tv Democracy Now LINKTV December 24, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
12/24/15 12/24/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> this is the moment in my life right here -- i just feel really great. i mean, i am kind of lost for words, but i feel really great. amy: clarence moses-el walked free this week after 28-year behind bars for a crime he says he did not commit. in 1989, moses-el, who is african-american, was sentenced to 48 years in prison after a
woman said she dreamed he was the man who raped and beat her in the dark. clarence moses-el has always maintained his innocence. but the police threw out a rape kit and any possible evidence, another man confessed to the attack in 2012, but moses-el remained behind bars until now. in a democracy now! exclusive clarence moses-el join us live , -- not behind bars -- to discuss his newfound freedom, and how another person's dream became his nearly three-decade nightmare. >> it is wonderful. i waited a long time for this. >> we waited a long time. >> i can't -- i am kind of lost for words. amy: but first, is the military justice system bowing to political pressure while covering up major crimes? we'll look at the army's response to two cases. in the first, army sergeant bowe bergdahl was arraigned this week
for a court martial on charges of desertion and misbehaving before the enemy. bergdahl spent five years in taliban captivity after walking off a u.s. military base in afghanistan. two military experts recommended against jail time for bergdahl. but after republicans demanded punishment, an army commander ordered bergdahl to face the most serious military tribunal possible and potential life in prison. this comes just days after the "new york times" revealed a 2012 incident in afghanistan when three navy seals abused detainees so badly that one died from his wounds. but the seals were cleared of any wrongdoing. we will speak to a former top military legal expert who has criticized the court-martialing of bowe berghdal while calling for the navy seals abuse case to be reopened. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
a new investigation by the pulitzer-prize-winning outlet insideclimate news suggests that nearly every major u.s. and multinational oil gas company was aware of fossil fuels' impact on climate change as early as the late 1970's. earlier exposes by insideclimate news and the "los angeles times" have revealed that exxon scientists knew about climate change as early as 1977, and for decades exxon concealed its own findings that the burning of fossil fuels cause global warming, alter the climate and melted the arctic ice. now, internal documents obtained by insideclimate news reveal the entire oil and gas industry had similar knowledge. from 1979 to 1983, the oil and gas industry trade group the american petroleum institute ran a task force to monitor and share climate research. the group's members included senior scientists and engineers from not only exxon, but also
amoco, phillips, mobil, texaco, shell, sunoco, sohio and standard oil of california and gulf oil, the predecessors to chevron. the documents show that as early as 1979, the task force knew carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was rising steadily. the task force even briefly considered researching how to introduce a new energy source into the global market, given the research about fossil fuel'' impact on global warning. but in 1983, the task force was disbanded. 1990's, theate american petroleum institute had launched a campaign to oppose the kyoto protocol, which was adopted by many countries to cut fossil fuel emissions but never ratified by the united states. this new investigation comes as the chinese port city of tianjin has issued its first-ever red alert for air pollution. from saturday to tuesday,
beijing was also on "red alert," leading to suspended classes for millions of students and restrictions on driving. resident zhang qunchou spoke about the need for broader action. >> pretty worried. in such a smoggy day, i don't think the restrictions on/even license plates provides a phenomenal solution. i think it should be titled in a broader perspective and schools are closed on red alert days. what should parents do than? today no place to sit my children too. amy: meanwhile, in the united states, extreme and unseasonal storms unleashed tornados, heavy rain and hail across the southern and central regions, killing at least seven people. in tippah county, mississippi, the heavy storm destroyed the county fire department and ems center. joey jackson, a member of the volunteer fire department, spoke about the damage. >> devastating. we run ems and fire boat. we don't have anything. we have this tanker and one pumper. we have to get out with tobacco
in case we have a fire. amy: an unprecedented winter heat wave, shattering high temperature records across the region. tonight, it is expected to be 73 degrees fahrenheit in york city, 10 degrees hotter than the all-time record dashing hopes of , a snowy christmas. in california, state officials are warning of a ecological disaster as a runaway natural gas leak from a storage facility in the hills above los angeles continues to pour methane gas . some 150 million pounds of methane has escaped so far. methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. tim o'connor, california climate director for the environmental defense fund, said -- "it is one of the biggest leaks we've ever seen reported. it is coming out with force, in incredible volumes. and it is absolutely uncontained." the breach has forced the evacuation of 1700 homes and two schools. the exact cause of the leak is unknown.
in harrisburg pennsylvania, a 19-year-old has been indicted on terrorism-related charges after the fbi accused him of using twitter to spread isis propaganda. in the criminal complaint, a fbi joint terrorism task force special agent alleged jalil ibn ameer aziz "commonly users his twitter accounts to spread pro-isis propaganda, including news from isil sources as well as execution photos and videos." the complaint also alleges that aziz tweeted about wanting to visit isis-controlled territory and encouraged people to provide money to the group. as a result of this twitter activity aziz has been charged , conspiring and attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. in afghanistan, u.s. warplanes have carried out two attacks in how one province among continued fighting between the afghan army and taliban.
this comes after british troops were dispatched to join the nato and u.s. special operations troops already in helmand province. in jerusalem, israeli soldiers have shot dead two palestinians whom israeli authorities say carried out a stabbing attack outside the old city. israeli police say three jewish israelis were wounded in the attacks, although one may have been wounded by police gunfire, not by stabbing. internal state department documents show in the months of talks leading up to the iran nuclear deal, the u.s. inflated the human rights ranking of oman in order to reward a close arab ally for helping broker the historic agreement. according to reuters, a document showed the state department overruled its own staffs assessments of oman's forced labor and trafficking -- human trafficking to boost the ranking and a congressionally mandated report. this news comes after allegations this summer the state department also it -- upgraded malaysia's human trafficking reaching to ease passage of the transpacific
partnership trade pact. malaysia, one of 12 countries in the secretive trade pact, was previously given the worst trafficking ranking, but a new measure bars the united states from negotiating trade deals with the worst ranked countries. the department of homeland security is reportedly preparing for a national operation to round up and deport hundreds of central american families who have fled violence in their home countries. citing unnamed government officials, the "washington post" reports the wave of raids by immigrations and customs enforcement agents will begin as early as january. the officials say the proposed operation has been highly controversial inside the obama administration, and that it has not yet received final dhs approval. in response gregory chen of the , american immigration lawyers association said -- , "this administration has never acknowledged the truth: that these families are refugees seeking asylum who should be given humanitarian protection rather than being detained or rounded up.
when other countries are welcoming far more refugees, the u.s. should be ashamed for using jails and even contemplating large-scale deportation tactics." the news of the possible raids comes on the heels of the obama administration's announcement tuesday that it had deported over 235,000 people in the 2015 fiscal year. this is the lowest number of deportations in one year since president obama took office. in new york city, the father of one of the 43 mexican students who went missing from the ayotzinapa rural teacher's college in the mexican state of guerrero more than one year ago is launching a 48-hour hunger strike today at the mexican consulate to demand an end to the violence and impunity in mexico. antonio tizapa is the father of jorge antonio tizapa legideño, who went missing along with the other students on the night of september 26, 2014, after being attacked by local police. the mexican government has claimed the students were killed and incinerated by a local drug
gang. but mexican news reports and an independent investigation have cast doubt on the mexican government's account and pointed to the role of the mexican military and federal police in the students' disappearance. tizapa says his fast also seeks to bring attention to the merida initiative, the multibillion-dollar u.s. program used to fund the so-called war on drugs in mexico, which has led to more than 100,000 deaths and disappearances over the last decade. new york city mayor bill de blasio has announced the city will offer six weeks of fully paid parental leave to 20,000 public employees starting in 2016. the new plan applies to all neww mothers and fathers, including workers who adopt or begin fostering a child. the plan only applies to nonunionized city workers for now. city hall said it will negotiate with the municipal labor unions about extending the benefits to the city's 280,000 unionized workers as well.
in minnesota, hundreds of black lives matter activists shut down sections of the minneapolis airport, the light rail and parts of the mall of america , the largest mall in america, on wednesday in order to protest police killings of african americans and rising islamophobia. actions to protest police brutality also took place in washington d.c., los angeles, san francisco, chicago, and chattanooga, tennessee. in minneapolis, protesters say they used the planned mall of america protest as a diversion in order to actually disrupt travel at the minneapolis airport on one of the busiest travel days of the year. several people were arrested. speaking on democracy now! one day before wednesday's action, organizer kandace montgomery recounted the death of unarmed 24-year-old jamar clark by north minneapolis police. >> in which jamar clark, many of which are saying was executive by the minneapolis police department, witnesses are
overwhelmingly accounting that he was handcuffed while shot in the head. following that, immediately, the community called for action. they held a march in and black lives matter began the occupation of the fourth precinct in north minneapolis, minnesota. and that was held for 18 days until shutdown by the minneapolis police department and our mayor betsy hodges. around that, we are really continuing to demand the release of the tapes in the incident to ensure justice for him as well as long-term structural change for black folks in the community. before theng just actions yesterday. clear this week, the mall of america lost a legal attempt to block the black lives matter protest and force organizers to post on social media that it was canceled. and a longtime civil rights activist ozell sutton has died at the age of 90. in 1957, sutton helped enroll 9 african-american students at little rock central high school
in arkansas. he marched alongside martin luther king, jr., in selma, alabama, in 1965 and was at the memphis hotel when dr. king was assassinated in 1968. sutton also worked as a journalist for the arkansas democrat gazette. he died saturday at the saint joseph hospital in atlanta, a week after celebrating his 90th birthday. and those are some of the headlines. this democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. is the military justice system bowing to political pressure while covering up major crimes? we look today at two cases of the u.s. military with very different outcomes. the first is the most well-known involving the alleged desertion , by a u.s. soldier in afghanistan. the second case involves the abuse of prisoners in afghanistan that resulted in death. this case has received far less attention. and unlike the desertion case, there have been no serious charges, raising questions about how the military justice system handles crimes within its ranks. in the first case, army sergeant bowe bergdahl was arraigned this week on charges related to his
disappearance from a u.s. base in afghanistan in 2009. >> today, army judge fredrickson convened article 39a arraignment hearing on fort bragg in the case of u.s. army versus sergeant robertb. bergdahl. amy: bergdahl was captured by the taliban and held for five years, suffering extensive torture. the taliban freed him last year in exchange for five guantánamo prisoners. bergdahl has said he walked off his post in an attempt to reach another u.s. base and report wrongdoing in his unit. he has been ordered to a general court-martial where he faces a possible life sentence. while bergdahl is being court martialed, a group of navy seals who allegedly beat an afghan detainee to death were not. just days before bergdahl's arraignment, a "new york times" exposé revealed the killing and a possible cover-up that goes up the chain of command. in may 2012, members of a navy
seal team abused detainees at an outpost in southern afghanistan. an internal report says three navy seals dropped heavy stones on the detainees' chests, stomped on their heads, and poured bottles of water on their faces in a modified form of waterboarding. one of the detainees was beaten so badly that he eventually died from his injuries. four u.s. soldiers reported witnessing the abuse, but navy commanders chose a closed disciplinary process usually reserved for minor infractions. the seals were cleared of any wrongdoing. two of the seals implicated in the abuse of the detainees and their lieutenant have since been promoted. bowe bergdahl has received far different treatment. his arraignment this week came after army general robert abrams ordered him court-martialed on charges of desertion and misbehavior against the enemy. abrams' decision came despite the recommendations of two independent army experts. the army officer who led the
bergdahl investigation, major general kenneth dahl, testified that imprisoning bergdahl would inappropriate -- would be inappropriate after years of taliban captivity and torture. dahl also raised concerns about bergdahl's mental health, saying he may have been delusional but that his beliefs about wrongdoing in his unit were sincere. the army lawyer who presided over bergdahl's preliminary hearing also recommended against prison, and said bergdahl should go before a special court-martial where his maximum possible punishment would be a year of confinement. critics say general abrams may have bowed to political pressure. republicans have denounced bergdahl since the prisoner swap was reached. senate armed services committee chair john mccain has vowed to hold hearings if bergdahl isn't punished. a recent house republican probe said the taliban prisoner exchange violated federal law. on the campaign trail, frontrunner donald trump has called bergdahl a traitor who should be executed. the search to find bergdahl involved thousands of soldiers, and republicans have said
several were killed in the process. but the army's investigation found no evidence to support that claim. and while bergdahl faces continued republican-led attacks, the navy seals story has been met by a wall of official silence. well, for more we are joined by , a former top military lawyer who has criticized the court-martialing of bowe bergdahl while calling for the navy seal abuse case to be reopened. rachel vanlandingham is a 20-year veteran of the u.s. air force where she served as a military lawyer. from 2006 to 2010, she served as chief legal advisor for international law to u.s. central command under generals martin dempsey and david to train us -- petraeus. she is now associate professor of law at southwestern law school. welcome to democracy now! >> thank you, it is great to be here. i would like to say thank you to the brave young men and women who are currently serving in uniform far from home during these holidays.
thank you. amy: professor, why don't you lay out for us this contrast between these two cases. one that is extremely well-known , bowe bergdahl, and another that many say has been covered up, the case of the navy seals in the death of an afghan detainee, not to mention the torture of others. >> amy, thank you. i think you laid out the facts while at the beginning of the segment. the concern with sergeant bergdahl's case, it is irrevocably tainted by the improper and i think illegal congressional statement, congressional pressure put on the military and the military's top leaders regarding this position in a current pending military case. when you have the chairman of the senate armed services committee john mccain threatening to hold hearings and sergeant -- if sergeant murdoch is not punished at the same time the four-star general who, by the way, must go before the senate armed services committee for a confirmation for his next
assignment, when senator mccain is threatening to hold hearings is such a bergdahl isn't how that it is unclear general can make any other decision besides to prosecute sergeant bergdahl. and sergeant bergdahl, of course, deserves individualize justice, justice that is free from pressure, free from capitol hill. of course, congress has oversight of the military justice criminal system and they're charged by the constitution to make rules governing the government of the military, but that is systemwide. they should not be making public statements demanding a particular outcome in an ongoing -- outcome in an ongoing criminal case. amy: so you think bowe berghdal should not be court-martialed? >> frankly, personally, i do not think he should be court-martialed. the issue isn't whether he can be. there certainly enough evidence he could be. the issue is whether he should be. we will never know whether he received fair and appropriate
consideration for the extenuating and mitigating circumstances because of the avalanche of congressional pressure. it was not just senator mccain. the office of legislative affairs, the army legislative affairs has received numerous phone calls and letters since arjun bergdahl was transferred back to u.s. custody, demanding particular outcomes in his case. it is really unheard of and it irrevocably taint the decision. but on the decision, there are numerous reasons why an individual should be court-martialed. there are purposes of punishment and the commander here, general abrams, had to wait as purposes of punishment. it comes down to balancing the scales. sergeant bergdahl -- the army was criminally negligent bringing him and putting him on active duty. he is been discharged two years prior by the coast guard for mental health issues. what does the army do? they enlist them and send them to an observation post out in
the middle of nowhere in afghanistan on a combat mission. the army's own psychiatrists have diagnosed sergeant bergdahl is suffering a severe metal disease or defect at the time they made the decision -- the criminal decision to leave his post. but you way that decision and those factors and of course, the huge amount of impact that was felt on the unit, the thousands of men and women you mentioned that when searching for bergdahl, you weigh that against the almost five years of torture and the lifelong pain and suffering and impact that sergeant bergdahl will suffer because of his lack of judgment at that time, lack of judgment very muchently was influenced by his mental health condition, just seems like the purposes of punishment like republication incapacitation and richer vision are simply not
there. real visitation and good off thetion are table. this case comes down to determine and retribution. the last -- the loudest determination could be sent was five years ago when he left his base, he was captured and subject to her in this torture. one of the survival professionals that testified at his pulmonary hearing said that sergeant bergdahl suffered the worst conditions in over 60 years of any military prisoner, american military prisoner and that he will have a revocable lifelong damage because of that. he also testified that sergeant bergdahl honorably tried to escape over 10 times while he was in captivity. it is part of the american soldiers code of conduct to attempt escape as many -- and to resist capture while you are
facing captivity. honorablynt bergdahl did that. when you balance the scales, comes down to the sole reason to punish a never criminally prosecute sergeant bergdahl retribution. i for an eye, just desserts. and hasn't sergeant bergdahl faced just desserts with over five years, almost five years of torture? however, that question is honest mooted because one can't separate the congressional pressure in the public calls for sergeant bergdahl's head made by congress, congress that controls the purse strings for the department of defense and for the army, never mind controls the personal fate of the general that is deciding sergeant bergdahl's fate. you can't separate the two. so seems like it is tainted. and i do hope the court of appeals for the armed forces, withs properly charged day-to-day oversight in the military justice system, i do hope they will eventually find there has been such improper
pressure in this case i justice simply cannot be meted out. even of general abrams all along wanted to court-martial sergeant bergdahl, that decision is not made in a vacuum. they can't be separated from capitol hill's meddling. amy: season two of the popular podcast "serial" centers on bowe bergdahl. the podcast's producers teamed up with filmmaker mark boal, writer and producer of the hurt locker and zero dark thirty. he is working on a film about bergdahl and had amassed nearly 25 hours of recorded telephone conversations, which he made available to "serial." in this clip, bergdahl explains to boal that he walked away from his outpost in afghanistan to set off an alert called a dustwun, or duty status whereabouts unknown -- unknown--set off when a soldier goes missing. bergdahl explains that he wanted to call attention to bad leadership in his unit. i was seeing for my
first unit all the way up into afghanistan, all i was seeing was, basically, leadership failure to the point that the lives of the guys standing next to me were literally -- from what i could see -- in danger of something seriously going wrong and somebody being killed. as a private first class, nobody is going to listen to me. >> of course. >> nobody is when it take me serious if i say in investigation needs to be underway, that this person is to be psychologically evaluating. a man disappears and a few days -- he he repairs reappears? suddenly am a everyone is alerted. the navy, the marines are alerted. air force is alerted. not just the army. amy: that is bowe bergdahl speaking to mark boal. i want to turn to another clip from the popular podcast "serial."
in season two, episode two, the filmmaker asks bowe bergdahl how he explained to the taliban why he walked away from his outpost. >> i told them, basically, i was .ed up with the commanders you have to remember, this is kind of going through -- [indiscernible] to the point i am trying to get guys who barely he can english to understand -- know what i'm saying? >> totally. >> [indiscernible] americanp for commanders because or disrespectful, but that didn't work. because they didn't understand what disrespectful was. so i came up with "rude" and they could understand what that means, for some strange reason. amy: later, we are from a member of the television in the podcast. he is describing his first impressions of bowe bergdahl in
captivity. eat, drinkn't even or sleep. thinkinguse he was what type of people we might be and what are we going to do with him,are we going to kill were we going to be head and, what are we going to do with him? that was the situation. he was very scared, week, and confused. amy: professor rachel vanlandingham, talk about the significance of what we're just heard, the excerpts of this podcast. >> i think the significance will be seen during sergeant bergdahl's court-martial this upcoming year. it is hard to put those totally in context. they do underscore the motive that the investigating officer
testified to at the preliminary hearing, that is the motive was that sergeant bergdahl was afraid for his unit, that he wanted to call attention to leadership failures, that he thought endangered his unit. of course, that does not excuse his decision to do it by endangering his unit, but that has to be weighed against his five years of captivity and his mental health. amy: let's talk about the navy seals case. last week, we spoke with "new york times" correspondent nick kulish, one of lead reporters the recent exposé, "navy seals, a beating death and claims of a cover-up." the investigation looks into a possible cover-up of an incident where members of a navy seal team stationed at an outpost in kalach, in southern afghanistan, abused afghan detainees in 2012. one detainee had been beaten so badly that he later died of his injuries. democracy now! co-host juan gonzalez asked nick why the four navy seals implicated in the case weren't court-martialed.
>> i think that is the biggest question that remains. we know, the former jags spoke to, lawyers, also the logical next step would have been an article 32 hearing. that is similar to a grand jury for the military. i think some people might be familiar with the because bowe bergdahl recently had an article 32 hearing. but for some reason, that did not take place. the navy captain, robert e smith, said he believed the conflicting statements between the naval personnel and the army soldiers was enough, that he should handle it with his own closed hearing. amy: "new york times" reporter nick kulish went on to talk about the handling of the case and lack of transparency. >> witnesses did not know what it happen with the disposition of the case. they believed they were testifying at a court-martial when in fact it was just what is
called the captain's mast procedure. and i think it is they are to say they were stunned to say they learn the people involved had been the seals who they had accused of in promoted. amy: professor rachel vanlandingham, you're not only a professor, but you are a former air force military lawyer. for years, serving as chief legal advisor for international law under generals dempsey andp. talk about the significance of this navy seals story and what happened to them or didn't. >> first of all, as you know, the vast majority of u.s. service members serve honorably and have nothing to do with this type of criminal activity on the battlefield. and it is testament to the u.s. military when terminal activity like this does occur, particularly on the battlefield, that a swift, appropriate action is taken. and that is what is most
concerning about this case. and it reflects an overall lack of oversight. accountability for decisions regarding how to handle misconduct in the military, particular decisions regarding battlefield is conduct. two years ago in 2013, the department of defense itself in a high-level panel recommended that decisions regarding misconduct on the battlefield, disciplinary decisions, should be handled by the combat commander, the commander in charge of the combat operations such as someone like general petraeus because they sought to often that misbehavior on the battlefield was sent home, sit back to the respective service such as the navy seals case, was sent back to the navy, and the field command, to be handled were, unfortunately, swept under the rug. that is what happened here. what is even more disconcerting -- first of all, it is outstanding the four army soldiers here did the right thing despite being afraid of
the navy seals. did the right thing and reported the egregious abuses witnessed. and one of the army soldiers, they had a terrific quote and he said, "you can't squint hard enough to make this gray." this was a black and white incident of one of -- of horrific abuse. according to the facts are laid out in the investigation, led to the detainee's death. were crumbs across the battlefield and they will occur because the battlefield is horrible place and human beings sometimes succumb to the temptation on the battlefield. however, the fidelity to the rule of law, the disciplinary action taken after the crime is what really is testament to the military. here the military has failed. there was the second structure and of justice in this case. the navy still commander who originally received reports of this of use did the right thing. he immediately sent this navy
seals team home. this was commander hayes. he was in afghanistan. he sent this navy seal home back to norfolk, virginia, said -- told the commander, you need to take appropriate action. his individuals to no longer be seals will step there's a criminal investigation conducted that produced overwhelming evidence. and different eyewitnesses others that witnessed these crimes. more than sufficient evidence to want the beginning of criminal prosecution. it instead of that, the navy commander back home allowed some of his senior enlisted noncommissioned officers to badger and harass these army soldiers. one of them was on his for combat tour. call these army soldiers to have a video teleconference while they were still downrange, month after they had witnessed this incident, and badger them to harass them and pressure them to
try to change their stories. the fact that was allowed to happen is beyond the pale. in the navy absolutely should be looking into this and investigating that obstruction of justice. lookingey should be into why that navy commander chat allowed that separate vt to be his basis to say, well, i should not really court-martial these individuals with inconsistent statements. and that was how money times a rock was actually dropped on the detainees had. was it three times or eight times yet that yes, those were consistencies, but it was clearly an excuse to allow the commander to sweep this under the rug. the only thing that occurred as a consequence of this as a potential murder, the death of a detainee in u.s. custody, was a few of the navy seals received a nonpunitive height -- letter of counseling saying, make better decisions downrange next time. up the chain of command, where was the outcry? there was no outcry because there's no formal mechanism for
tracking military justice decisions, for looking at them, providing lessons learned and sharing those lessons learned across the services. the they're supposed to be uniform code of justice. uniform meaning it is applied to all the separate services, but it is not uniform. is systems handle the case often very differently. and there is no systemic wide tracking and accountability system. commanders are rarely, if ever, held accountable, never mind not promoted, for decisions they make regarding the initial disposition decision, the decision whether or not to take action in a particular case. and that has to change. this case should break open wide the systemic problem. this is what congress should be focusing on instead of calling for a particular outcome in one case, such as surgeon bergdahl, they should be performing their oversight role appropriately looking at the entire system. amy: do you think these navy
seals should be charged with murder, professor rachel vanlandingham? >> yes, charged with manslaughter. amy:'s are any possibility or is the case entirely closed? well, the case is not close. these individuals are still on active duty. the statute of limitations has not passed. in addition to abuse and manslaughter charges, there should be obstruction of justice charges brought against the enlisted individuals that were allowed to hold a video teleconference against the witnesses, that the army witnesses that stood up and honorably to the right thing. and it should be a dereliction of duty investigation and disciplinary action and charge against the navy commander that swept this under the rug. amy: finally, the killed team. get another story. afghanistan.009 in if you could just briefly summarize. we have about a minute. and what should happen with this
story, this case, the number of people killed, those who should be held accountable? >> the killed team was an example of the army doing the right thing, unlike the navy seals in this case. the army doing the right thing in which a prosecuted how numerous court-martial for individuals involved in not just killing, but taking souvenirs, or souvenirs such as fingers off dead bodies in afghanistan. when the army discovered this, these criminal actions, it court-martialed his individuals and their now sitting in jail. however, did nothing for the lack of leadership of that unit that allowed such ill discipline to occur. amy: rachel vanlandingham, thank you for being with us associate , professor of law at southwestern law school. she is a 20-year veteran of the u.s. air force where she served as a military lawyer. from 2006 to she served as chief 2010, legal advisor for international law to u.s. central command under generals dempsey and petraeus.
thank you so much for joining us. when we come back, democracy now! exclusive, how one woman's stream became a man's nightmare for nearly 30 years. we speak with clarence moses-el, out of prison, for just the last , oh, 24, 30 hours, the first time he is speaking publicly, nationally. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to a story of how one woman's dream became another man's nightmare. and after nearly three decades, that nightmare may finally over. clarence moses-el was released from prison in denver this week after serving 28 years for a crime he has always maintained he did not commit. in moses-el, who is 1989, african-american, was sentenced to 48 years in prison after a woman said she dreamed he was the man who raped and beat her in the dark. the victim was raped and badly beaten in her apartment. initially, she named three men
she had been drinking with that night as her possible attackers. none of them was clarence moses-el. police never investigated any of those men, because, a day and a half later, the victim said she had a dream that moses-el was the one who raped her. the police threw out a rape kit and any possible evidence, like bed sheets and her clothes. in 1995, after years in prison, moses-el won a court order mandating the forensic analysis of the evidence which could have freed him. he managed to raise $1,000 from fellow inmates to pay for the tests. the judge instructed the denver police to turn over the evidence. the police marked the evidence box "do not destroy," thin inexplicably, threw it into a dumpster. clarence moses-el languished in prison until, in 2012, he received a handwritten letter from another colorado prisoner, l.c. jackson. he was one of the three men initially named as a suspect by the rape victim, until she gave moses-el's name following her dream. jackson wrote -- "i really don't know what to say to you. but let's start by bringing what
was done in the dark into the light. i have a lot on my heart. i don't know who's working on this. but have them come up and see me. it's time. i'll be waiting." denver district attorney mitch morrissey sat on jackson's confession for close to two years. moses-el and his legal team were eventually able to obtain a court hearing to introduce jackson's confession and other new evidence. finally, earlier this month, a colorado judge vacated moses-el's convictions, ordering the da to either retry the case or drop the charges. on tuesday afternoon, clarence moses-el was released to a crowd that included his wife, son and several of his 12 grandchildren, whom he had never met as he did not want them to see him in prison. clarence moses-el briefly addressed reporters about his newfound freedom. >> this is the moment of my life right here. i just feel really great. i'm in, i'm kind of lost for words, but i feel really great. >> a lot of spirituality. that is what really kept me going.
that is what i can say right now. that is what kept me going. amy: to the shock of many, prosecutors say they are going to retry moses-el with a tentative trial date set for later next year. the judge in the case has said moses-el would likely be acquitted if he's forced to stand trial again. well, just two days after he walked out of prison a free man, clarence moses-el joins us now. we are also joined by one of his attorneys, eric klein. we welcome you both to democracy now! does it moses-el, how feel to be free after 28 years? here is amazing to be today as well as just being free. i'm kindalmost surreal of lost for words at this moment to speak about how good it feels. but it feels tremendous. aymen, i never felt like this in
all my life, basically, realistically. it is a feeling that, you know, it takes a whole lot of things to really explain it in at this time -- i'm just so overwhelmed, i just really don't have all the words to explain how good i feel. amy: when you got out of prison, you saw some of your grandchildren for the very first time. how did that feel? >> i was overwhelmed. and the reason why, because when i was arrested for this case in 1987, my youngest grandson that, i believe the camera showed him was thei came out, that size and age of my son anthony. he was three going on for.
so to see my grandchildren, it was just overwhelming to know that my son had grown up into an adult and now he has children. and to see those children to it was just mind-boggling. i felt good about it, but it was just mind boggling because i couldn't really believe it that i got grandkids. jailin 1995, you are in for like six years or more than that, and you were able to muster the money from fellow $1000, to be able to test the forensic evidence, the rape kit, the sheets, the victim's clothes. when you got the letter in jail -- although that box of evidence was located, it was labeled "do not destroy," the police then
put it into the dumpster, so you are never able to get that evidence tested. how were you told of this and what was your reaction? told by one of the attorneys that was representing me at that time -- because i had anticipated the evidence being tested by the founder of the innocent project. at that time, innocent project was located in new york. it i really felt and believe this was my opportunity, especially with him stepping in, that the evidence was going to be tested and it was going to prove my innocence. and when i found out the evidence has been destroyed, you
know, i went into a deep, deep ,ark state of being depressed lost for hope -- i felt really bad at that time. i said, man, i know this can't be real. after all of this that i went through, campaigning, asking friends of mine who believed in me because at no time did i ever , tryingbout this story to get people to hear me -- even my fellow inmates. expressing what i was in there for and my desire to prove my innocence. and so there were various inmates that came to my support, you know, donating $25, $50, $100. they believed in me. so i believed in myself.
i said, well if i could get this money and send it to bear scheck , i said, man, i could get this evidence tested and i will be able to get out of here. but after they told me that the evidence was destroyed, i mean, it devastated me. i felt like i had been -- had hit rock bottom. amy: then years later in 2012, you get a letter from l.c. jackson who says he wants to confess. what was your reaction at that time to receive this letter, as he said, he wanted to come out of the dark into the light? >> at the time when i received was playing this card game called spades. and a friend of mine walked to me and said, here is a letter. i looked at the letter and i seen whose name was on it. and i ask myself, i said, why is
he writing me? because i really didn't know. it was a surprise to me. and i started reading the letter . and once i started reading the content of the letter, i jumped for joy. i was running around. i said, man, this guy, he is i'm getting out of prison. i felt so jubilant. i was full of joy. like i said, iran around. iran around the pod's saying, ok, my time has come. i'm getting out of here, the person who did it is folly came forth and confessed. amy: that was after a quarter of a century of you being in prison. when we come back, i want to ask your lawyer eric klein how it is possible that even that letter, which was more than two years ago, did not lead to your immediate release. and what the judge's decision was in the last few weeks and
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. how one woman's stream -- woman's dream became i meant thirty-year nightmare. we're talking about the case of clarence moses-el was convicted on the basis of a woman's dream that he was the one who raped her, the day before she a name three other suspects whom she of intriguing with that night. in 2012, 1 of those men that she originally named wrote clarence moses-el in prison. he said he wanted to come forward. that was more than two years ago. clarence moses-el joins us in this exclusive interview as we broadcast the show, he's in denver, and eric klein's defense attorney joins us. eric klein, 1995, can you talk
about the evidence the police gathered and kept for years after clarence moses-el requested it and the judge approved the request, destroyed, actually put into a dumpster with the wording on the box "do not destroy" and then why in jackson wrote this confession letter to clarence moses-el, it took more than two years for clarence moses-el to get out of jail, for his sentence to be vacated by a judge. >> one of the real tragedies here, mr. moses-el should've been freed more than 20 years ago. there was evidence present that would have identified the true perpetrator. mr. moses-el had that opportunity. the district attorney's office should have been interested in that as well, and could have tested it themselves at that point.
and i think today, the denver district attorney's office is to ask himself, why would mr. moses-el seek to conclusively identify the true perpetrator of this offense unless he is absolutely innocent? it is a horrible tragedy that what happened to the victim in this case, and the tragedy was compounded by the fact wrong man was prosecuted and was incarcerated for all this time. and then come to 2012 when mr. jackson came forward, that time, mr. moses-el's attorney was on the case, spoke to mr. jackson, he admitted his involvement and in 2013, a motion was filed on mr. moses-el's behalf to obtain a new trial. that is what the law would allow for a judge to order new trial. the district attorney's office oppose that and actually opposed even allowing mr. moses-el and evidentiary hearing on this omissionsr. jackson's
-- admissions. was summer mr. moses-el granted a hearing. at that time, the judge heard from l.c. jackson, heard from mr. jackson's girlfriend at the time in 1987 who he was living with and was a neighbor of the victim and testified that mr. jackson was gone from her home during the crucial period of time when the victim was attacked. the judge also heard from an expert forensic biologist -- because we were able to obtain a saliva sample from l.c. jackson -- and the forensic i'll just was able to determine, based on the blood typing that was done back in 1987 even though dna testing was a done, that mr. jackson's blood type was consistent with the evidence in this case and there was a far greater likelihood that the perpetrator was somebody of that blood type than some of the of
mr. moses-el's blood type which is actually inconsistent with the evidence in this case. amy: what is astounding right now is that the judge gave the option of retry or drop the charges. mitchell morrissey, the denver da, has gone after clarence moses-el for years. he will be retiring. he will not be running again. two of the candidates for denver da has said they would drop the charges. why aren't these charges being dropped right now? , who just got-el out of jail after 28 years, still live with as possible trial over his head? >> that is an excellent question, amy, and we hope it will be answered soon. the denver da has said they have not yet made a decision, so we're hoping they will come to that decision soon and that the decision will be there is absolutely no point in retrying an innocent man. all of the evidence in this case points to somebody else,
as thely, l.c. jackson, perpetrator and points away from mr. moses-el. we have been very clear that we are not saying the victim fabricated her allegations against mr. moses-el, but everything points to her naming him and her identifying him as the perpetrator as being a mistake in an erroneous identification. erroneous but in a vacation is the number one cause of wrongful conviction. amy: how could he have been convicted based on her dream? >> it is a great question. i will say the 12 jurors heard the evidence, heard her testimony in court. we onlys been -- amy: have about a minute and a want to go back to clarence moses-el. clarence, can you tell us about your mother who fought for you to be freed for many years? very strongs a
advocate for me. she always believed in me, just like i believed in myself. and she always told me to keep my faith because eventually, although i had went through that hurdle of being convicted, she told me, "son, one day the truth is going to come out and you're going to be set free." so before she passed away, she was a very strong force in my life. in fact, even after her death, she is still a strong force in my life. amy: clarence moses-el, what do you plan to do with your freedom? what are your future plans? >> my future plans? myself like to engage with giving back to the community as far as -- over the years being incarcerated, i watched tv and was looking at so many things happening in society that i just want to be a
productive part of it. justng youth -- a sickly, -- basically, just giving myself where i can be of help where it is necessary. this is my main interest. amy: clarence, what kept you going all of these years in prison? innocence. and my those two things is what really kept me going. recognizesed me to and identify with the strong-willed that is in me. i could not allow myself to accept being incarcerated, especially for something i didn't do. so that moved me very strongly. it was my faith and my determination to prove my innocence. my innocence was the driving force along with my will.
amy: we have to leave it there. i want to thank you so much for being with us and a very happy holidays to you, clarence moses-el. we will link to your facebook page. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or