tv Democracy Now PBS October 31, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
10/31/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> we have been saying from day one there is no evidence of truck-russia collusion. amy: president donald trump's former campaign chair paul manafort and his former business associate rick gates surrendered to the fbi after being indicted on charges that include money laundering, acting as unregistered agents of ukraine's former pro-russian government, and conspiracy against the united states. the white house says indictments have nothing to do with the president's 2016 campaign. trump stopped tweeting yesterday after his former campaign adviser george papadopoulos, it
was announced he pled guilty to lying to the fbi. we'll speak with marcy wheeler, who says "george papadopoulos's indictment is very, very bad news for attorney general jeff sessions." then democracy now! goes to puerto rico where the app is investigating the $300 million contract between puerto rico's electrical power company in the tiny montana-based company whitefish named for the hometown of interior secretary ryan zinke. >> it truly is unnerving that anple can just swindle entire population when they are at its most vulnerable. amy: as puerto rico moves to cancel its contract with whitefish, wheels big with san juan mayor carmen yulin cruz about the response to trump's attack and her vision for the island's recovery. >> power is in just about the
power grid. it is also about the ability that the puerto rican people may have in the years to come to ensure there is appropriate economic developing an equally divided amongst all this 78 municipalities. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president donald trump's former campaign chair paul manafort and his former business associate rick gates surrendered to the fbi as special counsel robert monday mueller announced the first indictments in his investigation into alleged russian interference in the 2016 u.s. election. both manafort and gates pleaded not guilty to all charges filed against them in a 12-count indictment, which included money laundering acting as , unregistered agents of ukraine's former pro-russian government, and conspiracy
against the united states. the arrests came as authorities announced a third former trump adviser, george papadopoulos, pleaded guilty in early october to lying to the fbi. papadopoulos is cooperating with investigators in exchange for a more lenient sentence. according to his plea deal, papadopoulos was told that the russians had dirt on hillary clinton. and through a series of communications with foreign agents, he tried to facilitate communication between the trump campaign and russian agents. at the white house, spokesperson sarah sanders said monday the indictments have nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity. she also said trump was not planning to fire mueller, as many conservative news outlets have demanded. >> the president said last week, i believe it was last week and i've said several times, there is no plan to make any changes in regards to special counsel. look, today's announcement has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity. amy: on twitter, president trump
lashed out, writing -- "sorry, but this is years ago, before paul manafort was part of the trump campaign. but why aren't crooked hillary & the dems the focus????? also, there is no collusion!" the presidents -- the presidents tweets came as democratic leaders warned the white house against firing special counsel mueller. senate minority leader chuck schumer said in a statement -- "congress must respond swiftly and unequivocally in a bipartisan way to assure that the investigation will continue." we will have more on the russia probe and muller's indictments after headlines. on capitol hill, secretary of state rex tillerson and pentagon chief james mattis told senators they believe the trump administration has the authority to wage war against accused terrorists across the globe, as lawmakers review the aumf -- or authorization for use of military force -- passed three
days after the 9/11 attacks. this is secretary tillerson speaking to the senate foreign relations committee. >> and potential repeal of the a replacementout could raise questions about the domestic legal basis for the united states full range of military activities against the taliban, al qaeda, and associated forces including against isis as our detention operations at guantanamo bay. amy: tillerson told senators any new war authorization should have no time constraints or geographic restrictions, meaning the u.s. can attack wherever and whenever it wants. on september 14, 2001, the aumf passed the senate 98-0 and 420-1 in the house, with california democratic congress member barbara lee casting the sole dissenting vote. since then, it's been used by presidents bush, obama, and
trump to justify at least 37 military operations in 14 countries, many of which were entirely unrelated to 9/11. a federal court in washington, d.c., has blocked president trump's directive banning transgender troops from serving in the u.s. armed forces, pending further review by the courts. in her ruling, judge colleen kollar-kotelly trump for announcing the ban via twitter . in syria, a united nations convoy reached the besieged damascus suburb of ghouta monday, carrying aid for tens of thousands or residents at risk of famine from a stifling government siege. this is mark lowcock, the u.n.'s humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator. >> an alarming number of child malnutrition cases have been reported in more than 400 people
with health problems require medical evacuation. world the core of the food program and others for unimpeded humanitarian access. amy: the u.n. said its shipment will provide relief to about 40,000 people -- a small fraction of the estimated 350,000 syrians in the area who've seen food, fuel, and medicine cut off since government forces cut off access to smuggling tunnels earlier this year. in the gaza strip, at least eight were killed monday as israeli forces built -- blue up a tunnel. the palestinian ministry of health said most of the dead were members of the al-quds brigades militant group. the attack drew a threat of retaliation by the islamic jihad movement and was condemned by hamas, which called it a "new war" against the people of gaza. the tunnel attack came just days before hamas is due to relinquish power to the west bank-based palestinian authority as part of an agreement aimed at ending a decade-old split
between hamas and its political rival fatah. meanwhile, white house senior adviser jared kushner has returned from a secret trip to the middle east. kushner which is saudi arabia where he met privately with members of the royal family in what the white house says was a trip aimed at brokering a peace deal between israel and the palestinians. spain's top prosecutor has called for the arrest of carlos puigdemont and other catalan leaders on charges of rebellion, sedition, and embezzlement. puigdemont appeared in belgium after the charges were announced by vowing to continue his fight for a separate catalan nation. after the parliament voted for independence by margin of 70 votes to 10. puigdemont has hired a belgian lawyer, and may be considering an asylum claim in belgium, where courts have a high bar for extradition requests.
in kenya, incumbent president uhuhru kenyatta has claimed victory in an election re-run that saw his main opponent boycott over charges of electoral fraud. kenyatta took 98% of last thursday's vote with only 39% of eligible kenyans casting ballots. authorities called off the revote in 25 of kenya's 290 electoral districts amid street protests and blockades by supporters of opposition leader odinga. he called it a sham and called for a third vote in the next 90 days. on monday, amnesty international condemned instances of brutality and unlawful killing by authorities against opposition protesters, saying police fired indiscriminately into crowds and even broke into the homes of suspected protest organizers. the u.s. navy says it is investigating whether two members of its elite seal team six were responsible for killing a green beret at the u.s.
embassy in mali last june. army staff sergeant logan melgar was found strangled to death in his room at the embassy, where he was assigned to train malian forces in counterinsurgency. the investigation of his step comes as the trump administration expands the role of africom across the continent. in paris, activists disrupted the opening of an exhibition honoring filmmaker roman polanski, who's accused of a string of sexual assaults and is wanted in the u.s. on charges he raped a 13-year-old girl in 1977. this is protester sadio rao. >> i think it is ridiculous. ishink it is ridiculous he not in jail, that no one is taking the cases of these women seriously. i'm here to give a voice and fight for that so we take these women seriously for once. amy: the protest's came after thousands demonstrated in cities across france over the weekend
inspired by the hashtag #metoo, in which women share their stories of sexual assault and harassment. the protests came as france's minister for gender equality pressed for legislation that would fine men who catcall, harass, or follow women on the street. u.s., hollywood actor kevin spacey has apologized for an incident three decades ago in which he made a sexual advance on actor anthony rapp, who was just 14-years-old at the time. in a statement, spacey said he couldn't remember the 1986 incident, but apologized for deeply inappropriate drunken behavior. kevin spacey used the statement to come out as a gay man, drawing fire from lgbt activists who blasted him for conflating homosexuality with child molestation. netflix said monday it has canceled its popular "house of cards" series, saying it was deeply troubled by the star's actions. the united nations warned monday
carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere soared to a record 403.3 parts per last year, million jumping at the fastest annual rate ever recorded. it's a level the planet hasn't seen since the pliocene epoch 3 million years ago when sea levels were about 66 feet higher. the report by the world meteorological organization came as representatives from nearly 200 countries are set to meet in bonn, germany, next week for two weeks of talks aimed at curbing the worst effects of climate change. democracy now! will broadcast daily from the talks in bonn throughout the week beginning november 13. human rights campaigners rallied outside the white house monday, calling on the trump administration to release children and their parents from the berks county residential center in pennsylvania, where families are imprisoned as they seek asylum in the u.s. protesters with amnesty
international set up cardboard silhouettes of children and teddy bears draped in signs reading, "don't let kids grow up in jail." amnesty's protest came as the american civil liberties union demanded the immediate release of a 10-year-old girl who was taken into custody by border patrol agents as she recovered from emergency surgery at a hospital in texas. video shows the agents escorting rosa maria hernandez, who is undocumented, into custody as the 10-year-old girl is wheeled out of the hospital on a gurney. hernandez has been living in the u.s. since she was three months old when her parents moved to the u.s. in order to access better medical care to treat her cerebral palsy. we will have more on her case later in the broadcast. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world.
president donald trump's former campaign chair paul manafort and manafort's former business associate rick gates surrendered to authorities monday morning after a federal grand jury handed down the first indictments in special counsel robert mueller's investigation into russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. manafort and gates pleaded not guilty to all charges filed against them in a 12-count indictment, which included money laundering and acting as unregistered agents of ukraine's former pro-russian government. as well as conspiracy against the united states. authorities announced a third former trump adviser, george papadopoulos, pleaded guilty in early october to lying to the fbi. white house spokesperson sarah sanders said monday the indictments have nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity. ,> the real collusion scandal
as we have said before come has everything to do with the clinton campaign, fusion, gps, and russia. there is clear evidence of the clinton campaign colluding with russian intelligence to smear the president to influence the election. we have been saying from day one there is no evidence of trump-russian collusion. nothing in the indictment today changes that at all. juan: president trump responded to news of the indictments on twitter by lashing out against his former campaign rival, hillary clinton, and the democratic party. he wrote -- "sorry, but this is years ago, before paul manafort was part of the trump campaign. but why aren't crooked hillary & the dems the focus????? also, there is no collusion!" the presidents tweets came before news broke of george papadopoulos' indictment and trump has not treated since then. meanwhile, immigrant leaders warned against firing papadopoulos. senate democratic leader chuck schumer said monday if it does
-- "congress must respond swiftly, unequivocally, and in a bipartisan way to ensure that the investigation continues." amy: both have been placed under house arrest. observers are closely watching the case against george papadopoulos, in -- an early foreign policy adviser to trump's 2016 campaign who may provide greater evidence of possible collusion between the russian government and the trump campaign. according to his plea deal, papadopoulos was told that the russians had dirt on hillary clinton, and through a series of communications with foreign agents, he tried to facilitate communication between the trump campaign and russian agents. papadopoulos was arrested in july 2017, has been cooperating with federal authorities since then, striking a plea deal earlier this month. the plea deal was just announced after the indictment against manafort and gates. for more, we are joined by marcy wheeler, an independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. she runs the website emptywheel.net and her new piece for the intercept is titled, "george papadopoulos's indictment is very, very bad news for attorney general jeff
sessions." marcy, welcome back to democracy now! why do you start with the indictments against the chairman of donald trump's campaign, manafort, and manafort business executive gates. their significance and whether they relate to collusion. >> they are designed to get them to flip. in other words, mueller has been targeting manafort for quite sometime. i think gates was a bit surprised he was indicted yesterday. and what he has done is charge fairlyth crimes that are controllable. they don't involve colluding with russia, for example. such that they will be enticed to make a legal, just as papadopoulos did, and provide more information about what
mueller is really investigating, which is whether not the trump campaign, for example, was trying to work with russian agents on june 9, 2016, when they agreed to take a meeting to find dirt on hillary clinton. so it is mostly garden-variety money laundering, although, fairly spectacular garden-variety money laundering. manafort was charged with laundering $1 million to the local anti-drug shop. there's also a schema going back to 2012 where manafort and gates were both pretending not to be lobbying on whether or not ukraine was democratic and pro-eu and getting, incidentally, tony but us a, john podesta -- who are clinton's campaign advisers brother to lobby on his behalf while hiding there were actually lobbying. that is the big thing that gets gates. but again, the idea is to get them to make a plea deal so that then mueller can get them to
provide more evidence on the case on the way in the which the trump campaign was trying to reach the russians. juan: the issue of dates also being indicted -- gates also being indicted. as you pointed out and some of your articles, manafort was only chair of the campaign for short period of time in 2016, but wass stayed on the next day involved in the trump campaign even through the inauguration as president. the significance of gates of being included in this indictment? deputy andrew weissman is fairly well-known for indicting the target and the targets family members. manafort had marital problems recently, so i joked this morning that other than indicting his wife who legitimately could've been tied to some of these because her name is on the business as well, instead he indicted manafort's long-term business partner gates
to make him feel like you is dragging somebody else into the dirt. but you are right. gates, and the papadopoulos plea deal, there is an interchange between manafort and gates pertaining to whether or not the campaign was going to try and set up a meeting with vladimir putin. in aates will have been lot of these conversations all the way through the inauguration so he knows some stuff that manafort was ousted in august, although he stayed close to trump and was speaking to trump as recently as february. gates was in the white house as part of the transition. we will have dirt of his own -- will have dirt of his own to do with special counsel mueller. amy: let's talk about george papadopoulos and the significance here. he was arrested the day after manafort house was raided. october 5, but it
was only announced yesterday. trump tweeted after manafort -gates indictment "this shows no collusion." which was correct. but when the papadopoulos plea deal was announced, trump stopped tweeting altogether. and then went to lunch with jeff sessions, his attorney general so talk about george papadopoulos, jeff sessions, and the significance of what papadopoulos knows. >> so papadopoulos was living in london. -- it is quitey clear from the plea, he was being courted by russian handlers, by three different russian handlers, to set up a meeting. they wanted to set up a meeting between putin and trump. as the summer went on, papadopoulos and manafort were going to be the one to wait for
the meeting. as i said, there is a footnote in the plea that shows manafort talking to gates and saying, "we need to avoid making it clear that we are of cozying up to the russians here." so the other really important thing, which really isn't in the plea agreement but we know is part of the discussions that papadopoulos has been having since july with mueller's people, and that is that he was accused of lying about whether -- about what he took this reference from the russians to mean. that they had dirt on hillary clinton in the form of thousands of emails. it is clear that they have accused him of lying about when he learned about that, but the rest is kind of silent. which is the beauty of this plea agreement because it is designed to get everyone panicking because they don't know what papadopoulos has said. at the suggestion there is that by april -- actually, three days before the dnc realize they were
being hacked by the russians, papadopoulos knew that the russians had thousands of hillary emails that they were seeking to drop as dirt for this campaign. he keptery clear that in touch with everyone else on the campaign. so in addition to manafort and gates who aren't named but we know from other reporting they are included, lewandowski, who was also a campaign chair and remained on the campaign, a guy by the name of sam clovis who has a confirmation hearing coming up november 9 for the ag department, and most important, march 31, papadopoulos was in a meeting -- there is a picture of this, with a bunch of foreign-policy advisers, but it includes jeff sessions, and trump. at that meeting, he said, "my job is to set up a meeting with vladimir putin." as you said, trump got really so
it after this was released. but sanders was saying, well, trump doesn't remember russia coming up in that meeting. sessions hasn't said anything about it. the point i made yesterday is 18, in testimony on the sessions said he knew nothing about any campaign surrogates talking to russians. now we know he was in a meeting where he heard about a meeting with vladimir putin. his foreign testimony from two weeks ago seems, as always is the case with attorney general sessions, seems to be no longer operative and proven yet again to be untrue. juan: marcy wheeler, is in "the times" reporting at one of these meetings, especially said this kind of meeting would not happen between, certainly, between the candidate himself and any russian leaders? so clearly, he had to have some knowledge of what the information about papadopoulos
was gathering beforehand. >> at the very beginning of their discussions about foreign-policy -- this is, again, quite clear from the plea agreement of papadopoulos. priority for the trump campaign was to make friends with russia. and at ut there with, like, eight different campaign people and the president, the now president, at that meeting. police doubtless said "my job is to set up a meeting between you." , donald trump, and vladimir putin." and vladimir putin is very much looking forward to that. the important point about that is from march on, there is that meeting, april, papadopoulos learns about the email. that really influences the mindset of everybody who was in that june 9, 2016 meeting with the russian lawyer and a bunch of other russians where they offer dirt on hillary clinton. because we know that at least
one person on the campaign, probably a lot more, new two months earlier that the dirt was not political donations going emailsars, but instead, that were stolen from hillary clinton. so that really changes the mindset, particularly for paul manafort because he would have been in the loop and he was in that june 9 meeting. that would change the mindset of what everyone who took that june 9 meeting was doing. amy: so this indictment is called indictment b. who is indictment a? >> we have no idea. the docket just chronologically before the manafort-gates docket is also sealed, so it is possible somebody else got indicted. given that we don't know about it, if that is the case, then that person may be cooperating. tonyuld actually be podesta. john podesta, hillary clinton's campaign advisor.
he stepped down from his own firm, as does lobbyist they're called. he is, the democratic sleazy counterpart of paul manafort. you step down because of this corruption. he is been named a subject in the investigation. it is not outside around the possibility he was also charged. thesething about indictments. manafort's lawyer actually said, how dare the special counsel prosecutes somebody for violating the foreign agents registration act the guys it hasn't been treated as a law for a very long time in d.c. i think on top of everything else, a lot of lobbyists in d.c. are going to start imaging the kind of sleazy influence handling they've been doing because now robert mueller is going after it. tony put us to is an outside possibility. another possibility is mike flynn. the charges that he would be offered as a first indictment to get him to flip are all the same
was that manafort would be. that he had not registered as a foreign agent both for turkey and for russia, and that he had not disclosed all of his income on his taxes. so it is possible. we don't know. hopefully, we will find out. again, what happened yesterday was by design intended to get the people who are named in the papadopoulos plea and everybody else whohave been in conversation with these people to start panicking will stop juan: i want to ask you about another aspect of what happened yesterday, the civil forfeiture of attempts by the federal government against manafort. what is the significance of that, going after his assets as well? >> plus the $10 million bail. right. there were millions -- i think $18 million of money laundered unds brought into the u.s.
there are the rugs in the suits. all of that because the fruits of the crimes alleged in the indictment. all of that is now for fillable, including the number of homes. but with hazards to do is bankrupt manafort, who is a ready known to be in a significant amount of debt. he has a ready paid millions to his lawyers. it makes it a lot harder for him to amounts -- to mount a defense because he no longer has liquid assets to pay lawyers. this is an object leon for everyone else that says, clearly or you will be in much worse straits because you will not have the money and the charges are going to start getting worse and it is going to be -- it is going to get increasingly difficult to get yourself out of a pinch. amy: marcy wheeler, did anything shock you yesterday? >> no, but i think everyone in d.c. was surprised that mueller was able to get this guy to take
a plea agreement on october 5 and keep it silent until now. what shocked me is just how well he is keeping secrets. amy: marcy wheeler, they can for being with us, independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. she runs the website emptywheel.net. her new piece for the intercept is headlined "george papadopoulos's indictment is very, very bad news for attorney general jeff sessions." when we come back, we are just back from puerto rico. now reportedly the of the eye is investigating the $300 million whitefish energy deal. will it be killed altogether? we will be back with the mayor of san juan. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we turn now to puerto rico, where united nations experts are warning of alarming conditions now more than five weeks after hurricane maria. in a report released monday, the u.n. experts also condemned the united states' handling of the disaster, saying the response was ineffective and that the
mainland states of florida and texas had received far more support after being struck by hurricanes than puerto rico did. leilani farha, the united nations special rapporteur on housing, said -- "we can't fail to note the dissimilar urgency and priority given to the emergency response in puerto rico, compared to the u.s. states affected by hurricanes in recent months." amy: this comes as "the wall street journal" is reporting the fbi is investigating the $300 million contract between puerto rico's electrical power company, known as prepa, and the tiny montana-based company whitefish, which is linked to interior secretary ryan zinke. that is his hometown. on sunday, under enormous pressure, puerto rico's governor ricardo rosello instructed puerto rico's power company to cancel the controversial contract with whitefish energy.
well, we were there in puerto rico when that was announced. but our first stop on friday afternoon was the roberto clemente coliseum, where san juan's mayor carmen yulin cruz and her vice mayor, rafael jaume, were analyzing the details of two contracts -- yes, the $300 million deal with whitefish, and another $200 million contract between the power company and cobra, an oklahoma-based company. we had actually come into the coliseum because there have been a news conference that the san juan mayor held with bernie sanders who had come into town for a few hours to express solidarity with the mayor and the people of puerto rico. afterwards, i got to sit down with the san juan mayor. i just as we finished this interview, the vice mayor came in with the contracts and all of the caveats. they were just shocked.
so you just got a hold of both the whitefish contract -- >> and the kober contract. both of them this morning. amy: $300 million with whitefish, $290 for cobra in oklahoma-based company. this is the fema statement from this morning? >> is is this decision was made exclusively by puerto rico electric power authority, prepa. fema was not involved in this election. questions regarding the election of this contract should be referred to prepa. any language in any contract between prepa and whitefish that states fema approved the contract is inaccurate. strong words. i will tell you this -- amy: this is part of -- 59 in the whitefish contract says -- on "in the
event -- in no event shall prepa upwardommonwealth ago, the united states or any authorized representative have theright to audit or review cost and profit elements of the labor rates specified herein. you can read it yourself. that is black-and-white. 68. article penalties, fines, disallowed costs. contract,ng this prepa towards that fema has reviewed and approved of this contract. and confirmed that the contract is an acceptable form to qualify for funding from fema and other u.s. government agencies.
totally the opposite. amy: in what fema is saying. isthat means that contract no envoy. it contradicts the laws of the united states of america and should be avoided right now -- voided right now by the artery can government. if the puerto rican government doesn't have been are they need to do to do things right, then the u.s. government should do it. what this means is that we will not get reimbursed for $300 million contract awarded to a two employee company that did not have the expertise, nor business getting into this business. amy: fema says prepa holy approved this. prepa is the puerto rico electric power authority. did prepa approved this? >> i have asked -- the director of prepa signed it. i have asked for prepa to
release the minutes of the meeting where this was discussed. did notainly, fema approve this. that means we're not going to get reimbursed by this. and by declaring that in fact fema approved it, they were line when they signed the contract. amy: the head of prepa was lying. >> both parties. if i was getting a $300 million contract based on the fact i would get reimbursed by fema, i would have liked that in writing. amount much less than that decisions much less than that i have said, no, until i have it in writing. that is no envoy great there. right there. no envoy great there. right there. you cannot tell a government to do that you cannot audit a contract, that you have no right to request a time frame and you
cannot represent things that are not true and contracts. that is the basics of contract law. so this right here is no and point. in code you want the whitefish contract nullified? >> it should be. it is scandalous. it is an affront on our people. and frankly, again, when i called for this two days ago, their response from the whitefish twitter was threatening to take away the 40 for men and women -- i don't know if that women working. they said men. and 40 more that were coming that day. so they have 84 people working in san juan, which is the largest city in puerto rico. not only that, i would want to know what is the work plan? they don't have to have one. because in the contract it states they don't have to finish anytime soon. so this is a gift of $300
million to two people. that is what this amounts to. amy: do think the head of prepa should be fired? >> yes. he should have been fired a long time ago. what is beyond the is why the governor continues to say that this man has his support. amy: and the head of prepa is? >> ricardo ramos. very, very ineffective. very inappropriate. frankly, somebody that doesn't even know what he is signing. amy: in the other contract? there is a $200 million -- cobra contract? had at when i haven't chance to look at it. we got it this morning. amy: this also signed be the head of prepa? >> yes, also signed by the head of prepa.
it is interesting because when you look at these contracts, some of them -- i don't know -- i think it is this one. already has a den them -- addendum's to them. there have already been changes. >> these are the rates for hours. amy: cobra is know, based contract. i don't know if there's any relationship between scott pruitt, the former oklahoma attorney general and now the head of the environmental protection agency. >> i don't know, either. i do know that two and three is five and there is $500 million utterly one of which is null and void. it is very difficult to understand that in the united states, contractual law would allow one of the parties to be taken for a ride. this contracts --
not good for the puerto rican people. amy: you're holding the whitefish contract. >> yes. not only that, it was signed october 17. i have the page this morning. october 17. this is a 300 million dollar contract. i hope to god that it has a lot more than these little tiny pages that we have here. it is unnerving. it truly is unnerving that people can just swindle -- swindle an entire population when they are at its most vulnerable. amy: that is san juan's mayor carmen yulin cruz and the vice
mayor rafael jaume. coliseum where the entire mayor's staff is staying. it has electricity. most of puerto rico does not have it. it was the room in which she just had her news conference with senator bernie sanders and union leaders decrying what was happening right now in puerto rico and the u.s. government's response. but they are standing there just haven't gotten the actual -- just having gotten the actual paper contracts of both whitefish energy, the $300 million contract that was signed ramos with the head the cobraand contract, which is not talked about as much, an oklahoma-based company, for $200 million.
juan, you have been following this very closely. yes. i raised a couple of weeks ago the issue of this whitefish contract. the problem is that the pillaging of puerto rico is still continuing, even in the midst of this enormous crisis. not only is this contract with whitefish indefensible, the rates they were paying private contractors essentially to do work that puerto rico electrical workers could be doing or that electrical workers from other parts of the united states could be doing from utilities, but there was pillaging going on before hand. most people are not aware this guy ricardo ramos was appointed the head of prepa just in february. amy: and use that time to sign these contracts. juan: and before that, there was a woman named lisa donohue, the chief restructuring officer
of prepa. she had been brought in about a year and half earlier to restructure all of the debt of prepa. she never was finally able to get a final deal with the bondholders, yet she walked away million forwith $46 18 months of work. her and the other partners in her firm that were brought in to restructure puerto rico's debt. 46 million dollars for 18 months of work. amy: and let's remember prepa is bankrupt. juan: bankrupt, but it doesn't mean that there is an cash coming in from the rates utilities users, customers are paying. the question is, where does the money go? this example of these contracts in the midst of this enormous calamity in puerto rico is an example of how the money is being wasted. and it is being wasted now supposedly when prepa is not only under new management, but
also under oversight of the u.s. board, physical control board. this kind of money come the fiscal control board also has the roof these guys a major expenditures. amy: we're going to go to break and then come back to my conversation with san juan mayor carmen yulin cruz. the fbi is now investigating how this whitefish deal at the porter being government says they're in the process of canceling was accomplished. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. as we turn right now to my interview with the puerto rican mayor carmen yulin cruzamy: thi, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. . i spoke with her on friday. we sat down together in the roberto clemente coliseum where the entire mayoral staff is now living. i began by asking her how hurricane maria has changed puerto rico since it struck the island on september 20. changednk september 20 the puerto rican reality forever . we live in a different san juan and a different puerto rico, not because of what we are lacking. the majority of the island is still without any power. only about 40% to 60% of the population has water. that doesn't mean that it is good water. we still have to boil it or put lorene in it to be able to joint it. medical services are really,
really bad because of the lack of electricity. supermarketsthe are not there yet so people are having a lot of trouble getting the supplies they need. still, the fierce determination of people has not dwindled. to me, that has been a very -- i would say a big lesson to learn. amy: can you talk about this public power company, the largest in the u.s.. do you think there is an effort in this time in the aftermath of the hurricane of an effort to just privatize it? what do you think has to be done about it? >> it cannot be privatized it. i am, and a lot of people are gone totally against. we are 100 miles long by 35 miles wide. that is a monopoly. it doesn't matter how you want to disguise it, it is a monopoly. what we're doing is putting in private hands the decisions as
to where our economic development is spread, where the sense of equality or inequality will happen. so power is in just about the power grid. it is also about the ability that the puerto rican people may have in the years to come to ensure there is appropriate economic development and equally divided amongst all the 78 municipalities in puerto rico. amy: disaster capitalism. what does that term mean to you and you you think that is happening here? using a crisis to accomplish something that could not be accomplished otherwise? >> i wish i had never been introduced to that term. also the shock treatment. you have seen the chaos -- using the chaos to strip employees of the marketing rights, rights that took 40, 50 years for the unions to be able to determine that it is something very important. it just means taking advantage
of people when they are in a life or death situation. -- an absolute mistreatment of human rights. feed offthe strongest the weakest until everything that is left is the carcass. and what we cannot understand is why? that is so against the american spirit that we see. we have in san juan, more than 500 volunteers in a span of four weeks. coming here, leaving their homes, taking their vacation coming nurses, teamsters, leaving their workers. i met a person from california who sold her harley davidson to come to san juan and help for two weeks.
you have -- the united states has a big heart. you know what it is to help those in need. and then the central government, the federal government in the u.s. seems to be just playing a totally different tune. caseslowness, this total of just getting relief to people -- life and death relief to people -- is an think about. amy: you mentioned death. as we flew in here, we heard about bodies being incinerated at morgues that are not counted. do you actually know the death toll right now? >> know, we don't know. it is been reported 911 deaths our bodies have in cremated since maria. why is that happening -- amy: 911? >> 911. why is that happening? we have no idea. usually when you cremate people
at that rate, you're trying to ensure an outbreak of whatever disease doesn't come out. but whatever it is, we should know about it. whyn, i don't understand these things are not being openly talked about. amy: let's go back to when president trump attacked you. i think a shocked many people then, people had heard of you. you were a familiar image across our tv screens as you were chest high in water with your bullhorn helping to save people and evacuate people. so that is the mayor of san juan we became familiar with. and then you have the president of the united states attacking you. te -- first, quo you the acting out of the department of homeland security talking -- >> saying this is a good news story. i don't know if i
can say the word on tv. but it really upset me because this has never been a good news story. when devastation hits and people are dying because they don't have dialysis, appropriate medical care, or food and water, whose mind and heart would call this a good news story? i hadn't actually heard her say that. i have actually met her twice after that. we have had good meetings. good things have come from those meetings. but to me, at that moment, it was like a total lack of connection with reality. orbe in trumpville mar-a-lago. amy: president trump says the mayor of san juan who is very complementary of only a few days ago, has now been told by the democrats you must be nasty to
trump. he tweeted this from his bedminster golf resort in new jersey. and when on to say -- and one "such poor leadership ability by the mayor of san juan and others in puerto rico who are not able to get their workers to help, they want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. >> do you know what i thought? poor guy. poor guy. a must be difficult to live in a world where reality is very different to what you want it to be. and it is very easy to try to change the dialogue when you are feeling. of 100, it isout a great. it is still a feeling great. amy: can you tell us what your meeting was like with him when president trump came here? what we saw was the president hurling rolls of paper towels and hurricane survivors. >> yeah. presidentrd was a
disconnected with reality and not representing the real values of the american people. amen that said, this is not a real catastrophe. now, katrina, that was a real catastrophe. he then has -- he has rescinded what he said. it is for your hard to keep up with the man. and he wants to -- anyway. .e tried to avoid i am small, so it is easy for him. amy: where were you? at the air force .ase i went because you have to respect the presidency. people int 350,000 san juan. , iit had been him and me would have not wasted my time. but in a democracy, you have to
respect the leadership, even withh you don't see i die a person -- see i to eye with the person. to lean over because he was so far away from he. he had to reach out. i said, it is not -- it is about setting lives, mr. president, not about politics. and he looked over me and said, "well, thank you, everybody." thatd of chuckled because didn't bother him then he would've said "i agree with you." he because it bothered him, didn't say anything. so all he did was -- it was a feast of accolades to himself. "oh, we're done such a good job with the coast guard." in the meantime, i've, are sitting next to me saying, "let him come to my town." -- havethe reality things gotten better in san
juan, yes, and the pastor can have, fema has responded more equitably. and a lot of it has to do with local politics. my meetingay after to be ourtary zinke connection with fema, from homeland security, things got better. are they where they are supposed to be? no. see the light at the end of the tunnel? a week ago i could imagine it and now i can see it. but that is that the situation for most of the 77 other municipalities in puerto rico. i'm not one to be such a bad rhetoric and i'm going to say "as long as they're good for me, then they are good for the world ," because then i would become donald trump. and haven't for bed i should ever be like that man. amy: you clearly came into office with the support of many unions. in fact, when we flew in from
the airport and your holding a news conference with bernie sanders, there were representatives of a number of unions. and among them were the electrical workers. and they talked about the power company. there has been discussions about whether you could transform this largest public our company in the country -- power company in the country that had the biggest shortage of blackout of electricity that we have seen in this country, as possibly the test case where you start you solar powell. what about this? what do you see happening? do you see this as a gender privatize or creative ways that puerto rico could move forward and be a pioneer in solar? >> there are creative ways. tesla has are ready come and done a humanitarian work at the children's hospital where they are energized with solar panels. this is a caribbean island. we get lots and lots of sun, so
we should be able to reach goals that are increasing every year to move away from our addiction to fossil fuel to nonfossil fuel. and we should also be able to energize communities just using solar power, and perhaps some wind power if it is appropriate. but for the first time, at least i heard today, the president of power company saying -- the union saying they're looking forward to transforming the system and moving toward a ander mix of regular grid solar power energy. and that was very refreshing to hear. so for those of them that say, no, no, the unions just want to keep us one step behind, that isn't true. again, you change the dialogue, you attack so as to not be able
host: today, i'm in the peloponnese checking out the world's most famous olive. farmer: this is kalamon. it's a classic table olive. host: this region produces some of the world's best kalamata olives, and i'm going to follow them from harvest to table. this is really not easy. all while making some of my favorite local dishes. this is greece in a pot. spartan chicken... grilled olives, and oranges... and kayiannas... join me, on my greek table ! i was born in new york and visited greece when i was 12. i fell in love with the place and my husband. i moved to athens 25 years ago to cook and write about greece's healthy foods and natural beauty. i'm diane kochilas. yassas!