tv Democracy Now LINKTV January 14, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
01/14/15 01/14/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now! quick 50 miles north of damascus were on thursday, rebel fighters captured two positions previously controlled by the government. we're hearing some automatic and five from surrounding area. the government apparently has told them they have until tonight to surrender and if they don't it will face a counter attack. >> in july 2012, freelance journalist austin tice posted
that video report on his facebook page from syria. his page hasn't been updated since. weeks later he disappeared. he has now been missing now for 884 days. almost 2.5 years. >> what we know is he is still alive, not held by isis. the syrian government denies having him. it is been more than two years that austin is missing. after all the emotion and the american beheading of james foley, we know they're still an american journalist allied in syria. >> as reporters without borders campaigns to free austin tice, his parents will join us in our new york studio. then in a democracy now! exclusive, we speak to environmental activist eric mcdavid. in 2007, who sentenced to 19 years in prison for conspiring to bomb sites in california, including the nimbus dam.
he is just been released 10 years early after federal prosecutors acknowledged withholding key evidence about how he have been entrapped by an may fbi informant he had fallen in love with. >> the government will not say it was deliberate or malicious. they say just the opposite. they say it was inadvertent. it is very hard to imagine that this was a mistake. >> all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. funerals were held tuesday for seven victims of last week's violence in paris that began with the massacre at the offices of the satirical magazine charlie hebdo. three police officers killed in the attacks were laid to rest in france, while four jews slain in the siege of a kosher supermarket were buried in israel. the french parliament paid tribute to the victims with a moment of silence that spontaneously turned into a
singing of france's national anthem. french lawmakers also overwhelmingly backed an extension of their government's role in the u.s.-led bombing of isis. the vote was 488 to 1. the yemen-based group al qaeda in the arabian peninsula has issued a new statement coming responsibility for the massacres. in a video posted online, a top commander said the organization financed implant the attack. >> as for the blessed battle of paris, we and the organization in the arabian peninsula claimed responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the messenger of all of. we clarify the one who chose the target they do plan, finance he operation, and appointed the leadership of the organization. >> french authorities say they continue to search for any of the gunmen's associates and
potential accomplices. this comes as new video was released of the pair, cherif and said kouachi, in a shootout with police right after the charlie hebdo attack. one of them says they avenged the prophet mohammad, and shouts the name of al qaeda in yemen. the gunmen fire on a police car, get into their vehicle, and then open fire again as they drive way. the kouachi brothers were killed in a shootout with police two days later. charlie hebdo, meanwhile, has just published its first issue since the attacks. the cover features the prophet muhammad holding a sign that reads, "je suis charlie," or "i am charlie," with the headline "all is forgiven." at an emotional news conference on tuesday, the cartoonist who drew the cover, renald luzier, known as luz, explained how it came to be. >> been there was nothing else but that. this idea of drawing mohammed.
i am charlie. i looked at him. he was crying. over it i wrote, "all is forgiven." i cried. we found the front page. we had at last found the damned from page. it was ours, not the one the world wanted to do, but what we wanted to do. it wasn't the front page that the terrorists wanted us to do because there isn't a terrorist in there, just a man crying. a character crying. it is mohammed. i'm sorry, we drew him again but it is a man crying above all. >> north korea has offered direct talks with the u.s. to resolve an impasse over the regime's nuclear tests and american military drills next door. the obama administration has dismissed a north korean offer to freeze nuclear testing if annual u.s. military drills with south korea were also suspended. speaking at the u.n., north korea's deputy ambassador an myong hun urged the u.s. to take its offer seriously.
>> this year we propose to the united states that the united states should, at the least temporarily suspend these exercises. but the united states organization responded by saying that military exercises are different, a separate issue from the nuclear test issue. they not want to accept our proposal. >> north korea has been hit with international sanctions for three nuclear tests since 2006. the u.s. says it's open to talks
in general, but won't link its annual war south korea war games to north korea's nuclear tests. the news of north korea's offer came hours after u.s. officials warned of new sanctions in retaliation for the cyber-attack on sony, which the obama administration blames on the north korean regime. north korea has denied involvement, asking the u.s. to provide proof and offered a joint inquiry, which the u.s. rejected. president obama hosted top republican leaders including house speaker john boehner and new senate majority leader mitch mcconnell at the white house on tuesday for a meeting aimed at finding common ground. obama said he expects to work with republicans on issues including cyber-security and trade. >> i think we agree this is an area where we can work hard together, get some legislation done, and make sure we are much more effective in protecting the american people from these kinds of cyberattacks.
i think there is going to be opportunities for us to work together on trade, opportunities for us to work together on simplifying the tax system and making sure everybody is paying their fair share. there are going to be opportunities for us to streamline government so it is more responsive. >> on tuesday, obama unveiled new cyber-security rules in the wake of the hack on sony pictures and the compromising of the pentagon's own twitter account. the proposals would allow for increased information sharing between corporations and agencies including the nsa, in part, to give firms legal immunity for providing their data to the government. the white house says the sharing would not include any data with personal information. the obama administration is set to announce new regulations to cut emissions of methane gas. the plan will reportedly seek a 45% cut in methane levels by the year 2025. the environmental protection agency will formally proposal the rules this summer followed by final regulations next year.
rallies have been held across the u.s. to oppose a new republican push for the keystone xl oil pipeline. the republican-controlled senate is expected to vote for keystone's construction this week following house passage on friday. on tuesday, activists gathered in cities across the country to urge president obama to follow through on his threat to veto the republican bill and to reject the pipeline for good. georgia has carried out the nation's first execution of 2015. on tuesday, 66-year old army veteran andrew brannan was killed by lethal injection for the 1998 murder of a sheriff's deputy. defense attorneys had unsuccessfully sought clemency by arguing brannan's jury was never fully informed of his severe physical and mental damage from serving in the vietnam war, including ptsd. oklahoma is set to be the next state to carry out an execution on thursday. it will be the first time oklahoma attempts to kill a prisoner since botching a lethal injection in april.
the new york city board of corrections has voted to ban solitary confinement for inmates between the ages of 18 to 21 at the troubled rikers island jail . if all a scrutiny of the prison's treatment of him prisoners are calling the rules a step forward for the new york civil liberties union said "an institution is profoundly broken as rikers island will require wholesale reform to transform it into a humane environment that of the sizes treat meant and rehabilitation over punishment and isolation." newly released video shows a police officer breaking down in tears after fatally shooting an unarmed man in montana. last week, a coroner's jury found billingsley's officer grant morrison was justified in shooting richard ramirez during a traffic stop last april. video from the aftermath of the shooting shows officer morse and
collapsing over the foot of a police cruiser and sweeping as his colleagues try to console him. morrison can be heard saying "i thought he was going to pull a gun on me." >> i thought he was going to pull a gun on me. >> maybe he wanted to. maybe he wanted to. jesus, grant. you survived. [sobbing] >> lycée the man morrison shot richard marin or mears was high on methamphetamine and reached for his waistband. ramirez did not have a gun. a federal appeals court has heard from civil rights groups seeking to reinstate a lawsuit against the new york police department's secret surveillance of muslims and arabs in neighboring new jersey. district judge william martini
dismissed the suit in february saying the program's main harm came not from the anti-muslim surveillance itself, but from the associated press is exposure of it. speaking outside the appellate court in philadelphia, attorney baher azmy of the center for constitutional rights said the surveillance was unconstitutional because it focused on religion, nationality, and race. >> the police have tools to deal with law enforcement problems, but they cannot rely on race or religion or to assume that people were more religious are more dangerous, which is what undergirds the entirety of the nypd's program. religious profiling is just as illegal as racial profiling and the center for constitutional rights, we fought against racial profiling and challenged and the city's unconstitutional stop and frisk practices, and we aim to
do the same here with respect to the city's unconstitutional muslim spying practices. >> a bartender at an ohio country club has been indicted for an alleged plot to kill house speaker john boehner. michael robert hoyt has reportedly served drinks to boehner at the wetherington country club over the course of five years. hoyt appears to suffer from mental issues, having blamed boehner for his recent firing and accusing him of being responsible for the spread of ebola. police found weapons and ammunition in his home. and in a follow-up to coverage on democracy now! over the past few days, the news network cnn has been given some direct on-air criticism about its use of so-called terrorism "experts" for discussion of violent attacks like the charlie hebdo massacre. speaking to cnn, the intercept's jeremy scahill was asked about his comments during a democracy now! interview on monday in which he criticized corporate media coverage of the attack's aftermath. scahill called out cnn and other networks for using pundits he said have no right to call themselves terrorism
"experts." >> cnn and msnbc and fox are engaging in the terrorism expert industrial complex where you have people on as paid analysts are largely frauds have made a lot of money off for train themselves as terror experts and have no actual on the ground experience. some of your paid analysts you have on this network or other networks, basically, just making money off the claim they are experts on terrorism and really don't have the scholarly background or on the ground experience to justify being on your network or any other network. >> go to our website democracynow.org for our interview with jeremy scahill from monday's broadcast, and our follow-up interview with the intercept's glenn greenwald from tuesday on so-called "terrorism experts." and those are some of the headlines, this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world.
>> before we go to our first segment, you did an interesting column in "the new york daily news" on the patrolmen benevolent association and its leader. >> ivan following as many people have, the ongoing standoff between mayor deblasio and the policeman's union, which has been going on now for more than a month. it has been marked by incredible allegations by the head of the police union patrick lynch that, for instance, the two officers who were assassinated on december 20, that their blood was on the mayor's hands. and then by hundreds of policeman -- policeman turning their back at the mayor. a complete slow down by new york city police officers refusing to write summonses or do misdemeanor arrest, has been about a huge drop in a number of arrest and ticket issued in new
york city. that has begun a change, finally, in the summonses and arrest are going back up. there has clearly been an attempt by the policeman's union, very much to almost -- i don't want to call it a coup but an attempt to try to tell them a year -- mayor of new york you cannot run the city without us. now it turns out there's a huge dissension within the ranks of the police department itself falls there was cap which issued a letter asking cops did is invite the mayor and the city council speaker from any funeral in case there were killed in the line of duty, only 4% of the cops have signed on to the letter. yesterday there was a meeting of the union of the police delegates and there was an open fight that broke out between several of the pro-lynch people and the anti-lynch people saying, we don't care about an apology from the mayor, what we want is for you to handle our grievances and problems would
have as police officers because the police have been without a labor contract for five years. and now i am reporting in today's "daily news" there is an entire slate of people preparing to run against lynch in union elections being held in june. and he has not had a challenge since 2003. he has been the president of the union for 15 years. there is a major convulsions going on within the police union. it is against the backdrop the new york city police department now has a majority of minority officers african-american, latino, asian officers. it is not the same police department that existed 15 years ago when patrick lynch was first elected. many of those officers are equally angry over past practices of stop and frisk arrests, and they are also demanding some kind of change. we will have to see what happens. clearly, there is not the kind of unity among the police against the mayor that has been portrayed so far in the press.
>> we willing to your column at democracynow.org. i encourage people to go to our website to look at our interviews with new york police officers talking about who actually represents the police in new york. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we turn now to the case of an american journalist who went missing in syria over two years ago. courts in syria, lease 23 members of the press were killed and 30 are currently missing. that includes austin tice who would missing 500 days ago. >> a native of houston traveled from the outskirts of damascus -- >> he went missing -- >> 31-year-old georgetown law school student -- >> when he traveled overseas to cover the conflict in syria.
>> including him in his imprisoned list. his family does not know who holds him. >> oh, jesus. jesus. >> when we come back from break, we will talk about the case of austin tice. missing from list 2.5 years in syria. who is holding him, what is the was government doing about it? we will be joined by his parents. we will be back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
just two days earlier he turned 31 years old. a former u.s. marine from texas who later attended georgetown university law school, tice has freelanced for "the washington post," mcclatchy newspapers, cbs, and other media outlets. he grew up in houston. he was the oldest of seven children. he's the last known u.s. reporter held in syria. last year, two other u.s. journalists, james foley and steven sotloff were beheaded in syria by militants from the self-described islamic state. >> at the time of his disappearance, austin was one of the few foreign journalists who had continued reporting in syria as the conflict intensified. he traveled extensively throughout the country filing in-depth dispatches from the frontline. in late july 2012, tice posted this report from al-tal, syria on his facebook page. >> it has been a quiet day today between the shells just north of the damascus capital.
celine's have fled the town and army rebel fighters have prepared for an anticipated government counterattack. though the attack as yet to materialize, some fighters say they think last night shelling was just a warning and tonight should be worse. for cbs, i am austin tice. >> austin tice posted that video on july 25, 2012. his facebook page hasn't been updated since. less than three weeks later, he disappeared. he was reportedly preparing to travel from daraya, near damascus, to beirut, lebanon when he went missing. on the second anniversary of his disappearance, the "washington post's" executive director martin baron said -- "each month that passes without news of austin deepens our concern for his well-being. his family has endured unimaginable pain as a result of his captivity. they have our support in their determined efforts to gain his release." >> well, for more, we're joined now by austin tice's parents, debra and marc tice here in new york city. and we're also joined by
delphine halgand, u.s. director of reporters without borders. her group has launched a public awareness campaign for tice's release. according to reporters without borders, syria is the world's most dangerous country for journalists. nearly 130 news and information providers have been killed since the conflict began in march 2011. we welcome you all to democracy now! talk about austin. why he went to syria, what he was doing there is a journalist, and now where you think he is. >> well, austin is our oldest son, our firstborn. he is a big man. he has big passions. he is committed to things. when he gets committed, he takes action. one of the things that troubled him about the syrian conflict was the lack of credible, verifiable information about
what was going on there. austin had spent some time in the region. had an affinity for the people there. and he decided he had the abilities and the skills to go to syria to see what was happening and communicate that to people in the u.s. in the western world so that we would know what is happening. >> so he freelanced for various papers. >> he did. he did a lot of work for the mcclatchy news organization, which has been incredibly supportive of us and austin since he is gone missing. as he moved south in the country, he was able to deliver information and reports to a number of different organizations. >> debra tice, what has it been like since his disappearance? when he first got the news that he disappeared and what you have enabled a get from the u.s.
government in terms of his whereabouts in his situation? >> as farce his whereabouts, the government doesn't feel free to share that information with us. when he went missing every day we thought, he will be back tomorrow, next week. so going on 2.5 years, we still have that kind of expectations so our lives have pretty much been suspended and that tomorrow tomorrow kind of living, where the main thing that eric mcdavid and i do is --marc i do is whatever we can think of to get austin home. >> who do believe is holding him? >> we know who is not holding him. we know he is not being held by isis or the terrorists of any kind. the syrian government denies holding him, so that leaves us wondering who is holding him.
>> what does the u.s. government tell you marc? >> the u.s. government doesn't have, as far as we know, definitive information about exactly who is holding him or where he is. we do believe there is information that they have been unable to share with us, just because of security reasons and national security clearances and so forth. >> do you think the syrian government is sold in him? >> this is what we do believe. our son is missing in syria. it is more than natural that we would appeal to the syrian government, who is the sovereign entity over the state of syria to find him. they have the best resources. they have access to their own country, so we have appealed to them in many ways, many times to help us find austin and bring him safely home. >> i want to turn to austin tice
in his own words explaining why he made the decision to go to syria. in a facebook post on july 25, 2012, austin wrote -- "we kill ourselves every day with mcdonald's and alcohol and a thousand other drugs, but we've lost the sense that there actually are things out there worth dying for. we've given away our freedoms piecemeal to robber barons, but we're too complacent to do much but criticize those few who try to point out the obvious." he goes on to say -- "so that's why i came here to syria, and it's why i like being here now, right now, right in the middle of a brutal and still uncertain civil war. every person in this country fighting for their freedom wakes up every day and goes to sleep every night with the knowledge that death could visit them at any moment. they accept that reality as the price of freedom." that is your son in his own words. do you feel our government is doing enough to locate him and get him out?
>> we feel like there's always more that can be done. you mentioned reporters without borders in the intro. they have been helping us tremendously throughout this whole process, and now are helping us raise awareness of austin situation. >> we're joined by delphine halgand. she was on democracy now! yesterday. she is the u.s. director of reporters without borders. one of the first to get to the massacre site in paris. today we have you on for another reason, though you addressed the austin tice case yesterday. you are in boston today. talk about your work in washington and what you are learning about what is happening with austan, what you feel needs to be done, what the us government is doing or not doing. >> so i have been working with the tice's is september 2012
trying to help them as much as possible because reporters without borders work to do so, to help the families of kidnapped journalists. we have helped them to get in touch with former -- help them get contact with air speaking media. when they asked reporters without borders to help them to raise awareness about austin's case in u.s., of course we say of course, we are in. and then we convinced others to prepare campaign that we will launch very soon and the next week and right now we're calling for media all around the u.s. to join this campaign, to be partners of the campaign, and to unleash on the websites for free "free austin tice" banners. we of been working for years under a blindfold. when a journalist is missing
when austin tice is missing, in a sense, we are all blindfolded because we are deprived of information. that is really the main mission. public awareness, public pressure will make a difference to help us to bring austin back home. we know it is not a ransom issue. it is really a political issue and that is why public pressure will help in that case. >> delphine halgand, in previous kidnapping cases, the government has attempted to dissuade families from going public and sought these back channels, basically, to find a way to free kidnapped foreigners in the middle east. do you have any push back from the government on this campaign? >> we have seen the tragic results of many recently. i don't want to bring back this
barbary again. the administration a guest -- i guess realizes they're not successful and that is why the white house launched the policy review to try to see how they can better secure the release of their hostage. we are, of course, with the families like debra and marc and diane foley and other family members are pushing for better cooperation between the administration and the family, a better share of information. and also, to try to review this policy of no negotiation. there is a difference between refusing paying a ransom and only considering a military option. we are so welcoming this review which was so much needed, because a lot needs to be improved. >> the families of all core --
four americans kidnapped by isis in syria were told they could face prosecution if they paid money to free their loved ones, ransom. diane foley, the mother of slain journalist james foley spoke to abc news last year. >> we had to beg. we were an annoyance, is held, at some levels. they really did not have time for us. we were told very clearly, three times, that it was illegal for us to try to ransom our son out. and that with the possibility of being prosecuted. i was surprised that there were so little compassion. >> that was diane foley, the mother of james foley, who was beheaded last year. this has shown a rift between the families and the government. you are saying yours is not an issue of ransom.
but are you feeling the same -- the other issues that have raise now, as families come together is a lack of information they get from the government. marc, what are your thoughts on what the government is doing? is austin part of this, the case of your son austin tice, part of this review that president obama has called for? >> yes, it is. and we have been given the opportunity to participate in the review. we are very gratified that president obama recognized there are problems with the way the hostage situations in the families of hostages are dealt with. yes, we have felt that. clearly, there are issues around sharing information with the families. i our dimension that. there are issues internally the government among agencies and departments and how effectively and efficiently information is shared -- >> were you ever threatened the
way diane foley says she was threatened with prosecution if she dared to raise money? >> we heard the same advice, yes. >> meaning the state department gave you the same advice? >> we heard the same advice. i want to say we have not had to directly with the issue of france some -- ransom. we have not had anyone acknowledge or claim responsibility for austin's captivity. it is really not our place to speak about that issue. however, there are a number of other issues like a sitcom information sharing internally and externally, and just the idea of protecting the hostage themselves. one of the things we had a very steep learning curve on and the other rallies have as well is when an adult child goes missing, they have their whole life that left here and a lot of our time goes to trying to
protect and manage austin's identity and his assets so that when he comes back, he has a life to come back to. we believe there are things the government could do to help facilitate those processes in those efforts. >> like what? >> well, for instance, financial obligations. for issues around access to the social media -- facebook twitter. as an adult, austin was no longer sharing all his passwords with us. he was a grown man, 30 years old when he left. but it is extremely difficult because of privacy regulations and roles for us to be able to get access to the things we need to protect those scheming acacia and thieves and social media identity. we think there are things the government could put in place to
simplify that for the families. >> has there been any indication from the government that they believe he is still in captivity somewhere? >> yes. we have had information from our government assuring us that austin is hanging in there. so we are still working toward getting him home. you were asking about our government. and what has happened is, austin is suspended between two governments. trying to take possession of him has become another part of his captivity. and keeping information from us, sort of keeps us from inserting ourselves into that picture. and so that is where our frustration lies. >> can you explain further? have you killed directly to the
syrian government? -- have you appealed directly to the syrian government? >> we have, and they have assured us that they will do everything they can to find boston to help -- fine austin and help us bring him home safely. what we're more interested in is, we would like to feel more a part of the team of our government that is getting a permission that they would share information with us so that we can use that information with our channels no connection to reach our son. >> to your knowledge everywhere -- the area he disappeared from, was it in government controlled areas or was it in rebel controlled areas? >> well, that area at that time was very fluid. and so it is really hard to say who had control at the moment
austin went missing. that's part of the problem. >> would you like to make a direct statement to whoever is holding your son? >> yes, absolutely. we would like to say, first of all, please, take care of austin and keep him well and save. we don't believe anyone is benefiting from austin continuing to be held a not allowed to come home. we would appeal to you to treat him well, keep him safe and return him to us as soon as you can. austin, if you can hear us we love you and we're doing everything we can to bring home as soon as possible. >> debra? >> i would just like to say that everyone has a mother and i am austin's mother, and i appeal to you in the same way that your mother would appeal for you that you let my son be released,
keep him safe, and give him back to our family. he has two brother-in-law's to meet. he has siblings to congratulate on a compass months. we're so ready to have him home. >> delphine halgand, you're working at a kind of policy level and having worked in these kinds of cases around the world what you think is most important to happen right now? >> again, i think after more than two years of looking for information, trusting the u.s. government to bring austin safely home, it is time for public awareness and public pressure because that is really one thing we can help to bring austin back home. that is why i really want to thank you to help us in this mission. again, i look forward to working with all the media and major
media in the u.s. who have expressed interest to be part of this campaign. >> thank you all for being with us, delphine halgand is the u.s. director of reporters without borders. and debra and marc tice. i know these are very difficult times for you as they have been for the past almost 2.5 years now, parents of austin tice, the american journalist abducted in syria in august 2012. of course, we will continue to follow his case. we will be back in a minute with an exclusive story. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> just a week ago, our next guest was a federal prisoner serving a 19-year sentence for eco-terrorism in what his supporters say was a case of fbi entrapment. today, he is a free man. in 2007, eric mcdavid was
convicted of plotting to bomb sites in california including the nimbus dam. but his attorneys say he was entrapped by a teenage informant who went by the name anna and supplied him with food, housing and bomb-making instructions and pressured him into illegal activity. two others arrested in the plot testified against mcdavid in a deal that led to lighter sentences. >> for them. well, as part of a settlement reached in the case on thursday, federal prosecutors acknowledged withholding evidence in mcdavid's case, including an fbi request for the informant to undergo a lie-detector test. this damning detail about the government's star witness was found in thousands of documents released after his trial, when his supporters filed a freedom of information act request. during a hearing, federal judge morrison england demanded to know how the prosecution failed to give potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense, saying -- "this is huge. this is something that needs to be dealt with." mcdavid pleaded guilty to a
conspiracy charge with a maximum five-year sentence. he had already served 9 years in prison. he was released. eric mcdavid joins us now from sacramento for his first interview since his release. with him is his partner jenny esquivel, a member of the group sacramento prisoner support. and in san francisco, we're joined by ben rosenfeld, mcdavid's lawyer. he is a civil rights attorney who specializes in cases dealing with police and fbi misconduct. he is also an advisory board member of the civil liberties defense center. welcome all of you to democracy now! eric, let's begin with you. how does it feel to be free? >> there is no definition to that. there is no way to express that. definitely, not the english language. >> explain how critical the information was that had you
released. >> i think that is pretty obvious. to tie the truth, i think ben could address that with more clarity. >> ben rosenfeld, can you talk about what has taken place in this case? here you have eric mcdavid was supposed to serve 19 years in prison, being released a decade early. why? >> 11 years early, actually. this is about an egregious case of entrapment as i've seen in my entire legal career. i should point out what they have done to eric's a thousand fold on muslims in this country. it is important to raise public awareness. in eric's case, a number of documents were turned over after the case was long concluded and supporters started going through those documents. they went, this is stuff that should've it turned over to the defense that would've been critical to his defense that included evidence that the
government had called urgently for a lie detector examination of their informant and inexplicably canceled it. indications letters of her remain take nature were withheld. -- romantic nature were withheld. foia pointed to documents that were not included and as his lawyers, we incorporated that into a kb's claim and the court showed interest in that and ultimately, that set the table for his release when the government was forced to admit they had in fact withheld documents that should've been turned over to the defense. >> ben rosenfeld, the informant in this case is a critical part of what happened. in 2008, "l" magazine featured an article about how the fbi paid a young woman known as anna, to befriend activists and pressure them into illegal activity, and describes in detail her relationship with eric mcdavid, and her role in the case against him.
in an interview for the piece, anna says when the group planned to blow up the nimbus dam, her role was to track down bomb recipes. she said -- "i go to the fbi with this and they said, well, of course we're not going to give you bomb recipes that actually work. so they gave me about half a dozen recipes that were all missing components." could you talk about the role of anna? she supposedly was involved in gathering evidence as an informant against many activists in the environmental movement. >> i want to point out, first, there was never any plan to blowup the nimbus dam. there was actually never any plane to do anything. there was a lot of talk. whatever plans there were, were 100% the fbi's and anna's. this is a clear-cut case of entrapment. the case of the government creating an solving its own told called -- so-called conspiracy.
if there was any agreement among the codefendants in this case, it was specifically not to block the nimbus dam. yes, anna entrapped them by literally hurling them together across the country, by plying them with material needed, by sheltering them, and providing them food and transportation and literally gathering them back together and trying to keep them interested in her plans and her schemes. each of them for their own reasons was trying to please and placate her. it was a lot of talk. there was no action. nothing was ever done. nothing was ever agreed upon. certainly, nothing was ever blown up. >> so if you could talk about the case, jenny esquivel, why you got involved with separate into a prisoner support, and how you applied for this information act. >> sure.
i can to sacramento immediately after eric was arrested. he and i were partners right before he got arrested. i came here to be closer to him and to support work for him and that is originally how i got involved with sacramento prisoner support. as far as the foia goes, his original attorney filed for the request before the trial in 2007. at the time, the fbi responded saying it had no records responsive to our request, which was interesting and clearly, it was a lie is at that time that thousands of pages of discovery that the government had turned over to us for trial. so we were pretty busy at that point with the trial and also china support eric while he was on hunger strike, trying to get vegan food at the county jail. we did not have time to follow through. we did know they had records responsive to our request. after eric was convicted and
sentenced in 2008, we filed another freedom of information act request and about a year and half later, we started receiving records that were responsive to that request. at that time, we received three or four different packages of documents equaling about 2500 pages. when other interesting thing about that is the government admitted to not handing over almost 900 more pages of information. and we still have not seen those documents. we still don't know what is and is documents. perhaps, unfortunately, never will. >> eric mcdavid, can you talk about your reaction when you discovered this informant, anna was in informant and have been taping conversations, the very person who was trying to instigate activity among you and other activists? and your reaction to her testimony in court? >> initially, to your first
question as i was sitting on the back of the car and a heard the locks click away around on the automatic lock vehicle she was sitting in which was talking on the phone. it was about eight to 10 vehicles pulled screeching up in front of me. it was jttf hotting up, ar-15 presti is, everybody ready to roll. i had a whole bunch on my mind at the time, so it wasn't really a predominant were huge thought. during trial, that part, after i had read a bunch of the discovery and we had gone over transcription everything, it was difficult to see definitely, but -- i don't know. it was hard to see.
that part was definitely one of the more harder parts of the trial. >> i want to go to an excerpt from the exchange between anna she was featured in "elle magazine, the exchange between anna and eric mcdavid and another activist lauren weiner when they were in the cabin allegedly planning to bomb the nimbus dam. she says -- >> tomorrow, what are we planning on doing tomorrow? are we still planning on doing anything tomorrow? or should i just stop talking about plans? >> hmmm. >> i would love it if you stopped talking. >> i would love it if you guys followed a plan! how about that. ben rosenfeld and the significance of this back and
forth? >> significance is it really illustrates 100% a case of agree disagree test entrapment by the -- egregious and grotesque entrapment by the government. she threw fits with a did not show enough enthusiasm for her plans. i think that excerpt illustrates that perfectly. and have also pointed out, right now, the government wants to skate away on the claim this was purely a mistake or inadvertent on the back of a press office statement. and whether it was a mistake or it was malfeasance or it was malevolence to withholding documents, they really owe it to eric and the public to come up with a much more detailed explanation about how this could have happened. the deck is stacked in their favor. the job of the defense in essence is to go fishing and there as, do you have anything?
if you're told they don't have anything, you're stuck with that answer. sometimes for a long time and sometimes forever, in eric's case, for nine years of wrongful incarceration. >> in the situation where prosecutors clearly, deliberately withhold evidence possibly exculpatory evidence, i have seen so many of these cases over the years. isn't it the responsibility, to some degree, of the judge to insist that an investigation be conducted because the trial itself was so tainted as a result of these actions of the prosecutors? >> we would certainly like to see the judge do that. we would like to see the judiciary take that up. there's some indication by the ninth circuit judges they're concerned about a potential epidemic of brady violations. brady is the supreme court case that speaks to the withholding of documents. i would also point out from a legal standpoint, it doesn't matter whether it was inadvertent or deliberate. if they withheld document's
which were held to the defense -- in this case documents showing there was romantic interest by eric and correspondence between eric and anna the prosecutors held back and reciprocation by anna -- that is good enough to satisfy the constitutional standard and to win release. it should be, but it is rare that it happens. you can see that it takes years and years and years to correct a mistake which should've been corrected a long time ago. there are many people behind bars who may never get that chance. >> the 2008 elle article about the eric mcdavid case quotes a juror named diane bennett who was tracked down by the reporter after the trial. bennett said -- "i've been bothered by this ever since that day... the fbi was an embarrassment... i hope he gets a new trial. i'm not happy with the one he got." bennett added that the foreman had "teared up" when he delivered the guilty verdict. she said the judge's instructions were confusing, but "people were tired... we wanted
to go home." can you talk about the significance of this, ben rosenfeld? >> she said that so long ago and it just goes to show how long you can live in this nightmare or the government has engaged in total misconduct and the court perhaps, abdicated response ability to oversee this or maybe has food went along with the defense because -- putting to along with the defense because the over trusting role in excess of trust it places sometimes in the government and the prosecutor. in court on generally eight the day eric walked free, i've never seen so many fireworks. and the judge really grilled the prosecutors and showed a lot of personal interest in getting to the bottom of this. i really hope that he or somebody does follow-up. >> could you explain the deal that was struck at the end? >> eric had to plead to simple
or general conspiracy count with a maximum penalty of five years. the judge vacated the original conviction and sentence of 20 years in a different charge. so the government extracts its pound of flesh, probably as much adjusted as you're going to get out of the department of injustice in a case like this. eric had to waive all civil claims going forward. but he is here now and we are truly grateful for that. and for everybody that made a possible. i will say to the team of u.s. attorneys at the end of the case who behaved extremely honorably and professionally in taking a fresh look at this and enabling that to happen, too. but it took a collaboration of a lot of people to end this nightmare. there are a lot of people left in prison who are the victims of this kind of government malfeasance also enemies to be an inquiry. >> eric, could you talk about
your time in prison? did you expect at some point to be able to get out and have this nightmare behind you? >> i had a buddy at the medium security prison where i was first held who always challenged me in keeping my mind open and keeping my heart open and making sure that i was ready for anything. given the intensity of that environment, indefinitely helped me to adapt -- it definitely helped me to adapt to that situation. but every other week or every other day, he would hit me up, are you ready to go home? are you ready to go home? i'm, yes, i'm ready to go home. you would say, tell me how you're going to do it.
that part was i was kept alive. the amount of folks that supported me, it has blown my heart open. every day and every moment that i was away from friends and family. >> did you meet other people behind bars to you felt were entrapped like you were? >> there are so many people that either are entrapped in the same way or pressured into taking a sentence because they are threatened with 60, 70 years of prison and a have to do to 15 or did the 17 or 20 because otherwise, they will spend the rest of their lives back there. >> eric mcdavid, thank you for being with us. congratulations on your release. he was released from prison thursday, less than a week after federal prosecutors withheld key evidence in the 2008 trial that led to his conviction on ecoterrorism charges. jenny esquivel is a member of "sacramento prisoner support" and also eric's partner. and thank you to ben rosenfeld
is eric mcdavid's lawyer. he is a civil rights attorney who specializes in cases dealing with police and fbi misconduct. that does it for the broadcast. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by