Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  April 1, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

3:00 pm
04/01/16 04/01/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> it feels amazing after being locked at 43 years for defending myself, it feels so great right now that i am able to come back out and be with my son again. all counts.lty on that was the verdict handed down yesterday in a connecticut court t the floloor.psed on
3:01 pm
she was facing 60 years in prison for killing her abusive ex partner. he had choked her, broke into her apartment, and sent threatening messages while she had an order of protection against him. today in a democracy now! exclusive, cherelle baldwin joins us in the studio after almost three years in prison on a $1 million bond awaiting trtrial. we will also speak with her mother and her attorney. been to yemen. -- then to yemen. huhundreds of ththousands of yes took to the streets to protest the first anniversary of the u.s. backed, saudi-led offensive. the protest were said to be the largest since 2011 force of resignation of the president. >> on yemenis from all different sects came out in the masses, to
3:02 pm
show the w world that the e yemi peop c can never bee shaken nor defeated. amy: since the u.s.-backed, saudi-led interventionon began last march, more than 6000 people have been killed in yemen, about half of them civilians. unicef says neararly 10 million children are in dire need of humanitatarian assistance. we will speak withth farea al-muslimi and sararah leah whitson. herpes in n "the los a angeles times" "the u.s. is quietly helping saudi arabia weight devastating aerial campaign in yemen." all of that and more coming up. amy: welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. both former secretary of state hillary clinton and vermont senator bernie sanders campaigned in new york state thursday, ahead of the new york primary later this month. during a speech at the state university of new york at purchase, clinton faced disruption from protesters who yelled, "if she wins, we lose."
3:03 pm
meanwhile, more than 16,000 people gathered in st. mary's park in the south bronx for a bernie sanders rally where sanders stressed his brooklyn roots. >> i went to public schools in brooklyn, new york. [applause] education and i want every kid in the city and in this state to have a quality, good public education. [cheers] and that means instead of giving tax breaks to billionaires or fighting wars, we should not be fighting, we're going to be investing in housing and education and health care. amy: senator sanders spoke alongside actress rosario dawson , director spike lee, puerto rican rapper. he said he supports sanders foreign-policy position. >> i support bernie sanders because he has spoken n out
3:04 pm
americanhose latin dictatorships financed by the united states which left more than half a million people dead or disappeared. to theans being opposed leaders in guatemala, argentina, just to name a few. hillary clinton has dared to praise the likes of hillary is .n -- henry kissinger responsible for those who disappeared in the 60's, 70's, and 80's, it is enough for me not to vote for her. amy: this comes as hillary clinton and bernie sanders head into a tight race in wisconsin on tuesday. meanwhile, donald trump met in washington, d.c. with leaders of , the republican national committee, amid increasing tension between the gop leadership and the party's leading candidate. trump is facing a wave of backlash in wisconsin ahead of the tuesday contest, with recent
3:05 pm
polls showing texas senator ted cruz leading trump by at least 10 points. this comes as trump picked up an endorsement wednesday by the national border patrol council. it was the border patrol agent'' union its first-ever presidential primary endorsement. donald trump has promised to build a wall across the entire length of the u.s.-mexico border and to force m mexico to pay for it, a proposal which experts have said is not feasible.e. some major companies are reportedly reconsidering whether to sponsor the republican national convention in cleveland in july. "the new york times" reports apple, google, and walmart are all reassessing their plans amid increasing turmoil in the gop race. under pressure from activists, coca-cola has already dramatically reduced its sponsorship of the event from $600,000 in 2012 to only $75,000 this year. this comes as cleveland is purchasing thousands of sets of
3:06 pm
police riot gear in advance of the rnc, using a $50 million federal grant. cleveland is also planning to rent enough interlocking steel barricades to stretch for three miles.s. in chicago, protesters rallied thursday to denounce the police union for hiring a former police officer jason van dyke to work as a janitor after he was dismissed from the police department over the 2014 fatal shooting of african-american teenager laquan mcdonald. officer van dyke shot 17-year-old laquan mcdonald 16 times while the teenager was at a distanance and walking away, posing no o threat. van dyck currently faces six counts of first-degree murder. three weeks ago, he was hired by the police union at an hourly rate of $12 an hour. activist ja'mal green said his hiring is a "slap in the face to chicago residents." this comes as the chicago teachers union are slated to
3:07 pm
launch a one-day strike today to protest the lack of f state funding for education. the chicago public school district currently faces a $1.1 billion deficit. chicago teacher's union president karen lewis said, "we are dying the death of a thousand cuts." the pentagon continues to face questioning over its military presence in iraq. "the daily beast" has reported there are at least 12 u.s. generals deployed to iraq to lelead a force thahat is officiy supposed to consnsist of only 30 u.s. troops. a troop force of this size would usually be lead by only a single colonel. five top u.s. women'n's soccer players hahave filed a landmark lawsuit with the equal employment opportunity commission accusing u.s. soccer of wage discririmination.. the players say they earn only about 40% of what male players earn, despite the fact that the u.s. women's national team has won three world cupsps and four olympic championships.
3:08 pm
the u.s. men's s national team,n comparison, has never even reached the world cup finals. on thursday, soccer player hope solo and her teammates spoke to matt lauer on nbc's "today show." >> i have been on this team now for a decade and a half, and i have been through numerous negotiations. honestly, not much has changed. we continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer and to get paid for doing it. in this day and age, you know, it is about the quality. it is about equal rights and equal pay, and we're pushing for that. we believe the time is right because we believe it is a responsibility for women's sports and specifically for women soccer, to really do whatever it t takes to push for equal pay. and be treated with respect. amy: the mississippi senate has voted to advance a piece of sweeping anti-lgbt legislation, which will allow organizations and businesses to deny people an array of services based on
3:09 pm
religious objections. opponents of the legislation say house bill 1523 could legalize discrimination against lbgt people seeking everything from wedding products to counseling services to housing. erik fleming with the aclu of mississippi says -- "it is very broad and very dangerous. it basically sanctions religious discrimination." this comes after north carolina passed a sweeping law, known as the "bathroom bill," which bars cities and towns from passing laws prohibiting discrimination against lgbt people in public accommodations. and imprisoned colombian hacker has told bloomberg businessweek that he was paid to rig
3:10 pm
"my job was to do actions of dirty war and psychological operations, black propaganda, rumors -- the whole dark side of politics that nobody knows exists but everyone can see." the office has rejected the claims. sepulveda said he was also paid to rig the re-election of colombian president alvaro uribe, and the election of right-wing honduran president porfirio lobo sosa, who was elected in 2009 following the u.s.-backed coup. support it is currently suin serving a sentence for hacking the 2014 election. the scandal over sexual abuse by u.n. peacekeeping forces in the central african republic is growing.
3:11 pm
on thursday, the united nations announced 108 new allegations sf sexual abuse. the majority of the victims are minors. the former director of the u.n. peacekeeping mission in the central african republic resigned last year amid similar allegations. united nations secretary general spokesperson stephane dujarric spokee on thursday. >> let me start with the situation in central african republic, and let me say at the outset, the secretary-general is shocked to the court at the latest allegations of abuse in the central african republic. his focus is on the victims and their families. we're talking about women, young children who have been traumatized in the worst imaginable way. amy: in nevada, eight people were arrested blockading two gates to the creech air force base. the base is one of several homes for the u.s. military's lethal drone program in pakistan, afghanistan, somalia, yemen, and other countries. six of the eight protesters arrested are veterans. the action is the first in a
3:12 pm
two-week mobilization at the base demanding it be shut down. in vancouver, canada, an activist has entered her third week on a hunger strike to protest the construction of an $8.8 billion hydroelectric dam project in northern british colombia -- the largest public infrastructure project i in the province's history. the canadian company bc hydro is behind the project. speaking outside bc hydro's offices, hunger striker kristin henry called on canadian prime ministerer justin trudeau to hat the project. >> i would also like to see trudeau step up to his promises to reassess and redevelop relations with the indigenous communities here. it to happen. he is granting permits. he made a lot of promises to get into office, a lot of them based on his relations with inches of this -- indigenous communities. this is a perfect example of where he is leading industries
3:13 pm
blow through the rights of the indigenous people. amy: in a historic victory for the fight-for-fifteen campaign, both the state of california and new york city are poised to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the coming years. on thursday, the california legislature voted to raise the minimum wage incrementally each year, until it reachches $15 an hour by 2022. governor jerry brown says he plans to sign the legislation on monday. meanwhile, new york governor andrew cuomo says he has reached a budget deal that will hike the minimum wage in new york city to $15 by the end of 2018. in regions of upstate new york, the minimum wage will be raised to $12.50. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: this is quite remarkable victory in both new york and calilifornia around the minimum wage.
3:14 pm
juan: the advocates are calling it the -- one of the largest pay raises for american workekers in history of the country. about 5 million people are goiog to see, mininimum-wage workers,, are going g to see their wageses increase substantially over the next few years. it is remarkable -- ononly about three years ago, this movement started with a single strike of mcdonald's workers in new york city and it t spread acroross the country and it will continue to spread because there are too many americans who cannot live on the federal some higher or state minimum wages in some areas, so this is a remarkable movement that is also going to boost the e economy. all of these low-wage workers will immediate least and that money. it is remarkable that a movement has been able to get this far so quickly. amy: we will continue to cover it as this wave of both protest and response with real laws sweeps the c country. juan: nonow to today's top stor. the verdict: not guilty. that was the decision of a
3:15 pm
connecticut jury thursday in the murder trial of cherelle baldwin. we first reported on the case yesterday, just hours before the jury acquitted baldwin, a 24-year-old mother. she was charged with the 2013 killing of her ex-boyfriend, jeffrey brown, whom baldwin says had stalked and abused her. according to court documents, brown had repeatedly threatened baldwin, took her credit cards and money, and assaulted her during visits to see their son. baldwin eventually attained a court order barring threats, harassment and assaults during , visits, but brown continued sending baldwin a threatening text message. then, according to a police affidavit based on baldwin's statements, brown showed up at her house, climbed through her window and attacked her, choking her with his belt. baldwin escaped and managed to get inside her car, but so did brown, who again choked her. what happened next is hard for even b baldwin to remember, butt when pololice a arrived they fod , baldwin on the ground with a
3:16 pm
broken leg, and brown was lifeless in front of the car, pinned against the garage wall. baldwin was eventually arrested on murder charges. amy: since the incident, cherelle baldwin has spent prison,hree years in held on a $1 million bond. a first trial in 2015 ended in a hung jury, 1 11 to was s declara one, mistriaial. in her favor, 11 to one. prosecutors moved to retry cherelle. after the not-guilty verdict was read, cherelle baldwin fell to the floor sobbing, saying, "my baby is going to get his mommy back." jeffrey brown's father, jeffrey hines, said he respected the decision of the jury. he pointed to a class ring he wears which has a symbol of the scales of justice and said,, "they made a decision. that's it." the case has caught ththe attention of domestic violence organizations nationwide, who cited the cacase as an example f how black women are dispropoportionately imprisoned when they defend themselves
3:17 pm
against domestic abuse. well today in a democracy now! exclusivive, cherelle baldwin joins us in our studio for her first interview since being freed yesterday. also with us is her mother, cynthia long, who we spoke to yestererday on democracy now! in bridgeport, but today she is with us in new york. and her defense attorney, miles gerety. thank you so much for joining us. cherelle, welcome to the free world. >> thank you so much. amy: how did you feel when you heard that verdict yesterday in the bridgeport courtroom? >> i just, like, collapsed. i could not believe it. when they said "not guilty of all five accounts," it was just like god sent an angel down and saved me. it was amazing. amy: you had been in prison for
3:18 pm
nearly three years awaiting this trial. >> yes. juan: what has it been like -- you have a five-year-old son. how w are you able to maintain relations with him during that time you were in prison and what has been his reaction now that you are back out? , but has not seen me yet i'm going to see him on monday. i would see him twice a month up at the correctional facility. the whole time he thought i was at school. he did not know i was in jail, because we were burgundy shirts and jeans, so he thought i was at school. hehe said to me last weekend, he was like, "mommy, will you come home?" promise you, when i come home i will play with you. when i go home, i'm going to play the legego batman all day with him. amy: cynthia long, we spoke to
3:19 pm
yesterday. we did not know how long the jury would be out. what was your response? >> i was just totally overjoyed. because i believe my daughter was innocent the whole time. i am just so grateful that the jury got to hear her side of the story, you know, that they made the right decision. it just overwhelmed me with tears because, you know, there are so many domestic violence victims out there that are still struggling in jail for fighting back. i am just so grateful, you know, that everything turned out well for cherelle. , could you gerety talk about how you got involved in the case in the significance of the case, especially in light of the fact there was this history of abuse that existed beforehand, whether prosecutors even attttempted a murder
3:20 pm
conviction?? when i wasvolved told about the facts of this case. a really good lawyer, but who had not tried any murder cases, so i got involved for the first trial and then again for the second trial. you know, battered women, when they step out of the role in defend themselves, there's a lot of prejudice. a lot of jurors, men especially, cannot -- once a woman steps out will think, "oh, she is not battered" or see avenues of escape. cherelle was in her bedroom. we don't know how he got in. cherelle was in her bedroom, was attacked in her bedroom, choked and whipped horrifically. crashed her car into a cement wall going 21 miles per hour. 30.8 feet for second post up she
3:21 pm
wakes up next to the car, not really knowing what had happened. she had retrograde amnesia. because she did not know how it happened and when it happened, the assumption was that she was lying. , one of thes woman nicest, sweetest people on earth, who would not hurt a fly, who is desperate to get back to her child, to save her child. amy: her baby was inside? >> inside crying when she left. amy: he was 18 months old? >> 18 months. there's a thing called the castle doctrine in most states. you do not have to retreat from euro and home will stop the court ruled in two trials that as soon as she stepped off herer porch, as soon as she stepped out of her house, that doctrine did not apply. wash would mean if a woman attacked in her home and turn up the window, when she's on the
3:22 pm
grass of her neighbor, suddenly, she -- - it is her duty of character of her attacker has changed. what many women's groups are saying, first of all, if there is a court order saying you're not to be attacked, you're not to be harassed, you ought not to have the duty to retreat. as much talk as there is of stan you're ground, this is a situation where cherelle, being smaller than jeffrey brown, not justg -- women are likely three times as many men have guns. if she was bigger and stronger and beat him to death in her apartment, she never would have been charged. as soon as she leaves r home, they change. that is wrong. that law needs to be changed. it is amazing to me that in 2016, we're still dealing with the societal pressures.
3:23 pm
or if a woman defends herself, suddenly, she is complicit in her battering. this is really a problem. amy: we're going to go to break. when we come back, we're going to talk about what this $1 million bond was. i mean, a year ago, another trial was deadlocked 11 to one in cherelle's favor, and she had remained in prison simply because she could not afford the bond that a more well-off woman could have afforded. cherelle baldwin is with us, not guilty on all counts was the decision of the jury yesterday in the death of her abusive ex partner. we also joined by her mother cynthia long and her attorney miles gerety. we will be back with them in a minute. ♪ [music break]
3:24 pm
3:25 pm
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. special today, cherelle baldwin is free after nearly three years in prison. she was found not guilty on all counts in a second trial in the death of her abusive ex partner, who choked her, went after her.
3:26 pm
ultimately, she ended up with a broken leg, he ended up head. and at that time, their 18-month-old baby, inside alone in her house. we're also joined by cherelle's mother cynthia long and her attorney miles gerety. she was found not guilty just yesterday in a bridgeport courtroom, and is here in new york with us today. cherelle, what happened on the death didr abuser's not start on that day. you had gotten an order protection. where were the police through this period if you violated t ts order protection a number of times? -- the police -- i don't think they really cared too much post up basically, it was always pats on the back. they did not take domestic violence serious at all. they probably would think, he
3:27 pm
would never hurt her or he would never try to kill her, but may 18, he became like a life or death situation. amy: you had gotten a text before he came to the house? >> yes. i told him, if you touch me, i'm going to call the cops on you. he kept threatening to kill me and my family. it was horrible. juan: interestingly were ironically, you tried to get help for him because you realized he had a terrible childhood and problems in his own life that made him so violent. >> yes. i spoke to domestic violence advocate and i told them i said, is there anyway you can get anger management for him? abusive, violent towardrd everythining. i don't know why he is so upset. all i am trying to do is help him. they just totally ignored it and gave himim a cditional discharge . basically, a pat on the back. go about your r life. long, when your
3:28 pm
daughter was arrested on first-gree murder charges and they said $1 million bond, was any chance you could raise that? >> no. not $1 million. i think it is 10% of that, like $100,000. there was just no way. the home value in bridgeport is not even close or neararly to tt much if we had to put up the home. it was nearly impossible for us to do that, so we had to kind of weight until she had a trial. want to askle, i you, your response to the enormous support that you have gotten from susuivors groupups around the country. recent price by that and how much of a cause your case became? >> yes. when i received letters, i would cry. so many women told me stories about how they were in my situation and i did not know as
3:29 pm
many women were going through that. .specially at a young age it touched me a lot. i'd so mucuch support that i did not even know i had. it helped me a lot while being incarcerated. amy: the text you see that morning before he came to your .a"?e said, "d.o >> yes. he said he will be d.o.a. on site. amy: miles gerety, talk about this million dollar r bond, even after the first trial, 11 to one in her favoror. >> i should be careful what i say, but i was incredibly disappointed. it should have been lowered. the fact they tried a second time on murder when you had a jury, but for one hold out, who really is a jury one point wrote a note that said, -- at any
3:30 pm
rate, it was incredible. i i want to make one little poi. the reason they would not put jeffrey brown in some sort of anger management, domestic violence program -- and some of andem last 52 weeks -- jeffrey was really troubled. i think he may have h had intermittent explosive disorder. was because he was a convicted felon. that i is absurd. the reason for these programs is not just to help the guy, which 90% of the time it is a man, but their future intimate partners. because cherelle, not a convicted felon, was working a good jobob in trying to make its a single mother, did not get help, he needed help and she begged repeatedly to get it, they said, he was a convicted felon so they just let him lead to a crime. that is absolutely stupid. it is really a mistake. yeah, these programsms actuallyo
3:31 pm
work a lot of the time. it was a real tragedy. she loved jeffrey brown. beganwho are battered with a relelationship duringng e honeymoon phase with someone who is charming and nice, and jeffrey brown cocould be charmig and nice, but yet a real problem . he must have been exposed to something cherelle herself and cindy had had a badad marriage with an abusive husband, not bernard baldwin, but somebody else, and this pattern repeats and repeats. what got me about her case is it seen the police investigation -- toared to do one thing basically, proved that everything she said was a lie. and she was wrong. i mean, he did not get through a window, but he is done that once before. after hitting her head, being concussed and having amnesia for a while, retrograde amnesia, she did not know what had happened.
3:32 pm
part of my argument to the jury was, what if she did not remember anything, with the police have spoken to her father about of the baby was left alone , the covers were torn off the bed? would they have, you know, done any of the things to say, well, how did he really get in the house? 468rey brown was parked feet, a football field and a half away from her house. he had sent her texts that site"g saying "d.o.a. on and threatened others. cindy offer the police -- they did not find her so close to my family did -- cindy offer the police her phone and they did not want it will stop amy: you offer the police cherelle's phone? >> yes, in the hospital, after i saw the text message. amy: they took it as evidence?
3:33 pm
>> no. they said there was no need. want to i want to ask about specific connecticut laws in terms of abuse, disproportional and they end up arresting both people in a home when they go. could you talk about that? >> historically -- look, connecticut has the best domestic violence expert in the world, evan stark. he is the reason people talk about domestic violence. connecticut does have a law that arrests had to be made. the problem is, battered women frequently depend on the batterer to help support their children. there is physical relationship -- battered women frequently -- they don't want they got a go to jail. they want him to get help. 's situation was to google. what is so frustrating about it, because jeffrey brown was a convicted felon as the young
3:34 pm
man, he was not offered help. when this happened, the presumption seemed to be that she is lying about what happened. nobody thinks if you are in your bedroom and you say 70 came in the window, a window you cannot see, that maybe you're wrong. when you have a witness you cannot see what their largely talking about, you say, maybe they're wrong. nobody thought, hey, she hit a windshield and 21 miles per hour, ran out of her home barefoot in a nigight down witht glasses -- which cherelle is not wearing now, but she is as close to -- she is -4. she is really, really nearsighted.d. she hit the side of her house, bouncing off. the top speed was 21, but the car started at zero, then nine miles per hour, then extend the .9 and 21 host u what is so incredible, he was riding the hood.
3:35 pm
the firemen said he had the belt you been beating her with her wrapped in his hand in his lifeless body. if that doesn't say shshe has bn robbed and beaten and she is a victim -- amy: cherelle, what would you say to prosecutors around the country about prosecuting women in your situation? >> i believe they should investigate more. don't just assume. if a woman h has been through domestic violence, look at the history. look at the evidence that is right there. they did not even -- clearly, in my case, they ignored text messages, they ignored whelps, they ignored everything. i believe they should not prosecute women that are trying to get help. i tried my best to do everything and it did not work. it was just me, defend myself. i don't understand, he pleads
3:36 pm
guilty, but don't get no prison time? as soon as i defend myself, they want to give me up to 60 years? i'd understand it at all. amy: how did class, race, and gender fit in, miles gerety, into deterermining whether domestic violence, how domestic violence survivors are treated? >> domestic violence itself is an opportunity provider. if i have no doubt that cherelle baldwin was living in a $1 million house in greenwich and this happened versus her y indmother's two-famil bridgeport in an industrial area of town, the investigation would have been a lot different. who never haddy been in trouble. when she met jeffrey brown, he said his name was jarelle brown and told her he worked at a warehouse at night. he was really a drug dealer.
3:37 pm
she was prpregnant by him before she even k knew who he was. it is just a tragedy. it c clearly, minorityty women, katie strongest -- the greatest price. the guysotion becauause a felony we're not going to get him treated is crazy. is beaten and she wept because we're not going to get people treated. amy: cherelle, what are your plans now? you are just freed less than 24 hours at this moment. -- get my life together for my son. he has been without me for almost three years. you know, so happy -- because i fought for him. there were times -- there were times i felt like giving up, but i looked at his picture every day and i said, "i'm going to fight for you."
3:38 pm
hard trying tobe get my life back together, but, you know, i did this for him. i had to. the reason the situation -- i'md, you know, i is going to get myself together for him. amy: i want to thank you all very much for being here and sharing your story. congratulations on your freedom. >> thank you post of amy: we of been speaking with cherelle baldwin and her mother cynthia longng as well as her attttorney miles gerety. ofrelle baldwin is free thomas three years in prison, facing 60 years in prison for killing her abusive ex partner as he came to her house to attacker, sending a text that said "d.o.a." when we come back, we look at the situation in yemen host of hundreds of thousands of people marched against the u.s. saudi bombing campaign in yemen. what is happening to this
3:39 pm
country. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
3:40 pm
farea al-muslimi
3:41 pm
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we turn now to yemen, were hundreds of thousands took to the streets to protest the first anniversary of the u.s.-backed saudi-led offensive saudi-led offensive againstt , houthi r rebels. the protests were saidid to be e lalargest in y yemen since demomonstrations i in 2011 forcd the resignation of preresident i abdullllah saleh. this is one processor -- this is protester ibrahim al ubaidi speaking at saturday's demonstration. >> today, all yemenis from all different sects and regardless of theirir political affiliatio, came out in the masses, a crowd of over one million, to show the woworld the y yemeni people cann never be s shaken nodefefeated.
3:42 pm
amy: sinin the u.s.-backed, saudi-leled intervention began last march, , more than people have been killed in 6000 yemenababout halflf of them civilians. according to unicef, nearly 10 million children are in dire need of humanitarian assistance and 320,000 are at risk of severe acute malnutrition. meanwhile the u.s. launched air , attacks on al qaeda in southern yemen, killing 14 people described by localal sources as sususpected militant. for more we're joined now by two , guests. in beirut, lebanon, we're joined by farea al-muslimi, a visiting scholar at the carnegie middle east center in beirut. he is also the co-founder and chair of the sana'a center for strategic studies. in 2013, he testified before the senate judiciary subcommittee hearing on the u.s. secret drone program. and we're also joined by sarah leah whitson, executive director of human rights watch's middle east and north africa division. her recent piece in the "los angeles times" is headlined, "the u.s. is quietly helping saudi arabia wage a devastating aerial campaign in yemen." we welcome you both to democracy now!
3:43 pm
sarah leah whitson, explain what the u.s. is doing in yemen. >> it goes well beyond providing military assistance. the weapons being used in this war, what is less known and less understood and what the u.s. government has been deliberately vague about is the u.s. is sitting in the riata command center providing targeting assistance -- this is what they have told us -- as well as providing refueling for aircraft. targeting assistance is the most problematic because we don't know if they're providing targeting assistance on the strike by strike basis, whether they're just reviewing the strike list, whether they're actually telling the saudi's what they should strike, and that is what we're asking the united states to come clean about. we want to know exactly which strikes u.s. government has provided assistance for. juan: you have documented the use by the salaries of cluster bombs in their attacks. you talk about that? >> u.s. and united kingdom have
3:44 pm
sold cluster munitions to saudi arabia now we have documented a finding in strikes, the dunstan of american-made cluster musician -- munitions. british ones were also found. there used in civililian areas d civilian sites, including, for example, some not university where there are remnants of cluster munitions. amy: one of the issues you emphasize in your piece is that saudi arabia has been on what you call it global arms shopping spree and is now the world's largest purchaser of weapons. >> it is true. petrodollar funded acquisition campaign and it is been going on for a long time. the figures i cited of their purchases from the united states just last year of $20 billion is just a piece of it. are a shopper for many european countries. if you look at the arms they have been buying for the past
3:45 pm
two decades, the figures are staggering. what i think is even more surprising is that uae with h a population of less than one million people, a fighting age population of a couple of 20,000 or 30,000 men, is the fourth largest purchaser of weapons and is actively fighting five wars. it is very hard to comprehend the purpose of these weapons, but it is very clear that the narrative of a sunni-she'll war of this magnitude is very lucrative. copiesw much are u.s. popping? >> the figures are not easy to come by because there hidden for contracts and when they're going to be fulfilled and not going to be filled, a figure from u.s., well over $50 billion. farea al-muslimi, i will do t talk about the human a
3:46 pm
turning crisis i in yemen. collects this is something that has been going for the last year , the humanitarian situation has gotten really bad, worse than it was. what is more striking in this war in yemen is humans are kind of the weakest cycle in this intense fighting happening between the houthis and saudis who have little if any consideration for the loss. this is a serious issue because it is not just the bombing and extensive fighting that has been killing civilians, but also the internal and external sees the country has -- siege on the country is made medicine, food, get inife difficult to some areas even if you had the cash. the problem of fuel shortages, the problem of -- it is created
3:47 pm
much of the black market, much of the black market around yemen, but more importantly, despite the fact both sides, the -fightingd the saudis each other, the biggest consequences have been civilians around yemen. i am pretty sure the 6000 figures of those that died last they'rech less than actually in the ground, i'm sure it is much, much more than that, it is just very hard right now travel around the country and very hard for the international media to continue following the news in yemen. there is obviously a cririsis in the reregion like syria, libyay, that h gotteten lott of attention competitively speaking to yemen, and in a way, or another, have m made yemen space and d the attention very much theted, much less than
3:48 pm
catastrophe on the ground. juan: i want to go b back to 203 when you tie -- testified about u.s. drone war. you spoke a week after your home village was hit by u.s. drone strike. based on my s stories abouout my wondederful experien. the friendships and values experienced and described to the villagers helps them understand the amamerica that i know and tt i love.e. now, however, when they think of america, they think of the drones hovering over their heads ady to firire missililes at any time. whatat the violent m militants d previously faailed to achieve, one drone strike accomplished in an instant. there is now intenense anger against america. thisis is not an isolalated inststance. ththe drone strikikes are the fe
3:49 pm
ofof america to many yemenis. i have spoken to many yemenenis, victims o of the u.s. drone trtrucks, like a m mother who oo ididentify her innnnocent through ad s sons bodody video on a cell phone. or a father w who held his four-yeaear-old esessex road children a as they died in h his arms. in 2009, the place whither u.s. cruise missiles targeteded the village. more than 40 civilians were killed, including four pregnant women. the tribal leader and others tried to rescue the victims, but the bodies weree so disseminate, it was impososble to differerentiate between childre, women,n, and the animals. sosome of these innonocent peope were bururied in the sameme plas their animals.
3:50 pm
juan: farea al-muslimi, the response of the members of congress when he testified afterwards? honestly, not much has changed in terms of ththe drone strikes, but your assessment of the effect this is having on yemenen >> i mean, clearly, the issue of u.s. policy in yemen, since last are, since it started unconditionally supporting the saudis in this big warfare, but it even goes back to 202013 and much befefore that when it -- a lot oflive of airstrikes around yemen. -- this is much as not something new, but i think withhing will always carry a legacy foror president obama, which is, you know, come back ko his relative success in cuba with the nuclear deal, yemen has been one of the big dark marks in his presidency.
3:51 pm
he used the drones and one year, even more than bush used in eight years. then it went on to the supposed unconditional airstrikes in yemen with the saudis that even more, i think even much more than the a aed deals a are the international protection of the yuan council. last year, the united states and united kingdom and much of -- of anthe attempt investigative committee on warar imimes that t have possibly been committed in the conflict in yemen. despite the fact there is been clear evidence o of multiple war crimes committed, the e united states and a lot of countries have blolocked attempts to investigate these, having provided an easy path and comfortable support for the coalition in n the un security coununcil, but overall in the western decision-making cycles. amy: what about the media
3:52 pm
coverage? i also want to put that question to sarah leah whitson. where is the media spotlight on the catastrophe that is yemen right now? unfortunanately, not as much as it should be. very, very limited. but there is also kind of strict rules have been imposed by both the houthis and the legitimate government. obviously, not doing anything around the country, so they have imposed strict conditions anand against even attempting to travel to the -- evenor very strong on the journalists around the cocountry. many have been jailed multiple times. some have been used as a human shield by the houthis, as the same time journalists have been killed in airstrikes around the country. it is a problem where there is already much correspondence or
3:53 pm
meet in yemen, but it has gotten much worse since this last war started earlier last year.r. , whatarah leah whitson you think the media needs to pay attention n to? >> i was just in yemen last week and i can say it is very hard for international media to operate in yemen, particularly to get out of, for example, sanna. it is just very dangngerous. airstrikes are real-life threat. there are landmines, cluster munitions. it is a high security risk for journalists to get out particularly to the areas worst struck. we have been trying to do our best in that circumstance. a very brave you and workers have been doing their best to get aid, but it is not an easy war to cover. what i find more disturbing, understanding the limited coverage from is the absence of a framing of a narrative into the terror that is being brought on the yemeni people. there's this global outrage when the brussels airport in a coffee
3:54 pm
shop is struck, and yemenis are asking me, weiser no global outrage when our schools, when our universities to when our hospitals, when our clinics are when football fields, when playgrounds are bombed with u.s. bombs? where is the outrage on attacks on civilians here in yemen? the absence of that compares thing is very, very difficult for yemenis to understand. juan: and the prospects for some sort of settlement or peace between the warring factions? >> well, we can hope for it. every time there's a major attack like the one recently on a marketplace where saudi bombs killed over 100 civilians, and there's a bit of outrage that somes from the u.n., the saudi talk about a cease-fire and a peace process. clearly, the war is going very bad for the saudis. they're not displacing the houthis powers or restoring the
3:55 pm
former president of power. there's a lot of pressure domestically on saudi abia to wrap it up. the emirates one out. they are produced or troops by half. -- they have reduced their troops by half. but whether that will bring peace to yemen is hard to say, because the country has been so seriously disrupted, not just politically, but on the humanitarian scale. amy: you are very critical, farea al-muslimi, of the "new york times goes with of that, yemen's president path to peaea. what did you object to? >> it is not objection, but very them lolookould make fine. unfortunatately, our president s one of those people.e. there is been so much happening in yemen and so much destruction has been done the last year and a half and before that, and it is very hard to imagine the houthis'ability y -- if it was t for their cabinets around the
3:56 pm
in achieving their duties. it is very hard to see the president claiming 85% of the country is liberated while he is still outside the country, serving remotely. there have been city officials -- whether the presidenenor the houthiis or the team that has been running the country are a big part of this problem. it is very hard to imagine any way forwardrd with this mentaliy of blaming or mentalality of not taking responsibility that they shshould have done in yemen over the last few years. it is hard to imagine anything could happepen in the nearar future as we're still having this big failure by the government, but also this .ailure to act
3:57 pm
the cabinetsts and the president and the government have done nothing to liberate this from al qaeda. it is very serious issue in yemen that we have, not just the , but byand the coup government and regime not doing what it should have been doing. amy: sarah leah whitson, finally, how hard is it find out what the u.s. is doing in yemen right now and what should the u.s. know, the u.s. population know? importantly, the u.s. population should know the united states government is actively fighting in this war. according to the laws of war, it is a party to the conflict. it is fighting alongside saudi arabia, supporting the war in yemen that is indiscriminately bombarding yemeni children, yemeni schools, yemeni hospitals
3:58 pm
. and it will be very hard for president obama to complain about violent extremist attacks that attacked paris and brussels, even ankora, when our weapons and our military personnel are assisting saudi arabia commit terrible attacks on saudi schools and hospitals. that is when you come back to us. to the us government, we have an open question, what are you targeting? till the end of the people what you're targeting in yemen. amy: thank you. sarah leah whitson, executive director of human rights watch's middle east and north africa division. we will link to herpes "the u.s. , is quietly helping saudi arabia wage a devastating aerial campaign in yemen." amy: and thank you to farea al-muslimi visiting scholar at , the carnegie middle east center in beirut, lebanon. co-founder and chairman of the sana'a center for strategic studies. that does it for our show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to
3:59 pm
outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
4:00 pm
>> hello, i'm john cleese, and i hope you will join me for a unique experience: "global spirit," the first internal travel series, with fantastic conversations and film segments exploring the most urgent,t, exisistential, philosophical, and spipiritual issuess of the 21st century. so, settle back, take a slow, deep breath, as we join oour trusted guide and host, phiil cousineau, on this fascinating episode of "global spirit," the first internal travel series.

22 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on