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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  June 13, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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06/14/12 06/14/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from russia to syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically. >> as a full-blown civil war broken out in syria? the united states accuses russia of arming the syrian military while saudi arabia and qatar are transferring missiles to the syrian opposition with the approval of the obama administration. we speak to syrian opposition
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activist rafif jouejati and longtime journalist patrick seale. >> the situation is getting worse by the day. it is a very ugly struggle. it is reduced to something like kill or be killed british >> more u.s. soldiers have died this year by taking their own lives than on the battlefield. we will speak with suicide survivor kevin hines. in 2000, he survived a jump off the golden gate bridge in san francisco. he now counsels soldiers returning from the war. also with us, bonnie carroll, co-chair of the department of defense task force on the prevention of suicide and the armed forces and journalist aaron glantz. >> how to not show you are suffering. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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at least 57 people have been killed and more than 170 wounded in a string of bombings across iraq that many targeted shia pilgrims. at least 22 died in a double car bombing in the southern city of all around 30 were killed in a number of attacks from the capital baghdad. it was the deadliest day of violence iraq has seen since january 5. a u.s. drone strike in southeastern yemen has reportedly killed nine suspected of credit militants. the attack occurred in the yemeni town for hundreds of al qaeda militants were said to have flown hours before the yemeni army recaptured southern strongholds earlier this week. a top official is warning the uprising in syria has grown into a full-scale civil war amid worsening violence in several key areas. herve ladsous, the u.n.
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undersecretary general for peacekeeping operations, is the first senior u.n. official to brand syria's conflict as a civil war. syrian activists report 51 civilians as well as 12 soldiers were killed in clashes on tuesday. more reports are emerging that both the syrian military and opposition rebels are receiving heavy arms from outside the country. on tuesday, hillary clinton accused russia of sending helicopters to syrian president bashar al-assad. >> we have confronted the russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to syria. from time to time, they have said we should not worry, everything they're shipping is unrelated to their actions internally. that is untrue. we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from russia to syria, which will escalate the conflict
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quite dramatically. >> a new u.n. report says syrian children are being subjected to torture, sexual violence, and used as human shields in the fighting. a u.n. representative unveiled the report's findings. >> we have seen children who have described my technical team of been beaten, cigarette burns, whipped with the electrical cables. cases of sexual abuse were also recorded. the torture of children and attention is something quite horrific. in addition, we have evidence of children being used as human shields. in a village children described in a bus carrying military personnel, the children were put up against the window sill is to protect the bus from being attacked. >> more after the headlines. a new report shows 18 former and current directors of the federal
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reserve worked for financial companies that collectively received more than $4 trillion in the fed-overseen wall street bailout. in a statement, vermont independent senator bernie sanders, whose office released the report, said -- the fed director whose company took in the most government aid was jamie dimon of the banking giant jpmorgan chase. the wall street journal has revealed a number of top jp morgan chase executives were alerted two years ago to the practices of the london-based traders whose risky bets recently cost the banks more than $2 billion. the executives were aware of the traders' practices as early as 2010, when a single foreign- exchange options trade led to a loss of $300 million in a matter
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of days. the news comes as jamie dimon is set to testify before the senate banking committee today on jpmorgan's risky trades. he has been a key critic of reform proposals to restore the separation between banks and commercial trading. in prepared testimony released ahead of his appearance, jamie dimon says -- the state department has confirmed president obama will skip the rio 20 sustainable development summit in brazil next week. it's the third consecutive global environmental conference that obama will miss after he avoided the last two u.n. climate talks in south africa and mexico. secretary of state hillary clinton and environmental protection agency head lisa jackson will lead the u.s. delegation. police and private security guards have raided a protest
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encampment at the riverdale mobile home park in jersey shore, pennsylvania to break up a nearly two-week resistance effort by dozens of residents and activists. the company has bought the property to withdraw up to 3 million gallons of water per day for use in the grass -- gas drilling process known as fracking. residents learned of the sale after reading about it in the newspaper. many claim the payments offered are not enough to relocate from the mobile home park where some have lived for decades. a group of volunteers and residents calling themselves occupy well street blockaded access roads and covered the park in hand-painted signs, successfully delaying construction. on tuesday, activists complied with requests by residents they disperse rather than risk arrest. some residents to remain in their homes and negotiations with the company continue. in arizona, a former aide to the retired democratic congressmember gabrielle giffords has won a special
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election for her vacated seat. ron barber defeated his republican challenger with 53% of the vote. giffords stepped down in january, one year after nearly losing her life in the tucson shooting spree that left six people dead. he was joined by giffords on stage at a victory rally in tucson. >> i never dreamt i would be standing here thinking you for your support and your work to elect me to congress. but as you know, life takes unexpected turns and here we are here we are thanks to you. >> the new orleans times picayune has announced the firings of nearly one-third of its staff. the newspaper, which is new orleans' largest daily, says 202 employees will lose their jobs effective september 30. as part of a cost-cutting measure, the papal also reduce its schedule to three issues per week.
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the wife of trayvon martin shooter george zimmerman has been charged with perjury for allegedly lying about her family's finances at her husband's bond hearing. prosecutors say shellie zimmerman secretly moved tens of thousands of dollars center bank account in the days before she and her husband claimed they were broke in seeking a low bond. the dismembered bodies of a least 14 people have been discovered in the mexican state of veracruz. the victim's body parts were found stuffed into bags inside a pickup truck. it was the latest in a series of similar killings inside mexico believed to be tied to the drug war. thousands of people rallied in the russian capital of moscow on tuesday in a major show of protest against president vladimir putin. it was the largest display of opposition to putin since he returned to the russian presidency last month. the rally came days after he signed into law harsher penalties for unlawful assembly at protests. following the rally, russian police raided the homes of three top opposition activists,
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seizing computers and other possessions. israel has rounded up scores of mostly african immigrants in a coordinated sweep to begin deportations. around 240 people have been detained in recent days and another 300 have reportedly agreed to be deported voluntarily. the roundup has sparked allegations of racism for targeting mainly people of african descent. at a rally in tel levy, an african migrant said immigrants are facing a crackdown inside israel. >> demonstrating to fight for the refugees' rights. two weeks ago [unintelligible] the violence is in our homeland. we're looking for the safest place we can get rid of >> in addition to the roundup, israel has drawn criticism for recent law that allows for the detention of migrants without charge for up to three years.
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in a statement, human rights watch said the measure punishes refugees in violation of international law. the wall street journal reported the justice department's begun an anti-trust probe into whether cable companies are improperly handling competition from online video sites. officials reportedly have spoken to video providers, including netflix and hulu, as well as questioning cable companies including data caps that limits the amount each person can down load. leaders of the largest group of u.s. catholic nuns met with the vatican officials in rome on tuesday in a standoff over the nuns' political stances the vatican drew controversy after reprimanding the leadership conference of women's religious for promoting "radical feminist themes, issues of social justice, and challenging church teachings on homosexuality and male-only priesthood." sister pat farrell said tuesday's meeting was constructive. >> we're grateful for the
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opportunity for open dialogue. the next step will be going to our members to decide how to proceed from here. we had open dialogue. >> will you have another meeting in rome? >> we will take this one step at a time. >> those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. if talking on the nation's official said tuesday the uprising in syria has grown into a full-scale civil war. herve ladsous, the u.n. undersecretary general for peacekeeping operations, said -- "clearly what is happening is that the government of syria lost some large chunks of territory in several cities to the opposition and wants to retake control of these areas." the international committee of the red cross of the situation
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is worsening in several parts of the country simultaneously. according to the syrian observatory for human rights, 51 civilians and 12 soldiers were killed on tuesday. turkey is reporting more than 2000 syrians have fled across the border in the last 48 hours. this comes as more reports emerge that both the syrian military and opposition rebels are receiving heavy arms from outside supporters. on tuesday, secretary of state hillary clinton accused russia of aiding the government of president bashar al-assad. >> we have confronted the russians about stopping the continued arms shipments to syria. from time to time they have said we should not worry that everything in our shipping is unrelated to their actions internally. that is untrue. we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on
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the way from russia to syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically. >> russia has acknowledged sending arms, but claims the weapons are only for self- defense. turkey has been smuggling out harmful and to attain missiles to syrian opposition fighters. the missiles are being financed by saudi arabia and qatar. the united states was consulted about the arming of the rebels, but did not take part directly in the weapons transfer according to "the new york times." >> we're joined by two guests, rafif jouejati, a syrian american opposition activist and the english-language spokesperson for the syrian local coordination committee. she joins us from washington, d.c. joining us by videostream is patrick seale, a leading rider in the middle east and author of, "asad: the struggle for the middle east." he most recently wrotwe welcome.
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let's begin with rafif jouejati. are we seeing a civil war in syria? >> i do not know if i would characterize it as a civil war. it is really a case of a regime try to repress a popular demand for freedom and democracy. >> patrick seale, would you characterize it in the same way? >> i don't think it matters what we call it. it is an extremely dangerous situation. in my view, dangerous for everybody -- syria, iran, its allies, lebanon, jordan, the united states, the gulf states. it is a very tricky moment and i don't think, quite frankly, the united states is helping to resolve the situation. a high-risk strategy, which we can talk about in a moment. >> what is that high-risk strategy?
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>> there are to the promising diplomatic initiatives in recent weeks. one is led by catherine ashton, the european union's foreign policy chief, and the other by kofi annan, the former secretary general of the united nations was mandated by the arab league and the u.n. to try and promote a peace plan for syria. catherine ashton was pressing for a win-win deal between iran and the so-called p5 plus 1. they have had two meetings so far. the first one was very promising. there is another meeting coming up on june 18 in moscow, and it does not look good at all. why? because the u.s. has toughened its position. it does not seem to want a win- win deal where iran would give up its 20% enriched uranium.
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why has the united states adopted this position? it seems to be taking its cue from israel. president obama either thinks iran is a rival to [unintelligible] or he thinks with the elections coming up in november, that he has to carry favor with jewish voters. i fear the latter. >> can i just ask you to respond to that? how do you feel the u.s. has been given with the conflict in syria and what would you like the rest to do differently? >> the me say to introduce motions of jewish voters and the obama reelection bid i think is to detract from the fact there are more than 12,000 civilians shot dead by the al- assad regime. i would say the u.s. has been supportive in condemning the assad violations, systematic
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violations. i would like to see for more pressure exerted on russia to stop the flow of weapons, including those helicopters that are on their way, including things like the shipment of $100 million worth of weapons just a couple of weeks ago. i would like to see more pressure on russia to stop the flow of arms. i would like to see more pressure on the international community in general to deliver relief supplies, which are so desperately needed. >> there are reports today, rafif jouejati that a saudi arabia and qatar are arming the rebels in syria. >> so there has been reports and pledges of support from saudi arabia and qatar -- >> we may just have lost rafif jouejati for a moment. she is a member of the syrian
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opposition. also speaking with patrick seale, a leading british writer and the middle east who wrote a book about bashar al-assad's father called, "asad: the struggle for the middle east." rafif jouejati, if you could continue. >> i was saying we also need the international community to step up its relief efforts. as you know, the assad regime has prevented much needed relief supplies from reaching residents who are under continuous shelling and bombardment. >> can i ask you to clarify who it is, if there are fines or arms going to the syrian opposition, who is the syrian opposition, the syrian national council and other affiliated groups? >> we have had pledges of support from various nations. in reality, that support is not reaching the free syrian army, which is only one part of the opposition. instead, there are light weapons being smuggled across borders.
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to say the free syrian army is heavily armed would imply their smuggling attack helicopters or tanks from lebanon, and that would be ridiculous. in terms of who constitutes the syrian opposition, you have the syrian national council, which is an umbrella organization, that encompasses, i would say, the majority of opposition groups. any of the armed portion, which is the free syrian army, which is composed primarily of defected soldiers who refused orders to shoot unarmed civilians. >> how many people have defected from the syrian army to the free syrian army? what it is difficult to give precise numbers because some of this is quite secretive. the estimates range in the 40,000 area at this time with defections every day. just yesterday, there were three high-ranking officials who defected from the syrian air force. >> patrick seale, can you say a
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little bit about who constitutes the opposition and whether the opposition is sufficiently united? >> as we all know, the opposition is deeply divided. the strongest, best funded, best organized element are the muslim brothers. they have a longstanding grievance against assad regime, father and son, going back over 30 years. from that moment on, some elements of the muslim brothers went underground taking arms, and launching a terrorist campaign against the syrian regime and the late 1970's, culminating the seizure of hana, which they took great loss of life. after that, the muslim
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brotherhood were banned. punishment was death. in addition to the muslim brothers there were many strands of them inside and outside syria and large numbers of armed islamists extremists, jihadists, fighters coming from neighboring countries. from afghanistan, pakistan, tunisia these people, many coming from iraq where they have been carried out suicide operations. gross acts of terror are committed. this is the problem, the no. 2 man in a al qaeda al-libi, released video accusing bashar al-assad. does the u.s. wanted the on the side of al qaeda?
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>> let's bring rafif jouejati into this. the description patrick seale has of the opposition of which you are a part critics let me correct him on a couple of things. first of all, i was in the majority of the syrian population as a grudge against the al-assad family, which took power in a military coup and retain power for more than 42 years through violence and repression. i would say it is not just islamic fundamentalists who desire to see this regime toppled. it is the majority of the population. second, on the ground, the network of activists, we have one of the largest network of activists from a decidedly secular organization. the opposition, all of the different various groups that do fall intoand to the umbrella, condemned a cut operations. al qaeda is a rogue
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organization. had an>> did your father worked- ? >> my father serve the syrian government from independence from the french all the way until his death nine years ago. >> so he worked under assad. what was his position on bashar al-assad's father? >> my father believed in service to his nation and not particularly to a regime. he was never a member of the baath party. he believed in a free and independent syria. >> last month u.s. expelled the top syrian diplomat in washington following the massacre of over 100 people in houla. state to permit spokesperson victoria nuland blamed iran for the massacre. >> this morning, we called in
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syrian affairs and informed him he is no longer welcome in the united states and gave him 72 hours to depart. we took this action in response to the massacre and the village of houla absolutely indefensible, despicable massacre against innocent children, women, shot at point- blank range by regime thugs aided and abetted by the iranians who were actually bragging about it over the weekend. >> we will go to the issue of iran after the break. that was state department spokesperson victoria nuland. we're speaking with rafif jouejati, in washington, and activist. patrick seale is joining us from the south of france. stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. our guests are rafif jouejati, activist and member of the syrian opposition, speaking to us from washington, d.c., and patrick seale, a leading british writer on the middle east, wrote a biography of bashar al-assad's father called, "asad: the struggle for the middle east." he must recently wrote, "the struggle for arab independence: riad el-solh and the makers of the modern middle east." we just heard a clip of the state department spokesperson victoria nuland blaming iran. can you respond, patrick seale? what's the point about that massacre at houla, the responsibility has not been established. others have blamed the regime thugs, and a german newspaper
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has recently published a report quoting its sources on the ground saying this is not the case. that the massacre was conducted sunni militias who filled their victims and posted videos on the internet, blaming the regime. this clearly demands investigation to establish what the truth is. both sides have committed atrocious crimes. rafif jouejati is right in san the population or part of its has serious grievances against the assad regime over the years. favoritism for certain committees, police brutality, lack of freedom, neglect and
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many other things. the problem is no longer -- it is a regional one, no longer a local one. tremendous pressure is being put on iran. the u.s. seems to have adopted is dourou's position, bring down both regimes, tehran and damascus. you notice the president of israel, the prime minister netanyahu himself, in recent days have called for the overthrow of the regime. netanyahu wants to bring down to tehran, hezbollah. others also seem to see it in
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sectarian terms. they think iran serratia powe[u] your program began with the massacres and iraq shia civilians. the u.s. but its invasion of iraq in 2002 that to the collapse of the state, to securing civil war which hundreds of thousands of people were killed and millions displaced. do they want the same thing to happen in syria? haven't they suffered enough? shouldn't the west and russia joined in on a cease-fire on both sides instead of filling the flames? the u.s. said the accord ending the flow of money, intelligence, and weapons to the rebels and then complaining russia is doing
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the same thing -- >> i want to ask rafif jouejati to respond both on the comment by victoria nuland about iran's involvement and who should be held responsible or who is responsible for the houla massacre. >> let's start with the houla massacre. there are satellite images of regime tank positions stationed all around the area. logically, by any reasonable calculations, only the regime would have had access to that area in such numbers. there was intense shelling on the area. they did not just shoot children. they practically be headed them breed children were stabbed repeatedly. and many other instances, they have set fire to their victims. that is on the houla massacre. the regime bears full responsibility. when bashar al-assad delivered a speech just days after it, he said not even monsters could
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have carried out this attack. i believe he was speaking about his own. with regard to the german article, patrick seale, i read it the reporter did not cite any credible sources. what we have received from houla residents were eyewitness accounts of what happened. i would discredit that article 100%. in terms of iran, iran has been supporting the al-assad regime since the beginning with infusions of cash when the sanctions began to take place month as syria. they have provided surveillance technology, military equipment. it is the surveillance technology that allowed the assad to blow up the house where marie colvin was, the journalist killed and shows up loading information. iran has recently been bragging about the assad regime. i do not think we want to muddy the to -- but the water's too
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far about what israel's ambitions may be. repressionng about by massive military force. >> the independent of london reported today syrian rebel groups have received multiple shipments of arms including assault rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, anti- tank weaponry. the weapons were paid for by saudi arabia and qatar and smuggled through turkey. patrick seale, the significance of who is on what side here and russia sending helicopters to bashar al-assad? >> there is some of foreign intervention. each of the external factors pursuing its own strategic goals. the opposition, rebels, i believe know they cannot hope to defeat the syrian army. the whole strategy has been to try to trigger a military
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intervention. that has slowly been coming. to trigger such an intervention, they have either perpetrated [unintelligible] i stick with the german report. or they try and provoke the regime into massacres. with the german newspaper said, rebels attacked a checkpoint manned by the army. in the fire fight that followed, the massacre took place. they contacted many sources on the ground, which rafif jouejati dismisses, and said the killing was done by anti-assad suing militants. i am not saying one thing or another, but i'm saying this should be investigated. rafif jouejati is mistaken and not seen the wider context of this serious struggle.
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the only way to resolve it is by diplomacy. that is why it is a great mistake to sabotage kofi annan's mission, as i am afraid the u.s. is doing. it pays lip service to peace walk conniving and arming the opposition -- while conniving opposition. oppositioarming the bring both sides to the table, which is the only way to save what is left of syria. >> rafif jouejati, would you agree with his assessment that what the levels are trying to do is trigger military intervention? >> absolutely not. i think it calls for military intervention came at a time the civilian population was being so heavily shelled that they had nobody to turn to. and the last resort was to call for foreign intervention. i would maintain the revolution
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began peacefully, and would have stayed peaceful had the assad regime not started firing on protesters. firing on mourners attending the funerals of protesters who have been killed the day before. kidnapping, detention, torture and children. let's remember a 13-year-old who was detained, tortured, mutilated, and returned to his village as an example. the free syrian army is composed of defected soldiers who did not wish to shoot at unarmed civilians. let's go back to the roots of the revolution and see how it has progressed from march 2011. let's also take a look at the weapons that russia is shipping to syria. let's talk about foreign intervention and the intervention assad has allowed to enter the country in the form of russian and iranian support. >> what do you want to see happen now?
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>> i would love to see the kofi annan peace plan take effect. i would love to see the assad regime respect a single tenant of the six-point plan and perhaps inning with independent media and foreign journalists allowed to enter to investigate and report on what is actually happening. >> can you explain what the former head of the syrian national council was forced to resign last month and tell us a little bit about the new head? did the resignation had something to do with calls for intervention? >> i really cannot speak for the syrian national council. my speculation is he had originally been seen as a consensus builder and was having a challenge and actually building consensus. we have to remember the syrian national council is a relatively new organization and populated by people who have been
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politically and intellectually repressed for more than five decades. there are some growing pains and dysfunction. i don't think anyone would dispute that. he voluntarily step down and offer to resign as soon as a suitable replacement was found. the council decided it had found a suitable replacement, and was elected. he appears to be a consensus builder and enjoyed popularity with the very important kurdish minority. we hope under his leadership, the syrian national council to reorganize and overcome some of the difficulties it was phasing in the past. >> your response, patrick seale? >> rafif jouejati does not seem to be in close touch with the syrian national council. it is -- its official policy is to call for foreign intervention. they cannot do the job by themselves.
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that is why these rebels are trying desperately to provoke the regime into massacres. , it wille's strategy not tolerate pockets of armed rebels on its territory so it is going all-out to exterminate them. so the more the rebels are armed, the more bloodshed the world be. and the more is needed to support kofi annan and every possible way to encourage the holding of a big international conference in moscow, perhaps, with both sides represented, stop the bloodshed and start talking. that is what the international community should do. >> i would like to respond. >> very quickly. >> i would tell patrick seale while i am in washington, d.c., i am in daily contact with activists on the ground. i represent the largest network of activists on the ground in syria. the syrian national council
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called for military intervention in response to the people who were being shelled by regime forces, not to further any ulterior motives, but to respond to what the people were asking for. >> we will leave it there. rafif jouejati, thank you for being with us, activist and member of the syrian opposition. patrick seale, speaking to us from abroad. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, we look at the numbers, the fact that more soldiers are taking their own lives, u.s. soldiers, than are dying on the battlefield today. stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> new figures show this year's military suicide rate is on pace to reach a record high. the pentagon says there have been at least 154 suicides among active-duty troops through last thursday, a rate of nearly one each day. the figure marks an 18% increase over the same time a year ago. more u.s. soldiers have died by taking their own lives than on the battlefield. the reasons for the increase in suicides are not fully understood. among explanations, studies have pointed to combat exposure, post-traumatic stress, misuse of prescription medications, and
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personal financial problems. army data suggest soldiers with multiple combat tours are at greater risk of committing suicide, although a substantial proportion of army suicides are committed by soldiers or never deployed. "democracy now!" recently spoke to iraq war veteran aaron hughes. >> 18 veterans are committing suicide every day in this country, 17% of the individuals in combat in afghanistan, my brothers and sisters, are on psychotropic medication. 20% deployed to afghanistan are already diagnosed with ptsd, military sexual trauma, or dramatic brain injury. it is clear these policies has had a profound affect on the military, my brothers and sisters. while simultaneously perpetuating a failed policy, unfortunately, we have to live
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with that on a daily basis. we don't want to be a part of that failed policy anymore. >> that was aaron hughes, field organizer for iraq veterans against the war helped plan the nato protests in chicago last month. we're joined in san francisco by aaron glantz, reporter for the base a decision. his most recent book is, "the war comes home: washington's battle against america's veterans." we're also joined by kevin hines. he survived a suicide attempt as a teenager and went on to become a public speaker mental health advocates and forthcoming author of, "cracked...not broken, the kevin hines story." in washington, we're joined by bonnie carroll, president and founder of the tragedy assistance program for survivors or taps. bonnie carroll, let's begin with
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you. can you talk about the figures? astounding, more soldiers are committing suicide and die on thbattlefield. >> taps is for all of those who lost a loved ones serving in the armed forces. we're working with families who have lost a loved one to suicide, possibly not in a duty status. guard and reserve members who have come back and died by suicide during the week court in an off period. we see families who have lost loved ones to suicide after their loved one recently got out of the military. every death is absolutely tragic. what we have been able to do is gain insight to the families to help with prevention efforts. >> i want to turn to mary kirkland, the brother of derrick kirkland. he joined the army in 2007 since he was not earning enough to support his wife and child. during the second deployment to
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iraq, he attempted suicide for the first time. i met mary kirkland in chicago at the nato protest where u.s. soldiers, veterans, through their war medals and service medals back at the nato generals toward the gates of the nato summit. they handed mary kirkland a flag, a u.s. flag in honor of her dead son. here she describes what happened to him when he returned from iraq. >> he met with a psychiatrist the next day who contended the low to moderate risk for suicide. his only restriction being that he was not to be around any weapons and cleared him to go basically in a barracks room by himself, which i found after talking to the veterans, it was illegal. he tried to kill itself again on thursday night.
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he got back on the 15th and kill themself on the 19th. on the 18th, that thursday, he had bought some rum and was drinking with his medications they had just gave him, his antidepressants and sleep medicines, and cut his self. he had bloodstains all over his room. it was not successful, so he got up friday morning and bandaged himself. one of the things he wrote before he hung himself was, "i feel invisible. ."feel like i'm transparent
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nobody walked into the room on friday to see the blood stains. derrick did not hanging self -- the last time i saw him was friday night at 10:00. they say on saturday morning at 1:30. if anyone would have walked in that room on that friday, the leadership was not even checking on him -- this mother got woke up sunday morning at 6:30 to tell me my son was dead, that i had let my guard down because he got back on monday, back in the u.s. and safe.
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the army called it a miscommunication as to why my son is dead. >> that was mary kirkland, describing a suicide of her son derrick kirkland, who had put a gun in his mouth and iraq. he was sent to hospital in germany then sent home to fort lewis mccord where he was put into the hospital. she describes, let out, saying he had low risk of suicide. he committed suicide the next day on march 19, 2010 after two tours of duty. aaron glantz, if you have done a lot of research on soldier suicides. can you talk about derrick put it in the broader context of not only soldiers, but veterans as well? >> unfortunately, there are many stories like that i wrote a few years ago about a specialist
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john fish who served a tour in iraq, was suicidal and told his commanders he was suicidal in iraq. he came back to the u.s. and they told him to just start turning to go to afghanistan. during the training exercises, he walked into the desert and shot myself in the head with the military issued weapon. we have been at war for 10 years. we of 2.5 million americans who have served in these wars. about 1 million are still in the military. one put 5 million are out of the military and our veterans. -- 1.5 million are out of the military and our veterans. we have not asked people to go through war in this kind of way probably since world war ii. in vietnam, people serve one tour and came home. we had a draft. now we ask people to go again and again. you have a million people who have been through the wars that are still in the military,
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90,000 are still in afghanistan fighting this war. it is not surprising the suicides would be higher than the battlefield deaths at this point. >> kevin hines, can you talk a little bit about your work with the military and your own experience of attempted suicide? >> absolutely. i attempted suicide september 25, 2000 by way of jumping off the golden gate bridge. it was the single worst decision of my entire life. i was not of my right mind. i was very sick and ill with bipolar disorder, which was placed in me and cause me great self destruction. what i've done for the last 11 years is travel the country and internationally speaking about suicide prevention to all groups, but i greatly appreciate being able to talk to any group of military service men and women and their commanding officers. it is very important for me to
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reach out to them and have done so for the past 10 years. two to three weeks out of the year and dedicated to veterans affairs hospitals and military bases. look, we have to trend down these rates and have to do it now. i am of the opinion we have spent over $720 billion on the iraq war and the number keeps adding up every day. we need to spend a fraction of that on mental health in the military. sometimes you go to a base that has one psychiatrist for 5000- 10,000 servicemen and women. that needs to be one for every ten silicon adequately paid them and they can stay in the military, do their service, and do good for this country. they cannot do that when they are not well. we cannot keep sliding under the rug. >> some have suggested the
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reason suicides are so high is because soldiers are discouraged from committing to any kind of problem. bonnie carroll, i would ask about a recent controversy involving major data petard, the commander of fort bliss but he wrote on his blog -- the posting was retracted, the never apologized. he still commands one of the army's largest units. bonnie carroll, your response? >> i met with the army director staff that day and it is not the sentiment shared by our leadership and certainly not a sentiment shared by the leadership across the armed services. he is a good man and that was a very unfortunate statement made and i'm grateful he has retracted it, but we have seen
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is a transformation in culture across the services. the marine corps has done an extraordinary job of transforming the camp training so that right in the first two weeks of that recruit training, these young marines are told that suicide is a potential in their lives and that they may become so surrounded by challenges that they may become desperate and feel their own death is the only way out. they equate that to what a warrior may experience in combat when surrounded by the enemy. then normalize help seeking behavior. this is what lawyers do, what marines do, we seek help when we are surrounded by challenges. they go on to say this is what the help looks like. going to were buddy, going to the chaplain, telling your commander. they have transformed the leadership to really embrace those who come for it. as kevin was saying, bring them
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in tight and let them know their life is a viable and they're going to be back on track, that there is help and support available. we have seen a 10% drop in suicide in the marine corps because of this program. >> aaron glantz, do you see that kind of transformation in the military right now? >> yes, i mean, i've seen a lot of effort on the path of the military the past few years. there have been generals who have come forward and said they had ptsd, and that does a tremendous amount to reduce the stigma of the enlisted personnel coming forward in seeking help for it but as kevin was saying, there is not nearly enough resources. the amount of accumulated trauma that these soldiers, marines, and iran are experiencing because of the war itself continues to -- and chairman are
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expressing because of the war itself continues to go on. >> an the classifications of people having posttraumatic stress, a tremendous problem there is been in the past denying soldiers who have returned in veteran support and help for ptsd, aaron glantz? >> definitely, that has been a problem. the military has had a problem of discharging those people under "personality disorder >> is >> rather than giving them a medical discharge for the ones they have received in the war. they get out and our veterans and have difficulty accessing the veterans' health care system. these issues which were pointed out under the bush administration have begun to be remedied, to some extent, in the obama and administration but the problems persist. >> if there has been such a transformation in the military culture with respect to mental
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problems, why has the rate of suicide gone up so much in this year, 2012, relative to 2011 and 2010? >> well, i don't think you should be surprising that the suicide rate would increase if we look at the fact a number of soldiers who have gone through the war has increased. as kevin was pointing out, the amount of resources available to returning soldiers continues to be insufficient to meet that need. we also have, i might say, as aaron hughes, a large number of soldiers who actually served previous tours and are deployed on psychotropic medications to afghanistan. just imagine you're holding a military issued firearm, the of a scary situation all around you, and you are on drugs that
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affect your ability to respond to certain situations. it is a very difficult to chelation. -- difficult situation could and did not want to undermine what bonnie was saying, which is that the military has done a tremendous amount in recent years. but we see the evidence and the rising suicide rate that it has not solve the problem. >> kevin hines, as a suicide survivor yourself, your grandfather committed suicide coming back from okinawa. what is the single most important thing you feel needs to happen? >> i feel is simple. the government, someone needs to find mental health for the entire -- every military sector. we need to reach out to these individuals on a broader basis. we need more therapists, more chaplains, more psychiatrists on
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hands. the marines are doing -- >> we have to leave it there. [captioning made possible by democracy now!] democracy now!]


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