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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  March 24, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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03/24/15 03/24/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> after the election, the prime minister said he had not changed his position. for many in the international community and israel, such comments call into question his commitment to a two state solution, as did his suggestion the construction of settlements has a strategic purpose of dividing palestinian communities, and his claim that conditions in the larger middle east must be more stable before
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palestinian state can be established. we cannot simply pretend that these comments were never made. amy: as president obama's chief of staff calls benjamin netanyahu's pre-election comments very troubling, "the wall street journal" reveals israel spied on the u.s.-iran nuclear talks and then turned over sensitive information to members of congress in an effort to derail a deal. but "after liberation came first, destruction." a new human rights watch report reveals shiite militias in iraq have burned down entire sunni villages after liberating them from control of the islamic state. >> we analyzed imagery recorded and found evidence of a systematic and sustained campaign of arson and demolition that lasted over two months after the end of the siege. we also analyzed 500 kilometer square radius of amerli which
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showed construction of 30 out of 35 villages. -- demolition of 30 out of 35 villages. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a new reports accuses israel of spying on nuclear talks between iran, the united states and other world powers. according to "the wall street journal," the white house learned of the spying last ear -- last year shortly after the negotiations opened. citing unnamed u.s. officials, "the journal" said the white house wasn't upset by the spying as much as by israel's decision to share inside information from the talks with u.s. lawmakers as part of a campaign to derail the talks. israel has denied the allegations, which come as the obama administration is already criticizing israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu for his pre-election vow to block a palestinian state.
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on monday, white house chief of staff denis mcdonough reaffirmed the u.s. commitment to the two-state solution. >> in the end, we know what it should look like. it should be based on the 1967 line with mutually agreed swaps. [applause] each state needs secure and recognized borders and a must be robust provision that safeguard israel security. [applause] an occupation that has lasted for a must 50 years must end. amy: netanyahu has tried to walk back his disavowal of the two-state solution. on monday, he sought to walk back his election day warning arab voters were flocking to the polls in droves. >> i note the things i said a few days ago offended israel. i had no intentions for this to happen. i regret this. [applause]
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my actions as prime minister, including the great investments in the minority sectors prove the total opposite. equally, i think it is for bidden that any foreign body will intervene in the process of our democracy. amy: afghan president ashraf ghani is expected to request a longer tenure for u.s. troops in afghanistan during a white house meeting with president obama today. obama has vowed to remove half of the 10,000 troops currently in afghanistan in the coming months, and all but 1,000 by the end of his term in early 2017. but recent reports say the administration is poised to keep more troops there. the u.s. is pledging to continue funding afghan security forces at a peak level of 352,000 personnel, at a cost of billions of dollars per year. the talks come as gunmen in eastern afghanistan attacked vehicles on a highway, killing 13 people, and as protests have erupted over the mob killing of
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a woman in the capital kabul. the united nations says it will broker talks in qatar aimed at preventing yemen from dissolving into a full-scale civil war. the country appears on the brink of collapse amid fierce clashes between shiite houthi rebels and military units loyal to president abdu rabbu mansour hadi. saudi arabia meanwhile has vowed to take "necessary measures" against the houthis if a deal is not reached. a passenger plane operated by lufthansa's germanwings airline has crashed in southern france with nearly 150 people on board. the airbus 320 was flying from barcelona to dusseldorf when it went down in the french alps. french president francois hollande said there are likely no survivors. texas republican senator and tea party favorite ted cruz has announced his candidacy for president. in a speech at the evangelical liberty university, cruz rolled out an agenda which includes reversing obamacare, militarizing the borders rolling back abortion rights and
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same-sex marriage, and strengthening support for israel. >> i believe in you. i believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of america. and that is why today, i am announcing that i am running for president of the united states. [applause] instead of a president who boycotts prime minister netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of israel. amy: the american civil liberties union has filed an emergency motion to block wisconsin's voter id law after the supreme court rejected an appeal and left the law in place. the measure threatens to disenfranchise an estimated 300,000 people who lack adequate id. a lower-court judge had noted there was only one documented
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case of voter fraud in wisconsin over a period of eight years. critics say the law signed by republican governor scott walker and others like it nationwide seek to block votes by the poor and people of color, who tend to vote democratic. the law will not be in effect for april elections. in another case monday, the supreme court appeared to side with the state of texas over its rejection of a license plate bearing the confederate flag. an attorney for the group texas sons of confederate veterans argued any type of hate speech should be allowed on license plates under the first amendment, but the justices appeared to reject that idea. supreme court justice anthony kennedy has criticized the system of mass incarceration in the united states, saying it relies too heavily on solitary confinement and is "broken" in many respects. kennedy, seen as the most moderate voice on the court, and often a key swing vote, made the comments before a house panel. >> we had a case, for our court a few weeks ago.
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the prisoner had been in an isolation so according to an attorney -- i haven't checked it out -- for 25 years. solitary confinement literally drives men mad. even dr. mamett lost his mind. we simply have to look at this system that we have. we haven't given nearly enough study, nearly enough thought nearly enough investigative resources to looking at our corrections system. in many respects, i think it is broken. amy: an arizona woman who spent 22 years on death row has seen the murder charges against her dismissed. debra jean milke was convicted of recruiting two male friends to kill her four-year-old son in a case that rested heavily on a now-discredited detective's claim milke had confessed. milke has been out on bond since
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her conviction was thrown out in 2013 and on monday, a judge ordered her electronic monitoring anklet removed. utah has become the only state to allow firing squads for executions. governor gary herbert signed the new measure allows the state to use the firing squad if lethal injection drugs are not available. the drugs have been difficult to obtain because european manufacturers refuse to sell them for u.s. executions. a new justice department report has criticized the philadelphia police department over secrecy and inadequate training. the probe, requested by police commissioner charles ramsey, found police in philadelphia opened fire about once a week on average in recent years. in some of those, they saw more than new york city where the police force is five times larger. 80% of shooting victims were african american. the report comes just days after prosecutors said they would not press charges against officers who fatally shot brandon tate-brown, an african-american they say reached for a gun during a traffic stop. his family disputes the claim.
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police in charlottesville, virginia say an investigation into an alleged gang rape at a fraternity reported by "rolling stone" magazine has failed to uncover evidence of a crime. charlottesville police chief timothy longo said the outcome -- "doesn't mean that something terrible didn't happen to [the victim] jackie." "rolling stone" has acknowledged discrepancies in details described by jackie, who did not participate in the police investigation. when the article came out, university of virginia was already under investigation by the department of education for its handling of sexual assault along with a growing list which now includes over 90 other schools. in japan, the governor of the island of okinawa has ordered a halt to construction of a new u.s. military base. takeshi onaga was elected last year on a platform of stopping the base. he has given the japanese defense ministry a week to stop construction following the discovery massive concrete blocks dropped into the sea as part of the project had damaged coral reefs. the japanese government has vowed to press ahead with construction, setting up a
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possible legal battle. okinawa houses about 26,000 u.s. troops, and their presence has been the subject of protests for decades. el salvador martha assassination of archbishop oscar romero stub known as the voice of the voiceless, he was not picket for the poor and a leading critic of the respect salvadoran military government. he was killed 35 years ago today by members of u.s. backed death squad while he delivered mass at a hospital chapel. his assassination was ordered by salvadoran military officer, a graduate of the u.s. run school of the americas. pope francis recently declared romero a martyr, paving the way for possible sainthood. on monday, his supporters marched with paper lanterns in the capital. >> it is assigned to remind us of his life, to shine a light on our path, to guide what we should do, and give us
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strength,. amy: here in the united states, an undocumented father of two who has sought sanctuary from deportation in a denver, colorado church for the past five months has had his request to stay his deportation denied. arturo hernandez garcia has lived in the united states for over 25 years. he plans to remain in the church and continue fighting his deportation. to see my interview with him inside the church, you can go to democracynow.org. in upstate new york, a judge has dismissed charges against 42 protesters arrested for civil disobedience against plans to expand gas storage in abandoned lakeside salt caverns. according to the group we are seneca lake, judge raymond berry dismissed the charges "in the interests of justice" and commended the protesters, saying "i'm very proud of you. , you had a cause and you fought for it to the best of your ability to go the remaining 100
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protesters will also see their charges dismissed. and the author naomi klein and investigative journalist david sirota have jointly won the seventh annual izzy award, presented by the park center for independent media, in honor of the legendary dissident journalist, i.f. stone. the judges praised klein's groundbreaking book, "this changes everything: capitalism vs. the climate," and david sirota's exposes on corruption in the pension system. jeff cohen, director of the park center for independent media said in a statement -- "naomi klein and david sirota are the journalistic heirs of i.f. stone, taking on the most powerful forces in society -- from wall street to big oil & gas -- and giving voice to the victims of predatory capitalism." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. aaron welcome to our listeners and viewers around the country and around the world. we turn now to the iraq where the battle for tikrit has entered its fourth week. iraqi forces and iranian-backed shiite militias have been battling fighters from the islamic state since early march
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in an attempt to retake saddam hussein's hometown. the iraqi government is expected to soon request u.s. assistance in the form of air strikes. if the u.s. accepts the request, it would mark the biggest collaboration to date between shiite militias and the united states in the fight against the islamic state. amy: this comes at a time when shiite militias are being accused of carrying out widespread sectarian abuses targeting sunni civilians. last week, human rights watch published a report titled, "after liberation came destruction: iraqi militias and the aftermath of amerli." in a moment, we will be joined by the report's co-author. but first, i want to turn to this short piece produced by human rights watch. >> witnesses say militia fighters and iraqi security forces carried out a campaign of destruction and the aftermath of operation to drive the extremist group isis away from the town of amerli in iraq.
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>> at first, we were afraid of isis. when isis can, we didn't escape. they were all around us, so work and we go? then we were hit by heavy airstrikes. everyone stayed in their homes. then the militia came and started firing at us. >> last june, isis laid fire at amerli for nearly three months. thousands were trapped until they were driven out with airstrikes and ground operations by an alliance of shia militias and iraqi and kurdish government forces. witnesses told us that on september 1, the day after the siege was broken, she a militias returned to the sunni villages around amerli and began looting burning, and destroying homes and businesses. >> from what i saw, they used
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fire to burn houses. we also heard explosions. we thought it was bombs that isis had left behind. about 10 days ago, we snuck act in and saw the houses had been blown up with explosives. the walls were gone and the ceilings were collapsed. >> how many kilometers? >> in mid-october, we visited some of the villages on the outskirts of amerli. our escorts were kurdish military forces known as peshmerga. >> the shia militias destroyed all of these shops. this restaurant used to be owned by a kurd. that one belonged to a sunni arab. they came to the area after the airstrikes. houses and shops were untouched
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during airstrikes. when the malicious came, they were destroyed. -- when the militias came, they were destroyed. >> as we headed toward the village, we saw the yellow flags of the pro-government militias. they still controlled the area at the time of our field investigation in mid-october. once inside the village, we saw homes still burning. it was nearly seven weeks after the siege of amerli was broken. other homes and buildings showed signs of arson. black suit marked the windows and doors were flames had engulfed the interior and charred the outer walls. i many of the houses, militias spray-painted names of their groups. we analyzed satellite imagery
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recorded and found evidence of a systematic and sustained campaign of arson and demolition that lasted over two months after the end of the siege of amerli. we also analyzed 500 kilometers square radius of amerli, which confirmed destruction and 30 out of 35 villages. most of the damage was caused by arson and intentional demolition inflicted after isis had fled the area. >> those 20 families living over there all fled when the militia came. >> iraq clearly faces serious threats in its conflict with isis. for the abuses committed by the forces fighting isis are threatening the country the long-term. iraqis are caught between the horrors isis commits in the abuses by militias, and civilians are paying the price.
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amy: a video produced by human rights watch. would we come back, we will be joined by erin evers, iraq researcher for human rights watch. she co-wrote the new report, "after liberation came destruction: iraqi militias and the aftermath of amerli." she has been on the ground in iraq with human rights watch since september 2012. we will also speak with journalists matt aikins, his latest piece for "rolling stone" is titled, "inside baghdad's brutal battle against isis." we will be back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. aaron: thank you for joining use,rin. as we talk about your report, we're joined by erin evers who
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co-wrote the new report, "after liberation came destruction: iraqi militias and the aftermath of amerli." we're also joined by matthieu aikins whose latest piece for "rolling stone" is titled, "inside baghdad's brutal battle against isis." erin evers, thank you for joining us, as i said. talk about what you found in iraq. >> we essentially documented that after u.s. coalition strikes in the town of amerli routed isis from the town of amerli along with militias and 62 forces fighting on the ground. amy: describe where amerli is. >> it is not the baghdad, the same province to create his in. the town itself is in the northeast of the province. isis had been laying siege to the staff for two months. the ground forces alone were
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unable to route isis from the town but after the u.s. airstrikes on august 31, they cleared isis from the town there proceeded to spread out throughout the province and a neighboring province, and attacked the sunni villages in those provinces. so the essentially laid siege to all of the sunni villages in a pretty broad area. set homes on fire, looted them. in some cases, destroyed them with explosives and earth moving equipment. we used satellite imagery. we were on the ground and saw some of the destruction with their own eyes, spoke to about 30 persons who were displaced as a result of this clearing operation. then we satellite -- used satellite imagery in order to determine the damage we saw was in fact caused by militias and not in the course of fighting or by isis. so we had to determine the
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timeline, essentially, of when what we saw happened so we could be clear that those areas were under the control of militias, and not under the control of isis and not engaging in battle. amy: why are the militias doing this and what is the relationship to the iraqi army? >> they are not under any formal chain of command. there leading the fight against isis and responsible essentially, to themselves. why they're doing this? i think that is really anybody's guess. but from statements that we have heard from militia leaders and from what people on the ground have told us that militia -- you know, militia fighters were saying to them when they were on the ground, it seems like they were essentially trying to clear the area of sunnis. after this campaign, several months afterwards, in january the same militias went through a province neighboring iran and
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essentially carried out the same kind of operations except at an even more extreme kind of level. whereas in this report, we documented militias kidnapping people and torturing people, and diala, we documented summary executions of sunni civilians and even large massacre of 72 civilians in one town in diala. aaron: is there any evidence they have been doing this with u.s. weapons? >> we have seen them with u.s. weapons. we don't know exactly how they got their hands on these weapons. is a lot of speculation as to how they're getting the weapons. some people say they're getting them through the iraqi army, which is the official recipient of the weapons and other people are saying they're getting them from isis, which obviously, is also getting the weapons --
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amy: i want to read from the former cia director david petraeus. he told "the washington post" -- "i would argue that the foremost threat to iraq's long-term stability and the broader regional equilibrium is not the islamic state; rather, it is shiite militias, many backed by -- and some guided by -- iran," petraeus said. he went on to say -- "longer term, iranian-backed shia militia could emerge as the preeminent power in the country, one that is outside the control of the government and instead answerable to tehran." your response to this? >> i think that is a correct valuation, unfortunately, of where iraq is headed. so even though in iraq right now we're a new government with a reformist prime minister and his allies are also definitely keen to rein in these militias, to undo some of the very abusive legislation and practices the former prime minister put in place, unfortunately, the power on the ground that is the strong
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is trying a is the militias and they're not answerable to the government. there is no account ability -- accountability that we document on the part of militias. this is going back even before mosul fell. once mosul fell, that relationship flipped in the militias became the leading force on the ground and secured to forces are falling behind. erin evers on the issue of u.s. weapons, there arms control laws. >> the white house is not addressed the issue of militias getting their hands on u.s. weaponry. but they have in recent weeks kind of ratcheted up their language, their voicing concern about the possibility of militias think sectarian, which obviously is a foregone conclusion.
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so i think it is something the u.s. is seriously considering. but they haven't publicly addressed specifically the issue of militias getting a hands-on weapons. amy: i want to ask about the iraqi security forces. a report by abc news that revealed u.s.-trained and armed iraqi military units are under investigation for committing war crimes. this is an except of abc's report by brian ross. >> innocent civilians massacred. prisoners tortured. acts that shop the civilized -- shock the civilized world all discovered by abc news online, not from the usual isis accounts, but from social media sites connected to delete -- the very forces the u.s. is counting on to help stop such atrocities. here a group of men in iraqi uniforms give the sign of approval after a civilian is beheaded behind them. in this video, a young boy
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suspected isis recruit, is about to be executed -- shot dead in the streets with men and what appeared to be iraqi uniforms crowding around the scene. this appears to be an insignia of the iraqi special forces. there are dozens of such videos and still images being investigated by u.s. and iraqi authorities to determine if they are in fact part of the iraqi army. like these men with a severed head were these men dragging the body of the captured prisoner. in this video, what appears to be two unarmed iraqi civilians are about to be murdered like the others already dead next to them. this video slow down, shows militia fighters with u.s. supplied weapons. amy: that is an excerpt of an abc report by brian ross. erin evers, you reviewed all of this footage for them? >> yes i did. the sad thing about this footage, it is essentially visual documentation of abuses
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that we, other organizations and the media, have been documenting for years. successive u.s. and iraqi governments have turned a blind eye to. the kinds of abuses that we saw in that report, these atrocious you know absolutely atrocious acts of no accountability whatsoever, something the u.s. ever menaced on about for some time. and just failed to do anything. amy: what is the response to human rights watch? >> the response to the report was that they had actually withheld aid from specific groups who they knew were committing these abuses before. that is the first time i ever heard the u.s. was withholding aid from abusive groups. that is the obligation under the leahy law.
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but they have never responded directly to us in terms of the allegations, you know, the kind of documentation we have done of these kinds of abuses by iraqi security forces. aaron: matthieu aikins, you were there speaking to iraqi officials and militia leaders. can you tell us about what you found and also the broader iraqi policy of deploying militias and how it arose, particularly with the collapse of the iraqi army when isis overran large parts of the country last year? >> sure, well, what happened was essentially a reaction to the rapid gains that isis made this summer when mosul and other areas collapsed. these militias were called upon as a last line of defense in order to protect the shia areas of the southern part of the country, including iraq. they were effective at doing
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that. but in doing so, they took over this [indiscernible] iraqi state. when i was there, i met with the militia commanders, including one from a very notorious militia, a splinter group from the army that once fought the americans and is now fighting isis. the commander explained to me something i've heard from other places as well, that on the ground, these militia commanders often leading the operation essentially, mixed in with iraqi army and police units -- borrowing weapons, being supplied ammunition from them, using heavy weapons, often exercising command and control over iraqi army and police. that says the formal state security services, what is left with them, and these militias, have become entangled to such a degree, it is hard in many cases to make a distinction between them on the ground. amy: we're speaking to matthieu aikins in karachi, pakistan. i don't know if that is a crow
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behind you or something. you begin your piece by saying if you visited the interior ministry compound in baghdad during the holy month this past fall, you would be forgiven for thinking iraq will elect its neighbor iran, is a country whose official religion is shiite islam. explain. >> the thing is, you wouldn't just be confronted with these the december but make no pretense that iraq is a state that is supposed to have equal regards to the different sects and religions. baghdad is now a shia city. i think one of the things we of scene after the event this summer -- a lot of these things were happening before. many predicted what would happen in amerli dialo, was predicted by human rights watch, which would amount to ethnic
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cleansing, in my view. the mask has slipped off and there's really no pretense or attempt at pretense that this is not a sectarian war that is been fought by the primitive actors. and besides, isis and militias. aaron: given this dynamic, what do you think this pretense for iraq's future? could we see a return to the brutal days of 2006-2007 when a sectarian conflict was out of control and tens of thousands killed? is there a fear of sliding back into that? >> i think we already are there and many ways. last year, there was an estimated 17,000 iraqis that were killed. that is the most balanced by four cents weekly in the violent -- most of violence by far since we peaked. these are sunni areas that have been taken over by al qaeda in 2006-2007, often because the communities wanted some sort of [indiscernible]
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now they're being terrorized by shia groups. there's outright warfare in the countryside. massacres on both sides. i think we're actually there. the mosul fallujah, they're going to make what has been happening in amerli look minor in comparison to the massacres and human rights abuses that occur. amy: here in the united states were you just work, matt, yet the republicans attacking president obama negotiating with iran around nuclear bombs. and you have the call to defeat the so-called islamic state isis. it sure you have on the ground it is iran that is fighting isis. how much court nation is going on between the united states and iran now in trying to defeat isis? >> [indiscernible]
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sharing the same space. one iraqi adviser to meet was like high density. -- one iraqi adviser told me it was like hide and seek. i think you after the knowledge and rinse legitimate interest in iraq. this is their doorstep. isis is a brutal and a shia group the poses a great threat to their own interest. the fact that we have this long-standing proxy war with iran has really prevented any sort of constructive engagement on solving the problems going on in iraq. instead, you have a kind of willful denial about the actual strategy that is grilli taking place. aaron: erin evers, how do think these abuses will impact the long-term fight against isis and also iraq's basic unity? >> what we're seeing right now actually, these kinds of abuses a really radicalizing and ostracizing the sunni population
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even more than they already were. so people that we talked to on the ground who were displaced or the fighting, who were displaced by militias who threaten them with death if they try to come back to her homes, socially, now you have thousands of people displaced as result of these militia operations were geographically stuck a between isis on one side whose ideology they don't accept and who they don't want to be a part of, but who do not have a sectarian mandate to kill them. who haven't specifically trained to kill them like the sectarian militias have. so our concern is that for every tactical game that the shia militias are making against isis , in the long run, they're actually empowering isis and and bolding them and throwing people straight into their hands. the way i see things going for my experts on the ground from what we documented in amerli and other areas around iraq, if things keep going this way and
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if militias keep leading the fight, essentially, you're going to have a state that is a militia state with large swaths of territory that militias control. sunnis kind of fighting in the western corner and isis a problem that has never really fully dealt with because -- because -- there's no sector and solution to the isis problem. you cannot get rid of all of the sunnis in iraq. they are part of iraq. most average iraqis don't want to see the country split up. i think it is a huge problem but politically and -- amy: use of u.s. military did not give weapons to some groups -- at least they said that to you. matt, you write in the piece the obama administration is our is argue they should be
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exemption from arms control laws. >> that's right. they're worried about the weapons there now transferring to iraq [indiscernible] i think it is ironic that having flooded the country once with weapons by destroying saddam hussein's army and flooding it again with weapons by arming [indiscernible] their solution is to flood more weapons and of the country. it just shows a lack of imagination that exist on the part of the policymakers who are responsible. amy: matt, president obama is meeting with the new afghan president ghani today in washington. you have lived in afghanistan for years. the significance for this meeting -- the significance of this meeting and what president ghani will be calling for?
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>> he will be called for more troops and more money. understand the afghan state is utterly dependent on international funding. the budget gap is extraordinary something like 20% of the country's gdp right now is being fed by the international community. basically, afghanistan will remain a client state of the united states and international community for a long time to come, especially if the conflict isn't brought to a negotiated solution. ghani is basically trying to undo the damage done by the karzai administration. amy: we want to thank you for being with us, matthieu aikins joining us from pakistan. his latest piece for "rolling stone" is titled, "inside baghdad's brutal battle against isis." we will link to it. and thank you to erin evers iraq , researcher for human rights
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watch. she co-wrote the new report, "after liberation came destruction: iraqi militias and the aftermath of amerli." she has been on the ground in iraq with human rights watch since september 2012. we will link to that report as well. when we come back, we look at the issue of iran and israel, and palestine. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and
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peace report. i'm amy goodman. aaron: a new report accuses israel of spying. according to "the wall street journal." part of its effort to block a nuclear deal. the news comes as the white house has only reassessed its policy toward israel following prime minister benjamin netanyahu's rejection of a two state solution. in recent days, officials from president obama on down have openly criticized netanyahu for vowing no palestinian state and wanting -- warning supporters about high turnout of air voters. the comments helped propel netanyahu to a re-election victory last week. but they've also worsened u.s.-israeli tensions already threatened by a standoff over nuclear talks with iran. on monday, white house chief of staff dennis mcdonough became the latest administration official to criticize netanyahu's comments. speaking to the group j street mcdonough said the u.s. cannot ignore netanyahu's disavowal of a two-state solution. >> after the election, the prime minister said he is not changed
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his position. but for many in israel and the international committee, such contradictory comments call into question his commitment to a two state solution, as did his suggestion the construction of settlements has a strategic purpose of dividing palestinian communities and his claim that conditions in the larger middle east must be more stable before a palestinian state can be established. we cannot simply pretend that these comments were never made. aaron: mcdonough went on to say that israel's nearly 50-year occupation of palestinians must end. but whether the white house is prepared to drop its longstanding support for the occupation is the question that lies ahead. the obama administration has said it is considering not blocking, or maybe even backing, a u.n. security council resolution that would call for a two-state solution based on an israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories. amy: that would be a major change. the obama administration has previously vetoed u.n. security council resolutions advancing palestinian statehood and criticizing israeli settlement
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activity, even when those measures affirm official u.s. policy. amidst u.s. criticism and talk of a new approach, netanyahu has tried to walk back his comments. just three days after vowing no palestinian state on the eve of the vote, netanyahu backtracked in an interview with msnbc. then on monday, netanyahu expressed regret for his comments about arab voters. >> i know the things that i said a few days ago offended israel. i had no intentions for this to happen. i regret this. [applause] my actions as prime minister, including the great investments in the minority sectors, croup the total opposite. -- prove the total opposite. equally, i think it is for bidden that any foreign body will intervene in a process of
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our democracy. amy: that's israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. despite talk that his comments could trigger a change in u.s. policy, there are other signs the status quo will prevail. white house officials have vowed the billions of dollars in u.s. military aid to israel will continue unimpeded. and so far, there's been no change in policy at the u.n. on monday, the u.s. joined israel in boycotting a u.n. human rights council session on alleged violations during last year's assault on gaza. for more, we are joined by three guests. lisa goldman is a contributing editor at 972 magazine and a fellow at the new america foundation. dr. hatim kanaaneh is a physician, a palestinian citizen of israel, and the author of the recently released short story collection, "chief complaint: a country doctor's tales of life in galilee." yousef munayyer is the executive director of u.s. campaign to end israeli occupation. he recently wrote an opinion piece in "the new york times" headlined, "netanyahu's win is good for palestine." yousef munayyer, let's begin
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with you. why? >> i think is very good precisely because of what we've seen transpiring in the last several days. look, the mask has fallen off of the face of benjamin netanyahu. he has, for many years pretended to play along with the rhetoric of the peace process while acting in a way that is really much opposed to that outcome. but now because of the statement that he is made and because of the mandate that he is gotten from an israeli electorate, it is clear the process of the cap no one can pretend that can still go on. we need to have a significant period of reassessment and policy. the united states and its allies around the world, which have been talking about this peace process for a two state framework have just been served a very significant reality check. and they have to be honest with themselves and they have to be honest with everybody else in
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the international community who seeks a just outcome here, and reevaluate their position on this. because it is clear the peace process has really not brought palestinians closer to statehoo d. it is only brought them further away. it has served as a cover for continued israeli settlement expansion. what is good about this election is that, as i said, the mask has fallen and we cannot pretend anymore. it is time to take a sears lead different position on these issues. aaron: yousef munayyer, what do you make of the proposed steps the administration has suggested it may take in response to netanyahu? no longer standing in its way of the policy at the u.n., some not blocking a measure that may condemn illegal settlements or possibly even advancing a resolution that affirms a palestinian state based on an israeli withdrawal from the territories echo also, potentially not blocking a palestinian attempt at the international and the court. is that significant and do you think any of it will happen?
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>> in the introduction to the section, you mentioned the comments made yesterday at a gala by an obama administration official saying the occupation that has lasted for 50 years must and. the reality is, the united states had a position in november 20 second, 1967 when they voted in support of u.n. security council resolution 242. the occupation had not -- but only been around for six months. when we hear things like that and we hear about the prospect of perhaps the united states changing the voting behavior at the united nations, that is great to see, but it really has to translate into action. not just in terms of abstention, even know that would be a good thing, but we also need to see the united states addressing its complicity in the israeli occupation, ending u.s. military aid to israel, ending support for the settlements through all sorts of exemptions on taxes
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that u.s. taxpayers are taking advantage of the funnel money into settlements. enforcing laws on the books in the united states that would make military units within the israeli military and eligible for any sort -- and eligible for any sort of aid by the united states for training because they have engaged in human rights abuses and volitions of international law that are featured in this military occupation. there's a lot of steps the united states can take to actually put its actions in line with its words and its stated goals. but i think until we see those changes really happen, i'm not going to believe that the united states is actually committed to different outcome than the outcome that it has brought into the situation through its support for israel. amy: dr. hatim kanaaneh, you're not one of those is really arabs who went out in "droves" that prime minister netanyahu warned
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his supporters about. he said, to get them out to vote. can you talk about netanyahu's election? you live in galilee. >> yes, i'm a citizen of israel since day one. our community actually, for the first time, the various factions that ran [indiscernible] for the first time, they were able to constitute a single list and to address -- amy: the joint list the cayman -- came in as the third-largest party. they were able to address some of the more relevant -- vis-à-vis, the central authority of the state.
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with that, for me, that does give me some hope in the future because in fact, in the last week, the leader of that list became, for little while, sort of the sweetheart of the media in israel. so there is potential for us to place sometime in the future despite the fact that so far, no prime minister in israel ever negotiated with the palestinian political parties to form a coalition. so there is some hope, from my point of view, despite the shift in the result of the elections. aaron: lisa goldman, do you also take some hope from the results of the election? >> in a way, yes, i do. i agree with dr. kanaaneh, the
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third-largest party with 13 seats, it is a very interesting development. a couple of my airbnb friends arab friends, the most -- is a very mature guy. in one particular television debate, he was confronted with party leaders who are just nakedly racist remarks and he just responded with very inclusive bridge building intelligence sort of charismatic statements that really caught the attention and the imagination of the jewish population. amy: dennis mcdonough's comments calling netanyahu's comments very troubling roommate at the j street conference. you were there. can you what j street is and you are being there, what are debates going on there yet though?
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>> it was very interesting. an arab friend of mine said [indiscernible] i wouldn't go quite that far. he was judging, of course. there was a sense of -- j street is an ngo, a liberal jewish ngo -- not just jewish but their slogan is pro-israel and pro-peace. they advocate for a two state solution. by many they are regarded as a liberal left version of aipac. they have some interesting successes. they aren't interesting organization in the sense they try very hard to bring disparate voices under a single umbrella to talk about solutions. with are many people who were at j street that said look, with all the respect, the two state solution is a wonderful idea but it is a bit late. i am actually one of those people. i don't advocate ideologically
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one state. i don't think it is quitting the best outcome, just for pragmatic reasons, but i think at this point, talking about a two state solution, negotiating it -- we're 20 years after the oslo agreement and we have 500,000 jewish settlers. i think it is too late. aaron: disappoint many people may, but i don't get it. the two state solution is what the law is. also was designed the beginning to destroy the two state solution. -- oslo was designed in the beginning to destroy the two state solution. why declare palestinian statehood dead just because the illegality of the expanding occupation? >> that is an interpretation. no one has -- nobody involved in negotiating the oslo agreement said the point -- aaron: these really leaders were explicit on this point. --the israeli leaders were
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explicit on this point. the former foreign minister was explicit that it was founded on a neo colonialist basis. >> i think it is a subject for debate. it is not one that i personally like to engage in. i tend to look more at the reality. i think oslo has been an absolute disaster for the palestinians. i agree with that. but officially, on the face of it, that is not the weight was originally presented. it was presented as a means of negotiating -- amy: let's go back to the j street conference. on monday, israeli writer, cofounder of the online magazine 972, criticized j street and the obama administration for backing israel's most recent assault on gaza and said that should be discussed. >> the one word that wasn't mentioned in here was gaza. and the problem is gaza.
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and what the israeli public chose is another gaza. i think people should understand that. i think stepping out of the comfort zone is not talking about netanyahu. i think attacking netanyahu is easy for everyone on this panel and for everyone in this room. i think we should discuss the position we took about gaza. this was -- took. [applause] and i feel from the response that our public is ready for this debate. america opened its bunkers for israel when they ran out of shells in the middle of the war. we need to be discussing this. to be honest, i did not a lot of talk about that. [applause] amy: criticizing j street, noam
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sheizaf. yousef munayyer, your response? >> i think the criticism is warranted. is on point. it is important he made that criticism and it was heartening to hear that he got the applause that he did in the face of that criticism at the convention. look, i think the big problem with j street is that it advocates for an outcome, but does not advocate for any concrete steps toward actually realizing that outcome. you cannot say you support a two state solution and the emergence of a palestinian state and also filled advocate for any changes in policy that would bring that about. what we seen from j street is advocacy for continued negotiation, which of only acted as a cover for the very settlement expansion that they deplore. so because of the precarious position that they are in in trying to be both pro-israel and
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pro-peace, even though the israeli state has entrenched interests focused on a tame the occupation, put it in such a place that it can't effectively do what it says it wants to do. it is becoming something of a transitory state for people who are overcoming their previous affinity with the state of israel and zionism as a progress along the spectrum that is increasingly critical. to the extent of plays that role as a transitory step, i think it is fine. jan that, i don't get is doing much of anything. aaron: yousef munayyer, you're the director of the guessing and his campaign to end -- what is next? >> i think there's only one answer to that question. and that is in every way possible the cost of occupation to the israeli state has to increase. for many years they have decreased.
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amy: we have to leave it there. we thank you so much for being with us, yousef munayyer, dr. hatim kanaaneh and lisa goldman . [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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