguayan government officials involved. and then on the defense lawyer side, i was one of those who partook in that negotiation, primarily on behalf of my client, abdelhadi faraj, who's another syrian who was resettled in uruguay, just like dhiab. ultimately, what happened was that four syrians, one palestinian, one tunisian -- all guantanamo refugees -- were resettled in uruguay. and, you know, i have to stress that the uruguayan government's attitude towards these men was commendable. they viewed them and treated them as refugees under international law. they resisted, you know, the united states' insistence that their movement be restricted, that they be treated as something else, that they be placed under surveillance, for example.
all of these things, according to public media reports, are standard when it comes to how the united states negotiates these repatriations or resettlements from guantanamo. and to their credit, the uruguayan government said, in large part because the rulers of uruguay at the time, the president and his cabinet, were themselves former political prisoners -- amy: president mujica. >> president mujica had spent over a decade in prison under that very label, as a terrorist, in solitary confinement, so he understood and theenn s cabinet understood what that meant. and so to their credit, they treated these men like refugees. and they said -- they said that they would allow them to reunite with their families in uruguay, that they would facilitate family reunification. so all of the right things were said. unfortunately, the problem was in the implementation. when the men arrived in uruguay, you know, less prepation had been done than what we had expected and what we had hoped. and one of the main shortcomings is on this front -- family reunification.
in other words, you know, the government of uruguay, with the help of the red cross, is offering families of men like dhiab and men like my client to come from places like syria or refugee camps in turkey. but they're only offering temporary visits, and they're not giving the men the means to actually support those families in uruguay. so the net result, and i'll tell you the case that i -- i'll tell you about the case that i know best, my client, mr. abdelhadi faraj. his family is in war-torn syria. he would love to see his parents. he hasn't seen them in 15 years. if he were to agree to have the red cross somehow try to bring them, make that very dangerous journey out of syria and to uruguay, he can only keep them there for a couple of weeks. his parents are elderly. they live in a very dangerous place. the trip itself would be life-threatening. so he doesn't want to subject them to that risk, unless he has the ability to actually have them live with him in uruguay. so that's where the shortcoming has been. no one, not the uruguayan government and certainly not the
united states, has stepped up to make that happen. and i mention the united states because i think the uruguayans have gone above and beyond the call, in many ways, despite the shortcomings of in preparation for the arrival of these men as refugees from guantanamo. they have gone above and beyond the call. the bulk, the lion's share of responsibility still rests with our country. it still rests with the united states. our country is responsible for what happened to men like dhiab. they're the ones -- the united states took dhiab and put him at guantanamo and subjected him to torture there of different forms. and the united states is the one that -- amy: and he was put at bagram first. >> and he was at bagram first. and that's common. the majority of guantanamo prisoners, or a large number of them, at least, went through bagram or other sites before arriving at guantanamo. so the primary share of responsibility still rests with the united states. i believe that our country has a moral and historical duty to try to make these men whole. other countries have. canada has paid compensation.
the united kingdom has paid compensation. the united states has not accepted responsibility or compensated these men for what they have been through. and they continue to suffer from it -- for it, and their families continue to suffer. and dhiab is just one example among many. amy: dhiab was -- wanted to be at his daughter's wedding. i mean, he hasn't seen his children and his parents in between 15 and 20 years. could he leave uruguay? i mean, he actually attempted to. he went to venezuela. he was taken by the secret police of venezuela and he was deported back to uruguay. i mean, it's not a crime for him to leave uruguay, but he was deported back. what can he do? i mean, he is just using the only thing he has, which is his body, to try to demand, by going on a hunger strike, which he did for so long at guantanamo, to demand some kind of action. he says, "if i am free, why cannot i see my family?" >> and it's especially tragic that he's had to revert to that
mode of communication, the mode of communication that he had when he was at guantanamo. in other words, the only form of expression and protest available to many of the prisoners is to go on hunger strike, is to refuse food and sustenance from their captors. and that isn't a crime, right? it's a form of peaceful protest. and it is tragic that now that he's in uruguay, supposedly a free man, he feels that he has no choice but to do that in order to be heard, because, you know, he's been clamoring for a while. they've been in uruguay for almost two years. and for that entire time, mr. dhiab and the other prisoners have been asking this question. you know, when are we going to see our families? is that going to happen? how is that going to happen? the uruguayans, when these men arrived, because they were considering them refugees, the uruguayan government issued them what's called a cedula, which is basically a national id card, which allows them to travel in certain countries in south america and some countries in central america, perhaps. so that's how dhiab, earlier in his tenure in uruguay, went to argentina, for example, and gave a press conference there. and that's probably part of the explanation of how he eventually
got to venezuela and was then sent back to uruguay. the rub is in that for him to go to turkey, the turkish government would have to acquiesce. someone would have to facilitate that travel. he'd have to be issued travel papers, which obviously he's not going to get from the syrian government, given what's going on in syria right now. and ultimately, the united states government, whether or not they're going to publicly recognize it, my view, my opinion, is that the united states government probably has a say as well. now, still, the right thing to do here is to find some way to reunite mr. dhiab with his family. and it's either by bringing his family over from that refugee camp in turkey to uruguay in a sustainable fashion, where they can live with him in uruguay and make a life for themselves there, or the other solution would be for him to go to turkey and join his family there. it is -- it's compounding the injury that these men have suffered to keep them apart from their families after everything that they've been through.
and again, this doesn't just hold for mr. dhiab. he is being vocal, vocal and brave, in expressing his protest in that way. but i can tell you that my client, mr. faraj, who does not want to be in the media limelight, feels the same way. and the other prisoners that he's still in touch with in uruguay, former guantanamo prisoners, they feel the same way as well. and it's really -- it shouldn't be shocking to anyone that these men, after all of these years, wish to see their families. guantanamo is not a prison where families can visit. it's not like a facility here in the united states where there are visitation privileges and people can come over the weekend. these men have literally not seen their families for over a decade and a half. amy: have some of the men seen their families brought to uruguay and then they have to leave? >> you know, i'm not familiar with the cases of all six of the guantanamo refugees in uruguay. i can say if -- i can tell you that for mr. dhiab that hasn't happened, and i can tell you that for my client, mr. faraj, that has not happened, for the reason that i explained earlier.
amy: so you have been to guantanamo for, what like 50 , times now, representing your clients. how many do you represent? >> at this point, i have three clients remaining at guantanamo. over time, since 2005, i've represented over a dozen guantanamo prisoners. amy: that, what, you added it up to being how much time at guantanamo that you've spent? >> sadly, i did that math last time i was at guantanamo a couple of months ago. it adds up to, i think, over a year at this point. amy: you've spent over a year at guantanamo. >> yeah, which obviously pales in comparison to what my clients have spent, what they have gone through. but it was still shocking to me. i mean, if you told me 10 years ago in when i made my first trip 2006 to guantanamo, that a decade later i'd still be traveling there, i would have called you crazy. amy: president obama just said, once again, he wants it closed by the end of his term. do you think this will happen? what is happening at guantanamo right now? >> you know, president obama, unfortunately, has been saying that since he was candidate obama in 2007. you know, i agree with mr. dhiab on this. i believe that, unfortunately, our president has had that
authority. he was elected, actually, on that basis. he had a mandate coming into office in 2009 to close that prison. for political reasons, not policy reasons, but for political reasons, he chose not to make it a priority. he gave the opposition time to mobilize and make it more difficult for him. still, despite those obstacles, ultimately, he has the authority to close that prison. when president bush opened guantanamo on january 11, 2002, he didn't seek congressional approval, he just did it unilaterally as a president of the united states. president obama could do the same. he is choosing not to do it. he's choosing not to take what he believes is a political risk. amy: to see the full interview with ramzi kassem, go to democracynow.org. a special thanks. tune in tonight, democracy now! will be broadcasting the first presidential debate at democracynow.org. to 11:30 eastern standard
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