tv Democracy Now PBS January 12, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
01/12/17 01/12/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! interest: conflict of provision as president. it was many, many years old. they do not want residents -- i understand, they do not want presidents getting tangled up in the new show. i could actually run my business. i could run my business and run government at the same time. government, the office of government ethics disagrees. >> someone said the president cannot have a conflict of interest, but that is quite
obviously not true. amy: we will it response from john wonderlich is big with ahead from the committee to protect journalists joel simon about trump's first is confident press conference in six months. did rex tillerson lie? and what to the company know about climate change? >> i am asking you whether those allegations about exxonmobil's knowledge of climate science and decision to find and promote a view contrary to its awareness of the science, whether those allegations are true or false. >> the question would have to be put to exxonmobil. todo you lack the knowledge answer my question or are you refusing to answer my question? >> a little of both. amy: we will speak with oil and energy journalist antonia juhasz who argues rex tillerson could be america's most dangerous secretary of state will step today james madoff mattis is
scheduled to testify before the senate armed service committee. we will speak with aaron glantz, senior reporter whose investigation is headlined "did defense secretary nominee james mattis commit war crimes in iraq?" all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. former exxonmobil ceo rex tillerson refused to answer questions on wednesday about the oil giant's long history of denying the science of climate change, telling senators that scientific literature on global warming is inconclusive. the comments came during a senate foreign relations committee hearing into tillerson's nomination for secretary of state. exposes by insideclimate news and the "los angeles times" have revealed exxon knew that fossil fuels cause global warming as early as the 1970's, but hid that information from the public, and instead poured millions into pr efforts aimed at sowing doubt over the science of climate change. tillerson was asked about those reports by virginia democrat tim
kaine. >> are these conclusions about exxonmobil's history of promoting and funding climate science denial, despite its internal awareness of the reality of climate change during your tenure with the company, true or false? longer with no exxonmobil, i'm in a position to speak on the behalf. the question would have to be put to them. todo you lack the knowledge answer my question or are you refusing to answer my question? >> a little of both. [laughter] leavinge a hard time you lack the knowledge to answer my question. amy: tillerson was with exxonmobil for 41 years. during wednesday's hearing, tillerson refused to label saudi arabia a human rights violator, and avoided condemning philippines president rodrigo duterte over thousands of extrajudicial killings carried out under duterte's war on drugs. tillerson said he would advise president trump to veto any attempt to end the u.s. embargo on cuba, and said the u.s.
should challenge china over its territorial claims in the south china sea. tillerson also denied knowledge of exxonmobil's efforts to prevent u.s. sanctions against russia, testifying that he never personally lobbied against sanctions. that prompted senate foreign relations committee chair bob corker to respond, "i think you called me at the time." during the hearing, tillerson was repeatedly interrupted by protesters from greenpeace opposed to naming an oil company executive as secretary of state. outside the hearings, about 200 people rallied holding signs reading "exxon knew." we'll have more on rex tillerson's nomination and exxonmobil's history of climate denial after headlines with oil and energy journalist antonia juhasz. donald trump's pick to lead the justice department faced unprecedented criticism from a senate colleague on wednesday. new jersey democrat cory booker told the senate judiciary committee alabama senator jeff sessions is unfit to become the next attorney general.
>> if confirmed, senator sessions will be required to .ursue justice for women his record indicates he won't. he will be expected to defend the equal rights of gay and lesbian and transgender americans, but his record indicates that he won't. he will be expected to defend voting rights, but his record indicates that he won't. he will be expected to defend the rights of immigrants and a firm their human dignity, but the record indicates that he won't. amy: booker's testimony was the first, united date senator has testified against a colleague's nomination for a presidential post. senator booker was joined by civil rights icon and georgia congressperson john lewis, who said sessions could roll back decades of civil rights gains. also testifying against sessions wednesday was amita swadhin, a survivor of childhood sexual assault. she cited a 2005 videotape in which donald trump is heard boasting of grabbing women by the genitals. complexe with
posttraumatic stress disorder and struggle every day to be well. directly and negatively impacts me when people minimize sexual assault. so to hear senator sessions initially say president-elect trump's comments do not constitute sexual assault and then to consider him leading the department of justice has been incredibly worrisome. amy: on tuesday, sessions revised his earlier statement and said he would consider grabbing a woman by her genitals without consent to be sexual assault. sessions is expected to sail through a confirmation vote in the full senate. donald trump lashed out at reporters during a press conference on wednesday, slamming cnn as "fake news" and calling buzzfeed a "failing piece of garbage." the diatribe came as trump denounced unverified reports that russia's government has compromising information that it could use to blackmail the president-elect. on tuesday, cnn reported that top intelligence officials had briefed trump, president obama and top lawmakers over the , claims, which also allege trump representatives met repeatedly with russian
officials during the 2016 campaign and discussed the hacking of the dnc and the email of hillary clinton campaign chair john podesta. buzzfeed later published a dossier, prepared by british former intelligence officer christopher steele, outlining unverified allegations of a political and sexual nature. the reports prompted trump to respond on twitter -- "intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to leak into the public. one last shot at me. are we living in nazi germany?" on wednesday, director of national intelligence james clapper said he was dismayed over the leaked dossier and denied that anyone from the u.s. intelligence community was responsible. at wednesday's press conference, trump refused to answer questions from cnn's jim acosta. mr. trump: cohead. >> mr. president like -- mr. trump: not you. not you. your organization is terrible. >> sir?
mr. trump: cohead. suzette -- don't be rude. >> can you give us a question? mr. trump: i am not going to give you a question. you are fake news. go ahead. president-elect gave the next question to a reporter with breitbart news, a web site that champions the white nationalist movement. cnn's jim acosta later said that trump's spokesperson, sean spicer, threatened to have him expelled if he tried to ask another question. the press conference was trump's first since july, when he called on russia to hack hillary clinton's email servers. on wednesday, trump said it was probably russia that broke into the dnc's servers and hacked john podesta's emails, but insisted he had no loans and no business dealings with russia. this is nbc reporter hallie jackson questioning trump. >> will you release your tax returns to prove what you're saying about no deals in russia? mr. trump: tax returns are under audit. >> every president since the
1970's -- , i'd nevergee heard that. deal and want to care about my thereturns are reporters. i don't think -- i think you care. i think you care. amy: trump told reporters he would not be selling off his company or real estate holdings and would instead place his business assets into a trust controlled by his adult sons, eric trump and donald trump, jr. the head of the office of government ethics, walter shaub, blasted the plan, calling it wholly inadequate to avoid conflicts of interest. we'll have more on trump's conflicts of interest after headlines. trump revealed his plans for to name a replacement for antonin scalia, whose supreme court seat republicans have refused to fill since his death nearly a year ago. trump said he was consulting with former senator jim demint and members of the federalist society on a nominee, to be named within two weeks of the inauguration.
donald trump's nominee to head the department of transportation, elaine chao received a warm welcome at a , senate hearing on wednesday and appears to be headed for a confirmation by the full senate. shop the grizzly served as labor secretary under president george w. bush -- she previously served as labor secretary under president george w. bush, and is on several corporate boards, including wells fargo and news corp, the parent company of fox news. activists dressed in orange jumpsuits held a diane on the floor of the senate's office building calling for the closure of the guantanamo prison. it is the 15th anniversary of its opening. the group reported 16 of its members were arrested during nonviolent protest around the hart senate building. donald trump's nominee to head the pentagon, retired marine general james mattis, is scheduled to testify before a senate committee today, but his nomination is in doubt after house democrats threatened a revolt. mattis retired from the military
in 2013. he needs congress to waive rules requiring defense secretaries to be civilians for seven or more years after leaving the military. the top democrat on the house armed services committee, representative adam smith of washington, said he will to urge all house democrats to vote no on the waiver. we'll have more on james mattis, including allegations he committed war crimes in iraq, later in the broadcast, as we speak with aaron glantz of the center for investigative reporting. donald trump has tapped physician david shulkin to lead the department of veterans affairs. shulkin is currently serving in the obama administration as va undersecretary. if confirmed, shulkin will be the first head of the department of veterans affairs to have never served in the military. fbi director james comey came under fire this week after he refused to state whether the fbi is investigating reports of contacts between donald trump's campaign and the russian government. comey repeatedly told members of the senate intelligence committee on tuesday that he was not free to comment on an open investigation. that drew fire from democrats,
as well as maine independent senator angus king who pointed , to a letter comey made public just days before the november election stating the fbi had reopened an investigation into hillary clinton's use of a private email server. this is senator king questioning james comey. >> you did not say whether there was an investigation underway. >> correct. especially in a public form, we never confirmed or denied a pending investigation. >> the irony of your making a statement here, i cannot avoid. amy: in turkey, a fistfight broke out on the floor of the parliament in ankara on as wednesday lawmakers advanced measures that would rewrite the turkish constitution and bring sweeping new powers to president recep tayyip erdogan. the amendments would allow erdogan to appoint and dismiss government ministers, take back the leadership of the ruling party, and govern until at least 2029. six top executives of volkswagen were indicted wednesday on charges they helped the company skirt the clean air act while
defrauding the u.s. government. the indictments came as the justice department announced volkswagen will pay $4.3 billion in fines after pleading guilty to three felony counts. this is attorney general loretta lynch. carsndreds of thousands of that volkswagen sold in the united states were pumping illegal levels of nudge and oxide into our atmosphere. amountimes more than the permitted under federal law. what is more, these vehicles were equipped with software that masked the true amount of the pollutants the cars released. sorting the regulators were doing the environmental testing. amy: u.s. army whistleblower chelsea landing -- chelsea manning is reportedly on a short-list of names for a possible presidential commutation. nbc news reports a senior justice department official said a decision could come this week. in 2013, manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking more than 700,000 classified files and videos to wikileaks about the wars in iraq and afghanistan and u.s. foreign
policy. manning has been held since 2010. she has been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement and denied medical treatment related to her gender identity. she has attempted suicide several times. and the national parks service said wednesday it will honor slain civil rights leader medgar evers by naming his former home a national historic landmark. on june 12, 1963, evers was assassinated in the driveway outside his home in jackson, mississippi. he had served as the naacp's first field secretary in mississippi, working to end segregation and racist violence. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. on wednesday, president-elect donald trump held his first news conference since july. speaking at trump tower in new york, he addressed questions
about his business interests, and asserted that as president, he would be exempt from possible conflicts of interest. mr. trump: of no conflict of interest provision as president. years old., many they don't want presidents -- i understand. they don't want presidents getting tangled up in minutia. they want a president to run the country. run myuld business. i could run my business and run government at the same time. i don't like the way that looks, but i would be able to do that if i wanted to. i would be the only one who can do that. you cannot do that in any other capacity. as a president, i could run the trump organization -- great, great company -- and i could run the country. into a very good job. but i don't to do that. nermeen: trump's businesses include hotels, golf courses, and buildings around the world stamped with his name. the vast holdings could create
unprecedented conflicts of interest. but trump said he would not follow advise from ethics experts to divest or create a completely blind trust, and instead announced he will hand over management of the trump organization to his sons. mr. trump: what i'm going to be doing our my two sons, who are don a, are going to be running thend eric company in a very professional manner. they're not going to discuss it with me. i don't have to do this. they're not going to discuss it with me will stop and with that, i'm going to bring up sheri dillon and she is going to go -- these papers are just some of the many documents that i have signed turning over complete and total control to my sons. amy: and then his lawyer spoke. but federal law does not prohibit the president's involvement in private business
while in office, but most presidents in recent decades have placed their personal assets, including property and financial holdings, in blind trusts overseen by independent advisers to avoid any appearance of impropriety. on the head of the office of wednesday, government ethics called it wholly inadequate in resolving potential conflicts. this is walter shaub. creating theisk perception that government leaders would use their official positions for personal profit, stepping back from running his positions as meaningless from conflicts of interest perspective. full-timeency is a job, and he would have had to step back anyway. the idea of setting up a trust to hold his operating businesses as nothing to the equation. this is not a blind trust. it is not even close. i think politico call this a half blind trust, but it is not even halfway blind.
billy thing it hasn't, with a blind trust is the label "trust." his sons are still running the business and he knows what he owns. his own attorney said today he trumpunknow that he owns tower. the same is true with his other holdings. the other -- the idea of information is wholly inadequate. there's not supposed to be any information at all. amy: that is walter shaub. for more, we're joined by john wonderlich executive director of , the sunlight foundation. welcome to democracy now! can you talk about what donald trump laid out, that he is handing over his business to his two sons? >> it is a pleasure to be here. we have been waiting for some time to find out how trump was going to deal with the looming conflicts of interest. yesterday's up a told us what we suspected, which is he is not going to deal with it at all. it is a pretty stunning rebuke
of how we expect the presidency to function in the expectations we have for public service, although, it is, and for china, legal. there is a loophole that means the president can hold outside positions and still own corporations that are active and maintain all of these interests. this is a dismaying situation where we -- were the president is going to be active and have massive debt and be directly involved in this kind of corporate activity. it is stunning. nermeen: one of the country's leading constitutional lawyers, lawrence tribe, has said that trump's announced structure is cleverly designed to dazzle and deceive, but it solves none of the serious ethical or legal issues. trump's lawyer would flunk restitution all law at any halfway decent law school. so could you elaborate, john, on some of the most important ethical issues that trump's
business interests may present? >> sure. one of the concerns is self-enrichment. so the president is involved in every decision i gets made about how the country functions, involved at every level of government. and so his knowledge of his vast business empire and of his debt means any decision that gets made about taxes or about health care or finance, bow bank regulation -- all of the issues facing the country, have a direct and material impact on businesses that he owns. so that is one concern is that he is going to make decisions not on behalf of what is best with doountry, but hisa business interestsn. there aree othery concerns, too. it undermines the presidencye that even the appearance of corruption. we now can be confident that everything that happens to president-elect trump is going to be tinged with an appearance of corruption because we don't even know the full extent of his
business connections because he refuses to release his tax returns. so the appearance of corruption is going to be ubiquitous within the trump presidency. a third level of concern is that by maintaining his business ties, trump has levers that are not typically available to the presidency. so whether that is paying a private security force, like we know trump is doing that is displacing the secret service's role, which allows in to do things like eject protesters in a way that maybe the secret service would not do, or who knows what else? trump is availing himself of levers to power that other presidents don't have. is a crisis. amy: the significance of him saying, once again, he is little debt when "wall street journal" and other publications said they believe he owes more than one billion dollars to over 150 financial institutions and what that means if he is president, john?
>> it is certainly hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and that means trump is beholden to the financial institutions that his and our agencies are responsible for regulating. so any decision that gets made about how these things function, he is obviously going to have a conflict of interest. that is why it is recommended he divest and put everything into a blind trust so he is still longer an agent with this massive network of financial interests. he has not executed himself at all from the situation. he also said his company won't be starting any new business deals while he is president. does that make any difference at all? >> i don't believe that claim at all. i mean, he said there would be no new deals at all and now he said there would be no new foreign deals, but there would be some new domestic deals. also the term "deal" isn't even defined.
businesses that are active, constantly make deals. we don't even know what this term isd "eal." trump also said he would release his tax returns. amy: let's hear what he at his say about that yesterday at the news conference. donald trump on why he will not release his tax returns. courts will you release your tax returns to prove y what you are saying? mr. trump: they are under audit. >> every president since the 1970's -- joint mr. trump: i've never heard that. deal the one who cares about my tax returns are the reporters. iwon. president. i don't think they care at all. i don't think they care at all. i think you care. i think you care. amy: that is donald trump saying he won so he does not have to release his tax returns. why is it important, john wonderlich? >> we need to have an understanding of interests of president of the united
states. especially when he deals with foreign leaders, foreign governments, businesses throughout the economy. we don't understand what the president's interests are and who has leverage over him. that is the situation and it is a few days before the inauguration. it is unfortunate we have not managed to have a legal requirement for the president to disclose or presidential candidates to disclose tax returns. that is something my organization has advocated for. we have had decades of every president living up to that standard because our public expectation was so strong. i think what people did not realize is there is an opportunity for people -- for politicians to run against democratic norms. that is what trump did. amy: trump said he was offered $2 billion this weekend and he turned it down, so we trust -- so we should trust him. what was he talking about? >> he had this strange early passage in a press conference
where he talked about a massive deal that he turned down as though this brought credit to him because he decided not to go into some massive development deal. it is pretty disconcerting he has time to be making -- having lengthy conversations about enormous development deals and not working with his nominees or the office of government ethics that could have helped him deal with these entanglements. it is absolutely disconcerting. amy: john wonderlich, we thank you so much for being with us executive director of the , sunlight foundation. when we come back, we will speak with the executive director of the committee to protect journalists. trump -- howpresley president-elect trump lashed out at journalists. ♪ [music break]
nermeen: during his press conference on wednesday, president-elect donald trump lashed out at reporters. he slammed cnn as fake news and called buzzfeed a failing piece of garbage. the diatribe came as cnn reported tuesday that top intelligence officials had briefed trump, president obama , and top lawmakers over claims that trump representatives met repeatedly with russian officials during the 2016 campaign and discussed the hacking of the dnc and the email of hillary clinton campaign chair john podesta. buzzfeed later published a dossier, prepared by british former intelligence officer christopher steele, which contains unverified allegations, including a charge that russian officials have a sex tape from 2013 involving trump and hired sex workers. on wednesday, trump refused to answer questions from cnn's jim acosta. mr. trump: go ahead. no, not you. not you. your organization is terrible. your organization is terrible.
let's go. go ahead. quiet. quiet. go ahead -- she is asking a question. don't be rude. don't be rude. nott be rude -- no, i'm going to give you a question. you are fake news. amy: donald trump gavehe next .uestion to breitbart news cnn's jim acosta later said threatenedkesperson to have him expelled if he tried to ask another question. for more and in coming trump administration's relationship with the press, we turn to joel simon executive director of the , committee to protect journalists. your response? >> my response is just what we see on display, the attitude that trump exhibited throughout his campaign and in every interaction with the media, which is that he has a framework in which the media, as long as
it amplifies his message, he welcomes it. as soon as it adopts a critical posture, there is a completely different response. what is really concerning here is, ok, he is angry. you can understand why he is angry. these reports were very damaging. but now that he is going to become president, how will these attitudes he transformed into policies? amy: you have his press secretary sean spicer threatening to throw him out. >> that is alarming, but what is the broader context is this involves a leak. this information was leaked. as president, with jeff sessions as attorney general, are we going to see leak investigations? his framework is, that these leaks from intelligence officials -- apparently, that is where they come from, we don't know, but it is possible -- create an atmosphere similar to nazi germany.
amy: just to be clear, it was trump who said -- who compared intelligence officials to nazis. >> exactly. that framework suggests there will be aggressive leak investigations. the obama administration -- journalists are very honorable. i think it is highly likely -- very vulnerable. it is highly likely this anger, the slashing now, if those are transferred into policies, my greatest concern is about investigations, which ensnare journalists and represent the significant threat to journalists in this country and potentially globally. nermeen: you have a special series called "transition to trump." could you highlight some of the key issues you look at in that series? issuere looking at this of source protection and the new administration and looking at issues like encryption and the ability of journalists to use
technology to protect their sources. the u.s. sets a global standard in this area because so many of the technology that is used globally is u.s.-based. we have not seen a commitment from president trump and his cabinet appointees to protect this legal framework -- or i should say to this norm. i think in the next administration, we're very concerned there will be a weakening of the protections that journalists have relied on to be able to carry out their communication with confidential sources. amy: people in this country do not necessarily like to see the u.s. compared to other countries. but how is the u.s. when it comes to reporters, in particular how trump is dealing with reporters? >> look, we of a first amendment a vital and robust press, legal framework, independent as did two shins. so you have to recognize that. but i think what alarms me is
this kind of framework in which information itself, and the role --the media is denigrated, it is an environment in which there is confusion, obviously, that what israel, what is not, what is news, what is not. fake news is being bandied about. it creates an environment in which it almost inoculates trump from critical media coverage. and that is the framework he is creating and a framework that we see in authoritarian countries where the media is denigrated, sidelined, marginalized, attacked, confidence eroded and that creates a framework in which authoritarian leaders assert more power. amy: we're going to go to meryl streep because your name. global recognition, to say the least come this weekend, when she was honored with the lifetime achievement award by the golden globes. meryl streep used her speech to call for protections of the free
press. >> there was one performance this year that stunned me. in my heart.ooks not because it was good. there was nothing good about it. but it was effective in a did its job. it made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. it was that moment when the person asking this it in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked and privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. when the powerful use their position to bully -- bully others, we all lose. up with that thing. this brings me to the press. toneed the principled press hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage -- [applause]
that is why -- that is why our the press inrined its freedoms in our constitution. so i only ask the famously -- hollywood foreign press, and all of us in our community, to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists because we're going to need them going forward and they will need us to safeguard the truth. nermeen: that was meryl oneep at the golden globes sunday. could you comment? and before we end, how much can trump exley due to limit press freedom? >> first him what she said, this issueazing to see this elevated to this level. we've seen tremendous contributions and we're grateful for that, but i think what is important here is the press i
think was invigorated by this. the press has a role here. i think that role has been denigrated and marginalized. that accountability is crucial -- that is why there is a first amendment. that is why we protect press freedom. i think that was really validating and uplifting to journalists. in terms of what trump can do. clearly, he can create a chilling atmosphere. he is doing that. if you criticize trump and he lashes out at you, it will unleash an army of trolls. you'll be confronted -- that is chilling. it is not illegal, but it is chills critical speech. the main thing he can do and what we're concerned about is this kind of leak investigations in which journalists are in sneered. beenegal framework has weakened under the obama administration. the framework has been late. if we see a series of aggressive leak investigations based on critical coverage of trump and his activities am a it is going
to be a very, very rough four years. amy: and how did you do after meryl streep actually named you? .> it was amazing we have been processing donations. what is great, and i think you recognize this, they have been small. $25, $50, $100. there had been thousands of them. it is been affirming and uplifting to the work we do into the work of journalists generally to see this kind of outpouring. amy: jules simon executive , director of the committee to protect journalists. we will lookback, at the rex tillerson hearing and hearing that will be held today. will the next defense secretary be general mattis? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we turn now to the senate committee hearing for secretary of state nominee and former exxonmobil ceo rex tillerson. on wednesday, tillerson refused to answer questions about the oil giant's long history of denying the science of climate change, telling senators that scientific literature on climate
change is "inconclusive." exposes by insideclimate news times" have angeles revealed exxon knew that fossil fuels cause global warming as early as the 1970's, but hid that information from the public, and instead poured millions of dollars into pr efforts aimed at sowing doubt over the science of climate change. tillerson was asked about those reports by virginia democrat tim kaine. >> are these conclusions about exxonmobil's history of promoting and funding climate science denial, despite its internal awareness of the reality of climate change during your tenure with the company, true or false? longer with no exxonmobil, i'm in no position to speak on their behalf. the question would have to be put to them. >> do you lack the knowledge to aner my question or are you refusing to answer my question? >> a little of both. [laughter] believinga hard time you lack the knowledge to answer
my question. nermeen: this comes as a massachusetts court has ruled that exxonmobil must comply with state attorney general healey's "exxon knew" investigation, halting the company's efforts to squash the inquiry into what the company knew about the science of global warming. as he testified wednesday, tillerson was repeatedly interrupted by protesters from greenpeace opposed to naming an oil company executive as secretary of state. outside, about 200 people rallied holding signs reading "exxon knew." amy: during the hearing, human rights concerns were also raised repeatedly during. tillerson refused to label saudi arabia a human rights violator, and avoided condemning philippines president rodrigo duterte over thousands of extrajudicial killings carried out under his so-called war on drugs. tillerson said he would advise president trump to veto any attempt to end the u.s. embargo on cuba and said china should be barred from artificial islands it has built in the south china sea. tillerson broke with trump over the president-elect's comment that it would not be a bad thing for south korea and japan to build their own nuclear weapons. this is rex tillerson under questioning from massachusetts
democrat ed markey. >> senator, i don't think anyone advocates for more nuclear weapons on the planet. >> donald trump said he would not be a bad thing. do you agree or disagree? >> i do not agree. amy: rex tillerson also denied knowledge of exxonmobil's efforts to prevent u.s. sanctions against russia, testifying that he never personally lobbied against sanctions. that proctor the senate foreign relations committee chair republican bob corker to respond, "i think you called me at the time." for more we are joined from san , francisco by oil and energy journalist antonia juhasz. her cover story for in these times is headlined "rex tillerson could be america's most dangerous secretary of state." in it she argues that tillerson spent his entire adult life working for a company that has left a trail of carnage from human rights abuses to the destruction of the environment in its ruthless pursuit of oil. antonia, welcome back to democracy now!
you were tweeting the hold a of the hearing. you watched it. talk about what was most significant. >> thank you for having me. i would say the biggest take away from this hearing is that there is no separating rex tillerson from exxonmobil. and i think he made that very clear in the hearings. he took the position and again and again and again when being asked about questions around human rights, equality, affects. he took -- ethics. oftook the position corporation over and over again. he was asked, exxonmobil has done business over the years with basically every of the most little dictators in the world. he was asked, you know, is there a country you would not work in, would not work with because of issues around human rights another abuses?
he said, well, it depends on the contract structure and the rule of law. then he was pressed again. but what about human rights? what about other issues? basically said, no. there's a very telling quote from 2008 by vice president of exxonmobil, when rex tillerson was ceo, and the vice president said, in the pursuit of alternative energy, it should not in any way harm or distract from the pursuit of oil and natural gas. i think you could replace alternative energy with just about any phrase to understand rex tillerson and understand exxonmobil. oil and natural gas are paramount, and i think that is how we can understand what his position would be as secretary of state. amy: it was very interesting to see marco rubio, the senator from florida, going after tillerson, particularly around russia and sanctions. did tillerson lie when he said
he did not -- and he did not know of his company, although, bob menendez of new jersey held up the lobbying this closure forms -- did not lobbied against sanctions? >> he certainly misspoke. what he was the king again, this is the ceo speaking -- we had a lobby -- filling amy: let's go to a clip so it is not me characterizing him. -- thetillerson has question was not just about russia. it was also about iran and other countries, which exxonmobil would like to see the sentence removed from. so the lbying is closure forms say, we lobbied about a particular bill. it never says which direction did you argue. as always is the case with itonmobil, it will litigate, will site, it will litigate, it will run you into the ground. i think that is what he thought
he could get away with. there also is a much broader record of what the objective of exxonmobil has been in these areas. in a ran, for example, where exxonmobil has most certainly lobbied to have sanctions lifted, exxonmobil and mobile before it for decades has led to group called usa engaged, which entire purpose was to get sanctions lifted first on iran ran stop mobil advertisements in u.s. newspapers encouraging the lifting of iranian sanctions and that his position of exxonmobil has carried on for decades. -- in fact, rex tillerson >> there are sanctions. exxonmobil under tillerson worked with iran, sudan, syria while the u.s. had sanctions against those countries. amy: rex tillerson tonight he even knew what usa engage was. during the hearing, he denied,
just to go back to him and his own words, or to his knowledge, he himself or exxonmobil lobbied against imposing sanctions on russia. >> i think again -- exxonmobilowledge, never lobbied against the sanctions. exxonmobil participated in understanding how the sanctions were going to be constructed and was asked and provided information regarding how those might impact american business interests. amy: so if you could go on, antonia, from there, his denial that he or exxonmobil lobbied against sanctions with russia, and then you are talking about these other countries. again, i think what he is trying to get away with is prove what i said in the room. yes, you have it documented that rex tillerson met with president obama on russian sanctions.
that's documented. i think what he was trying to get away with, which you couldn't, prove what i said in the room, which of course, we can't. we don't have documentation of that. and him using exxonmobil, the way he always has, which is to fight -- to fight to the bitter, bitter end. they're always referred to as a scorched earth company we talked to communities and lawyers who have to go against them. what we know is rex tillerson has said publicly that he doesn't agree with sanctions. we also note in russia, because of rex tillerson, exxonmobil now has the largest holdings it has anywhere in the world, and these are five times larger than its second largest holdings, which are in the united states. that is because rex tillerson made deals with russia for 10 joint ventures with roth net to inn these huge holdings
russia, a large chunk of which are in the russian arctic. wasdeal with's -- the deal finalized in 20,003. in 2014, president obama put in sections against russia and that means a large chunk of that oil is now no longer available to exxonmobil. rex tillerson, yes, as of 11 this eeo oftired as exxonmobil. but this is a man whose literally his entire adult life at exxonmobil. he was recruited out of ut austin. he is working at a company that is referred to by its employees as mother exxon. i believe he is deeply, deeply tied to this company. i believe he is not happy about the fact he left exxonmobil in worse shape than when he came on. and one of the biggest deals he accomplished as ceo was this huge russia deal. it exxon can't enjoy its russia
deal while the sanctions are in place. rights issues were repeatedly raised during tillerson's confirmation hearing wednesday. in this clip, senator marco rubio questions tillerson on the drug war in the philippines. since president duterte took office, "the l.a. times" report 6200 people have been killed in the philippines by police and vigilantes and alleged drug rates. is this a way to campaign? >> the people of the philippines have a long-standing friendship with u.s. and i think it is important we keep that in perspective in engaging with the government of the philippines that that long-standing friendship come and they have been an ally and we need to ensure they stay in a life. >> that is correct, but my question is about the 6200 people who have been killed in his alleged drug raids. do you believe that is an appropriate way to conduct that
operation or do you believe it is something that is conducive to human rights violations that we should be concerned about in condemning? >> senator, if confirmed, it is an area would want to understand of detail.oo i'm not disputing what you're saying because i knew you have access to things i don't have. >> this is from "the los angeles times." >> i'm not going to rely solely on what a read in the newspapers. i'm sure there is good credible information available through our various government agencies. nermeen: that is tillerson talking about the so-called war on drugs in which thousands have been killed. aboutr piece, you talk exxon's role in indonesia. could you explain what exxon is being accused of there? >> human rights was a big theme route the hearing, brought up by many, many senators. as someone who has spent -- i
have written three books about the oil industry is been a lot of time studying exxonmobil, to hear rex tillerson continually talk and a neck to be didn't, but he did mention the ways he would uphold human rights, was deeply disturbing. for one reason being this case that i highlight in my report which is one of the more renowned because of the level of abuse, international human rights cases involving an oil company. this is a case in which the complaint is actually now just getting ready to go before the u.s. district court in washington, d.c. they are awaiting a trial date any day now. this involves severe human rights abuses in indonesia by security forces employed by exxonmobil. in the complaint, specifically names rex tillerson.
what the charges are, they involve charges from 2000-2004 that exxonmobil essentially in the words of the complaint privatize the indonesian military to act as its own security force for its natural gas operations there. ache was in the midst of an independence movement. exxonmobil we used a renowned for its human rights of abuse record military to be its private security force. in one of the cases, for example, john doe 2 -- they're all john doe because they are frayed for their lives -- the person alleged he was kidnapped privateonmobil's security, health for three-month and severely tortured, shown a pile of human heads and warned this is what was going to happen to him. he was eventually released and then his home was burned down. this is a case that involves
charges of murder, sexual assault, the most horrific things you can imagine. the case alleges that the decisions were being made to use this military force at the highest levels of exxonmobil in the executive levels, not just any subsidiary in indonesia but in harvard headquarters in the but in thees -- corporate headquarters in the united states. that decision, even when it was no by the executives from the indonesian force was using these extreme human rights abuses and the decision was made to continue using that force and actually to intensify the use of that force. and named in the complaint is rex tillerson in his role then as president of exxonmobil, as someone who had met with indonesian authorities. case that -- i would imagine at a minimum, is certainly aware of, and very important -- what exxonmobil
argues is not that the human rights abuses did not occur, but rather it is not liable for them. and exxonmobil stayed in indonesia. the only thing that ended this conflict was the tsunami at the end of -- in december 2004 that essentially wiped out ache. the exxonmobil's facility survive this and am a. exxonmobil never chose to stop operating because of everything that was going on around it. it's date come, stayed. and that is an example of choices made all around the world where exxonmobil has partnered with an propped up and right now in angola, new guinea, worked with propped up dictators, governments that are
incredibly abusive to their getle so that they could their oil. and that has been and continues to be the model that exxonmobil follows. amy: thank you for being with us, antonia juhasz, oil and energy journalist author of , "black tide: the devastating impact of the gulf oil spill" as well as "the tyranny of oil: the world's most powerful industry -- and what we must do stop it we will link to iece "rex tillson could be america's most dangerous secretary of state." we moved to a hearing that is expected to happen today. nermeen: presley donald trump's pick for defense secretary james but mad dog" mattis faces his hearing today. mattis only retired from the military in meaning he needs 2013, congress to waive rules requiring defense secretaries to be civilians for seven or more
years after leaving the military. new york senator kirsten gillibrand has said she will vote against the waiver for general mattis saying "sibling control of our military is a fundamental principle of american democracy and i will not vote for an exception to this rule." in a good james mattis reportedly received his big game after leaving u.s. troops battle fallujah interact in a listed in the marines at 19. he fought in the persian gulf war, in afghanistan, and then in iraq where he served as a major general. in may 2004, mattis ordered an airstrike in a small iraqi village that hit a wedding, killing about 42 people who were attending the wedding ceremony. mattis went on to lead united states central command from 2010 to 2013, but the obama administration cut short his tour over concerns mattis was too hawkish on iran, reportedly calling for a series of covert actions there. mattis has drawn criticism over his apparent celebration of killing, including saying in 2005 about the taliban -- "it's a hell of a lot of fun to
shoot them." for more we go to washington, d.c., where we're joined by aaron glantz, a senior reporter at reveal from the center for investigative reporting. his latest investigation is "did defense secretary nominee james mattis commit war crimes in iraq?" aaron glantz, what did you learn? >> as you mentioned, james mattis got the nickname "mad dog" for his command responsibility as a general in the april 2004 siege of fallujah most of this was a battle that i covered as in an embedded journalist where the u.s. marine corps killed so many people, so many civilians, that the municipal soccer stadium of that city had to be turned into a graveyard. u.s. marines there shot at ambulances, shot at aid workers, core don't off the city of doned off -- core the city.
what we say in the story, all of these events that occurred in solutia when james mattis -- solutia when james mattis was the commanding general, are the same events that other commanders in other countries have been convicted of war crimes for, including general yamashita, general in world war ii the japanese who was tried and executed by a u.s. military tribunal and his execution was upheld by the u.s. supreme court. we found that change status likely committed -- james mattis likely committed their muller were crumbs. part two ofng to do this conversation after the broadcast and post it at democracynow.org. what came of what he did there? happened,at assault importantly, he argued against the attack beforehand. he said so many civilians would be killed that it would be
ultimately damaging to the u.s. military's overall occupation efforts. but once that attack was launched, that is exactly what happened. there was massive outcry across the arab world, including in iraq, a rise of insurgency across the country. and a complete devastation of the city. i remember walking through the city shortly after the marines pulled out, and there were rotting bodies all over the streets because during the actual siege, u.s. marine snipers would shoot at anyone who was outside so people were .fraid to go and bury the dead shopping centers were destroyed. this gets to an important issue -- amy: 10 seconds. washis whole assault launched because of the killing of four blackwater security contractors. amy: we have to leave it there but we will continue to cover
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