tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS August 12, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, august 12: violent clashes between white nationalists and counter- demonstrators in virginia; president trump raises the specter of u.s. military action in venezuela; and residents of guam are on alert for a possible attack from north korea. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.b.p. foundation. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. the anderson family fund. rosalind p. walter, in memory of abby m. o'neill. barbara hope zuckerberg.
corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your 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. at least one person is dead and several are injured tonight after protests and counter- protests turned violent in charlottesville, virgina. virginia governor terry mcauliffe declared a state of emergency. hundreds of white nationalists and alt-right activists clashed in the streets with counter- protesters and police. mcauliffe said the declaration would facilitate the state's response, which included calling out virginia national guard soldiers. newshour producer p.j. tobia has been covering today's
demonstrations and has more. >> reporter: the violent clashes began before a so-called "unite the right" rally scheduled to take place in charlottesville's mcintire park. organizers had originally planned to hold a rally in the city's emancipation park, which used to be called lee park, in honor of confederate general robert e. lee. the charlottesville city council voted in april to remove a bronze statue of lee from that park, sparking opposition by white nationalists. they converged on the park today, waving confederate flags and chanting nazi-era slogans. they were soon surrounded by counter-protesters with their own signs and chants. shoving and fighting soon followed. this self-described militia member says he had rocks thrown at him. >> we constantly get blamed as the haters. we came here in peace. we came here to keep security in this town for freedom of speech. whether we agree with you or not, our goal is to give you a chance to voice your opinion. that's all we're about. >> reporter: this man, who lives in charlottesville, said he came
out to show that the "unite the right" rally does not represent him. >> i came out to support our people, not only people of color but the people of this community that represent peace. >> reporter: unitarian pastor susan frederick-grey blamed the political rhetoric from the white house for emboldening the white nationalists. >> fear and hate have been given license in our country. racial violence has been given. and we are here to stand love. >> reporter: a spokesman for the anti-defamation league called today's protest a "white supremacist rally," indicating" the darkest corners of society are emboldened to come forward and openly parade their bigotry on main street." the rally ended before it ever began. by early afternoon, police had largely cleared the park and later, one car plowed into a group of counter-protestors, causing multiple injuries. this video, posted to twitter by a staff member to the former u.s. congressman from charlottesville, shows a car driving into a crowd and then speeding away in reverse.
the witness says the crash seemed intentional. president trump said today in a tweet: later, he spoke about charlottesville from his golf club in new jersey. >> we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides, on many sides. it's been going on for a long time in our country. not donald trump, not barack obama. it's been going on for a long, long time. it has no place in america. what is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent liv lives. >> the person who died was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of protesters. it happened on the street right behind me. 19 others were also spurred.
and in all there was one arrest. >> sreenivasan: you were near the area when the car plowed into the protesters. describe that scene. what was it like in there? >> well, actually, at that moment, hari, the protest had turned kind of festive. there were people with funny signs. there was laughter and singing and chanting. and all of a sudden you heard the screech of tires and a rush of people coming the other direction, and the tone changed dramatically. people were calling for medics. there were bloody people on the street. there was someone performing c.p.r., a lot of people heaving and crying, and within minutes e.m.t.s were on the way. >> sreenivasan: this is not what charlottesville is known for. it's primarily a college town. when you talked to the people you spoke with today, how do they feel about what was happening, not just today but, also, last night? >> reporter: overwhelmingly the message is, "this is not what our city is about." charlottesville is a welcoming place. it's a diverse place. it's a modern city with a more
than feeling, and that these kinds of old-school racist tropes are not welcome here. we spoke to a lot of local people who basically all echoed that message. >> sreenivasan: so to be clear, the driver of that car has been apprehended? >> reporter: that's right. police say they apprehended the driver earlier today? glrt. >> sreenivasan: all right. thanks so much. >> reporter: thanks, hari. >> sreenivasan: in venezuela today, the government of president nicolas maduro condemned president trump's claim that he's considering military intervention to address that nation's political crisis. at a meeting today that included lee mcclenny, the top american diplomat in venezuela, venezuelan foreign minister jorge arreaza said president trump's remarks "represent a direct threat against peace, stability, independence, territorial unity, sovereignty and the right to self- determination." >> ( translated ): venezuela rejects in the most categorical and forceful way the unfriendly and hostile declarations made by the president of the united
states in which he threatened military intervention of our country, which is clearly a violation of the reasons for and principles of the sacred letter of the united nations and of all the norms of international law. >> sreenivasan: the statement follows president trump's comments to reporters last night at his golf club in new jersey. mr. trump said he would not rule out military action in response to the humanitarian crisis in venezuela and recent expansion of powers by president maduro. >> venezuela is not very far away, and the people are suffering and they're dying. we have many options for venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary. >> would that be u.s.-led, mr. president? that would be a u.s.-led military operation? >> we don't talk about it, but a military operation and military option is certainly something that we could pursue. >> sreenivasan: anti-government protests continued in the nation's capital today. at least 120 protesters have died in clashes with police
since april. venezuela is grappling with shortages of food and medicine, and tensions increased after last month's widely condemned vote for a new assembly to rewrite venezuela's constitution for maduro's benefit. the pentagon says it has not received any orders concerning venezuela. nebraska republican senator ben sasse, who sits on the armed services committee, says congress won't authorize war in venezuela, adding, "congress doesn't vote to spill nebraskans' blood based on who the executive lashes out at today." responding to a blunt warning from president trump, north korea says its military is "on standby to launch fire into the u.s. mainland, waiting for an order of final attack." the editorial in a state-run newspaper follows mr. trump saying yesterday the u.s. military is "locked and loaded" for possible action against north korea. today, the white house revealed president trump spoke about the tensions yesterday with president xi jinping of china,
north korea's main ally. mr. trump thanked president xi for supporting the latest u.n. sanctions against north korea. mr. xi urged leaders of both countries to avoid rhetoric or actions that escalate tensions. as a precaution, today, japan redeployed four batteries of its u.s.-made patriot surface-to-air missiles to the western part of the country. they could intercept missiles should north korea launch missiles in japan's direction. amidst the escalating rhetoric between president trump and north korean dictator kim jong un, north korea has threatened to fire ballistic missiles over japan toward guam, the small pacific island that's been a u.s. territory almost continuously since 1898. following last month's test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach alaska or hawaii, this week, president trump told reporters any more threats by north korea would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen." then, north korea's state-run news agency said the regime was
considering a plan for "an enveloping fire" around guam "to signal a crucial warning to the u.s." guam is home to 170,000 people. it lies 4,000 miles from hawaii and 2,000 miles southeast of north korea. the u.s. has 7,000 troops stationed in guam, in an air force base and a navy base." wall street journal" reporter lucy craymer is in guam and joins me now via skype. lucy, the people that you talk to there, are they concerned? are they frightened? or are they trying to live as normally as they can? >> people are generally just getting on with their lives. i think it's at the back of most people's minds. i mean, you hear it talked about. as it came out earlier today, you know, there was a conversation going on in front of me in the queue. but i was also at the beach this afternoon, and people were swimming, you know, sitting around with their families, having barbecues. life has gone on. i think that people are aware this could happen, but they've also been living with this kind of threat since the first threat
was made i think about in 2013. so this isn't the first time for many of them that this has been thought about. >> sreenivasan: the cover of the paper in guam, what, friday was "14 minutes" in big block letters. that's the amount of time they suspect they have if north korea was to fire a missile? >> that's the amount of time that homeland security says that they would have between when they knew and when it landed somewhere near guam. 14 minutes doesn't sound like a very long time, but they do have a siren system here in low-lying areas so that would be the first that most people would hear which would be warning them to take cover. and there's also the radio and the television. the networks are all set up to start broadcasting any kind of imminent threat. >> sreenivasan: the department of homeland security in guam also put out this fact sheet that almost seems like a throwback to the 1960s. "if caught outside, do not look at the flask or the fireball. it can blind you." and then it has detailed instructions of what to do with radioactive clothing and so on and so forth.
>> yes, it's sort of something that you really have to think about. i've never had to think about what i would do in a nuclear attack before, either. so, it's something that i-- have taken a few thoughts from, particularly things like not going outside, and, obviously, not looking at it, the blast, because it can blind you. it's something that people are aware of, but you can only do so much. i mean, it's not something that most people on the street can do anything to stop. >> sreenivasan: what are the military defenses that are in place? has the u.s. military put out any sort of statements or just to try to calm people in the local area? >> yeah, so, they've talked a lot about the fact that it's not just one sort of level of defense. there's sort of four levels. if a missile has been sent from north korea, it's going to probably go via south korea. so there's a threat in south korea that could shoot it down. you have the patriot batteries in japan, which would also have an opportunity to shoot it down. you've got u.s. ships that could
shoot it down. and guam itself has its own missile defense system. >> sreenivasan: all right, so it's got to get through all of those. lucy craymer joining us via skype from guam today from the "the wall street journal." thanks so much. >> no problem. >> sreenivasan: a new report finds 2016 was the planet's hottest year on record. read more takeaways on our web site at www.pbs.org/newshour. in syria, seven members of the volunteer paramedic rescue group known as the white helmets were shot to death execution-style today in their office in idlib province. this according to the group itself and the syrian observatory for human rights. the white helmets say the unidentified attackers also stole two ambulances and other equipment. no one has claimed responsibility for the killings of the white helmets, who have been active in rebel-held areas of syria since 2013. in kenya, protests and clashes with police over the reelection of president uhuru kenyatta have led to at least a dozen deaths
since last night. kenyatta was declared the winner of this week's disputed election yesterday. i.t.n. reporter david wood has more from nairobi. >> reporter: they want their president out and armed with rocks, take on the police. as officers then return fire to disperse the opposition supportersupporter and try to rn control, leaving those caught in the middle with no choice but to run for safety. in the capital nairobi, tear gas is fired at a convoy full of opposition politicians who claim innocent people are being killed by the state. >> this killing of people, i want to stop the immediate effect. because otherwise we are concluding that it is planned genocide by the state. >> reporter: and the opposition say at least 100 people have been killed, a figure denied by the government.
>> let's stop falling victim to negative-minded people who would like to create alarm in the country. there's no need for alarm. the country is secure. >> reporter: and kenya's electoral commission insists keniata's victory air force fair one while protesters complain about the force used to squash their presentations. dave wood. >> sreenivasan: this week, senate armed services committee chairman john mccain offered a new strategy for the conflict in afghanistan, the longest war in u.s. history. as part of next year's defense budget, mccain calls for adding to the 8,400 american troops now deployed in afghanistan and giving u.s. commanders greater authority to target taliban insurgents and isis militants. mccain, an arizona republican,
also criticized president trump for having "no strategy" after seven months in office. the pentagon has been pressing the white house for up to 5,000 more troops. to discuss the options in afghanistan, i am joined by aaron o'connell, an associate professor of history at the university of texas at austin and the editor of "our latest longest war: losing hearts and minds in afghanistan." o'connell is a former marine who served as an adviser to general david petraeus when he commanded u.s. troops in afghanistan. he later served as an assistant to the joint chiefs of staff and on the national security council in the obama administration. so, first, there's this premise of the question on why or why we're not winning the war in afghanistan, and you write in a recent op-ed, it's not necessarily ours to win. explain that. >> yes, well, the war in afghanistan is actually part of a number of wars-- five, to be exact. and three of them predate american involvement in the country. most crucial of these is a
three-century-long fight inside the postune tribe between kabuly elites and kandahary elites and then people from the rural areas of afghanistan. so that's been going on for a long time, and nothing we can do is really going to change it. >> sreenivasan: considering the amount of blood and treasure that we've spilled there so far, what has been working? >> yes, it's important to note some things have been working. limited counterterrorism strikes against key officials have been quite successful. we've killed osama bin laden. we've neutered the leadership of al qaeda. and every time a new leader of the afghan taliban is named, we typically get him in a matter of months. so selective counterterrorism strikes against key leaders works quite well. we've also had some success improving local health and education in afghanistan. we've extended the life expectancy of the ordinary afghan by a decade. that's a real accomplishment. but the efforts to defeat the taliban have been much less
successful as have our efforts to improve afghan governance. >> sreenivasan: why haven't they been as successful? >> well, it's a complicated picture, hari. first of all, the taliban is not a transnational terrorist movement. it has no aspiration to attack united states. that's important for your listeners to know. but what they do have is really everything they need to fight indefinitely in afghanistan. they have money from opium. the country is awash in arms. they have networks for intimidating detractors. they are sanctuaries in pakistan. and they have an almost unlimited supply of troops from the pashtun areas whose life narratives really begin and end with defending islam and rejecting foreign rule. so we're learning what the russians and the british learned before us, which is that the pashtuns of afghanistan have much greater strategic patience than we do, and the efforts we've taken to try to destroy or neuter that insurgency have not been successful. >> sreenivasan: what about the space that afghanistan occupies-- and i'm almost thinking geographically-- the type of support or lack of
concern on the part of pakistan, or the amount of resources that are coming even across from iran? >> it's important to know that this is a very important region for the united states. it has pakistan, and anything you do in pakistan affects india. it has iran. russia is involved, as well. the interesting thing is, we've spent three-quarters of a trillion dollars in afghanistan, and afghanistan is the least important country for american interests in the region. so what we're seeing here is actually a reuse of an old domino theory that some of your listeners might remember from vietnam. we're in afghanistan because we fear that losing in afghanistan will precipitate state failure in pakistan, a country with a fairly large radicalized islamic population and nuclear weapons. so the odd thing is that we are spending all of our time, attention and resources on afghanistan when what we're really concerned about is pakistan. and furthermore, we are missing opportunities to partner with india. >> sreenivasan: is there a
strategy there that would work? i mean, does john mccain have a better one than what the administration is putting out right now? >> well, i don't know what the administration is putting out right now, and that's a big part of the problem. so senator mccain has made some very poignant and useful comments about what we should be doing in afghanistan. he's deeply invested and a man with a true strategic wisdom about the u.s.' role in the world. the really strange thing here is that we're getting-- the fleshed out policy we've gotten on afghanistan thus far is coming from a senator from arizona. it's really important to note that what we're doing in afghanistan is not a military-only problem, and, therefore, there's only one man that can set our objectives there, and that man is the president. he needs to lead, and he hasn't led so far. >> sreenivasan: aaron o'connell from the university of texas, austin. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: following up on our signature segment last month on seattle police reforms, the estate of charleena lyles, a
black woman fatally shot by two white police officers in seattle in june, has taken the first step in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. the claim filed yesterday alleges police were negligent and violated her civil rights when the officers fatally shot lyles, a 30-year-old pregnant mother of four, in her own apartment. the officers have said, after responding to a 9-1-1 burglary call from lyles, she threatened then tried to stab them with kitchen knives. based on a police recording of the incident, the claim says the officers failed to order lyles to drop the knives or warn her they would shoot. lyles had a history of mental health issues, according to her family, while the officers had undergone special training to handle people in distress and reduce their use of lethal force. three of lyles' children were in her apartment when she was killed. her family alleges race was a factor in the shooting, which has sparked protests and remains under investigation. no comment from the city or the police. seattle has 60 days to respond to the claim before a suit can officially be filed.
>> sreenivasan: finally, in the first major protest of its kind in texas, hundreds of demonstrators marched today in opposition to president trump's proposed border wall with mexico. they marched from a church in mission, texas, in the southern-most corner of the state to the rio grande, a natural boundary that separates the u.s. and mexico. protesters say the proposed six-mile-long section of the wall in the mission area would cut through a wildlife refuge and divide border towns. that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. i'm hari sreenivasan. have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
>> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. the anderson famy nd. rosalind p. walter, in memory of abby m. o'neill. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for
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