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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  June 10, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, june 10: violence in afghanistan claims the lives of american soldiers. all eyes may have been on james comey this week, but what else happened in washington? and, how effective is political protest in the digital age? xt on "s newshour weekend." >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your
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retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening and thanks for joining us. officials in afghanistan say three u.s. soldiers were killed and another wounded today by an afghan army commando who intentionally fired on them. the attacker was then shot and killed in return fire. the so-called "insider attack" on the americans occurred in eastern nangarhar province, south of jalalabad and near the border with pakistan. a similar attack in march, in southern afghanistan's helmand province, wounded three u.s. soldiers. the taliban has claimed responsibility for today's attack. a white house spokesman said president trump, who spent the day at his golf club in new jersey, was following the situation. the president is in the process
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of considering a pentagon request to send another five- thousand american troops to afghanistan. they would join the 8,400 soldiers still deployed there to bolster the afghan government and army against the taliban, which the u.s. military says, controls 40% of the country. in a separate, "friendly fire" incident today, a u.s. airstrike against the taliban in helmand province mistakenly killed three afghan police officers and wounded two others. british police say the three terrorists who carried out last saturday night's attack on london bridge and a nearby market intended to rent a truck much larger than the van they used as a weapon against pedestrians. police said today the trio resorted to a van after their payment for truck was declined and drove two practice runs before speeding into pedestrians and killing three of them. inside the van, police said, they found 13 explosive "molotov cocktails"-- wine bottles filled with gasoline and stuffed with rags. the attackers left them behind when they went on their stabbing
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spree with 12-inch ceramic knives, killing five more people. today, police arrested two more suspects in connection with the investigation. seven remain in custody. meanwhile, the two chiefs of staff to prime minister theresa may quit today, following thursday's election that saw her conservative party lose its majority of seats in parliament. in this country, anti-muslim activists staged what turned out to be relatively small demonstrations against "sharia"" or strict islamic law in cities across the country today. the so-called "march against sharia" was organized by "act for america," which the southern poverty law center describes as an anti-muslim hate group. the group argues sharia law is subverting american law and democracy and has boasted that it has access to the trump administration. in seattle, austin, harrisburg, and new york city, equal or greater numbers of counter- demonstrators showed up with police on hand to keep the groups apart. the u.s. navy's 16th vessel to be named after a woman honors former arizona congresswoman
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gabby giffords. the 420-foot "u.s.s. gabrielle giffords" was commissioned today in galveston, texas. giffords was on hand for the ceremony with her husband, retired naval officer and astronaut mark kelly. the navy said it wanted to honor her for her perseverance after being shot in the head in a mass shooting that killed six people in tucson six years ago. the first public testimony of former f.b.i. director jim comey since his firing by president trump...captured the capitol's attention this week, but there were other significant developments on the hill outside that spotlight. "newshour weekend" special correspondent jeff greenfield joins me from santa barbara, california, to discuss that. so, what did we miss? >> well, the entire political universe was focused on the comey testimony. up on capitol hill in the senate, majority leader mitch
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mcconnell took the republican repeal and replace obamacare bill and put it on a so-called fast track. that means it can go right to the floor of the senate with no committee meetings, no hearings, virtually no debate, and it would take 50 votes to pass it. there were some concessions to moderates. it's not clear the most conservative of senators will sign on, but it represents a significant step in that direction. on the other side the house passed significant cutbacks of the dodd-frank bill. that's legislation that puts significant caps on what big banks can do in the wake of the financial meltdown in 2008. what it indicates is that the republican majorities in the house and senate are determined to press ahead with the core republican agenda on matters ranging from financial regulation to the role of health in the government and beyond. >> sreenivasan: is there a pattern here on how they are going to pursue this agenda? >> well, i think the pattern extends beyond capitol hill, and it indicates why some congressional republicans who
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might have a lot of problems with trump's behavior are not going to be that willing to step away from him. the executive branch has done all kinds of regulatory changes. they've granted a lot of comevmentions to the energy industry, to for-profit colleges. they've appointed into positions of government representatives from various interest groups and have given them exempt grons conflict of interest rules. they've clearly appointed some-- or trying to appoint staunch conservatives to the federal bench. and that suggests that for congressional republicans looking at trump, there's a thought that, well, he may have problems, but he seems to be pursuing what we conservatives have wanted the government to do for some time, which is why i think that they will be less inclined than otherwise to take sides against him in, say air, fight with the former director of the f.b.i. >> sreenivasan: so where does this leave the president then? on thursday we heard basically jim comey say that the president in some ways lied, and then friday we explicitly heard the
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president refute that. >> well, you know, i think in the short run-- and we've talked about this before-- the whole impeachment idea is a nonstarter. we don't have a lot of history about impeachment, but one thing is as long as the president retains the support of his or her party, removal from office is almost impossible. but when the president said publicly he'd be willing to take-- to testify under oath before special counsel mueller, he may have bought himself a world of trouble because once you testify under oath, anything you say that's false can be used as either a source of a criminal indictment or in the case of a president, impeachment. and under those circumstances, ung you would see congressional republicans, particularly from those in the swing districts, begin to move away from him. the fact of the matter is, right now, whatever his overall poll numbers are, he is hugely popular within his party. >> sreenivasan: yup. >> but i do think he set himself up for a potential problem with that statement about testifying
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under oath. >> sreenivasan: all right, jeff greenfield, thanks so much. >> okay. >> sreenivasan: from 2009's uprising in iran to the arab spring in 2011 to protests in the united states following the 2016 election, social media has played a key role in organizing and mobilizing people. a single hashtag or a facebook post can spread the word of a demonstration fast, and help draw a big crowd. but a new book argues there are also limits to how much digital technology can accomplish. >> sreenivasan: the day after the inauguration of president donald trump, an estimated 3.5 million people in cities around the country and the world took part in the women's march, protesting the trump agenda in what may have been the largest collective protest in american history. the march started with a single facebook post and grew from there. in raleigh, north carolina, professor zeynep tufekci was one of those faces in the crowd.
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>> marches are great. they're really empowering to people. but the magic isn't really in the streets by itself or any online action; it's when you look at the action when you're say, a legislator, thinking, "hmm, if they can march with a million people, what else can they do?" >> sreenivasan: tufekci teaches in the school of information at the university of north carolina chapel hill and is the author of the new book, "twitter and tear gas: the power and fragility of networked protest." >> the twist in the 21st century seems to be, since we can a do things much easier with digital technology, they don't necessarily have the same level of teeth a similar action, say, a march on washington, might have 30, 40, 50 years ago because that was a result of a long process of organizing. >> sreenivasan: the march on washington for jobs and freedom in 1963 took six months to
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organize-- arranging buses, bag lunches, singers and speakers for a quarter of a million who attended. tufekci says the march was a show of strength for the civil rights movement built over the previous ten years. >> it pushed the people in power to take the threat pretty seriously. >> sreenivasan: one year later, congress passed and president lyndon johnson signed the landmark civil rights act of 1964. more recently, tufekci cites the success of the conservative "tea party" movement. it began in the spring of 2009 with a viral video... >> this is america. how many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage? >> sreenivasan: ...followed by tax day protests around the country. by the november 2010 midterm elections, the movement had a measurable impact. >> they got 50-plus congress people. they essentially blocked president obama's second term agenda, and, arguably, they elected a president that they like. so, it just shows what the
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protest leads to depends on what happens next. >> sreenivasan: in 2011, on the other side of the political spectrum, one email, inspired by the arab spring protests, started "occupy wall street." within weeks, it was a movement with encampments all over the country. but when the camps came down, "occupy" had little to show for its agenda. >> on the one hand, it was really powerful in bringing to people's attention something that was important: inequality. but if you look at the electoral results or at sort of the policy, it wasn't taken as a threat. and the people in power just didn't really change their way; inequality hasn't gone down, we don't have any new legislation that tries to dampen inequality. so, you can sort of see that the digital technology empowered both of them, but they start taking different turns right after, with really different consequences. >> sreenivasan: the ease of organizing and mobilizing online has led to a common critique.
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for a while, it was just considered "slacktivism." is it too easy just to click a link and signal that i like this and i don't like this? how does it translate into action? >> i think it's a great first step, so that's why i don't like the term "slacktivism." i don't think it's slacking in anything to click. it could be a very powerful first step. even if it stops there, it's got power. the question is, how do you take that very widespread but relatively shallow level of engagement and give people who clearly wanting to do something else, right? how do you organize it so that more people can step and say, "here are things you could do collectively"? and by doing it collectively along the way, you'll build those important skills of decision-making together and hanging together. >> sreenivasan: while activists
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adopted digital technology tools, governments tried and failed to disrupt them. for instance, tufekci points to the 2011 protests in cairo's tahrir square. >> the government just didn't know what to do, so they just shut off the internet, which completely backfired. it was the absolute wrong thing to do if you were a government because it just brings attention. and a lot of parents who were getting news from their kids in tahrir square, the cell phones were also cut. >> sreenivasan: but governments have also learned how to use digital technology. five years later, during an attempted coup in turkey, president recep tayyip erdogan relied on digital technology-- his iphone facetime app-- to rally supporters against rebellious soldiers. >> it was really sort of amazing to watch this. it was just this little screen, but it confirmed to the country that he was alive. they realized very quickly that the internet and digital technology would be on their side to counter this coup. >> sreenivasan: you point out how crucial twitter and facebook were in getting people to come out to the street, but you also
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point out that there's a tremendous amount of power on these platforms now. and the way that the algorithms are designed could actually determine the success or failure of a movement? >> absolutely. for example, facebook uses an algorithm, a computer program, to choose how to rank what it shows you. so, if you don't see something from someone, maybe facebook isn't showing it to you. for a social movement, that's incredibly consequential. >> sreenivasan: it was consequential in the summer of 2014 as protests erupted on the streets of ferguson, missouri, following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, michael brown, by a white police officer. early on, tufekci says, the protests got a lot of attention on twitter but less so on facebook because of another viral sensation: the ice bucket challenge. >> facebook kept showing me the ice bucket challenge. even if it was from weeks ago,
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it kept showing the same thing. you know how you go on and there's baby picture, baby picture? it just shows you things that are cute and cuddly and that get the "likes," and that's how it operates. for a social movement trying to break into the public sphere, that could mean a form of algorithmic censorship because the algorithm likes certain things and doesn't like certain things. >> sreenivasan: tufekci says the motivations of social media companies and social movements are not necessarily aligned. >> in the end, it's a platform that is based on delivering you ads, and they want to sort of keep you on there with things that will keep you on there. and all of their business models aren't necessarily in the interests of what the movements are trying to do long term. >> sreenivasan: how does the women's march or black lives matter, how do they sustain themselves and turn themselves into powerful actors that can be a threat to whomever it is that they want to force change through? >> right. the lesson i take from all of my research into this isn't stop
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using digital technologies. it's recognize what they're good for, and use them fully what they're good for. but really recognize what they're not good for. you can use a hashtag to get millions of people to the street, but you can't use a hashtag to figure out how does a group of 100 people in one zip code figure out who is going to run for school board. it's going to come to a hybrid model where we use tech for what it's good for, but not be blinded by the power it gives us in some areas and ignore that it's actually weakening us in other areas by helping us scale up almost too fast. you know, you are going from 0 to 100 miles in just a month or two; you need a better steering wheel than a facebook group.
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>> sreenivasan: a new study suggests thousands of vacant lots in detroit have allowed bumblebees to flourish. learn more at www.pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: when israel captured adolf eichmann in 1960, one of the key architects of the nazi germany holocaust of european jews was brought to justice. most of the evidence used in eichmann's landmark trial was classified until a few years ago. that's when a former israeli intelligence official curated artifacts into an exhibit that's part history and part spy story. it's scheduled to come to new york next month, and then go to tampa. right now it's on display in illinois, where correspondent eddie aruzza, from pbs station wttw, filed this report. >> reporter: the number forever etched into his arm has faded slightly. but david dragon's memories of where he got it are still fresh. >> i was beaten up and they took me to jail. >> reporter: the 94-year-old survivor of the auschwitz-
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birkenau concentration camp talks of his experience as he tours a exhibit about the capture of one of the key architects of the holocaust: adolf eichmann. david dragon believes he encountered eichmann at birkenau. >> when they caught me with some bread they took me in a room and there were about 10-15 high s.s. men; i think he was there too. >> when eichmann entered a jerusalem courtroom in the spring of 1961, it was the culmination of years of attempts by the israeli government to find him and bring him to justice. the backstory that led to that moment is now on vivid display at the illinois holocaust museum in skokie. titled "operation finale," the exhibit brings together original artifacts that were only recently de-classified by the israeli government and curated into an immersive experience by former israeli intelligence officer, avner avraham. >> six years ago, i was a mossad employee and i found some boxes
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with very rare stuff from the operation finale, the capture of adolf eichmann and i decided to put a small exhibition in the mossad headquarter. >> reporter: mossad is israel's equivalent of the c.i.a. and in the late 1950's mossad was tipped off to a love story involving eichmann's son, klaus, and this teenage girl, sylvia hermann. sylvia's father, a german jew, had fled to argentina with the rise of the nazis. eichmann and his family also made their way to buenos aires after world war ii, evading allied capture. but when sylvia's father recognized the last name of the boy she was dating, he notified israeli officials. a mossad agent posing as a tourist, later arrived in argentina with this leica camera and surreptitiously took pictures of the man going by the alias ricardo klement. >> they sent these pictures to israel together with eichmann pictures from ss file that the mossad got, pictures from the war. and the israeli police
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laboratories compared the pictures and find out this is probably the same man if you look at the shape of his left ear. >> reporter: from there, operation finale took off. with argentina having become a haven for former nazis and the government not honoring extradition requests, israel's prime minister at the time david ben-gurion approved a clandestine mission to try to capture eichmann. 12 mossad agents traveled to the south american country from europe on separate commercial flights to try to avoid suspicion. these are their airline tickets. eichmann was captured on may 11, 1960. he was taken to a safe house where the possessions he was carrying at the time are part of the display. he also had identification with the alias he had taken on in argentina, ricardo klement. but as agents interrogated him, eichmann eventually tripped himself up. >> they start asking him general questions from your age, the
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size of your shoes and immediately, what is your number of the s.s., the s.s. file and he said exactly the eichmann number and he understood he made a huge mistake and he asked for a glass of red wine. >> reporter: eichmann was smuggled out of argentina on the only israeli airline el al flight to ever travel to that country. adolf eichmann's trial began on april 11, 1961 in a converted theater in jerusalem and the centerpiece of this exhibit is the actual bullet proof booth used by eichmann along with the three original chairs that he and two security guards sat in. visitors to the exhibit can get a sense of the intensity of the trial. a triptych of video screens surround eichmann's booth showing videos of the audience, the accused and some of the more than 100 holocaust survivors who testified. >> and the trial changed the life in israel because people start talking about the holocaust and people start dealing with this.
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>> reporter: eichmann was found guilty of crimes against humanity and executed in may of 1962. his ashes were scattered in the mediterranean sea. >> sreenivasan: finally, the original batman on 1960's television, actor adam west, has died in los angeles from leukemia. with a tongue-in-cheek approach, west played the caped crusader and his alter ego, bruce wayne, for three seasons starting in 1966 and forever in re-reruns. west once said, to him, "batma"" had meant "money," but had also typecast him...and prevented him from getting other good roles. adam west was 88 years old. that's all for this edition of" pbs newshour weekend." i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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>> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. provided by:upport has been and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs
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station from viewers like you. thank you.
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announcer: it was fought in the north and in the south, in the air and on the ground. it was fought in the white house and in the halls of congress, in america's streets and colleges and living rooms. now catch a special sneak peek at the television event of the year as pbs previews "the vietnam war." of "the vietnam war" was provided by bank of america with funding from the following... and by members of the better angels society... the corporation for public broadcasting and by viewers like you. thank you.

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