tv Democracy Now LINKTV August 20, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
08/20/15 08/20/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> congressional rejection of this deal leaves any u.s. administration that is absolutely committed to preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon with one option. another war in the middle east. amy: despite president obama's warning, republican lawmakers democrats, from some are mounting efforts to block
the iran nuclear deal. next month's senate vote has been described as the most consequential foreign policy vote since the 2002 decision to invade iraq. we'll speak to former national security council staffer gary sick on what he calls the danger of a failed iran deal. then leading islamic scholars release a broad declaration on climate change. hashe prophet said, allah made the earth green and beautiful and he has appointed you as his stewards. join with him around the world as we call on world leaders to do more and to make firm commitments. amy: we will speak to bangladeshi scientist saleemul huq who helped draft the islamic declaration on global climate change. and then to the beat up squad. a group of prison guards in new york are accused of brutally killing an inmate and then trying to cover up his death. we will speak with reporter michael schwirtz about the attack at fishkill as well as what happened after judah
prisoners escaped from another new york jail, the clinton correctional facility. though it was risen employees who are implicated in the escape, it was prisoners who were beaten. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. at least nine people were arrested when protests erupted in st. louis, missouri, after police shot and killed an african-american teenager. st. louis police say they shot 18-year-old mansur ball-bey after he pointed a gun at officers as he fled from a house where police were executing a search warrant. the shooting came 10 days after the first anniversary of the police killing of michael brown in ferguson, which sparked protests nationwide. as protesters gathered to condemn the killing, police fired smoke canisters and tear
gas, accusing demonstrators of throwing glass bottles and bricks. images on social media overnight showed a car and a building on fire. activists and clergy condemned the police response as overly aggressive. reverend renita lamkin told the st. louis-post dispatch, "there has to be a better way, but the better way is not to terrorize an already terrorized community." in washington state, three firefighters have been killed and four others injured as wildfires continue to rage across the western united states. the firefighters from the u.s. forest service were reportedly killed after fire overtook their vehicle following an accident near the towns of twisp and winthrop. all residents of both towns have been ordered to evacuate. meanwhile, the idaho-based national interagency fire center has called in 200 active-duty military troops to fight the wildfires, marking the first time the agency has mobilized the military to fight fires in
nearly a decade. this comes as a new study confirms global warming has measurably worsened the record drought in california, which is fueling wildfires there. the study in the journal geophysical research letters confirms rising temperatures are sucking water out of plants and soil, worsening the drought by as much as 27%. more on climate change later in the broadcast. in egypt, a militant group linked to isil has claimed responsibility for a car bombing outside a courthouse in a cairo suburb that wounded 29 people thursday morning. the group, known as the sinai province, says the bombing was retribution for the execution of six of its members in may. the executed members have been convicted of carrying out an attack that killed two army officers in 2014. the attack comes on the heels of the group's announcement last week alleging it had executed a croatian hostage. in south korea, residents have been ordered to evacuate an area of its border with north korea, after the countries exchanged
fire thursday. south korea's defense minister says the crossfire began when north korea fired at a military unit, prompting retaliation from the south. he says north korea then launched a projectile at the town of yeoncheon, which lies northwest of seoul, where loudspeakers were broadcasting anti-north propaganda. in news from yemen, the united nations has condemned the u.s.-backed saudi-led airstrikes on the port city of hodeida. u.n. aid chief stephen o'brien called the strikes an -- a violation of international law and warned they would worsen the humanitarian crisis. the port city has been a key area in the delivery of humanitarian aid, although the saudi-led blockade has slowed the delivery of food and medical supplies. o'brien spoke wednesday. >> i was shocked by what i saw. the civilian population is bearing the brunt of the conflict. a shocking four out of five yemenis require human a turn
assistance and italy one point finally people are internally displaced. more than 1000 children have been killed or injured in the number of young people recruited or used as fighters is increasing. amy: the german parliament has voted to approve a $95 billion bailout package for greece. the agreement has already been approved by the greek parliament , although, nearly one third of lawmakers from the left-leaning syriza party v a a aoted againse bill. the bill that requires the greek government to impose harsh austerity measures and to privatize some of the country's assets. in one such week privatization deal, the government agreed to sell the rights to operate 14 regional airports to a german company. in news from israel, the supreme court has ruled to suspend the indefinite detention of a palestinian prisoner who has been on a two-month hunger strike that has caused brain damage. the court said mohammad allan does not pose a security threat at this time, given his deteriorated condition.
a medical examiner determined wednesday allan suffered brain damage from the hunger strike, although it is not clear whether the damage will be permanent. his lawyer said the decision to release his client should have come earlier. >> this should have been done already two days ago when we were here in the first year in front of the supreme court and asked for his immediate release because, first of all, he did not impose any security threat because of his medical situation. and second of all, in order to enable him to get the treatment and save his life and prevent the brain damage that now we're looking at. amy: last month, israel's parliament authorized the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike. it also authorized prison sentences of up to 20 years for people throwing stones. the united nations says these measures threaten to worsen an "already-precarious human rights situation." in news from the central african republic, the united nations has
reported new allegations about sexual abuse by peacekeeping forces. soldiers are accused of raping three women. one of them is a minor. the case follows accusations earlier this month by amnesty international that peacekeeping forces were responsible for the rape a 12-year-old girl and the death of a child and his father. french soldiers deployed as peacekeepers have also been accused of trading sex with young boys for food and money at a displaced persons' camp. the director of the u.n. peacekeeping mission in the central african republic resigned under pressure earlier this month. a united nations spokesperson announced the latest accusations on wednesday. >> a new series of disturbing's allegations of misconduct have recently come to light. the events allegedly took place in recent weeks. these new allegations concern report that three young females were raped by three members of a military contingent. the allegations were reported to the missions human right
division on august 12. it was by the families of the three women. amy: in news from south africa, the justice minister has stepped in to block the release of olympic runner oscar pistorius, who was due to be released after 10 months following his conviction for manslaughter for killing his girlfriend reeva steenkamp. in a rare move, justice minister michael masutha said the board's decision was premature and ordered an examination of the case. prosecutors have also appealed a court's decision last year not to convict pistorius of murder. in the united states public , health advocates are raising concerns about the food and drug administration's approval of the first prescription drug to increase women's sexual desire. flibanserin is made by sprout pharmaceuticals, whose executives have previously run afoul of the fda for their misleading and inaccurate marketing of an earlier product. the medication's approval was aggressively pushed by an advocacy group called even the score, which was funded by the
drugmaker and other drug companies. some health advocates have raised concerns about potentially serious risks, including low blood pressure and fainting. in a statement, dr. sidney wolfe of public citizen said -- "unfortunately, we haven't heard the last of this drug. expect future news to include stories of women who are harmed needlessly by flibanserin and the eventual agency call for the manufacturer to pull it from pharmacy shelves." an appeals court has ruled the securities and exchange commission can not force companies to disclose whether minerals in their products come from the war-torn country the democratic republic of congo because the mandatory labeling would violate the companies' freedom of speech. human rights groups have long pushed for mandatory labeling of so-called conflict minerals in order to allow consumers and investors to avoid fueling the bloody conflict through the purchase of their products. the mandatory labeling became law as part of the 2010
dodd-frank wall street reform act. but this week, a court ruled in favor of corporate trade groups seeking to overturn the measure. in news from ecuador, hundreds of indigenous protesters have forced police and soldiers to retreat from the amazon town of macas in an ongoing conflict over oil and gas drilling in the region. the indigenous shuar and achuar peoples have been organizing to block oil extraction on their lands. they say president correa has refused to consult them in the decision over drilling. on wednesday, about 200 protesters, wielding spears sent , police and soldiers fleeing from the town. in california, law firms have filed a class action lawsuit against costco and its thai seafood supplier, arguing that the company has knowingly sold shrimp whose harvesting relies on rampant human trafficking and forced labor. men who have escaped from boats in this supply chain have testified to beatings, torture, execution-style killings, and grueling 20-hour shifts.
the suit seeks to block costco from selling these sprimp unless they are labeled as the produce of slavery. democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton's campaign has confirmed emails on the private server she used while she was secretary of state contain material that is now classified. clinton has repeatedly said she did not receive material marked classified. her campaign says the material was classified retroactively, making clinton the "passive recipient of unwitting information that subsequently became deemed as classified." meanwhile, a newly publicized letter from clinton's attorney confirms her emails and all other data on her server were wiped clean before it was handed over to federal officials. former president jimmy carter is due to discuss his health plan is, georgia today. the move comes a days after carter announced liver surgery had unveiled cancer that had
spread to other parts of his body. city officials in somerville, massachusetts have hung a banner with the words "black lives matter" on the front of city hall. according to the boston globe, the somerville mayor joe curtatone said he worked with members. "we see this as an important opportunity for an important national conversation" about race, curtatone said. he said the move was "a very clear statement we are making to the community that we recognize that structural racism exists in our society; it exists in our public and private institutions." louis stokes, who as the first african-american congressman from ohio helped focus federal attention on the nation's poor and led a special house investigation into the assassinations of president john f. kennedy and the reverend dr. martin luther king, jr., died on tuesday at his home in a cleveland suburb. he was 90. he was also a founder of the congressional black caucus. he died of lung and brain cancer on tuesday at home in ohio. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,
democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. the iran nuclear deal is coming under fresh scrutiny from republican lawmakers following a new report by the associated press about a secret deal by the international atomic energy agency and iran. according to the report, iran would be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a military site. republicans have latched onto the report to further denounce the deal saying iran cannot be , trusted to police itself. republican presidential candidate senator lindsey graham discussed the ap story during an interview with the des moines register. >> the ap is reporting that under the side you between the international atomic energy agency is an iran, that the -- inspectll instead their own military facilities. that says making this bad deal a joke. i have been told that by others
the administration has not denied that arrangement. it would be absolutely irresponsible to allow the iranians to go on to their military sites and tell us what they've done in the past without independent verification. i think this is a game changer. amy: supporters of the agreement have dismissed reports of any --rid of agreement, secretive agreement pointing out , that iranian inspectors will work under close supervision of the iaea. on wednesday, state department spokesperson john kirby defended the deal and expressed confidence in the iaea's monitoring capabilities. in thee confident agency's technical plans for investigating the possible military dimensions of arendt's that inrogram, issues some cases date back more than a decade. just as importantly, the iaea is comfortable with arrangements which are unique to the agency's investigation of iran's historical activities. when it comes to monitoring
iran's behavior going forward, the iaea severally developed the most robust inspection regime ever peacefully negotiated to ensure iran's current program remains exclusively peaceful. nermeen: the new ap report comes about halfway through the 60-day period that congress has to scrutinize the iran nuclear deal. both houses of congress plan to vote next month on a measure to disapprove, or block, the deal. so far, just two senate democrats have broken with their party to oppose the agreement. on tuesday, new jersey senator robert menendez announced he would vote against the deal. >> i have looked into my own soul and my devotion to principle a once again lead me to and a popular course, but if iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it. it is for these reasons that i will vote to disapprove the agreement and if called upon, would vote -- nermeen: menendez is a senior member of the senate foreign relations committee. his announcement comes two weeks after new york democratic senator chuck schumer said he
will also oppose the deal. republicans need at least four more democrats to pass a resolution of disapproval next month and a total of 13 to override a veto. so far, 23 of the senate's 44 democrats have announced their support for the agreement. amy: meanwhile, on tuesday, 70 nuclear non-proliferation experts with the non-partisan arms control association issued a statement in support of the deal, calling it "a strong, long-term and verifiable agreement that will be a net-plus for international nuclear non-proliferation efforts." for more, we're joined now by gary sick of columbia university. he served on the national security council under presidents gerald ford, jimmy carter, and ronald reagan, and was the principal white house aide for iran during the iranian revolution and the hostage crisis. he recently wrote an article for politico called, "the danger of a failed iran deal." professor gary sick, welcome to democracy now! good to have you with us.
what is the danger of a failed iran deal? >> basically, we've had two years of negotiation that have been remarkably successful and produced something that is complicated, but nevertheless, solves the problem. if that is turned down by the u.s. congress, basically, the united states is on its own. the best -- the rest of the world does not have to go along with this. we are basically saying, we throw that out. the chance of renegotiating it is close to zero. as the situation evolves, there's a very real chance of conflict. that would take us back not only where we were two years ago, which was when mr. netanyahu was standing up waving the picture of a bomb that -- at the united nations and talking about immediate intervention, but worse than that because in the meantime, we would have lost the support of most of the international community. and it was their support for the sanctions that made the sanctions work. lost pretty much
everything along the way. and we would have an effect the cuba solution, that the united states would be the only country in the world imposing sanctions on iran. our businesses would not be permitted to do business there, but the rest of the world would. it is very unlikely anybody else would stick with this. and ago just to clarify something, although in the u.s. it is seen as the u.s.-iran deal, of course, it isn't, explain to us is involved and what it would mean if u.s. pulled out of that. they would still have the deal with iran? >> well, yes. they could. signedly, everybody that it, which was all of the permanent members of the security council under the auspices of the european union -- including russia and china -- they have all signed onto this. and there's no real doubt they are going to go ahead and put it into effect. if the u.s. withdrawals, technically, the deal is broken, the deal is off. that they are not required to do anything in particular other
than sort of business as usual. the deal would come to an end. we would be seen as responsible for it. the sanctions would unravel, almost certainly, and rather quickly, i suspect. and we got nothing out of it at all. in a very serious threat that we would get back to position where all we could do then is threaten military action to kind of enforce our view. it really is a lose-lose situation why -- by any standards at all. nermeen: how significant do you think these two senators have broken with obama on the deal? >> is not a terrible surprise. both have pretty well signaled where they stood on this issue and menendez had objected to it long before the negotiations even started. and after the negotiations were going on, tried to make it stop. that isn't a huge surprise. still, it is hard for me to see how any senator looking seriously at the alternatives that are available would make
that choice. and i think it is really unfortunate. i would much rather focus on senator gillibrand who have the courage to stand up and do what i think needed to be done. and with the same constituency -- nermeen: what did she do? >> she basically said she would support the president on this. i think that is where schumer should be. menendez is another case. i am not from new jersey, but he -- this is a guy under indictment currently and is facing a whole raft of problems and has been ideologically opposed to this thing from the very start. amy: let me ask you about some of the major criticisms of the deal. daysr one, gives iran 24 before outside inspections begin. two, a lifting of the ban on conventional and ballistic weapons. three, iran's economy may improve once the sanctions are lifted so there is this risk iran will funnel money toward terrorist groups. different senators are raising
this issue, saying terrorist groups like hamas and hezbollah. >> well, ok. the first thing, the 24 days is is an -- this exaggeration. in fact, the inspections may begin instantly. but if there is resistance -- in other words, let's say the united states suspects or something going on in a particular site and we provide evidence that something is going on and others agree with us, the iranians that are left in the position of resisting that and pushing it to the limit in terms of letting anybody actually go-ahead and do the inspections, which, of course, is suspect in itself, but they all he 24 days maximum. so the chance that you could be building a nuclear weapon or doing something in that and then get rid of it completely and that 24 days is very limited. the reality is, in most cases, if there was real evidence
presented, the inspections would probably go ahead within a day or so. this is sort of worst-case scenario. and even worst-case and ariel, yet remember, today we have no scenario, you have to remember, today we have no such rule. we could go to iran right now and so we suspect something, and it could be years before they let anyone go on and look. is this worse than where we were before? again, looked at in terms of a perfect world where we get everything we would like, no, this is not a perfect agreement. but if you look at it in terms -- this is a tremendous improvement over where we have been up and allow. i think we have to look at it that way. the second -- amy: talking about the lifting on the ban on conventional and ballistic weapons. imposed by the security council as part of a package when iran was not
performing its duties as far as the international inspectors were concerned. like thein effect sanctions. it was put in to bring iran to the table and to make them negotiate. from iran's point of view, those should have been lifted instantly when the security council voted in favor of this agreement, all of those limits should be off. instead, john kerry and company went back and negotiated a five ,o eight year extension of that which was accepted by the international community. so we are five day years better off than we would have been under even the terms of the agreement as it was originally for seen. again, is this perfect? no. amy: sparking a nuclear arms race with saudi arabia? -- in the middle east, there's really only one country that has nuclear weapons, and that is israel. they have had those for a long, long time. and all of the countries in the
middle east know it and have felt threatened by israel. do they build a nuclear weapon? no. they sometimes talked about it, but when it came pushed or shoved if it was worth it to go through the process of starting a nuclear program -- which was going to get them in trouble with the u.s. and rather allies -- they decided not to. in this case, you take away iran's ability to build a nuclear weapon and that sparked them than to build nuclear weapons of their own? no. it is hard to see the logic of why they would. , although they have moderated in private, in reality, twice, they have come out formally in favor of this agreement and say this couldn't fact improve their security. i find it very unlikely that they're going to go out and meet at least are building a nuclear weapon. nermeen: if congress were to approve the deal, could a new republican president go back on that decision? and could you talk specifically
about the parallels between the situation in your own involvement in the negotiations with the iran hostages in the last days of the carter presidency? >> i went through this process, and we did in fact negotiate with the iranians through the algerians to get the hostages released, and that resulted at the end of the altars accord. president reagan, who was then elected but had not taken office, was actually candidate reagan up until the moment when this agreement was done because it was not completed until the last day of the carter presidency. reagan said, this was done under coercion, this was -- we were forced to do this, therefore, we don't have to obey it, we don't have to go through. then he became president reagan instead of candidate reagan. she looked at the deal and he saw what the effect would be if he undid it. one comment terms of his uncritical he and the u.s. credibility, but also in terms of all the good things that were in that agreement which were
numerous and included a lot of things from the banks and others that benefited from it, and he quietly changed his mind and begun to enforce it and enforce it rather completely while he was president and it has been enforced ever since. does that mean republican president -- i think it would depend on which republican president it was. it is not to say some but he couldn't do that, but any president who says, i'm going to go back on the word of the u.s. government in the future because i don't happen alike it ideologically, is in effect saying, you can't trust us. and any president looks at that and thinks about what the long-term consequences of that are, and if you are the president -- if you are a candidate, and feels one way. if you are the president, looks another. amy: earlier this month, president obama pointed out many of the same people who supported -- war in iraq are due
opposing diplomacy with iran is adjusted republican opponents of the deal share much in common with iranian hardliners. what's just because a ring in hardliners chant death to america does not mean that is what all iranians believe. in fact, it is those -- [applause] in fact, it is those hardliners are most comfortable with the status quo. it is those hardliners chanting death to america live in most opposed to the deal. they're making common cause with the republican caucus. amy: that is president obama comparing hardliners in iran with the republican caucus. i'm wondering, professor sick, your thoughts about this? and also, you know iran quite well, though many, many years ago principal white house aide during the iranian revolution
and the hostage crisis, and you wrote the book "october surprise ."rk would like to be -- if you could talk about his relationship right through iran-contra, selling weapons to iran to illegally fund the contras, which conga said a ban on. >> this is a lot of ancient whenry and if you look reagan came into office when he was looking at iran, the first thing was, he said he did not like this agreement that we had negotiated and then changed his mind on that. years,er the next two both israel and the united states were selling arms to iran and the same time that we were telling the rest of the world not to. in the end, that turned into an enormous scandal.
reagan's -- been in the end of his term, there was a real chance that he could have been impeached over the activities of his national security council people. amy: perhaps it was because they are the ones who revealed this as opposed to an exposé by the press. they controlled the message, the reagan a administration. >> well, yes, but really turned -- once it broke in the press, that is when it got very serious. up until that time, reagan had talked about -- if you listen to what he actually said to explain what was going on with the iran-contra affair, he said it iran,strategic opening to that this is what we were looking for was to in fact find a way to deal with iran in a more reasonable way, thinking this would in fact be to our benefit as a nation. so i can't argue with that. frankly, i thought the concept was not bad at all.
the way it was done, sort of the covert arms shipments when we said we were not going to be shipping arms in dealing with a group of people that we did not know who they were and trusting intermediaries who really were shoddy types who are fabricators, that was not the way -- and the fact it was run out of the white house instead of being run out of the state department or the cia or someplace else, all of these things were bad as far as i was concerned. at the idea of a strategic opening to iran? i think that was sensible. in fact, that is sort of what we're beginning to see here -- i say beginning because if it is anything like a strategic opening to iran, we manage -- remains to be seen. the nuclear agreement is about the nuclear issue. it isn't about opening up to iran. but we have two years now a steady negotiations with iran at the highest level, and that is interestingce in an way. amy: speaking of history, you
wrote "the october surprise," do you still believe reagan had something to do with holding on -- working a deal with iran to hold onto the hostages so that jimmy carter would fall? >> this was looked at by two congressional committees and they concluded, and i agree with them, there is no smoking gun. we have a lot of circumstantial evidence. i continue to believe the circumstantial evidence is very, very powerful. but the committees decided they are not going to in effect come down on the side of treason, if you like, without some hard evidence. amy: treason against president reagan. ofwe don't have a picture the okc sitting room with the iranians doing a deal. we don't have any paper that says this is what they agreed. so it is circumstantial evidence put together. i wrote my book, basically, putting together as much of that circumstantial evidence as possible.
i found a quite convincing, but it isn't the sort of -- it is an absolute proof. and until we have a deathbed confession or something else happens, it remains a matter to be argued about. nermeen: i want to turn back to wednesday's state department press conference. in this clip, reporter questions john kirby about the new ap report to jesting array will be allowed to use its own experts to inspect its nuclear sites. >> we can't fight previous examples that are similar to this, especially for a country alleged to have tried to develop and -- develop nuclear weapons. >> i would not amend the secretary's comments about this at all, about this at all. seenn, unless you have every single arrangement that the iaea has with every other country in which it has a program for monitoring nuclear
activity, i don't -- >> the number two of the agency, he recalls no such arrangements. by that nature, it is even unprecedented. it seems a bit weird to collect routine. >> it is routine that the iaea has these arrangements with individual countries. those arrangements, as we have said, are confidential between the nation itself and the iaea. that is what is routine here. , as as an remains secretary has described it, a technical arrangement between those two parties. regardless of that detail, it is not unlike in terms of framework, the kinds of arrangements they have with other nations that have new capacity. nermeen: that was john kirby speaking wednesday. professor sick, could you comment on this ap report and the concerns that a been raised about this? >> it is very important to look
at this head on. first of all, we're talking about inspections dealing with issues that took place more than a decade ago, back in 2003 or earlier. that is what we're talking about, how those conditions -- how those are conducted. we're also talking about inspections been conducted on sensitive military site in iran. ,he iranians have reason because we have seen this in the past, to be a little nervous with other people who might even be hostile to them to win and begin taking samples and putting it in their pocket, taking it home and suddenly, they find they are accused of something that they don't agree with. watching,a inspectors overseeing iranian people doing a formpes, to them, is of protection against that sort of thing happening. i don't think that is outrageous at all. it is not as if -- we are not in effect saying to iran, ok, you go inspect yourself and come
back and tell us what you found. that isn't it at all. but the fact the iranians themselves could be collecting the evidence that would be used by the iaea with the iaea standing there watching them do it is not so outrageous. i don't think that is anything unusual at all. fact, -- but as he said, and what is used against it in this case is that it was a confidential agreement but the agreement is between the iaea and iran, not between the united states and iran. a lot of countries that are being inspected don't like to publicize all -- everything they're doing because in many cases, it is embarrassing to them. this is a way of dealing with that that the iaea has worked out over the years. amy: on a different issue, you worked with jimmy carter. you worked under president jimmy carter. today he will beholding a news conference announcing his diagnosis with cancer.
your thoughts? >> you know, jimmy carter -- he was a man that i must say i look back at my work with him and knowing him, how it people can say that a job at that level, at the white house level, that you spent five years in constant crisis and the president never asked you to do something in any way that violated your values, the way you feel about your own country? noble a noble man -- is a man, actually. and the fact that even while he is been diagnosed with cancer, he is now building more houses for habitat for humanity says something about the guy. he is a real person. he actually believes what he says. sometimes that got him into real trouble. people expect the politicians to lie and sneak around and be
devious. basically, jimmy carter did not do it. he would have been better off in some cases if he had behaved that way, but it isn't his style. the fact he is out in the open, discussing this publicly is very characteristic of him. i simply wish him the very best. amy: gary sick, thank you for being with us, professor gary sick, a scholar at columbia university, served on the national security council under presidents gerald ford, jimmy carter, and ronald reagan, and was the principal white house aide for iran during the iranian revolution and the hostage crisis. we willing to his article for politico called, "the danger of a failed iran deal." when we come back, leading islamic scholars sign a major declaration on climate change. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
sweeping climate change declaration issued by the world's leading islamic scholars calling on the world's 1.6 billion muslims to do their part to eliminate dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and turned toward renewable energy sources. the declaration urges world leaders meeting in paris later this year to commit to a 100% zero-emissions strategy and to invest in decentralized renewable energy in order to reduce poverty and the catastrophic impacts of climate change. the declaration comes on the heels of the publication of pope francis's encyclical on the environment earlier this year, which also calls for sweeping action on climate change. like the encyclical, this declaration, endorsed by more than 60 leading islamic scholars, links climate change to the economic system, stating -- "we recognize the corruption that humans have caused on the earth due to our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption." it places special emphasis on richer countries and communities, noting that the risks of climate change are --
"unevenly distributed, and are generally greater for the poor and disadvantaged communities of every country, at all levels of development." amy: to talk more about the significance of this declaration, we go now to london to speak to saleemul huq, one of the contributors and signatories to the islamic declaration on global climate change. a climate scientist at the international institute for environment and development in london and director of the international center for climate change and development in bangladesh. welcome back to democracy now! talk about what prompted the declaration, who wrote it, and who are the major signatories on it? thisthink the origin of came a few months ago when the climate action network, a group of climate activists, got together with the islamic relief worldwide human a terry and islamic -- military and islamic group that does a lot of work around the world. they agreed this was something they should take up and got in touch with islamic scholars and
leading clergy around the world and started drafting a potential declaration of this kind and then held a two-day symposium and a symbol which ended a day or so ago were they brought about 16 -- 60 scholars from leading clergy from different countries and invited me as a climate scientist to join them can also muslim as well, and the declaration was honed and released. the 1.6 billion muslims around the world read together the teachers of the holy koran to preserve the environment as stewards of the environment, and at the same time, not cause harm to other people by their own pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. at a personal level, to reduce our emissions i think at the global level, to join groups by all faiths and all countries to bring down the fossil fuel use to zero as soon as possible. nermeen: last month, democratic
presidential candidate martin o'malley made headlines by suggesting that the rise of the so-called islamic state came about because of the effects of climate change. he was speaking on bloomberg tv. >> one of the things that preceded the failure of the nationstate of syria and the rise of isis was the effect of climate change and the mega-drought that affected that the symptoms or rather the conditions of extreme poverty that has led now to the rise of isil. nermeen: dr. saleemul huq, your response? to what extent are the conflicts in syria, iraq, etc., are exacerbated by climate change? can the creation of isis really be attributed to the effects of a changing climate? >> i don't think there's a direct attribution of the rise of isis is an organization to
climate change, but there's no denying the underlying logic of the statement we just heard, which is that there was a continuing drought for quite a few years in syria that predates the conflict, the civil war, the rise of prices and caused migration and refugees going from the rural areas to the urban areas. and that is the kind of thing that climate change is likely to cause an future and a must certainly will cause future conflicts. nermeen: what does the declaration call on some of the muslim majority where producing countries to do? they're the ones among the least incentives to cut down on fossil fuels since they're dependent on them for their economy. >> first of all, it enjoins all of the muslims in those countries as individuals to do what they can to release their own carbon footprint and help their fellow muslims who very often are among the most vulnerable people to the impacts of climate change. living in pakistan and
bangladesh, my country, and a parts of africa. many of these are muslims who are suffering the consequences, therefore, those of us who are better off have a duty to help them, protect them, and stop causing the pollution that is causing the impacts on them. at the same time, hope to influence the leaders of these countries that would send their own best -- in their own best interest to move away from fossil fuels in the long run. indeed, this is beginning to happen. if you look at the leaders of abu dhabi, they're investing heavily in solar energy and when noble energy because they know the oil is not going to last forever. amy: saleemul huq, they give for being with us one of the , contributors and signatories to the islamic declaration on global climate change. climate scientist at the international institute for environment and development in london and director of the international center for climate change and development in bangladesh. when we come back, we're going to be talking about a prisoner who was killed by a beat up squad in prison? who were these guards? also, what happened to the prisoners once two prisoners
amy: "melange," poddington bear. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we end our show with a look at the case of samuel harrell, who died four months ago at new york's fishkill correctional facility. an autopsy report obtained by "the new york times" determined that harrell's death was a homicide caused by a "physical altercation with corrections officers." harrell, an african-american prisoner with bipolar disorder, died on april 21 after as many as 20 corrections officers kicked, punched, and dragged him down a flight of stairs while he was handcuffed, according to interviews conducted by "the new york times."
some of the officers were known as the beat up squad. officers then called an ambulance and told the medical crew harrell may have overdosed on synthetic marijuana, known as k2. harrell died that night in a nearby hospital. the autopsy showed that harrell had no illicit drugs in his system. amy: to talk more about the case of samuel harrell and a series of other allegations of abuse at the hands of correctional officers in new york prisons, we're joined now by "new york times" reporter michael schwirtz. he cowrote the article "prison and won a up squad" george polk award for journalism this year for justice reporting for exposing the abuse of inmates by guards at correction and detention facilities. "the new york times" reports led to resignations and dismissals at rikers island, the new york city jail complex, and to a justice department lawsuit seeking federal oversight of city jails. welcome to democracy now! it is great to have you with us, michael. talk about the beat up squad's and just exactly who this
prisoner was. was auel harrell 30-year-old man, had been in and out of prison since 2002 on drug charges, selling and possession. yet no violence in his records. get something of a disciplinary history, but no violence. he had been diagnosed as bipolar in 2010. his family members would say he would sometimes behave erratically, thinking the television was speaking to him, photographs or speaking to him. 21, he was, by the accounts we have heard, also behaving erratically. he a been depressed for some time, announced to correction officers at fishkill correctional facility he was going home, had packed his bags, and headed for the exit. at some point, got into a correctionon with
officers that led to him being handcuffed. and according to about 20 inmate accounts that we have, was beaten, possibly dragged or thrown down the stairs, and ultimately ended up dying. as you mentioned, correction officers called paramedics and told them he was possibly having an overdose from synthetic marijuana called k2. the autopsy report found there was none of that or any other illicit drugs in his system. now, we are waiting for any further moves in the investigation. the state police, which is investigating, said it would turn over its findings to the local da shortly. it will go from there. amy: how did you learn of this story? >> we received a check about the death of two days after it occurred from one of our sources
-- actually at rikers island, who at connections at fishkill. we dug and dug and eventually hooked up with a law firm representing his family, which was able to obtain the sworn affidavits from inmates. many of them agreed to share them with us on condition of anonymity. but three of them chose to have their names published, one of whom was already released at the time. nermeen: you also mentioned that many of the prisoner inmates or the inmates who testified have since been punished. >> up to as many as nine have been put in solitary confinement, whether that is linked to their witnessing and speaking out about the death is unclear. others said they were threatened with violence, threatened they would be next if they said anything about -- nermeen: anything to whom? >> to investigators, or as we understand it, there were internal department of
correctional investigators who interviewed some of these , but some of these inmates also said they received threats from other correction officers about not talking. andeen: is that typical your experience of reporting? >> we have pretty similar accusations in the past in state prisons. we wrote recently about abuse claims by inmates at the clinton correctional fills -- facility after the escape in dannemora in june that they received similar .hreats and worse some of them were beaten up an effort to extract information. amy: let's talk about your report on the clinton correctional facility in dannemora after these to the prisoners escaped in june, with people all over the country are following days and days of trying to find them. piece headlined "after two killers fled, new york prisoners say beatings were next."
describe who you talk to and what happened to the prisoners. meanwhile, it is the prison employees who have been indicted, who have been forced to leave, and prison authorities as well, but the prisoners were beaten? >> we have a number of accounts from inmates who both in written form -- we spoke to some over the phone and visited four of these inmates in different prisons in the state. they have been scattered sense. basically, what they're telling us, obviously, in the hours and days after these two convicted murderers escaped, the situation inside clint prison was very chaotic. we spoke in particular to an inmate who was in the cell next to richard matt, one of these .ndividuals who escaped and he told us that he is been interviewed a number of times during the day, the first day after the escape.
but that evening, was interviewed again. officers came to his cell, handcuffed him as was typical during the interrogations earlier in the day, but after that, he was taken to a broom closet, he says, seated down and .fficers proceeded to beat him one officer, he said, put a bag over his head and threaten to waterboard him. and after he claimed not to know anything about the escape, he was beaten more severely and then returned to his cell. amy: explain, this is part of a bloc called the honor block. the honor block is where richard matt and david sweat, the two escaped prisoners, were also imprisoned. the honor block, if i'm not mistaken, there are on theabout 180 inmates
honor block, which has since been shut down at clinton correctional facility. these are inmates who have had very minor disciplinary infractions during their time in prison. these are the best behaved inmates at the prison. patrick alexander, the neighbor matt, had not had a significant disciplinary infraction for much of his time in prison. he had been in prison since 2003 on a murder charge. when they are moved to other prisons, they're put in serious conditions. they have been seriously punished in addition to beaten? >> yes, a number of the inmates -- we're told about 60 were moved out of clinton. many of them were put for as much as three weeks into solitary confinement. though not charged with anything and not having gone through the typical disciplinary hearing that most inmates go through
when they're put into solitary confinement. there put in solitary confinement. they were denied access to stamps and paper to write letters, they could not use the phone, so basically, cut offer -- cut off the outside world for three weeks and then -- amy: and lost their belongings. >> many said they lost their belongings, personal effects. one inmate described losing his wedding ring, described losing the sonogram of his son. others lost their legal papers. patrick alexander, who we spoke with, lost, he said he had meticulously kept letters from 2003 from his mother and aunt, and he lost those. amy: so the men who don't escape are the ones who are punished. >> that seems to be the case. this is according to them. inmates point out that can be problematic witnesses,
problematic and biased. we have attempted, both for the story about clinton and the story about fishkill, to get some sort of an account from the correction department and from officers who could have been involved, and that information hasn't been forthcoming. nermeen: i would like to go back to samuel harrell, who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. could you talk generally about the treatment of prisoners who are mentally unwell and how it compares to the general population? >> i know very little about the treatment of inmates with mental illness in state prisons. i know a bit more about it at rikers island because i spent a year working on it there. i do no studies have shown inmates with mental illness suffer the most violence in prison. they also perpetrate a lot -- a great deal of the violence, the most disruptive and end up more
free girly in solitary confinement, though there are no rules in place that is supposed to prevent those with mental solitaryoing to confinement. they're not always followed. in general, have a much harder time with a prison experience than somebody who is not suffering from some sort of a mental illness. amy: what has been the response from the state authorities to these investigations? the case of dannemora, you have the governor speaking to him. the correction department in both cases put out statements come almost identical statements for both articles saying they're working with the authorities to investigate, and that anybody who was found guilty of wrongdoing would be punished. beyond that, there have been very little details, very little accounts about what occurred. amy: we want to leave it there, but we will continue to follow
the story, michael schwirtz, award-winning reporter at "the new york times." we will link to his articles. 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 democracy now!] bsxñxñx
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